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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 May 2022

 

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


 

1. What is the “Ring of Fire”? Why is the Ring of Fire the most seismically and volcanically active zone in the world?

Reference: Insights on India

Introduction

The Ring of Fire is a Pacific region home to over 450 volcanoes, including three of the world’s four most active volcanoes – Mount St. Helens in the USA, Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. It is also sometimes called the circum-Pacific belt. Around 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur in the Ring of Fire, and 80% of the world’s largest earthquakes.

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Ring of fire and volcanoes:

  • The Ring of Fire is a direct outcome of the tectonic activities in the Pacific Ocean. The lithosphere plates are in constant motion and collisions.
  • These plates making up the outermost layer of the earth are always moving on top of the mantle and sometimes pull apart, collide, or slide past each other resulting in divergent boundaries, convergent boundaries, and transform boundaries respectively.
  • The Ring of Fire is the result from subduction of oceanic tectonic plates beneath lighter continental plates. The area where these tectonic plates meet is called a subduction zone.
  • Subduction zones are also predominant due to the action of the tectonic movements when heavier plates slip under lighter plates, creating deep trenches.
  • The subduction alters the heavy mantle into buoyant magma which moves up the crust to the surface of the earth. When this occurs over millions of years, the rising magma brings about a series of active volcanoes referred to as volcanic arc.
  • The volcanic arcs and ocean trenches run parallel to each other thereby bringing about the ever expanding Pacific Ring of Fire.
  • For example, the Aleutian Islands in Alaska run parallel to the Aleutian Trench. What’s more, the Andes Mountains of South America runs parallel to the Peru-Chile Trench.
  • These parallel geologic features are the ones responsible for the subductions of the Plates.
  • When it comes to plate tectonic boundaries, it leads to faulting, crashing, and formation of rift valleys on the sea floor which contributes to the ejection of magma and powerful shaking of the ocean floor.
  • This leads to the formation of more cracks, vents, and fault lines which can trigger strong earthquakes and volcanic activities.
  • The ejected magma is cooled by the seawater to form new crust, creating high ridges on the ocean floor.
  • The East Pacific Rise is one of the major locations experiencing fast seafloor spreading in the ring of fire.

 

Ring of fire and earthquakes:

  • The world’s deepest earthquakes happen in subduction zone areas as tectonic plates scrape against each other – and the Ring of Fire has the world’s biggest concentration of subduction zones.
  • As energy is released from the earth’s molten core, it forces tectonic plates to move and they crash up against each other, causing friction. The friction causes a build-up of energy and when this energy is finally released it causes an earthquake. If this happens at sea it can cause devastating tsunamis.
  • Tectonic plates usually only move on average a few centimetres each year, but when an earthquake strikes, they speed up massively and can move at several metres per second.

Conclusion

Volcanoes have a huge impact on man and material as urbanization and globalization increases. The effects have impacts on flora, fauna and the global warming which can accelerate the climate change.

Value addition

Location of Circum-Pacific Region (“Pacific Ring of fire”):

  • It stretches along the Pacific Ocean coastlines, where the Pacific Plate grinds against other, smaller tectonic plates that form the Earth’s crust – such as the Philippine Sea plate and the Cocos and Nazca Plates that line the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
  • The 40,000 kilometre horse-shoe-shaped ring loops from New Zealand to Chile, passing through the coasts of Asia and the Americas on the way.
  • The chain of volcanoes extends from Aleutian Islands into Kamchatka, Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia, southward into Pacific Islands of Solomon, Tonga and New Zealand. On the other side of the pacific, the chain continues from the Andes to Central America (Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua), Mexico and right up to Alaska.
  • Example: Mt. Fuji, Mt.Vesuvius, Stromboli, Etna etc.

 


General Studies – 2


 

2: Critically analyse the various issues in criminalising marital rape in India? What is your view in regards to this issue?

Reference: The Hindu

 

3. Strong bilateral ties between like-minded nations such as India and Australia will remain critical to shaping the Indo-Pacific security architecture. Analyse.

Reference:  Indian Express

Introduction

Marital rape is the act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the consent of the other spouse. Although it was once widely unrecognized by law and society as wrong or as a crime, it is now recognized as rape by many societies around the world. Criminal Law in India has been amended multiple times for the protection of the women. However, the non-criminalization of marital rape in India undermines the dignity and human rights of women.

Delhi High Court recently delivered a split verdict in a batch of petitions challenging the exception provided to marital rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) – Section 375. While one of the judges ruled the exception under Section 375 is unconstitutional, the other ruled it as valid.

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Current scenario:

  • Marital rape has been impeached in more than 100 countries but, unfortunately, India is one of the only 36 countries where marital rape is still not criminalized.
  • In 2013, the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) recommended that the Indian government should criminalize marital rape.
  • The JS Verma committee set up in the aftermath of nationwide protests over the December 16, 2012 gang rape case had also recommended the same.
  • As per the NCRB report, in India, a woman is raped every 16 minutes, and every four minutes, she experiences cruelty at the hands of her in-laws.
  • An analysis of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16 data indicates that an estimated 99.1 per cent of sexual violence cases go unreported and that the average Indian woman is 17 times more likely to face sexual violence from her husband than from others.

Marital Rape: inconsistent with the law as well as the constitutional rights of women:

  • Rape laws in our country continue with the patriarchal outlook of considering women to be the property of men post marriage, with no autonomy or agency over their bodies.
  • They deny married women equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Indian constitution.
  • Lawmakers fail to understand that a marriage should not be viewed as a licence for a husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity. A married woman has the same right to control her own body as does an unmarried woman.
  • The concept of marital rape in India is the epitome of what we call an “implied consent”.
  • Marriage between a man and a woman here implies that both have consented to sexual intercourse and it cannot be otherwise.
  • The centre argues that criminalising marital rape would destabilise the institution of marriage and be an easy tool for harassing the husbands.
  • It has cited the observations of the SC and various HCs on growing misuse of Section 498A (harassment caused to a married woman by her husband and in-laws) of IPC.
  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860, also communicates the same. Section 375 defines the offence of rape with the help of six descriptions. One of the exceptions to this offence is “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape”.
  • Earlier, Section 375 (Exception) created a classification not only between consent given by a married and unmarried woman, but also between married females below 15 years of age and over 15 years old. This was rightfully struck down by SC and made it 18 years.

Need to criminalize Marital Rape in India

  • The SC judgment was only a small step towards striking down the legalisation of marital rape.
  • It is high time that the legislature should take cognisance of this legal infirmity and bring marital rape within the purview of rape laws by eliminating Section 375 (Exception) of IPC.
  • By removing this law, women will be safer from abusive spouses, can receive the help needed to recover from marital rape and can save themselves from domestic violence and sexual abuse.
  • Indian women deserve to be treated equally, and an individual’s human rights do not deserve to be ignored by anyone, including by their spouse.

Conclusion

Rape is rape, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator, and age of the survivor. A woman who is raped by a stranger, lives with a memory of a horrible attack; a woman who is raped by her husband lives with her rapist. Our penal laws, handed down from the British, have by and large remained untouched even after 73 years of independence. But English laws have been amended and marital rape was criminalised way back in 1991. No Indian government has, however, so far shown an active interest in remedying this problem.

Value Addition: Important cases and Committee reports

  • The government defended exception to marital rape in Independent Thought v. Union of India (2017) saying it against the institution of marriage.
  • However, rejecting this claim, the Supreme Court observed, “Marriage is not institutional but personal – nothing can destroy the ‘institution’ of marriage except a statute that makes marriage illegal and punishable.”
  • In Joseph Shine v. Union of India (2018), the Supreme Court held that the offence of adultery was unconstitutional because it was founded on the principle that a woman is her husband’s property after marriage.

Way forward:

  • What constitutes marital rape and marital non-rape needs to be defined precisely before a view on its criminalisation is taken.
  • Defining marital rape would call for a broad based consensus of the society.
  • States should intervene in the matter, since criminal law is on the concurrent list and implemented by states —and given the vast diversity in cultures across states.
  • Factors like literacy, lack of financial empowerment of the majority of females, mindset of the society, vast diversity, poverty, etc., should be considered carefully before taking any decision.
  • The need for “moral and social awareness” to stop such an act.
  • The recent privacy judgment by the Supreme Court is also set to play an important role. The right to bodily integrity is a crucial facet of Article 21.
  • Timely medical care and rehabilitation, skill development and employment for facilitating economic independence of victims.
  • Need for undertaking both legal and social reforms to deal with the menace of marital rape

 

3. Strong bilateral ties between like-minded nations such as India and Australia will remain critical to shaping the Indo-Pacific security architecture. Analyse.

Reference:  Indian Express

Introduction

India and Australia have several commonalities, which serve as a foundation for closer cooperation and multifaceted interaction, on lines similar to what India has developed with other Western countries. Both are strong, vibrant, secular and multicultural democracies.

The relationship has grown in strength and importance since India’s economic reforms in the nineties and has made rapid strides in all areas – trade, energy and mining, science & technology, information technology, education and defence.

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Background: Indo-Australia relations

  • India and Australia enjoy excellent bilateral relations that have undergone transformational evolution in recent years, developing along a positive track, into a friendly partnership.
  • This is a special partnership characterised by shared values of pluralistic, parliamentary democracies, Commonwealth traditions, expanding economic engagement, long standing people-to-people ties and increasing high level interaction.
  • The India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership initiated during the India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit held in June 2020 is the cornerstone of India-Australia multi-faceted bilateral relations.
  • Growing India-Australia economic and commercial relations contribute to the stability and strength of a rapidly diversifying and deepening bilateral relationship between the two countries

India-Australia cooperation for Indo-Pacific region and its security

  • QUAD: QUAD is already cooperating on sharing intelligence on threats in the Indo-Pacific region. They have called on all countries to ensure that territory under their control is not used to launch terror attacks and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks.
  • Australia’s India Economic Strategy: To implement the plan, Australia is investing over $280 million (Rs 1,500 crore) – towards new programmes and initiatives across technology, space, critical minerals, strategic research and people-to-people links to boost cooperation with India.
  • Technology and Research: The two nations are working on a new and renewable energy partnership, to support the development of technologies such as green hydrogen and ultra-low cost solar.
    • Australia is also supporting research and investment to unlock Australian critical minerals for Indian advanced manufacturing.
  • Defence and security cooperation: Both signed Strategic Partnership, including a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in 2009.
    • Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement was signed 2014 between two, enabling India to secure uranium from Australia.
  • On China: Chinese aggression and assertive foreign policy are common concerns and has brought both the democracies closer.
    • Both have shared interests in vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
    • Both are part of QUAD, and also proposed Supply Chain Resilience Initiative.
    • Australia’s Pacific Step Up and India’s Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) reaffirm their cooperation in the South Pacific region.

 

Conclusion

India and Australia share common values, complementary economies and strong people to people links that make them ideal partners in terms of security, trade and culture. Shared values, shared interests, shared geography and shared objectives are the bedrock of deepening India-Australia ties and the cooperation and coordination between the two countries have picked up momentum in recent years.

Both India and Australia share a vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region and cooperative use of the seas by adherence to international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and peaceful resolution of disputes rather than through unilateral or coercive actions.


General Studies – 3


 

4. Distinguish between demand pull and cost push inflation. Examine the factors that are causing inflation in India. What measures are needed to keep inflation under check?

Reference: The Hindu

 

Introduction

Inflation refers to the rise in the prices of most goods and services of daily or common use, such as food, clothing, housing, recreation, transport, consumer staples, etc. Inflation measures the average price change in a basket of commodities and services over time. The opposite and rare fall in the price index of this basket of items is called ‘deflation’. Inflation is indicative of the decrease in the purchasing power of a unit of a country’s currency. This is measured in percentage.

The recent action of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to raise the repo rate by 40 basis points and cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 50 basis points is a recognition of the serious situation with respect to inflation in our country and the resolve to tackle inflation.

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Differences between Demand pull and cost push inflation

  • Demand-pull inflation occurs when there is an increase in aggregate demand, categorized by the four sections of the macroeconomy: households, businesses, governments, and foreign buyers.
  • Cost-push inflation means prices have been “pushed up” by increases in the costs of any of the four factors of production—labor, capital, land, or entrepreneurship—when companies are already running at full production capacity.
  • The demand-pull inflation is when the aggregate demand is more than the aggregate supply in an economy, whereas cost push inflation is when the aggregate demand is same and the fall in aggregate supply due to external factors will result in increased price level.
  • Demand-pull inflation arises when the aggregate demand increases at a faster rate than aggregate supply. Cost-push Inflation is a result of an increase in the price of inputs due to the shortage of cost of production, leading to decrease in the supply of outputs.
  • Demand-pull inflation describes, how price inflation begins. On the other hand, cost-push inflation explains Why inflation is so difficult to stop, once started.
  • The reason for demand-pull inflation is the increase in money supply, government spending and foreign exchange rates. Conversely, cost-push inflation is mainly caused by the monopolistic groups of the society.
  • The policy recommendation on demand-pull inflation is associated with the monetary and fiscal measure which amounts to the high level of unemployment. Unlike, cost push inflation, where policy recommendation is related to administrative control on price rise and income policy, whose objective is to control inflation without increasing unemployment.

Factors causing inflation in India

  • Fuel prices:
    • The recent spike in inflation was due to rising prices of crude oil and other commodities due to disruption in the global supply chain in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.
    • Since energy is used for all production, prices of all goods and services tend to rise and push up the rate of inflation.
    • Further, this is an indirect tax, it is regressive and impacts the poor disproportionately It also makes the RBI’s task of controlling inflation difficult.
  • Supply shortage:
    • On the other hand, the retail inflation rose mainly on account of rising prices of essential food items like ‘oils and fats’, vegetables and protein-rich items such as ‘meat and fish’..
    • Prices of items of day-to-day consumption also rose.
    • Fruits and vegetable prices rose since these items could not reach the urban markets.
  • International factors: Most major economies have recovered and demand for inputs has increased while supplies have remained disrupted (like chips for automobiles).
    • So, commodity and input prices have risen (like in the case of metals).
    • Businesses claim increase in input costs underlies price rise.
  • Data collection and methodology: In April and May 2020, data on production and prices could not be collected due to the strict lockdown.
    • So, the current data on prices for April to July 2021 are not comparable with the same months of 2020.
    • As such, the official inflation figures for these months in 2021 do not reflect the true picture.
  • Weak Rupee: The weakening of the rupee also added to inflation.

Measures to keep the inflation under control

  • Monetary policy Measures: Maintaining price stability is the foremost objective of the monetary policy committee of RBI. However, during the pandemic, growth has taken centre stage and RBI has rightly cut interest rates.
  • Commodity prices: GoI needs to remove supply side bottlenecks. For example, GoI can immediately offload 10-20% of its pulses stock with NAFED in the open market.
  • Fuel prices: Bringing them under GST would reduce the prices by at least 30 rupees. GST council must agree to this with haste.
  • Policy measures: Navigating out of this will need a fiscal stimulus to shore up consumer spending, an investment revival to increase the productive capacity of the economy, and a careful management of inflationary expectations.
  • Concomitantly, the government will also need to pursue redistribution of income to reduce the widening disparity.
  • This also calls for fiscal prudence to cut wasteful spending, find new revenue through asset sales, mining and spectrum auctions, and build investor confidence.

Conclusion

With the rise in inflation amidst a second wave, the balancing acumen of the MPC will now be sorely tested. Factors like rising commodity prices, supply chain disruptions are expected to raise overall domestic inflation. Government and RBI need to chalk out a fiscal plan to ensure that the inflation doesn’t burden the common man in the country

 

5. Evaluate the causes and consequences of desertification in India with a special emphasis on its socio-economic impact. (150 words)

Reference: Down to Earth

Introduction

Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations. Desertification does not refer to the expansion of existing deserts. It occurs because dryland ecosystems, which cover over one-third of the world‘s land area, are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.

The frequency and duration of drought is increasing at an alarming rate across the world since the onset of the 21st century, according to the Drought in Numbers, 2022 report released May 11 at the ongoing 15th Conference of Parties (CoP15) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

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Main reasons that cause desertification in India are:

  • Man-Made Causes:
    • Overgrazing: It reduces the usefulness, productivity, and biodiversity of the land. India lost 31% of grasslands between 2005 and 2015.
    • Deforestation: A forest acts as a carbon sink. Deforestation releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere contributing to the greenhouse effect.
    • Farming Practices: Slash and burn agriculture exposes the state to soil erosion hazards. Heavy tilling and overirrigation disturbs mineral composition of the soil.
    • Urbanization: As urbanization increases, the demand for resources increases drawing more resources and leaving lands that easily succumb to desertification.
    • Climate Change: It may exacerbate desertification through alteration of spatial and temporal patterns in temperature, rainfall, solar radiation and winds.
    • Overexploitation of Resources: Increasing demand for land resources due to issues like overpopulation leaves land vulnerable to desertification.
  • Natural Causes:
    • Natural Disasters: Natural Disasters like Floods, Droughts, landslides results into
      • Water Erosion
      • Displacement of fertile soil.
    • Water erosion: It results into Badland Topography which itself is an initial stage of desertification.
    • Wind Erosion: Sand encroachment by wind reduces fertility of the soil making the land susceptible to desertification.

Consequences of Desertification

Socio-economic impacts:

  • Farming becomes next to impossible
    • If an area becomes a desert, then it’s almost impossible to grow substantial crops there without special technologies.
    • This can cost a lot of money to try and do, so many farmers will have to sell their land and leave the desert areas.
  • Decrease in Crop Yields
    • A major effect of desertification is the decrease in crop yields.
    • Once land turns from arable to arid, it is often on longer suitable for farming purposes anymore.
    • In turn, many farmers may lose their livelihood, since they often solely rely on farming as their single source of income.
    • If their land becomes arid, they may no longer be able to provide sufficient crop yields to make a living out of it.
  • Hunger
    • Without farms in these areas, the food that those farms produce will become much scarcer, and the people who live in those local areas will be a lot more likely to try and deal with hunger problems.
    • Animals will also go hungry, which will cause even more of a food shortage.
  • Overpopulation
    • When areas start to become desert, animals and people will go to other areas where they can actually thrive.
    • This causes crowding and overpopulation, which will, in the long run, end up continuing the cycle of desertification that started this whole thing anyway.
  • Poverty
    • The problem of desertification can lead to poverty if it is not kept in check.
    • Without food and water, it becomes harder for people to thrive, and they take a lot of time to try and get the things that they need.
  • Migration
    • The desertification implies the destruction of the livelihood of farmers.
    • This problem becomes even worse when large areas of land that are currently used for farming will then no longer be suitable for farming due to a lack of water triggered by global warming.
    • This results in serious migration movements.

Climatic Impacts

  • Flooding
    • Without plant life in an area, flooding is a lot more imminent.
    • Not all deserts are dry; those that are wet could experience a lot of flooding because there is nothing to stop the water from gathering and going all over the place.
  • Poor Water Quality
    • If an area becomes a desert, the water quality is going to become a lot worse than it would have been otherwise.
    • This is because plant life plays a significant role in keeping the water clean and clear; without its presence, it becomes a lot more difficult for you to be able to do that.

Environmental Impacts

  • Biodiversity Loss
    • In general, the destruction of habitats and desertification may also contribute to a loss of biodiversity.
    • While some species may be able to adjust to the altered environmental conditions properly, many species will not be able to do so and may suffer from serious declines in population.
  • Endangerment and Extinction of Species
    • The desertification results in a decline in population for which species may become endangered or even extinct.
    • This problem is especially severe for species that are already endangered as the small number of animals or plants that remains may also die off over time, which may even lead to the extinction of species.
  • Destruction of Habitats
    • Desertification often leads to a loss of habitats for many animals and plants.
    • Desertification may alter the living conditions of the local flora and fauna that makes it impossible for animals and plants to sustain their populations.
    • After desertification, regions suffer from water shortages due to climate change and animals may suffer and die since water is vital for all life on our planet.

Measures needed

  • UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework: It is the most comprehensive global commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in order to restore the productivity of vast expanses of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations to build.
  • Setting up of an Intergovernmental Panel on Land and Soil will be very helpful in speeding up efforts to check desertification.
  • Farmers must be incentivised to choose cropping patterns that require less water, and go for drip irrigation or other water management mechanisms to save our only available deeper aquifers.
  • Developing countries need to integrate their poverty eradication programmes with strategies to fight desertification.
  • Lessons from the world:
    • In Africa, several countries have come together to form a 12,000 sq.km “great green wall” extending from Senegal to Djibouti with the participation of local communities.
    • People’s participation is crucial in reclaiming lands. China’s “great green wall” project is on a massive scale and is now starting to show results.
  • The techniques include agro-forestry and farmer-managed natural regeneration. Small community initiatives like
    • Closure of degraded lands for grazing
    • Curtailing farming
    • Growing fast-growing plants
    • Raising tall trees that serve as a barrier against winds and sandstorms are very effective.
  • National governments could consider building large green belts, prioritise forestry programmes and launch projects of fixing and stabilising sands.

Conclusion

Desertification is being accentuated by climate change. Thus, a comprehensive sustainable developmental approach is needed by the countries.

 

Answer the following questions in 250 words(15 marks each):


General Studies – 1


 

6. Why is the French revolution considered as a total revolution? Discuss the role played by the women in the French revolution.

Reference: Insights on India

 

Introduction

The French Revolution was a time of social and political upheaval in France and its colonies that began in 1789 and ended in 1799. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, its overthrow of the Monarchy influenced the decline of absolute Monarchies in other parts of Europe.

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Role played by women in the French Revolution

  • Women were active participants from the beginning which brought important changes in the country France. Women from the third estate had to work for a living and they didn’t have access to education or job training.
    • The most notable demand of women during the French revolution was the ‘right to vote’ and equal wages.
  • In order to discuss and raise voice for their demands, they started many ‘political clubs’ and ‘newspapers’, among which ‘the society of revolutionary’ and ‘Republican women were famous’.
  • One of the most well-known French Revolutionary women was Olympe de Gouges. In 1791, she declared: “Woman is born free and lives equal to man in her rights.”
    • There were women such as Marie-Jeanne Roland and Germaine de Staël – known as salonnières – who hosted salons where revolutionary ideas were fostered and political power was brokered.
    • Women also took up arms in physical revolt.
  • In October 1789, as flour shortages and hunger in Paris led to discontent that boiled over into anger, women were at the centre of the maelstrom.
    • Women played a pivotal role in an event often known as the October Days, or the October March, that propelled the first stage of the revolution into a new balance of power.
    • On the morning of 5 October 1789, many Parisian women were demonstrating over the price of bread in Paris – flour had been scarce and there was a growing feeling that food was being purposely withheld from the poor.
  • Women’s struggle for equal political rights continued during the ‘Reign of Terror’. The government banned their clubs and political activities. Many women got arrested but they continued their fight despite the push back on their activities.

Outcome of women’s struggle

  • The question of whether the French Revolution furthered women’s rights remains a contentious point among historians today.
  • Some social rights were granted to women: new inheritance laws, for example, meant that, irrespective of gender, children could inherit parents’ wealth equally.
  • There was another step forward for the legal status of unmarried mothers and their children, while a new law enabling divorce gave equal terms for men and women.
  • Though the revolution was undoubtedly a time of great debate concerning the status and rights of women from all social classes, the revolution did not change much in terms of their ability to contribute to a French democracy.
  • And though the revolution had long ripples, it cannot be seen as a direct contributor to women’s suffrage in France – a right that they would not receive until 1945.

Conclusion

Women played an active role in French Revolution to bring about a change in the societal mindset regarding the women’s position. They fought for their rights and stood for equality. Though in reality, the right to vote was given only in 1945, just two years earlier than India, the revolution started the conversation regarding women’s rights and equality and is symbolic even today.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

7. The policing system needs to be reformed to be in tune with present day scenario and upgraded to effectively deal with the crime and criminals, uphold human rights and safeguard the legitimate interests of one and all. Analyse in the light of Prakash Singh judgement. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Introduction

The primary role of police forces is to uphold and enforce laws, investigate crimes and ensure security for people in the country. Under the Constitution, police is a subject governed by states. There has been almost 30 years of debate on policing and reform in India. The present Indian police system is largely based on Police act of 1861. Police reforms has been on the agenda of Governments almost since independence but even after more than 70 years, the police is seen as selectively efficient, unsympathetic to the under privileged.

The Supreme Court has stated that the landmark judgment of Prakash Singh v. Union of India (2006), which dealt with police reforms, is used periodically only as a mantra, to suit the occasion whenever it arises.

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Need for Police Reforms:

  • If India is to achieve its status as a great power, it is absolutely essential that police is restructured and modernised.
  • Without the police ensuring good law and order in the country, the other services would find it difficult to operate.
  • To transform the colonial police structure of the country into a progressive, modern force sensitive to the democratic aspirations of the people.
  • To eliminate the undue political interference. The police of today are victims of politicization as well as criminalization.
  • To instil the confidence of the people in the institution of police by making police more people friendly.
  • The security of the society and the welfare of the people is dependent on the efficiency of the police.

Key reasons hindering both police reforms:

  • An overburdened police force:
    • Police force is overburdened especially at lower levels where constabulary is forced to work continuously 14-16 hrs and also for 7 days a week. It adversely impacts their performance.
    • While the sanctioned police strength was 181 police per lakh persons in 2016 when the United Nations recommended standard is 222 police per lakh persons.
    • 86% of the state police comprises of constabulary. Constables are typically promoted once during their service. This could weaken their incentive to perform well.
  • Improving police infrastructure:
    • Failure of police infrastructure like vehicles, weaponry. Also audits have found that the POLNET network is non-functional in various states.
    • For example, an audit of the Gujarat police force reported that the network had not been operationalised till October 2015 due to non-installation of essential infrastructure, such as remote subscriber units and generator sets.
    • Funds dedicated for modernisation of infrastructure are typically not utilised fully. For example, in 2015-16, only 14% of such funds were used by the states.
  • Political influence:
    • Second Administrative Reforms Commission has noted that ministers have used police forces for personal and political reasons.
  • Police accountability:
    • Police forces have the authority to exercise force to enforce laws and maintain law and order in a state. However, this power may be misused in several ways.
  • Poor quality of investigation:
    • Crime per lakh population has increased by 28% over the last decade (2005-2015). However, convictions have been low. So it shows the poor quality of investigation.
    • The Law Commission and the Second Administrative Reforms Commission have noted that state police officers often neglect investigation because they are understaffed and overburdened with various kinds of tasks.
    • Further, they lack the training and the expertise required to conduct professional investigations.
    • They also have insufficient legal knowledge and the forensic and cyber infrastructure available to them is both inadequate and outdated. In light of this, police forces may use force and torture to secure evidence.
    • Crime investigations may be influenced by political or other extraneous considerations
  • Forensic labs:
    • Expert bodies have however said that these laboratories are short of funds and qualified staff. Further, there is indiscriminate referencing of cases to these labs resulting in high pendency.
  • Lack of co-ordination between centre and states is matter related to maintenance of law & order results in ineffective functioning of police force.
  • Police force is not in the position to tackle present problems of cybercrime, global terrorism, Naxalism because of structural weaknesses.
  • Prevalence of Rank system within the police force results in abuse of power by top level executive over lower level personnel.

Reforms needed:

  • Directions of the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh vs Union of India:
    • Fixing the tenure and selection of the DGP to avoid situations where officers about to retire in a few months are given the post.
    • In order to ensure no political interference, a minimum tenure was sought for the Inspector General of Police so that they are not transferred mid-term by politicians.
    • Postings of officers should be done by Police Establishment Boards (PEB) comprising police officers and senior bureaucrats to insulate powers of postings and transfers from political leaders.
    • Set up State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA) to give a platform where common people aggrieved by police action could approach.
    • Separate investigation and law and order functions to better improve policing.
    • Set up of State Security Commissions (SSC) that would have members from civil society.
    • Form a National Security Commission.
  • Independent Complaints Authority:
    • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission and the Supreme Court have observed that there is a need to have an independent complaints authority to inquire into cases of police misconduct.
    • Example is that of the New York City Police which has a Civilian Complaint Review Board comprising of civilians appointed by local government bodies and the police commissioner to investigate into cases of police misconduct.
  • Investigation:
    • Experts have recommended that states must have their own specialized investigation units within the police force that are responsible for crime investigation.
  • Padmanabhaiah commission:
    • It has also been recommended that constables, and the police force in general, should receive greater training in soft skills given they need to deal with the public regularly.
  • Housing:
    • Importance of providing housing to the constabulary (and generally to the police force) to improve their efficiency and incentive to accept remote postings has also been emphasised by expert bodies, such as the National Police Commission.
  • Community policing: Janamaithri Suraksha in Kerala
    • This project is an initiative of the Kerala Police to facilitate greater accessibility, close interaction and better understanding between the police and local communities. For example, Beat Constables are required to know at least one family member of every family living in his beat area.
    • Meira Paibi (Torch-bearers) in Assam: The women of the Manipuri Basti in Guwahati help with improving the law and order problem in their area, by tackling drug abuse among the youth. They light their torches and go around the basti guarding the entry and exit points, to prevent the youth of the area from going out after sunset
  • Courts:
    • The Madras High Court has said that the state government should contemplate giving policemen a day off in a week like other government officials in order to spend time with their families.
    • The court suggested introducing an 8-hour, three-shift system for police personnel. It will help them rejuvenate themselves and relieve them from stress.
  • Evidence based policing is gaining credibility day by day – Indian police force must be exposed to it.
  • Second ARC recommended that the government should declare certain crimes as “federal” and entrust their investigation to a Central agency.
  • Police need to have the operational freedom to carry out their responsibilities professionally, and satisfactory working conditions, while being held accountable for poor performance or misuse of power.
  • Gender Parity in Police force: The 2nd Administrative Reform Commission recommended that the representation of women in police at all levels should be increased through affirmative action so that they constitute about 33% of the police.
  • Improvement in Intelligence gathering: The intelligence gathering machinery in the field needs to be strengthened and at the same time, made more accountable. Human intelligence should be combined with information derived from diverse sources with the focus on increased use of technology.

Conclusion

The police force needs to be freed from the stranglehold of the executive and given functional autonomy to enforce the rule of law. Police should be a SMART Police -a police which should be strict and sensitive, modern and mobile, alert and accountable, reliable and responsible, tech-savvy and trained.

 

8. Elaborate on the various measures that can be taken in order to reduce the pendency of court cases in the country.

Reference: The Hindu

Introduction

The justice system in any democracy is set up, under the Constitution to serve the public without “fear or favour, affection or ill-will” as far as judges are concerned. The Indian Judiciary plays an increasingly important role in the life and the governance of this country. A measure of the justice delivery system is the pendency of cases in courts across the country. There has been a significant deterioration in this aspect.

Body

Background

  • Chief Justice of India N. V. Ramana has once again called for measures to improve the judge-to-population ratio. At present, India has a sanctioned strength of 25,628 judges. This is when over 4.7 crore cases are pending in courts across the country.
  • The retirements in the topmost rung of the judiciary in 2022 would encompass changes in the powerful Supreme Court Collegium and see two new Chief Justices in a span of months.
  • The working judicial strength is 32 against the sanctioned strength of 34.
  • The Supreme Court’s statistics show that 70,362 cases are pending with it as on April 1, 2022.
  • While 52,110 are admission matters, 18,522 are regular hearing cases.
  • The number of Constitution Bench cases (both main and connected matters) total 422.

Extra information: Causes for huge pendency of cases:

  • Shifting role of SC:
    • The key reason for the mounting of pending cases can be attributed to shifting the role of the Supreme Court from adjudicating cases of constitutional significance into a regular court of appeals.
    • According to legal experts, most of the cases that the Supreme Court was handling daily are either appeals from various high courts or cases of gross violation of individual’s fundamental rights. But this role was never meant for the apex court.
  • Shortage of judges:
    • From 1950 to 1921, the number of Supreme Court judges has increased nearly four times. Even then, case pendency has steadily kept rising.
    • Around 5,580 or 25% of posts are lying empty in the subordinate courts, which leads to poor Judges to Population Ratio, as India has only 20 judges per million population. Earlier, Law Commission had recommended 50 judges per million.
  • Frequent adjournments:
    • The laid down procedure of allowing a maximum of three adjournments per case is not followed in over 50 per cent of the matters being heard by courts, leading to rising pendency of cases.
  • Low budgetary allocation leading to poor infrastructure:
    • India spends only about 09% of its GDP to maintain the judicial infrastructure.
    • Infrastructure status of lower courts of the country is miserably grim due to which they fail to deliver quality judgements.
    • A 2016 report published by the Supreme Court showed that existing infrastructure could accommodate only 15,540 judicial officers against the all-India sanctioned strength of 20,558.
  • Burden of government cases:
    • Statistics provided by LIMBS shows that the Centre and the States were responsible for over 46% of the pending cases in Indian courts.
  • Special leave petition:
    • cases in the Supreme Court, currently comprises to 40% of the court’s pendency.
    • It is because of frivolous PILs and various government policies which are challenged by the people that takes up most of judiciary’s time
  • Judges Vacation:
    • Supreme Court’s works on average for 188 days a year, while apex court rules specify minimum of 225 days of work.
  • Lack of court management systems:
    • Courts have created dedicated posts for court managers to help improve court operations, optimize case movement and judicial time.
    • However, only few courts have filled up such posts so far.
  • Inefficient investigation:
    • Police are quite often handicapped in undertaking effective investigation for want of modern and scientific tools to collect evidences.

Measures needed:

  • Improving infrastructure for quality justice:
    • The Parliamentary Standing Committee which presented its report on Infrastructure Development and Strengthening of Subordinate Courts, suggested:
    • States should provide suitable land for construction of court buildings etc. It should undertake vertical construction in light of shortage of land.
    • Timeline set out for computerization of all the courts, as a necessary step towards setting up of e- courts.
  • Addressing the Issue of Vacancies:
    • Ensure the appointments of the judges be done in an efficient way by arriving at an optimal judge strength to handle the cases pending in the system.
    • The 120th Law Commission of India report for the first time, suggested a judge strength fixation formula.
    • Supreme Court and High Courts should appoint efficient and experienced judges as Ad-hoc judges in accordance with the Constitution.
    • All India Judicial Service, which would benefit the subordinate judiciary by increasing quality of judges and help reduce the pendency.
  • Timeframe to dispose of cases:
    • Having a definite time frame to dispose the cases by setting annual targets and action plans for the subordinate judiciary and the High Courts. The judicial officers could be issued a strict code of conduct, to ensure that the duties are adequately performed by the officials.
    • Strict regulation of adjournments and imposition of exemplary costs for seeking it on flimsy grounds especially at the trial stage and not permitting dilution of time frames specified in Civil Procedure Code.
  • Better Court Management System & Reliable Data Collection:
    • For this categorization of cases on the basis of urgency and priority along with bunching of cases should be done.
  • Use of Information technology (IT) solutions:
    • The use of technology for tracking and monitoring cases and in providing relevant information to make justice litigant friendly.
    • All the courts in the country must switch to a hybrid virtual mode immediately and start disposing cases.
  • Process reengineering:
    • Involves redesigning of core business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity and quality by incorporating the use of technology in court rules. It will include:
    • Electronic filing of cases: e-Courts are a welcome step in this direction, as they give case status and case history of all the pending cases across High courts and Subordinate courts bringing ease of access to information.
    • Revamping of National Judicial Data Grid by introducing a new type of search known as elastic search, which is closer to the artificial intelligence.
  • Alternate dispute resolution (ADR):
    • As stated in the Conference on National Initiative to Reduce Pendency and Delay in Judicial System- Legal Services Authorities should undertake pre-litigation mediation so that the inflow of cases into courts can be regulated.
    • The Lok Adalat should be organized regularly for settling civil and family matters.
    • Gram Nyayalayas, as an effective way to manage small claim disputes from rural areas which will help in decreasing the workload of the judicial institution.
    • Village Legal Care & Support Centre can also be established by the High Courts to work at grass root level to make the State litigation friendly.

Conclusion

The fundamental requirement of a good judicial administration is accessibility, affordability and speedy justice, which will not be realized until and unless the justice delivery system is made within the reach of the individual in a time bound manner and within a reasonable cost. Therefore, continuous formative assessment is the key to strengthen and reinforce the justice delivery system in India.

 


General Studies – 3


 

9. Examine the various factors behind the depreciation of Indian rupee. What is its impact on the Indian economy? What measures are required to counter the depreciation? (250 words)

Reference: Live MintIndian Express

Introduction

Currency depreciation is a fall in the value of a currency in a floating exchange rate system.

Rupee depreciation means that the rupee has become less valuable with respect to the dollar.

The Indian rupee fell to an all-time low of 77.44 against the U.S. Dollar. The outlook for the Indian rupee continues to be weighed down by tighter global monetary policy, a strengthening of the US dollar and risk aversion, and higher current account deficits.

 

Body

Various factors behind the depreciation of Indian rupee

  • Sell-off of the Equity: A sell-off in the global equity markets which was triggered by the hike in interest rates by the U.S. Federal Reserve (central bank), the war in Europe and growth concerns in China due to the Covid-19 surge, led to the rupee depreciation.
    • With the US Federal Reserve hiking rates by 50 basis points, there has been a sell-off in global markets as investors have rushed to the dollar.
  • Outflow of Dollar: The outflow of dollars is a result of high crude prices and the correction in equity markets is also causing adverse flow of dollars.
    • In India, foreign portfolio investors have pulled out around $5.8 billion since the beginning of this financial year as per data from Kotak, exerting downward pressure on the currency.
  • Tightening of Monetary Policy: Steps taken by RBI to tighten the monetary policy to counter rising inflation has also led to depreciation.
  • Trade deficit: here is also the pressure owing to the rising trade deficit — in April the deficit stood at $20 billion, up from $18.7 billion in March. In fact, according to analysts, the current account deficit is likely to be at its highest level since the crisis of 2013.

Impact on the Indian economy of falling rupee

  • The current account deficit is bound to widen, depleting foreign exchange reserves and weakening the rupee.
  • With higher landed prices of crude oil and other crucial imports, the economy is definitely inching towards cost-push inflation.
    • Cost-push inflation (also known as wage-push inflation) occurs when overall prices increase (inflation) due to increases in the cost of wages and raw materials.
  • Companies may not be allowed to fully pass on the burden of high costs to consumers, which, in turn, affects government dividend earnings, raising questions about budgeted fiscal deficits.
  • Depreciation in rupee is a double-edged sword for the Reserve Bank of India.
    • Weaker rupee should theoretically give a boost to India’s exports, but in an environment of uncertainty and weak global demand, a fall in the external value of rupee may not translate into higher exports.
  • Inflation: It poses risk of imported inflation, and may make it difficult for the central bank to maintain interest rates at a record low for longer.
    • India meets more than two-thirds of its domestic oil requirements through imports.
    • India is also one of the top importers of edible oils.
    • A weaker currency will further escalate imported edible oil prices and lead to a higher food inflation.

 

Measures required to counter the depreciation

  • Curbing imports of non-essential goods will lessen the demand for Dollars and promoting export will help in increasing the flow of Dollars into the country, thus, helps in control rupee depreciation.
  • The Masala Bond is directly pegged to the Indian currency. If Indian borrowers issue more rupee denominated Masala Bonds, this would increase liquidity in the market or increase in the rupee stock against few currencies in the market and this would help in supporting the rupee.
  • External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) is a type of loan in foreign currencies, made by non-resident lenders. Thus, easing conditions of ECB’s helps in receiving more loans in foreign currencies would increase the inflow of forex, leading to rupee appreciation.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been intervening to soften the currency’s slide — the fall in its foreign exchange reserves suggests that is the case. This reduces the volatility of the currency.

Conclusion

Considering that the rupee is overvalued, the central bank should allow the currency to slide, allowing it to find its own level, intervening only to smoothen excess volatility. Currency depreciation will act as an automatic stabiliser. It will help ease current account pressures by curbing imports, but more importantly, it will help boost exports  a critical driver of the country’s economy at the current juncture.