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Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
- State funding of Election in India
Content for Mains Enrichment
- Bengaluru’s Climate Action Plan (CCAP)
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
- Indian Miniature Painting
- CARA: India’s adoption regulation body
- Microfinance in India
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Elections in India
Context: The Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, recently led a Constitution Bench in reserving judgment on the electoral bonds scheme’s validity. The debate revolves around transparency in election funding and whether elections should be state-funded.
What is State Funding of Elections?
State funding of elections refers to the financial support provided by the government to political parties and candidates to facilitate the electoral process.
- Enhancing transparency and accountability.
- Reducing the influence of private and corporate donors.
- Creating a fair and level playing field for political entities.
- Encouraging democratic practices within political parties.
- Minimizing the role of black money in election campaigns.
- Norway: Norway has a robust state funding system, with approximately 74% of total election expenses covered by the government. Parties receive funds based on their performance in previous elections.
- Germany: Germany provides public funding to political parties based on their performance in elections. Additionally, citizens can voluntarily contribute a percentage of their income tax to a political party of their choice.
- Other countries where such a practice is prevalent are Canada, France, and Brazil
Various views on State financing:
- Indrajit Gupta Committee (1998): Supported state funding for a fair political landscape, especially benefiting smaller parties.
- Recommended state funds exclusively for recognized national and State parties.
- Proposed funding in the form of free facilities for parties and candidates.
- Law Commission Report (1999): Advocated state funding as ‘desirable’ on the condition of parties refraining from external funding.
- National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2000): Did not endorse state funding but highlighted the necessity of a robust regulatory framework for political parties before considering state funding.
- 2nd ARC: Recommended partial state funding for the purpose of reducing “illegitimate and unnecessary funding” of elections expenses.
- ECI’s Perspective on Election Funding: The Election Commission of India (ECI) asserts its inability to restrict candidates’ expenditures beyond state-provided limits.
|Current Methods of Funding in India
|1. Individual Persons
|Political parties can legally receive donations from individuals as per Section 29B of the Representation of the People Act (RPA).
|2. Indirect State Funding
|This encompasses non-direct funding methods, such as free media access, public venue access for rallies, and subsidized or free transportation. India regulates these methods.
|3. Corporate Funding
|Corporate donations are governed by the Companies Act of 2013 in India.
|4. Electoral Trusts
|Non-profit entities in India were created to systematically collect voluntary contributions from individuals or domestic companies.
The Need for State Funding of Elections:
- Transparency Issues: Current funding lacks transparency, with a significant portion coming from undisclosed sources, including electoral bonds that withhold donor details, violating transparency principles.
- Political parties resist transparency under the Right to Information.
- Corruption and Crony Capitalism: Existing funding, involving ‘unknown donors’ like large corporations, fosters corporate lobbying, crony capitalism, and institutionalized political corruption.
- Fairness Concerns: Wealthier candidates and parties having access to substantial financial resources create an uneven playing field
- Violations of Laws and Guidelines: Non-disclosure of funding sources contradicts guidelines from the Election Commission of India (ECI), rulings of the Central Information Commission (CIC), and the Supreme Court’s decision in the PUCL vs Union of India case.
Challenges in the Implementation of State Funding of Elections:
|State-sponsored electoral funding may exacerbate the rising fiscal deficit, straining government finances
|State-funded elections could divert resources from crucial social sectors like Health, Education, and Skill Development
|Establishing consensus on criteria for fund distribution among political parties and candidates poses a significant operational challenge.
|Misuse of State Funding
|There’s a risk of misuse as frivolous political parties might emerge solely to receive state subsidies, diverting funds from political office and development work.
|The Election Commission of India (ECI) opposes state funding, citing limitations in prohibiting or checking candidates’ expenditures beyond state provisions.
|Intra-party democracy deficits may limit the benefits of state funding of elections.
Suggestions for state funding:
- National Electoral Fund: T.S. Krishnamurthy proposed allowing contributions from all donors, with funds distributed based on election results or agreed-upon principles.
- Audit of Party Accounts: Venkatachaliah Committee’s (2002) recommendations for strict regulatory frameworks in auditing and disclosing party income and expenditure to curb undisclosed funding.
- Expenditure Caps: Enforce expenditure limits for political parties, and implement the Law Commission of India’s recommendation to cap anonymous donations.
Implementing state funding of elections for transparency is a worthy goal, contingent on devising a fair fund distribution procedure with major political parties’ consensus. There is a need for parties to function democratically and be accountable for public funding. Also, there is a critical requirement for complete transparency in election spending if public funding is implemented.
Content for Mains Enrichment
Context: Bengaluru launched its Climate Action Plan (CCAP) in line with C40 Cities’ commitment to tackle climate change.
- Implementation Agency: Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)
About the objectives:
- 269 actions were outlined to mitigate climate change impacts in areas such as including urban heat, flooding, droughts, thunderstorms, lightning, and air pollution
- Bengaluru commits to carbon emission reduction by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050
- The BBMP has engaged the World Resources Institute (WRI) as a global consultant to formulate the CCAP for 2050
What is CCAP?
It is a part of global efforts to identify and implement climate actions, addressing vulnerabilities like urban flooding and pollution.
What is C40?
It is a global network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities that are united in action to confront the climate crisis. 6 Indian Cities namely Delhi NCT, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Ahmedabad are parties to it
Usage: The example can be used in Disaster Management Qn
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The art historian B N Goswamy gained prominence with his ground-breaking 1968 article, revealing family lineages of artists crucial to the development of miniature painting.
What was Goswamy’s contribution?
His contribution lies in revealing that painting styles were family-dependent rather than region-dependent. He reconstructed family networks of renowned artists, such as Pandit Seu and his sons Nainsukh and Manaku.
About Miniature Paintings:
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The Supreme Court has recently questioned the significant delay in India’s adoption processes. Approximately 30,000 prospective parents wait for an average of three years, with only 10% of orphaned children adopted annually.
|Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of the Ministry of Women & Child Development. It was established under Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, but was founded in 1990. It is a nodal body for the adoption of Indian children.
|CARA is India’s adoption regulation body, overseeing the adoption of orphaned, surrendered, and abandoned children.
|CARA monitors and regulates various adoption-related bodies, facilitating a seamless adoption process involving registration, home study reports, referrals, court petitions, and post-adoption follow-ups.
|CARA is a signatory to the 1993 Hague Convention, facilitating inter-country adoptions to find suitable families for children beyond their state of origin. India ratified the convention in 2003.
|Laws Governing Adoption
|Adoption in India is governed by the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (for specific religions) and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. CARA plays a role in the latter.
|Evolution of CARA’s Functions
|CARA’s powers expanded with changes in juvenile justice laws. The 2015 Juvenile Justice Act empowered CARA to streamline adoption processes, introducing an e-governance system (CARINGS) and enhancing transparency.
|Recent Amendments (2022)
|The 2022 amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act decentralized responsibilities, authorizing local District Magistrates to issue adoption orders for speedy disposal.
|Challenges Faced by CARA
|Challenges include declining adoption figures, infrastructural deficiencies, poor functioning of agencies, lack of awareness, and procedural issues, hindering children from entering safety nets.
|It faced criticism during the recent same-sex marriage verdict for restricting queer and unmarried couples from adopting.
|Procedural challenges include identification failures, confusion due to complex laws, and a bureaucratic system.
|Critics express concerns about the dehumanization of the adoption process.
|Current laws, such as the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and the Juvenile Justice Act, are criticized for not adequately protecting children’s interests.
|Suggestions include a child-centric, optional, enabling, and gender-just special adoption law.
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The Microfinance Industry Network (MFIN) launched the third edition of “Micro Matters: Macro View – India Microfinance Review FY 2022-23” in Mumbai.
Key findings of the review:
- The microfinance sector added 87 lakh new women clients, reaching approx. 6 crore low-income women clients with outstanding credit of over 3 lakh crores across 729 districts.
- MFIs followed by banks are the largest provider of micro-credit amongst other regulated entities.
- MFIs’ gross Non-Performing Assets (NPA) decreased from approx. 5.6% (FY22) to 2.7% (FY23).
About MFIs in India:
|About Microfinance in India
|Microfinance contributes about 130 lakh jobs and 2% of the Gross Value Added (GVA), according to a National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) study.
|RBI defines microfinance as collateral-free loans to households with annual income up to Rs.3 lakh.
|Contributions of MFI
|Boosting Entrepreneurship: MFIs provide small loans, fostering entrepreneurship and small business development for economic growth and job creation.
|Financial Inclusion: MFIs enhance financial inclusion, providing credit and financial services to those excluded from traditional banking, enabling savings, education, healthcare investment, and entrepreneurship.
|Poverty Reduction: Microfinance aids poverty reduction by offering small loans to the poor for income-generating activities, improving their standard of living.
|Empowering Women: Microfinance plays a crucial role in empowering women by providing financial resources, fostering economic independence, and improving social standing.
|Supporting Rural Development: MFIs support rural development by providing small loans to farmers and entrepreneurs, enhancing agricultural productivity and contributing to economic development in rural areas.
|Challenges with Microfinance in India
|Over-indebtedness, high-interest rates, Lack of Financial Literacy, Operating in remote areas with inadequate infrastructure, Political Interference, and Lack of Regulation
|SHG-Bank Linkage Program; E-shakti Programme (to digitize the accounts of various SHGs); PM SVANidhi (micro-credit loan to street vendors)
|Strengthening Regulatory Framework, Promoting Financial Literacy, Promoting Partnerships, Ensuring Social Impact
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: Physicists are using fractal geometry to study quantum systems, providing a unique perspective on the uncertainties of quantum physics.
What are Fractals?
Fractals are geometric shapes that exhibit self-similarity at different scales.
Example 1: The Koch snowflake, starting as an equilateral triangle, evolves with self-similar patterns at each iteration.
- Overcome measurement limitations: Examples include the magnetic properties of neodymium nickel oxide and the fractal distribution of electron density in graphene.
- Fractals are applied in data compression, antenna design, and studying patterns in galaxies
- They provide a unique tool to understand complex systems and patterns in nature.
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body, has introduced a 9-point draft of guidelines to combat “greenwashing” by companies.
What is Greenwashing?
About the Guidelines:
- Environmental claims like “environment-friendly,” “eco-friendly,” “sustainable,” and “planet-friendly” must have strong evidence to support them.
- Such claims should consider the full life cycle of the product or service.
- Certifications and Seals of Approval should specify the evaluated attributes.
- Assertions about a product being compostable, biodegradable, recyclable, non-toxic, or free of certain elements should be grounded in reliable scientific evidence.
Aim of the Guidelines:
The proposed guidelines aim to promote transparency and authenticity in advertising to help consumers make informed decisions. The public consultation on these guidelines is open until December 31.
Initiatives to check Greenwashing:
- International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB),will set uniform sustainability and climate standards for companies to follow worldwide from 2024.
- SEBI’s Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) norms
- SEBI issued dos and don’ts relating to green bonds.
- RBI announced to join Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN)’s Greenwashing TechSprint.
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