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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 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 – 2


 

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

1. Critically assess the development plans that have been proposed for the Lakshadweep islands. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu  

Why the question:

The article argues against the recent policies introduced by the Lakshadweep Administrator in Lakshadweep.

Key Demand of the question:

Critically assess the development plans that have been proposed for the Lakshadweep islands.

Directive:

Critically 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with recent background of the issue.

Body:

Explain in what way the new policies with their one-dimensional focus on economic growth and development seem to be overlooking the environmental fragility and unique cultural geography of the islands.

Policies introduced by Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Khoda Patel in Lakshadweep have sparked protests in the union territory.

Discuss the issues in detail; issues with Draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021 (LDAR).

Comment on what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Lakshadweep UT Administration has said Praful K Patel’s proposals are aimed at ensuring safety and well-being of residents along with promoting the islands as a tourist destination on par with the Maldives. However, the residents view them as ripping the social and cultural fabric of the islands.

Body

Development plans proposed for the Lakshadweep islands

  • On an island where crime rate is already low, administrator introduced a proposal to implement the anti-social Activities Regulation bill, 2021, or the goonda act. Under this act anyone can be arrested without a trial for a period of up to one year.
  • A draft on the Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021 (LDAR) has been another bone of contention.
  • The draft gives the administrator powers to remove or relocate islanders from their property, for town planning or any developmental activity. This is to make Lakshadweep like Maldives. Severe ecological concerns are raised about this plan.
  • The draft bill gives the government and its bodies arbitrary and unchecked power to directly interfere with an islander’s right to possess and retain their property.
  • The new proposal also includes introduction of liquor shops on the islands, to fuel tourism, which thus far have been restricted owing the majority Muslim population.
  • A change is also being brought about to the Panchayat regulations wherein those people having more than two kids would be unable to contest for any panchayat elections.
  • Among a string of changes, a beef ban has been proposed and non-vegetarian meals have been scrapped from the midday meals.
  • The Administration has decided to allow liquor to be served at resorts on inhabited islands. Currently, prohibition is in place on all inhabited islands, with liquor served only at resorts on the uninhabited Bangaram island.
  • As for Covid norms, earlier on the islands a mandatory 14-day quarantine was put into place, however now a negative RT-PCR would now suffice to enter the islands. This has caused concern for the locals.

Critical analysis

  • Alongside the islanders and people on social media, opposition leaders in Lakshadweep and neighbouring Kerala have raised cause for concern.
  • Residents have alleged that the move will lead to a proliferation of liquor sales on the island, which had been observing near-prohibition until now.
  • The change in covid norms led to the island losing its ‘green zone’ tag and a spurt in infections in subsequent months. As of May 28, the Union Territory has reported over 7,300 cases and 28 deaths. Islanders blame the Administration for mismanagement in handling of the pandemic.
  • Lawmakers in Kerala raised issues of locals. Majority of the 70,000 people in this Island depend on fishing and government services, but the new administration demolished huts of fisherman accusing Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violation.
  • The measures of administrator were termed authoritarian and locals are severely protesting the same. This has also fuelled demand for certain degree of autonomy to the people to administer themselves with elected representatives.

Conclusion

So far, people in the Lakshadweep have been living pretty much within the bounds of the ecological integrity of the islands. The new plans are feared to take agency away from the islanders. With the ingress of outside developers, islanders may feel alienated from their resources and land, which may fuel north-east like separatist movements. Adequate representation of the people must be given and their opinions valued before making major reforms.

 

Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

2. Discuss in detail the key electoral reforms proposed by ECI while highlighting their significance. (250 words)

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question:

Election Commission of India (ECI) has written to the Law Ministry urging it to expeditiously address electoral reforms that are pending with the government.  Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the key electoral reforms proposed by ECI while highlighting their significance.

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 the context of the question.

Body:

The Election Commission of India is pushing for at least five key electoral reforms including making paid news an electoral offence, linking Aadhaar numbers to the electoral roll , and increasing the punishment for filing a false affidavit (to two years of imprisonment).

Explain each of the proposed reforms above in detail.  

Give the merits and demerits associated.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

A free, fair and unbiased electoral process along with greater citizen participation is fundamental to safeguarding the values of a democracy. Unfortunately, Indian electoral system is grappling with certain issues which have eroded the trust of many people in the country such as role of black money, issues related to power of Election commission of India (ECI), criminality in politics etc.

Body

Key electoral reforms proposed by ECI:

The Election Commission of India is pushing for at least five key electoral reforms including

  • making paid news an electoral offence
  • linking Aadhaar numbers to the electoral roll
  • increasing the punishment for filing a false affidavit (to two years of imprisonment)
  • ECI has written to the government in this regard, officials familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
  • ECI has been considering a wide range of electoral reforms to usher in digitisation, removing duplication of voters and enabling remote voting for non-resident Indians (NRIs), even migrant workers within the country.

Need for reforms

  • No Financial accountability
    • Opacity in donations: Political parties receive majority of their funds through anonymous donations (approximately 70%) through unknown sources as per ADR.
      • With Electoral Bonds Ordinary citizens are not able to know who is donating how much money to which political party, and the bonds increase the anonymity of political donations.
      • Also, parties are exempted from showing donations about 20,000 as electoral bonds are out of the purview of this rule, which provides a channel for black money hoarders.
    • Lack of action against bribes: The EC sought insertion of a new section, 58B, to RPA, 1951 to enable it to take action if parties bribe voters of a constituency, which has not come to light.
    • Unlimited corporate donations: The maximum limit of 7.5% on the proportion of the profits a company can donate to a political party has been lifted under electoral bonds, thus opening up the possibility of shell companies being set up specifically to fund parties.
    • Allowing foreign funding: Amendment of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) has opened the floodgates of foreign funding to political parties, which can lead to eventual interference in governance.
    • Lack of transparency: Despite provisions under section 29 of RPA, 1951, parties do not submit their annual audit reports to the Election Commission. Parties have also defied that they come under the ambit of RTI act. EC does not have the power to deregister a party for financial misgivings.
  • Lack of Internal Democracy
    • Though India in a multiparty democracy, where citizens elect their leaders, the political parties are ridden with dynastic politics. There is no inner party democracy and party works in a top-down manner.
    • There can be no doubt that parties, which function as the elementary units in a competitive democracy, must themselves be democratic in how they function, from choosing their leaders to formulating strategy, in order for democracy to be substantive.
    • Regional parties that are built around a towering leader do not even have any pretence of democratic decision making: their leader’s whim or fancy is the party’s policy.
    • The left parties call their idea of inner party functioning ‘democratic centralism,’ but the stress is clearly on centralism

Steps taken by the government

  • Model Code of Conduct: In 2019 central elections, Super court rebuked ECI for not taking action against violations of MCC. Post his ECI banned political actors from campaigning for a given duration under its powers given by Article 324. ECI also postponed the elections in Vellore constituency to curb electoral corruption under.
  • Provision of None of the Above (NoTA): Supreme Court in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India case, 2013 paved the way for the introduction of NOTA.
  • De-criminalization of Politics– Under various judicial pronouncements (Lily Thomas case), various measures including declaration of criminal records, disqualification from contesting elections etc.
  • Menace of paid news– ECI has taken various steps to scrutinize, identify and report cases of Paid News.
  • Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines to cross-check EVM results through a paper audit, completing another layer of accountability to the indigenously produced machines. The SC mandated that 5 VVPATS will be counted in each constituency.
  • Candidate information: In Lok Prahari case, SC has asked the Centre to amend the rules as well as the disclosure form filed by candidates along with their nomination papers, to include the sources of their income, and those of their spouses and dependants. Non-disclosure of assets and their sources would amount to a “corrupt practice” under Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Are these enough?

  • Weak Response: ECI came under heavy criticism for its delayed action against the ruling party candidates on account of violation of MCC such as use of Indian Army in political rallies.
  • Lack of capacity: The Election Commission is vested with absolute powers under Article 324, but still has to act according to laws made by Parliament and it cannot transgress the same. E.g. Despite being the registering authority for political parties under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, it has no power to de-register them even for the gravest of violations. Money power needs to be curbed.
  • Increasing criminalization: In the current Loksabha, nearly 44% legislators have criminal cases against them. Law breakers cannot become law makers.
  • NOTA in India does not provide for a ‘right to reject’. Election Commission currently has no plenary power to call a fresh election even if NOTA secures highest votes.
  • Digital Content: Most of the [election-related] information flow does not happen via the IT cells of political parties, but through third-party contracts. Even though, the ECI has evolved a self-regulatory social media code for major players, still many platforms such as Telegram and WeChat are becoming increasingly relevant for political mobilization.
  • Women’s representation is tantamount to ensure democracy is inclusive. Currently there are 78 women legislators in Loksabha while it was 66 in 2014.

Conclusion

There is a need for political will to bring in reforms, so that democracy in India is not only procedural but also substantive in nature. From a flawed democracy India must become a thriving democracy. Free and fair elections cannot happen if political outcomes are determined by the money and muscle of candidates or by class, caste and gender distinctions. This discourages genuine candidates from contesting, and winning elections. Election Commission must be strengthened and its role must be enhanced to achieve the objective of free and fair elections.

 

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

3. Hasty content moderation efforts are insufficient without a serious review of the business model that reinforces much of the drivers of disinformation and misinformation on the social media platforms.” Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article highlights the issues mentioned in the UNHRC report on disinformation and freedom of expression.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the importance of protecting human rights in digital era.

Directive:

Critically 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Special Rapporteur submitted its report on “Disinformation and Freedom of Opinion and Expression” recently.

Body:

The UNHRC report specifically speaks of information disorder that arises from disinformation.

Impact of disinformation: Such information disorder leads to politically polarization, hinders people from meaningfully exercising their human rights, and destroys their trust in governments and institutions.

Human rights provide a powerful and appropriate framework to challenge falsehoods and present alternative viewpoints.

Discuss the need for legislative clarity on twin concept of misinformation and disinformation.

Explain other factors contributing to growth of disinformation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The recent UNHRC report noted that “Disinformation” is false information disseminated intentionally to cause serious social harm. In contrast, misinformation consists in the dissemination of false information unknowingly. The report reflects upon governments that are trying to moderate content of social media under the garb of stopping infodemic.

Body

Issue with content moderation on social media

  • While UNHRC condemned the disproportionate and blanket internet shutdowns, the report asserts that reactive content moderation efforts are unlikely to make any worthwhile difference in the “absence of a serious review of the business model that underpins much of the drivers of disinformation and misinformation”.
  • Problems of inconsistent application of companies’ terms of service, inadequate redress mechanisms and a lack of transparency and access to data re-emerge constantly.
  • Furthermore, although the platforms are global businesses, they do not appear to apply their policies consistently across all geographical areas or to uphold human rights in all jurisdictions to the same extent.
  • Internet shutdowns do not curb disinformation but, rather, hamper fact-finding and are likely to encourage rumours, and are manifestly contrary to rights against discrimination when aimed at silencing minority voices and depriving them of access to vital information.
  • However, the growth of disinformation in recent times cannot be attributed solely to technology or malicious actors, according to the report.
  • Other factors such as digital transformation and competition from online platforms, state pressure, the absence of robust public information regimes, and digital and media literacy among the general public also matter.
  • Moreover, disinformation mongers enhance the frustrations and grievances of a growing number of people, decades of economic deprivation, market failures, political disenfranchisement, and social inequalities.
  • Disinformation is thus not the cause but the consequence of societal crises and the breakdown of public trust in institutions.
  • Strategies to address disinformation will succeed only when these underlying factors are tackled.

Way forward

  • Government must balance, micromanaging social media platforms and national interest.
  • Meanwhile, social media platforms must not violate user privacy by sharing user information to third parties or cross-utilise the data so provided.
  • India needs to make a law on data protection as soon as possible on the lines of Europe’s General Data Protection Regime.
  • Though twitter, Facebook have removed unwarranted hate speech and fake news posts, this may not be enough in the times of explosion of content sharing on social media.
  • Standard guidelines agreeable universally is the need of the hour to regulate social media that does not prevent free speech while preventing misinformation.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Explain the concept of sustainable public procurement. Analyse the factors to be deliberated while making sustainable public procurement policy in India. . (250 words)

Reference: prnewswire.com

Why the question:

On World Environment Day, a new product category of Green Room Air Conditioners was launched on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM). Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the concept of sustainable public procurement, analyse the factors that need thought to bring this policy into action.

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:

Sustainable procurement is a process whereby public sector meets its needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life-cycle basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organization, but also to society, whilst significantly reducing negative impacts on the environment.

Body:

The UNEP-led One Planet Network Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) programme is a voluntary global multi-stakeholder partnership in which various parties – governmental, non-governmental, public, and private, agree to work together in a systematic way with the aim to promote and accelerate the implementation of sustainable public procurement globally.

Explain that the addition of Green Room Air Conditioners on GeM is an example of GeM being a futuristic and technology driven platform, focusing on environmental, social and economic pillars of sustainable public procurement.

Discuss the need for Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Sustainable public procurement is a process whereby public sector meets its needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life-cycle basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organization, but also to society, whilst significantly reducing negative impacts on the environment (UNEP, 2015).

A green procurement strategy leads to a reduction in consumption of resources, utilities and energy, avoids waste and emissions, protects human health and biodiversity, increases the transparency of costs and fosters innovation. It ensures fair working conditions and income while creating green jobs in the supply chain.

Body:

Target 12.7 of SDG 12 is to promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities. The scale of public procurement in India is significant. According to Ministry of Finance (2018), India spends around 25 per cent of the GDP on public procurement.

In 2018, a sustainable public procurement task force was constituted by the Ministry of Finance with a mandate of reviewing best practices in public procurement, inventorise the current status on sustainable public procurement across government organisations in India, draft a Sustainable Procurement Action Plan and recommend a set of product/service categories where it can be implemented.

Factors to be considered to make public procurement policy sustainable in India:

  • It should aim at incentivizing production linked through local content requirements, thereby encouraging domestic manufacturers’ participation in public procurement activities over entities merely importing to trade or Assemble Items.
  • As public procurement utilises a substantial portion of taxpayers’ money, governments are expected to follow strict procedures to ensure that the process is fair, efficient, transparent and minimises wastage of public resources.
  • With the government and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) focusing on environmental well-being, a GPP policy should be transparent in terms of the scope of procurement activities it will cover and mechanisms for monitoring compliance and outcomes.
  • Officials should be given adequate time to consider the impact of the changes and identify any specific steps that need to be taken on their part.
  • Wherever possible, it is advisable to discuss the criteria with existing and potential suppliers in advance of use in tenders, as part of a pre-procurement consultation exercise or a technical dialogue.
  • Above all, GPP should go hand in hand with eco-innovation policies aimed at stimulating market demand.

Conclusion:

Procuring environmentally friendly products and services is important for achieving sustainable development. SPP not only reduces waste and water consumption but also limits energy and carbon emissions. It supports fair and sustainable economic growth and delivers social benefits through procurement. SPP is not just ‘green’ procurement but it involves socially and ethically responsible procuring while minimizing environmental impact through the supply chain and maximizing economic benefits

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

5. Highlight and discuss the mitigating potentials of various missions undertaken by the government of India in order to achieve clean and green future of Indian cities. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

This year, the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is being launched, building towards the goals of this decade. In light of this, the article highlights the mitigating potentials of various missions undertaken by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Highlight and discuss the mitigating potentials of various missions undertaken by the government of India in order to achieve clean and green future of Indian cities.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly talk about the importance of ensuring sustainable development.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss that the delicate balance between sustainable development and environmental protection is one of the core targets of the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development. A networked approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals has been included in India’s policy and political discourse.

Highlight the efforts of the government in this direction.

Talk about programs like – Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a progressive track of urban development while keeping sustainability, disaster risk resilience and community building at its core has been the guiding principle of the government. It will help us preserve our environment, restore ecosystems and mitigate the risks posed by climate change in the coming decade.

Introduction:

The delicate balance between sustainable development and environmental protection is one of the core targets of the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development. A networked approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals has been included in India’s policy and political discourse over the seven years.

Body

Missions undertaken by the Government to achieve clean and green cities

  • Swachh Bharat India: The Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) focuses on achieving an open-defecation-free India, building solid waste management capacity and bringing about behavioural change.
    • Through the annual Swachh Survekshan, cooperative and competitive federalism have become the driving force behind this citizen-led jan Andolan.
    • It is estimated that the various initiatives under SBM-U can mitigate 17.42 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2022.
  • Smart Cities Mission: The Smart Cities Mission has been the one taking charge of the technological advancements of our cities to improve governance, sustainability and disaster risk resilience.
    • Smart solutions are being implemented to improve energy efficiency and non-motorised transport capacity in urban centres.
    • The Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework has been adopted which aims to help cities adapt, collaborate and exchange best practices to achieve international standards for green, sustainable and resilient urban habitats.
    • So far, the infrastructure for 417.5 km of smart roads, solar panels generating 30 MW of energy and 253.5 MLD of wastewater treatment capacity has been completed.
    • The overall reduction in GHG emissions from projects implemented under SCM is expected to reach 4.93 million tonnes of CO2 by 2022.
  • AMRUT: Under AMRUT, water supply and management, energy efficiency and increased green spaces have been part of the goal in 500 target cities.
    • As of today, 1,831 parks over 3,700 acres have been developed, 85 lakh street lights have been replaced, resulting in energy saving of 185.33 crore units (kWh), and 106 water bodies have been rejuvenated.
    • The mission is likely to result in the mitigation of 48.52 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent of GHG emissions by 2022.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban): With 1.12 crore houses sanctioned, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) has focused on new construction technologies that are innovative, environmentally friendly and disaster-resilient.
    • The Global Housing Technology Challenge was launched, and 54 new technologies identified.
    • The Prime Minister launched six Light House Projects on January 1, 2021. These are already under construction.
    • Additionally, about 43.3 lakh houses are being constructed where fly ash bricks/blocks and concrete blocks are being used.
    • Overall, the mission has the potential to mitigate around 12 million tonnes CO2 equivalent of GHG emissions by 2022.

Conclusion

Today, a transformative wave of environmental consciousness, technological advancement and holistic development is driving the sustainability agenda. The balance between society, nature and development is an intricate one pushed into the limelight by the Covid-19 crisis. Transitions brought forth by technological democratisation, sustainable infrastructure building, and behavioural change have helped us tackle the Covid-19 crisis while reaching out to those in need. Such a progressive track of urban development while keeping sustainability, disaster risk resilience and community building at its core has been the guiding principle of the government.

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6. Discuss the importance of leveraging natural gas to usher in the green hydrogen era. (250 words)

Reference:  Financial Express

Why the question:

The article explains to us that it is critical to position natural gas as a transition fuel for near-term GHG reductions & enable entry of hydrogen in a decade.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the importance of leveraging natural gas to usher in the green hydrogen era.

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 key data relevant to the question context.

Body:

Natural gas currently has a 6.6% share in India’s energy mix and is targeted to increase to 15% by 2030.

Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and has wide usage across power, industry and transport sectors, but only has a 40% smaller emission-footprint than coal. Splitting water using renewable energy to produce green hydrogen is expected to be a viable cost-competitive and carbon-neutral energy source, but only by 2040.

Discuss in what way Green hydrogen can displace natural gas wholly or partly in all sectors.

Explain the importance of strictly position natural gas as a transition fuel for immediate GHG reductions and enable the entry of hydrogen in a decade.

Take hints from the article and reason your answer.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Natural gas currently has a 6.6% share in India’s energy mix and is targeted to increase to 15% by 2030. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and has wide usage across power, industry and transport sectors, but only has a 40% smaller emission-footprint than coal. Splitting water using renewable energy to produce green hydrogen is expected to be a viable cost-competitive and carbon-neutral energy source, but only by 2040. Green hydrogen can displace natural gas wholly or partly in all sectors. Therefore, it is critical to strictly position natural gas as a transition fuel for immediate GHG reductions and enable the entry of hydrogen in a decade.

Body:

Importance of Natural Gas:

  • Natural gas has multiple uses and it is the “greenest” of all fossil fuels. Also, it is abundantly available in and within the Indian subcontinent.
  • Natural gas is a feasible prospect because it will not generate the headwinds due to shutting down of coal mines.
  • Further, it will not require industries to invest heavily in retrofitting their systems.
  • Moreover, it will allow the government to meet its objective of providing secure and affordable energy to everyone without degrading the environment.
  • The average global share of fossil fuels in the energy basket is 84% which is even more for India.
  • According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), India is the world’s third largest consumer of oil.
  • Dependence on coal and oil needs to be reduced and natural gas has to be replaced as much as possible.

Way forward to usher in the Green Hydrogen Era:

  • Deploying technologies in industry and transport that use natural gas now but are hydrogen-ready;
  • Adapting natural gas infrastructure to hydrogen;
  • Utilising natural gas for producing hydrogen to kick-start the green hydrogen ecosystem.

Conclusion:

In the green-hydrogen economy story, the journey will be as important as the destination itself. If planned well, natural gas can play the role of a bridge fuel and not act as a barrier to the entry of green hydrogen. On the contrary, stigmatising natural gas will only lock in more of the existing dirtier fossil fuels, further delaying the entry of green hydrogen.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: citizen charter

7. Explain how citizen charter enhances the trust between government and citizen. Also analyse the causes for its ineffectiveness in India .(250 words)

Reference: darpg.gov.in

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of citizen charter.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how citizen charter enhances the trust between government and citizen. Also analyse the causes for its ineffectiveness in India.

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 citizen charter.

Body:

Citizens have become more articulate and expect the administration not merely to respond to their demands but also to anticipate them. It was in this climate that since 1996 a consensus had evolved in the Government on effective and responsive administration. One among the major initiatives in this regard is the adoption of Citizens’ Charter in 1997.

Discuss the objectives and components of Citizen Charter.

Explain its importance and challenges in implementing the Charters. Explain how citizen charter enhances the trust between government and citizen. Also analyse the causes for its ineffectiveness in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

A Citizens’ Charter represents the commitment of the Organisation towards standard, quality and time frame of service delivery, grievance redress mechanism, transparency and accountability. The concept of Citizens Charter enshrines the trust between the service provider and its users.

 Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in Government of India (DARPG) initiated the task of coordinating, formulating and operationalising Citizen’s Charters.

Body:

The basic objective of the Citizens Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.

Importance of Citizen’s charter in the Governance of developing nation like India:

  • To make administration accountable and citizen friendly.
  • To ensure transparency.
  • To take measures to improve customer service.
  • To adopt a stakeholder approach.
  • To save time of both Administration and the citizen

Problems faced in implementation of Citizen’s charter:

  • One size fits all: Tendency to have a uniform CC for all offices under the parent organization. CC have still not been adopted by all Ministries/Departments. This overlooks local issues.
  • Silo operations: Devoid of participative mechanisms in a majority of cases, not formulated through a consultative process with cutting edge staff who will finally implement it.
  • Non-Dynamic: Charters are rarely updated making it a one-time exercise, frozen in time.
  • Poor design and content: lack of meaningful and succinct CC, absence of critical information that end-users need to hold agencies accountable.
  • Lack of public awareness: only a small percentage of end-users are aware of the commitments made in the CC since effective efforts of communicating and educating the public about the standards of delivery promise have not been undertaken.
  • Stakeholders not consulted: End-users, Civil society organizations and NGOs are not consulted when CCs are drafted. Since a CC’s primary purpose is to make public service delivery more citizen-centric, consultation with stakeholders is a must.
  • Measurable standards of delivery are rarely defined: making it difficult to assess whether the desired level of service has been achieved or not.
  • Poor adherence: Little interest shown by the organizations in adhering to their CC. since there is no citizen friendly mechanism to compensate the citizen if the organization defaults.

Way forward:

  • Wide consultation process: CC be formulated after extensive consultations within the organization followed by a meaningful dialogue with civil society.
  • Participatory process: Include Civil Society in the process: to assist in improvement in the contents of the Charter, its adherence as well as educating the citizens about the importance of this vital mechanism.
  • Firm commitments to be made: CC must be precise and make firm commitments of service delivery standards to the citizens/consumers in quantifiable terms wherever possible.
  • Redressal mechanism in case of default: clearly lay down the relief which the organization is bound to provide if it has defaulted on the promised standards of delivery.
  • One size does not fit all: formulation of CC should be a decentralized activity with the head office providing only broad guidelines.
  • Periodic updation of CC: preferably through an external agency.
  • Fix responsibility: Hold officers accountable for results: fix specific responsibility in cases where there is a default in adhering to the CC.

Conclusion:

Citizen’s Charter is playing a prominent part in ensuring “minimum government & maximum governance”, changing the nature of charters from non-justiciable to justiciable & adopting penalty measures that will make it more efficient & citizen friendly. The Sevottam model proposed by 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission for public Service Delivery can be regarded as a standard model for providing services in citizen centric governance.


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