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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 October 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.

 

 

Answer the following questions in 150 words:


General Studies – 1


 

1. Suggest ways to break down barriers and opposition which hinder inter-caste couples, pre and post their marriage.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

 

Introduction

Traditionally, marriage in Hindu society was a sacrament but after the passage of Hindu Marriage Act 1955 it can be treated as a contract. However, still marriages primarily take place on the traditional grounds of Jatis (caste) and up-jati (sub-caste). That means marriage is inextricably linked to Jati Vyavastha (caste system) with its roots in the religion.

Inter-caste marriages can be one of the significant steps to reduce the caste-prejudices, abolish ‘untouchability’ and spread the values of liberty, equality, fraternity etc in the society.

 

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Issues faced by inter-caste couples pre and post marriage

  • Honor killings: Extreme caste attachment is main reason for these crimes and is a result of people marrying without their family’s acceptance, especially when it is between members of two different castes or religious groups.
    • The killers justify their actions by claiming that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family name or prestige
  • Opposition: In Indian society caste is given high importance and it is generally expected that children marry within their own caste to those selected by their parents. The idea of young people finding their life partners on their own is frowned upon even today. It is still seen as a matter of shame.
  • Social boycott: There have been many cases of inter-caste couples facing social boycott. For eg :A newly married couple in East Sikkim were allegedly socially boycotted by their own community in the Dalapchand village of East Sikkim allegedly over their inter-caste marraige.
  • Familial boycott: Parents themselves disown their children and disband them from family and property on marrying outside caste.
  • Harassment: The intercaste couple faces harassment on daily basis especially in rural India. The existence of Jaat Panchayats add to this nuisance.

Measures needed to promote acceptance of inter-caste marriage

  • Government schemes:For instance,Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages is a case in point.
    • The objective of the scheme is to appreciate the socially bold step, of an Inter-caste marriage, taken by the newly married couple and to extend financial incentive to the couple to enable them to settle down in the initial phase of their married life.
  • Normalising inter-caste marriage: We live in 21 st century and it is high time there is more acceptance of inter-caste marriage. Behavioural nudge is required by people in power and having influence.
  • Promoting inter-caste marriageis the most ethical thing to do as it woulddilute the poison of casteism that has gripped the Indian society for centuries.
  • Encouragement: Such marriages should be encouraged because they help in narrowing religious and caste-based biases, and reducing cultural differences. These marriages promote economic equality as diffusing caste/community lines will open new avenues and opportunities for all castes.

Conclusion

Inter-caste and inter-religious marriages would help to reduce the differences between castes and religions, promote harmony, and tolerance would increase. Next generation might almost be free from hatred. Different castes and religions coming together, brings various cultures together as well. It will promote harmony among people and reduce cases of communal riots, lynching, exploitation based on caste and religion. Most importantly, this would reduce human loss.


General Studies – 2


 

2. What is China’s wolf warrior diplomacy? How does it affect India? What should be the appropriate Indian response to it?

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

 

Introduction

China’s assertive new diplomatic approach in the Xi Jinping era has come to be dubbed “wolf warrior diplomacy”, marked by a muscular posture in pursuing China’s interests.

“Wolf-warrior diplomacy,” named after famous Chinese movies, describes offensives by Chinese diplomat to defend China’s national interests, often in confrontational ways. It reinforces a presumed transition of Chinese diplomacy from conservative, passive, and low-key to assertive, proactive, and high-profile.

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China’s brazen display of wolf warrior diplomacy

  • India-China fault lines:At the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, China has violated the status quo intruding into territory that is clearly on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control, or LAC.
  • Taiwan-China conflict:Island encirclement against Taiwan and forceful takeover are becoming more of a reality considering Chinese navy and air force activities in the region.
  • Hong-Kong unrest: The ‘one country two systems’ in Hong Kong is dead and with it, the pretence that the same could be applied for the peaceful unification of Taiwan.
    • Eg: Extension of national security law to Hong-Kong and recent warning to Taiwan on possibility of war if it shores up defence weapons.
  • South China Sea: China claims 90% of south China sea as its sovereign territory, continuously terrorising Vietnam, Philippines wrt Paracel and Spratly islands.
  • Belt and Road initiative: It is the 21stcentury Marshall Plan, through which China aims to dominate the world.
  • String of Pearls:China has security and economic compulsions to develop its bases in India Ocean Region (IOR) to secure its communication lines. Its eagerness to establish China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is to develop strategic communication alternatives
  • Salami Slicing: Continuously nibbling at neighbours’ land, at times even claiming an entire area on some dubious historicity, it successively builds up its military control over areas vital to its overall strategic designs. The annexation of Aksai Chin in the 1950s and repeated Chinese incursions into Indian territory are the executions of the same strategy.

 

Why wolf warrior diplomacy?

  • Soaring Nationalism:Since 2010, when China’s GDP overtook Japan’s as the world’s second largest, the Chinese have become more confident and China’s foreign policy has become more assertive.
  • China as a great power:The latest diplomatic offensive is also part of the official effort to project China as a great power leading the global fight against the COVID-19. China’s image suffered during the crisis due to its bungled handling of the outbreak at the early stage.
  • With the assertive and ambitious Belt and Road Initiative and Maritime Silk Road,China has consolidated its influence over the Indian neighbours as almost all the neighbour sans Bhutan have shown the keen interests in joining.

India’s response

  • Military exercise:A number of joint naval and air exercises have been undertaken by regional countries not only amongst themselves, but also with other powers specially the US and the UK.
    • The aim is to practise inter-operability of fighting equipment and manpower against a common enemy along with joint tactics and cooperation to meet a common military goal.
    • The aim is to send a firm message to China, that its days of expansionism are coming to an end.
  • Countering BRI: The BRI promises economic security but not human security by providing funds to developing countries with a debt trap.
    • Herein, theQuad can play a vital roleas it is a group of democratic countries.
    • It should provide a choice to the nations as to where they want to borrow the money for development purposes from and also be a part of the supply chain.
  • Indo-pacific diplomacy: India is also stepping up its strategic partnership with like-minded Indo-Pacific partnerslike US, Japan, Australia etc.
    • Thus, we will see a far greater partnership between India and the United States on issues of mutual interest—which is likely to have a substantial China component. O
    • This is seen in India being vocal about recent QUAD meet.
  • Quad-plus:India will also likely look to build greater cooperation through configurations such as the “Quad plus” (expanding the existing grouping of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States to include New Zealand, South Korea, and Vietnam).
  • Indian ocean is the key:New Delhi must invest in and develop its strategic assets—like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, for instance—to project power across the Indian Ocean.
  • To weather a potential People’s Liberation Army (PLA) attack, India has placed greater emphasis oninfrastructure hardening; base resiliency; redundant command, control, and communications systems; and improved air defence.
  • India has grown closer to the US military in recent years, with Washington calling India a “major defence partner” while increasing bi- and multilateral training.
    • In the event of an India-Chin war, US intelligence and surveillance could help New Delhi get a clearer picture of the battlefield

 Conclusion

Wolf-warrior diplomacy is already hurting China’s foreign policy, since it has generated pushback, such as Australia’s calls for an independent probe into the coronavirus’ origins. China’s soft power is weak globally; a belligerent approach will further damage China’s global image.

A more powerful China should be more confident and receptive to constructive criticism. Striking a balance between firmly defending national interests and enhancing soft power is a great challenge in Chinese diplomacy today.

 

 

 

3. The steady increase in backlog of appeals or complaints of the Right to Information (RTI) Act is a major setback to the transparency regime in the country. Analyse.

Reference: The Hindu

 

Introduction

A good 17 years after India got the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the transparency regime in the country remains a mirage with nearly 3.15 lakh complaints or appeals pending with 26 information commissions across India.

According to a report by the Satark Nagrik Sangathan, the backlog of appeals or complaints is steadily increasing in commissions every year.

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Reasons for backlogs

  • Incremental backlogs: The backlog of appeals or complaints is increasing in commissions every year. The number of appeals and complaints pending in 2019, from data obtained from 26 information commissions was 2,18,347. In 2022 the number was 3,14,323.
  • The large backlog of cases has resulted in a long waiting time for disposal.
  • States with high backlogs: The highest number of pending cases was in Maharashtra (at 99,722), followed by Uttar Pradesh (at 44,482), Karnataka, the Central Information Commission and Bihar.
  • Defunct information commissions: Two information commissions—Jharkhand and Tripura—out of 29 across the country have been completely defunct for 29 months and 15 months respectively.
  • Lack of enough manpower: Several information commissions, including the Central Information Commission, are working at reduced capacity with less than the stipulated number of members being in office.
  • Another report mentions that one-fourth of information commissioner posts are vacant and there are only 5% (only 8) women information commissioners in the country.

Measures needed

  • Training of officials:The Indian information law, rated as one of the strongest in the world, needs to be bolstered by raising awareness amongst the people and organisingrigorous training of government officials.
  • Code of conduct: A code of conduct must be evolved for the central and state information commissioners.
  • It is imperative for the commissioners tokeep a strict distancefrom government heads and officialdom.
  • Astrong political system is a must for the RTI regime to flourish.
  • It is imperative to ensure freedom of the press and democratic institutions, punish errant officials and maintain complete autonomy of the information commissions, in the interest of the people and the nation at large.

Conclusion

Proper functioning of information commissions is crucial for people to realise their right to information. The report shows that in several commissions a large backlog of cases has built up, resulting in a long waiting time for disposal, as governments have failed to make appointments of information commissioners in a timely manner. The report also flags concerns regarding tardy disposal rates in several commissions and the lack of transparency in their functioning. There is an urgent need for the transparency watchdogs to function in a more effective and transparent manner.

 

Value addition

RTI Act

  • The right to information is a fundamental right under Article 19 (1) of the Indian Constitution.
  • In 1976, in theRaj Narain vs the State of Uttar Pradesh case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Right to information will be treated as a fundamental right under Article 19.
    • The Supreme Court held that in Indian democracy, people are the masters and they have the right to know about the working of the government.
  • Thus the government enacted the Right to Information Act in 2005which provides machinery for exercising this Fundamental Right.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

4. What is Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)? Throw light on its importance to the Indian economy.

Reference: Insights on India

 

 

Introduction

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is when a company takes controlling ownership in a business entity in another country. It is, thus, a purchase of an interest in a company by a company or an investor located outside its borders. For nearly a decade, year after year, India has hit record heights of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow. The latest is the highest ever, $83.5 billion, in the last financial year.

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FDI: an important source & force behind economic development of India:

  • Economy:
    • Capital inflows create higher output and jobs.
    • Capital inflows can help finance a current account deficit.
    • Long-term capital inflows are more sustainable than short-term portfolio inflows.
      • For e.g., in a credit crunch, banks can easily withdraw portfolio investment, but capital investment is less prone to sudden withdrawals.
    • Acts as a bridge by filling up budgetary gap, stabilize rupee and improves Balance of Payment situation.
  • Knowledge economy:
    • Recipient country can benefit from improved knowledge and expertise of foreign multinational.
  • Employment generation:
    • creates employment opportunity mainly in service sector and ITEC.
    • Investment from abroad could lead to higher wages and improved working conditions, especially if the MNCs are conscious of their public image of working conditions in developing economies.
  • Infrastructure development:
    • FDI in construction, railways except operation help in developing projects like high-speed train, Freight corridor, etc.
  • Taxation:
    • Increased revenue in the form of corporate tax and for community welfare development as CSR.
  • Enhances Competition:
    • Increase competition among domestic manufacture, may lead to improved quality and services.

FDI: not the sole solution for India’s socio-economic issues:

  • The motive of the foreign investors is only profit not the development of countryso they often shifts their bases in search of high profits so there is more volatility and speculations in capital market. With their sudden exit, there may be unemployment and high inflation.
  • Gives multinationals controlling rights within foreign countries. Critics argue powerful MNCs can use their financial clout to influence local politics to gain favourable laws and regulations.
  • FDI does not always benefit recipient countriesas it enables foreign multinationals to gain from ownership of raw materials, with little evidence of wealth being distributed throughout society.
  • Multinationals have been criticized for poor working conditionsin foreign factories. e.g., Apple’s factories in China
  • It threatens existing markets that are labour intensiveby replacing with technology as in multi brand retail.
  • FDI favours short term returns over investmentsin infrastructure.
  • Diffusion of technology in difficultin our country where the state of both human and physical capital is not yet on par with developed countries. so with the increase in technology many unskilled workers lost their jobs.
  • In India, FDI is sector specificlike finance , IT, Banking, Insurance and outsourcing which predominantly employ skilled workers.
  • The capital inflow at times worsen the regional inequalities. It is usually limited to urban and well developed regions like Delhi, Maharashtra etc, and states like Odisha receives around 1% of FDI. This makes richer region more rich and poor regions poorer.
  • FDI may be a convenient way to bypass local environmental laws. Developing countries may be tempted to compete on reducing environmental regulation to attract the necessary FDI.

Way forward:

  • Role of FDI can at most be seen as complementary and qualitative in nature.
  • Government must bring reforms to encourage MSME sector which could boost the rural employment generation.
  • Public expenditurefor investment in capital formation as infrastructure and energy is for long term benefits of spurring economic activity and creating short term demands.
  • Spending on social sectors and India’s pressing issues of poverty, demographic challenge and agrarian stagnation are towards avoiding social unrest and maintain a social security net.
  • Government while continuing to simplify processes to attract FDI must realise it’s limited role and thereby take upon itself to make headway towards strengthening pillars of economic development which are health, education, and employment.

Value addition:

FDI in India

 FDI is an important monetary source for India’s economic development. Economic liberalisation started in India in the wake of the 1991 crisis and since then, FDI has steadily increased in the country. India, today is a part of top 100-club on Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) and globally ranks number 1 in the greenfield FDI ranking.

 Routes through which India gets FDI

  • Automatic route: The non-resident or Indian company does not require prior nod of the RBI or government of India for FDI.
  • Govt route:The government’s approval is mandatory. The company will have to file an application through Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal, which facilitates single-window clearance. The application is then forwarded to the respective ministry, which will approve/reject the application in consultation with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce. DPIIT will issue the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for processing of applications under the existing FDI policy.

Importance of Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM):

In low-income countries confronting widespread poverty, mobilizing domestic resources is particularly challenging, which has led developing countries to rely on foreign aid, foreign direct investment, export earnings and other external resources. Nevertheless, there are compelling reasons to give much more emphasis to DRM.

  • Greater reliance on DRM is vital to elevating economic growth, accelerating poverty reduction and underpinning sustained development.
  • High-growth economies typically save 20-30 per cent or more of their income in order to finance public and private investment.
  • DRM is potentially more congruent with domestic ownership than external resources.
  • Foreign aid invariably carries restrictions and conditionality.
  • FDI is primarily oriented to the commercial objectives of the investor, not the principal development priorities of the host country.
  • DRM is more predictable and less volatile than aid, export earnings, or FDI

 

 

5. What do you understand by genome sequencing? What is its importance? Explain the IndiGen Genome project.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

 

 

Introduction

Genome Sequencing refers to the method through which the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome, the order of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that make up an organism’s DNA are figured. The human genome is made up of over 3 billion of these genetic letters

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About Genome sequencing

  • A Genome is the complete genetic material of an organism. It is like an instruction manual which contains information about the make-up of the organism.
  • While human genomes are made of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), a virus genome can be made of either DNA or RNA (Ribonucleic acid).
  • DNA and RNA provide genetic instructions for growth and functioning of organisms.
  • Coronavirus is made of RNA. Genome sequencing is a technique that reads and interprets genetic information found within DNA or RNA.

Importance of genome sequencing

  • Genome sequencing helps researchers understand the arrangement of the make up of DNA or RNA. Sequencing the genome will help us understand where the certain virus for instance of SARS-CoV-2 came from and how it spread
  • Participants of genome-sample collections represent diversity of the country’s population. It will help in following ways:
  • The first obvious use would be in personalised medicine, anticipating diseases and modulating treatment according to the genome of patients. Several diseases develop through the interplay of the environment with multiple genes, which differ across populations.
  • Human genome sequencing is important to establish a link between diseases and the unique genetic make-up of each individual. For instance, cardiovascular disease generally leads to heart attacks in South Asians. If such propensities can be mapped to variations across genomes, it is believed public health interventions can be targeted better.
  • While genes may render some insensitive to certain drugs, genome sequencing has shown that cancer too can be understood from the viewpoint of genetics, rather than being seen as a disease of certain organs.
  • Another advantage of genome sequencing is that information regarding drug efficacy or adverse effects of drug usecan be obtained. Drugs developed in the Western world and sold in India are pricey and may not be effective on the Indian gene. Mapping of India’s genetic landscape is critical for next generation medicine.
  • It will enhance India’s scientific capabilities. Next step would be genome sequencing of crops that would help in better understanding of the genetic basis of susceptibility of crops to blights, rusts and pests. It may become possible to deter them genetically, and reduce dependence on chemicals.
  • Global science would also benefit from genome sequencing, which would provide data useful for the mapping of the spread and migration of a range of life forms in the old World and thus would help in better understanding of human evolution.

 

Indigen Project

  • The IndiGen initiative was undertaken by CSIR in April 2019, which was implemented by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.
  • The objective is to enable genetic epidemiology and develop public health technologies applications using population genome data.
  • This has enabled benchmarking the scalability of genome sequencing and computational analysis at population scale in a defined timeline.
  • The ability to decode the genetic blueprint of humans through whole genome sequencing will be a major driver for biomedical science.
  • IndiGen programme aims to undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.

 

Conclusion

Finally, genes account for less than 25 percent of the DNA in the genome, and so knowing the entire genome sequence will help scientists study the parts of the genome outside the genes. This includes the regulatory regions that control how genes are turned on and off, as well as long stretches of “nonsense” or “junk” DNA—so called because significance of it hasn’t been established.

 

 

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


General Studies – 1


 

6. The natural resources that form ocean ecosystems can play a significant role in the socio-economic growth and development of nations. Elaborate.

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

 

Introduction

The natural resources that form ocean ecosystems can play a significant role in the socio-economic growth and development of nations. But unregulated and unsustainable exploitation has degraded the ecosystems severely. Threats have come from land based sources of pollution, insecurity and piracy, illegal and harmful fishing practices and climate change.

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Importance of natural resources in ocean ecosystem

  • Oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97% of the Earth’s water, and represent 99% of the living area on the planet.
    • Oceans protect biodiversity, keep the planet cool, and absorb about 30% of global CO2
    • At least3-5% of global GDP is derived from oceans.
  • Blue economy, through sustainable use of oceans, has great potential for boosting the economic growthby providing opportunities for income generation and jobs etc.
  • It can support food security, and diversification to address new resources for energy, new drugs valuable chemicals, protein food, deep sea minerals, security etc.
  • It is the next sunrise sector.
    • Sunrise Sector is a sector that is expanding rapidlyand is expected to be increasingly important in the future.
  • Fishery: Marine fisheries wealth around Indian coastline is estimated to have an annual harvestable potential of 4.4 million metric tonnes.
  • Minerals: Oceanscontain vast amount of minerals, including the cobalt, zinc, manganese and rare earth materials. These minerals are needed for electronic industry to make smart phones, laptops and car components etc.
  • Energy resources: The main energy resources present in Indian Ocean are petroleum and gas hydrates. Petroleum products mainly includes the oil produced from offshore regions. Gas hydrates are unusually compact chemical structures made of water and natural gas.
  • Salts: Seawater contain economically useful salts such as gypsum and common salt. Gypsum is useful in various industries.
  • Manganese Nodules and Crusts: Manganese nodules contain significant concentrations of manganese, iron and copper, nickel, and cobalt all of which have a numerous economic use.

Challenges

  • The threat of sea-borne terror  such as piracy and armed robbery, maritime terrorism, illicit trade in crude oil, arms, drug and human trafficking and smuggling of contraband, etc.
  • Natural Disasters occurs every year like tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes typhoons, etc leave thousands of people stranded and property worth millions destroyed.
  • Man-Made problems : Oil spills, climate change continue to risk the stability of the maritime domain.
  • Impact of climate change: Changes in sea temperature, acidity, threaten marine life, habitats, and the communities that depend on them.
  • Marine pollution  in form of excess nutrients from untreated sewerage, agricultural runoff, and marine debris such as plastics
  • Overexploitation of marine resources  such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated extraction of marine resources.

 

Conclusion

The Ocean is one of Earth’s most valuable natural resources. It provides food in the form of fish and shellfish—about 200 billion pounds are caught each year.

Ocean resources provide jobs, goods, and services for billions of people around the world and have immense economic importance. Sustainable development is of immense importance to ensure livelihoods of billions of people.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

7. There needs to be a better, broad-based and transparent method of appointing senior judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court. Examine.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

 

Introduction

The judges of the Supreme Court and High Court in India are appointed by President as per article 124(2) and 217 of the constitution. In such appointment, the President is required to hold consultation with such of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the States as he may deem necessary for the purpose.

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Evolution of collegium system

Collegium system is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.

  • First judges case: In S P Gupta Vs Union of India,1981, the Supreme Court by a majority judgment held that the concept of primacy of the Chief Justice of India was not really to be found in the Constitution.
    • The Constitution Bench also held that the term “consultation” used in Articles 124 and 217 was not “concurrence”– meaning that although the President will consult these functionaries, his decision was not bound to be in concurrence with all of them.
    • The judgment tilted the balance of power in appointments of judges of High Courts in favour of the executive. This situation prevailed for the next 12 years.
  • Second judges case: In the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association Vs Union of India, 1993,a nine-judge Constitution Bench overruled the decision in S P Gupta, and devised a specific procedure called ‘Collegium System’ for the appointment and transfer of judges in the higher judiciary.
    • Ushering in the collegium system, the court said that the recommendation should be made by the CJI in consultation with his two senior most colleagues, and that such recommendation should normally be given effect to by the executive.
  • Third judges case:In 1998,President K R Narayanan issued a Presidential Reference to the Supreme Court over the meaning of the term “consultation” under Article 143 of the Constitution (advisory jurisdiction).
    • The question was whether “consultation” required consultation with a number of judges in forming the CJI’s opinion, or whether the sole opinion of CJI could by itself constitute a “consultation”.
    • In response, the Supreme Court laid down nine guidelines for the functioning of the quorum for appointments and transfers – this has come to be the present form of the collegium, and has been prevalent ever since.

 

Issues with the collegium system

  • Credibility of the SC: Controversial collegium system of judicial appointments undermines the independence of judges and raises doubts about the credibility of the highest court.
    • There is a failure to make an assessment of the personality of the contemnor at the time of recommending his name for elevation.
    • Example: The controversy over the proposed elevation of Justice P.D. Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court to the Supreme Court by the collegium of the Chief Justice and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court was criticized for overlooking apparently suitable judges by the collegiums
    • The judiciary off late has been caught in many such situations of credibility crisis off late.
    • The executive has little or no role in the appointment of judges as a result.
  • Lack of Transparency: Justice J Chelameswar once wrote a dissenting verdict, criticising the collegium system by holding that “proceedings of the collegium were absolutely opaque and inaccessible both to public and history, barring occasional leaks”.
    • The lack of a written manual for functioning, the absence of selection criteria, the arbitrary reversal of decisions already taken, the selective publication of records of meetings prove the opaqueness of the collegium system.
    • No one knows how judges are selected, and the appointments made raise the concerns of propriety, self-selection and nepotism.
    • The system often overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.
  • Lack of Consensus among Members: The collegium members often face the issue of mutual consent regarding appointment of judges.
    • The shadow of mistrust between the members of the collegium exposes the fault lines within the judiciary.
    • For instance, recently retired CJI Sharad A. Bobde was perhaps the first chief justice to have not made even a single recommendation for appointment as SC judge due to lack of consensus among the collegium members.
  • Unequal Representation: The other area of concern is the composition of the higher judiciary. While data regarding caste is not available, women are fairly underrepresented in the higher judiciary.
  • Delay in Judicial Appointments: The process of judicial appointment is delayed due to delay in recommendations by the collegium for the higher judiciary.
  • Nepotism: Unfortunately, in some cases, it has not covered itself with glory. There have been cases where the nearest relative of Supreme Court judges has been appointed as a high court judge, ignoring merit.
    • During the regime of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, judges far lower in the combined All India Seniority of High Court judges were appointed to SC, and the reason assigned was that those selected were found more meritorious.
  • Supreme court is overburdened: The Supreme Court did not realise the burden it was imposing on the collegium of selecting judges for the Supreme Court and High Courts and transferring them from one High Court to another.
    • An administrative task of this magnitude must necessarily detract the judges of the collegium from their principal judicial work of hearing and deciding cases.
  • NJAC, A Missed Opportunity: The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) could guarantee the independence of the system from inappropriate politicization, strengthen the quality of appointments and rebuild public confidence in the system.
    • The decision was struck down by the SC in 2015 on the ground that it posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary.

 

Reforms needed

  • The need of the hour is to revisit the existing system through a transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
    • The collegium members have to make a fresh start and engage with each other.
    • A transparent process adds accountability that is much needed to resolve the deadlock.
    • Individual disagreements over certain names will continue to take place, but care must be taken that the institutional imperative of dispensation of justice does not suffer.
  • The new system should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
  • The system needs to establish a body which is independent and objective in the selection process.
    • In several countries of the Commonwealth, National Judicial Appointment Commissions have been established to select judges.
    • Such judicial commissions have worked with success in the U.K., South Africa and Canada.
  • Setting up a constitutional body accommodatingthe federal concept of diversity and independence of judiciary for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary can also be thought of as an alternate measure.
  • There should be a fixed time limit for approval of recommendations.
  • As of now, instead of selecting the number of judges required against a certain number of vacancies, the collegium must provide a panel of possible names to the President for appointment in order of preference and other valid criteria.
  • New memorandum of procedure:
    • After the Second and Third Judges Cases, a Memorandum of Procedure had been formulated to govern how the process of how the Collegium would make recommendations to the Executive.
    • The government therefore suggested that a new MOP be drafted and finalised for appointment of SC judges and the Executive to get a veto over candidates for national security reasons in this new MOP.

Conclusion:

Till 1973, from appointing senior-most judge of Supreme Court as CJI to gradually developing a ‘collegium system’ through precedence established by the Supreme Court judgements in three Judges’ case to appoint judges of the Supreme Court, the ‘collegium system’ evolved so far has ensured ‘independence of the judiciary’. Further, the working of the collegium system under the protocol of MOP is hitherto the best possible way to appoint a judge of the Supreme Court of India. However, with the need of time, a more efficient system surely needs to be found so that appointment procedure could be fairer and the judiciary will have the best possible minds as judges.

 

 

8. India’s Presidency of the G20, SCO and UNSC is a historic opportunity for reinventing the United Nations. Discuss.

Reference: The Hindu

 

Introduction

The United Nations Secretary General (UNSG), António Guterres, made a candid assessment of global governance. He addressed the United Nations General Assembly and said the “world is in big trouble”, “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction”, even the “G20 is in the trap of geopolitical divides”. “In a splintering world, we need to create mechanisms of dialogue to heal divides” and “only by acting as one, we can nurture fragile shoots of hope” for a “coalition of the world”. This is a call for fresh thinking.

India’s Presidency of the Group of 20, UN Security Council (UNSC) in 2022, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2023 when major powers are not even talking to each other and India alone, now the fifth largest economy, is interacting with each of them, presents a historic opportunity.

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Current issues faced by the world

  • Breakdown of multilateralism: The COVID-19 pandemic was a weak moment for UN’s multilateralism. It highlighted theUN’s institutional limitationswhen countries closed their borders, supply chains were interrupted and almost every country was in need of vaccines.
    • WHO was accused of catering to developed nations bidding, especially China by acting slow and not blaming China.
  • Developing nations stepping up: Countries of the global South, including India, which stepped up through relief efforts,drug distribution and vaccine manufacturing,have created space for a more inclusive UN, particularly through its Security Council (UNSC) reform.
    • World Bank and IMF are puppets of USA and the European nations. This led to China establishing alternatives for the two institutions.
  • Wars in 21stcentury: Second,-led multilateralism has been unable to provide strong mechanisms to prevent wars.
    • Eg:  The shadow of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has loomed large over several deadlocks in U.N.S.C. resolutions since the war broke out in February this year.
  • Paralysis in decision making:With the West boycotting Russia, the veto provision of the U.N.S.C. is expected to reach an even more redundant level than in the past. As such, a reformed multilateralism with greater representation could generate deeper regional stakes to prevent wars.
    • WTO has been stalled for many yearsnow over Doha development agenda.
  • Chinese dominance: Finally,China’s rise, belligerence, and aggression which has been on display through its actions in the South China Sea, the Indo-Pacific region,and now increasingly globally, have also underscored the limitations of the U.N.-style multilateralism.
    • China’s growing dominance could lead it tocarve its own multilateral matrix circumventing the West,economically and strategically.
    • The international isolation of Russia and Iran as well as increasing the United States’ Taiwan-related steps could usher in these changes more rapidly than expected.
  • China’s control of multilateral organisations, including the U.N., is only increasing — most recently seen in the unofficial pressure China exerted on the former U.N.’s human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet,to stop the release of a report by the U.N. Human Rights Council on the condition of Uyghurs in China. Moreover, China’s unabashed use of veto power against India continues at the U.N
    • Eg: In the most recent case,it blocked a joint India-U.S. proposal at the U.N. to enlist Sajid Mir, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative involved in directing the 2008 Mumbai attacks, as a ‘global terrorist’.
  • Despite the G7 having accepted the need for transfer of funds at Rio in 1992,the promise made in 2009 to provide at least 100 billion dollars per year in climate finance remains unfulfilled.
  • Coalition of the world– There divide between the Atlantic powers and the Russia-China is deepening.

India’s historic opportunity

  • Just as the ‘Rio principles’continue to guide climate change, vasudhaiva kutumbakam,or ‘world as one family’, focusing on comparable levels of wellbeing can be the core of a set of universal socio-economic principles for a dialogue between the states.
  • To the current global consensus around equitable sustainable development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has added a clearer societal purpose to flesh out a universal civilisational principle.
    • He emphasised‘Lifestyle for Environment’ seeing climate change as a societal process and combating it devoid of trade-offs characteristic of theClimate Treat
    • He has also offered India’s payments and linked digital ID technologywithout IPR restrictions.
  • Redefining ‘common concerns’in terms of felt needs of the majority rather than interests and concerns of the powerful will shift the focus of a much slimmed down United Nations squarely to human wellbeing, and not as an add-on.

Re-inventing United Nations

  • At the heart of India’s participation in the 77th General Assembly is the call for a ‘reformed multilateralism’through which the United Nations Security Council should reform itself into a more inclusive organisation representing the contemporary realities of today.
  • India’s call for this structural overhaul of global multilateral institutions incorporates institutional accountability and a wider representation of the developing countries.
  • Indian approach to multilateralism: NORMS: NORMS stands for New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System.
    • India will work constructively with partners to bring innovative and inclusive solutions to foster development and for greater involvement of women and youth to shape a new paradigm.
    • A first and vital step is the reform of the United Nations Security Council. It must reflect contemporary realities to be more effective.

Conclusion and way forward

  • There is no easy way out for immediate consensus-building among nations over the limitations of these multilateral institutions.
  • For this, non-alignment or ad-hoc coalitions could never be the answer.
  • Issues-based coalitions are the best answer and Health is the easiest framework to work upon.
  • Lastly, there are many mini-laterals that should unite for a global commonality.

 

India’s Presidential statement could introduce ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ in the UNSC in December. The SCO Summit will precede the G20 Summit and acceptance of overarching principles will support acceptance by the wider G20

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

9. Do you think Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985 is more punitive than reformative in its approach in dealing with drug menace in the country? Critically comment.

Reference: The Hindu

 

 

Introduction

The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has proposed certain changes to some provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985. The recommendations have assumed importance in the backdrop of some high-profile drug cases last year as well as corruption and extortion charges alleged against the NCB.

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NDPS Act

  • The NDPS Act, 1985 is the principal legislation through which the state regulates the operations of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • It provides a stringent framework for punishing offenses related to illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances through imprisonments and forfeiture of property.
  • This is a stringent law where the death penalty can be prescribed for repeat offenders.

Punitive and reformative aspects: Issues with NDPS Act

  • “First arrest and then investigate”seems to be the principle for investigations under the NDPS Act.
  • Section 50 of the Act (conditions under which search of persons shall be conducted) needs to be followed scrupulously.
  • Punitive not reformative:Those addicted to drugs need to be rehabilitated rather than punished in jails. Minor offences must not lead to individuals taking up major crimes.
    • Rehabilitation centres must be opened and youth must be counselled against drug injection and consumption.
  • No distinction between end user and peddler: The Act currently views everyone as a supplier. The recent case of Aryan Khan and others is an example. High Court ultimately granted bail and rejected Special court’s orders.
    • A drug user needs to be seen as a patient.
    • The Act as of now prescribes jail for everyone, the end user and the drug supplier.

Challenges in enforcing the NDPS Act

  • Peddling: Since drug peddling is an organised crime, it is challenging for the police to catch thepersons involved from the point of sourceto the point of destination.
    • Identifying drugs that are being transported is a challenge since we cannot stop each and every vehicle that plies on Indian roads.
  • Transportation: Most drug bust cases are made possible with specific information leads. Unless we check every vehicle with specially trained sniffer dogs, it is difficult to check narcotic drugs transportation.
  • Production: The main challenge is to catch those producing these substances. Secret cultivation are mostly carried on in LWE affected areas.
    • Going beyond State jurisdiction, finding the source of narcotic substances and destroying them is another big challenge.
  • Delay in trials:Securing conviction for the accused in drugs cases is yet another arduous task.
    • There are frequent delays in court procedures. Sometimes, cases do not come up for trial even after two years of having registered them.
    • By then, the accused are out on bail and do not turn up for trial.
    • Bringing them back from their States to trial is quite difficult let alone getting them convicted.
  • Flaws in the legal system: The cause behind drug menace is the drug cartels, crime syndicates and ultimately the ISIwhich is the biggest supplier of drugs.
    • Rave partieshave been reported in the country where intake of narcotic substances is observed.
    • These parties are orchestrated by the drug syndicateswho have their own vested interests.
    • Social media plays an important role in organising these parties.
    • The police have not been able to control such parties.

Conclusion

There is a need to examine the root cause of the problem such as operations of drug syndicates especially in the border areas. Civil society and governments will have to work together to create an enabling environment to address the issue. Moreover, the reformation aspect must be taken up more vigorously than the punitive aspect especially for end-users falling prey to drug addiction.

Value-addition

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985:

  • India is a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 and the Convention on Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
  • They prescribe various forms of control aimed to achieve the dual objective of limiting the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes as well as preventing the abuse of the same.
  • The basic legislative instrument of the Government of India in this regard is the NDPS Act, 1985.
  • The Act provides stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operations relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • It also provides for forfeiture of property derived from, or used in, illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • It also provides for death penalty in some cases where a person is a repeat offender.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau was also constituted in 1986 under the Act.

 

10. The development of central bank digital currency (CBDC) although offers major advantages as a reliable digital currency but there are many associated concerns that must be addressed. Critically examine.

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Introduction

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), or national digital currency, is simply the digital form of a country’s fiat currency. Instead of printing paper currency or minting coins, the central bank issues electronic tokens. This token value is backed by the full faith and credit of the government.

Global interest in central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) is on the rise, with 80% of all central banks investigating their issuance and half having progressed past research to running pilots.

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Background

  • The Reserve Bank of Indiais likely to soon kick off pilot projects to assess the viability of using digital currency to make wholesale and retail payments to help calibrate its strategy for introducing a full-scale central bank digital currency(CBDC).
  • Union Finance Minister in the budget speech said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in 2022-23, marking the first official statement from the Union government on the launch of much-awaited digital currency.

Need for a CBDC:

  • The growth of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum etc has raised challenges to fiat currencies.
  • Along with their other vulnerabilities made the central bank of each country explore the possibility of introducing their own digital currencies.
  • 2021 BIS survey of central banks, which found that 86% were actively researching the potential for such currencies, 60% were experimenting with the technology, and 14% were deploying pilot projects.
  • The need for inter-bank settlement would disappear as it would be a central bank liability handed over from one person to another.

Challenges posed:

  • India is already facing many cyber security threats. With the advent of digital currency, cyberattacks might increase and threaten digital theft like Mt Gox bankruptcy case.
  • According to the Digital Empowerment Foundation in 2018 report, around 90% of India’s population is digitally illiterate. So, without creating enough literary awareness introduction of digital currency will create a host of new challenges to the Indian economy.
  • Introduction of digital currency also creates various associated challenges in regulation, tracking investment and purchase, taxing individuals, etc.
  • The digital currency must collect certain basic information of an individual so that the person can prove that he’s the holder of that digital currency. This basic information can be sensitive ones such as the person’s identity, fingerprints etc.

Conclusion:

There are crucial decisions to be made about the design of the currency with regards to how it will be issued, the degree of anonymity it will have, the kind of technology that is to be used, and so on. There is no doubt that the introduction of National Digital currency prevents the various threats associated with the private-owned cryptocurrencies and take India the next step as a digital economy. But the government has to create necessary safeguards before rolling out. India needs to move forward on introducing an official digital currency.

Value addition

Global situation of CBDC

According to the Bank for International Settlements, more than 60 countries are currently experimenting with the CBDC. There are few Countries that already rolled out their national digital currency. Such as,

  • Swedenis conducting real-world trials of their digital currency (krona)
  • The Bahamasalready issued their digital currency “Sand Dollar” to all citizens
  • Chinastarted a trial run of their digital currencye- RMB amid pandemic. They plan to implement pan-China in 2022. This is the first national digital currency operated by a major economy.

 


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