Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 March 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:  Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

1. Language is not only a manifestation of the diversity of the country but also the carrier of the caste system, cultural tyrannies and societal inequalities. Remark. (250 words)

Reference: IGNOU Material – Sociology.

 Social Problems In India – Ram Ahuja.

Why this question:

The question is assertive and highlights in what way language in India not only signifies diversity but also the caste, culture and social inequalities.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must reflect upon the factors that language brings out and how it is carrier of caste system, cultural oppression and societal inequities.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss about the linguistic diversity of the country.

Body:

First account for linguistic diversity of the country.

Explain how it is carrier of caste system, cultural oppression and societal inequities.

Usage or prominence of a particular language often reflects the dominance of one community in the Indian society. For example, sanskrit, most of the times has been associated with the dominance of brahmanism in society. The idea of ‘purer’ forms of language and its distinction from ‘dialects’ propagates the influence of a particular caste or community which marginalises all the other ‘impure’ forms.

Bring out the cultural tyranny factor – There is a north-south divide mainly due to attempts of imposition of Hindi as the link-language of India. This has roots in anti-Brahmanism Dravidian movements in South India, which opposed caste based society and Hindi was also seen as a language that perpetuates a ‘backward’ culture of caste and gender oppression.

Hint towards the social inequalities.

Suggest way forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of language and solutions to the unwanted problems posed by it.

Introduction:

India is one of unique countries in the world that has the legacy of diversity of languages. The Constitution of India has recognized 22 official languages. Multilingualism is the way of life in India as people in different parts of the country speak more than one language from their birth and learns additional languages during their life time. Though officially there are 122 languages, Peoples Linguistic Survey of India has identified 780 languages, of which 50 are extinct in past five decades.

Body:

Language is a manifestation of diversity of the country:

  • It is the most prominent feature of India’s diversity and in past has been a major source of unrest.
  • Multilingualism is the way of life in India as people in different parts of the country speak more than one language from their birth and learn additional languages during their lifetime.
  • Among these three languages, Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada have been recognised as classical language with special status and recognition by Government of India.
  • The classical languages have written and oral history of more than 1000 years. In comparison to these, English is very young as it has a history of only 300 years.
  • The language policy of India provides guarantee to protect the linguistic minorities. Under the Constitution provision is made for appointment of Special Officer for linguistic minority with the sole responsibilities of safeguarding the interest of language spoken by the minority groups.
  • States on Linguistic basis:
    • The Division of states linguistic basis removed the major discord and disharmony among people. For ex. separation of Andhra from Madras addressed the agitation and protest by Telugu people.
    • Creation of state which are homogeneous in nature improved the functioning of the state and govt. has been able to better connect with the masses in the language in which they understand. For ex. creation of Gujarat from Bombay resulted into betterment of people. This brought satisfaction and further caused the Indian Unity.
    • It did not affect the federal structure of the India as afraid. Rather it led to creation of state regional parties which can raise their voice in the Parliament. Hence, a more cooperative federalism and participative democracy thrived epitomizing unity in diversity.
  • Articles 30 and 347 of Indian Constitution provide constitutional protection to linguistic minorities and hence any fear of minority suppression alleviated upto a large extent.
  • It provided opportunity to the states to protect and promote their regional language which brought satisfied cultural aspiration of masses. For ex. recent adoption of Odia language as official language by Odisha.

Language – the carrier of the caste system, cultural tyrannies and societal inequalities:

  • Usage or prominence of a particular language often reflects the dominance of one community in the Indian society. For example, sanskrit, most of the times has been associated with the dominance of brahmanism in society.
  • The idea of ‘purer’ forms of language and its distinction from ‘dialects’ propagates the influence of a particular caste or community which marginalises all the other ‘impure’ forms.
  • There is a north-south divide mainly due to attempts of imposition of Hindi as the link-language of India. This has roots in anti-Brahmanism Dravidian movements in South India, which opposed caste based society and Hindi was also seen as a language that perpetuates a ‘backward’ culture of caste and gender oppression.
  • Masses speaking regional languages often face discrimination in terms of sharing of political power, employment, economic status, etc.
  • People migrating from undeveloped regions to cities face discrimination because of unfamiliar language and customs.
  • Ethnic clashes and violence emerge out of complexities of linguistic and ethnic politics, thereby promoting regionalism. For eg: riots in Assam in the early 1980s, Anti-Hindi riots in southern India by ethnic Dravidians in 1965, etc.
  • Linguistic diversity along with regional developmental deficit creates social inequalities which tend to produce social conflicts among different caste groups. For example, demands of reservation by Jaats, Maratha, Patels.
  • While English is considered a language which is devoid of caste conscious vocabulary, it is also known as the language of educated elites and has created a new class divide. Majority of the jobs being created in India, particularly in the service sector are dominated by English language speakers.

Conclusion:

Linguistic diversity has been a critical aspect of the multiculturalism that has been the defining characteristic of India through the ages. Diversity is undoubtedly strength of our democracy. The cultural bonds need to be strengthened through enhanced and continuous mutual interaction between people of varied regions. This encourages reciprocity and secures an enriched value system of unity amongst people of different States.

 

Topic:  Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

2. What do you understand by communalism? Deliberate upon the causes and impact of communalism on Indian society. (250 words)

Reference: IGNOU Material – Sociology.

Social Problems In India – Ram Ahuja.

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is based on the theme of communalism in India.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss and deliberate upon the causes of communalism and its impact in the Indian society.

Directive:

Deliberate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss what you understand by Communalism.

Body:

Have the following aspects discussed in detail in the answer body –

Discuss the reasons contributing to Communalism; Vested political interests, Rise of communal organisations, Politicization of local problems, Religious fundamentalism etc.

Discuss the impact of communalism on Indian society; impact on social fabric, economy, polity etc.

Suggest way forward for eradicating communalism.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Public awareness needs to be raised about the harmful impact of communalism. Our constitution, which labels India as a secular nation makes provisions to protect the interests of all religions and goes beyond the code of any religion. Hence one must learn to put national interests above one’s religious views.

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:

Causes of Communalism in India:

  • A Legacy of Past:
    • On the basis of the “Two Nation” theory of Jinnah, India was partitioned. Communal politics had played its nasty game during the immediate past of independent India. The “Divide and Rule” policy of the British Government served their colonial interest. The partition of India was the ultimate outcome of their politics.
  • Presence of Communal Parties:
    • Religion in India has become an important agency of political socialization and it is also reflected in the ideology of a number of political parties. A number of communal and sectarian political parties and organisations are present in India. Muslim League, Jamaat—Islami, Hindu Mahasabha, Akali Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad are directly or indirectly responsible for the emergence of communalism.
  • Isolation of Muslims:
    • Indian Muslims have developed a tendency of isolationism even long after the creation of Pakistan. They remain aloof from the mainstream of national politics. Most of them are not interested to take part in the secular-nationalistic politics of the country. They insist on to be treated as a separate entity.
  • Poverty:
    • Mass poverty and unemployment create a sense of frustration among the people. It generates backwardness, illiteracy, ignorance, etc. The unemployed youth of both the communities can be easily trapped by religious fundamentalists and fanatics. They are used by them to cause communal riots. The weak economic status often breeds communalism.
  • Hindu Chauvinism:
    • The growths of Hindu chauvinistic attitudes have further strengthened the communal tensions in India. The Hindu religious groups like Shiv Sena, Hindu Mahasabha, Viswa Hindu Parisad often pressurize the government to take steps suitable to the interest of Hindus. They consider each Muslim as pro-Pakistani and anti-national. To face the possible challenge of other communal forces, they encourage the growth of Hindu communalism.
  • Social Cause:
    • The two major communities of India have been suspicious towards each other. The Muslims complain of the threat of Hindu cultural invasion upon their lives and have become more assertive of their rights. Either due to ignorance or insecurity, they do not fully accept the need of family planning and help in increasing population.
  • Communalization of Politics:
    • Electoral politics in India has become more expensive and competitive. Different political parties are not hesitating to use any means, fair or foul, for electoral victory. They even create communal tensions and try to take political advantage out of it. Concessions are granted to various minority groups for appeasing them.
  • Cross-Border factors:
    • Communal tensions in India sometimes are highly intensified due to the rule of two neighbouring theocratic countries. These countries try to create communal problems in the border states. The communal problems of Punjab and Jammu Kashmir are caused due to provocation of Pakistan. So long as this cross-border factor is not removed, communal problems are likely to stay in India.
  • Failure of Government:
    • Both the Union and the State Governments often fail to prevent communalism in the country. Due to lack of prior information, they fail to take any preventive measures. So the communal violence can easily take innocent lives and destroys property. The post-Godhra riot in Gujarat shows the inefficiency of the government to control the communal riot. Failure of immediate and effective steps has been a cause of the continuance of communalism.

Ramification of Communalism:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:  Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

3. Bring out the need for complete revamp of NHRC to make it more effective and a watchdog of human right violations in the country while discussing the challenges involved. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The author talks about the need to giving Human Rights Commissions more teeth amidst the pending case before the High Court of Madras that has assumed great significance. 

Key demand of the question:

The answer should explain the need for complete revamp of NHRC to make it more effective while discussing the challenges involved.

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:

Briefly talk about the coming of NHRC, its objective, roles and responsibilities.

Body:

NHRC of India is an independent statutory body established on 12 October, 1993 as per provisions of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, later amended in 2006.

An important facet of institutions in a healthy, functioning democracy is the existence of regulatory mechanisms that keep power in check. Then explain that Perhaps that is why NHRC remains the target of successive political dispensations that are eager to escape accountability. 

List down the issues concerning the functioning of NHRC, the lacunae.

Suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993. It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA). The NHRC is the National Human Rights Commission of India, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as “rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants”.

Body:

In February 2019, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), a UN body based in Geneva, re-accredited India’s apex rights watchdog with the ‘A’ status, a perfect score.

The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill 2019 passed in Lok Sabha. The bill aims to accelerate the process of appointment of chairperson and members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). It amends the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993 and intends to make the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) more inclusive and efficient.

Major issues tackled by NHRC are as follows

  • Custodial Torture
  • Right to Work and Labour Rights
  • Extrajudicial Killings
  • Arbitrary Arrest and Detention
  • Excessive Powers of the Armed Forces and the Police
  • Sexual Violence
  • Conflict-Induced Internal Displacement
  • Child Labour
  • Manual Scavenging
  • Violence and discrimination against Women, Children
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Rights
  • Problems faced by Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Religious Minorities, Persons with Disabilities

Challenges of NHRC:

  • In the process of selection of the members of the Commission, the Chairman is not consulted.
  • Because of certain weakness in the Act, at times the Commission feels the need for the amendments. But the Commission has constraints in doing so.
  • The selection committee tasked with appointing the chairperson and the members to the Commission is dominated by the representatives of the State itself.
  • It consists of the prime minister, home minister, Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Deputy-Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Thus, this creates a conflict of interest.
  • Another major weakness of the Commission is that it does not have powers to investigate armed forces, BSF or any other paramilitary forces.
  • Finally, NHRC is only an investigative and recommendatory body. It does not have power of prosecution. Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act empowers the Human Rights Commission to “recommend” to the concerned government to take appropriate actions.
  • It is dependent on the Government for manpower and money. The Central Government shall pay to the Commission by way of grants such sums of money as it may consider fit.

Way forward:

  • The first step in strengthening the Human rights framework in India, the recommendations of NHRC can be made binding.
  • The effectiveness of commissions will be greatly enhanced if their decisions are immediately made enforceable by the government.
  • The Human Rights Commission has the powers of a civil court, and proceedings before it are deemed to be judicial proceedings.
  • This provides strong reasons for human rights commissions to be treated as quasi-judicial, and like other tribunals, their recommendations should be binding upon the state (unless challenged).
  • A large number of human rights violations occur in areas where there is insurgency and internal conflict. Not allowing NHRC to independently investigate complaints against the military and security forces only compounds the problems and furthers cultures of impunity. It is essential that commission is able to summons witnesses and documents.
  • As non-judicial member positions are increasingly being filled by ex-bureaucrats, credence is given to the contention that NHRC is more an extension of the government, rather than independent agency exercising oversight. If it is to play a meaningful role in society, it must include civil society human rights activists as members. Many activists have the knowledge and on-the-ground experience of contemporary trends in the human rights movement to be an asset to the Commission.
  • NHRC needs to develop an independent cadre of staff with appropriate experience. This problem can be rectified by employing specially recruited and qualified staff to help clear the heavy inflow of complaints.

Conclusion:

In this context, the Human Rights Commissions aims to ensure the full realization of the constitutional commitment to protecting human rights and act as protector for citizens against arbitrary state action. It is therefore clear that in determining the powers of autonomous bodies such as the Human Rights Commission, the role that fourth branch institutions are expected to play in the constitutional scheme is significant. And lastly, the Human Rights Commission has the powers of a civil court, and proceedings before it is deemed to be judicial proceedings. This provides strong reasons for its findings to be treated at the very least as quasi-judicial, and binding upon the state (unless challenged). In sum, the crucial role played by a Human Rights Commission and the requirement of state accountability in a democracy committed to a ‘culture of justification’ strongly indicates that the Commission’s recommendations should be binding upon the state.

 

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

4. Discuss the challenges facing Indian telecom sector today. What should the Government of India do to save the telecom sector? (250 words)

Reference: Business Standard 

Why this question:

 Nearly five months after winning its legal battle in the Supreme Court against telecom majors including Vodafone and Bharti Airtel for payment of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues worth several lakhs of crores of rupees, the Centre did a virtual U-turn on Monday by urging the court to give the companies a 20-year window to pay the money back. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer should explain the challenges facing Indian telecom sector today. What should the Government of India do to save the telecom sector.

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:

Briefly explain the recent happenings with respect to Telecom companies and service providers.

Body:

Present the case of AGR and the issue associated; discuss in detail how the issue unfolded.

Highlight the concerns such as – Already stressed sector: This order has added to the stress of the telecom industry reeling under a debt of over ₹4 lakh crore and has been seeking a relief package from the government. Insolvency: if forced to pay AGR immediately, the companies could face insolvency which would have a severe ripple effect on the overall economy, as well as the overall service quality of all telcos.

List down the challenges facing the sector; financial health, rapidly falling ARPU (average revenue per user), delays in the rollout of innovative products and services, low broad band penetration, limited spectrum availability, high competition and tariff war etc.

Highlight the govt. initiatives to address these challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Telcos are a necessary part of any future consumer proposition, regardless of who owns the platform. The path forward is leveraging this strength while navigating the potholes of regulation, changing technology and consumer dynamics.

Introduction:

India is currently the world’s second-largest telecommunications market and has registered strong growth in the past decade and half. The liberal and reformist policies of the Government of India have been instrumental along with strong consumer demand in the rapid growth in the Indian telecom sector. The deregulation of FDI norms has made the sector one of the fastest growing and a top five employment opportunity generator in the country. The Supreme Court recently expressed its displeasure with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for its attempt to recalculate the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues of telecom companies.

Body:

Current challenges faced by Indian telecom sector:

  •  Telecom sector is under immense financial stress, as admitted by all stakeholders.
  • The troubles of today are rooted in the fast-paced growth of yesterday.
  • The industry is burdened with debt of ₹7 lakh crore.
  • India is faced with the prospect of a telecom monopoly or duopoly.
  • In addition to corporate taxes, the government’s telecom revenue includes GST spectrum auction, revenue share as license fees, amounting to about 30% of customer bill.
  • Indian telecom operators, which offer the cheapest mobile data services in the world, pay more for airwaves than any of their global counterparts.
  • In the quarter ending June 2019 Bharti Airtel reported a loss for the first time ever.
  • Long-running dispute between the sector and the state on how to calculate the government’s share of revenue.
  • The Supreme Court has now ordered the companies to pay the government not just the dues but a hefty penalty –as well interest on both.

Other challenges facing Indian telecom sector are:

  • Financial Health of the Sector: Gross revenue has dropped by 15% to 20% for the year 2017-18 over the preceding year for the incumbents and overall sector revenue has dropped. Also, there is drop in voice and data revenue per user
  • Limited Spectrum Availability: Available spectrum is less than 40% as compared to European nations and 50% as compared to China. Hence, it is imperative that spectrum auctioning at sustainable prices is the need of the hour. Also, government auction spectrum at an exorbitant cost which makes it difficult for mobile operators to provide services at reasonable speeds.
  • High competition and tariff war: Competition heating up post entry of Reliance Jio. Other telecom players have to drop in tariff rates both for voice and data
  • Lack of Telecom Infrastructure in Semi-rural and Rural areas: Service providers have to incur huge initial fixed cost to enter semi-rural and rural areas. Key reasons behind these costs are lack of basic infrastructure like power and roads, resulting in delays in rolling out the infrastructure.
  • Poor fixed line penetration: India has very little penetration of fixed line in its network whereas, most of the developed countries have a very high penetration of fixed lines
  • High Right-of-Way (ROW) cost: Sometimes, states governments charge a huge amount for permitting the laying of fibre etc.
  • Lack of trained personnel to operate and maintain the cellular infrastructure.
  • Delays in Roll Out of Innovative Products and Services: Substantial delays in roll out of data-based products and services are hampering the progress of telecom sectors. This is primarily due to the non-conducive environment resulting out of government policies and regulations.
  • Low Broad Band Penetration: Low broadband penetration in the country is a matter of concern and the government needs to do a lot more work in the field to go up in the global ladder.
  • Over the top services: Over the Top (OTT) applications such as WhatsApp, OLA, Viber and so on do not need permission or a pact with a telecommunications company. This hampers the revenue of telecommunication service provider.
  • License fee: The license fee of eight per cent of the Adjusted Gross Revenue including five per cent as Universal Service Levy (USL) is one of the highest in the world.

Measures needed:

  • Infrastructure Sharing: Since telecom business is heavy on capex and as much as 40%– 60% of the Capex is utilized for setting up and managing the Telecom infrastructure. By sharing infrastructure, operators can optimize their capex, and focus on providing new and innovative services to their subscribers.
  • Availability of Affordable Smart Phones and Lower Tariff Rates: This would increase tele penetration in rural areas.
  • Curb on predatory pricing: government should fix a minimum price to save the industry from price war
  • Lower License fee: The license fee of eight per cent of the Adjusted Gross Revenue including five per cent as Universal Service Levy (USL) is one of the highest in the world.
  • Reduce reserve price for spectrum auction: In the past, some of the operators participated recklessly in these auctions leading to exaggerated prices — much above their true valuations. Reasonable reserve prices for the market mechanisms induce “truthful bidding”, and not leading to “winners’ curse” as witnessed in some of the previous auctions.
  • The government needs to act, just like it did in 1999. They could offer the operators payment of principal in instalments and waive off interest and penalties.
  • The government should increase the network area through optical fibre instead of copper which is expensive. This is necessary to ensure last mile connectivity.
  • The government needs to prepare a ground for easy right-of-way permissions and lower cost of right-of-ways
  • The government should spend large on R&D and create an environment that makes India capable of manufacturing and even exporting hardware components like mobile handsets, CCTV Cameras, touch screen monitors etc.
  • Prices for 5G spectrum need to be critically looked at.
  • An equilibrium needs to be established between government revenue and overall growth.

Conclusion:

Telcos are the backbone of digital services and a crucial stakeholder for the country to unlock the $5 trillion GDP dream by 2024. Digital India Initiative of government including digital identification and authentication, e-KYC, digital finance depends heavily on the telecom and broadband infrastructure.  Economic survey 2017-18 added that it has also deeply impacted their investors, lenders, partners and vendors. A long term vision plan should be made accordingly. For the time being, the government needs to provide an easy and soothing environment for telecom operators.

 

Topic:  Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

5. Critically examine the recent judgment on minority rights upholding the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act, 2008. Is the judgment contrary to the law? Present your viewpoint. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

In the latest judgment on minority rights, a two-judge bench of Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice Arun Mishra upheld the West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education Act, 1994, and the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act, 2008, both of which take away the autonomy of madrasas in the State.

Key demand of the question:

One must critically evaluate the judgment and present arguments with suitable justifications.

Directive:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly bring out the fact that in the last one year, a new trend has emerged in the Supreme Court. Smaller benches now do not hesitate to overrule larger benches’ decisions. Increasingly, judicial discipline is losing its charm.

Body:

Explain that protection of minorities is the hallmark of a civilisation. There is no way that India can overcome its developmental challenges by pitting one religious group against another and turning some Indians into second-class citizens.

Discuss the constitutional provisions available to Minorities; Rights under Article 30.

Present your case with suitable justifications. Explain the nuances of the ongoing case.

Highlight other judgments in the past to back your opinion.

Conclusion:

It is believed that, it would have been much better if the learned judge had relied on Bihar State Madrasa Education Board (1990), which he did cite.

Here, the court had observed that “under the guise of regulating educational standards to secure efficiency in institution, the state is not entitled to frame rules or regulations compelling the management to surrender its right to administration”. The Chief Justice of India has now referred this judgment to a larger bench and one hopes that the apex court will restore the confidence of the minorities.

Introduction:

Minority institutions have the fundamental right under Article 30 of the Constitution to establish and administer their educational institutions according to their choice. However, they cannot ignore the regulations recommended by the state. In the latest judgment on minority rights, a two-judge bench of Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice Arun Mishra upheld the West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education Act, 1994, and the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act, 2008, both of which take away the autonomy of madrasas in the State. The appointment of teachers in these theological institutions shall now be made by a board nominated by the government.

Body:

Importance of minority rights:

  • Protection of minorities is the hallmark of a civilisation.
  • Lord Acton added another dimension to this when he said: “The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.”
  • The minorities in general, and Muslims in particular, accepted the pledge of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel that “our mission is to satisfy every interest and safeguard the interests of all the minorities to their satisfaction”.
  • Accordingly, special safeguards were guaranteed to the minorities and incorporated under Article 30 with a view to instil in them a sense of confidence and security.
  • However, due to recent developments, this confidence stands eroded even though, in the Keshavananda Bharati case (1973), minority rights were held to be part of the basic structure of the Constitution.

The Judgement upheld the following provisions of the Act:

  • As per Section 10 of the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act, 2008, all appointments of teachers to the religious schools are to be recommended by the commission and the management committee shall be bound by such recommendations.
  • Section 11 says that anyone appointed in contravention of this Act shall not be considered a teacher and such an appointment shall be invalid.
  • Section 12 empowers the government to deny grants to the schools that refuse to make appointments in accordance with such recommendations. Further, government recognition and affiliation of such schools can be withdrawn.

Is the judgment contrary to the law?

No:

  • The latest judgment notes that in 2019, a three-judge bench gave the Sikh minority institutions of West Bengal the right to appoint teachers.
  • A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court explicitly held that minority institutions have the right to choose their teachers.
  • In M.A. Pai (2003) case, an 11-judge bench reiterated that the management of minority institutions should have freedom in day-to-day affairs of the institutions, for example, in appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff and administrative control. However, minimum qualifications, experience and other conditions may be fixed by the government.

Yes: 

  • Justice Lalit, who authored the latest judgment, did refer to the Kerala Education Bill case (1957) of the Supreme Court but he overlooked the fact that a seven-judge bench had held that “the dominant word in Article 30 is ‘choice’ and the content of the right under that Article is as wide as the choice of a particular minority community will make it.”
  • Every minority community can thus make a choice in respect of its relationship with the government, the courses taught and the day to day administration, including the right to select its teachers.
  • Further the judgement goes against the spirit of Sidharjbhai (1963) case, a six-judge bench of the Supreme Court observed that every government regulation in respect of a minority institution shall be valid only when it satisfies the dual test, i.e.,
  • It is regulative and not destructive of the organization’s minority character and
  • It makes the minority institution an effective vehicle of minority education.
  • Framers of the Constitution in their wisdom did not include any restrictions under Article 30 (unlike in the case of other fundamental rights).
  • Hence, the Article 30 right is absolute though minority institutions are very much subject to health, sanitary and municipal regulations.

Conclusion:

The Chief Justice of India has now referred this judgment to a larger bench and one hopes that the apex court will restore the confidence of the minorities.

 

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

6. should Internet be regarded as an essential service, and access to it as a fundamental right? Analyse amidst the fault lines created by digital divide and differential access. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The author highlights in what way the fault lines created by digital divide and differential access are being underlined by coronavirus crisis and that It’s a sobering warning.

Key demand of the question:

Present your arguments as to whether Internet be regarded as an essential service, and access to it as a fundamental right. One must explain the impact of digital divide on the poor especially in the cases of crisis such as that being witnessed currently by the world- the corona crisis.

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:

Highlight why Internet and access to it becomes important element in today’s times.

Body:

Define digital divide – the gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the Internet, and those who do not.

Discuss how and why in an information society, unequal access to the Internet creates and reproduces socio-economic exclusions.

Explain what are the impact and challenges of internet access and digital literacy on socio-economic development?

Present the case amidst the corona pandemic; take hints from the article and justify your answer.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting the role of the present government in this direction while suggesting suitable measures to address the problem.

Introduction:

Internet broadband and mobile Internet services are a lifeline to people in India from all walks of life. While the Internet is certainly a main source of information and communication and access to social media, it is so much more than that. In Sep 2019, the Kerala High Court, in Faheema Shirin v. the State of Kerala case, declared the right to Internet access as a fundamental right forming a part of the right to privacy and the right to education under Article 21 of the Constitution. Despite this, according to the Software Freedom Law Centre data, there have been more than a 100 Internet shutdowns in different parts of India in 2019 alone.

Body:

Need for right for Internet:

Internet has become quite useful in our daily public life as well. It is quite hard to ignore the need, importance and the value of internet in our daily life. Though there are countless uses of Internet in society, we have listed out here a few benefits of Internet for society.

  • Online Banking: In the world we live today, the role of Internet has tremendously grown. In the field of online banking, the advantages of internet are of pivotal importance. Earlier, there used to be manual banking work. It was quite difficult to handle banking and transaction online. Now, with the help of Internet it has been made quite easier to send and receive payments anywhere in the world. It has brought many positive economic impacts on our society.
  • Online Trade & E commerce: E-commerce is gaining popularity across the world. It is only because of Internet that doing business has become quite easier. Online trade has changed the fortunes of millions of people across the world. It has revolutionized the social life.
  • Faster Connectivity: Due to Internet, the connectivity has become much faster. The distances have disappeared. The world has become global. It is quite easy to connect with each other. The virtual world has made it possible for us to get in touch easily with each other. The world has become a global village where the knowledge, ideas, information and everything flows quite easily from one place to another. It has the great benefits for society.
  • Creation of More Jobs & More Income Opportunities: In Old times, the economy used to be limited and isolated. But with the advent of Internet the industries and world economies have come closer to each other. Thanks to Internet, millions of new jobs are being created. The economic advantages of internet for society have been witnessed. Millions of People are changing their lives with the help of Internet. This is one of the greatest benefit of Internet for society.
  • Spread of Education and Awareness: Internet has completely changed the system of education. Earlier there used to be the traditional and limited education system. Education has spread quickly via online learning. The online education system via internet has dramatically reduced the cost of education. It has become easily accessible and affordable. With the help of online videos platforms, teaching models and multiple audio, video and visual study material, the education and awareness has been spreading very fast. It is again one of the greatest social benefit of Internet for our lives.
  • The Role of Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence and machine learning has completely changed the scope and future of computer education. Artificial intelligence is proving quite beneficial for society. It is useful in every walk of life including in education, health, economy, trade, industry and in medial field. This great social benefit is again due to internet.
  • Role of Internet and Informational Technology in Medical and Health Field: Thanks to modern technology of today we have the cures of these diseases easily available. The medical field has greatly progressed because of Internet connectivity and information technology.
  • Internationally, the right to access to the Internet can be rooted in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

 However, there are associated concerns too of making internet a fundamental right:

Digital divide scenario in India:

  • The report, titled Internet in India 2017, was released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India.
  • In December 2017, internet penetration in urban India was at 64.84 percent as compared to 60.6 per cent in December 2016. In rural India, however, internet penetration was at 20.26 percent in December 2017, from 18 percent in 2016.
  • According to a 2017 global survey by the Pew Research Centre, only one in four Indian adults report using Internet or owning a smartphone.
  • despite the booming economy, India’s progress in smartphone penetration has been slow.
  • in India and Tanzania, less than one-quarter report owning smartphones, the lowest among the countries surveyed.
  • A Deloitte India report released in January 2018 revealed that with only 17 percent internet penetration, rural India is lagging behind in connectivity owing to challenges in deployment of fixed broadband networks.

Implications of Digital divide:

  • Increasing penetration of digital technology by bridging the existing digital divides is associated with greater social progress of a country.
  • Social capital: Once an individual is connected, Internet connectivity and ICTs can enhance his or her future social and cultural capital.
  • Economic disparity is created between those who can afford the technology and those who don’t.
  • A direct correlation between a company’s access to technological advancements and its overall success in bolstering the economy.
  • Countries with less digital gap are benefitted more than the ones with more digital gap.
  • Education:
    • The digital divide also impacts children’s ability to learn and grow in low-income school districts.
    • Without Internet access, students are unable to cultivate necessary tech skills in order to understand today’s dynamic economy
  • Lack of information:
    • Almost all India’s socio-economic problems had links to the “digital divide”, which had come to stay during the era of digital revolution and then again during the era of internet revolution in India.
    • Rural India suffered from information poverty. Information is controlled by a few at the top of the pyramid who restrict its percolation down to those at the bottom.
  • Political empowerment and mobilization in the age of social media is difficult when there is digital divide.
  • Transparency and accountability are increased when digitalized for instance people filing taxes online, single window mechanisms for delivery of services ensures good governance as well.

Conclusion:

The usefulness of the Internet cannot be overstated and the government should do everything possible to bridge the digital divide among its constituents. But declaring access to the Internet as a citizen’s right is not a defensible proposition.

 

Topic:  social influence and persuasion.

7. “Recently announced ‘Janata curfew’ to combat the COVID-19 pandemic sets as a classical example of Social influence and persuasion as imperative measures to ensure behavioural change through public policy”. Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

 Amid alarm bells of covid-19, PM strikes the right chord as he delivers larger cautionary notes and much-needed assurances. Thus the question evaluates the significance of governance model that is premised on persuasion and social influence.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain the need and importance of Social influence and persuasion as imperative measures to ensure behavioural change through public policy.

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:

Briefly discuss the context of the question, explain what and why is the ‘Janata curfew’.

Body:

Explain first the significance of public policy – Public policy is a dynamic mechanism where the government addresses public problems and counters them by reforming existing policy.

Discuss that to effectively implement the public policy, active participation of citizenry is imperative. Social influence and persuasion are the most efficient tools to bring about change in the participation levels of people in policy implementation.

Define social influence and persuasion; present the case of ‘Janata curfew’.

One can contrast such a move with the coercive policies of the governments in the past and how it hindered the policy dimensions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such approaches in public policy making.

Introduction:

Social influence occurs when a person’s emotions, opinions, or behaviours are affected by others. Social influence takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing.

Persuasion is symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people through transmission of a message to change their attitudes or behaviours.

Body:

Importance of Social Influence and Persuasion:

Social influence is the change in behavior that one person causes in another, intentionally or unintentionally. Persuasion is symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people through transmission of a message to change their attitudes or behaviours. Thus, Persuasion is one form of social influence on attitude; in fact, it represents the intersection of social thinking and social influence of everyday life.

Persuasion can occur through appeals to reason or appeals to emotion. For example, school-based substance abuse prevention programs using the social influences model consistently produce better results than programs emphasizing only health information.

Instance of Janata Curfew as instance of Social influence and Persuasion:

In his recent address to the nation on the coronavirus threat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned against complacency on the pandemic while asking people to observe a self-imposed curfew on Sunday by not stepping out of homes between 7 am and 9 pm. He also reassured people against shortages, saying there was no need for hoarding.

Further, He said that the only exception to the curfew would be doctors, media and providers of other essential services, and the PM urged people to thank them for five minutes at 5 pm on March 22 by ringing bells, clapping or other means.

They are used to appeal to a person’s attitude, behavior and cognition. Advertisements are the robust examples of persuasion. The government has also utilized this tool for the success of the initiatives like

  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan- cleanliness drives
  • Ujjwala Yojana’s Give it up campaign.
  • Disclosing excess income campaign
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao by making parents understand it is necessary to protect and educate a girl child.

Conclusion:

Thus, Persuasion is one form of social influence on attitude; infact, it represents the intersection of social thinking and social influence of everyday life. Understanding these shortcuts and employing them in an ethical manner can significantly increase the chances that someone will be social influenced and persuaded by the public policy.