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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 9 June 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


 

Topic: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1. What were the causes behind the Surat Split? Examine its short- and long-term impact on the national movement. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Chapter 11 – India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To discuss and contrast the ideologies and methods of Moderates and Extremists which ultimately resulted in the Surat Split.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

Write about the factors that led to the split -Bring out the shortcomings of liberal moderates and their disconnect with the masses and the rise of extremists to fill this gap. Contrast the ideas of Extremists vis-à-vis the Moderates such as use of methods of appeals as against the radical moves, belief in masses, use of press with a strong language against the British by Tilak, personalities such as Aurobindo promoting superiority of our own civilisation etc.

Next, write about the short-term impact of the split.

Next, write about the long-term impact of the split.

Conclusion:

Mention that although the end was to attain Swaraj, the means to achieve it was different in the eyes of the Moderates and Extremists and that mutual distrust lead to the Surat split.

Introduction

In the early twentieth century the nationalism was gaining fervour so Curzon decided to divide Bengal, to break the unity of Indians and to check the growth of nationalism. This move was inception point to Surat split of INC in 1907. The ideological difference between moderates and extremists further widened with moderates opposing the resolutions on Swaraj, Swadeshi, Boycott of foreign goods and National Education and also there as issue with the leadership of congress sessions as well that ultimately led to Surat split.

Body

causes behind the Surat Split

  • There was a great deal of public debate and disagreement among Moderates and Extremists in the years 1905-1907, even when they were working together against the partitioning of Bengal.
  • The Extremists wanted to extend the Swadeshi and the Boycott Movement from Bengal to the rest of the country.
  • They also wanted to gradually extend the boycott from foreign goods to every form of association or cooperation with the colonial Government.
  • The Moderates wanted to confine the boycott part of the movement to Bengal and were totally opposed to its extension to the Government.
  • Matters nearly came to a head at the Calcutta Congress in 1906 over the question of its Presidentship.
  • A split was avoided by choosing Dadabhai Naoroji.
  • Four compromise resolutions on the Swadeshi, Boycott, National Education, and Self-Government demands were passed.
  • Throughout 1907 the two sides fought over differing interpretations of the four resolutions.
  • By the end of 1907 the Extremists were convinced that the battle for freedom had begun as the people had been roused.
  • Most of them felt that the time had come to part company with the Moderates
  • Most of the Moderates, led by Pherozeshah Mehta, were no less determined on a split. They were afraid that the Congress organization built carefully over the last twenty years, would be shattered.

Impacts of Surat split

Short term

  • Following the Surat Split in 1907, the Moderates demanded colonial self-government in contrast to the Extremists’ demand for total independence.
  • The moderates’ constitutional politics did not impress the British government, as evidenced by the Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909.
  • The Moderates had lost touch with the nationalism’s younger generation. The younger generation desired results, which fuelled the rise of revolutionaries.
  • Following the incarceration of leaders such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the moderate-dominated Congress went dormant.
  • Separate electorates were granted to Muslims in 1909. This was a setback for Congress because the most critical and vocal elements were not included in the INC.

Long-term

  • To suppress militant nationalists, the British used a divide and rule strategy.
  • Extremism was mostly confined to Bengal, Maharashtra, and Punjab, where the rise in terrorist activity allowed the government to unleash repression.
  • The exit of the Extremist left the Congress paralysed for more than a decade as the Moderates could achieve very little.
  • It was only in 1916 after re-entry of the Extremists and exit of the Moderates (1918) that the Congress was reactivated.
  • But now it was a different story all together. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had entered the political scene and associated himself with the programme of the Extremist.
  • He represented a new synthesis of faith and reason, law and impulse and inaugurated a new era in Modern India History.

Conclusion

British policy of Divide and Rule, saw a major victory in form of Surat Split and the British believed that they were in control of the affairs of the INC after significant period of time. While the leadership of the Congress remained in the hands of the Moderates for some time more, as the Extremists worked separately till 1916. Later both groups reunited at Lucknow session of Congress in 1916 due to the efforts of the leaders of Home Rule movement.

 

Topic: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism

2. Do you think that a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) could be a possible solution to end communalism in the Indian society? Critically comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami recently set up a committee to prepare a draft Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for the State.

Key Demand of the question:

To critically write about the ability of UCC to address the issue of communalism in the society.

Directive word: 

Critically comment – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘comment’ is prefixed, we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and its objectives.

Body:

Bring out the shortcomings of the present personal laws and how these add to communalism in the society.

Next, discuss in detail role a finely balanced UCC could play the development of the country – uniformity of laws, achieving equality, simplification of law, progressive measure etc.

Next, discuss in detail the arguments against the UCC in India which might affect development adversely – Lack of consensus, against cultural diversity, right of minorities, tribal customs etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a balanced opinion regarding the UCC.

Introduction

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India proposes to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country with a common set of laws governing every citizen.

The constitution has a provision for Uniform Civil Code in Article 44, as a Directive Principle of State Policy which states that “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

Body

Issues with personal laws in India

  • Communalism: Different personal laws promote communalism and it leads to discrimination at two levels.
    • First, between people of different religions.
    • Second, between the two sexes
  • Gender bias: Another reason why a uniform civil code is needed is gender justice. The rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim.
    • The practice of triple talaq was a classic example. Even today polygamous marriages are allowed in certain religions which may deny rights to a woman.
  • Against fundamental rights: Many practices governed by religious tradition are at odds with the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution.
    • Courts have also often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code including the judgement in the Shah Bano case.
    • The Supreme Court in Shayara Bano case (2017) had declared the practise of Triple Talaq (talaq-e-bidat) as unconstitutional.

Role of UCC to bring a balance in development of the nation

A secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.

  • Protection to Vulnerable Section of Society:
    • The UCC aims to provide protection to vulnerable sections as envisaged by Ambedkar including women and religious minorities, while also promoting nationalistic fervour through unity.
  • Simplification of Laws:
    • The code will simplify the complex laws around marriage ceremonies, inheritance, succession, adoptions making them one for all. The same civil law will then be applicable to all citizens irrespective of their faith.
  • Adhering to Ideal of Secularism:
    • Secularism is the objective enshrined in the Preamble; a secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.
  • Gender Justice:
    • If a UCC is enacted, all personal laws will cease to exist. It will do away with gender biases in existing laws.

Arguments against UCC in India

The Law commission made certain sharp observation in this regard as follows.

  • According to the 21st Law commission, a uniform civil code “is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage”.
  • Commission suggests certain measures in marriage and divorce that should be uniformly accepted in the personal laws of all religions.
  • Cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.
  • A unified nation did not necessarily need to have “uniformity”. ”Efforts have to be made to reconcile our diversity with universal and indisputable arguments on human rights.
  • In fact, term “secularism” has meaning only if it assured the expression of any form of difference. This diversity, both religious and regional, should not get subsumed under the louder voice of the majority.
  • At the same time, the Commission said, discriminatory practices within a religion should not hide behind the cloak of that faith to gain legitimacy.
  • It said the way forward may not be a uniform civil code, but the codification of all personal laws so that prejudices and stereotypes in every one of them would come to light and could be tested on the anvil of fundamental rights of the Constitution.
  • By codification of different personal laws, one can arrive at certain universal principles that prioritise equity rather than imposition of a uniform code, which would discourage many from using the law altogether, given that matters of marriage and divorce can also be settled extra-judicially.
  • Significantly, the Commission suggested that nikahnama s should make it clear that polygamy is a criminal offence and this should apply to “all communities”.
    • This is not recommended owing to merely a moral position on bigamy, or to glorify monogamy, but emanates from the fact that only a man is permitted multiple wives, which is unfair

Way forward

  • The social transformation from diverse civil code to uniformity shall be gradual and cannot happen in a day. Therefore, the government must adopt a “Piecemeal” approach.
  • Government could bring separate aspects such as marriage, adoption, succession and maintenance into a uniform civil code in stages
  • Government must emulate Goan practice of a common civil code, which has been the law since 1867, when the state was under the Portuguese colonial rule.
  • Moreover, when constitution espouses the cause of Uniform civil code in its article 44, it shouldn’t be misconstrued to be a “common law”.
  • The word uniform here means that all communities must be governed by uniform principles of gender justice and human justice.
  • It will mean modernization and humanization of each personal law.
  • It would mean, not a common law, but different personal laws based on principles of equality, liberty and justice.
  • Government has to take steps towards increasing the awareness among the public, especially minorities, about the importance of having a UCC.

Conclusion

If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a Uniform Civil Code, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List. Even the law commission has suggested in against of the idea. The government needs to find a moral backing a unanimous support across the sections of the society to undertake such an move.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

3. The Speaker has to remain neutral and act independently of political morality and pressure. How can we guarantee the Speaker’s impartiality? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of having non-partisan speaker and suggest steps to ensure his/her neutrality.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Mention the role of speaker as envisaged by the constitution – their roles and responsibility.

Body:

Write about how over the recent year’s speakers have acted in political manner with respect to discharge of their constitutional duties. Cite examples from the parliament and state legislatures and bring out the impact of partisan conduct of speakers.

Suggest reforms to ensure the speaker remains independent, impartial and performs his duty according to ideals guided by the constitution and not any political affiliations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The Speaker is the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha (House of the People), the lower house of the Parliament of India. The speaker is elected generally in the very first meeting of the Lok Sabha following general elections. Serving for a term of five years, the speaker chosen from sitting members of the Lok Sabha (House of the People), and is by convention a member of the ruling party or alliance.

Body:

Importance of office of Speaker:

  • The office of the Speaker occupies a pivotal position in our parliamentary democracy.
  • It has been said of the office of the Speaker that while the members of Parliament represent the individual constituencies, the Speaker represents the full authority of the House itself.
  • She symbolizes the dignity and power of the House over which she is presiding.
  • In the Lok Sabha, as in the United Kingdom, the Speaker is the supreme authority; she has vast powers and it is his primary duty to ensure the orderly conduct of the business of the House.
  • Every textbook of constitutional law points out the two essential qualities of a Speaker: Independence and impartiality.
  • GV Mavlankar, the first Speaker, observed: “Once a person is elected Speaker, he is expected to be above parties, above politics. In other words, he belongs to all the members or belongs to none. He holds the scales of justice evenly, irrespective of party or person”.
  • Pandit Nehru referred to the Speaker as “the symbol of the nation’s freedom and liberty” and emphasised that Speakers should be men of “outstanding ability and impartiality”.
  • MN Kaul and SL Shakdher, in their book Practice and Procedure of Parliament, refer to him as the conscience and guardian of the House.
  • As the principal spokesperson of the Lok Sabha, the Speaker represents its collective voice and speaks for the House as a whole.
  • Her unique position is illustrated by the fact that she is placed very high in the Warrant of Precedence in our country, standing next only to the President, the Vice-President and the Prime Minister.
  • In India, through the Constitution of the land, through the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and through the practices and conventions, adequate powers are vested in the office of the Speaker to help her in the smooth conduct of the parliamentary proceedings and for protecting the independence and impartiality of the office.
  • The Constitution of India provides that the Speaker’s salary and allowances are not to be voted by Parliament and are to be charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Therefore, it is expected that the holder of this office of high dignity has to be one who can represent the House in all its manifestations.

However, there have been many instances when the Speaker’s office has been in the dock:

  • Appointment and tenure: The structural issues regarding the manner in which the Speaker is appointed and his tenure in office. Usually, the speaker is from the ruling party and this makes it a more of a political liability on speaker to favour his party.
  • Lack of Tenure security: With no security in the continuity of office, the Speaker is dependent on his or her political party for re-election. This makes the Speaker susceptible to pulls and pressures from her/his political party in the conduct of the proceedings of the Lok Sabha.
  • Anti-defection law: In recent times, there are number of instances where the role of speaker has been criticized for decision on membership of MLAs under the anti-defection law and their ruling have been challenged in courts. The Tenth Schedule says the Speaker’s/Chairperson’s decision on questions of disqualification on ground of defection shall be final and can’t be questioned in courts. It was anticipated that giving Speakers the power to expel legislators would prevent unnecessary delays by courts and make anti-defection law more effective.
  • Discretionary power: There are various instances where the Rules vest the Speakers with unbridled powers such as in case of declaration of bill as money bill (Lok Sabha Speaker). This discretionary power comes under criticism when Aadhar bill was introduced in Lok Sabha as Money Bill.
  • Referral to DSRCs: The Speaker is also empowered to refer the Bill to a Standing Committee. As per prevailing practice house members or speaker usually refers all important bills to the concerned Departmentally Related Standing Committees for examination and report. But in recent time speaker uses its discretionary power to pass many important bills on day after introduction of bill without proper discussion and references.
  • Increased disruptions: Frequent disruptions reduced the time required for important discussions and compel speaker to allocate less time for discussion. This often questions the impartiality of speaker as he allegedly provides more time to ruling party. Also, it is alleged that speaker took harsh punishment against the disrupting member of opposition compared to government
  • Elections: The position of the Indian Speaker is paradoxical. They contest the election for the post on a party ticket. Yet they are expected to conduct themselves in a non-partisan manner, while being beholden to the party for a ticket for the next election.
  • Political Aspirations: The position is often used to woo the political parties by favouring them to harbour political ambitions. The need for re-election also skews incentives for the Speaker. The fear of losing the position in case of not favouring their political parties also pushes them to compromise neutrality.

Measures needed to ensure Speaker’s impartiality:

  • The Page Committee, headed by V.S. Page, suggested that if the Speaker had conducted himself or herself in an impartial and efficient manner during the tenure of his or her office, he or she should be allowed to continue in the next Parliament.
  • Anyone seeking the office of the Speaker might be asked to run for election on an independent ticket.
  • Any Speaker should be barred from future political office, except for the post of President, while being given a pension for life.
  • Following the UK model of Speaker where the Speaker elect compulsorily resigns from the party membership. This will ensure neutrality of the office.
  • The Speaker should be allowed to recommend a range of disciplinary actions like cuts in salary, reduction in speaking time for the member based on the recommendation of the parliamentary committee.
  • The Speaker can arrange informal sessions with the members who frequently disrupt the house. He can try to resolve their grievances if any with respect to the conduct of the house.
  • A code of ethics for MPs must be formed to clearly define cases for suspension and dismissals.
  • Power must be given to speaker to form a parliamentary committee to recommend removal of MPs regularly disrupting the house. The decision of the committee must be subject to judicial review.
  • Ethics committee of Lok Sabha need to be given more mandate like other mature democracies

Conclusion:

The office of the Speaker in India is a living and dynamic institution which deals with the actual needs and problems of Parliament in the performance of its functions. It is in her that the responsibility of conducting the business of the House in a manner befitting the place of the institution in a representative democracy is invested.

The founding fathers of our Constitution had recognized the importance of this office in our democratic set-up and it was this recognition that guided them in establishing this office as one of the prominent and dignified ones in the scheme of governance of the country smoothly.

Value addition

Functions and powers of Lok Sabha speaker:

  • Speaker of Lok Sabha is basically the head of the house and presides over the sittings of Parliament and controls its working.
  • The constitution has tried to ensure the independence of Speaker by charging his salary on the consolidated Fund of India and the same is not subject to vote of Parliament.
  • While debating or during general discussion on a bill, the members of the parliament have to address only to the Speaker.
  • Whenever there is a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha), the Speaker of the Lok Sabha presides over this meeting.
  • In the normal circumstances the Speaker does not cast his vote over any matter in Lok Sabha. But whenever there is a tie on votes between the ruling party and opposition, the Speaker at that time can exercise his vote.
  • It is the Speaker who decides the agenda of various discussions.
  • The speaker has the power to adjourn or suspend the house/meetings if the quorum is not met.
  • The Speaker ensures the discipline and decorum of the house. If the speaker finds the behaviour and a member of Parliament is not good, he/she can punish the unruly members by suspending.
  • The Speaker decides whether a bill brought to the house is a money bill or not. In the case Speaker decides some bill as a money bill, this decision cannot be challenged.
  • Speaker is the final and sole authority to allow different types of motions and resolutions such as No Confidence Motion, Motion of Adjournment, Censure Motion
  • The Speaker of Lok Sabha does not leave the office just after dissolution of the assembly. He continues to be in the office till the newly formed assembly takes its first meeting and elects the new Speaker.

 

Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy.

4. The rising spate of ‘encounter’ culture for the disbursal instant justice, is a serious contravention to the rule of law and calls for immediate police reforms to put an end to this practice. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

A recent report submitted by the commission of inquiry headed by a former Supreme Court of India judge, Justice V.S. Sirpurkar, indicting the police in Hyderabad for the fake encounter, in 2019, on the outskirts of Hyderabad near Shamshabad, should serve as an eye-opener to senior police officials who by-pass the law and due processes and eliminate suspects with impunity.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about rising encounters in India, its impact and reforms needed against it.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

In the first part of the body, mentioning role of police in maintaining law and order in the country.

Next, write about the impact of rising encounters as a mode for instant justice. Mention systemic factors, attitudinal factors, and political factors etc which are responsible for this.

Next, suggest measures to have an efficient, empathetic, sensitive, responsive and an accountable police force. Include recommendations of various committees.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward

Introduction

A recent report submitted by the commission of inquiry headed by a former Supreme Court of India judge, Justice V.S. Sirpurkar, indicting the police in Hyderabad for the fake encounter, in 2019, on the outskirts of Hyderabad near Shamshabad, should serve as an eye-opener to senior police officials who by-pass the law and due processes and eliminate suspects with impunity.

Body

In layman terms what is called as an encounter is actually an extra-judicial killing, that is, a killing without judicial sanction and beyond the authority of the police. The police are allowed to utilize force against an accused person, but within the four corners of the law. Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), while detailing out the procedure to make an arrest, provides inter alia, the power to use necessary force against a person evading arrest.

Impact of rising encounters as a mode for instant justice

  • Extra-judicial killings go against the very spirit of rule of law.
  • Lower personnel face the axe: When commissions are set up to inquire into fake encounters, it is usually low-ranking officers, from constables to inspectors, who have to face the brunt. Senior police officers who may have given their consent to eliminate the criminals are allowed to go scot free and are rarely indicted.
  • Blatant violation of rule of law: If States begin to adopt extra-judicial strategies to bring down the crime rate, the day may not be far off when the country would be ruled by criminals in uniform, with the judiciary watching mutely as the protective cover of rule of law is torn to pieces.
  • Against the law of the land: Extra-judicial killings, in a State governed by the rule of law, should be considered an abomination.
    • The Constitution guarantees the right to equality under Article 14 and right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 which can be taken away only by procedure established by law.
  • Extra-judicial killings are a gross violation of not just human rights, but also the very rule of law that forms the bedrock of our Constitution.
    • It shakes the values the Constituent Assembly attempted to imbibe within the country’s grundnorm to the very core.
  • Existing literature on the subject sheds light on not only the human rights excesses that arise due to extra-judicial killings but also shows a trend of such killings being prevalent in third-world, developing nations.
    • This gives credibility to the above analysis of how factors such as an underfunded police force, lack of faith in the judiciary, pendency of cases and other trademark factors of a developing nation aid and abet the proliferation of extra-judicial killings.

Views of Supreme court on encounters

  • In Om Prakash v. State of Jharkhand SC said that “it is not the duty of the police to kill the accused merely because he is a criminal.” It was further stated that ‘encounters’ amounted to “state sponsored terrorism.”
  • Sathyavani Ponrai v. Samuel Raj: A fair investigation is mandatory under Articles 14, 21 and 39 of the Constitution of India and that it is not only a constitutional right but a natural right as well.
  • Nirmal Singh Kahlon v. State of Punjab: The right to investigation and fair trial is applicable to both, the accused and the victim under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
  • Prakash Kadam v. Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta: A fake encounter by a police official falls under the category of ‘rarest of rare case’ as laid down in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab and therefore, the death penalty would be attracted to the concerned police official.
  • Public Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India that not even State can violate the right to life and obligation to follow the procedure established by law under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Court opined that encounter killings by the police must be investigated independently as it “affects the credibility of the rule of law and the administration of the criminal justice system.”

Conclusion and way forward

  • For inquiries, one must nominate magistrates from other States who would be impartial and fair in their inquiries.
  • Commissions of inquiry should comprise police officers from other States who enjoy a reputation of moral rectitude and fair play.
  • By way of training programs and by also limiting powers of law enforcement, a legitimate attempt can be made at preventing such killings.
  • In the United States of America, for example, policing agencies can only supply non-lethal force when confronted with a suspect. Upon overstepping such bounds, officers are heavily prosecuted, thereby creating a system of deterrence.
  • Resolving systemic problems such as underfunding and understaffing and creating a better, more well-equipped police force may also assist in reducing such killings substantially.
  • Therefore, an overhaul of the criminal justice system and better policy making is the need of the hour, to ensure that procedural and systemic anomalies, coupled with callousness and impunity, do not result in the loss of precious life.

Value addition

Laws Dealing with Encounters

  • At the outset, there is no provision in the Indian law which directly authorizes an official to encounter a criminal irrespective of the grievousness of the crime committed by him/her.
  • However, there are some enabling provisions that may be construed so as to vest officials with the power to deal with criminals including the power to use force against a criminal.
  • Section 100 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860: It authorizes any person to exercise his right of private defence which may extend to causing death if there is reasonable apprehension in the mind of the person that there exists a threat to life or limb.
  • Section 46 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973: It permits a police officer to use all means necessary to effect the arrest of the person.
  • Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code: It provides that culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, being a public servant acting for the advancement of public justice exceeds the power given to him by law and causes death by doing an act which he, in good faith, believes to be lawful and necessary for the discharge of his duty and without ill-will towards the person whose death is caused.

 

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

5. The importance of public health has been known for decades with every expert committee underscoring it. However, the process of reform to create a public health-centred primary healthcare system has been lackadaisical. Can universal right to health be a panacea for this? Critically examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

It is time our political systems listen to people and take care of their everyday needs, instead of going for easy options like privatisation, commodification and medicalisation of healthcare.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the need to implement Health as a Right in India and its feasibility.

Directive word:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving a brief about health care in India and cite statistics to substantiate.

Body:

First, write about the various issues plaguing the health care system in India.

Next, mention the need for Right to Health that would promote the health of various weaker sections of the society and also boost economic development. Further link the benefits of better healthcare systems to that of various existing schemes like Ayushman Bharath.

Next, bring out the impediments to declare health care a Fundamental Right.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting that Right to Health is only a detailed interpretation of Right to life that is already a constitutional right. 

Introduction

The right to health, as with other rights, includes both freedoms and entitlements and would be a part of Article 21. Freedoms include the right to control one’s health and body (for example, sexual and reproductive rights) and to be free from interference (for example, free from torture and non-consensual medical treatment and experimentation).

Entitlements include the right to a system of health protection that gives everyone an equal opportunity to enjoy the highest attainable level of health.

Body

Problems in India’s health sector

  • There is a massive shortage of medical staff, infrastructure and last mile connectivity in rural areas. Eg: Doctor : Population 1:1800 and 78% doctors cater to urban India (population of 30%).
  • Massive shortages in the supply of services (human resources, hospitals and diagnostic centres in the private/public sector) which are made worse by grossly inequitable availability between and within States.
    • Data from the National Health Profile-2019, the total number of hospital beds in the country was 7,13,986 which translates to 0.55 beds per 1000 population.
    • Furthermore, the study also highlighted that 12 states that account for 70 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion population were found to have hospital beds per 1000 population below the national average of 0.55 beds.
    • For example, even a well-placed State such as Tamil Nadu has an over 30% shortage of medical and non-medical professionals in government facilities.
  • Health budget: The health budget has neither increased nor is there any policy to strengthen the public/private sector in deficit areas. While the Ayushmaan Bharat provides portability, one must not forget that it will take time for hospitals to be established in deficit areas.
    • This in turn could cause patients to gravitate toward the southern States that have a comparatively better health infrastructure than the rest of India.
  • Infrastructure constraints: There are doubts on the capacity of India’s infrastructure to take on the additional load of patients during pandemics like Covid-19 as seen recently.
    • There is a growing medical tourism (foreign tourists/patients) as a policy being promoted by the government, and also domestic patients, both insured and uninsured.
  • Absence of primary care: In the northern States there are hardly any sub-centres and primary health centres are practically non-existent. First mile connectivity to a primary healthcare centre is broken. For eg, in Uttar Pradesh there is one PHC for every 28 villages.
  • Out of pocket expenditure high: Even the poor are forced to opt for private healthcare, and, hence, pay from their own pockets. As a result, an estimated 63 million people fall into poverty due to health expenditure, annually.
  • Healthcare without holistic approach: There are a lot of determinants for better health like improved drinking water supply and sanitation; better nutritional outcomes, health and education for women and girls; improved air quality and safer roads which are outside the purview of the Health Ministry.

Need for right to health

Impediments to declare it a fundamental right

  • The existing public primary health care model in the country is limited in scope.
    • Even where there is a well-functioning public primary health centre, only services related to pregnancy care, limited childcare and certain services related to national health programmes are provided.
  • Expenditure on public health funding has been consistently low in India (approximately 1.3% of GDP).
    • As per OECD, India’s total out-of-pocket expenditure is around 2.3% of GDP.
    • The government is committed to spend 2.5% of GDP on health by 2025.
  • Sub-optimal health system. Due to this, it is challenging to tackle Non-communicable Diseases, which is all about prevention and early detection.
    • It diminishes preparedness and effective management for new and emerging threats such as pandemic like Covid-19.

Measures needed

  • The implication of and central to the success of such a reset lies in creating appropriate cadres.
  • More immediately, there must be a public health cadre manning the posts at the PHC and CHCs consisting of sub-specialists in family medicine, public health and public health management.
  • Likewise, among nurses, the cadre should comprise two distinct sets of personnel — public health nurses (not ANMs promoted based on seniority) and nurse midwives capable of independently doing all clinical functions for handling pregnancies and women’s health issues except surgical interventions.
  • Primary care in India can get traction only if new skills, drastically upgraded competencies and a new mindset are embedded within the vision of a patient, family and community-centred health system.
  • There is also a need to declutter policy dialogue and provide clarity to the nomenclatures. Currently, public health, family medicine and public health management are used interchangeably.
  • It is time our political systems listen to peoples’ voices for a family doctor to ensure their everyday needs — and not easy options like privatisation, commodification and medicalisation of the system.
  • Resetting the system to current day realities requires strong political leadership to go beyond the inertia of the techno-administrative status quoist structures.

Conclusion

The lesson emerging most unequivocally from the pandemic experience is that if India does not want a repeat of the immeasurable suffering and the social and economic loss, we need to make public health a central focus. The virus is still around. We have no option but to live with that reality.

Covid has also shifted the policy dialogue from health budgets and medical colleges towards much-needed and badly-delayed institutional reform. It is heartening to note that the Ministry of Health has issued guidelines to states to establish a public health cadre.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

6. What is stagflation? What are the factors that lead stagflation? How can the Indian economy avoid it amidst rising inflationary pressures? Discuss.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintThe Hindu

Why the question:

Three monetary policy statements in as many months. And the first quarter of the current financial year is not yet over. This sort of exemplifies the fraught times we live on. But the latest statement released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday is markedly different from its preceding two documents. It includes for the first time the dreaded “S” word: stagflation.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about stagflation, factors that lead to it and measures needed to avoid it.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining stagflation.

Body:

First, write about the factors that can lead stagflation in the economy and the impact of the stagflation.

Next, write about the measures that are needed to ensure India does not witness stagflation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Stagflation, as defined by Princeton economist Alan S. Blinder, is “the simultaneous occurrence of economic stagnation and comparatively high rates of inflation”. Stagflation is an economic condition that’s caused by a combination of slow economic growth, high unemployment, and rising prices. It is said to happen when an economy faces stagnant growth as well as persistently high inflation.

Body

Background

  • While economic growth prospects remain wobbly, India has been witnessing a hardening inflationary environment over the past few months.
  • Producer prices, reflected in the wholesale price index growth, have been rising by double-digits for some months now.
  • This is now feeding into end-user prices, with the consumer price index rising by 7.8% in April 2022.
  • The latest policy statement of RBI remains “focused on withdrawal of accommodation to ensure that inflation remains within the target going forward, while supporting growth”.

Factors that lead to stagflation

  • The two root causes of stagflation economists generally agree upon are supply shocks and fiscal and monetary policies.
  • A supply shock is anything that reduces the economy’s capacity to produce goods and services at given prices. For example, throughout the pandemic, there have been supply shocks in:
    • Labor, with fewer people working
    • Goods, for example, semiconductor shortages, which started even before the pandemic
    • Services, as people postponed elective surgeries and other health-care procedures
  • The instability and uncertainty in the global economy that exacerbates the apprehensions of stagflation.

 

  • Recent happenings
  • The outbreak of Covid-19 and lockdowns followed by subsequent fiscal and Monetary Measures taken to address the downturn, including substantial increases in liquidity in most of the advanced economies, fuelled a sharp upsurge in inflation.
  • The ongoing war in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion and the consequent Western sanctions on Moscow have caused a fresh and as yet hard-to-quantify ‘supply shock’.

Measures needed to tackle stagflation

  • A strong monetary policy support for a sustained and inclusive recovery is the need of the hour.
  • The focus should be to normalise the prudential policies and the strengthen the insolvency frameworks and restructure mechanisms, including for the overhang of public and private debt.
  • There is a need to increase aggregate supply through supply-side policies, for example, privatisation and deregulation to increase efficiency and reduce costs of production.
  • Private sector must be incentivised to invest more and to increase supply through tax measures.
  • Higher liquidity and disposable income, and increased employment can pull us out of the quagmire.
  • reduction and reform of direct individual and corporate taxes, and indirect taxes.
  • Frictions in the labour market should be reduced by reducing the time and cost involved in obtaining information about employment opportunities.
  • Barriers which either limit entry into a profession or maintain wages at artificially high rates should be removed.
  • The government needs to hold granular conversations with the private sector.
  • A skills and industrial policy which can make full use of an abundant pool of reasonably priced labour

Conclusion

There is a need to control Stagflation at the earliest by arresting inflation through policy and structural means. Meanwhile, the government should engage all stakeholders to address the supply-side issues, a calming down of food prices will help the government to prevent stagflation in the economy.

 

Value addition

Stagflation:

  • Stagflation is a portmanteau of stagnant growth and rising inflation.
  • Typically, inflation rises when the economy is growing fast.
  • That’s because people are earning more and more money and are capable of paying higher prices for the same quantity of goods.
  • When the economy stalls, inflation tends to dip as well – again because there is less money now chasing the same quantity of goods.
  • Stagflation is said to happen when an economy faces stagnant growth as well as persistently high inflation.
  • That’s because with stalled economic growth, unemployment tends to rise and existing incomes do not rise fast enough and yet, people have to contend with rising inflation.
  • So people find themselves pressurised from both sides as their purchasing power is reduced.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance;

7. India should take the approach of treating drug addiction as moral and a medical hazard rather than a criminal challenge. Analyse. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Abstract Thursdays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about taking an empathetic approach towards helping drug addicts recover from drug addiction.

Directive:

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by stating that concept of retribution and deterrence approach to counter drug menace has not been fruitful and has only led to the drug networks remaining underground.

Body:

First mention that the harsh approach has created a lot of stigma and lack of intent to approach medical institutions people addicted to drugs. Many a times being unaware and unguided, leads to overdoses and death.

Next, state the need for a humane and persuasive approach to deaddiction on lines of Portugal model. This would lead to a number of people voluntarily accessing the public health care facilities for drug related concerns.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stating that human rights and public health must be centre of the discourse rather than punishing the victims of drug addiction.

Introduction

Substance abuse disorder, or drug addiction, can be defined as a progressive disease that causes people to lose control of the use of some substance despite worsening consequences of that use. Substance use disorder can be life-threatening.

Body

Issues with treating drug addict as a criminal

  • The idea of treating drug users as criminals came from the fact they use or are in possession of drugs, which by law are declared illegal.
  • According to legal logic, anybody who uses or is in possession of illegal things, be they drugs, guns or counterfeit money, is deemed a law offender.
  • It dissuades the other drug addicts to get themselves absolved of the addiction.
  • The stigma attached to drug addicts will further catapult.

Drug addicts should be treated as a victim

  • Addiction should not be seen as a character flaw, but as an ailment that any other person could be struggling with. Therefore, the stigma associated with drug taking needs to be reduced. Society needs to understand that drug-addicts are victims and not criminals.
  • Drug addiction is also considered a form of social disease, like prostitution. Not so long ago HIV was also regarded a social disease.
  • All the available evidence shows, beyond any doubt, that punitive measures alone, no matter how harsh, do not achieve the goal of reducing drug consumption.
  • Worse, in many cases prohibition and punishment have disastrous consequences.
  • That is why Laws on narcotics and addictive drugs provides treatment and rehabilitation for drug addicts, but not for drug traffickers or dealers
  • The stigmatization of drug users, the fear of police repression and the risk of criminal prosecution make access to treatment much more difficult.
  • Instead of insisting on repressive measures that are, at best ineffective, at worst counterproductive, it chose a bold approach that favours more humane and efficient policies.

Portugal Model of Drug Policy

  • Portugal’s national drug policy represents a desirable paradigm shift in global drug policy.
  • Under the new strategy, the purchase, possession, and consumption of illicit drugs have been downgraded from criminal to administrative offenses.
  • A key concept underlying Portugal’s drug policy is prevention
  • Portugal is wisely investing in harm reduction and in forms of social regulation to reduce drug consumption. That is why it puts so much emphasis on dissuasion and prevention.
  • Portugal proves that decriminalization does not increase drug use. To the contrary, it has demonstrated that humanitarian and pragmatic strategies can, in fact, reduce drug consumption, addiction, recidivism, and HIV infection.
  • Preventive measures may only be effective when they are systematic and not onetime actions

Conclusion

Recognition of the need to respect human dignity, understand the life choices and social circumstances of others, and uphold the constitutional right to health lay behind the change of approach toward drug consumption.


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