Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 January 2020


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: population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. India requires an integrated housing development strategy for the rural context Elucidate.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

The article narrates a detailed analysis of Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) concept that is aimed at development of rural areas.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail how the rural development aspects of the country require an integrated housing strategy.

Directive:

Elucidate – Give 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:

State some facts highlighting the scenario of Indian rural areas and the level of development therein.

Body:

In brief discuss the underlying concept of PURA.

Explain how it proves to be the framework to mitigate the country’s socioeconomic problems and create a common development platform for rural and urban areas.

Discuss the growing need for an integrated approach to resolve the rural development issues and address the challenges. Take hints from the article and discuss the associated pros and cons.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward, suggest that If India is to have a real chance to minimize the housing development divide, it requires an integrated housing development strategy for the rural context, to be implemented in “mission mode”.

Introduction:

Housing in rural areas is one sector that has consistently suffered from the lack of meaningful market interventions, including supply of developed land and financing for housing. This is not to say that India never pursued effective poverty alleviation measures, but that the interventions it carried out have hardly worked in minimising urban-rural divides.

Body:

Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA):

  • Notwithstanding growing disparities of material status in India, there is a framework to mitigate the country’s socioeconomic problems and create a common development platform for rural and urban areas.
  • The realisation of PURA’s transformative potential depends on public policies that recognise that its design goes beyond the mere creation of economic infrastructure and employment opportunities in rural areas.
  • It also aims to develop social infrastructure.

Challenges faced in Rural housing development strategy:

  • The incompatibilities in supply and demand, millions of Indians dwell in unsecured housing.
  • This was largely driven by shortages in the supply of housing and a lack of redevelopment of collapsible or dilapidated units.
  • Officially, the incidence of this form of housing-related poverty is in the order of 25.85 million (82% in rural areas and 18% in urban).
  • Menial occupation workers and low-income earners have been facing these forms of poverty the most.

Need for integrated housing development strategy in rural areas:

  • Dilapidated units have contributed towards a high level of housing amenities deprivation, especially because they cannot safely be connected with electricity or solar energy, latrines, and drinking water, owing to associated structural risks.
  • This scenario has resulted in multiple deprivations of 45% of rural families without electricity, biogas and LPG; over 69% without household latrines; and over 82% of families without treated water for drinking at household levels.
  • Thus, the composite deprivation is in the order of over 58%.
  • However, the regional picture depicts two contrasting scenarios of lower and higher levels, respectively, in 19 and nine independent States.
  • The lower range of deprivations is at 20.68-52.65% and higher range at 60.19-74.81%.
  • These results only speak to the priority in the political agenda, the exhibition of political will, and the economics of resource allocation in the administration of anti-poverty policies.
  • In such a scenario there have been higher rates of internal migration both due to dissatisfaction with housing arrangements and the prospect of better housing elsewhere.

Way forward:

  • Development interventions must focus on rural and urban areas with due consideration for new construction and redevelopment of existing, life-threatening units.
  • If India is to have a real chance to minimise the housing development divide, it requires an integrated housing development strategy for the rural context, to be implemented in “mission mode”. Such a mission should have, first, a definite time frame.
  • Second, it requires political will as expressed in party election manifestos. There must also be accountability in terms of implementing such a mission agenda on a continuous basis, with social audits at multiple levels of governance.
  • Third, a realistic resource allocation is required given the cost of redevelopment and new housing units besides other development costs of drinking water supply, household latrines, energy, and drainage connectivity.
  • Fourth, penetration of the market, including the cooperative sector for the supply of critical inputs such as land and finances, is the need of the hour.
  • Public-private-partnership projects should be encouraged on public or government-owned lands, with fiscal and other incentives. Land owners should be encouraged to develop incentive-based affordable housing projects.
  • Last, the people facing housing poverty must be made partners. Micro finance and self-help groups could be roped in to this end.

 

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

2. A consummation of flawed policy proposals, the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 will refine store and trade personal information. Do you agree? Analyse.(250 words )

The Hindu

Why this question:

Article highlights the fact that in the continuing social churn and widespread citizen protests, it would seem out of place to direct thought towards issues such as data protection.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the pros and cons of the newly introduced Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. Explain in what way it is going to be a game changer.

Directive:

Analyze – When asked to analyse, 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:

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha this month, is a revolutionary piece of legislation that promises to return power and control to people in our digital society.

Body:

Briefly explain the current case of Data protection scenario being witnessed in the country.

Discuss first the positives of the Bill; highlight how it is central to several policy and political pronouncements by the present government.

Then explain the issues and challenges involved; The government is seeking to not only access data but also collect it and then exploit it — making it an active data trader for the generation of revenue to meet its fiscal goals.

 Principles in conflict-

 First, the scale of data collection is ambitious and broadly contained in the ‘Digital India’ programme.

 In the view of some technologists, this also fulfills geostrategic goals when personal data is viewed as strategic state resource. However, this poses grave risks to the right to privacy.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Data Protection Bill is not a leaky oil barrel with large exceptions, but it is a perfect one.

It will refine, store and then trade the personal information of Indians without their control; open for sale or open for appropriation to the interests of securitization or revenue maximization, with minimal levels of protection.

For this to change, we have to not only focus upon red-lining the finer text of this draft but also reframing large parts of its intents and objectives.

Introduction:

The Union cabinet recently gave its approval to the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 that seeks to lay down a legal framework to preserve the sanctity of “consent” in data sharing and penalize those breaching privacy norms. The Bill will update the currently non-existent standards for privacy and consent. The Bill is based on the previous draft version prepared by a committee headed by retired Justice B N SriKrishna.

The bill which is currently under parliamentary process for approval is criticised to be of heavily tilted towards security and revenue generation of the state rather than Right to Privacy which is the basic reason for a Data Protection Regime.

Body:

Provisions of the bill which is Under Criticism:

  • Access to Non-Personal Data:
    • Government is empowered to gain access to any non-personal data — anonymised data like traffic patterns or demographic information — mainly for framing policy for better delivery of services and evidence-based policy.
  • Process Data Without Consent:
    • The Bill includes exemptions for processing data without an individual’s consent for “reasonable purposes”, including security of the state, detection of any unlawful activity or fraud, whistle blowing, medical emergencies, credit scoring, operation of search engines and processing of publicly available data.
    • Accordingly, personal data processed in the interest of prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of any offence is exempt.

Challenges posed:

  • A common argument from government officials has been that data localization will help law-enforcement access data for investigations and enforcement.
  • Critical data will be defined by the government from time to time and has to be stored and processed in India
  • National security or reasonable purposes are an open-ended terms, this may lead to intrusion of state into the private lives of citizens.
  • Technology giants like Facebook and Google have criticised protectionist policy on data protection.
  • They fear that the domino effect of protectionist policy will lead to other countries following suit.
  • Protectionist regime suppress the values of a globalized, competitive internet marketplace, where costs and speeds determine information flows rather than nationalistic borders.
  • Also, it may backfire on India’s own young startups that are attempting global growth, or on larger firms that process foreign data in India.
  • Civil society groups have criticized the open-ended exceptions given to the government in the Bill, allowing for surveillance.
  • Moreover, some lawyers contend that security and government access are not achieved by localization.
  • There have only been limited studies on privacy in the Indian context but the most existing literature points to the collectivist nature of society to explain the low levels of privacy consciousness.
  • While awareness is growing, if people display a high level of apathy towards ensuring the protection of their personal data it may push data fiduciaries down the path of non-compliance.

Way forward:

  • The government should table the Bill at the earliest to allow sufficient time for discussing the finer aspects of the Bill on the floor of the house.
  • The number of questions posed to MEITY on the topic of privacy and data protection indicates a high degree of interest in Parliament on the subject.
  • The government should also endeavour to remain as transparent as possible when framing the remaining provisions.
  • Simultaneously, society should not slide into complacency after the passage of the Bill.
  • Instead, it must continue to stay engaged to ensure that we have a strong data protection regime that succeeds in safeguarding Indians’ fundamental right to privacy.

 

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. The CAA narrative is a watershed moment for the judiciary not to falter and for judges to undo the wrongs of the past. Explain in detail what is expected out of judiciary at this moment.(250 words)

Reference:

Why this question:

The question aims to discuss the role of Judiciary in interpreting the pros and cons of the CAA.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the effect of the recently passed CAA and in what way Judiciary’s role becomes important in interpreting the right and the wrong.

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:

The recent enactments of the amendments to the Citizenship Act have left many very disturbed. The legislation itself is undoubtedly problematic and is compounded by the linkages with the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Body:

Explain in detail the fact that the protests that have followed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, were not surprising, but the manner in which the protesters were treated certainly is.

 The reaction of the law and order machinery to what were essentially student-led peaceful protests has led to incidents of violence and loss of property across the country, which is terribly unfortunate.

Discuss What the Judiciary should possibly do to evaluate and infer upon the situation.

Conclusion:

Conclude that this is a watershed moment for this generation of judges to undo the wrongs done by their predecessors 40 years ago to the people of India.

Introduction:

The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial court under the Constitution of India, the highest constitutional court, with the power of judicial review. It safeguards the fundamental rights of citizens and settles disputes between various government authorities as well as the central government vs state governments or state governments versus another state government in the country. This is a watershed moment for the judiciary not to falter and for judges to undo the wrongs of the past.

Body:

Challenges posed by CAA:

  • Against Equality:
    • The first is that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is against the letter and spirit of our Constitution. Articles 5 to 11 of the Constitution deal with citizenship, and the Citizenship Act, 1955, lays down criteria for citizenship based on birth, descent, registration, naturalization, and citizenship by incorporation of territory.
    • By setting new criteria, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act goes against the premise of common citizenship regardless of differences of caste, creed, gender, ethnicity and culture.
    • Further, Article 14 of the Constitution lays down that the “State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”.
  • Violative of human rights:
    • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act is divisive, deeply discriminatory and violative of human rights.
    • Our national unity was won through struggle; the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is one of the many threats to its survival.
    • Our hard-won Constitution recognizes individual and social differences, and that we must weave the cord of unity by creating a sense of belonging and inclusiveness for all.
  • Communal and authoritarian:
    • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act attempts to create and deepen communal division and social polarization in the country.
  • Subdued judiciary:
    • The voice of the judiciary in this narrative is either almost entirely absent or has been overwhelmed by a strong executive.
  • Protest that turns violent:
    • The protests that have followed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, were not surprising, but the manner in which the protesters were treated certainly is. The reaction of the law and order machinery to what were essentially student-led peaceful protests has led to incidents of violence and loss of property across the country, which is terribly unfortunate.
  • Discriminatory:
    • In granting citizenship on the basis of religion, it discriminates against Muslims and rejects the basic concept of secularism.
    • That the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is discriminatory and violative of human rights has been recognized by those who have come out on the streets in many States, in opposition to the Act.
  • Against diversity:
    • The Act gives eligibility for citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, and specifically excludes Muslims from that list.
    • In the days since the passage of the CAA, multiple protests across north and Northeast India last week. Ironically, these protests are themselves expressions of India’s overlapping multi-religious, multi-ethnic character that the CAA seeks to undermine.
  • Disastrous and problematic:
    • The mobilizations in the Northeast are about anxieties of ethnicity, culture and language as much as religion while the protests in Delhi, Aligarh and Lucknow are chiefly about religious identity and discriminatory exclusion of Muslims from the CAA.

 

This is a watershed moment for this generation of judges to undo the wrongs done by their predecessors 40 years ago to the people of India. If it is, the judiciary must call it out for what it is a patently unconstitutional piece of legislation.

Conclusion:

The obvious question is whether in a country such as India, with a secular Constitution, certain religious groups can be preferred in the acquisition of citizenship. Especially when secularism has been declared to be a basic feature of the Constitution in a multitude of judgments. Historically, Indian courts have had a chequered history in tackling circumstances where they are the final arbiter. Especially when faced with a powerful executive, courts have tended to falter, the Emergency being a case in point.

 

Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

4. The relative decline in America’s power coupled with the rise of new and old powers point to a structural churning in the post-Cold War order. Comment.(250 words)

The Hindu

 Why this question:

Developments in 2019 suggest that the U.S.’s ability to shape global politics is clearly receding. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the changing Geopolitics around the world and  establish in what way in the world system, the core has never been static. Hegemony of a single power is temporary.

Directive:

Comment– here 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 recent happenings that justify the context of the question.

Body:

Highlight the relative decline in America’s power that was manifested through a number of crises during the year.

Discuss the trends from past to present; The U.S. is the world’s mightiest military power and arguably the centre of the post-Soviet world order. In the 1990s, the U.S.’s dominance was at its peak with international and multilateral organizations getting overshadowed by its pre-eminence. In 2001, after the September 11 terrorist attacks, it got international support for its war in Afghanistan. In 2003, the U.S. went ahead with the plan to bomb Iraq despite the UN opposition, reminding the world of imperial invasions. But the global situation is different and more complex today.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the relative decline in America’s power coupled with the rise of new and old powers point to a structural churning in the post-Cold War order. In the world system, the core has never been static. Hegemony of a single power is temporary.

Introduction:

The U.S.A is the world’s mightiest military power and arguably the centre of the post-Soviet world order. In the 1990s, the U.S.’s dominance was at its peak with international and multilateral organisations getting overshadowed by its pre-eminence. In 2001, after the September 11 terrorist attacks, it got international support for its war in Afghanistan. In 2003, the U.S. went ahead with the plan to bomb Iraq despite the UN opposition, reminding the world of imperial invasions.

Body:

Relative decline in America’s power:

  • The Afghan experience
    • The U.S. went to Afghanistan in October 2001, with a vow to destroy Al-Qaeda and topple the Taliban regime. After years the US is now desperate to get out of a stalemated conflict and has started direct negotiations with the Taliban.
    • The whole Afghan experience shows how the U.S. botched up the war.
    • The U.S. has a superior hand in conventional warfare.
    • But winning a war abroad is not just about toppling a hostile regime, but also about stabilizing the country after the regime is toppled.
    • The U.S., history shows, is good at the former but fares poorly in the latter. It is now left with no other option but to reach an agreement with the Taliban for a face-saving exit.
    • That would leave Kabul’s fragile, faction-ridden government exposed to the Taliban insurgency, just like how the Mohammed Najibullah government was left to the Afghan Mujahideen in 1989 after the Soviet withdrawal.
  • The Iran stand-off
    • The U.S.-Iran tensions were triggered by President Trump’s unilateral decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal.
    • Trump’s plan was to put “maximum pressure” on Iran through sanctions and force Tehran to renegotiate the nuclear deal. But Iran countered it through “maximum resistance”, instead of giving in.
    • The year 2019 saw Iran repeatedly provoking the U.S. and its allies.
    • It shot down an American drone over the Gulf, captured a British tanker and is believed to have either carried out or orchestrated multiple attacks on oil tankers that pass through the Strait of Hormuz.
    • Two Saudi oil facilities came under attack, which temporarily cut the kingdom’s oil output by half. Iran was blamed for the attacks.
    • The only counter-measure the U.S. took in response to Iran’s growing provocations was imposing more sanctions.
    • The U.S.’s inability to shape outcomes of the wars it launches is acting as a deterrent against its own war machines.
  • Cracks in the NATO
    • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Cold War alliance that was formed as a counterweight to the Soviet Union, continued to act as a vehicle of Western military dominance under the leadership of the U.S. in the post-Soviet order.
    • The alliance has come under pressure in recent years with the rise of nationalist-populist leaders, like Mr. Trump, who have a favourable view of Russian President Vladimir Putin and are critical of NATO.
    • These contradictions sharpened in 2019, suggesting that there are growing cracks in the alliance.
    • Turkey invaded north-eastern Syria’s Kurdish held-territories, which had housed U.S. troops during the war against the Islamic State.
    • Ankara practically forced the Trump administration to pull back troops from the areas before it started airstrikes.
    • The U.S. was relegated to the role of a spectator when a determined Turkey first captured some towns on the border and then struck a deal with Russia to create a buffer between Turkey and the Kurdish-held territories of Syria, which will be manned by Russian and Turkish troops.

Implications:

  • New economic powers (China) are on the rise and an old military power (Russia) is making a comeback.
  • Rise in the multi-polar world order.
  • China’s growing assertiveness both in Trade and Foreign Policy.
  • Rise of Turkey as a new power role in West Asia.
  • Various crisis and recent impeachment procedure started by Congress on President Donald Trump.

Conclusion:

These incidents do not mean that the U.S.’s dominance over global politics is over. But they do show that America’s long wars and its inability to shape post-war outcomes are impacting its stature in an international system that centres around it.

 

Topic:  Government Budgeting. Investment models.

5. Health  is a critical  sector  for  achieving  overall equitable  human  development  in  the country ,In the Indian setup the idea of Public Private Partnership can bridge  the  investment  deficit  and  improve  the  efficiency  and  outreach  of  service  delivery. Explain. (250 words)

Live Mint

Why this question:

To address shortage of qualifies doctors and bridge gap in medical education, the Niti Aayog has come out with the public-private partnership model to link new or existing private medical colleges with functional district hospital to augment medical seats.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the significance of PPP in health sector to the case of Indian scenario.

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 what PPP is. Then explain the context of the question.

Body:

Highlight the fact that India has a dire shortage of qualified doctors. It is practically not possible for the Central/state government to bridge the gaps in the medical education with their limited resources and finances.

Discuss the issues prevalent in Indian health sector.

Explain in what way PPP model can address the issue.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India takes pride in the fact that it is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. But our heads will hang in shame if we look at India’s health system.  To address shortage of qualifies doctors and bridge gap in medical education, the Niti Aayog has come out with the public-private partnership model to link new or existing private medical colleges with functional district hospital to augment medical seats.

Body:

Public healthcare scenario in India:

  • The government spends 1.02% of the GDP on health compared to the global spending of 6%.
  • There is a shortfall of 20% sub-centres, 22% public health centres and 32% community health centres.
  • The average population served by one public sector allopathic doctor is 11 times higher than the World Health Organization’s recommendations.
  • High out of pocket expenditure to the tunes of 60%. The excessive reliance on OOP payments leads to financial barriers for the poorest, thereby perpetuating inequalities in health care.
  • Clearly, India is struggling to serve its population amid the rising burden of diseases along with poor coverage by public health on the other.
  • In addition to these challenges, the private sector is poorly regulated when it comes to quality and pricing.

Potential of PPP model for providing universal healthcare in India:

  • Enhancing affordability: There has been a steady increase in the number of drugs under price control, to make medicines affordable.
  • Enhances Inclusivity: It’s difficult for government alone to meet the healthcare infrastructure and capacity gaps in Tier II and Tier III cities as well as rural areas. To provide Health insurance- Karnataka’s Yeshasvini Cooperative Farmer’s Healthcare Scheme and Andhra Pradesh’s Arogya Raksha Scheme can be cited as successful examples.
  • Financing Mechanism: The partnership between the public and the private sectors in healthcare is important for several reasons including equity and for promoting economic development.
  • Infrastructure: NITI Aayog has sought to infuse fresh life into PPP in healthcare delivery through a new model focused on district hospitals and new norms on pricing of procedures. The provisions for making available infrastructure of district hospitals to private providers for 30 years along with viability gap funding appears that we have got the design right for the PPP model.
  • Quality of Service: Private healthcare in India usually offers quality service but is often expensive and largely unregulated. The Delhi government’s new scheme is a novelty for the common man but has a precedent in several government schemes for employees which use public funds to provide private healthcare. e.g the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) has existed for decades and has been emulated by several states.
  • Capacity building and training: private players can play a key role in capacity building and training through PPP modes by working with the public sector to better utilize the infrastructure of government hospitals.

Issues in public private partnership

  • There is lack of inbuilt mechanism to decide how the government and the private sector share revenue and risks.
  • Aim of Private sector is to maximize profit, which is inconsonance with governments aim of providing universal quality services to all
  • Lack of a proper regulatory framework to regulate the health sector and partnership.
  • Some PPP projects attempted earlier have failed, so there is apprehension about success of large scale PPP in health sector.

Measures needed:

  • Staunch and well-defined governance: An institutional structure should be set up to foster, monitor and evaluate the PPPs. This needs to be established at the state-level under the leadership of the state health ministry.
  • Equitable representation of partners in the institutional framework: Institutional structure is a cornerstone for development of a sustainable PPP project. It will help to meet consensus on shared responsibilities and roles and will facilitate communication among the partners leading to a strong sense of ownership and trust.
  • Evidence-based PPP: Systematic research initiatives and mechanisms must be established to constantly understand the evolving needs and benefits to end users.
  • Regulate user fee: One of the hurdles of engaging the private providers for public health service delivery is OOP expenditure. Therefore, it is important to regulate user fees of this sector under partnership.
  • Effective risk allocation and sharing: Risks shall be allocated to the party best able to control and manage them so that value for money is maximised.

Conclusion:

To provide universal healthcare which is the need of hour given the dismal condition of healthcare sector in India. The key to success of PP partnership is mutual respect and trust with a common goal of providing quality care for all ages at affordable cost. This meaningful engagement may be the next game changer in healthcare for the country.

 

Topic:  Government Budgeting. Investment models.

6. Budget documents aid in understanding the intention of the government, its priorities, policies and allocation of resources, In this context discuss in detail the process of budgeting followed in India.(250 words)

Indian polity by Lakshmikanth

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper III.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss the process of Budget that is followed in the country and the significance of Budget documents.

Directive:

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:

Discuss what Budget is in brief.

Body:

The question is direct and very much straight forward.

Discuss briefly the concept of Budget, the processes involved; The budget has four stages viz., (1) estimates of expenditures and revenues, (2) first estimate of deficit, (3) narrowing of deficit and (4) presentation and approval of budget.

Explain the role of Budget documents in understanding the intention of the government.

Discuss the importance of having a Budget for the government.

Use an example to substantiate your answer better.

Conclusion:

Conclude that When it comes to budgeting, identifying areas of weakness helps the government to allocate resources in a useful and sustainable manner.

Efficient, effective and bottom up budgetary processes help determine efficacy of this planned document.

Introduction:

The Union Budget of India, referred to as the annual Financial Statement in Article 112 of the Constitution of India, is the annual budget of the Republic of India, presented each year on the last working day of February by the Finance Minister of India in Parliament. The budget has to be passed by the House before it can come into effect on April 1, the start of India’s financial year. It establishes a financial roadmap for the country in the ensuing financial year. Every year the Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance prepares the Union Budget which is presented by the Finance Minister.

Body:

There are several steps involved in the preparation, presentation and implementation of the Union Budget.

  • The initial processes:
    • The initial processes involved in the Budget-making begin in August-September, around six months prior to the presentation of the Budget.
    • The Finance Ministry sends Budget Circulars containing skeleton forms and necessary instructions/guidelines to concerned ministries and departments.
    • These circulars are then distributed amongst disbursing and field officers who provide details about financial expenditures and receipts of their department during the current and past fiscal year, and their financial requirements for the ensuing fiscal year.
  • Accumulation and authorization of data:
    • The data and estimates provided by ground-level officials are then scrutinized by top officials of their departments.
    • Upon approval (or revision, if necessary), the data and estimates are then sent to the concerned ministries where they are examined again.
    • Finally, the data and estimates are sent to the Finance Ministry.
    • The Finance Ministry further scrutinizes these and correlates the estimates with the current economic state and the available resources to determine their feasibility.
  • Composing the Budget:
    • After analysing every aspect carefully, the Finance Ministry then allocates revenues to various administrative ministries and devises new public welfare schemes.
    • At times, there are disputes between ministries over the allocation of resources.
    • In such scenarios, the Finance Ministry consults the Union Cabinet or the Prime Minister.
    • Their decision is deemed final in such scenarios.
    • After completing the allocation of resources to future expenditures, the Finance Ministry in association with Central Board of Direct Taxes and Central Board of Excise and Customs prepares a report of the estimated revenues to be generated in the ensuing financial year.
    • In the final stage, both the reports are consolidated to generate the final Union Budget.
    • During this process, various departments of the Finance Ministry consult stakeholders in the public domain (such as farmers and small business owners) to gain more insights and prepare an efficient budget.
  • Printing the Budget:
    • The printing process of the Union Budget begins with the observance of a tradition, ‘the halwa ceremony’.
    • In this, the Finance Minister along with other officials and staff involved in the process eat halwa (a traditional Indian dessert).
    • Post completion of the ceremony, the printing process of the Union Budget begins.
    • During this process, all the officials and staff involved in Budget-making remain confined to the premises of the ministry, isolated from any contact with the outside world, since they have the knowledge of what has gone into the Budget days before it is tabled in Parliament.
  • Presenting the Budget:
    • The Union Budget is presented in the Parliament by the Finance Minister. For the past few years, the Union Budget is presented on a scheduled date, February 1.
    • In an election year, the Budget is prepared and presented twice.
    • Initially, a vote on account or interim budget — which is an estimate of expenditures and receipts of the next two-four months — is presented.
    • After the election, the final Budget for the rest of the fiscal year is presented by the new government.
    • In parliament, the budget goes through 5 stages
      • Presentation of budget with Finance Minister’s speech
      • General discussion of the budget. After this, there is an adjournment of houses so that standing committees scrutinises the demand for grants for a month.
      • Voting on demand for grants in Lok Sabha
      • Passing of appropriation bills
      • Passing of Finance bills.

Conclusion:

Indian constitution under Article 112-117 enshrines powers of parliament in the enactment of the Budget. According to article 112-117, any proposal for expenditure and demand for a grant can be made only on the recommendation of the President. The parliament has to pass a financial bill within 75 days of its introduction. After discussion in both the houses on demand for Grants, Financial bill and appropriation bill and voting of the Lok Sabha Budget is enacted and expenditure can be incurred from the consolidated fund of India.

 

Topic:  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

7.  What do you understand by a civic technology? Discuss in what way they can pave the way towards more progressive and democratic political systems.(250 words)

Live Mint

Why this question:

The question is based on the concept of Civic technologies.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail what you understand by civic technologies and how they can pave the way towards more progressive and democratic political systems.

Directive:

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:

Define what a civic technology is.

Body:

Civic technology, or civic tech, enhances the relationship between the people and government with software for communications, decision-making, service delivery, and political process. It includes information and communications technology supporting government with software built by community-led teams of volunteers, nonprofits, consultants, and private companies.

Take queues from the article and explain how they can lead to more progressive and democratic political systems.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance, discuss that civic technology focuses on improving the daily lives of individuals, making the society more equitable and improving the efficiency of organizations such as the government.

Introduction:

Civic technology, or civic tech, enhances the relationship between the people and government with software for communications, decision-making, service delivery, and political process. It includes information and communications technology supporting government with software built by community-led teams of volunteers, non-profits, consultants, and private companies.

Body:

In the Indian context, civic technology can broadly be divided into two themes—tools aimed at improving civic engagement, and those directed at streamlining government services.

Civic technology can lead to progressive and democratic political systems:

  • Civic technology solutions enhance the relationship between people and government, by giving people more of a voice to participate in public decision making and/or to improve the delivery of services usually by government to people.
  • These technologies can be developed by either non-profit organizations or for-profit companies, or even by government itself.
  • Civic technology solutions are not restricted to urban local bodies or to citizen-driven initiatives.
  • Because of the conveniences provided by civic technology, there are benefits as well as growing concern about the effects it may have on social behavior and civic engagement.
  • New technology allows for connectivity and new communications, as well as changing how we interact with issues and contexts beyond one’s intimate sphere.
  • Civic technology affords transparency in government with open-government data, and allows more people of diverse socioeconomic levels to be able to build and engage with civic matters in a way that was not possible prior.
  • For instance, OnlineRTI streamlines the process of applying for and receiving information from the government under the Right to Information Act.
  • Regarding elections and online polling, there is the potential for voters to make less informed decisions because of the ease of voting.
  • The seeds of civic technology in India were sown as early as 2012, when IChangeMyCity enabled citizens to share complaints about civic issues through its platform.
  • It also provided municipalities with real-time grievance data to resolve.
  • Building on this, organizations such as Reap Benefit, through their online platform, work with young people to create solutions for civic problems such as low-cost sanitation systems from discarded plastic.

Way forward:

  • To make the 2020s the decade of civic technology in India, entrepreneurs can work to create diversified business models and build robust impact assessment frameworks for their organizations.
  • Governments can continue to work with and encourage civic-technology platforms through startup competitions and partnerships.
  • Investors and philanthropists have the opportunity to craft innovative funding models to fuel growth.
  • Organizations working to support civic tech in India like D-Prize, Omidyar Network, Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies and Village Capital are already paving the way.

Conclusion:

The promise of civic technology, broadly defined here as new, lower-cost technologies or platforms meant to facilitate citizen feedback, foster government accountability, and create an iterative relationship between the two. In India, a growing number of internet users is coupled with a young population, accustomed to demanding participation in all facets of their lives, including greater participation in governance. This combination is pushing governments to be more participatory and efficient.