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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 August 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 : Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. Social empowerment

1. ” Efforts to address child marriage in India should be in consonance with the socio-economic realities that demand investment in education, welfare, and opportunities for women.” Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The editorial brings to us the viewpoint that increasing age of marriage will be exercise of carceral power by state which will disproportionately affect Dalit, Adivasi women.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail in what way the issue of child marriage and its redressal should be in consonance with socio-economic realities that demand investment in education, welfare, and opportunities for women.

Directive:

Elaborate – 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:

Discuss the context of the decision of raising the legal age of marriage for women to 21 years by the government.

Body:

Start by explaining what the socio-economic realities of Women in the country are.

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) data 2015-16 points to certain trends in early marriages: That rural women are likely to marry earlier than their urban counterparts; that the higher up a woman is on the wealth quintile, the later she marries. Most importantly, it establishes a direct causal link between education levels and delayed age of marriage, with the former impacting the latter, not the other way around. Women with 12 years or more of schooling are most likely to marry later.

Discuss what should be the efforts that need to be made first to improve the socio-economic indicators of women in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable solutions and suggest what needs to be done.

Introduction:

Child marriage usually refers to a social phenomenon practised in some societies in India, where a young child (usually a girl below the age of fifteen) is married to an adult man. A second form of practice of child marriage is that in which the parents of the two children (the girl and boy) arrange a future marriage.

Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006 defines a child marriage as one in which the girl is below the age of eighteen years and the boy is below the age of twenty-one years. According to a United Nations report, India has the second highest number of child marriages. The rates of child marriage vary between states and are as high as 69% and 65% in Bihar and Rajasthan.

Body:

Child marriage in India:

  • According to estimates, India contributes 33% of the total number of child brides in the world, with nearly 103 million Indians getting married before they turn 18.
  • UNICEF estimates that 27% of girls i.e. nearly 1.5 million girls get married before they turn 18. This is better than 47%, a decade ago.
  • In 2018, a UN Report said that there has been a significant drop in Indian girls being forced into marriage.

Reasons for prevalence of child marriages in India:

  • Gender inequality, social norms, perceived low status of girls, poverty, lack of education, safety concerns about girl children and control over sexuality are considered to be reasons for prevalence of child marriages.
  • Social groups follow traditions from previous eras without questioning contemporary relevance. Early marriage allows parents to waiver ‘responsibility’ of settling their children.
  • Economically weak and large families encourage the practice as it helps send-off girl children early, while marriage of a boy brings an additional hand to assist in household and economic activities.
  • Members of communities practicing child marriage tend to have little to no formal education. Belief in religious scriptures and the idea that these contain prescription for early marriage drive families to fulfil this “obligation.”
  • Early marriage ensures full “utilization” of fertility and childbearing capacity.
  • Strong caste ties limit the availability of suitable marital partners. As soon as parents identify a match, they make haste in conducting the marriage.
  • Limited education opportunities, low quality of education, inadequate infrastructure, lack of transport and therefore concerns about girls’ safety while travelling to school significantly contribute to keeping girls out of school and therefore tend to favour child marriage.
  • Girls are often seen as a liability with limited economic role. Women’s work is confined to the household and is not valued. In addition, there is the problem of dowry. Despite the fact that dowry has been prohibited for five decades (Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961), it is still common for parents of girls in India to give gifts to the groom and /or his family either in cash or kind. The dowry amount increases with the age and the education level of the girl. Hence, the “incentive” of the system of dowry perpetuates child marriage.
  • The families and girls who might benefit from social protection programmes are not always aware of them and these schemes are often limited to providing cash transfers without the accompanying messages to address the multi-dimensional nature of child marriage.

Measures needed to curb child marriage:

  • Increase social awareness:
    • Children need to be made aware of their human rights and must be taught to refuse and speak up once such an incident is taking place.
    • The media also needs to adopt a more proactive role in generating awareness towards this heinous ritual.
    • Changing social norms and attitudes towards girls.
  • To transform social norms, programmes must go hand in hand with other interventions to change parents’ attitudes, improve education, incentivise higher level of education, and increase opportunities for girls to learn, work and earn.
  • The values and norms which support the practice of child marriage need to shift.
  • Raise awareness about the harmful consequences of child marriage.
  • A strong legal and policy system can provide an important backdrop for improvements in services, changes in social norms and girls’ empowerment.
  • Imparting value based education to the students in school stressing the importance of education and the ill effects of early marriage.
  • Government could rope in achievers like Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar and PV sindhu who have achieved great success in their field and parents and students can seek inspiration from their achievements.
  • Inform the respective Child Development Project Officers, who are designated government officials, to stop child marriage.

Conclusion:

In this competitive world all a child need is education, security and opportunities to showcase his/her talents and not marriage which breaks their wings. Let’s give them a safe world to live where they can run behind their dreams and build a healthier and equal future.

 

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

2. Bhakti and Sufi movements brought a new form of religious expression amongst Muslims and Hindus. Elaborate the statement highlighting, how they worked for communal harmony. (250 words )

Reference: Indian art and culture by Nitin Singhania

Why the question:

The question is from the portions of GS paper I, Medieval history of India.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way Bhakti and Sufi movements brought a new form of religious expression amongst Muslims and Hindus also establish how they worked towards communal harmony.

Directive:

Elaborate – 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 introduce evolution of Bhakti and Sufi movement in India.

Body:

The Medieval period is considered as an age of great cultural synthesis in India. The Turks and Mughals introduced fresh ideas and helped in giving rise to new features in the areas of religion, philosophy and ideas. Result of the same was witnessed in the form of Bhakti and Sufi movements

Explain in what way they created a new form of religious expression.

Discuss with examples how they acted against communalism and worked for communal harmony.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting their contributions to the religion system and communal harmony

Introduction:

The Bhakti and Sufi movements had brought the whole of the Indian Subcontinent under their sway. The Bhakti and Sufi saints lived and worked in the midst of the common people. They needed to reach out to common people in order to spread their socio-religious and philosophical messages. They did everything to establish brotherhood, love and friendship between the Hindus and Muslims.

Body:

Bhakti and Sufi movements – new form of religious expression:

  • Bhakti movement was a socio-religious movement that opposed religious bigotry and social rigidities.
  • It emphasised good character and pure thinking.
  • At a time when society had become stagnant, the Bhakti saints infused new life and strength.
  • They awakened a new sense of confidence and attempted to redefine social and religious values.
  • Saints like Kabir and Nanak stressed upon the reordering of society along egalitarian lines. Their call to social equality attracted many a downtrodden.
  • The importance of the Bhakti and Sufi saints lies in the new atmosphere created by them, which continued to affect the social, religious and political life of India even in later centuries.
  • The message of the Sufi movement was universal love and brotherhood of man.
  • Because of their belief in the concept of unity of being, Sufis were able to establish an ideological relationship with Hindu thought.
  • A notable contribution of the Sufis was their service to the poorer and downtrodden sections of society.
  • According to the Sufis, the highest form of devotion to God was the service of mankind. They treated Hindus and Muslims alike.
  • The Sufi movement encouraged equality and brotherhood. It fact, The Islamic emphasis upon equality was respected far more by the Sufis than by the ulema.
  • The Bhakti and Sufi saints made valuable contributions to medieval Indian society in terms of laying a liberal foundation and promoting a tremendous growth of regional literature and local languages.

Bhakti and Sufi movements worked for Communal Harmony:

  • They have strong elements of mysticism, giving no importance to rituals, aimed at an understanding of the divine by transcending anthropomorphic understandings.
  • People of all religions, in many countries, frequent their shrines, and this again is similar to the Bhakti saints, who have a vast following among people of different religions.
  • Bhakti and Sufi traditions gave respectability to many low castes, posing a challenge to the upper caste hegemony; this tradition had an inclusive approach towards Muslims as well.
  • The Bhakti and Sufi traditions opposed the rituals, hegemony of the elite of society. They adopted the languages more popular with the masses. Also, they talked of one God.

Bhakti and Sufi traditions threatened communalism:

  • One region’s Bhakti movement has often tried to include the Bhakti movements of others under its own encompassing wings. When Tulsidas wrote the Ramcharitmanas, he chose the “Muslim” premakhyan form to do so.
  • They treated Hindus and Muslims alike. Amir Khusrau said “Though the Hindu is not like me in religion, he believes in the same things that I do”.
  • Sufis bridged the communal divide as is evidenced by the reverence the Subcontinent’s non-Muslim population exhibited for Sufi saints. Sufism around the world and in the Subcontinent had the depth to connect beyond caste, creed and gender
  • The slogan of Bhaktism that ‘Allah and God are same’ brought Hindus and Muslims closer. Path of brotherhood became clear.
  • Bhakti tradition preached the principle of co­existence. As a result of their teachings much of the bitterness between the Hindus and Muslims was removed. The Hindus began to worship Muslim saints and the Muslims began to show respect for the Hindu Gods.

Bhakti and Sufi movements united humanity:

  • Sant Kabir and Guru Nanak had preached a non-sectarian religion based on universal love. The Sufis believed in the concept of Wahdat-ul-Wajud (Unity of Being) which was promoted by Ibn-i-Arabi. He opined that all beings are essentially one. Different religions were identical.
  • They awakened a new sense of confidence and attempted to redefine social and religious values. Saints like Kabir and Nanak stressed upon the reordering of society along egalitarian lines. Their call to social equality attracted many a downtrodden.
  • The importance of the Bhakti and Sufi saints lies in the new atmosphere created by them, which continued to affect the social, religious and political life of India even in later centuries. Akbar’s liberal ideas were a product of this atmosphere in which he was born and brought up.
  • A notable contribution of the Sufis was their service to the poorer and downtrodden sections of society. Nizamuddin Auliya was famous for distributing gifts amongst the needy irrespective of religion or caste.
  • Sufi’s culture and ideology represents Islamic syncretic tradition that alone would resist the forces of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.
  • They rebelled against all forms of religious formalism, orthodoxy, falsehood and hypocrisy and endeavoured to create a new world order in which spiritual bliss was the only and the ultimate goal.
  • At a time when struggle for political power was the prevailing madness, the Sufi saints reminded men of their moral obligations. To a world torn by strife and conflict they tried to bring peace and harmony.
  • In the rural agricultural background of human life, Sufism became a vehicle of spiritual and cultural upliftment of people.
  • The roots of Indian Feminism can be traced to women in Bhakti, who challenged Brahminical patriarchy through their songs, poems and ways of life.
  • At a time where most spaces were restricted to women, they embraced Bhakti to define their own truths to reform society, polity, relationships and religions.
  • They broke all societal rules and stereotypes, and lived their lives as they pleased.

Conclusion:

The essence of the Sufi and Bhakti tradition are reminders that the spiritual-moral part of religion has been undermined in current times. The inclusive, humane-nature of these traditions needs to be upheld and the divisive-exclusionary versions of religions have to be ignored for humanity to progress.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. Constitutional crises in India’s neighborhood have key bearing on India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy. Discuss with recent incidences. (250 words )

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Recently Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his first address to the newly elected Parliament, has declared his intention to repeal the landmark 19th Amendment to the Constitution, and, thereafter, work towards a new constitution. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way Constitutional crises in India’s neighborhood have key bearing on India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy.

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 what you understand by India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy.

Body:

What is Neighbourhood first policy?

  • India’s Neighbourhood First Policy focuses on cooperation and peaceful coexistence.
  • It is part of India’s foreign policy that actively focuses on improving ties with India’s immediate neighbours which is being termed as Neighbourhood first policy in the media
  • It was started well by inviting all heads of state/heads of government of South Asian countries in his inauguration of PM Modi first term and later held bilateral talks with all of them individually which was dubbed as a mini SAARC summit.

Then move onto explain the constitutional crisis that the neighboring countries are facing, present the case of Srilanka. Explain what bearings it has on India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India’s Neighbourhood First Policy accords primacy to nations in India’s periphery, includes in its ambit the Bimstec—a grouping that includes almost all countries of South Asia and some in South-East Asia. It actively focuses on improving ties with India’s immediate neighbours. It is focused on cooperation based on needs and requirements of neighbouring countries. The policy is also driven by the principle of non-seeking reciprocity.

Body:

The constitutional crisis that the neighbouring countries are facing:

  • The newly elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his first address to Parliament, has declared his intention to repeal the landmark 19th Amendment to the Constitution, and, thereafter, work towards a new constitution.
  • Sri Lanka will draft a new Constitution and abolish the 19th Amendment that curtailed the powers of the President and strengthened the role of Parliament.
  • The Rajapaksas secured a two-third majority in parliament during the recent general elections, thus the paving way for constitutional amendments.
  • The President’s remarks on the proposed Constitution can be looked at in the predictive sense of moving away from the concept of devolution.
  • It will be retrograde if the idea of sharing more power with the provinces is abandoned altogether.
  • If the independence of institutions such as the Election Commission (EC) is now curbed in the name of undoing the 19th Amendment, it would be a distortion of democratic principles.
  • Further, the President’s address lacked any reference to ethnic minorities.

Reasons for the proposed constitutional amendments:

  • The 19th Constitutional Amendment in 2015 had put a two-term limit on the Presidency and curtailed the executive powers of the President and transferred it to parliament and independent commissions.
  • The legislation envisages the dilution of many powers of Executive Presidency, which had been in force since 1978. It involves:
    • The reduction in the terms of President and Parliament from six years to five years.
    • Re-introduction of a two-term limit that a person can have as President.
    • The power of President to dissolve Parliament only after four and a half years.
    • The revival of Constitutional Council and the establishment of independent commissions.
    • The President remains the head of Cabinet and he can appoint Ministers on the advice of Prime Minister.
  • The Rajapaksa family had alleged that the amendment was brought specifically to target the family.
  • Mahinda Rajapaksa could not contest the last November presidential elections because of the term limit and his younger brother Gotabaya became the candidate.

Impacts on India:

  • The Tamils issue, who are an ethnic minority section, would again prop up due to the proposed constitutional changes.
  • This has acted as an irritant in the India-Srilanka bilateral ties in the past.
  • Srilanka could again play the China card which could embolden the ‘String of pearls’ initiative of China endangering India’s security in the Indian Ocean region.

Way forward:

  • There is an urgent need for a new inclusive constitution that would put the country on the path of equality and reconciliation.
  • The plan to rewrite the Constitution under the pretext of a ‘one country, one law’ principle should not be at odds with this need.
  • India should push for the reconciliation efforts for the Tamils in Sri Lanka while remaining sensitive to Sri Lanka’s security concerns.

 

Topic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

4. Jal Jeevan mission if implemented effectively will improve water accessibility in rural areas of the country. Comment. (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in

Why the question:

The article presents to us the success story of Jal Jeevan mission in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the contributions of Jal jeevan mission in improving water accessibility to the rural areas in the country.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining about the Jal Jeevan Mission.

Body:

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM):

It envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024. It focuses on integrated demand and supply side management of water at the local level.

Creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse, would be undertaken in convergence with other government programmes/schemes.

 It is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission. JJM looks to create a janandolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.

Then discuss in what way it helps improvise upon the accessibility component of water in rural areas.  One can present case study to substantiate better.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Jal Jeevan mission if implemented effectively will improve water accessibility in rural areas.

Introduction:

The Prime Minister announced the Jal Jeevan Mission during the 2019 Independence day speech, which plans to supply water to all households by 2024. It will be a decentralised, community-managed and sustainable water management scheme.

Body:

Salient features of Jal Jeevan mission:

  • Jal Jeevan Mission aims at ensuring potable water supply in adequate quantity at the rate of 55 litres per person per day and of prescribed quality to every rural household of the country through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
  • The provision of household tap connection in rural areas will help in removing ‘drudgery’ of women, especially the girls. It will also improve the ‘ease of living’ for people living in rural areas.
  • JJM focuses on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at the local level.
  • Creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse, would be undertaken in convergence with other government programmes/schemes.
  • The Mission is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.
  • JJM looks to create a jan Andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.
  • The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.
  • The Central government has recently released the operational guidelines for JJM.
  • For the implementation of JJM, following institutional arrangement has been proposed:
    • National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM) at the Central level
    • State Water and Sanitation Mission (SWSM) at the State level
    • District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) at the District level
    • Village Water Sanitation Committee (VWSC) at Village level
  • Every village will prepare a Village Action Plan (VAP) which will have three components:
    • Water source & its maintenance
    • Water supply and
    • Greywater (domestic wastewater) management.

Current Scenario of water supply in rural areas:

  • For many years, the central and state governments have been making efforts to increase access to safe and adequate drinking water.
  • The provision of a basic quantity of drinking water in rural India has been achieved through hand pumps, dug wells, household water supply (HWS), etc.
  • Thus, while states like Sikkim managed to achieve high levels of HWS, a relatively low percentage of rural Indian households have access to this.

Challenges faced:

  • In rural drinking water service delivery, there is inadequate attention given to taking measures to sustain the source of the water, in most cases groundwater is a challenge.
  • This proposed mission will make source sustainability measures mandatory prior to pumping and distributing water to households.
  • Another issue with the traditional approach to service delivery was that the provision of drinking water was viewed primarily as an engineering solution, with schemes being planned and executed by the public health and engineering departments.
  • However, water is an ideal sector for the applicability of the principle of subsidiarity, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.

Jal Jeevan mission – a solution:

  • With adequate capacity building and training, water can be most efficiently managed at the lowest appropriate level.
  • Adopting this principle, the Jal Jeevan Mission’s first preference will be to have community-managed single village ground water-based schemes, wherever sufficient quantity and good quality of groundwater exists.
  • Wherever adequate quantity of safe groundwater is not present, or where it may be technically not feasible to have single-village schemes, surface water-based multi-village schemes will be promoted.
  • Further, in some remote regions, where it may not be techno-economically feasible to have household water supply schemes, local innovations, such as solar-based schemes will be encouraged.
  • It is not commonly known that household waste water from HWS amounts to about 75% of the amount of water supplied.
  • With the rural households to get HWS under the proposed mission, huge quantities of household waste water will be generated across the country, therefore making its effective management critical.
  • There is a plan to include a mandatory provision under the mission for the effective channelling and treatment of household waste water, through appropriate and low cost drainage and treatment systems.
  • Once appropriately treated, this waste water can be used for both recharge of groundwater as well as for irrigation purposes.

Way forward:

  • An extensive information, education and communication will be needed to create a people’s movement for water management.
  • The ongoing Jal Shakti Abhiyan will help in creating awareness about the importance of integrating source sustainability and water reuse.
  • This integrated approach to decentralised, community managed, and sustainable water management is the backbone of the government’s plan to ensure that every household gets the benefits of water supply.

Conclusion:

The Jal Jeevan Mission will be a major step towards improving our people’s ease of living and meeting their aspirations of a New India.

 

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.

5. Lately judicial activism seems to be on a decline in the country with judicial overreach taking the front seat. In light of the statement, evaluate the importance of judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy. (250 words )

Reference: Hindustan Times 

Why the question:

The Supreme Court recently granted two days to Bhushan to reconsider his “defiant statement” refusing to apologize for his contemptuous tweets against the judiciary.

Key Demand of the question:

The answer demands explanation on how recently Judicial activism has been on decline and how judicial overreach has taken the front seat that can act counterproductive in achieving the goals of Democracy.

Directive:

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain what judicial activism and judicial overreach are.

Body:

Start by explaining the sea change in judicial approach since Keshavananda Bharti case. Except for a blip during emergency – exemplified by Shivkant Shukla v ADM Jabalpur case – judiciary has been becoming more and more active. The advent of PIL was, perhaps, the most important step in this direction.

Explain what steps have been taken by Judiciary to achieve the ideals of democracy from past to present.

Discuss in what way the judiciary is erring now and is on the path of judicial overreach, present the case of recent incidences to justify the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the problem and that there is dire need to rectify the erring judiciary at this stage so as to preserve the true mandate of it.

Introduction:

Judicial Activism refers to the use of judicial power to articulate and enforce what is beneficial for the society in general and people at large or judicial activism means the power of the Supreme Court and the high court but not the sub-ordinate courts to declare the laws as unconstitutional and void. Judicial Activism can be defined as a philosophy of judicial decision making where by judges allow their personal views regarding a public policy instead of constitutionalism.

Body:

Some cases of activism in India are:

  • Golaknath case in which Supreme Court declared that fundamental rights enshrined in part 3 are immutable and cannot be amendable
  • Kesavananda Bharti case where by SC introduced doctrine of basic structure i.e. Parliament has power to amend without altering basic structure of constitution.
  • SC has assumed a supervisory role in CBI investigation of 2-G scam, in invoking terror laws against Hasan Ali Khan.

Pros of Judicial Activism:

  • It provides a system of checks and balances to the other government branches. Judicial Activism is a delicate exercise involving creativity. It brings out required innovation in the form of a solution.
  • Judicial Activism provides judges to use their personal wisdom in cases where the law failed to provide a balance.
  • Judicial Activism also provides insights into the issues. The reason why this is a good thing is that it shows the instilled trust placed in the justice system and its judgments.
  • Many a time public power harms the people, so it becomes necessary for the judiciary to check misuse of public power.
  • It provides speedy solutions where the legislature gets stuck in the issue of majority.

Cons of Judicial Activism:

  • Judges can override any existing law. Hence, it clearly violates the line drawn by the constitution.
  • The judicial opinions of the judges become standards for ruling other cases.
  • Judgment may be influenced by personal or selfish motives. Which can further harm the public at large.
  • Repeated interference of courts can erode the faith of the people in the quality, integrity and efficiency of governmental institutions.
  • Courts limit the functioning of government, when it exceeds its power and to stop any abuse or misuse of power by government agencies.

However, in the recent days, judicial overreach has been on the rise as compared to judicial activism:

  • The line between Judicial activism and Judicial Overreach is very narrow. In simple terms, when Judicial activism crosses its limits and becomes Judicial adventurism it is known as Judicial Overreach.
  • When the judiciary oversteps the powers given to it, it may interfere with the proper functioning of the legislative or executive organs of government.
  • This is undesirable in any democracy.
  • Judicial Overreach destroys the spirit of separation of powers.
  • In Arun Gopal v. Union of India (2017), the Supreme Court fixed timings for bursting Diwali fireworks and prohibited the use of non-green fireworks, although there are no laws to that effect.
  • In C. Mehta v. Union of India (2018), the court annulled the statutory Rule 115(21) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, when it directed that no BS-4 vehicle should be sold after March 30, 2020, and that only BS-6 vehicles can be sold after that date.
  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered that no 15-year-old petrol-driven or 10-year-old diesel-driven vehicle will ply in Delhi, and the Supreme Court has directed impounding such vehicles, though neither the NGT nor the Supreme Court are legislative bodies.

Issues with judicial overreach:

  • Dilutes ‘separation of powers’: It destroys the spirit of ‘separation of powers’ between Parliament, Executive and Judiciary, enshrined in the constitution.
  • Limited experience: In many cases, courts are often ill-equipped and lack experience to weigh the economic, environmental and political costs involved like liquor ban case.
  • No external regulation: The executive remains “accountable” to the people through 5-year election process but judges exercise self-regulation and are insulated from any external control and thus accountable only to themselves, and their own sense of their limits.
  • Conflict of interest: Sometimes when judicial activism is exercised it is done for solely selfish, political or personal reasons.
  • Undermines trust in Parliament: It reduces the trust people pose in the Parliament and elected representatives as frequent overreach signals executive inactivity and incompetency.
  • Minority rule/ Undemocratic: Judicial overreach appears as an act of ‘tyranny of unelected’ in a democracy.
  • Wastage of court’s time: It is wastage of court’s time, which can otherwise be used for adjudicating other important matters relating to public importance pending before the court.

Way-forward:

  • Though Article 142 and judicial review has been put to many constructive uses but some actions, like declaring the National Judicial Appointments Commission unconstitutional as it tried to apply checks on judicial powers, highlight the need for more judicial restraints in using judicial review.
  • Maintaining ‘independence’: Judiciary is expected to maintain its primary allegiance to the law and the Constitution i.e. to the text of legal instruments and legal interpretation, and to the body of judicial precedents. Though there exists a two-way interaction between judiciary and executive but the judiciary should keep its moral and philosophical independence intact.
  • Limiting judicial discretion: All cases invoking Article 142 should be referred to a Constitution Bench of at least five judges so that this exercise of discretion may be the outcome of five independent judicial minds.
  • Review and feedback mechanism: In all cases where the court invokes Article 142, the government must bring out a white paper to study the effects of the judgment after a period of six months or so from its date.

Conclusion:

If judges are free to make laws of their choices, not only would that go against the principle of separation of powers, it could also lead to uncertainty in the law and chaos as every judge will start drafting his own laws according to his whims and fancies.

Our Constitution is our act of revolution and the Judiciary its protector. Today when the same Judiciary oversteps its limits, it is indispensable that the decision is corrected, reviewed and reversed by a larger Bench.

In a country governed by a written Constitution, the democratic right flows from the attribute of constitutional sovereignty. We cannot claim our fundamental right or any other legal rights, unless we retain the structure of our sovereignty.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

6. Discuss how lateral entries in administration can help overcome existing inefficiencies and what are its future prospects? (250 words)

Reference:  2nd ARC report / Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is premised on the idea of lateral entry in civil services of the country.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is straightforward; discuss how lateral entries in administration can help overcome existing inefficiencies and what its future prospects are.

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:

Present a brief introduction of lateral entry.

Body:

What is lateral entry?

It is the appointment of private sector professionals and academicians in the government organisation bypassing the traditional route.

Traditionally to get into the posts of Deputy Secretary, Director and Joint Secretary in Government organisations, the candidate has to belong to Indian Civil Services which is filled by personals from – Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Revenue Service.

Discuss the fatigue and inefficiency in the present IAS dominated administrative structure.

Discus how lateral entry will help improving the administration.

Bring out both pros and cons.

Conclusion:

Suggest some measure for further reforms in Indian Administration; any new system will take time to evolve. So one can only hope that those at the top see this through till it becomes efficient and transparent and ensure a way to keep the public informed about it objectively.

Introduction:

The lateral entry mode, which pertains to the appointment of specialists from private sector in government organisations, is an attempt by the government to bring in fresh talent into the bureaucracy. While the nine lateral entrants, all set to join government soon, the latest attempt to reform the bureaucracy has raised more questions than answers

Body:

Possible advantages:

  • Civil servants enter public service as generalists and have grassroots realities. Building specific domain expertise starts quite late for career bureaucrats.
  • To bring in fresh ideas and new approaches to governance. Expert advice and opinion for efficient administration and fulfilling the aspirations of people
  • The present system of frequent and arbitrary transfers hinders gaining of the relevant experience by incumbent officers. They spend less than 16 months, on average, in any post; and studies shows only 24% of postings are viewed as “merit-based” by bureaucrats themselves.
  • Former instances:
    • Lateral entry into finance ministry produced illustrious public servants like Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Vijay Kelkar etc.
  • Outside talent from the private sector is more likely to be target-oriented, which will improve the performance of the government.
  • Lateral entry scheme, if implemented properly, may foster more competitive spirit, break the complacency of the higher civil servants and eventually prove to be a pioneering initiative in public interest.
  • Question often raised in this context is whether the higher bureaucracy is equipped to comprehend complex economic and technical issues in order to properly aid and advise the Minister. Doubts are raised whether civil servants can handle diverse portfolios from civil aviation to power to defence.
  • The three-year action agenda released by NITI Aayog in August 2017 said “policymaking is a specialized activity” and “lateral entry will have the beneficial side effect of bringing competition to the established career bureaucracy”.
  • Lateral entry at the level of Secretary has met with some success earlier:
    • Besides, Secretaries to the Departments of Atomic Energy, Science & Technology, Scientific and Industrial Research, Health Research, and Agricultural Research have always been scientists of eminence.
    • Similarly, in departments like the Railways, Posts, etc., all senior positions are manned by Indian Railway or Postal Service officers. Therefore, there is nothing very original in the new initiative to allow entry at the level of Joint Secretary.

However, it has challenges too:

  • Many serving Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers see this move as threatening their hegemony.
  • Experts criticize this move as the beginning of the end of a neutral and impartial civil service with the likely induction of loyalists to the current dispensation.
  • Doubts have been expressed if private business houses would plant their people in order to influence government policies.
  • Differences in work culture may often come in the way.
  • The width and depth of field experience which the civil services provide is not available with outside talent.
  • Interests and motivation vary from person to person. Therefore, short term entry of officers through lateral entry might lead to corrupt practices.
  • The private sector who ran Air India, Indian Airlines and Vayudoot proved to be failures.
  • Lateral entry into civil services undermines reservation policy.
  • If a person from a private infrastructure company is appointed in an infra ministry it will lead to questions of morality, ethics and conflict of interest.”
  • Lack of transparency, honesty and political interference in the selection process.
  • Nobody knows why a particular individual was selected and why others more qualified were left out.
  • It is difficult to assess the performance of a secretary to the government due to complex nature of the job. So it would be difficult to measure the performance of lateral entrants.
  • If the selection is politically motivated, it may degrade the system.

Way forward:

  • Government must ensure that only candidates, the likes of whom are not available in the existing system, are appointed. If they turn out to be truly outstanding, there should be provisions to induct them permanently in the government, with approval of the UPSC, and consider them for higher postings.
  • Government must also allow deputation of its officers to private sector as well so that they get

exposure to market practices and fresh ideas.

  • The remedy lies not through lateral induction but through more rigorous performance appraisal

and improved personnel management.

  • The government can consider lateral entry to head certain mission-mode projects and public-sector entities where private-sector expertise actually matters.
  • The process of selection needs to be transparent.
  • A credible statutory agency like UPSC should be entrusted with the responsibility of recruitment.

 

Topic: Emotional intelligence

7.Emotional intelligence in recent times has become the buzzword for determining the success of a person. Do you agree? If yes, mention the steps you have taken in your life to develop emotional intelligence. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the concept of emotional intelligence and its relevance in today’s life.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way good emotional intelligence can directly be related to the success of a person and one has to mention steps taken to develop EI in their lives.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what you understand by emotional intelligence; Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and regulate one’s emotions and understand the emotions the others.

Body:

Explain that by improving your EQ and taking active steps to make changes, you’ll find you are more productive and can build more productive relationships around you. Emotional Intelligence is important, it’s intrinsic to who we are, and as such it impacts every facet of our lives, and most notably the workplace.

EI is important for everyone who wants to be career ready. Drawing on the work of Daniel Goleman, explain the five pillars of emotional intelligence and how they give you an advantage in the workforce.

Mention the steps that you would have taken to develop EI.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

Emotional intelligence or EI is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.

Body:

Concept of EI:

According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it:

  • Self-awareness:
    • The ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.
    • Hallmarks of self-awareness include self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, and a self-deprecating sense of humour.
    • Emotional awareness: This deals with knowledge of one’s emotions and their effects. People having this competency are more aware of their feelings and performance.
    • Accurate self-assessment: This involves being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses. One is open to feedbacks, new viewpoints, etc.
    • Self-confidence: This relates to complete affirmation of one’s worth and abilities. They are usually more confident and are able to make sound decisions despite any uncertainties or pressures
  • Self-management:
    • Ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and the propensity to suspend judgment and to think before acting. Hallmarks include trustworthiness and integrity; comfort with ambiguity; and openness to change.
    • Adaptability: This involves flexible attitude towards change. People with this competency find it easy to handle changing routines, multiple roles and even shifting priorities.
    • Innovativeness: This involves getting easy with and open to new information and ideas. People who possess this are able to gather new ideas from multiple sources, set challenging roles and are able to take calculated risks. They evolve original solutions to various problems.
  • Social Awareness:
    • The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.
    • Empathy does not necessarily imply compassion. Empathy can be ‘used’ for compassionate or cruel behaviour. Serial killers who marry and kill many partners in a row tend to have great emphatic skills.
  • Relationship management:
    • Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks, and an ability to find common ground and build rapport. Hallmarks of social skills include effectiveness in leading change, persuasiveness, and expertise building and leading teams.
  • Motivation:
    • A passion to work for internal reasons that go beyond money and status -which are external rewards, – such as an inner vision of what is important in life, a joy in doing something, curiosity in learning, a flow that comes with being immersed in an activity.

One can mention the ways in which they have personally built their emotional intelligence.

Conclusion:

Good ethics reaffirm the emotional intelligence of a person. High emotionally intelligent individuals are more adept at reasoning through the emotional antecedents of their own and others’ behavior and using this information to guide thinking and action. Individuals high on emotional intelligence will be able to manage their emotions and react less aggressively to the behaviours of others.


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