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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 4 June 2021

 

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: Social empowerment, Role of women and women’s organization,

1. Why rural women are bearing the weight of India’s second Covid wave? Discuss the need for sustainable, gender-inclusive economic recovery with special focus on rural women. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article highlights the impact of Covid-19 specifically on rural women in the country.  

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the impact of covid-19 on rural women and discuss the need for sustainable, gender-inclusive economic recovery with special focus on rural women.

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 with some basic facts justifying the statement in question.

Body:

Explain that Pre-Covid, about 25 per cent of rural women were in the workforce, versus 18 per cent of urban women. And it’s these rural women who’ve borne the burden of the lockdowns and Covid-19 most heavily — losing jobs, incomes, forced into precarious working conditions, all while ferrying water and firewood, cooking, and tending to unwell family members.

As the second wave hit rural India with an unexpected ferocity, it washed away 5.7 million rural women’s jobs in April 2021. Rural women formed nearly 80 per cent of job losses in April 2021 compared to just 11 per cent in April 2020.

Discuss the reasons that have led to greater impact of the pandemic on rural women.

Analyse what needs to be done. Suggest solutions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the need for sustainable, gender-inclusive economic recovery with special focus on rural women.

Introduction

India, which has one of the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world, has always had more rural women at work than urban. Pre-Covid, about 25 per cent of rural women were in the workforce, versus 18 per cent of urban women. And it’s these rural women who’ve borne the burden of the lockdowns and Covid-19 most heavily — losing jobs, incomes, forced into precarious working conditions, all while ferrying water and firewood, cooking, and tending to unwell family members.

Body

Background

  • Over the past year, urban women were pushed into rural work. Between March 2020 to March 2021, the number of women employed in rural areas increased by 9.6 per cent, while those employed in urban areas fell by 19.6 per cent.
  • This shift was much lower amongst men, with male rural employment increasing by 0.8 per cent, and urban employment falling by 0.3 per cent.
  • As the second wave hit rural India with an unexpected ferocity, it washed away 5.7 million rural women’s jobs in April 2021.
  • Rural women formed nearly 80 per cent of job losses in April 2021 compared to just 11 per cent in April 2020.
  • Some early signs of recovery were seen in May 2021, as nearly 2.8 million rural women returned to employment (11 per cent of rural female workforce), even though 8.6 million rural men lost jobs (3.5 per cent of rural male workforce).

Issues faced by rural women in second wave of pandemic

  • Burden of unpaid work: First, the burden of unpaid care work under the second wave increased significantly for rural women. Women in rural India spend five hours per day on unpaid care work, as opposed to an hour spent by men.
  • Dearth of healthcare facility: The paucity of health infrastructure combined with the intensity of the second wave implied that women had to withdraw from paid work to take care of ailing family members.
  • Lack of safe transport: Rural women find their mobility more constrained than ever before, making access to markets and workplaces difficult. Even before the pandemic, venturing outside villages, especially after dark, was an odious task for women.
  • Disempowered: Women farmers saw their agricultural produce go to waste as they were unable to sell at mandis and nearby markets. Fisherwomen in the coastal areas were also unable to carry on fishing and undertake subsequent sales of their catch.
  • Less jobs: The availability of MGNREGA jobs, which served as a lifeline for rural women, declined following the first wave of Covid-19.
    • In 2020-21, rural women formed 51 per cent of all persons employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, with the budget for the scheme receiving an allocation of Rs 1.1 lakh crore thanks to increased funding under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan.
  • The industries with women-intensive employment, which were already on a slower recovery path, saw demand collapse under the second wave
  • Replaced by returning migrants: Rural women are being displaced by returning male migrant workers in agriculture. Nearly 30 million came back to their villages during lockdown last year and have stayed back.

Way Forward

  • As we slowly but surely see the second wave receding, governments must lead the way in charting a path of sustainable, gender-inclusive economic recovery, starting by focusing on unemployed rural women.
  • Public expenditure and investment should focus on schemes and sectors which have high job-creation potential for women including MGNREGA and the care economy, comprising childcare, elderly care, and other care services.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) could be preferentially procured from women-led SHGs for distribution in rural healthcare facilities, reducing logistical costs and spurring local economic development.
  • India’s 2.5 million frontline healthcare workers ASHAs, AWWs and ANMs, most of whom are women, must be recognised as workers, provided appropriate PPE and paid adequate monthly wages in recognition of their service to the country.
  • Landless women farmers and agricultural wage workers are most vulnerable and should be targeted under cash-based social protection schemes.
  • Most importantly, schemes such as the PMGDisha, need to have a special focus on improving digital literacy for rural women, so that they are not left out of the growing digital economy.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

2. In a country like India with layered health systems and cultural beliefs, it would be unwise to completely reject traditional systems in favour of modern medicine. Comment.(250 words)

Reference:  tribuneindia.com

Why the question:

The article highlights that evidence-based medicine is the way to go, be it allopathic, Ayurvedic or other systems.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need for India to recognise the benefits of layered health systems and importance of balancing the traditional versus model medicine.

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:

Highlight by stating the fact that pandemic has exposed and deepened existing fault lines between modern and traditional systems of medicine.

Body:

Give a brief background of the question; The tussle is well exemplified in the public spat between the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Ramdev, founder of Patanjali Ayurveda.

The focus on the so-called supremacy of different systems of knowledge is superficial and misleading.

It should instead be on evidence or lack of it and about yardsticks to measure the acceptable evidence.

Discuss the importance of redefining health systems on the basis of evidence. Give examples to support your argument.

Conclusion:

Conclude that we need to develop a necessary regulatory mechanism, teaching standards, licensing system and marketing norms that apply to all systems uniformly.

Introduction

The pandemic has exposed, and deepened, existing fault lines between modern and traditional systems of medicine. The tussle is well exemplified in the public spat between the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Ramdev, founder of Patanjali Ayurveda.

Body

Unwise to reject traditional system of medicine completely

  • The use of natural products for the treatment of human ailments has been prevalent in societies all over the world for ages.
  • In this long timeline, modern medicine is a new entrant. Several blockbuster drugs that changed the face of medicine in the last century originated from natural sources.
  • They got inducted as modern drugs after going through a long process — identification of active ingredients, pre-clinical studies, understanding the mechanism of action, study of side-effects and large clinical testing.
  • Case Study: Kaviraj Gananath Sen and Kartick Chandra Bose from Kolkata had reported in 1931 that an alkaloid extracted from sarpagandha could treat hypertension.
    • After this, Dr Salimuzzaman Siddiqui in Delhi’s Tibbia College isolated five crystalline alkaloids from the herb and tested them on frogs and cats.
    • Building upon this, Dr Rutom Jal Vakil, a Bombay cardiologist, conducted a small study on hypertension patients and published his findings in the British Medical Journal in 1949.
    • The paper took the medical world by storm and changed the face of hypertension management globally.

Modern Medicine is evidence based and scientific

  • Due to technological advancement in diagnostics and investigations, modern medicine has become more evidence based.
  • Influencing people making crass comments on modern medicine will lead to people going to quacks, not getting treatment on time which could save life and also lead to vaccine hesitancy.
  • Case Study: Not all Ayurvedic solutions are helpful. For instance, the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), developed a memory enhancer using baccopa monnieri extracted from brahmi.
    • It was marketed as Memory plus. A few years down the line, the CDRI found that Memory Plus had very low availability of the active compound and its effect was no better than grass growing in backyards.
    • The licence of the company was revoked.
  • These examples show that everything mentioned in ancient texts cannot be marketed as drugs in modern times till evidence is generated about their efficacy and safety based on well-accepted criteria.
  • This is what is problematic for some proponents of the traditional systems and their supporters.
  • A recent example is B Anandaiah of Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh who has been doling out to thousands of people a ‘magic cure’ for Covid-19 which he claims to have prepared from locally available herbs.

Way Forward

  • Science evolves based on evidence. It is not dogmatic like ancient texts. This explains constant revision in the guidance on the administration of plasma therapy, HCQ and Ivermectin during the pandemic.
  • It is a sign of strength and not a weakness of this knowledge system. At the same time, there are loopholes in the system which some researchers and drug companies use to circumvent laid down procedures in order to push their products without sufficient evidence. Unscrupulous people can fudge data and fool medical journals.
  • The use of irrational combinations and antibiotics is rampant. Regulatory systems are grappling with such challenges, creating room for course correction. In a country like India with layered health systems and cultural beliefs, it would be unwise to completely reject traditional systems in favour of modern medicine.
  • All systems should be allowed to exist based on evidence of efficacy and safety of individual drugs and formulations.
  • We need to develop a necessary regulatory mechanism, teaching standards, licensing system and marketing norms that apply to all systems uniformly. Evidence-based medicine is the way to go, be it allopathic, ayurvedic or other systems.

Conclusion

The focus on the so-called supremacy of different systems of knowledge is superficial and misleading. It should instead be on evidence or lack of it and about yardsticks to measure the evidence acceptable to all.

 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3. Counting more women in science and applied technologies is dire for the progress of society. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  researchgate.net

Why the question:

The question is about the role of women in development of society through their contributions in science and applied technologies.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the importance of including women in science and applied technologies and thus their contributions to progress and development of society.

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 the answer by citing the status of gender equality in India.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the status of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) fields. About 43% of STEM graduates in India may be women, which is the highest in the world, but women’s share in STEM jobs in India is a mere 14%.

Most of the women STEM graduates in India either pursue another career or do not work at all. Women across the world face the ‘leaky pipeline’ problem in STEM fields.

Suggest some measures to improve women’s participation in STEM fields.

Discuss the efforts of the government in this direction. Talk about policy measures in force.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to look at Gender equality as an essential facet of the development perspective.

Introduction

Since independence, successive governments in India have taken many steps in bringing gender empowerment. However, various developmental indices like Global Gender Gap Index 2020 where India ranks in 112th place, reflect that still, a lot needs to be done in this regard.

One such area of improvement is increasing gender participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.

Body

India tops world rankings in producing female graduates in STEM with 43% but employs only 14% of them. In comparison, Sweden produces 35% female STEM graduates and employs 34% of them.

Status of Women in STEM Fields

  1. About 43% of STEM graduates in India may be women, which is the highest in the world, but women’s share in STEM jobs in India is a mere 14%.
  2. Most of the women STEM graduates in India either pursue another career or do not work at all. Women across the world face the ‘leaky pipeline’ problem in STEM fields.
  3. Women leave the workforce, due to the absence of supportive institutional structures during pregnancy, safety issues in fieldwork and the workplace.
  4. The STEM field is so perpetuated with gender stereotypes. It has a very strong male-dominated culture. Further, there is a lack of role models for girls and women.
  5. Not just societal norms but issues related to poor education and healthcare access are responsible for a lesser number of women in these fields.

Way Forward

  1. Leveraging Digital India: With the launch of Digital India, there has been a dramatic rise in terms of increased access to the internet across the country. Thus, digital India provides an opportunity to impart education in the STEM field to women.
  2. Replicating ISRO Model: The role of women engineers in the launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2 shows that how social shackles pertaining to women are loosening. Thus, there is a need for emulating ISRO’s model in STEM fields.
  3. Bringing Behavioural Change: Subdued gender participation emanates from social-economic issues, which can be treated by bringing behavioural change. For this, the contributions of women in the STEM sector should be highlighted in textbooks.

This may motivate the next generation of girls to be leaders in the STEM sector.

Conclusion

A recent research report by McKinsey said that narrowing the gender gap in STEM can lead to an increase of $12-28 trillion in the global economy. Thus, India should look at Gender equality as an essential facet of the development perspective.

 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4. What do you understand by Vaccine hesitancy? discuss the consequences of it and also suggest some communication strategy to resolve this issue. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains how India’s Covid-19 communication strategy is failing to combat vaccine hesitancy.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the concept of vaccine hesitancy and explain its consequences and suggest some communication strategy to resolve this issue.

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 with what vaccine hesitancy is.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Vaccine hesitancy refers to delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccine services. Vaccine acceptance or aversion among the people has been shown to be strongly correlated to healthcare professionals’ attitude towards vaccines.

It is widely established that healthcare workers averse to any vaccine can passively transmit their apprehensions to patients, setting off a domino effect of vaccine non-compliance. It is also plainly obvious that a healthcare workforce unified in its vaccine messaging can make a big difference.

Then move on to discuss its consequences.

Discuss the strategies to overcome it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

World Health Organization defines Vaccine hesitancy as a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccination service. Vaccine hesitancy has been reported in more than 90% of countries in the world.

Body:

Illustrations of Vaccine Hesitancy:

  1. Globally nearly 4, 24,000 children have confirmed measles in 2019, as against a figure of 1, 73,000 in the whole of 2018.
  2. In India, poor communities of Uttar Pradesh were reported to have taken five times low uptake of oral polio vaccine in the early 2000s.

Reasons for Vaccine Hesitancy

  1. Religious propaganda that the vaccine may contain microbes, chemicals and animal-derived products which is forbidden by religious laws.
  2. Social media is used in stirring fear in people by falsely blaming vaccines for unrelated diseases is the bedrock of the Vaccine hesitancy all across the globe.
  3. For example, recently some sections in India are refraining from the polio vaccine. This is due to the misconception that the polio vaccine caused illness, infertility and was ineffective.
  4. Vaccine-derived diseases: Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) contains weakened but live poliovirus. This virus from the vaccine is excreted by immunized children which can move from one person to another.
  5. This allows the virus to stick around and mutate to a more virulent form, raising the threat of vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV).
  6. Inconvenience in accessing vaccines is also the leading cause of Vaccine hesitancy.

Steps that can be taken to address vaccine hesitancy in India:

  1. Vaccination as the default approach: Some countries have implemented specific sanctions for Vaccine hesitant families. Eg: France has made 11 vaccines mandatory for children—unvaccinated children cannot be enrolled at nurseries or schools. In Australia, parents of children who are not vaccinated are denied the universal Family Allowance welfare payments.
  2. Building trust: Vaccine manufacturer can provide honest information about side effects and reassurance on a robust vaccine safety system.
  3. They can also provide vaccination-related FAQ’s, answering questions on benefits, safety, and immunologic aspects of vaccines and links to a number of online resources for physicians and parents.
  4. Digital Algorithms: Google, Facebook and other such platforms can be requested to make sure that users only get to see the credible, science-based information about the vaccines.
  5. Misinformation need to be addressed: A  2018 study found low awareness to be the main reason why 45% of children missed different vaccinations in 121 Indian districts that have higher rates of unimmunized children.

While 24% did not get vaccinated due to apprehension about adverse effects, 11% were reluctant to get immunized for reasons other than fear of adverse effects.

  1. The influential person or celebrities should come forward to dispel the myths leading to Vaccine hesitancy.

COMMUNCATION STRATEGIES:

  • Use of Persuasion – through advertising by role models,
  • Awareness generation among masses
  • Use of Legitimate and expert sources to provide awareness.
  • Use of incentives to boost vaccination drives.

Conclusion:

Vaccine hesitancy is threatening the historical achievements made in reducing the burden of infectious diseases, which have plagued humanity for centuries. A collaborative effort between paediatricians, family doctors, parents, public health officials, governments, the technology sector, and civil society will allow myths and misinformation around vaccination to be dispelled.

 

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

5. Elucidate the key features of the Model Tenancy Act and bring out the challenges in its execution and suggest measures to overcome. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The Union Cabinet has approved the Model Tenancy Act (MTA) to be sent to the States and Union Territories to enact legislation or amend laws on rental properties.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the key features of the Model Tenancy Act and bring out the challenges in its execution and suggest measures to overcome.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

First explain that MTA is aimed at opening up of the vacant housing stock for rental housing purposes and helping bridge the trust deficit that exists between tenants and landlords by clearly delineating their obligations.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the major provisions of the MTA.

Explain why there is a need for its modifications, what are the challenges involved.

Suggest solutions to address the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude how the MTA will help in the current tough times.

Introduction

Tenancy is a legal arrangement in which someone has the right to live in or use a building or land owned by someone else in exchange for paying rent to its owner.

Body

As per Census 2011, more than 1 crore houses were lying vacant in urban areas. “The existing rent control laws are restricting the growth of rental housing and discourage owners from renting out their vacant houses due to fear of repossession” – As per Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Highlights of the Model Law:

  • Applicable prospectivelyand will not affect the existing tenancies.
  • Written agreement is a must for all new tenancies. The agreement will have to be submitted to the concerned district ‘Rent Authority’.
  • The law also speaks about roles and responsibilities of landlord and tenants.
  • No landlord or property manager can withhold any essential supply to the premises occupied by the tenant.
  • If tenancy has not been renewed, the tenancy shall be deemed to be renewed on a month-to-month basis on the same terms and conditions as were in the expired tenancy agreement, for a maximum period of six months.
  • Compensation in case of non-vacancy:On the expiry of extended period of six months of agreed tenancy period or the termination of tenancy by order or notice, the tenant shall be a tenant in default and liable to pay compensation of double of the monthly rent for two months and four times of the monthly rent thereafter.
  • A landowner or property manager may enter a premise in accordance with written notice or notice through electronic medium served to the tenant at least twenty-four hours before the time of entry.

Significance:

It is an important piece of legislation that promises to ease the burden on civil courts, unlock rental properties stuck in legal disputes, and prevent future tangles by balancing the interests of tenants and landlords.

Need for a law in this regard:

  1. Young, educated job seekers migrating to large metropolises often complain of onerous tenancy conditions and obscene sums of money as security deposits that they are asked to fork out to lease accommodation. In some cities, tenants are asked to pay security deposits amounting to 11 months of rent.
  2. Also, some house owners routinely breach tenants’ right to privacy by visiting the premises unannounced for sundry repair works.
  3. Whimsical rent raises are another problem for tenants, many of whom complain of being squeezed as “captive customers“.
  4. Besides, Tenants are often accused of “squatting” on the rented premises, or trying to grab the property.

Challenges:

  1. The Act is not binding on the states as land and urban development remain state subjects.
  2. Like in the case with RERA (Real Estate (Regulation and Development Act), the fear is that states may choose not to follow guidelines, diluting the essence of the Model Act.
  3. Multiplicity of Laws to govern tenancy as there is already Rent Control Act 1948 to govern tenancy laws.
  4. It heavily penalises the tenant if s/he doesn’t vacate the house in prescribed rent period even during emergency situations – This clause lack clarity.
  5. Law envisages a three-tier grievance redressal system with a district-level judge in charge of dispute resolution. This means that states will have to invest time, resources and efforts to set up these institutions and also spare human resource from an already burdened lower judiciary system.

Conclusion:

Like Real Estate Regulation Act that helped states like Maharashtra to make MahaRERA successful to a large extent. We may expect tenancy acts in states to become more efficient in providing a level-playing field to both owners and tenants.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

6. Explain the purpose of global minimum corporate tax and discuss how it can help in plugging the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) issues. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article presents an analysis on the proposal for a global minimum corporate tax, avenues for India and scope of international disagreements.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the purpose of global minimum corporate tax and discuss how it can help in plugging the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) issues.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the definition of what global minimum corporate tax.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the background of the question briefly – The U.S. has sought to impose a global minimum tax on foreign income earned by U.S. corporations. The proposal is perhaps intended to disincentivise American companies from inverting their structures due to the increase in the U.S. corporate tax rate.  The proposal is similar to Pillar Two which was the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) plan to plug the remaining Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) issues.

Discuss the possible benefits for India from global minimum corporate tax regime.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Global Minimum Corporate Tax is a type of corporate tax. Under this, if a company moves some of its operations to another country having low-tax jurisdiction, then the company have to pay the difference between that minimum rate and whatever the firm paid on its overseas earnings.

Overall, it is estimated that corporate tax avoidance costs countries around the world $300 to $500 billion in lost revenues each year.

Body

The U.S. has sought to impose a global minimum tax on foreign income earned by U.S. corporations. The proposal is perhaps intended to disincentivise American companies from inverting their structures due to the increase in the U.S. corporate tax rate.  The proposal is similar to Pillar Two which was the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) plan to plug the remaining Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) issues.

Impact of Global Minimum Corporate Tax

  1. The global minimum tax rate would apply to companies’ overseas profits. Therefore, if countries agree on a global minimum, governments could still set whatever local corporate tax rate they want.
  2. The goal of a global corporate minimum tax is to end a 30-year race to the corporate tax rates.
  3. But if companies pay lower rates in a particular country, their home governments could “top-up” their taxes to the agreed minimum rate, eliminating the advantage of shifting profits to a tax haven.
  4. The OECD said last month that governments broadly agreed already on the basic design of the minimum tax although the rate remains to be agreed. International tax experts say that is the thorniest issue.
  5. Other items still to be negotiated include whether industries like investment funds and real estate investment trusts should be covered, when to apply the new rate and ensuring it is compatible with the 2017 U.S. tax reforms aimed at deterring tax-base erosion.
  6. Over the past decadesa number of countries have enacted tax policies specifically aimed at attracting multinational business. These countries attract investment by lowering corporate tax rates. This, in turn, has pushed other countries to lower their rates as well to remain competitive.
  7. Responding to the incentives created by these laws, many multinational corporations have moved their assets to low tax countries. Particularly their ownership of the intellectual property to countries offering them low or even no-tax treatment for the assets they produce.
  8. This has impacted countries around the world. As they lose out on an estimated $100 billion per year in tax revenue. India’s annual tax loss due to corporate tax abuse is estimated at over $10 billion.

Challenges:

  1. The proposal impinges on the right of the sovereign to decide a nation’s tax policy.
  2. Taxation is ultimately a sovereign function, and depending upon the needs and circumstances of the nation, the government is open to participate and engage in the emerging discussions globally around the corporate tax structure.
  3. A global minimum rate would essentially take away a tool that countries use to push policies that suit them. A lower tax rate is a tool they can use to alternatively push economic activity.

For instance, in the backdrop of the pandemic, IMF and World Bank data suggest that developing countries with less ability to offer mega stimulus packages may experience a longer economic hangover than developed nations.

  1. Also, a global minimum tax rate will do little to tackle tax evasion.

India has already been proactively engaging with foreign governments in double taxation avoidance agreements, tax information exchange agreements, and multilateral conventions to plug loopholes. This proposal of a common tax rate, thereby, adds no further benefits to India.

A lower tax rate is a tool for India to alternatively push economic activity. If the proposal comes into effect, India may experience a longer economic hangover than other developed nations with less ability to offer mega stimulus packages. Multilateralism will further stumble in such a tax policy. The policy will create haves and have-nots across the world.

Conclusion

Therefore, even though a lot more remains to be done to achieve parity in international financial relations and the advancement of the goals of global tax justice, the global corporate minimum tax could go a long way in the accomplishment of these aims. Countries like India should not be recalcitrant about signing on to this proposal, and should approach this idea with cautious optimism.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: challenges of corruption.

7. “The requirement of government sanction for prosecuting dishonest officials is a protective shield for corruption.” Do you agree? (250 words)

Reference:  prsindia.org

Why the question:

Criminal laws in India by way of “sanctions” allow for protective discrimination in favour of public officials. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way often the requirement of government sanction for prosecuting dishonest officials is a protective shield for corruption.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

All people are equal under the law, but the provisions relating to prosecution sanctions in India would suggest that some people are more equal than others.

Body:

Explain that Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act prevents courts from taking cognizance of offences allegedly committed under the Act by a public servant without prior sanction of the government. And Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure lays down the general requirement of prior sanction while prosecuting public servants. Such provisions were conceived to ensure that public servants are not harassed and their work not stymied by vexatious and frivolous complaints. But in practice, these protective measures have functioned as a shield against prosecution, encouraging dishonest bureaucrats and ministers to flout the law with impunity.

Discuss the pros and cons of it.

Suggest what needs to be done, quote the Supreme Court’s observations upon it.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the idea that the law must differ for public servants and private citizens is an anachronism, one that has no basis in principle and has no defence in practice.

Introduction

Prevention of Corruption Act prevents courts from taking cognizance of offences allegedly committed under the Act by a public servant without prior sanction of the government. Such provisions were conceived to ensure that public servants are not harassed and their work not stymied by vexatious and frivolous complaints. But in practice, these protective measures have functioned as a shield against prosecution, encouraging dishonest bureaucrats and ministers to flout the law with impunity.

Body

Government sanction protects officers from harassment

  • The Act proposes a ‘shield’ for government servants, including those retired, from prosecution by making it mandatory for investigating agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation to take prior approval from a competent authority before conducting an enquiry against them.
  • Such a requirement is not a shield for corrupt officers, rather prevents honest from being harassed.
  • Moreover, it states that such permissions shall not be necessary for cases involving the arrest of a person on the spot on the charge of accepting or attempting to accept any undue advantage for himself or for any other person.
  • Another relief that the Act provides to a public servant is that in any corruption case against him or her, the factor of “undue advantage” will have to be established.

Government sanction acts as a shield for corrupt officials

  • The older law had a broad definition of a corrupt public official, defining it simply as any person who, while holding office as a public servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest.
  • The amendments narrow this definition significantly, by adding the test of intention, meaning prosecuting agencies will have to prove a conspiracy to carry out corrupt acts, rather than simply pointing to disproportionate assets or questionable actions.
  • Prior permission of the Government or the competent authority will now be required for registering certain corruption offences.
  • Previously, the provision for taking such permission was quashed and set aside by the Supreme Court in 2014 in a writ petition.
  • This permission will give immunity to corrupt Government officers.
  • Even sanction for prosecution of corrupt public servants would now be needed even after their retirement, giving them one more level of immunity or protection.
  • The offence of disproportionate assets under Section 13(1)(e) has been made much more difficult to prove and has been diluted.

Way forward

  • Strengthen oversight institutions to ensure resources reach those most in need. Anti-corruption authorities and oversight institutions must have sufficient funds, resources and independence to perform their duties.
  • Publish relevant data and guarantee access to information to ensure the public receives easy, accessible, timely and meaningful information.
  • All agencies should cooperate to eradicate corruption. Preventive corruption measures must be appreciated and adopted as “Prevention is better than cure”.
  • Strengthen Lokpal and Lokayukta, with adequate powers and independence.

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