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.
Q1. Are India’s laws on surveillance a threat to right to privacy? Discuss the facts and fears regarding surveillance laws in India. (10M)
The current regulatory framework of surveillance in India is lacking in certain areas, which raises the rights implications for citizens and brings forward concerns that such a broad sweep may undermine the democratic fabric of the nation. At present, the legislations have cracks that allow state actors to perform targeted surveillance at their discretion in the absence of appropriate checks and balances.
Issues or fears regarding surveillance laws
- The chilling effect on Fundamental rights – Ambiguous surveillance by state affecting the right to privacy (In K S puttaswamy case SC held that Right to privacy is part of Article 21) and freedom of speech and protection of life and personal liberty under Article 19 and Article 21 of the constitution.
- Creating a “Police state” – Surveillance by the state allows the executive to secretly supervise its citizens’ activities. This has an impact on citizens’ personal lives.
- This reflects the ‘Authoritarian regime’ by the state which is against the ‘Welfare state’ promoted by DPSPs.
- Vague words – “to maintain public order, national security, and public safety” while these are legitimate concerns of the state, these words stand undefined in the act.
- These vague words led to surveillance for reasons that go beyond the purposes intended by the legislation.
- Absence of oversight mechanism – current regulatory framework provides discretionary power to the state in determining legal enforcement agencies that can perform targeted surveillance without any oversight or contestation of the Parliament and judiciary.
- Unchecked Power – Recently notified IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 to trace the “originator” of “unlawful” information, in the wake of fake news confer arbitrary unchecked power on the executive.
- These rules are also likely to compromise encrypted communication between people.
- Divergence in laws – In 2012, the Planning commission and a group of experts found divergence in-laws on permitted grounds, “type of interception”, “granularity of information that can be intercepted” etc.
With the advent of technology and digital surveillance, protecting citizens’ rights also became important. Perhaps this is the best time to view protecting the privacy and information of citizens as a part of preserving national security. Thus the government needs to increase accountability and responsibility, and infuse reasonable checks and balances in exercising these surveillance powers.
Q2. “A house is not just four walls and a physical structure but is also a means for social transformation as it provides aspirations for a better life”. How far have the Pradhan Manti Awas Yojana been able to achieve this vision? (10M)
PMAY envisions provision of Housing for All by 2022, when the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence. It was launched as a unique scheme to solve India’s ‘housing shortage’ by offering housing options for those belonging to the EWS, MIGs and LIGs. Adequate and Affordable housing leads to benefits in health, education and economic opportunities.
- Objectives of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
- To promote empowerment of citizens, as the Ownership of a house is one of the key indicators of socio-economic development.
- Ensuring Women empowerment through the Scheme, as the ownership of the house is provided in the name of a female member or joint ownership.
- To Promote Cooperative Federalism, Autonomy is given to States/UTs to decide the list of beneficiaries and adopt innovative methods to implement housing projects.
- Evaluation of Pradhan Manti Awas Yojana:
- In PMAY (G), 1.8 crore houses have been constructed: 67.72% of the target. (Union Rural development Ministry database)
- In PMAY (U), initiated with a target of constructing2 crore homes; Only 60 lakh units have been completed to date (Union Urban development Ministry database)
- In 2012, the Technical Group on Urban Housing Shortage (TG-12), constituted by the MoHUA stated that there was a shortage of 1.88 crore housing unitsover the period 2012–2017.
- Of these, the EWS alone accounts for 1.06 crore units or 56% of the total shortage.
- Only 65 lakh houses had been sanctioned by the MoHUA by Dec 2018.
- Of the total houses sanctioned, construction work had started in 54% (35, 92,656) housestill Dec 2018. The construction of5 lakh houses had been completed. A sharp rise was seen between 2017 and 2019, adding almost 70% more houses.
- A total of Circa 1 Lakh crore has been sanctioned under the scheme, although only 33% was released.
- Of the amount released, 62% was reported to be utilized by the states. In comparison to the total amount sanctioned, the utilization rate is only 21%.
- Reasons for Poor performance of PMAY:
- Poor Implementation by the states: only two States: Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal – have a completion rate above the national average.
- Lack of clear titles and Documents
- Lack of Proactive role of Centre in devolution of funds
- Low participation of private developers on account of brand dilution and bidding mechanism.
- Deficiency of new technology that impacts productivity, cost efficiency and quality.
- Way forward
- Upgrade existing slums as a financially viable model.
- Encourage and promote the provision of land tenure rights among state governments.
- Enhance people’s participation and implementation of the 74th Amendment Act.
- Explore alternative options such as social rental housing which is smart, complementary solution to the housing shortage.
- Build greater synchronization between MoHUA and other central ministries.
- Monitor qualitative aspects of new housing construction, not just the number of units constructed.
- Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) should be done to incentivize developers to in-situ rehabilitate slums.
It is imperative that we need to find more viable and creative solutions that address specific local needs to reduce the scale of the housing crisis in the country, which will lead to social transformation as it provides aspirations for a better life. With the help of better monitoring mechanisms and encouraging the participation of citizens in decisions considering their housing, we can achieve SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities
Q3. “Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind”. How can emotional intelligence (EQ) help recognize and understand ones’ fears, and then to manage it, to come to a better decision. (10M)
“Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind”. It is quoted by Dale Carnegie. It means Fear is almost entirely mental. Fear is not a real thing that is going to happen but it is the thing that we think about in the future.
- We suffer more in imagination than in reality. That is why we have to differentiate between reality and illusion.
- The reality in the sense free from unnecessary thoughts and controlling your mind rather than the mind controlling you.
- We have to face our fears, deal with fears and need to rise against fear.
- One can conquer almost any fear if he/she will only make up their mind to do so. Here conquering fear means not the absence of fear, but the ability to do what needs to be done despite being fearful. It is the same as conquering an enemy or overcoming an obstacle.
How can emotional intelligence help to recognize and understand one’s fears, then manage them, and come to a better decision?
- Self-awareness – This is the ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.
- EI helps one to recognize what is the cause behind fear. This helps one to monitor his/her emotional state.
- Self-regulation – It is the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and the tendency to suspend judgment and to think before acting. Once getting the cause behind fear, one will be able to learn to control and manage fear.
- This makes one not think about the future or past and makes him live in reality.
- Facilitating thought process – Self-awareness and self-regulation of fear will act as a channel for making appropriate decisions or solving problems.
- Internal motivation – When one controls his/her fear, he/she will act courageously, this makes individuals act according to the inner vision of what is important in life, a joy in doing something.
- Thus individuals will be with a strong drive to achieve, optimism even in the face of failure, and organizational commitment.
- Being realistic about risks – EI helps individuals to stay aware of the possible risks and have backup plans or solutions in place. Instead of fear becoming the reason to hold individuals back, EI helps fear act as a stepping stone for individuals’ success.
EI leads to reduce stress levels and helps individuals to be positive and confident because emotionally intelligent people are good at managing and regulating their emotions. Overcoming fear is a conscious choice.