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[ Day 21 – Synopsis ] 75 Days Mains Revision Plan 2022 – Governance & Ethics

 

 

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.


Governance

Q1. Even though linking aadhar with electoral rolls improves the sanctity of the electoral rolls and strengthens the functioning of democracy there are prominent concerns, which need to be addressed. Discuss. 10M

INTRODUCTION

The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 recently passed by both the houses of parliament, relates to the introduction of a provision to link the electoral rolls with the Aadhaar ecosystem. The idea is to verify the identity of voters by linking the Aadhaar database, which contains the unique identification numbers of every resident in the country, with the details contained in the electoral rolls.

Body:

Improving the sanctity of electoral rolls and strengthening the functioning of democracy:

  • Solve the problem of multiple enrolments
    • Once Aadhaar linkage is achieved, the electoral roll data system will instantly alert the existence of previous registration whenever a person applies for new registration.
      • Due to the frequent shifting of residence by electors and getting enrolled in the new place without deleting the previous enrolment.
    • Cleaning the electoral roll
      • It facilitates elector registration in the location at which they are ‘ordinarily resident’.
        • g. : every 1,000 voters in Mumbai, almost 100 have a different name and photograph
  • Remote voting
    • It will allow remote voting that could help migrant voters and those who live in difficult terrains of the country.
      • E.g.  Voting in the hill districts in Uttarakhand was far less than the average turnout of the state. Tehri (55.68%), Pauri (54.86%) and Almora (53.07%)
  • Participative democracy
    • The incidence of multiple entry could also be eliminated and ensure the participatory democracy.
  • Voluntary in nature
    • The step is voluntary in nature to the extent that it says that no person can be denied inclusion in the electoral roll or any entry deleted because of the inability of an individual to furnish or intimate Aadhaar number.

Concern: The Data Governance Network, in January 2021, argued that linking the two databases has more negatives than positives.

  • Violation of Right to Privacy:
    • There is a view that the Bill could violate secrecy of the vote undermining the principle of secret ballots.
    • India needs a data protection bill regulating the use and sharing of personal data between citizens and the government, and between government agencies. We lack a framework for safeguarding individual rights, which is worrying for multiple reasons.
    • There have been examples of targeted surveillance using Aadhaar information and demographic data.
      • In Andhra Pradesh, 5.167 million families’ locations could be tracked on a website run by the state government, using religion and caste as search criteria.
    • Problem of voting by non-Citizens:
      • Aadhaar is not proof of citizenship and it is said so very clearly in the Aadhaar Act.
      • There are doubts on how this will prevent non-citizens (especially Nepalis & Bangladeshis) from voting because non-citizens can have an Aadhar card.
      • The goal of preventing non-citizens from voting will not be solved with Aadhaar.
    • Mirco-Targeting using leaked data:
      • The other concern is that there is a documented case that Aadhaar data was being leaked. It could lay the foundation of targeted political propaganda which is against the model code of conduct as well.
      • In April 2019, the UIDAI complained to police about a Hyderabad-based software company, IT Grids (India) Private Limited, accusing it of illegally procuring details of 7,82,21,397 Aadhaar holders in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and storing these in its databases
      • The Delhi Police had sought the electoral rolls of Northeast Delhi to compare names and faces of possible rioters while investigating the 2020 riots.
    • Not really a Voluntary Provision:
      • The Bill says the election registration officer may require the submission of the Aadhaar number both for new enrolments and those already enrolled.
      • The choice not to submit is linked to a “sufficient cause”, which will be separately prescribed.
      • Thus, it is not really voluntary, as only a set of reasons to be prescribed later can be given for those who cannot or do not wish to give their Aadhaar number.
    • Judicial Scrutiny:
      • The tests laid down by the Supreme Court — a permissible law, a legitimate state interest and proportionality has not been rigorously examined due to lack of deliberation in Parliament.
      • If an individual’s refusal to submit the detail is deemed unacceptable, it may result in loss of franchise.
        • Therefore, the measure may fail the test of proportionality.
      • Profiling Concerns:
        • There are allegations that the government would be able to use voter identity details for “profiling the citizens”.
      • Other concerns:
        • It may lead to large-scale deletion of names either inadvertently or deliberate targeting.
        • It goes against the Supreme Court judgment that limits the use of Aadhaar to the financial and welfare benefits given by the government, and bars the unnecessary expansion of the scope of Aadhaar to other areas of life.

Suggestion

  • Reforms in Legislative Procedures:
  • The Government must invite public opinion and allow deeper parliamentary scrutiny before implementing any new provisions.
  • It is of utmost importance in a Parliamentary democracy like India that not just the ordinary citizens but also theelected representatives are not being deprived of their rights and opportunities.
  • Alternative Ways for Eliminating De-Duplication:
  • In fact, the Aadhaar database may be irrelevant to verify voter identitybecause it is an identifier of residents and not citizens.
  • Need for Comprehensive Legislation:
  • TheGovernment should come with a comprehensive bill so that proper discussion can take place in the Parliament.
  • Also, the bill should specify the extent of data sharingbetween the two databases, the methods through which consent will be obtained, and whether consent to link the databases can be
  • Ensuring the Privacy of Citizens:
  • Before pursuing the Aadhaar-voter ID integration, the government shall first go for enacting thePersonal Data Protection law.
  • It must also apply to the government entitiesand require them to obtain the explicit consent of an individual before sharing their data across various government institutions.

Conclusion

Democracy demands accountability, and a move that could deprive citizens of their fundamental rights must be addressed to alleviate concerns.

 

Q2. Despite high hopes, the Lokpal body has been essentially dysfunctional. Critically analyze. 10M

Introduction:

India’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index slipped from 78 to 80 compared to the previous year, according to Transparency International. So, this raises the question on working of anti- corruption ombudsman.

Body:

Reasons for Lokpal being essentially dysfunctional:

  • No suo-moto powers:
    • Lokpal cannot suo-moto proceed against any public servant. There is more emphasis on form of complaint rather than substance.
  • Fear of punishment:
    • Heavy punishment for false and frivolous complaints against public servants may deter complaints being filed to Lokpal.
  • No anonymous complaints: 
    • Anonymous complaints are not allowed. An individual can’t just make a complaint on plain paper and drop it in a box with supporting documents.
  • Limited time frame:
    • Limitation period of 7 years to file complaints. Many big scams take years to come to fray and the time may exceed 7 years. This limitation hinders in investigating such cases under Lokpal.
  • Exceptions for PM:
    • Very non-transparent procedure for dealing with complaints against the PM.
  • Legal assistance to public servant is given against whom complaint is filed.

Suggestions

  • Greater transparency, more right to information and empowerment of citizens and citizen groupsis required along with a good leadership that is willing to subject itself to public scrutiny.
  • The slogan adopted by the government of “less government and more governance”, should be followed in letter and spirit.
  • There is a need for a mechanism that provides for simple, independent, speedy means of delivering justice by redressing the grievances of the peoplewithout succumbing to the clutches of the executive.
  • The Administrative Reforms Commission(ARC) recommended the enacting of the Office of a Lokpal, convinced that such an institution was justified, not only for removing the sense of injustice from the minds of citizens, but also to instill public confidence in the efficiency of the administrative machinery
  • Lokpal and Lokayukta must be financially, administratively and legally independent of those whom they are called upon to investigate and prosecute.
  • Lokpal and Lokayukta appointments must be done transparently so as to minimize the chances of the wrong sorts of people getting in.
  • There is a need for a multiplicity of decentralized institutions with appropriate accountability mechanisms, to avoid the concentration of too much power, in any one institution or authority.

Conclusion:

Looking at the low ranking of India in Corruption on global level, there is a need to check the corruption by strong institutions. Creation of the institution of Lokpal and Lokayuktas by forming its members to function has come up as a welcome step. But it shall function independently of any political influence so that a proper system of checks-and -balance is maintained in the federal and democratic system of India.

Value Addition:

LOKAPAL

  Structure

  • Lokpal is the national anti-corruption ombudsman.
  • Under the 2013 Act, the Lokpal should consist of a chairperson and such number of members, not exceeding 8.
  • Of the members, 50% should be judicial members.
  • Also, not less than 50% of the members should be from among persons belonging to the SCs, the STs, OBCs, minorities and women.
  • The same rules apply for members of the search committee.

Functions

  • This committee will have the power to investigate people who might be acquiring money through corrupt means
  • The body will also have the power of confiscating property or assets acquired by corrupt means
  • Lokpal will also be given the power to conduct trials in a special courtif they feel that the trial is of extreme importance
  • They can also fine people for false or inaccurate complaints

A_long_drawn


Ethics


Q3. “Power is a chance to impose your will within a social context”. In this context indicate with reasons the attributes which are required in a civil servant to control his temptations of power. 10M

Introduction:

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a men’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln.

Body:

  • Power is a chance to impose your will within a social context:
    • In general, ‘power’ the chance of a man or of a number of men to realize their own will in a communal action even against the resistance of others who are participating in the same action.
    • This is a very broad definition that could include political or economic power exercised at the level of community or society as a whole, or it could refer to smaller scale actions taken by groups in communities such as religious or peer groups, or even the exercise of power in institutions such as the family.
    • Weber noticed that there is a complex relation between power and social honour, while power may lead to social honour, “not all power – entails social honour”.
  • Attributes which are required in a civil servant to control his temptations of power:
    • Self-awareness: It involves being aware of different aspects of the self-including traits, behaviors, and feelings.
      • This self-awareness helps in avoiding conflict of interest and controls temptations of power like social, economic and political.
    • Self-discipline: It is essentially your consistent ability to control your actions, feelings, and emotions.
      • This will help in utilizing the power the social welfare
    • Integrity and Honesty: Integrity is putting the obligations of public service above own personal interests. Civil servants should be guided solely by public interest in their official decision making and not by any temptations of power like economic, political and social.
      • Ex: Armstrong Pame: Built a 100 km road without Govts help to connect rural areas in Manipur to Nagaland and Assam
    • Objectivity, Impartiality and Political Neutrality: Civil servants in carrying out their official work, including functions like procurement, recruitment, delivery of services and so on, should take decisions based on merit, objectively, impartially and free from any temptations of power, their motive should be public welfare not power gaining.
    • Commitment to Public Service: Civil servants should deliver services in a fair, effective, impartial and courteous manner to serve the larger public interest.
      • The dedication to the public welfare cause is crucial and should be the guiding principle in decision making.
      • Ex: TV Anupama: single-handedly made Kerala adulteration-free
    • Accountability and transparency in decision making: civil servant must be held responsible for every action and thus there should be no place of misuse of power for personal gains.
      • Transparent decision making in official sphere, which should strive towards goodwill of the society.

Conclusion

Power and Responsibility are based on the principal of proportionality. Thus they are complementary in nature without which good governance cannot be ensured for the people. To overcome the temptations of power, integrity is an eminent desirable quality in civil servants. A civil servant also needs fortitude to stand up for their principles and withstand immoral or illegal pressures and act judiciously in a balanced manner.