Insights Mains Self Study 2016- Test 19
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- Which factors contributed to the rise of left wing groups during the national movement? Examine
Rise of the left wing in India started after the Russian revolution in 1917, which influenced the nationalist movement with socialist ideas.
Factors which contributed to the rise of left wing groups:-
- The success of Russian revolution was seen as the defeat of capitalism and western imperialism. It led to influence nationalist leaders with socialist ideas of cooperatives, abolition of private properties and planning aspect of the economy.
- The withdrawal of Non Cooperation Movement led to creation of a vacuum. Many of the youths were attracted neither towards the council entry programme nor towards the constructive work at village level. At this time, they were inspired by Russian revolution where masses could overthrow the czarist regime. They were influenced by Marxism and became the base for socialist and communist groups.
- N.Roy,with the help of Lenin, established the principles for “Communist International” and started influencing the Indians with socialist ideas. Later under him Communist party of India was established in Tashkent in 1920.
- Great Depression provided the necessary conditions for rise of the left wing. The prices of agricultural products came down, wages of workers were reduced but the taxes by British authorities were not reduced further oppressing the masses. This made peasants and workers to get attracted towards socialist ideologies. Also, great depression was seen as the failure of capitalism and socialism was seen as a solution to socio-economic problems.
- Even the top leaders of congress like J.L.Nehru, S.C Bose and others were influenced by the socialist ideas and were propagating the same. In fact this led to formation of Congress Socialist Party (CSP) within Congress, whose motive was to move nationalist movement in Socialist direction.
Thus, the left wing parties started flourishing within congress and outside congress in different regions of the country. They adopted pro-peasant and pro- worker ideology, they started mobilizing them though trade unions and Kisan Sabhas and some of them even supported violent armed struggle.
- “It was above all Jawaharlal Nehru who imparted a socialist vision to the movement and who became the symbol of socialism and socialist ideas in India after 1929.” Discuss.
J.L.Nehru was one of those prominent leaders who imparted socialist vision to the national movement through his lectures, speeches, books and write up in journal/ newspapers.
Role of Nehru in imparting socialist vision and why he became prominent figure for socialism after 1929:-
- Nehru visited Soviet Union and was influenced by their planned economy, cooperative functioning, and abolition of private properties. So, he envisioned Socialist way of functioning as a solution to socio-economic problems of India and hence started propagating it.
- Nehru participated in International Congress against colonial oppression and imperialism at Brussels. There he had the opportunity to communicate with the communist leaders of the world and further got influenced by their ideologies.
- Influenced by socialist ideas, Nehru started mobilizing peasants and workers. He participated in meetings of All India Kisan Sabha and also cooperated with Congress Socialist parties to propagate socialism.
- When he was the President of the Congress, he successfully included socialist leaders into his working committee and thus influenced the working style of Congress.
- It was due to his influence that at Karachi session of INC, a resolution was passed supporting Fundamental rights and economic policy, a resolution for economic policy in Faizpur session. Later also it was due to his influence that National Planning committee was established in 1938 under the presidentship of S.C.Bose.
Overall, Nehru saw socialism as the solution of socio-economic emancipation of Indians and saw it as a force against capitalism and imperialist forces. But, his commitments to socialism was within the framework of Congress and he did not favor any separate organization independent of Congress.
- “Despite the fact that Left cadres were among the most courageous, militant and sacrificing of the freedom fighters, the Left failed in the basic task it had taken upon itself – to establish the hegemony of socialist ideas and parties over the national movement.” Discuss Why.
Left cadres tried to give a socialist direction to the Nationalist movement, but there success was limited by the challenges, which they faced.
Challenges faced by the Left cadres in achieving socialist hegemony:-
- They did not understand the Gandhian strategy and failed to grasp his influence over Indian Masses.
- They adopted violent armed struggle, which was opposed by Gandhiji and his followers, who had strong hold in the Congress and masses.
- They avoided any kind of split with cause of Nationalism, so they supported Congress and worked within its framework. They knew that Congress can only bring mass mobilization through strong leadership and organizational skill. So, they were not able to impart a separate influence.
- The friction over ideologies, strategies and methods of working of Left wing with right wing was capitalized by British authorities and they banned some of the left wing organization, which restricted their working and role in mobilizing people.
- Even those leaders of Congress who had leftist tendencies like Nehru, Bose started either siding with Gandhian strategy or separated from Congress, which limited their influence.
- There was division among left parties over the ideology and they failed to unite together under a single banner with exception for short duration.
- The left wing were suppressed by the government. And they were tried for series of conspiracy cases for example the one at Peshawar, Kanpur Bolshevik conspiracy case and Meerut conspiracy case.
Even though they adopted pro-peasant, pro-worker attitude, they were criticized for their working style and their short tempered approach. They were however largely successful in organizing workers’ and peasants’ parties, and they worked for an anti-capitalist, anti-war foreign policy. They also did manage to give a socialist orientation to the congress.
- Did Jawaharlal Nehru fully agree with the basic Gandhian strategy of struggle? Critically discuss.
While Nehru had differences with Gandhiji’s style and strategy for struggle, they cooperated with each other for the cause of freedom struggle.
Gandhi ji’s Strategy
Gandhi believed in Struggle-truce-struggle (STS) which means a phase of mass struggle to be followed by constructive works in villages, educating people and when they are ready, then again launch a mass struggle.
According to him, masses should be politically educated, they should be made ready to sustain the mass struggle in non-violent way and they should understand the meaning of Satyagraha. This was to be done with the help of a strong leadership and organization ,i.e, Congress.
He was criticized by Nehru, who wanted a continuous mass struggle and according to him masses were ready and waiting for mass struggle. He wanted the struggle to end with the freedom of India. For him political awakening and leadership will come once, the mass struggle will start. Nehru believed that Gandhiji was trying to preach harmony between the exploited and the exploiter by his strategy of trusteeship and STS.
Nehru believed in Struggle-Victory (SV), which means a continuous phase of mass struggle to be ended with the victory that is in the form of independence of India.
Nehru saw the withdrawal of CDM, council-entry and the recourse to constructive programme as spiritual defeat, surrender of ideas and going back to moderate era. Nehru wanted a revolutionary class struggle through mobilization of workers and peasants through Kisan Sabhas and trade unions.
But he was not supported by Gandhi ji, who wanted political and ideological maturity of leaders and masses. He wanted congress to get rid of its weaknesses like corruption, favoritism, etc. and he wanted to gain back the trust of peasants and worker class, which he thought had been eroded. Thus, he was waiting for a perfect time to launch mass struggle, when all the sections of the society could participate.
It must be noted that Nehru was not fully against the Gandhian strategy, he also supported the non-violent causes. He was very much aware about the influence of Congress and Gandhiji on mass, that’s why he never favored any kind of split within congress on ideological differences. Even though he expressed his differences with Gandhian strategy, but he always used to align with it. Nehru was fully aware of inevitability of mass movement for achievement of freedom and Gandhiji’s leadership. Even Gandhiji showed immense respect for views of Nehru. He convinced Nehru that only Civil Disobedience was withdrawn but the war continued. Though there were disagreements, the mutual respect for each other led them to fight for independence till the end.
- During 1937, when the congress formed government in many provinces, it could not attempt a complete overhaul of the agrarian structure by completely eliminating the zamindari system. Examine why.
Congress took many steps to bring change in agrarian setup of the country when they formed the ministries in 1937. They tried to bring reforms by reducing rents, taxes, providing occupancy rights to tenants, reducing the share of Zamindari in produce, etc. But there were certain limitations, which checked the overhaul of agrarian setup by congress Ministries.
Reasons, which restricted the overhaul of agrarian setup:-
- The provincial governments had limited legislative, financial powers. They were not empowered enough to abolish Zamindari system. Even, if any legislation was passed, the governor and viceroy had veto power.
- There were many zamindars and landlords who were active members of Congress. They also supported Congress in political works and elections. So, congress ministries could not become very harsh on them.
- Few states like UP, Bihar were having a second chamber called legislative council, which was dominated by zamindar, landlords, capitalists and moneylenders. They opposed any kind of legislation since they were in majority and congress was in minority and this way legislations were stopped there itself.
- Also, the congress could not get support from few of the agrarian laborers and sub-tenants because they were not mobilized by the kisan sabhas nor they were given franchise to vote under Government of India Act, 1935. So, they could not exert pressure on ministries either through election or peasant movements.
- There was also constraint of time as ministries were not to stay for long time in power. Later, they resigned in 1939 due to war crisis. The agrarian reform was time taking process, with the given set of complexities.
Even after the above constraints, the agrarian policy of Congress ministries went a long way and brought much relief to peasants in provinces like UP, Bihar and others through the passage of Tenancy act, abolition of nazrana (in Maharashtra), begar (forced labour), reducing the share of landlord in case of share cropping, debtor’s relief acts. The most notable achievement was the foundation it laid for post-independence agrarian reforms.
- “It can be asserted that perhaps the most important contribution of the peasant movements that covered large areas of the subcontinent in the 1930s and 40s was that even when they did not register immediate successes, they created the climate which necessitated the post-independence agrarian reforms.” Discuss.
Peasant movement of 1930s and 1940s were mobilized due to colonial oppression of increased taxes, exploitation by zamindars, etc. though their immediate success was not impressive due to Second World War and other political movements going on in the country. But, they played an important role in bringing the post-independence reforms in agrarian sector.
Immediate demands were reduction of taxes, abolition of illegal cesses, ending oppression by landlords and their agent, restoration of illegally seized lands, reduction of debts and security of tenure for tenants.
Why they did not show any immediate success:-
- The leadership to most of the peasant’s movements was provided by leftist organizations. The government was very harsh on leftist wings, they banned CPI and suppressed them using army and police.
- Few of the peasant’s movement adopted a violent approach, which did not get sanctions and support of Gandhi ji and Congress.
- They did not get the required continuation due to the war crisis (2nd World War) and resignation of the Congress ministries. Many movements were suspended.
- These struggles did not aim at overthrow of the existing agrarian structure but towards alleviating the most oppressive aspects in it.
- The growth and development of peasant movement was linked with the cause of national struggle for freedom. So, only freedom was seen as the solution for all the causes of the peasants.
Contribution of peasants struggle for post-independence Agrarian reforms: –
- The peasant movements were supported by congress ministries, left wing organizations. This made the peasants aware of their rights, they came to be better organized in making their demands. This necessitated pursuing of land reforms after independence with a sense of urgency.
- Some of the peasant movements became violent where they tried to attack landlords and zamindars. This led to a realization that if agrarian distress is not addressed timely, it can lead to deterioration of law and order and peasants taking up arms. Thus, importance of land reforms, giving ownership rights to tenets etc were realized early enough.
- Their continuous opposition against the exploitation of zamindars and landlords in these movements led to abolition of Zamindari, immediately after independence in 1950.
- Some of the peasant movements like Telangana, continued even after the end of Second World War and were dragged post-independence highlighting the issue of agrarian reforms.
An independent India provided a conducive environment for the resumption of agrarian demands, which was discontinued due to war crisis. Also, the leaders who led the peasant movements were already aware about the miserable conditions of the peasantry, so they pushed the reforms with the sense of empathy, responsibility and commitment.
- How did the World War 1 affect social and economic environment in India? It’s said that the World War 1 created congenial context for the Gandhiji’s emergence as an undisputed leader of Indian Nationalism. Examine why.
World War 1 ended in 1918, which affected the social and economic environment in India.The years of World War 1 also saw the emergence of Gandhi ji as a mass leader in India, who promised a political programme, which was spiritually noble at the time when India was facing moral and physical despondency.
Social effect of World War 1:
- Forced recruitment for the army without any interruption, caused resentment among people. It led to dislocation of families. Higher number of mortality of army men led to women becoming widows and children becoming orphans.
- The distress of the peasantry found expression in organized peasant protests such as Kisan Sabha movement in UP.
- The growth of industries resulted in expansion of working class. Declining wages during war and post war period cause resentment among workers.
- The British raj, in order to get Indian support in the war, wanted to conciliate the Indians, so they offered reforms which led to further dissension among Hindus and Muslims
Economic effects of World War 1:-
- There was under-production of food crops during war period caused by crop failures. Although there was shortage of food for home consumption, export of food to feed the army fighting abroad continued. This resulted in near famine conditions. It was compounded by the outbreak of Influenza epidemic.
- Increase in defense expenditure kept on rising and led to increase in huge national debt. This was funded by the taxes, land revenue, indirect taxes on trade and industry, higher customs duty, an income tax, super tax on companies and undivided Hindu business families, excess profit tax and so on. These burden ultimately fell on common people.
- Prices of industrial and imported goods, food crops were rising, affecting the poor peasantry.
- The exports declined and stocks of commercial crops were piling up, causing crisis in the market. This adversely affected the rich peasantry.
- The country also noticed the growth of Industries- jute and textile , which made big industrialists loyal to British for exports and good prices.
World War 1 and the rise of Gandhi ji: –
Gandhi ji was fully aware of Indian pluralism and took care not to alienate any class or community, unlike the earlier leaders. He used his understanding about society, religion, and soul in mobilising the people
After world war, the agricultural prices were falling, they didn’t give good returns to farmers. But, even then the British authorities did not reduce the tax burden. This led to opposition by peasants in Champaran in 1916. It was here that Gandhi ji came to lime light in Indian politics and his involvement led to Champaran Relief Act.
The war also led to reduction of wages of workers and they were opposing for it in Ahmedabad in 1918. This gave a second avenue to Gandhi ji to give leadership to the Indian cause. Again, in the same year he supported the cause of peasant struggle in Kheda. These three events provided platform for Gandhi ji to be accepted as mass leader and people from all the sections tried to associate with him. By then, Home Rule movement had also declined and there was search of avenues for expression of dissent.
The opposition against Rowlatt Act, which was designed to serve the needs of British in colonies by suppressing freedom of gatherings, made Gandhi ji to launch Rowlatt Satyagraha and this was the movement which gave him an All India appeal.
Finally, when the terms of War were very harsh on Turkey and Caliph, he associated with Indian Muslims, who started the Khilafat Movement, which was later started with the Non- Cooperation Movement.
At that time congress was not fully active politically and was in search of an effective leadership. Gandhi ji’s exposure to Indian politics in above events and his experience in South Africa equipped him to be accepted as an undisputed mass leader and an appropriate leader to lead the congress for the cause of national struggle.
- Political neutrality is a cardinal tenet of the civil services in India. Do you think it has survived well? examine the nature of political neutrality practiced by IAS
Political neutrality requires that civil servants are able to serve governments of any party with the same degree of commitment. It involves:
- Their advice is expected to be non-partisan.
- They do not undertake work which is of benefit to any one party.
- They are restricted from taking part in party politics even outside of their professional roles.
Has it survived?
Neutrality is an ideal state, in practice, absolute neutrality is difficult to achieve. The concept of civil service neutrality in India can be broadly classified into 3 phases: Nehruvian era, Indira Gandhi era and the civil service activism era. During Nehruvian era, civil service functioned with fearlessness, freedom and with commitment to law. Officers had more independence and were respected. However, neutrality began to fracture during time of emergency. At this juncture, a wave of civil service activism began where civil servants began to oppose and expose mal-administration and corruption of politicians.
Nature of neutrality: Neutrality can be of following types:
- Active neutrality: the civil servant takes decisions based on application of rules and norms impartially. They are often considered obstructionist and are transferred.
- Passive neutrality: total submission to whosoever is in power without any attachment to party per se. such officers may be rewarded with glamorous or powerful postings.
- The third class are the ones with strong and permanent attachment to a particular party per se.
The political-bureaucrat nexus has led to premature transfers of honest civil servants, civil servants towing the line of politicians for favourable postings and promotions. Honest and fair advice of civil servants is not usually rewarded and even civil servants criticise their political masters in their social circles. Political interference in institutions like CBI has led to it being called as “caged parrot”.
Its desirability: Paul Appleby made a distinction between political neutrality and programme neutrality. Neutrality should not mean passivity. Civil servants should remain committed to constitutional ethos and values while being neutral politically.
- In India, civil service is afflicted by many shortcomings. What are the remedial measures you would suggest to overcome these shortcomings. Analyse.
The shortcomings are:
- Lack of professionalism and poor capacity building.
- Inefficient incentive systems that do not appreciate upright and outstanding civil servants but reward the corrupt and the incompetent.
- Outmoded rules and procedures that restrict the civil servant from performing effectively.
- Systemic inconsistencies in promotion and empanelment.
- Lack of adequate transparency and accountability procedures – there is also no safety for whistle blowers .
- Arbitrary and whimsical transfers – insecurity in tenures impedes institutionalization.
- Political interference and administrative acquiescence.
- A gradual erosion in values and ethics.
- Recruitment: corruption in state services during recruitment needs to be checked. Recruitment should provide a level playing field for candidates from rural as well as urban background.
- Training: emphasis on technical knowledge and domain expertise is needed as administration is becoming more technical and complex. Lateral entries of experts should be encouraged.
- Human resource development: promotion based on merit should be encouraged. The annual confidential reports should make special mention of exceptional qualities possessed by civil servants like integrity, empathy etc. performance related incentive scheme must be adopted widely. Incentivising good performance through awards keeps the morale high.
- Accountability: encouraging e-governance, training of officers to adopt e – government initiatives, acting timely on audit findings, implementation of citizen charters, fast tracking departmental enquiries.
- Checking political interference: civil service boards to decide on premature transfers to check misuse by political parties with regard to postings, transfers, promotions.
- Behavioural reforms: promoting ethical training, commitment to constitutional values. Attitudinal changes to serve as a catalyst for social change. Promoting internal accountability to prevent corruption.
Political and bureaucratic will is needed to implement a paradigm shift in the nature of civil service to cope up with emerging demands and changes in society and economy.
10.The working of finance commission, its design of transfer system, and the approach and methodology adopted by it have come in for criticism. What are the main criticisms? Analyse.
Finance commission is a constitutional body set up under Article-280 of constitution to recommend fiscal transfers from centre to states.
The main criticisms are:
Design of transfer system:
- Even though nothing in the constitution restricts FC to make recommendations only for filling revenue gaps of states, the emergence of a Planning Commission as powerful parallel body had restricted the FC to recommend only the filling up of revenue gaps of states and not make any recommendations for capital grants. With the setting up of NITI Aayog, this position is set to change.
- The FC makes recommendations based on a devolution formula which is designed by it. But the basis for arrival at the devolution formula is not made public and is shrouded in secrecy, giving rise to suspicions about rationality of such a formula.
Approach and methodology
- The commission takes up field visits to ascertain the nature of finances of states. But more often, these field visits are considered to be inadequate. Thus, the commission is said to work on an arm-chair basis giving scant regard to local conditions in the state. The commission thus relies on reports made by state governments which often has an element of exaggeration and the commission can hardly confirm the completeness and reliability of the report.
- FC is constituted by president periodically. It is thus an ad-hoc body without a permanent structure. It has hence not developed expertise in planned development and financial planning.
- Many of the posts of FC in the past were occupied by ex-cabinet ministers. The rationale of selection of members is therefore under question.
- The terms of reference of the commission are often very wide, including even items like environment. This is said to interfere in the legitimate domain of items in the state list.
- Often, the recommendations of the commission are not strictly followed and not much action is taken to keep a track on the progress of implementation of its recommendations. Eg: states often divert funds meant for plan expenditure towards non-plan expenditure. There is also breach of the revenue targets. Follow up in this regard has been very low and needs considerable improvement.
Irrespective of criticisms, the Finance commission’s recommendations have upheld fiscal federalism in India, as reflected by 14th FC recommendation to devolve 42 % of net proceeds of taxes to the states.