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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 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: Industrial Revolution

1. ‘Industrialisation was a mixed blessing.’ Explain by giving examples. (250 words)

Reference:  Old NCERT World History Ch7 Industrial Revolution, Capitalism, Their Effect on Society, Rise of Trade Unions & Socialism

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, part World history.

Key Demand of the question:

Elaborate with suitable examples in what way industrialisation was a mixed bag of blessings.

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 impact of Industrialisation, its significance in general.

Body:

The Industrial Revolution, otherwise known as the First Industrial Revolution, was a series of innovations in manufacturing processes that transformed rural, agrarian European and American societies into industrialised and urban ones.

Point out the blessing of the Industrial Revolution – Production by machines has met the growing need of the growing population of the world, only machines have made it possible for the mankind to meet the primary necessities of food, clothes and shelter, have relieved man of the drudgery of tiring and unpleasant jobs etc.

Discuss the harmful effects of Industrial Revolution.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its significance.

Introduction:

Industrialization is the development of industries in a region or a country on a wide scale. It is also the period of economic and social change that transforms human societies from agrarian tendencies into one that has the purpose of manufacturing. When the incomes of workers rise, then the markets for different consumer goods and services expands. That results in a further stimulus to economic growth and industrial investment.

The first steps toward industrialization took place in the middle of the 18th century. The initial focus was on specific areas of North America and Europe, with Great Britain leading the way into this new economy. Its initial characteristics included shifts from rural work, technological progress, and changes in class consciousness.

Body

Advantages of Industrialization

  • Industrialization brought the current import-export market setup: Businesses formed from industrialization have a more abundant supply available for particular goods and services. When domestic demands were not enough to help optimize production levels, multinational firms began forming. Countries could expand their import and export markets for the goods getting made.

Eg: the role of Multinational companies in today’s world is product of industrialisation.

  • Industrialization makes goods and services more affordable.
    Labour is the most expensive part of the manufacturing process for most industries. When people were creating items by hand, including books and clothing, then they needed to be compensated for their efforts. With machines helping humans to create products with greater speed, then the cost of labour per unit went down.
  • Quality of life for each person and household improved:
    Before the world experienced industrialization, comfort and convenience were typically reserved for the wealthy, nobles, military leaders, and high-ranking politicians. The introduction of mass production changed how everyone could access goods or services. It was a change that led to mass production of numerous items, lower costs and improved availability to the average family. This event would lead to the first time in history when the “poor” or “middle class” could save money while still meeting their needs.

Eg: anyone could own property without needing to be a farmer or a royal. One didn’t need to grow your own food through homesteading efforts.

  • Industrialization created more jobs for the global economy.
    New manufacturing equipment required additional employment opportunities in each community. Factories that had higher quotas to meet needed new workers on the floor working to produce goods. Each new invention or best practice that came about because of industrialization led to more jobs for the global economy. It created structures where the average person could earn a decent living while having more time with their family, even if the conditions were sometimes unsafe or unsanitary.

Eg: When the workers with higher wages could invest their savings into new ventures, each economy benefitted because new cash pools help to fund new ventures. It shifted money away from the aristocracy to the average household.

  • It shifted our perspective of wants vs. needs.
    When people made products before industrialization, the labour required to create something meant that each item required a specific purpose. We made things because of their usefulness, which limited our innovation. Factories could make clothing faster while helping it to last longer. It allowed people to step outside of the family business to try something new. This advantage would eventually lead to a stronger free-market economy where those with the most innovation could get rewarded for their creativity. Eg: Searching for more factories promoted imperialism.

Disadvantages of Industrialization

  • Working conditions declined during industrialization.
    Industrialization brought people more money and better access to goods and services, but it also increased the amount of risk that people faced. Eg: Employees were expected to put in long shifts, often working 12-hour days with only Sunday off to spend time with their families. If you were sick or got injured, then you’d probably get fired.
  • Industrialization created more income inequality that promoted widespread poverty and hunger – Eg: top 5 percent of individuals amassed 90 % of the wealth.
  • It promoted Global Warming and climate change – Eg: carbon levels before the 19th century were under 300 parts per million. After industrialization, CO2 rates rose to 400 parts per million. Oceans have a more acidic pH level. We have plastics pollution everywhere, with microplastics entering the human food chain because animals consume these small items.

This disadvantage has led to changes in our soil composition, water quality, and the air that we breathe. It’s reducing biodiversity while our economies grow. Unless action gets taken to curb this issue, we will one day reach a tipping point where a recovery might not be possible.

  • Industrialization altered the political landscape of the planet.
    We still experience the fallout from industrialization in our global politics. Fewer than 40 countries have gone through a modern economic revolution to fully incorporate these technologies, giving those that have a massive advantage over the “developing” world. There are more opportunities for success in these countries, requiring people who want an advanced education to leave their homes to receive it. Eg: Alteration of map of Africa as per whims and fancies of Europeans.
  • Living conditions around the new factories were worse for instance, Jharkhand coal mines although was rich in minerals it was degraded the quality of life of individuals.

Conclusion:

Industrialization changed our world for the better in many ways. It is up to us to clean up the pollution that comes about as a side effect to these efforts. If we’re unwilling to approach our environment in the same way that we look at our economies, then this planet we have may not be around much longer.

 

Topic: GS-1: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

GS-2: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

2. Discuss how child marriages in India lead to an intergenerational cycle of poverty. Also suggest some measures to curb this menace. (250 words)

Reference: Down to Earth 

Why the question:

The question is based on the impact of child marriages and its impact on poverty.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how the risks associated with child marriage do not end with girls married before 18: It leads to an intergenerational cycle of poverty that adversely impacts the economy.

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 facts related to child marriages in India.

Body:

Recent estimates by United Nations Children’s Fund projected that an additional 10 million girls globally will be at risk of child marriages over the next decade due to COVID-19. This may be the case despite years of significant global gains.

The risks associated with child marriage do not end with girls who are married before 18: it leads to an intergenerational cycle of poverty that adversely impacts the economy. It puts girls at risk of being denied access to education, which impacts their autonomy and their access to health care.

Child marriages perpetuate gender discrimination, which in turn lead to malnutrition and reproductive health issues. The ongoing pandemic has undermined the progress made towards achieving gender rights and educational parity for girls.

Suggest what need to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable solutions.

Introduction:

Child marriage usually refers to a social phenomenon practiced 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. In this practice, the individuals (the boy and girl) do not meet one another until they reach the marriageable age, when the wedding ceremony is performed.

Recent analysis by UNICEF points out that one in three of the world’s child brides live in India. It has also warned India against the increase in child marriages owing to the adversaries of COVID-19.  To achieve the commitment of ending child marriages by 2030, it becomes important to integrate the COVID -19 responses with child marriage elimination efforts.

Body:

The factors that encourage its subsistence are usually a combination of poverty, the lack of education, continued perpetration of patriarchal relations that encourage and facilitate gender inequalities, and cultural perspectives that encourage the phenomenon to thrive.

Continued prevalence of child marriage in India

  • Lack of education: A big determinant of the age of marriage is education. Around 45% of women with no education and 40% with primary education married before the age of 18, according to NFHS-4.
  • Seen as a Burden: Economically, child marriages work as mechanisms that are quick income earners. A girl child is seen as a leeway to a large dowry, to be given to her family upon her marriage.
  • Poverty: In terms of economic status, women from poor households tend to marry earlier. While more than 30% of women from the lowest two wealth quintiles were married by the age of 18, the corresponding figure in the richest quintile was 8%.
  • Social background:Child marriages are more prevalent in rural areas and among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • Trafficking: Poor families are tempted to sell their girls not just into marriage, but into prostitution, as the transaction enables large sums of money to benefit the girl’s family and harms the girl. There is apathy towards their girls and the money by selling their girls is used for the benefit of their sons
  • 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.

Interlinkages of poverty and child marriages in India:

  • Madhya Pradesh recorded 46 child marriages between November 2019 and March 2020, a figure that that jumped to 117 in just three months of the lockdown from April to June 2020, data provided by ChildLine India
  • According to ChildLine India, across India 5,214 child marriages were reported in the first four months of lockdown between March to June.
  • UNICEF has said that in Madhya Pradesh where child marriages are a constant challenge, economic pressures due to the pandemic has pushed poor parents to marry off girls early.

Facts and figures about the prevalence of Child marriage in India:

  • Child marriage is widespread across India, with nearly half of brides married as girls. While there has been a decline in the incidence of child marriage nationally (from 54 per cent in 1992-93 to 33 per cent today) and in nearly all states, the pace of change remains slow, especially for girls in the age group 15-18 years.
  • Child marriage is more prevalent in rural areas (48 per cent) than in urban areas (29 per cent). There are also variations across different groups, particularly excluded communities, castes and tribes – although some ethnic groups, such as tribal groups, have lower rates of child marriage compared with the majority population.
  • Drop out of school, have a low-paid job and limited decision-making power at home. A girl with 10 years of education has a six times lower chance of being pushed into marriage before she is 18.
  • 40% of the world’s 60 million child marriages take place in India according to the National Family Health Survey. India has the 14th highest rate of child marriage in the world, according to the International Center for Research on Women.

Measures to prevent child marriages:

  • Education is one of the most effective strategies to protect children against marriage. When girls are able to stay in school an attitudinal change can also occur towards their opportunities within the community.
  • Gender sensitization programs: Gender training programs should be spread throughout the district for police and NGOs. Primary and secondary education for girls should be promoted.
  • Government of India along with organizations like UNICEF and NGOs should make the efforts for the implementation of the convergent national strategy, which includes:
  • Law enforcement: Capacity-building on laws, support mechanisms such as a child marriage telephone hotline, ‘Odisha Child Marriage Resistance Forum’.
  • Girls’ empowerment: Imparting Life skills, protection skills, higher education and employment opportunities etc.
  • Community mobilization: Working with influential leaders, oaths and pledges, counselling, folk and traditional media. Government’s partnerships with civil society organizations and communities are key to supporting community mobilization efforts and mindset changes and partnerships with the media are very important for raising awareness of child marriage.
  • Promoting convergence of sectors at all levels, in particular with education and social protection schemes and programmes.
  • Government of India has already enacted laws like Child marriage prohibition act 2006 and started many initiatives like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana etc. to incentivize the people to give equal treatment to their daughters as their sons.
  • The Government of India is also implementing national programmes aimed at protecting and promoting the development of children, while states are supporting these initiatives through state-level schemes. However, many of the programmes focus on addressing financial vulnerability through cash transfer schemes to keep girls in school. The governments’ efforts should go beyond the financial solution and should also focus on changing mindset, creating awareness etc.
  • Conditional Cash Transfer schemes addresses issues more towards the  individual  rather than  the  household, which  is  the  focus  of  the government.
  • Certain national schemes, is, related to maternity benefits and the survival and education of the girl child which addresses the problem of child marriage directly or indirectly. E.g.: Dhanalakshmi, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent girls (SABLA) etc.
  • CCTs have benefits of legal protection of the marriage as well as ensuring education of girls.

Conclusion:

Government of India has the biggest responsibility towards ensuring better childhood of every child. Every child irrespective of socio-economic status is entitled to the quality education, health facilities and freedom and space to enjoy childhood.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3.  “The COVID-19 vaccination drive demonstrates that India has become Atmanirbhar in vaccination against infectious diseases”, Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The question talks about the vaccination drive and the journey India has taken so far.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way finally now India has reached the stage of Atmanirbharta in the journey of vaccination.

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:

Start by highlighting the vaccination journey so far travelled by India.

Body:

Although India will not need to vaccinate its entire population, it would have to vaccinate at least 30-40% of the people to develop herd immunity fully. Even at a minimum scale, approximately 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be required, given that most vaccines need a booster dose.

Discuss the challenges before it in achieving the set targets.

Explain in what way it is finally achieving Atmanirbharta in vaccination against covid-19.

Conclusion:

Suggest upon the efforts made by government of India and conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India began the “World’s Largest Vaccination Program” on January 16, 2021. The Prime Minister of India said that India is entering a decisive phase of vaccination in the fight against COVID-19, with the approval of two made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines. The PM has also said that two vaccines are more cost-effective than any other in the world and that India’s vaccine production & delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis.

Body

Major Features:

  • It is India’s first ever adult vaccination drive.
  • The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI)has granted the emergency-use approval for two indigenous vaccines: COVISHIELD by Serum Institute of India and COVAXIN by Bharat Biotech.
  • The two vaccines are found to be safe and no major side effects are expected. However, little pain or redness in the skin can be observed.
  • The vaccines have gone through preclinical animal experiments on animals like rabbits, mice and hamsters followed by non-human primates.
  • Out of the two vaccines, Covaxin is an inactivated vaccinewhereas Covishield is a live vaccine.
  • In the first phase of vaccination,the first 3 crore people to be vaccinated include the healthcare workers and frontline workers.
  • The cost of vaccination of these people will be borne by the government.

India and Other Vaccines

  • At present 80-90% of the world’swhole Measles vaccine is provided by India.
  • India supplies all the Rubellavaccines to South America.
  • The indigenous developed meningococcal vaccineof India is supplied to the entire Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Meningococcal meningitisis caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. It is a serious infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
  • The indigenous rotavirus vaccineis going to 16 countries in the world.
  • Various novel vaccines have been introduced by India, such as the world’s firstsubunit rabies vaccine. It has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India.
  • Subunit vaccinesare composed of protein or glycoprotein components of a pathogen that are capable of inducing a protective immune response and may be produced by conventional biochemical or recombinant DNA technologies.

Government Strategy for Smooth and Effective Drive:

  • Preparatory measures:The key preparatory aspects that have been undertaken include the physical infrastructure, human resources and training of the vaccinators.
  • The digital aspect:The government has launched the Co-WIN application for the registration of the citizens and to generate digital certificates of vaccination.
  • Community participation:Besides preparatory aspects, the community participation has also been emphasised by the Prime Minister. He has urged all to come forward and help in eliminating vaccine hesitancy.
  • Beneficiary identification:Separate templates have been developed for the healthcare workers and the frontline workers.
  • People above the age of 50 who have comorbidities will be the next to be vaccinated.
  • Aadharwill also be used for the beneficiary identification.

Steps need to be taken:

  • Spreading awareness:Leaders, influential people and healthcare workers who will be vaccinated need to come forward and help spreading awareness about the vaccine.
  • Effective collaboration:Effective and decentralised implementation with the collaboration of centre, state, communities and health care workers.
  • Proper training:Ensuring proper training of vaccinators and adopting measures to maintain temperature of vaccines.
  • Monitoring:Keeping watch of any side effects that may arise due to vaccines and adopting measures to be used in an emergency for such situations.

Challenges:

  • Vaccine hesitancy:Either they are common people, or the frontline workers, vaccine hesitancy, if exists, it may obstruct the smooth implementation of the vaccination drive.
  • If the healthcare workers are hesitant about getting vaccinated, it will not create a good impact among common people as they are the role model for the people who will be vaccinated next.
  • There is uncertainty and suspicion about the side effects of the vaccine.
  • Issues with the Co-WIN App:Issues such as loss of internet connectivity are expected to be faced in the app, which could cause problems while tracking the vaccine stocks, or in the updating of data of the beneficiaries.
  • Lack of experience:The Covid-19 Vaccination drive is India’s first ever large scale immunisation programme. There is a lack of experience due to which the chances of mistakes are likely to happen.
  • Vaccine wastage:Each vaccine vial contains 10 doses and must be used within 4 hours of opening. This could lead to vaccine wastage.

Way Forward:

  • Eliminating vaccine hesitancy:The covid-19 vaccines are for adults, the communication is required in order to resolve the confusions and to eliminate the vaccine hesitancy.
  • Engagement with the community based organisations and spreading awareness by educating people about the vaccine.
  • Janbhagidari:Community partnership or janbhagidari should be emphasised.

People should take the vaccine and spread the word about the efficacy and security of the vaccine.

  • Preventing vaccine wastage:organised appointment for vaccinations, ensuring once opened, the vaccine is surely utilised and not wasted.
  • Continuing the flow of vaccines:Taking lessons from other countries, India should continue the flow of vaccines.
  • The US got stalled because they started to store the second dose of vaccines too. India should continue the flow of vaccines to the areas where it is required.
  • Vaccination Covid-appropriate behaviour:Neither Covid appropriate behaviour nor vaccination is enough alone. Both have to go hand in hand in order to completely eliminate the pandemic.

Conclusion:

India has now emerged as a global covid vaccine hub which is done not only by manufacturing or developing vaccines but also ensuring how it will be transported and how the entire vaccination drive has to be done.

For the world’s largest vaccination against covid-19, a multi-prong approach is required including educating people, following the vaccination process, keeping a check on new strains of virus, maintaining the records of essential data of the beneficiaries and refining our strategy.

Vaccine hesitancy is the main obstruction in the smooth vaccination drive, in order to defeat the pandemic, vaccine hesitancy should be eliminated first as It is not the vaccine but vaccination that prevents an infection.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Discuss the issues associated with global minimum tax and how it matters to India in the changing digital landscape where data is the new oil. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article deals with the issue of global minimum tax and how it matters to India in the changing digital landscape where data is the new oil.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the issues associated with global minimum tax and how it matters to India in the changing digital landscape where data is the new oil.

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 you understand by global minimum tax.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First explain that in the just-concluded G7 summit in the UK, the leaders endorsed the global taxation reforms premised on two pillars.

Then discuss how companies monetize data; the concept of tax on electronic transmission of data across borders was expressly prohibited under multiple WTO declarations.

Account for the efforts to find solution to tax avoidance.

Present the case of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India must negotiate hard to come to an equitable position on the global tax and avoid as it harbors the largest user base of the social media companies.

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.

Recently, the Finance Ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) nations reached a landmark accord setting a Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate (GMCTR).

Body:

G7 would back a minimum global corporation tax rate of at least 15%, and put in place measures to ensure taxes were paid in the countries where businesses operate. It 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. 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.

Impact on India:

Tax avoidance will continue to remain a troubling issue for the global economy. It will further be problematic to enforce such a policy in a federal government structured country like 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.
  • While taxation is ultimately a sovereign function, and depends upon the needs and circumstances of the nation, the governments should be open to participate and engage in the emerging discussionsglobally around the corporate tax structure.
  • To address “the challenges posed by the enterprises who conduct their business through digital means and carry out activities in the country remotely”, the government has the ‘Equalisation Levy’,introduced in 2016 following a recommendation by a panel constituted to deliberate on taxation of the digital economy.
  • Also, the IT Act has been amended to bring in the concept of “Significant Economic Presence” for establishing “business connection” in the case of non-residents in India.
  • 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.

India’s stand:

  • With the largest user base for Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube, which is monetised handsomely by these platforms, India will not be adequately compensated by the above two steps.
  • With around 45 per cent of a total population of 1.3 billion being digitally connected, and more people getting connected, these tech companies are bound to benefit further.
  • 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.

Way forward:

  • At the same time, the government must also pass the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 quickly so that provisions for data localisation, requiring Indian data to be stored and processed in the country are in place.
  • This could be the ideal way to force tech firms to correctly evaluate the revenue generated from our sovereign data and thus tax it.
  • Till that is achieved or a consensus arrived at, the government must ensure that the DST will fill the gap as an economic rent against the use of Indian data.

Conclusion:

Multinationals are a source of foreign direct investment. These corporations help to generate demand with efficient utilisation of resources and create employment in low-income countries. Nations have used their freedom to set corporation tax rates as a way to attract such businesses. Smaller countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands and Singapore have attracted footloose businesses by offering low corporate tax rates. The global minimum tax rate will finish off every opportunity for such countries whose only weapon to attract these companies is lower taxes. In a world where there are income inequalities across geographies, a minimum global corporation tax rate could crowd out investment opportunities.

 

Topic: GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

GS-3: Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

5. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 is India’s primary legal armament against terrorism. But its application has run into controversies on the grounds of breach of fundamental rights. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article critically analyses the use of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 as India’s primary legal armament against terrorism.

Key Demand of the question:

Critically analyse the use and misuse of India’s primary legal armament against terrorism.

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 the context of the question.

Body:

The three orders by the Delhi High Court are perhaps the first instance of a court calling out alleged misuse of the UAPA against individuals in cases that do not necessarily fall in the category of “terrorism” cases.

Then elaborate on the crippling effect of sedition and UAPA on dissent in India.

Such answers are best explained with examples.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions to address the issue.

Introduction:

The Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment (UAPA) Bill is an anti-terror legislation that seeks to designate an individual as a “terrorist”. There has been a sharp surge in the state’s use of this provision in a sweeping range of alleged offences — against tribals in Chhattisgarh, those using social media through proxy servers in Jammu and Kashmir; and journalists in Manipur among others.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Parliament in March, a total of 1126 cases were registered under UAPA in 2019, a sharp rise from 897 in 2015. By ruling that “terrorist activity” cannot be broadly defined to include ordinary penal offences, the three Delhi High Court orders granting bail recently to three student-activists.

Body:

Key Features of the UAPA Act:

  • It empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists if the person commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism, promotes terrorism or is otherwise involved in terrorism.
  • This has been done as it is seen that when a terrorist organization is banned, its members form a new organization to spread terrorism.
  • The bill also empowers the Director-General, National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is being investigated by the agency.
  • Under the existing Act, the investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police (DGP) to seize properties that bear any connection to terrorism.
  • It has been seen that many times a terror accused own properties in different states. In such cases, seeking approval of DGPs of different states becomes very difficult, and the delay caused by the same may enable the accused to transfer properties.
  • It empowers the officers of the NIA — of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  • The existing Act provides for investigation of cases to be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
  • No changes being made in arrest or bail provisions. Also, the provision that the burden of proof is on the investigating agency and not on the accused, has not been changed.
  • The International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) has also been added in the Second Schedule through the Amendment.

Impact on Fundamental rights:

  • It allows the central government to name an individual as a terrorist if it “believes” without any formal judicial process, which is against the principles of natural justice.
  • The name of such a person will be included in the ‘Fourth Schedule’ proposed to be added in the parent Act. The only statutory remedy available to such a person is to make an application before the Central Government for de-notification, which will be considered by a Review Committee constituted by the Government itself.
  • An official designation as a terrorist will be akin to ‘civil death’ for a person, with social boycott, expulsion from job, hounding by media, and perhaps attack from self-proclaimed vigilante groups following.
  • The Amendment poses threat to different viewpoints and goes against the freedom of speech and expression of an individual.
  • The law could target minorities or a section of people thereby affecting their cultural rights.
  • Provisions of the UAPA have an extremely wide ambit, which makes it possible to use them against not just criminals and terrorists, but even authors, academics, lawyers for alleged terrorists, and human rights activists.

Indefinite Imprisonment without Trial: Even if the person is eventually acquitted of the charges, the delays in conducting judicial proceedings mean the case may only get heard several years after their arrest – failure to get bail means they have to spend the entire time in jail.

  • The Act also interferes with the privacy and liberty of individuals contravening the provisions which protect against arbitrary or unlawful interference with a person’s privacy and home.
  • The Act allows for searches, seizures and arrests based on the ‘personal knowledge’ of the police officers without a written validation from a superior judicial authority.

Liberty v/s National Security:

  • This law is aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
  • Its main objective is to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • But there must be a distinction between an individual and an organisation, and it must be kept in mind that the Constitution guarantees the former the right to life and liberty.
  • Benjamin Franklin said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Way forward:

  • There is a need to undertake structural changes to provide transparency in the proceedings to make UAPA act more accountable.
  • Proper justification must be provided for the seizure of the properties and assets of an individual.
  • The bill must ensure judicial solutions to the wrongly accused to safeguard the individual’s dignity, freedom and equality in the society.
  • The government must also rethink regarding the issues pertaining to the rights of life and liberty, and to federalism.

Conclusion:

In civilised nations, from whom India has taken its Constitution and its laws, the criminal justice system is about the rights of the accused. That is also the foundation of our justice system. The very idea of the UAPA and the decision to start naming people terrorists without securing a conviction from a court of law, goes against the principles of natural justice.

 


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. The idea of Civil Services Board has been widely hailed as a key civil services reform; however it is not without its own limitation. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of civil services reforms.  

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the idea of Civil Services Board and its pros and cons.

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:

Introduce by explaining the Civil Services Board.

Body:

The Civil Services Board is a panel, headed by the cabinet secretary at the national level and chief secretaries at the state level, formed to regulate transfers and postings of higher-ranking civil services officers in the country. The Department of Personnel Rules 2016 made it mandatory for all states to setup such boards, following the recommendations of the 2nd ARC and Supreme Court directive in TSR Subramanian Case, 2013.

Briefly mention why it is widely hailed as key civil services reform.

Discuss the limitations of the Civil Service Board.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

To insulate the bureaucracy from political interference and to put an end to frequent transfers of civil servants by political bosses, the Supreme Court had in 2013 directed the Centre and the states to set up a civil services board to consider transfers and postings of bureaucrats among others. As per rules, all states should have a civil services board to decide on transfers and postings of the bureaucrats.

Body:

Composition:

  • Civil Services Board is responsible for the entry-level recruitment and subsequent job promotions below the rank of Joint Secretary.
  • As per a state government notification dated June 2, CSB will be headed by Chief Secretary, with Personnel Secretary, and either Financial Commissioner (Revenue) or Home Secretary (who so ever is senior in the pecking order) as its members.
  • The board provides for the state to follow the Centre’s guidelines on giving a fixed tenure of at least two years for cadre officers.
  • They cannot be transferred before that and if anyone recommends their transfer then the board will examine and affect it.
  • The final authority is the Chief Minister at state and Prime minister at center.

Benefits:

  • If the officials have a fixed tenure they will be able to provide better administration.
  • They will also feel safe and try to stick to the rulesinstead of pleasing political bosses.
  • Every official requires 3-6 months to get into the routine at his/her new place of posting. If they stay there for two years, it would mean better delivery and stable tenure to people.

Issues Involved:

  • If the tenure of bureaucrats is fixed, it may create functional and administrative problems.
    • The officers may overstep the authority and jurisdiction of the state government.
    • It may make them less answerable and accountable to legislators.
  • With the fixed tenure rule,the political executives feel their influence has been reduced to nothing, since all the powers to examine a recommendation for a transfer lies with the CSB.
  • The bureaucrats feel the urge to go to courts for effective implementation of guidelinesin letter and spirit.
    • g. Haryana had the CSB in place but the guidelines are not followed there.

Way forward:

  • A healthy working relationship between Ministers, MPs, MLAs and civil servants is critical for good governance. Therefore, the state needs to take every stakeholder of governance in confidence.
  • The state can learn from the loopholes of other states in implementing the fixed tenure rule.

 

Topic: Citizen’s Charters

7. What are the issues ailing Citizen’s Charters as an effective tool for holding public servants accountable? How can these issues be addressed?Explain. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of Citizen’s charter.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the issues associated with Citizen’s Charters as an effective tool for holding public servants accountable and suggest solutions to address the same.

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:

Introduce the concept of Citizen Charter.

Enumerate the issues pertaining to Citizen Charter that inhibits its functioning as an effective tool of accountability; Absence of legal backing to charters, Poor design and content, Inadequate groundwork, Resistance to change, Lack of review etc.

Suggest measures that can address the mentioned issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude briefly with a way forward.

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.

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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