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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 July 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.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. What the salient features of Madhubani (Mithila) Paintings. Why do you think India’s art industry has not flourished as it has flourished in the West and China? Examine. (250 words)

Reference: culturalindia.net ,The Hindu

Why this question

Painting forms in India are dwindling due to the lack of awareness among the new generations. This has a double whammy of losing the cultural forms as a whole and loss of livelihoods for the artists’ dependent on it.

Directive word

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must 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.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to explain in detail the salient features of the Madhubani (Mithila) paintings. Further one must find in detail why the art forms are dwindling in India and what measures can be undertaken to strengthen them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

Start the answer by introducing about the Madhubani (Mithila) paintings.

Body-

Discuss in points the salient features of the Madhubani (Mithila) paintings.

In the second part, one must discuss as to why India’s art industry is not advanced as it’s in the West and China (govt policy, cultural factors etc). Write all parts in point-format.

Conclusion:

Give a way forward with how we can encourage the art forms thereby helping flourish the culture as well as the livelihoods of the people dependent on it.

Introduction:

Madhubani painting is one of the many famous Indian art forms. As it is practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar and Nepal, it is called Mithila or Madhubani art. Some of the initial references to the Madhubani painting can be found in the Hindu epic Ramayana when King Janaka, Sita’s father, asks his painters to create Madhubani paintings for his daughter’s wedding. The knowledge was passed down from generation to generation and the paintings began to adorn the houses of the region. The women of the village practiced these paintings on the walls of their respective home. Their paintings often illustrated their thoughts, hopes and dreams. Slowly, this art attracted connoisseurs of art as many contemporary Indian artists like Sita Devi, Jagdamba Devi, Satya Narayan Lal Karn and his wife Moti Karn, Mahasundari Devi and so on took the art on global stage.

Body:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a crushing impact of on the Indian crafts sector. For months, craftspeople have been without markets, sales, orders or prospects. They lack the wherewithal to buy food for their families, let alone make payments for wages and raw material.

As the pandemic unfolded, it has destroyed their peak season, which includes the tourist season from January to April and again from July to September. The craft workshops and tourism to villages that practice Madhubani paintings had to be cancelled. The raw materials, which had been sourced for this crucial period, are also lying unused.

Mithila_paintings

Salient features of the Madhubani or Mithila paintings:

  • Madhubani art has five distinctive styles: Bharni, Kachni, Tantrik, Godna and Kohbar.
  • Often characterized by complex geometrical patterns, these paintings are known for representing ritual content for particular occasions, including festivals, religious rituals, etc.
  • The colors used in Madhubani paintings are usually derived from plants and other natural sources.
  • These colors are often bright and pigments like lampblack and ochre are used to create black and brown respectively.
  • Instead of contemporary brushes, objects like twigs, matchsticks and even fingers are used to create the paintings.
  • The traditional base of plastered mud wall was soon replaced by handmade paper, cloth and canvas.
  • There is ritual content for particular occasions, such as birth or marriage, and festivals, such as Holi, Surya Shasti, Kali Puja, Upanayana, and Durga Puja.
  • Since the paintings have been confined to a limited geographical range, the themes as well as the style are more or less, the same.

Contemporary relevance:

  • Madhubani art is an important part of the life of people in a village called Ranti in present day Bihar.
  • The women who practice this art form in the village use it as an opportunity to create awareness on social issues and to empower women.
  • Artists like Karpuri Devi, Mahalaxmi and Dulari are playing key roles in teaching other women the importance of Madhubani painting.
  • Their works are displayed in a museum in Japan. Also, there are several institutions near Mithila that teach Madhubani paintings to young artists.
  • Some of the major centers that teach this art form are Benipatti in Madhubani district, Gram Vikas Parishad in Ranti and Vaidehi in Madhubani. Artist Bharti Dayal owns a studio in New Delhi.

Reasons for decline of the art forms:

  • Many traditional arts and crafts of India are dying due to modernization, industrialization and technological developments.
  • In this fast technology run world, people have started to shift their attention from the traditional handicrafts and handloom to new innovations.
  • The artists have very limited patronage compared to the patronage they enjoyed under the princely kingdoms of the past.
  • Today, not many people want to buy these paintings, nor do they see any value in them nor do they understand the hard work and talent that goes into creating a piece of art like this.
  • With fewer customers, many craftsmen and artisans are getting poorer day by day and forced to take up alternative occupations.
  • People find more value in decorating their homes with fancy machine made accessories rather than a handmade creation of a near dying art form.
  • Climate change effects: Much of the craft depends on two factors — temperature and weather. If it is the rainy season, the dyes take time to dry and it becomes difficult to transfer onto the fabric.
  • Fragmented value chain:
    • Lack of market linkages: While consumers of crafts products are increasingly becoming urbanized, crafts continue to be sold through local markets; artisans have few opportunities to reach new consumers through relevant retail platforms such as department stores and shopping malls.
    • Dominance of middlemen: Although middlemen are necessary to enable effective market linkages, they often, if not always, exploit artisans by paying them a fraction of their fair wages.
    • Lack of aggregation: Crafts production typically takes places in scattered clusters in rural areas, while markets are usually in urban centers. Currently, there is a lack of organized systems to efficiently aggregate goods from small producers, carry out quality checks, store approved goods in warehouses, and supply them to wholesalers and retailers in urban areas.
  • Information asymmetry: Due to their low education, artisans often cannot identify potential new markets for their products, nor do they understand the requirements for interacting with these markets.

Conclusion:

Mercifully, there are some efforts afoot to restore the dying arts to their original glory as preserving and protecting the skills and knowledge of traditional crafts is a very important step in preserving the country’s rich heritage. To celebrate the art of India, Kala Kumbh is celebrated each year on February 18th, the exhibition is showcased in several cities like Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai and they are sponsored by The Export Promotion Council of Handicrafts and organised by the Ministry of Textiles where maestros of different forms come together and celebrate art that has received the Geographical Indication or GI tag. Yet, much more needs to be done to save the dying arts, especially those that are now in a critical state.

 

Topic: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

2. Floods have become increasingly frequent in India’s major cities, with an increasing impact on life and property. Analyze. (250 words)

Reference: Down to Earth 

Why this question:

The recent heavy rain and subsequent waterlogging in several parts of Delhi has put the spotlight on urban floods — often ignored as sporadic, once-in-a-while events. Some of the biggest metropolises in India — including Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi — face waterlogging during heavy rain.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the frequent occurrence of Urban floods. One is expected to establish How various causes have led to such occurrences. Discuss the various impacts of the urban floods and how we can overcome it.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

highlight why frequent occurrence of urban floods is also socio-political phenomenon. You may give certain stat or mention recent events.

Body:

Analyse the causes and consequences of urban floods.

Causes can be divided under the natural and anthropogenic factors. Substantiate using examples from various cities which experienced the deluge.

Discuss the consequences in detail.

Provide the mitigation measures need to control the urban floods.

Conclusion

Argue that floods have become complex phenomenon and Conclude with a balanced way forward.

Introduction:

Urban flooding is the inundation of land or property in a built environment, particularly in more densely populated areas, caused by rainfall overwhelming the capacity of drainage systems, such as storm sewers. Due to rapid, unscientific, unplanned urbanization across the globe, the carrying capacity of urban areas is often breached leading to impending disasters.

Urban flooding has become increasingly frequent in India’s major cities. The frequency of urban flooding is a matter of concern, especially as the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has forced people to follow social-distancing, something that is key to curbing its spread. Some of the biggest metropolises in India — including Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi — face waterlogging during heavy rain.

Body:

Factors leading to urban flooding incidents:

Natural factors:

  • Increasing downpour:
    • Southwest monsoon rainfall across the country from June 1 to July 13, 2020 was 12 per cent more than normal for this time, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
    • The southwest monsoon distribution, however, has not been uniform across all regions.
    • Several states in the north, central and southern India have received excess rainfall. Andhra Pradesh received the highest — 61 per cent more than normal — followed by Bihar with an excess rainfall of 57 per cent.
    • Delhi received around 70 millimetres of rain July 19, 2020, the most in the past five years, according to reports.
  • Cyclonic storms and thunderstorms
  • occurrence of high tides impeding the drainage in coastal cities

Anthropogenic factors:

Unscientific urbanization affects Hydrology:

  • Concretization:
    • Most cities had water bodies — lakes, ponds, streams, rivulets — which served three purposes: They replenished groundwater, catered to the city’s water needs and channelised excess rainfall to larger water bodies. Most such aquifers have fallen prey to concrete.
    • In Delhi, for example, a stream used to feed the Yamuna at about the place where the busy ITO today stands. It’s not without reason that the area is one of the most water-logged when it rains heavily in Delhi.
  • Wiping out of the wetlands:
    • Natural streams and watercourses have formed over thousands of years due to the forces of flowing water in the respective watersheds.
    • The encroaching of lakes in the cities by filling with mud and construction waste to recover the land leaves no place for water to get collected.g. Bengaluru had more than 250 lakes in the 1960s. There are scarcely 10 such water-bodies in a healthy state in the city today.
    • Chennai’s flood sink on its southern outskirts — the Pallikarnai marsh — was around 5,000 hectares in the 1950s. After the horrific floods in November last year, it was found that it had shrunk to 600 hectares.
    • The rivers, Cooum and Adyar, and the Buckingham Canal in Chennai have become dumping grounds. So have Mumbai’s wetlands near Sewri and other areas in New Mumbai. In fact, the city became alive to the river it has lost to real estate — the Mithi — after the terrible floods of 2005.
  • Poor Water and Sewerage Management:
    • With most cities lacking proper sewerage facilities, people dispose sewage in stormwater drains. The problem becomes worse when industries discharge their polluted water into such drains.
    • All this compromises the capacities of stormwater drains and also results in polluted water flowing into the larger water bodies.
    • Storm water drainage systems in the past were designed for rainfall intensity of 12 – 20 mm.
    • These capacities have been getting very easily overwhelmed whenever rainfall of higher intensity has been experienced.
    • Further, the systems very often do not work to the designed capacities because of very poor maintenance.
    • Stormwater drains cannot take the burden of the water that once used to seep into the ground.
    • Moreover, cities do not make the distinction between Stormwater drains and sewage disposal outlets.
  • Encroachment and Illegal constructions:
    • Encroachments are also a major problem in many cities and towns.
    • Real estate activity blocks the path of water; the city roads get waterlogged.
    • there have been large scale encroachments on the natural drains and the river flood plains.
    • Consequently, the capacity of the natural drains has decreased, resulting in flooding.
    • Improper disposal of solid waste, including domestic, commercial and industrial waste and dumping of construction debris into the drains also contributes significantly to reducing their capacities.
  • Deforestation:
    • Large areas of forests near the rivers/catchment of cities are used to make room for settlements, roads and farm lands and is being cleared due to which soil is quickly lost to drains.
    • This raises the drain-bed causing over flow and in turn urban flooding.

Administrative factors:

  • Lack of flood control measures:
    • The growth in concretization of land has increased surface run-off due to near lack of percolation of water into underground aquifers. This coupled with no strict laws with respect to rain water recharge facilities an ideal flooding situation.
  • Multiple authorities in a city but owning responsibility by none:
    • The real estate mafia and corruption in local revenue offices are a deadly combination for converting wetlands into concrete structures. This reduces the area of lakes and may even vanish lakes out of official records.
    • Lack of sufficient financial resources with the urban local bodies.

Measures needed:

Structural Measures:

  • Conservation of wetlands in urban areas like lakes, ponds, streams.
  • Construction of differential slope along sidewalks, roads to drain excess water into reservoirs.
  • Strengthening of Storm water drainage system.
  • Pre-monsoon desilting of all major drains to be completed by March 31 each year.
  • Every building in an urban area must have rainwater harvesting as an integral component of the building utility.
  • Concept of Rain Gardens to be incorporated in planning for public parks and on-site storm water management for larger colonies and sites those are to be developed.
  • Suitable interventions in the drainage system like traps, trash racks can be provided to reduce the amount of solid waste going into the storm sewers.
  • Proper solid waste management system- control of solid waste entering the drainage systems
  • Water sensitive urban design and planning techniques — especially in the context of implementation — are of utmost importance.

Non-structural Measures:

  • National Hydro-meteorological Network as per NDMA is needed for all urban cities in India.
  • Flood hazard assessments should be done on the basis of projected future scenarios of intensities and duration of rainfall and land use changes.
  • Better forecasting of rainfall events; timely dissemination of information to the mass- ‘Nowcasting’ alerts or real-time weather updates.
  • Restrict encroachments in natural drainage areas; clearance of river beds, proper implementation of Coastal Regulation Zone rules.
  • Provisions for flood-proofing of buildings
  • Storm water pollution control, i.e. source is controlled by imposing quality standards for wastewater and solid waste disposals in urban environments
  • Most important is strong land use controls. EIAs and enforcement will remain vital to ensure that fragile wetlands and floodplains are not concretised.
  • Disabling spawning of squatter settlements in sensitive zones by providing adequate affordable housing will reduce number of persons vulnerable to changing climate.
  • All this means urban local bodies will continue to have a central role to play in cities’ battle with extreme weather events such as flooding and their overall resilience.

Conclusion:

Floods in India are an outcome of both natural and anthropocentric changes. However, the latter has been more responsible for floods in the current age of Anthropocene. With climate change accelerating at unmitigated pace, it becomes all the more critical for planned urbanization. The understanding of the geohydrology goes a long way in preventing the urban floods. Thus, a comprehensive urban planning which reconciles both environment and economic needs is required.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Parliament and State legislatures— structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

3. The “Constitutional sin” of defection and party-hopping needs to be rooted out by root surgery. Examine. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times , Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article talks about the misuse of anti-defection law.  Former Congress deputy chief minister of Rajasthan, Sachin Pilot and his companions, who are revolting with the possible objective to bring down the government of the political party that had set them up as candidates in the last legislative election, stand automatically disqualified as such by virtue of Article 191(2), read with the Tenth Schedule. This is the mandate of the Constitution and no one can hold otherwise. It is time to revisit the issue.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to narrate the recent incidents that are clear evidences of misuse of anti-defection law. And suggest measures to make the law more effective.

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:

Recent incidents in Rajasthan reflect state of Indian democracy in general and violation of anti- defection law in specific.

Body:

One can start by presenting the case of Rajasthan – explain the course of events that happened and highlight the misuse of anti-defection law.

Talk about the features of the anti-defection law in the country; The Tenth Schedule was inserted in the Constitution in 1985 by the 52nd Amendment Act. It lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House etc.

Then present the loopholes in it. Highlight the lacuna and challenges associated.

Suggest measures to overcome the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Defection is “desertion by one member of the party of his loyalty towards his political party” or basically it means “When an elected representative joins another party without resigning his present party for benefits”. The institutional malaise is defection and party-hopping is state- neutral, party-neutral, and politics-neutral.

The Anti-Defection Law was passed in 1985 through the 52nd Amendment to the Constitution, which added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution.  The main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections” which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations.  The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies. However, there are several issues in relation to the working of this law.

Body:

Former Congress deputy chief minister of Rajasthan, Sachin Pilot and his companions, who are revolting with the possible objective to bring down the government of the political party that had set them up as candidates in the last legislative election, stand automatically disqualified as such by virtue of Article 191(2), read with the Tenth Schedule. In the recent past, there have been multiple instance of defections in Manipur, Karnataka etc.

Background

  • For a very long time, the Indian political system was impacted by political defections by members of the legislature. This situation brought about greater instability and chaos in the political system.
  • Thus, in 1985, to curb the evil of political defections, the 52nd constitution amendment act on anti-defection was passed and the 10th Schedule was added in the Indian Constitution.
  • 91st Constitution Amendment Act-2003 was enacted and was aimed at limiting the size of the Council of Ministers to debar defectors from holding public offices, and to strengthen the anti-defection law.

Flaws of the current Anti-defection law

  • Does not prevent Defection: The Anti-defection law has failed to curb “horse trading” and defection, leading to toppling of governments through machinations of corrupt legislators.
    • g.: The 17-MLA’s of coalition government resigned in Karnataka, leading to change in government. The 17 MLA’s later contested from the party that formed new government.
  • Wholesale defection: The law prevents individual defections, but not wholesale defections.
    • g.: Congress government in Madhya Pradesh lost majority due to resignations of MLA’s.
  • Against the true spirit of representative democracy: The anti-defection law seeks to provide a stable government by ensuring the legislators do not switch sides.
    • However, this law also enforces a restriction on legislators from voting in line with their conscience, judgement and interests of his electorate.
  • Impedes legislative control on government: The anti-defection law impedes the oversight function of the legislature over the government, by ensuring that members vote based on the decisions taken by the party leadership.
    • In short, if legislators are not able to vote on laws independently, they would not act as an effective check on the government.
    • The Anti-Defection Law, in effect, dilutes the separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislature – and centralises power in the hands of the executives.
  • Role of presiding officer of the house: The law lays down that legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House.
    • However, there are many instances when presiding officers play a part with the vested interests of a political party/government in power.
    • Also, the law does not specify a time period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea.
    • The decision thus is sometimes based on the whims and fancies of the presiding officer.
  • Affects the debate and discussion: The Anti-Defection Law has created a democracy of parties and numbers in India, rather than a democracy of debate and discussion.
    • In this way, it does not make a differentiation between dissent and defection and weaken the Parliamentary deliberations on any law.

Steps to be taken

  • To be used for major decision making: Several experts have suggested that the law should be valid only for those votes that determine the stability of the government. e.g. passage of the annual budget or no-confidence motions as recommended by Dinesh Goswami Committee.
  • Non-partisan authority: Various commissions including National Commission to review the working of the constitution (NCRWC) have recommended that rather than the Presiding Officer, the decision to disqualify a member should be made by the President (in case of MPs) or the Governor (in case of MLAs) on the advice of the Election Commission.
  • Independent committee for disqualification: Justice Verma in Kihoto Hollohan judgment said that tenure of the Speaker is dependent on the continuous support of the majority in the House and therefore, he does not satisfy the requirement of such independent adjudicatory authority.
    • Also, his choice as the sole arbiter in the matter violates an essential attribute of the basic feature.
    • Thus, the need for an independent authority to deal with the cases of defection.
  • Intra-party democracy: 170th Law Commission report underscored the importance of intra-party democracy by arguing that a political party cannot be a dictatorship internally and democratic in its functioning outside.
    • Thus, the parties should listen to the opinions of the members and have discussions on the same. This would give the freedom of speech and expression to its members and promote inner-party democracy.
  • Limiting Speaker’s discretion: Recent Supreme Court Judgement ruled that Speaker must decide on disqualification within three months of receiving application. It cannot be the discretion of the Speaker to take no action.

Conclusion

There is a need to prevent unholy defections that lead to instability in the governance system of the nation. The current law is clearly flawed and has not effectively curbed defection due to lure of power and money. There is a need for a more rationalised version of anti-defection laws which will help establish a truly representative democracy.

 

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

4. Tribunals must not be seen as an extension of the executive. Safeguarding the autonomy of tribunals is imperative to strengthen their ability to reduce the burden on the regular judiciary. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times

Why this question:

In order to de-clutter SC of unnecessary burden and make justice affordable and accessible, it needs to be ensured that the high courts, being equally effective constitutional courts, practically become the last and final court in most litigation. Recent rules enhance the power of the executive and erode the independence of tribunals

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the importance of the tribunals in strengthening the judiciary. Discuss the new rules that erode the independence of tribunals and implications of the same. Provide measures to ensure the independence of tribunals.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with an explanation and origin of the tribunals in India. Explain the importance of setting up tribunals in brief.

Body:

Discuss how the new rules are affecting the working of tribunals.

  • The new rules do not remove the control of parent administrative ministries over tribunals, that is, those ministries against which the tribunals have to pass orders.
  • This majorly affects certain tribunals such as the Armed Forces Tribunal wherein it functions under the same ministry which is the first opposite party in litigation and which also wields rule-making powers and controls finances, infrastructure and manpower.

Discuss the implications of the new rules.

Provide the measures to overcome the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Tribunal means a set or a bench upon which judge or judges sit and decide controversies between the parties and exercises judicial powers as distinguished from purely administrative functions. It is a quasi-judicial institution that is set up to deal with problems such as resolving administrative or tax-related disputes. It performs a number of functions like adjudicating disputes, determining rights between contesting parties, making an administrative decision, reviewing an existing administrative decision and so forth. Part XIV-A which consist of two Articles 323A and 323B deals with these Tribunals. The Industrial Tribunals, Railway Rates Tribunal, Companies Tribunals, Central Administrative Tribunals, Election Tribunals etc, are the examples of Tribunals in India.

Body:

Tribunals and judicial efficiency:

  • Flexibility:
    • Rigid procedures and evidence ordeals of courts are not followed, rather it goes by the principle of natural justice.
  • Less Expensive:
    • Administrative justice ensures cheap and quick justice.
    • Its procedures are simple and can be easily understood by a layman.
  • Relief to Courts:
    • The tribunals perform an important and specialised role in justice mechanism. They take a load off the already overburdened courts. They hear disputes related to the environment, armed forces, tax and administrative issues.
  • Reduce pendency:
    • To overcome the situation that arose due to the pendency of cases in various Courts, domestic tribunals and other Tribunals have been established under different Statutes, hereinafter referred to as the Tribunals.
  • Efficiency:
    • The Tribunals were set up to reduce the workload of courts, to expedite decisions and to provide a forum which would be manned by lawyers and experts in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.
  • Adequate Justice:
    • In the fast changing world of today, administrative tribunals are the most appropriated means of administrative action, and also the most effective means of giving fair justice to the individuals.
    • Lawyers, who are more concerned about aspects of law, find it difficult to adequately assess the needs of the modern welfare society

However, tribunals have been seen as extension of executive:

  • The Supreme Court in Rojer Mathew vs South Indian Bank quashed a set of rules promulgated in 2017 by the government administering the functioning of tribunals and had directed that fresh rules be issued in line with various past decisions on tribunalisation.
  • New rules were then published in February 2020, but unfortunately, these carry out only cosmetic changes and contravene the law laid down by SC on this subject.
  • Some of these provisions are jarring.
  • The new rules do not remove the control of parent administrative ministries over tribunals, that is, those ministries against which the tribunals have to pass orders.
  • This majorly affects certain tribunals such as the Armed Forces Tribunal wherein it functions under the same ministry which is the first opposite party in litigation and which also wields rule-making powers and controls finances, infrastructure and manpower.
  • The SC in the cases of L Chandra Kumar (1997), R Gandhi (2010), Madras Bar Association (2014) and Swiss Ribbons (2019) has ruled that tribunals cannot be made to function under the ministries against which they are to pass orders and they must be placed under the law ministry instead.
  • Even complaints against members of tribunals can be made to the same parent ministries as per these rules.
  • The new rules also ensure that the secretary of the ministry against which the tribunal is to pass orders sits on the committee for selecting adjudicating members of the same tribunal, a system which was termed as “mockery of the Constitution” by SC in Madras Bar Association.
  • The selection committee under the new rules can even function in absence of any constituent, meaning thereby that a committee entirely (or majorly) comprising officers of the executive can select members of tribunals.
  • The new rules provide for a retirement age of 65 years even for former judges who retire at 62 from the high courts (HCs), which gives them at best a three-year tenure. This is against the minimum five to seven years’ tenure mandated by SC in the R Gandhi case to ensure continuity.
  • The new rules again contain ambiguous clauses stating that any person with experience in economics, commerce, management, industry and administration can be appointed as a member of certain tribunals and that even members with non-judicial/legal background can become chairpersons, while both these aspects were held impermissible in the R Gandhi case.
  • Even the bar on employment with the government after retiring from tribunals has been removed, thereby gravely affecting the independence of members.
  • These provisions have thus hampered the independence and the ability to reduce the burden on the regular judiciary by tribunals, making them an extension of executive.

Way forward:

  • In the interest of better justice delivery, their traditional structures and methods of functioning can be reformed.
  • In the interest of maintaining the rule of law in society and to preserve individual freedom, that there should be some kind of judicial control over these tribunals.
  • Increasing the number of judges, filling the existing vacancy, use of technology to bring efficiency in administration of justice.
  • Tribunals themselves are better positioned to gauge their own administrative requirements. Therefore, providing power to tribunals to create or sanction posts

Conclusion:

The Tribunals plays an important role and part in the sphere of the adjudication of disputes. Tribunals function differently from courts, from the manner of appointment to the procedure followed. The Tribunals do not have to follow any uniform procedure as laid down under the Civil Procedure Code and under the Indian Evidence Act but they have to follow the principles of Natural Justice. But still they seek to achieve the same objective as that of the courts i.e. – To impart and deliver Justice.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

6. Write a short note on the working principle of the Pressurised Heavy water reactors. What is meant by the term “Achieving Criticality”? Discuss its importance for India’s nuclear energy program. (250 words).

Reference: Indian Express 

Why this question:

The third unit of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3) in Gujarat achieved its ‘first criticality’ — a term that signifies the initiation of a controlled but sustained nuclear fission reaction — recently. This is a landmark event in India’s domestic civilian nuclear programme given that KAPP-3 is the country’s first 700 MWe (megawatt electric) unit, and the biggest indigenously developed variant of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR).

Key demand of the question:

This is a straightforward question where One must discuss in detail the working principle of Pressurised Heavy water reactors and “Achieving Criticality”. One must also discuss the importance of PHWRs in India’s nuclear energy program.

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:

Start by explaining that The third unit of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3) in Gujarat achieved its ‘first criticality’ — a term that signifies the initiation of a controlled but sustained nuclear fission reaction — recently.

Body:

Discuss the working principle of PHWR.

Explain the term achieving criticality.

Discuss the significance of PHWRs in India’s nuclear energy program.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

A pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) is a nuclear power reactor, commonly using unenriched natural uranium as its fuel, that uses heavy water (deuterium oxide D2O) as its coolant and moderator. The heavy water coolant is kept under pressure, allowing it to be heated to higher temperatures without boiling, much as in a typical pressurized water reactor. While heavy water is significantly more expensive than ordinary light water, it yields greatly enhanced neutron economy, allowing the reactor to operate without fuel enrichment facilities and generally enhancing the ability of the reactor to efficiently make use of alternate fuel cycles.

Body:

The standard PHWR being used in India is of 220 MWe though two 540 MWe reactors were installed in Tarapur in 2005 and 2006. However, India’s government had given the state-owned Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. (NPCIL) the green light to develop 10 new domestically designed pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) in 2017. The new reactors are of significantly higher capacities compared to the PHWRs currently under operation.

Recently, the third unit of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3) in Gujarat, India’s first 700 MWe unit, and the biggest indigenously developed variant of the Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor, attained criticality.

Atomic_Power_Project

Achieving Criticality: It is a term that signifies the initiation of a controlled but sustained nuclear fission reaction. Reactors are the heart of an atomic power plant, where a controlled nuclear fission reaction takes place that produces heat, which is used to generate steam that then spins a turbine to create electricity. Fission is a process in which the nucleus of an atom splits into two or more smaller nuclei, and usually some byproduct particles. When the nucleus splits, the kinetic energy of the fission fragments is transferred to other atoms in the fuel as heat energy, which is eventually used to produce steam to drive the turbines. For every fission event, if at least one of the emitted neutrons on average causes another fission, a self-sustaining chain reaction will take place. A nuclear reactor achieves criticality when each fission event releases a sufficient number of neutrons to sustain an ongoing series of reactions.

Importance of PHWRs in India’s Nuclear energy program:

  • The main reasons for selecting PHWRs in the 1960s for the First Stage of the Indian nuclear power programme have been the use of natural uranium oxide as the fuel, the best utilisation of mined uranium in energy production and the prospect of establishing a completely self-reliant technology.
  • The government’s measure seeks to fast track its three-pronged program—developed largely during the country’s almost 30-year-long isolation from international nuclear trade—and also factors in India’s abundant thorium resources, which constitute 25% of the world’s total reserves.
  • The first step of the three-stage program involves building indigenously engineered PHWRs and light-water reactors to produce plutonium. The second stage uses fast-neutron reactors fueled by plutonium to breed U-233 from thorium. In the third stage, using wholly indigenous technology, the country will use advanced heavy-water reactors fueled with U-233 obtained from the irradiation of thorium in PHWRs and fast reactors.
  • India wants to ramp up production of power from low-carbon sources and has outlined plans to install a total of 175 GW of renewables by 2022.
  • As of March 2016, about 61% of the country’s installed capacity was coal-fired, 14% came from hydropower, 14% came from other renewables (mostly wind, followed by small hydro and biomass), 8% from natural gas, 2% from nuclear, and 1% from diesel.
  • 100% of all their components are manufactured by the Indian industry.
  • As far as the safety is concerned, the PHWR technology scores well in terms of its several inherent safety features.
  • The biggest advantage of the PHWR design is the use of thin walled pressure tubes instead of large pressure vessels used in pressure vessel type reactors.
  • This results in a distribution of pressure boundaries to large number of small diameter pressure tubes.
  • The consequence of an accidental rupture of the pressure boundary in such a design will have a much less severity than that in a pressure vessel type reactor
  • In addition, the Indian 700 MWe PHWR design has enhanced safety through dedicated Passive Decay Heat Removal System which has the capability of removing decay heat from core without requiring any operator actions similar with the technology adopted for Generation III+ plants to address the Fukushima type accident.
  • The 700 MWe Indian PHWR has steel-lined containment to reduce the leakages and containment spray system to reduce the containment pressure in case of a loss of coolant accident and for scrubbing radio nuclides in case of their release beyond the design limit.

Conclusion:

The first step of the three-stage program involves building indigenously engineered PHWRs and light-water reactors to produce plutonium. The second stage uses fast-neutron reactors fueled by plutonium to breed U-233 from thorium. In the third stage, using wholly indigenous technology, the country will use advanced heavy-water reactors fueled with U-233 obtained from the irradiation of thorium in PHWRs and fast reactors.

India wants to ramp up production of power from low-carbon sources and has outlined plans to install a total of 175 GW of renewables by 2022. The government’s measure seeks to fast track its three-pronged program—developed largely during the country’s almost 30-year-long isolation from international nuclear trade—and also factors in India’s abundant thorium resources, which constitute 25% of the world’s total reserves.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

7. What is meant by the term ‘constitutional morality’? How does one uphold constitutional morality? (250 words)

Reference: legalserviceindia.com

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the meaning of the term constitutional morality. We also have to write about the importance and in detail about how an individual can uphold the constitutional morality.

Structure of the answer

Introduction-

Define the term Constitutional morality.

Body-

Highlight the importance of Upholding Constitutional Morality.

Provide the steps as to how to uphold the constitutional morality.

Conclusion–

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

Introduction:

“Constitutional morality” means adherence to the core principles of the constitutional democracy. The scope of the definition of Constitutional Morality is not limited only to following the constitutional provisions literally but vast enough to ensure the ultimate aim of the Constitution, a socio-juridical scenario providing an opportunity to unfold the full personhood of every citizen, for whom and by whom the Constitution exists.

Body:

According to Dr. Ambedkar, Constitutional morality would mean effective coordination between conflicting interests of different people and the administrative cooperation to resolve them amicably without any confrontation amongst the various groups working for the realization of their ends at any cost.

Constitutional morality provides a principled understanding for unfolding the work of governance. It specifies norms for institutions to survive and an expectation of behaviour that will meet not just the text but the soul of the Constitution. It also makes the governing institutions and representatives accountable.

Constitutional Morality is scarcely a new concept. It is written largely in the Constitution itself like in the section of Fundamental Rights (Article 12 to 35), Directive Principle of State Policy (Article 36 to 51), Preamble and Fundamental duties.

Significance of Constitutional Morality:

  • Constitutional morality ensures the establishment of rule of law in the land while integrating the changing aspirations and ideals of the society.
  • Constitutional morality as a governing ideal that highlights the need to preserve the trust of the people in institutions of democracy. As such an ideal, it allows people to cooperate and coordinate to pursue constitutional aspirations that cannot be achieved single-handedly.
  • Constitutional morality can use laws and forms to impact and change the persisting social morality. For example, by abolishing the practice of Sati by legislation, the right to dignity and life was passed on to the widows which later on affected the perception of the practice in the society.
  • Constitutional morality recognises plurality and diversity in society and tries to make individuals and communities in the society more inclusive in their functioning by constantly providing the scope for improvement and reforms. For example, in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, the SC provided a framework to reaffirm the rights of LGBTQ and all gender non-conforming people to their dignity, life, liberty, and identity.

Constitutional Morality could be upheld by:

  • Awareness creation among the common public regarding their rights which are protected by the Constitution.
  • Following the Fundamental Duties while exercising Fundamental Rights.
  • By criticizing and raising voice against the non-constitutional practices. It is necessary to speak up against any actions, which you feel as illegal or unethical under the constitution. By going against the convention and taking a moral high ground, you act as a preserver of constitutional values.
  • Only our beliefs and actions for upholding constitutional values is not enough. It is our moral obligation to educate public regarding the importance to uphold these ideals. This will be fruitful for our democracy on the long run. Ex: Conducting programmes in schools where children are trained to inculcate constitutional values and practice them in their day to day life.
  • By letting constitutional morality guide the Court’s decision instead of popular morality, while interpreting the constitution, constitutional morality is being upheld.
  • By locating the content and contours of constitutional morality so that it is not being ignorantly and dangerously used in courts.
  • By making a commitment to the values like constitutional supremacy, rule of law, liberty, equality, parliamentary form of government, self-restraint and intolerance for corruption etc.
  • By using it as an aid in making choices because it can give another set of clues while searching for constitutional meaning in cases where in the words of the constitutional clause can be read in different ways.
  • By having paramount reverence for the forms of the constitution, enforcing obedience to authority and acting under and within these forms.
  • Even the constitution itself mentions this concept only four times (twice in Article 19 and twice in Right to religious Freedom under Article 25 and 26), and it has been understudied and ignored for a long while by people in general as well. It needs to be changed in order to understand the constitution with a new perspective exploring further possibilities of this concept.

Conclusion:

Constitutional morality is important for constitutional laws to be effective. Without constitutional morality, the operation of a constitution tends to become arbitrary, erratic, and capricious. It has been observed that young officers are resigning from service and aim to uphold ‘constitutional morality’, which they say is being violated. But the fact is that ‘constitutional morality’ can be better preserved by being part of the system and initiating reforms rather than working out of the system. Thus, we can conclude that upholding’ constitutional morality’ is indeed very important part of our official as well as moral duty and it needs combined efforts of all the sections of the society to make it possible.


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