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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 1 July 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: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1. Do you think Indians value religious freedom over integration? Discuss in the context of value of tolerance in our society. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

“Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation”, a Pew Center report on religious attitudes in India stated that Indians value religious freedom, not integration.  Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse the Indian values of religious freedom in accordance to the societal setup.

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 facts highlighted by the report.

Body:

The report finds that Indians of all these religious backgrounds overwhelmingly say they are very free to practice their faiths.

Indians see religious tolerance as a central part of who they are as a nation. Across the major religious groups, most people say it is very important to respect all religions to be “truly Indian.” Tolerance is a religious as well as civic value.

Explain the nuances quoted in the report and align them with the demands of the question.

Conclusion:

Conclude with fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction

The report by Pew Research Centre shows that, Indian’s value religious freedom and have high religious tolerance unlike the common belief. However, they live a segregated life and would like to largely keep interpersonal relations with members of their own religion.

Body

Religious freedom versus religious integration in India

  • Most Indians, cutting across religions, feel they enjoy religious freedom, value religious tolerance, and regard respect for all religions as central to what India is as a nation.
  • At the same time, in what might seem like a contradiction, the majority in each of the major religious groups show a marked preference for religious segregation and “want to live separately”, according to a nation-wide survey on religious attitudes, behaviours and beliefs conducted by Pew Research Center, a non-profit based in Washington DC.
  • The report found that 91% of Hindus felt they have religious freedom, while 85% of them believed that respecting all religions was very important ‘to being truly Indian’.
  • For most Hindus, religious tolerance was not just a civic virtue but also a religious value, with 80% of them stating that respecting other religions was an integral aspect of ‘being Hindu’.
  • Other religions showed similar numbers for freedom of religion and religious tolerance.
  • And yet, paradoxically, despite these shared values and a high regard for religious tolerance, the majority in all the faiths scored poorly on the metrics for religious segregation.
  • This includes composition of friends’ circle, views on stopping inter-religious marriage, and willingness to accept people of other religions as neighbours.
  • The report, observing that “in India, a person’s religion is typically also the religion of that person’s close friends”, states that relatively few Indians (13%) had a mixed friends circle.
  • On the question of inter-religious marriage, most Hindus (67%), Muslims (80%), Sikhs (59%), and Jains (66%) felt it was ‘very important’ to stop the women in their community from marrying outside their religion (similar rates of opposition to men marrying outside religion).
  • Geography was a key factor in determining attitudes, with people in the south of India more religiously integrated and less opposed to inter-religious marriages.

Analysis

  • People in all six major religious groups overwhelmingly say they are very free to practice their faiths, and most say that people of other faiths also are very free to practice their own religion.
  • Indians value religious tolerance, though they also live religiously segregated lives.
  • For many Hindus, national identity, religion and language are closely connected.
  • India’s caste system, an ancient social hierarchy with origins in Hindu writings, continues to fracture society.
  • Though India’s religious groups many shared beliefs such as karma, rebirth etc, they still do not completely favour inter-religion marriage though tolerance is high.

Conclusion

It is clear that, across all major faiths, the vast majority of Indians say that religion is very important in their lives, and significant portions of each religious group also pray daily and observe a range of other religious rituals. A welcome revelation is the fact that, most religious groups believe is cooperation and tolerance rather than hatred and communalism.

 

Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

2. “Ambedkar’s thinking and legacy are reflected in the pro-people, pro-poor welfare policies and programmes of the government”, Comment. (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in

Why the question:

The President of India laid the Foundation stone of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Memorial and Cultural centre in Lucknow.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail in what ways Ambedkar’s thinking and legacy are reflected in the pro-people, pro-poor welfare policies and programmes of the government.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief history of Dr B R Ambedkar.

Body:

Discuss his role and contributions; His role as a social reformer, chairman of the draft committee of the Indian Constitution, and first law minister of the country is well-known. He was an educationist, economist, jurist, politician, journalist, sociologist and social reformer and worked in the fields of culture, religion and spirituality.

Babasaheb always advocated for providing equal rights to women. Women have been given the same fundamental right to Equality as men in the Constitution drafted by him.

Ambedkar was the voice of the Depressed Classes on every platform. As their representative at the Round Table Conference, he championed the cause of labour improving the condition of peasants.

During the Bombay Assembly’s Poona session in 1937, he introduced a Bill to abolish the Khoti system of land tenure in Konkan.

Discuss the government initiatives that reflect his thoughts and policies.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Ambedkar’s thinking and legacy are reflected in the pro-people, pro-poor welfare policies and programmes of the government. 

Introduction

The nation is celebrating the 130th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar. The President of India laid the Foundation stone of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Memorial and Cultural centre in Lucknow. This cultural centre would play an effective role in educating all the citizens, especially the younger generation, with the ideals and objectives of Dr Ambedkar.

Body

Ambedkar was born on 14 April 1891 in the town and military cantonment of Mhow in the Central Provinces (now in Madhya Pradesh). Lord Buddha’s message of compassion and harmony was the basis of his life and politics.

Contributions

  • Babasaheb always advocated for providingequal rights to women. Women have been given the same fundamental right to Equality as men in the Constitution drafted by him.
  • Ambedkar was the voice of the Depressed Classes on every platform. As their representative at the Round Table Conference, he championed the cause of labour improving the condition of peasants.
  • During the Bombay Assembly’s Poona session in 1937, he introduced a Bill to abolish the Khoti system of land tenure in Konkan.
  • He was the first legislator in the country to introduce a Bill for abolishing the serfdom of agricultural tenants.
  • His essay titled Small Holdings in India and their Remedies (1918) proposed industrialisation as the answer to India’s agricultural problem and is still relevant to contemporary debates.
  • The Reserve Bank of India was conceptualised from the Hilton Young Commission’s recommendation, which consideredAmbedkar’s guidelines laid out in The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution
  • As a member of the Bombay Assembly,he opposed the introduction of the Industrial Disputes Bill, 1937, as it removed workers’ right to strike. He advocated for “fair condition of life of labour” instead of securing “fair condition of work” and laid out the basic structure of the government’s labour policy.
  • Ambedkar out rightly opposed the communist labour movements, their extraterritorial loyalties and their Marxian approach of controlling all means of production.
  • As chairman of the Constitution’s drafting committee, he took meticulous measures to build a just society through liberty, equality and fraternity.
  • Morality, Equality, Self-respect and Indianness were the four most important ideals of Babasaheb’s vision
  • Lord Buddha’s message of compassion and harmony was the basis of his life and politics.
  • Babasaheb stressed the need for politics based on the cultural values of morality and harmony.

Government Initiatives

Pro-People Policies – Ambedkar’s thinking and legacy are reflected in the pro-people, pro-poor welfare policies and programmes of the Government of India.

The successful implementation of:

  • The development ofPanchtirth
  • The Mudra Scheme for availing loans,
  • Stand-up India for promoting entrepreneurship in the SC and ST community,
  • The expansion of the merit-cum-means scholarship,
  • The Ayushman Bharat scheme,
  • PM Awas Yojana,
  • Ujjwala Yojana,
  • Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojna,
  • Saubhagya Yojana,
  • The simplification of labour laws

Are steps towards ensuring an appropriate legacy for Ambedkar, the nationalist reformer.

Conclusion

Today our legal system is progressing on the path suggested by him on many issues like property rights for women. This shows that Babasaheb’s visionary thinking was far ahead of his time. Ambedkar’s thinking and legacy are reflected in the pro-people, pro-poor welfare policies and programmes of the government.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. Its time for the world to embrace a holistic approach for the prevention of future pandemics. Examine. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The ‘Carbis Bay Declaration’ is a landmark global health declaration aimed at preventing future pandemics under which G7 leaders have committed to use all their resources. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way it’s high time for the world to embrace a holistic approach for the prevention of future pandemics.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The COVID-19 pandemic apart from being one of the biggest health challenges to mankind has also resulted in devastating economic impact.

Body:

First, provide for a brief background of the question; Devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Millions have lost their lives and many more have lost their livelihoods thus being pushed into acute poverty and the challenges thereof.

Analyse the threat of future pandemics; COVID-19 is not going to be the last pandemic that the earth faces. The threat of future pandemics remains high – increasing proximity between humans and animals due to deforestation, population growth, and the search for wild food, increasing movement of people across countries, Global warming etc.

Discuss the concerns in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions.

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic apart from being one of the biggest health challenges to mankind has also resulted in devastating economic impact. Millions have lost their lives and many more have lost their livelihoods thus being pushed into acute poverty and the challenges thereof. The burden of disease and mortality is steadily increasing in many parts of the country. Several social and economic factors are leading to devastating situations. Effective management to address this infection is still evolving and attempts are being made to integrate traditional interventions along with standard care.

In wake of this, the G7 leaders came up with the ‘Carbis Bay Declaration’, a landmark global health declaration. It is aimed at preventing future pandemics under which G7 leaders have committed to use all their resources.

Body

Need to work for the prevention of future pandemics:

  • Given the closer proximity between humans and animals due to deforestation, displacement of humans, population growth, and the search for wild food, pathogens can easily be transmitted from animals to humans i.e the zoonotic spillover.
  • A report by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) notes that most of the new pathogens’ origins are zoonotic.
  • Climate change is allowing the permafrost found in Arctic regions to melt and is reviving pathogens and organisms that were either once thought to be long gone or remain unknown.
  • Recently, bdelloid rotifers, a microscopic creature that was slumbering for at least 24,000 years, was unearthed from the permafrost, which is melting in places due to climate change.
  • Revich and Podolnaya (2011) conclude that vectors of deadly infections of the 18th and 19th centuries may make a comeback due to the same reason.
  • International travel and trade has led to the unprecedented flow of commodities, people and animals. This gives pathogens of all kinds of opportunities to spread and multiply around the world.

Analysis of Carbis Bay declaration:

  • The fact that the participating leaders failed to adopt any substantive measures towards the prevention of future pandemics.
  • The G7 merely acknowledged the recommendations of the IPPPR and the other committees and stated that it will work with other countries and organizations towards preparing for future pandemics without giving any roadmap for such collaboration.
  • The G7 failed to provide any material support to the already suffering countries and offered only vague commitments of support for vulnerable countries.
  • Its claim of striving for fairness, inclusion and equity is not backed by the allocation of requisite resources.

Measures needed:

Holistic approach:

  • The world needs to adopt a holistic approach for the prevention of future pandemics.
  • Now, as we battle yet another wave of a deadly zoonotic disease (COVID-19), awareness generation, and increased investments toward meeting ‘One Health’ targets is the need of the hour.
  • Human interventions to prevent future pandemics can be classified under three broad stages – upstream, midstream, and downstream stages of intervention.
    • Downstream intervention refers to steps taken on the public health front, like prevention of disease spread.
    • Upstream intervention would focus on the ‘One Health’ approach, which acknowledges the interconnection between humans, animals, plants, and the shared ecosystem.
    • Midstream intervention would involve setting up a science and policy panel to ensure that science informs the law. This would also involve pre-emptively detecting pathogens of concern, and identifying potential hotspots for an outbreakand setting up a mechanism for regular inspection and appropriate international oversight.
  • The countries will have to focus on deep prevention which prioritizes upstream and midstream interventions.

Global treaty:

  • The G7 should strive towards building consensus on a potential global treaty to deal with such future pandemics, under the framework of the WHO. Any such treaty should incorporate the IPPPR’s recommendations.
  • A treaty is needed to plug holes in the current system and strengthen national capacities and resilience.

Hand holding the most vulnerable countries:

  • Given that a pandemic anywhere is a pandemic everywhere, there should be ample focus on strengthening the developing countries’ capacities to deal with future pandemics.
  • This could be in the form of the supply of requisite resources for the developing countries.

Conclusion

Pandemics such as Covid-19 starkly remind us that public health systems are core social institutions in any society. However, the need of the hour is an adequate investment, for creating a health system that can withstand any kind of public health emergencies, deliver universal health coverage and meet the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

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

GS-3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

4. Discuss briefly what BharatNet Project is and bring out the challenges associated with its implementation while suggesting solutions to address them . (250 words)

Reference:  Economic Times

Why the question:

The government has recently allocated Rs 19,041-crore for expansion and up gradation of BharatNet. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain briefly the BharatNet Project and bring out the challenges along with solutions to it.

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:

The second and final phase of BharatNet project was launched in 2017. Under the project, the government aims to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats through 10 lakh kilometres of additional optical fibre and give bandwidth to telecom players at nearly 75 per cent cheaper price for broadband and wifi services in rural areas.

Body:

Discuss in detail the BharatNet project. BharatNet Project is the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fibre. It is implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) – a special purpose vehicle under the Telecom Ministry and is the Government of India’s ambitious rural internet connectivity programme.

Expansion of broadband to each village through BharatNet public-private partnership model has been earmarked as a part of Digital India Quantum Digital.

Discuss the hurdles in achieving the set target; lack of approved detailed project report, non-existent project implementing agencies, and non-availability of funds, Right of way (RoW) issues etc.

Conclusion:

Suggest what needs to be done and conclude with importance.

Introduction

BharatNet is a project of national importance to establish, by 2017, a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector. The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to the rural India.

The Union Cabinet recently approved a revised implementation strategy for the BharatNet project by opting for public-private partnership mode in 16 states to cover around 3,60,000 villages at a total cost of Rs 29,430 crore. Of this, the government will provide Rs 19,041 crore as viability gap funding.

Body

BharatNet Project:

  • National Optical Fibre Network (NoFN) which is now renamed as BharatNet project was launched in 2012.
  • The project aims to provide affordable broadband services to citizens and institutions in rural and remote areas, in partnership with States and the private sector.
  • It involves connecting all the 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats in the country to the block headquarters for provision of both bandwidth and dark fibre on a universal and non-discriminatory basis.
  • The network is capable of providing scalable bandwidth of up to 1 GBPS.
  • The entire project is being funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.
  • Bharat Broadband Nigam Ltd(BBNL) was created as the special purpose vehicle created to execute the project.
  • BharatNet will now extend up to all inhabited villages beyond the gram panchayats (GPs) in the said states.
  • Over 3.6 lakh villages over 16 states of the country will be covered under the expanded BharatNet programme.
  • The revised strategy includes creation, upgradation, operation, maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet by the concessionaire who will be selected by a competitive international bidding process.
  • The states to be covered under the revised plan are Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

Challenges:

BharatNet is a mega project, widely dispersed to the remotest corners of the country. Among the various challenges faced in its execution are:

  • The scheme has failed to deliver on its objective of triggering a broadband revolution across the country.
  • The project has been marred with delays and multiple extensions.
  • The quality of connectivity and the range of services provided at the last mile remains the key.
  • Till date, 1.56 lakh out of the 2.5 lakh village panchayats have been connected with broadband. BharatNet has achieved little in terms of actual connectivity and utilisation.
  • Maintaining coordination among multiple stakeholders including CPSUs, state governments, state implementation agencies, project implementation agencies and suppliers;
  • Working in remote and difficult terrain, especially hilly areas, rocky terrain and left-wing extremism-affected regions;
  • Limited availability of experienced executing agencies/resources to take up simultaneous work throughout the country;
  • Delays in right-of-way permissions, especially for defence, forest areas and highways;
  • Unavailability of suitable government buildings or custodians for equipment installation in GPs;
  • Change of government/bureaucracy in states, affecting continuity;
  • BSNL’s stressed financials, affecting progress;
  • Delay in the finalisation of tenders by the state and implementing agencies;
  • Frequent lockdowns amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

Measures needed:

  • The solution here could be to reshape the mandate of BBNL and review the role that the State should play in infrastructure creation for BharatNet. BBNL should function as a coordinating authority, rather than performing full implementation functions.
  • State governments must be brought on board to ensure that the project gets adequate support at the district and panchayat levels.
  • All resources and energies would have to be mobilised so that all gram panchayats are reached in the shortest possible time.
  • A thorough inquiry into the effectiveness and outcomes of the money already spent is also needed.
  • The need of the hour is to get the support of private players through investments to take the vision of BharatNet forward, providing broadband connectivity on a non-discriminatory basis universally to the entire rural population and institutions, as per demand and at an affordable price.
  • In terms of implementation, we can look at some models which have been adopted in other countries. In Australia, the Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) program was started in 2007, in response to data which showed that internet services were not available for rural and remote areas. A one-time incentive payment was offered to internet service providers to supply broadband services in eligible areas.
  • Estonia follows a model where communications undertakings, are invited to provide universal service in a designated area. The price for the service is to be fixed by the State, and there is a provision to compensate the undertaking for any losses incurred in providing universal service.
  • In India, we can perhaps look at the model of how when there was a need to expand access to banking services for people in rural areas, the State had stepped in by imposing a specific mandate for banks to open a specified number of new branches in rural and underserved areas if they want to expand.

Conclusion

Bharat’s need for internet connectivity is extremely urgent, both for accessing State services and information as well as for personal consumption. As the government announces a National Broadband Mission, one hopes that the name change is not merely cosmetic, and also carries with it an updated strategy and implementation design which can create the infrastructure needed for people to have access to a better quality of life.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. “All terrorists are criminals but not all criminals are terrorists”, in the light of the statement above explain in what way anti-terror laws in the country have led to a period of over-Criminalisation. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The recent Delhi High Court order granting bail to the student activists charged with the UAPA has brought into focus the issue of misuse of anti-terror laws by the policy. The article deals with this issue.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the statement in detail and analyse in what way anti-terror laws in the country have led to a period of over-Criminalisation.

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 context of the question.

Body:

Firstly explain the statement – “All terrorists are criminals but not all criminals are terrorists”.

Discuss the relevant judgments with respect to it.

Highlight the misuse of anti-terror laws; give examples.

Explain in what way the criminal justice system needs to take note of the Delhi High Court’s recent judgment on ‘defining terrorism’.

Preset examples of misuse of it.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting what needs to be done to overcome the issues.

Introduction

The recent Delhi High Court order granting bail to the student activists charged with the UAPA has brought into focus the issue of misuse of anti-terror laws by the policy.

Body

All terrorists are linked to criminal activities threatening sovereignty integrity and security of nation. But all criminals need not be terrorists because criminal activities encompass other domains of crime that need not threaten sovereignty integrity and security of nation. For example – A murderer is a criminal but need not be a terrorist.

Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967

  • UAPA waspassed in 1967. It aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
  • Unlawful activityrefers to any action taken by an individual or association intended to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • The Actassigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.
  • It hasdeath penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.
  • According to statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 922 cases were reported under UAPA in 2016, which was 5% less than what was recorded in 2014, with 976 cases.
  • At the same time, it was up by 3% from 2015 (897 cases). In total, 2,700 cases were registered over 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • In response, it was argued that the UAPA provided for a system of checks and balanceswhich would ensure that governmental abuse could be swiftly reviewed and rectified.

Key observations made by the court- High Court’s Ruling:

Extent of Terrorist Activity:

  • Terrorist activitycannot be broadly defined to include ordinary penal offences.
  • By doing so, itraised the bar for the State to book an individual for terrorism under the UAPA.
  • The extent and reach of terrorist activity must travel beyond the effect of an ordinary crime and must not arise merely by causing disturbance of law and order or even public order.
  • It must be such that it travels beyond the capacity of the ordinary law enforcement agencies to deal with itunder the ordinary penal law.

Careful while Defining Unlawful Activities:

  • The courts must be careful in employing the definitional words and phrases used in Section 15 of UAPA in their absolute literal sense,they should differentiate clearly how terrorism is different even from conventional, heinous crime.
  • Section 15of the UAPA defines “terrorist act” and is punishable with imprisonment for a term of at least five years to life. In case the terrorist act results in death, the punishment is death or imprisonment for life.
  • The court referred to how theSupreme Court itself, in case of Kartar Singh v State of Punjab 1994, flagged similar concerns against the misuse of another anti-terror law, the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (lapsed in 1995).

Intent of Enacting UAPA:

  • To bring terrorist activity within its scope,was, and could only have had been, to deal with matters of profound impact on the ‘Defence of India’, nothing more and nothing less.
  • It was neither the intent nor purport of enacting UAPA that other offences of the usual and ordinary kind,however grave, egregious or heinous in their nature and extent, should also be covered by UAPA.

Right to Protest:

  • Observed thatprotests against Governmental and Parliamentary actions are legitimate; and though such protests are expected to be peaceful and non-violent, it is not uncommon for protesters to push the limits permissible in law.
  • The line between theconstitutionally guaranteed right to protest (Article 19) and terrorist activity seems to be getting somewhat blurred.

Significance of the Ruling:

  • This is thefirst 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.
  • 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.
  • With this, the court has raised the bar for the State to book an individual for terrorism under the UAPA.
  • It also points out alleged misuse of the UAPA against individuals in cases that do not necessarily fall in the category of “terrorism” cases.
  • This caution is significant given the 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.
  • Experiences of Anti-terror laws in India such as POTA(Prevention of Terrorism Act) and TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) reveals that they are often misused and abused.
  • Opposition parties have criticised the new law, whose constitutional validityhas been challenged by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights in the Supreme Court through a public interest litigation.
  • Critics argue that the new law gives unfettered powers to investigating agencies.
  • Critics warned that vesting such sweeping powersin the hands of the political executive would prove to be a recipe for abuse, and for political and social persecution.
  • Opposition parties have raised concern over the law, saying it could also be used against political opponents and civil society activists who spoke against the government may be branded as “terrorists.”
  • It would appear to be a very basic principle of justicethat if an association is to be banned for unlawful activities, then the material on the basis of which that ban is justified is put to the association so that it has a chance to defend itself.
  • To take a decision on the legality of a banby looking at secret material that is withheld even from the association itself is exactly akin to condemning a man unheard.
  • Some experts feel that it is against the federal structuresince it neglects the authority of state police in terrorism cases, given that ‘Police’ is a state subject under 7th schedule of Indian Constitution.

Conclusion

An individual cannot be called a ‘terrorist’ prior to conviction in a court of law, it subverts the principle of “innocent until proven guilty. A wrongful designation will cause irreparable damage to a person’s reputation, career and livelihood.

While none will question the need for stringent laws that show ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism, the government should be mindful of its obligations to preserve fundamental rights while enacting legislation on the subject.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

6. Discuss whether some restrictions on enjoyment of freedom are necessary in the interest of social harmony. Justify your stand with suitable illustrations. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of restrictions on enjoyment of freedom and their importance for preserving social harmony in the society.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss whether some restrictions on enjoyment of freedom are necessary in the interest of social harmony. Justify your stand with suitable illustrations.

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 aspects of freedom and their boundaries with respect to social harmony in the society.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Introduce by defining and highlighting the importance of freedom.

 Discuss in brief why some restrictions are necessary on freedom.

Give points on why these restrictions should be reasonable. Suggest examples to demonstrate the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction

Freedom is generally absence of restraints. However, absolute freedom does not always mean that one can do anything as he or she wishes to do. There can be reasonable restrictions on exercising one’s freedom guided by law. In India, the Constitution provides for certain fundamental right and at the same time imposes reasonable restrictions on them.

Body

Need for restrictions on enjoyment of freedom for social harmony

  • Article 19(2) states that the government may impose reasonable restrictions upon the freedom of speech and expression in the interest of the following factors;
  • Sovereignty and integrity of India
  • The security of the State,
  • Friendly relations with foreign States,
  • Public order,
  • Decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court
  • Defamation
  • Incitement to an offence
  • Sometimes liberty can come in conflict with greater good of public such as bonded labour, freedom to discriminate, exploitation, creating ruckus in society etc. Hence liberty should be subordinated in such conditions.
  • Freedom to employ does not mean, one must employ a child to do tedious labour as that would mean robbing the freedom of the child for education and healthy development. Such restrictions are absolutely necessary to bring a right order in the society.
  • In Subramanian Swamy case, Supreme court judgement held that freedom to talk does not mean defaming or character assassination. Hence, it criminalized defamation as it was in conflict with right to reputation of others.
  • Freedoms if absolute would always be detrimental to the smooth functioning of the society as the individual interests of all individuals would be prioritized. This would lead to the withering away of the state resulting in anarchy.

Conclusion

                As the maker of the law and the executor of the law, the Government should have the authority to impose restrictions upon freedom. However, there ought to have a balance between the freedom granted and the restrictions imposed. This balance depends on the reasonableness of the restriction. The constitution protects only those restrictions that are reasonable and courts have laid principles to measure the reasonableness of a restriction.

 

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.

7. Why is it important for civil servants to be politically neutral? Highlight and explain the challenges faced by politically neutral civil servants in different situations. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of political neutrality of civil servants.  

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the importance of political neutrality for civil servants and discuss the challenges faced by them in different situations.

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 what you understand by political neutrality.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain that in the recent times, it has been observed that many serving civil servants are expressing their political opinions through social media and other mass media. At times, they appear on prime time/ TV debates and criticize the government’s policies. This is in violation of Service Conduct Rules.

Briefly mention the constitutional and legal norms regarding political involvement of civil servants.

 Mention why political neutrality is an important trait for civil servants.

Discuss the challenges faced by politically neutral civil servants using examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Indian Constitution envisaged a coherent, not collusive, relationship between both arms of the executive. While politics should be the prerogative of the temporary executive, civil servants should restrict themselves to the policy interventions.

Introduction

Bureaucrats need to maintain political neutrality and impartiality to ensure the triumph of democracy. Politicisation of Bureaucracy refers to undue political influence in the governance due to nexus between bureaucracy and politics resulting in government appointing their own people to sensitive positions and higher offices.

Body

Consequences of political partisanship

  • In each government-service, there are various factions based on language, religion, caste and region. To gain promotion and perks for their faction, they’d bend to the wills of politicians.
  • There will be more secrecy in official functioning. As a result, there develops nexus between the political executive and civil servants to fulfil their illegitimate gratifications.
  • Due to lack of independent board, civil servants align with one or the other political party to get their favourite postings and other perks.
  • Transfers have been used as instruments of reward and punishment, as tools for controlling and taming the bureaucracy. There is no transparency, and in the public mind transfer after a short stay is categorised as a stigma.
  • Some civil servants are deeply involved in partisan politics: they are preoccupied with it, penetrated by it, and now participate individually and collectively in it.
  • Over the years, whatever virtues the IAS possessed – integrity, political neutrality, courage and high morale – are showing signs of decay.

Challenges faced by politically neutral civil servants

Civil servants face following challenges as a result of their integrity and political neutrality.

  • Frequent transfers take a toll on the officers as their concentration would be on setting up of home after every transfer.
  • Affects the morale of the officer as her hard-work, honesty and integrity is not appreciated but used as a weapon against herself.
  • The family of the officer is the worst affected due to constant transfers.
  • Issues of education of their wards, health facilities to their parents can take a hit.
  • Due to politicians’ desire to control the bureaucracy, not all important posts are filled with the most skilled officers.
  • This also results in underinvestment in skill by junior bureaucrats with career concerns, since investing in loyalty to specific politicians provides an alternative path to career success.

Way forward

  • As a civil servant, one has the responsibility towards public and must adhere to constitutional principles keeping his conscience intact. His primary job is to perform Nishkama Karma (selfless and desire less duty).
  • Independent Civil Services Board should be set up, as it directed by the Supreme Court to take care of all service matters with objectivity and independently of political consideration.
  • Earnestly implementing RTI Act, especially the pro-active disclosure clause so as to bring transparency in official functioning, breaking the unholy nexus.
  • Effective performance appraisal of civil servants by independent body and aligning it with their promotions, incentives and other service conditions.

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