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.
Answer the following questions in 150 words:
General Studies – 1
Reference: Class 11th – T.N History (New Edition)
The Vedic age is the period between 1500 to 600 BCE, as its reconstruction has been made from Vedic text as the primary source. The Rig-Vedic age is dated between 1500-1000 BC and the Aryans were confined to the Indus region. The Later Vedic age started in 1000 BC and spans till 600 BC. The Satapatha Brahmana refers to the expansion of Aryans to the eastern Gangetic plains in later Vedic period.
- The Rig Vedic society was patriarchal. The basic unit of society was family or graham. The head of the family was known as grahapathi.
- The Rig Vedic Aryans were pastoral people and their main occupation was cattle rearing. Their wealth was estimated in terms of their cattle. When they permanently settled in North India they began to practice agriculture.
- Condition of women: Women were given equal opportunities as men for their spiritual and intellectual development.
- There were women poets like Apala, Viswavara, Ghosa and Lopamudra during the Rig Vedic period.
- Women could even attend the popular assemblies.
- There was no child marriage and the practice of sati was absent.
Elements of Change:
- Political life: Larger kingdoms were formed during the later Vedic period. Many jana or tribes were amalgamated to form janapadas or rashtras in the later Vedic period.
- The Later Vedic people were familiar with the sea and they traded with countries like Babylon.
- Social organisation: The four divisions of society (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras) or the Varna system was thoroughly established during the Later Vedic period.
- Condition of women: They were considered inferior and subordinate to men. Women also lost their political rights of attending assemblies. Child marriages had become common. According theAitreya Brahmana a daughter has been described as a source of misery.
- Religion: Gods of the Early Vedic period like Indra and Agni lost their importance.Prajapathi (the creator), Vishnu (the protector) and Rudra (the destroyer) became prominent during the Later Vedic period.
With the social organisation deepening, there was also emergence of new religions such as Buddhism and Jainism towards the end of Later Vedic period. Also, the authors of the Upanishads, which is the essence of Hindu philosophy, turned away from the useless rituals and insisted on true knowledge (jnana) for peace and salvation.
Elements of continuity:
- Economic condition: Iron was used extensively in this period and this enabled the people to clear forests and to bring more land under cultivation. Agriculture became the chief occupation.
- Social life: In the family, the power of the father increased during the Later Vedic period.
- The women in the royal household enjoyed certain privileges.
- The king performed various rituals and sacrifices to strengthen his position. They include Rajasuya (consecration ceremony), Asvamedha (horse sacrifice) and Vajpeya (chariot race).
- Sacrifices were still important and the rituals connected with them became more elaborate.
General Studies – 2
Reference: The Hindu
When a bill is introduced in Parliament, it can be passed by the Parliament, but before it becomes an act, it must be presented to the Indian President for his approval. It is up to the President of India to either reject the bill, return it, or withhold his assent to it. The President’s decision on the bill is referred to as his veto power. The homologous situation in the state gives Governor his veto power.
Veto Powers of President and Governor
- With Regards to Ordinary Bills
|Every ordinary bill is presented to the President for his assent after it has been passed by both Houses of Parliament, either singly or in a joint sitting. He has three options:
If the bill is passed by both Houses again, with or without amendments, and presented to the President for his signature, the president must sign it. As a result, the president only enjoysa “suspensive veto.”
|Every ordinary bill is presented to the governor for his assent after it has been passed by the legislative assembly in the case of a unicameral legislature or by both Houses in the case of a bicameral legislature, either in the first or second instance. He can choose from four options:
If the bill is passed by the House or Houses again, with or without amendments, and presented to the governor for his signature, the governor must sign it. As a result, the governor has only a “suspensive veto.”
|When the governor reserves a state bill for the President’s consideration, the President has three options:
When a bill is returned in this manner, the House or Houses must reconsider it within six months. If the bill is passed by the House or Houses again, with or without amendments, and presented to the president for his signature, the president is not required to sign it. He may give or withhold his assent to such a bill.
|When the governor reserves a bill for the President’s consideration, he has no further role in the bill’s enactment. If the President returns the bill to the House or Houses for reconsideration and it is passed again, the bill must be presented again for presidential assent only. When the President signs the bill, it becomes an act. This means that the Governor’s approval is no longer required.|
- With Regards to Money Bills
|Every money bill is presented to the President for his assent after it is passed by the Parliament. He can choose between two options:
||Every money bill is presented to the governor for his assent after it is passed by the state legislature (unicameral or bicameral). He has three options:
|As a result, the President cannot return a money bill to Parliament for reconsideration. Normally, the president gives his assent to a money bill as soon as it is introduced in Parliament with his prior approval. When the Governor reserves a Money Bill for the President’s consideration, the President has two options:
As a result, unlike the Parliament, the President cannot return a money bill for reconsideration by the state legislature.
|As a result, the governor cannot return a money bill to the state legislature for reconsideration. Normally, the governor signs a money bill as soon as it is introduced in the state legislature with his prior approval. When the governor reserves a money bill for the President’s consideration, he has no further role in the bill’s enactment. When the President signs the bill, it becomes an Act. This means that the governor’s approval is no longer required.|
Thus, the purpose of granting the President this power of veto is to prevent hasty and ill-considered legislation by Parliament and to prevent legislation that may be unconstitutional.
3. What is meant by the model code of conduct (MCC) during elections? Do you think that MCC needs to be included under the statue for its uniform and effective implementation? Critically analyse (150 words)
Reference: Insights on India
Model code of conduct is the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, election manifestos, processions and general conduct. It aims to ensure free and fair elections.
Authority of ECI vis-à-vis MCC:
- Article 324 says the superintendence, direction and control of all elections to Parliament, the State legislatures, and the offices of the President and Vice-President shall be vested in the EC.
- The Article has been interpreted by courts and by orders of the EC from time to time to mean that the power vested in it is plenary in nature.
- In other words, the EC can take any action it deems fit to ensure that elections and the election process are free and fair.
- The EC monitors the adherence of political parties and candidates to the ‘Model Code of Conduct’.
- If the violations are also offences under election law and the criminal law of the land, the EC has the power to recommend registration of cases against the offenders.
- However, for some violations — such as canvassing for votes during a period when electioneering is barred, making official announcements while the MCC is in force, and making appeal to voters on sectarian grounds — the EC has the power to advise or censure candidates, in addition to directing registration of cases.
- In some cases, as recent incidents would show, the EC may bar candidates or leaders from campaigning for specified periods.
- Asking individuals to leave a constituency or barring entry into certain areas are other powers that the EC may exercise.
- These powers are not necessarily traceable to any provision in law, but are generally considered inherent because of the sweeping and plenary nature of the EC’s responsibility under the Constitution to ensure free and fair elections.
- Its powers extend to postponing elections to any constituency, cancelling an election already notified, and even to abrogate or annul an election already held.
Why MCC needs to be under statute:
- The EC does not have the power to disqualify candidates who commit electoral malpractices. At best, it may direct the registration of a case.
- The EC also does not have the power to deregister any political party. However, the Constitution empowers the EC to decide whether a candidate has incurred disqualification by holding an office of profit under the appropriate government, or has been declared an insolvent, or acquired the citizenship of a foreign state.
- When a question arises whether a candidate has incurred any of these disqualifications, the President of India or Governor has to refer it to the EC. The poll panel’s decision on this is binding.
- Under Chief Election Commissioners like T.N. Seshan and J.M. Lyngdoh, the commission has in the past shown the capacity to come up with creative solutions that adhere to both the spirit and the letter of the law.
- MCC should be provided with statutory backing. It should be made a part of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to make the MCC more powerful.
- Establishment of special fast track courts to solve the MCC violation cases at a faster rate.
- The law commission recommendations should be implemented to save the unnecessary spending of public money during elections.
- Public awareness about MCC needs to be developed. The use of app like cVIGIL should be encouraged to reduce violations during polls.
- Stakeholders including Internet companies should come up with a code for Social Media and Internet.
MCC has an indisputable legitimacy and parties across the political spectrum have generally adhered to its letter and spirit. The immaculate independence of the EC and its uncompromising attitude towards enforcing the code, combined with the perception among parties that following the code far outweighs the costs accrued if violated by other parties, especially the ruling one, have led to the success of the MCC since its inception.
Instances of violation of MCC by candidates:
- The recent incident where the Prime Minister made a public announcement on 27 March 2019 about the successful launch of India’s first anti-satellite weapon (ASAT), which made India the fourth nation in the world with anti-satellite missile capabilities, was against the MCC guidelines.
- Former Chief Election Commissioner Dr SY Quraishi also criticised Prime Minister’s speech on India’s Anti Satellite Test capability (ASAT), saying it was not in conformity with ethics and spirit of the model code of conduct for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
- The NaMo TV channel launched on 31 March 2019, which, without any formal approval of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, is propagating the image and views of Shri Narendra Modi.
- The incumbent Governor of Rajasthan has made certain statements that virtually amount to canvassing for a specific political party.
- The present Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh had, at a recent public election meeting, referred to the armed forces as the army of incumbent PM.
- Previously, A law minister was censured by the president after EC filed a complaint against him for violating MCC by announcing a scheme when MCC was in force.
- Election Commission served a show cause notice to Bengal chief minister for announcing a new district during 2016.
General Studies – 3
4. Dairy development and livestock can be an instrument of promoting socio-economic development of rural people, particularly the poor and landless labour. Discuss in the light of recent measures undertaken for dairy development in India. (150 words)
Reference: Down to Earth
The huge increase in milk supply through concerted efforts on a cooperative level is known as the White Revolution. Forty-eight years after Operation Flood – that made India the world’s largest milk producer – India continues to be on the lookout for the next breakthrough in agricultural produce and productivity. White Revolution 2.0 has effectuated dairy firms’ marketing strategy for milk and milk products, resuscitating the outlook of product-market mix.
Milk production in India:
- India emerged as the largest milk producer and consumer in 2019.
- Niti Aayog estimates that the country is expected to increase its milk production to 330 million metric tonnes (mt) in 2033–34 from the current level of 176 mt.
- Currently India has 17% of world output of dairy products, surpassing USA in 1998 as world’s largest producer of dairy. All this was achieved by operation Flood which was launched in 1970’s.
- According to market research company IMARC, the milk and dairy products industry reached Rs7.9 lakh crore in 2017.
- In 2016, the milk sector alone was valued at Rs3 lakh crore and is projected to scale Rs7.3 lakh crore by 2021.
- The per capita milk availability in India has gone up from 126 gm per day in 1960 to 359 gm per day in 2015.
Government initiatives for the diary sector:
- National Programme for Bovine Breeding
- Rashtriya Gokul Mission
- National Bovine Genetic Centre
- Quality Mark
- National Kamdhenu Bredding Centres
- E-Pashuhaat portal
- National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD)
- Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (DEDS)
- National Dairy Plan-I (NDP-I)
- Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF)
- Supporting Dairy Cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organizations engaged in dairy activities (SDCFPO)
- Indian cattle and buffaloes have among the lowest productivity.
- Similarly, there is a shortage of organized dairy farms and there is a need of high degree of investment to take dairy industry to global standards.
- Improving productivity of farm animals is one of the major challenges
- Crossbreeding of indigenous species with exotic stocks to enhance genetic potential of different species has been successful only to a limited extent.
- The sector will also come under significant adjustment pressure to the emerging market forces. Though globalization will create avenues for increased participation in international trade, stringent food safety and quality norms would be required.
- Access to markets is critical to speed up commercialization. Lack of access to markets may act as a disincentive to farmers to adopt improved technologies and quality inputs.
- Increase in the market share depends on how dairy firms’ capabilities and their resources are utilised given the opportunities and threats emanating from emerging markets economies.
- Contract/corporate dairying and emerging global dairy trade are required to rope in dairy supply chains stakeholders in order to expand their outreach and “on-the-go” product positioning into the target segment.
- Digital technology-enabled dairy firms need to identify their compatible partners and competitors for co-creation through product-process innovation via relationship/value-based marketing.
- Freshness in milk, and convenience to store milk or milk products can be a technology innovation brought in by large dairy firms in association start-ups.
- Education and Training at Panchayat level for small and medium size farmers
- Subsidizing cattle production and encouraging cattle markets
- Facility of logistics for produced milk
- Improved Veterinary facility specially in artificial insemination of cattle
- Encouraging private sector firm to procure dairy produced at rural level
- Low interest loans for small and medium scale farmers for cattle purchase
- Encouraging rural women to take up animal husbandry
- Insurance of cattle against diseases like Anthrax, Foot and Mouth, Peste des Ruminantes, etc.
- Nurture dairy entrepreneurs through effective training of youth at the village level coupled with dedicated leadership and professional management of farmers’ institutions.
- Agricultural practices, sanitation, quality of drinking water & fodder, type and quality of pipelines – all of these need to be aligned to the goal of healthy milk
The Government initiatives can ensure sustainable growth of the dairy sector as well as boost incomes of millions of small and marginal dairy farmers. Linking the animal husbandry with food processing industry, agriculture, researches & patents has all the possible potential to make India a nutritional power house of the world. Animal husbandry is the imperative hope, definite desire and urgent panacea for India as well as the world.
Reference: : Live mint
Disguised unemployment exists when part of the labour force is either left without work or is working in a redundant manner such that worker productivity is essentially zero. It is unemployment that does not affect aggregate output. An economy demonstrates disguised unemployment when productivity is low and too many workers are filling too few jobs.
Impact of disguised unemployment on the economy
- It can be distinguished by low productivity and mostly follows informal labour markets and agricultural labour markets, capable of consuming large labour quantities.
- The productive capacity of labour is not translating into economic output. This is because the worker is not being utilised to his full potential.
- It may show many as employed but that would still not effect India’s growth and can remain stagnated.
Steps to overcome disguised unemployment
- Population control: Educating the masses for the population control measure through family planning programmes. BIMARU states still account for 23% of population and these are mostly out-migrant states.
- Utilising demographic dividend: Making credit available to the people for self-employment. Providing skill development and entrepreneurship programmes.
- Shifting to labour intensive industry: Encouraging mobility of the workforce from rural to urban areas.
- There are number of labour-intensive manufacturing sectors in India such as food processing, leather and footwear, wood manufacturers and furniture, textiles and apparel and garments.
- Special packages, individually designed for each industry are needed to create jobs.
- Decentralisation of Industrial activities is necessary so that people of every region get employment.
- Women labour force: Concrete measures aimed at removing the social barriers for women’s entry and their continuous participation in the job market is needed.
- Vocational education: Government needs to keep a strict watch on the education system and should try to implement new ways to generate skilled labour force. This is being implemented in the New Education Policy.
- National Employment Policy (NEP) : There is a need for National Employment Policy (NEP) that would encompass a set of multidimensional interventions covering a whole range of social and economic issues affecting many policy spheres and not just the areas of labour and employment.
- The policy would be a critical tool to contribute significantly to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Disguised unemployment leads to trapping the economy in the lower growth without actual diagnosis of what is ailing the economy. It leads to non-usage of full potential of the demographic dividend that could otherwise reap rich benefits to the society and make it inclusive. Hence governments must soon shift jobs from agriculture to more labour intensive and productive sectors with high growth potential.
Answer the following questions in 250 words:
General Studies – 1
Reference: Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania.
India had close relations with Persia (Iran) from very ancient times. Iranian contacts with India lasted for about two centuries (516 to 326 B.C). Greek Invasion is traced back to 327 BC when Alexander invaded North-West India.
- The Achaemenian rulers of Iran, who expanded their empire at the same time as the Magadhan princes, took advantage of the political disunity on the northwest frontier.
- The Iranians invaded India in the 6th century B.C, when king Darius I ruled over Iran.
- He invaded India and occupied the territories in the North-Western Frontier Province, Sind and Punjab in 516 B.C.
- These parts remained with the Iranian Empire till Alexander’s invasion of India..
Cultural impact of Iranian invasion
- India’s Political Weakness exposed: The Persian invasion and India’s defeat to defend her frontiers exposed India’s political This weakness encouraged the foreigners to invade the frontiers of India. The Iranians were followed by the Greeks, the Sakas, the Kushans and the Huns.
- Encouragement to Trade: The mutual contacts helped in the growth of trade between the two countries. The India Traders and merchants now reached distant places in the Vast Persian Empire to dispose of their goods. Similarly, the Persian goods began to flow smoothly into India.
- An Idea of Unified Empire: India learnt the necessity of a strong and united empire to repel the foreign invasions. It was for the first time that the small, scattered and mutually quarrelling states of India realized how essential it was to join hands together to meet the common enemy.
- Settlement of Foreigners on Indian Soil: A large number of foreigners, the Greek the Persians, Turks etc settled down in the North –Western parts of India. With the passage of time they completely absorbed among the Indians.
- Impact on Art and Architecture: The Iranian art also influenced the Indian art. Ashoka, followed the Iranian custom of preaching ideals by inscribing them on the stone pillars. The Indians also learnt the art of polishing.
- Kharosthi Script: The Indians adopted the Kharosthi Script of Iran. It was written from right to left.
- Interchange of Indo Persian culture: Indian Scholars and philosophers went to Persia and exchanged their views freely with the intellectuals of that country. This contact brought about a great change in the outlook of the people and bought the people closer.
- In the fourth century BC, under the leadership of Alexander of Macedonia, the Greeks eventually destroyed the Iranian empire. From Iran he marched to India.
- The political condition of north-west India suited his plans. The area was parcelled out into many independent monarchies and tribal republics, which were strongly wedded to the soil and had a fierce dedication to the principality in which they lived.
- Among the rulers of these territories, two were well known: Ambhi, the prince of Taxila, and Porus whose kingdom lay between the Jhelum and the Chenab.
- Following the conquest of Iran, Alexander moved on to Kabul, from where he marched to India through the Khyber pass in 326 BC. When he reached the Jhelum, Alexander encountered the first and the strongest resistance from Porus. Alexander defeated Porus.
Cultural impact of Macedonian invasion
- The immediate effect of Alexander’s invasion was that it encouraged political unification of north India under the Mauryas.
- The system of small independent states came to an end.
- Alexander’s invasion had also paved the way for direct contact between India and Greece.
- The routes opened by him and his naval explorations increased the existing facilities for trade between India and West Asia.
- His authority in the Indus valley was a short-lived one because of the expansion of Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta Maurya.
- Founding of the Mauryan Dynasty: Alexander’s invasion had reduced the strength of the various states as well as the warlike tribes of the Punjab, so that it became quite easy for Chandragupta to subdue Otherwise, Chandragupta Maurya had to face strong resistance from his Indian counter-parts.
- Promoting India’s Unity: One significant result of these petty state and warlike tribes being crushed by Alexander was the task of establishing a strong empire became too easy.
- Relations with Western Countries: Alexander’s invasion opened four new routes between India and Europe so that India could now have direct relations with the European countries. The discovery of these routes also encouraged trade. Several Indian traders, artisans and religious scholars went to other countries and some people came to India from other countries. In this way, Indian contacts with Europe developed rapidly.
- Gave an account of Indian history: Megasthenes and other Greek writers have written a lot about the contemporary Indian Their descriptions have proved valuable in this respect.
- Foundation of the Greek States: After Alexander’s departure, the Greek generals who were left in India established their independent states on the North Western Frontier of India. In this way, the Indians came in contact with the Greeks and both of them benefited from each other.
- Greek Art: The Indians learnt from the Greeks the art of making beautiful idols and coins. The Gandhara School of Art is a direct consequence of the Greek The Indians also learnt a lot from the Greek astronomers. On the other hand, the Indians greatly influenced the philosophy and several Greeks embraced the Hindu faith.
Thus, both Iranian and Macedonian invasions had a long term impacts on Indian culture.
General Studies – 2
Reference: The Hindu
Article 154 of the Constitution envisages Governor as the executive chief of the state. All executive actions are taken in his name. B R Ambedkar called the office of the Governor as the “office of dignity”. He is not an agent of the Centre, but the governor’s post in an independent Constitutional office. His office is the linchpin of Indian Cooperative Federalism.
The controversy over the politicization of the Governor post is once again in the news over delayed decision making by the Governor of TN in the appointment of CM.
Appointment of Governor:
Under the Articles 155 and 156, Governors in India are appointed directly by the President and holds office “during the pleasure of the President”.
Role of the Governor:
- India invented the role of state governor after Independence to act as a conduit between the ceremonial head of state (the president) and the chief minister of each state, as the president’s eyes and ears in the country’s diverse and far-flung states.
- Their duty is to be neutral guardians of the complex relationship between the federal government and state governments belonging to different political parties.
- But this role got diluted as Supreme Court said in one of the judgements ‘agents of the centre’.
Criticism of regarding the Governor Posts
- The governor selections have come to be made on grounds of political partisanship, favouritism, patronage and cronyism.
- The governors are becoming the eyes and ears for Central Government.
- The misuse of the office of the Governor for political purposes to dispose the rival political parties’ government by invoking the Article 356 on dubious or doubtful grounds.
- Appointment of Judges as governors.
- Appointment of people involved in the active politics of the State.
- Removal of Governor merely because he is not on the same political or ideological page as that of the government, this happens despite constitutional bench saying
- A Governor won’t be removed on the ground that he is out of sync with the policies and ideologies of the Union Government or the party in power at the Centre.
- Nor would he be removed on the ground that the Union Government has lost confidence in him.
Recommendations made regarding the Governor Posts
Sarkaria Commission Report Recommendations
- “The Governors tenure of office of five years in a State should not be disturbed except very rarely and that too for some extremely compelling reason. It is very necessary to assure a measure of security of tenure to the Governor’s office.”
- Governor should be an eminent person and not belong to the state where he is to be posted.
- State chief minister should have a say in the appointment of governor
- Governor should be a detached figure without intense political links or should not have taken part in politics in recent past.
- Governor should not be a member of the ruling party.
- Governor should be removed before his tenure only on the grounds as if aspersions are cast on his morality, dignity, constitutional propriety, etc.
The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution recommendations:
- Governor’s appointment should be entrusted to a committee comprising the prime minister, the home minister, the speaker of the Lok Sabha and the chief minister of the concerned state.
- If they have to be removed before completion of their term, the central government should do so only after consultation with the Chief Minister.
The Punchhi commission recommendations
- The person who is slated to be a Governor should not have participated in active politics at even local level for at least a couple of years before his appointment.
- For office of Governor, the doctrine of pleasure should endand should be deleted from the constitution. Governor should not be removed at whim of central government. Instead, a resolution by state legislature should be there to remove Governor.
- There should be provisions for impeachment of the Governor by the state legislature along the same lines as that of President by President.
- The convention of making the Governors as chancellors of universities should be done away with.
- The commission recommended for “localising emergency provisions” under Articles 355 and 356, contending that localised areas— either a district or parts of a district — be brought under Governor’s rule instead of the whole state.
The Supreme Court’s interpretation
- In 2010, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court interpreted these provisions and laid down some binding principles (B.P. Singhal v. Union of India), the Supreme Court held:
- President, in effect the central government, has the power to remove a Governor at any time without giving him or her any reason, and without granting an opportunity to be heard.
- However, this power cannot be exercised in an arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner. The power of removing Governors should only be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons.
- The mere reason that a Governor is at variance with the policies and ideologies of the central government, or that the central government has lost confidence in him or her, is not sufficient to remove a Governor. Thus, a change in central government cannot be a ground for removal of Governors, or to appoint more favourable persons to this post.
- Such a decision, to remove a Governor can be challenged in a court of law.
Despite several commissions appointed by Government themselves and the Supreme Court guidelines, the post of governor is misused again and again.
It is, however, time for a thorough review of the Governor’s powers and the process of appointment and removal.
- New rules and conventions may need to be put in place so that Governor’s constitutional mandate is strengthened.
- All part conference to review the role of the Governors, the powers exercised by him and the manner in which he should be appointed and removed.
- The Constitution should be amended and security of tenure must be provided to the Governors. The judgment of the Supreme Court delivered in B. P. Singhal case is the law of the land and the Government should respect it.
- The Governors should be treated with dignity, and should not be fired only for political considerations.
- The Constitution of the land prohibits the arbitrary exercise of power and the Government is not an exception to the equality law.
Reference: Indian polity by M. Lakshmikant.
India is a land of diversity comprising of individuals from different communities, backgrounds, religions etc. It is famously said, that in India language changes every few kilometres just like the water. Language is integral to culture and therefore privileging a national language over all other languages spoken in India takes away from its diversity. The debate over Hindi being India’s “National Language” has been on since the time the Constitution was being written.
Growth of the ‘national language’ debate in post independent India
- The issue of adopting a national language could not be resolved when the Constituent Assembly began drafting India’s Constitution.
- Members from the Hindi-speaking provinces who moved a number of pro-Hindi amendments and argued for adopting Hindi as the sole national language.
- The Assembly was divided on this issue and it seemed that this debate would result in breaking down of the Assembly’s unity. Therefore, a compromise called the ‘Munshi-Ayyangar’ formula was evolved and accepted. It stated that for a period of 15 years, English would continue to be used for all official purposes and the parliament could substitute it later with Hindi.
- In 1965, as the period of 15 years drew closer, proposals to substitute Hindi in place of English were raised and met with threats of violent disturbances in the southern states of India.
- In response, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru gave an assurance that English would not be substituted by Hindi, until the non-Hindi speaking people desire a change.
- Widespread resistance to the imposition of Hindi led to the passage of theOfficial Languages Act of 1963, which provided for the continued use of English for all official purposes.
- Hindi became the sole working language of the Union government by 1965 with the State governments free to function in the language of their choice.
- The constitutional directive for the Union government to encourage the spread of Hindi was retained within Central government entities in non-Hindi-speaking States.
- After 1971, India’s language policy focused on promoting regional languages by enlisting them in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which meant that those languages would be entitled to representation on the Official Languages Commission.
Benefits of having a national language
- Language is not simply a tool for communication but is a central and defining feature of identity as all human thoughts are conceptualised through a language and all human values are pronounced and perceived through it.
- It is in a language that an individual conceptualises and communicates his thoughts which enables him to actively participate in society.
- In fact, language gives people a primary group as people can identify with each other using a language.
- Language is the most important tool of participation in the polity of the state
Challenges posed by imposition of National language
- The unifying role of a shared language in most nationalisms is well known, however, its hegemonic imposition remains problematic and divisive.
- The dangers of imposing a language are manifold.
- It can affect the learning ability of non-native speakers thereby affecting their self-confidence.
- It can also endanger other languages and dialects and reduce diversity.
- National integration cannot come at the cost of people’s linguistic identities.
- One doesn’t have to look further than Bangladesh’s example to know that history is rife with instances when language has been used as a vehicle to promote chauvinism and divisions.
Probable situation if Hindi is made a national language
- If Hindi is declared as the national language, every citizen of the country would be required to learn the same.
- Such a situation would definitely benefit a north Indian (as Hindi is the most prominent language in the region) over citizens from the other regions, as the latter would be expected to learn a language from scratch.
- In effect, members of northern India would be placed at an advantage over the others, which is wrong.
- The governments continue to push for Hindi aggressively, a recent example of which is the controversial three language formula where the Union mandated teaching of Hindi in all government schools.
- Nehru had rightly said that Hindi should not be imposed till the non-Hindi speaking states agreed.
- However, despite their disagreement, the central governments have forcefully imposed Hindi on them.
It has been rightly said that India is like a beautiful carpet woven in a design that has a language of diverse cultural representations woven by knots tightly holding the entire fabric of the nation. The beauty of this carpet is besmirched if one culture or language is given more importance than the other. If we don’t protect and promote other well-evolved or endangered and indigenous languages, our future generations may end up never understanding their ‘real’ roots and culture. Instead, all languages should be treated with equal respect and promoted. A step towards it has been taken by the Supreme Court recently, where it made its judgments available not only in Hindi but also in other regional languages.
General Studies – 3
9. India’s progress in payment systems will provide a useful backbone to make a state-of-the art central bank digital currency (CBDC) available to its citizens and financial institution. But given its impact on macroeconomic policy making, it is necessary to test comprehensively so that they have minimal impact on monetary policy and the banking system. Discuss. (250 words)
A Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), or national digital currency, is simply the digital form of a country’s fiat currency. Instead of printing paper currency or minting coins, the central bank issues electronic tokens. This token value is backed by the full faith and credit of the government.
- The Reserve Bank of India is likely to soon kick off pilot projects to assess the viability of using digital currency to make wholesale and retail payments to help calibrate its strategy for introducing a full-scale central bank digital currency (CBDC).
- Union Finance Minister in the budget speech said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in 2022-23, marking the first official statement from the Union government on the launch of much-awaited digital currency.
Need for a CBDC:
- The growth of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum etc has raised challenges to fiat currencies.
- Along with their other vulnerabilities made the central bank of each country explore the possibility of introducing their own digital currencies.
- A 2021 BIS survey of central banks, which found that 86% were actively researching the potential for such currencies, 60% were experimenting with the technology, and 14% were deploying pilot projects.
- The need for inter-bank settlement would disappear as it would be a central bank liability handed over from one person to another.
Potential of a CBDC:
- An official digital currency would reduce the cost of currency management while enabling real-time payments without any inter-bank settlement.
- India’s fairly high currency-to-GDP ratio holds out another benefit of CBDC — to the extent large cash usage can be replaced by CBDC, the cost of printing, transporting and storing paper currency can be substantially reduced.
- As the currency in digital form, it can provide an efficient way for financial transaction. Further, digital currency also solves the challenges with Cash and coins. Cash and coins require expenses in storage and have inherent security risks like the recent heist in the RBI currency chest.
- There are about 3,000 privately issued cryptocurrencies in the world. According to IMF, the key reason for considering national digital currency is to counter the growth of private forms of digital money.
- There is a possibility of these companies going bankrupt without any protection. This will create a loss for both investor and creditor. But the National Digital currency has government backing in case of any financial crisis.
- As the state-backed digital currency can provide investor/consumer protection, the private can confidently invest in the associated infrastructure without any doubts over its regulation. This will improve the services to people.
- The national digital currency will be regulated by the RBI. So, there will be less volatility compared to other digital currencies.
- Current RBI’s work on inflation targeting can be extended to national digital currency also. Since India is planning to ban other cryptocurrencies, the RBI can better regulate digital and fiat currency. Thus, upgrading to digital currency and balancing the macroeconomic stability.
- With the introduction of CBDC in a nation, its central bank would be able to keep a track of the exact location of every unit of the currency, thereby curbing money laundering.
- Criminal activities can be easily spotted and ended such as terror funding, money laundering, and so forth
- India is already facing many cyber security threats. With the advent of digital currency, cyberattacks might increase and threaten digital theft like Mt Gox bankruptcy case.
- According to the Digital Empowerment Foundation in 2018 report, around 90% of India’s population is digitally illiterate. So, without creating enough literary awareness introduction of digital currency will create a host of new challenges to the Indian economy.
- Introduction of digital currency also creates various associated challenges in regulation, tracking investment and purchase, taxing individuals, etc.
- The digital currency must collect certain basic information of an individual so that the person can prove that he’s the holder of that digital currency. This basic information can be sensitive ones such as the person’s identity, fingerprints etc.
There are crucial decisions to be made about the design of the currency with regards to how it will be issued, the degree of anonymity it will have, the kind of technology that is to be used, and so on. There is no doubt that the introduction of National Digital currency prevents the various threats associated with the private-owned cryptocurrencies and take India the next step as a digital economy. But the government has to create necessary safeguards before rolling out. India needs to move forward on introducing an official digital currency.
Global situation of CBDC
According to the Bank for International Settlements, more than 60 countries are currently experimenting with the CBDC. There are few Countries that already rolled out their national digital currency. Such as,
- Swedenis conducting real-world trials of their digital currency (krona)
- The Bahamasalready issued their digital currency “Sand Dollar” to all citizens
- Chinastarted a trial run of their digital currency e- RMB amid pandemic. They plan to implement pan-China in 2022. This is the first national digital currency operated by a major economy.
Working of CBDC:
- A central bank digital currency is the legal tender issued by a central bank in digital form.
- It is the same as a fiat currency but the form is different and is exchangeable one-to-one with the government-issued money.
- In other words, CBDC is the same as the legal currency we use. Just that it’s in a digital form.
- A CBDC is the digital form of fiat currency and will ease transactions.
- An RBI report had earlier described CBDC as something that will provide a safe, robust, and convenient alternative to physical cash.
- Depending on various design choices, it can also assume the complex form of a financial instrument, the RBI report said.
- A CBDC is not a crypto currency. CBDC is the digital form of a legal tender but private virtual currencies are entirely different.
- CBDCs use distributed ledger technology (DLT), which is typically deployed in a hybrid architecture i.e. existing central bank and payment infrastructure + DLT for movement, transparency, workflow and audit trail or tracing of funds (value).
- This technology helps in efficiency (speed), security (encryptions) and also other aspects like smart contracts which execute buy and sell transactions based on a pre-defined criteria and opens up the possibility of ‘programmable’ money.
10. Accelerate Vigyan (AV) strives to provide a big push to high-end scientific research and prepare scientific manpower which can venture into research careers and knowledge-based economy. Discuss. (250 words)
Reference: Down to Earth
“Accelerate Vigyan” (AV) scheme was launched by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) to provide a single platform for research internships, capacity building programs, and workshops across the country. This scheme is primarily to focus on young potential researchers with an aim to give an opportunity to them to spend quality time in the pre-identified premier institution, labs / organizations and empower them through best practices and environment, so that they acquire the requisite skills and vision for undertaking future research assignments requiring high standards.
Objective & Vision of AV
- The primary objective of this inter-ministerial scheme is to give more thrust on encouraging high-end scientific research and preparing scientific manpower, which can lead to research careers and knowledge-based economy.
- Recognizing that all research has its base as development of quality and well-trained researchers, AV will initiate and strengthen mechanisms of identifying research potential, mentoring, training and hands-on workshop on a national scale.
- The vision is to expand the research base, with three broad goals, namely, consolidation / aggregation of all scientific programs, initiating high-end orientation workshops, and creating opportunities for research internships for those who do not have access to such resources / facilities,
- ABHYAAS Programme
- It is an attempt to boost research and developmentin the country by enabling and grooming potential PG/PhD students by means of developing their research skills in selected areas across different disciplines or fields.
- It has two components: High-End Workshops i.e. KARYASHALAand Research Internships i.e.
- SAMMOHAN:It has been sub-divided into SAYONJIKA and SANGOSHTI.
- SAYONJIKAis an open-ended program to catalogue the capacity building activities in science and technology supported by all government funding agencies in the country.
- SANGOSHTIis a pre-existing program of SERB for the organisation of workshops.
Significance of AV scheme
- AV scheme helps those researchers who have limited opportunities, access to facilities and infrastructure.
- The components of the AV aims towards branding and aggregation of all the scientific workshops and training programs conducted in the country under a common roof and logo of “Accelerate Vigyan”.
- The database of skilled manpower developed across different disciplines through all the sub-components of the AV would help in capacity building.
- The scheme also seeks to garner the social responsibility of the scientific community in the country.
- The AV will work on mission mode, particularly with respect to its component dealing with consolidation/aggregation of all major scientific events in the country.
- It will also initiate mechanisms of mentoring, training and hands-on workshops on a national scale.
In a nutshell, Accelerate Vigyan is expected to be a game changer for developing career paths and providing support to catalogue the skilled manpower development.