INSIGHTS SECURE SYNOPSIS: 12 November 2016
General Studies – 1;
Topic: Role of women
- Labor force participation is one of the deciding factor on which growth rests.
- Despite it, the latest NSSO report have shown decline in the female labor force participation with growing economy.
Critical Analysis of the issue:
- Unequal access of job: Jobs getting created in highly skilled sectors like services where a few women make it to the top (cascading effect caused by low literacy rate among women) compared to men.
- Domestic activities not included- There is a flaw which is considered in NSSO’s definition of of employment which doesn’t consider domestic activities wherein the women are full time participants.
- Declining employment opportunities Due to advancement in Technology and automation, overall job prospects have lowered and it affects womenfolk the most as they are already suffering from depressed participation rate.
- Declining agricultural activities- Lesser contribution of agriculture in GDP is a fact that agriculture generates lesser jobs. Female labour force are the important part of agrarian economy and hence with decline in agricultural activities, women are stepping back.
- Quality of employment- home based work, domestic work, street vending , waste picking are kinds of jobs where quality is not maintained. Women are preferring not to engage in such jobs.
- Male workers have replaced female workers in undesirable informal sector occupations.
- Lack of job security and higher incidence of sexual harassment also contribute to this factor.
- Thus not only economic but also social and political reasons defy the situation of lower female labour workforce participation rate.
- schemes like Stand Up India, MUDRA, SHG initiative etc. should focus more on women.
- Also health and safety of women needs to be emphasized in its policymaking.
Topic: Role of women; Social empowerment
2) It is often experienced in India that the women “rescued” from the sex trade riot against their rescuers. Sex workers in Hyderabad often experience rescue as a form of humanitarian violence befitting the United Nation’s definition of trafficking. Critically examine why. (200 Words)
- Women Trafficiking has been big menace to our society.
- Government in collaboration with UN, has taken many steps to counter Sex Tradelike Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.
- But these mechanisms have only been about rescue procedures and, not about rehabilitation programs and responsibilities of rescuers.
Critical Analysis of its causes:
- Poor Infrastructure:
- scarcity of space, lack of cleanliness
- no enough healthy food
- lack of adequate medical and counseling facilities
- poor clothing
- Violation of Fundamental Rights
- In shelter homes victim women are not given freedom to self-determination,
movement and choose their vocational courses. This is directly a violation of
article 19 and article21.
- Children are not allowed to play which is against child’s rights.
- Physical Violence: Many times shelter home staff and police has been accused by women for physical which causes them to abscond.
- Poor Vocational training: Rehabilitation program train them in tailoring, book binding, basket making etc. which will not bring them adequate earning in future.
- Threat to Privacy: Victim women have threat to their privacy as their past usually revealed by staff member to their families and relatives.
- Government should formulate guidelines for shelter homes and prescribe responsibilities of rescuer staff, up gradation of shelter homes and vocational courses.
- The authority must keep vigil on the implementation and provide facilities along with alternate livelihood should be the utmost priority for these women.
- The Schemes should also focus on after-rescue efforts of women saved from trafficking.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States,
3) There is a disturbing tendency among States to be judges in their own cause, especially when it comes to water disputes. Why do you think this tendency is increasing? How the union government and courts are responding? Critically examine. (200 Words)
Why in News:
Punjab-Haryana SYL issue, Karnataka-TN Cauvery issue
- Although there are Constitutional and statutory arrangements like Inter State Water Council(Art 262), Zonal Councils etc., States often bypass them due to political and populist motives.
- Specially regarding water, as water is in state list, they make their own legislation surpassing the tribunal verdict and SC verdict when matter reaches to it.
The reasons behind states becoming judges of their own are:
- Political: Vote Bank Politics as they don’t want to lose popular vote by taking an unpopular action.
- Economic: When Decisions go against their economic interest, they take issues into their own hands. Like in recent water disputes, Agriculture being the major occupation was being affected which would have impacted the state economy.
- Competitive Federalism: States instead of Cooperative Federalism often compete against each other leading to tussle on many issues.
- Center’s role: In this era, when taking opposition on board is absolutely necessary a smooth legislature, it doesn’t decisively interfere in inter-state matters due to risk of losing the state party’s support.
- Constitutional: Barring any court’s intervention in a water dispute by Art.262, the Indian constitution leaves a scope for the states to become judges in their own cause
Responses of Union Govt and courts:
Union Govt’s responses:
- Creation of a water tribunal and the Interstate River Water Dispute Act, 1956 by the Union govt. under Article 262 of the Indian Constitution. Ex-Cauvery tribunal, Krishna Tribunal, etc.
- Reaching out an agreement between states of Rajasthan, Punjab & Haryana for creation of Sutlej-Yamuna Link in 1981; also Rajiv-Longowal accord, 1985 was enacted.
- Maintaining doctrine of ‘separation of power’ between different organs and upholding the spirit of federalism. Ex- SC invalidated Punjab’s Act calling it as unilateral and against SC’s decision of 2002.
- Special Leave: Although SC can’t act in Inter State water disputes under Art 262, it can take up cases under art 136 as seen in SYL case.
- The tenets of Sarkaria Commission to resolve Inter-state issues needs to be implemented
- States need to look beyond their political interests and aspire for overall public welfare.
- For a country to grow and run smoothly, both competitive and cooperative federalism is necessary but one should not be at the cost of the other.
Topic: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
4) In the light of recent election of Donald Trump as the next US President, do you think India’s democratic and electoral system is much more matured compared to the US system vis a vis electing responsible leaders of their respective countries? Critically examine. (200 Words)
- Both India and USA being large democracies, there are both positives and negative aspects of their electoral Systems.
- The recent election of the controversial figure of Trump for USA’s president post has led to its comparison with the Indian electoral system.
Where India`s democratic and electoral system is matured as compared USA:
- High voting percentage and high political involvement in India: In USA, its 50-60 % eligible people vote while Indian figure are beyond 80 % . Also Voter turnout in India is much higher than that in USA.
- India using Electronic Voting Machine while USA still uses Paper ballot
- No centralized election management body like ECI in USA: Although USA has the Federal Election Commission and the US Election Assistance Commission, both combined are not as effective and powerful.
- India gave rights to women to vote the day first election took place. It took America 144 years for the same.
- Multi-party system of India helps in connecting people more with their preferred parties. In USA, one has to decide between only 2 choices.
Where USA Electoral System scores over India:
- Presidential debates in USA are much better than election rallies in india where only on person speaks
- Simultaneous Elections of lower house & Senate (Upper house ) in USA – while India has also mooted upon this point recently , this is a distant dream for us .
- Primaries in USA and no such thing in India
- State funding of Elections in USA whereas only electoral rolls , party symbol and electronic media time given by ECI .
- Hillary Clinton termed Indian election as “golden standard “ owing to its various worthy aspects like managing the high voter turnout diligently and impartially
- But India needs also to learn from USA Electoral System where people are more aware and instances of corruption are lower.
Topic: Indian Constitution
5) Critically analyse forms, intentions and effects of censorship in India, which are based on the assumption that the text or film in question hurts the sentiments of some members of society. (200 Words)
Censorship is refusal to publish certain books by publishers, or to remove any scene, dialogues from movie, etc. especially when some sort of pressure (by threats, protests, lawsuits, etc) is involved. Mostly, it is done on the clause of “hurting sentiments”, whose purpose is different under different types of censorship, as discussed below with its intentions and effects:-
- State censorship – Censorship by the state is imperative, threatening and punitive. State censorship is used as a political tool to govern the citizens, sometimes for the political benefits of ruling parties and sometimes to maintain harmony in the society. It arouses fear among masses.
It is used to check the commodification of women in movies, or showing unnecessary sex related scenes in movies. It becomes important for agencies like, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)to censor such thing, keeping in mind the dignity of women and cognitive development of children. It is also desirable that state uses it as a measure to prevent dangerous situations in society like -communal violence, protection of an injured/threatened section of the society (a minority group, for example).
But sometimes, this act of censoring is seen as harassment and it is merely used for political benefits. For example, Section 124-A (sedition) of IPC has been misused against the freedom of speech of citizens/ political opponents. Critical analysis of words are usually categorised under defamation and it becomes a criminal offence.
- Social censorship- it is a censorship within civil society, for the refusal to publish certain books by publishers, especially when some sort of pressure (by threats, protests, lawsuits, etc) by parts of the civil society is involved. Censorship by society is personal, domineering and ostracising”.
It is desirable when it accounts for public opinion about certain events or issues like – opposition against some obscene scenes in movie or matters involving rights of the citizens or when public comes on road against corruption and women’s safety. Censoring in such matters should be supported.
However, it should not be merely used to censor or hurt some minority interest. Majority people start dominating and forcing their decision through censorship on minority people. Thus malafide intentions should not be supported. For example- Banning beef meat just on the name of cultural sentiments is not correct, because within Hindu, there are many communities who eat beef and for few it is matter of livelihood. At the same time, it is part of cultural cuisine of Muslims/ Christians.
Although censorship certainly has an element of protection and defence, censorship also includes productive and enabling elements. It may be in the higher national interest, to censor some content and sources, but the government or society should not act according to its whims and fancies and autonomous boards, which include the citizenry, should decide the pertinence of any content.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
6) “Aimed at protecting the rights of forest dwelling tribal communities the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 promised much. However, over the years its implementation has been tardy and there have been concerted efforts to dilute it.” Critically discuss. (200 Words)
Background – The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA) was passed to restore the traditional rights of land to the people who have been living in forests for generations and guards against misuse by empowering gram sabhas to take decisions. But, its implementation has not been up to the mark and efforts to dilute it has been made:-
- Rights only on paper – After relocation, communities are allotted with lands for cultivation other than their natural forest land, next to their new homes, some of it unfit for growing anything. They have rights to minor forest produce but the forests are far away from their new homes, making them vulnerable to high levels of malnutrition and number of child deaths.
- Relocation of forest dwellers- Usually the primitive tribes face the problems of food, shelter, vulnerability to diseases, they don’t get adapted to shelter homes, food through PDS system. It comes to them as cultural shock. State authorities remain insensitive to the needs of tribals. For example- few communities of Baiga tribe evicted from their homes in forest in Chhattisgarh. People died after relocation due to lack of access to food and shelter. The difficulties in relocation revolve mainly around livelihoods, access to food and basic amenities.
- Diversion of forest for developmental projects –The forestlands are being diverted for industry, roads and other infrastructure, there is widespread feeling that this act has come in the way of speedy implementation of projects. Thus, MoEFCC is giving forest clearances to such projects, ignoring the rights of forest dwellers.
- Forging gram sabha clearances – it has been found that at many instances, district administration has taken decision on behalf of gram sabha for clearances, even without consulting them. For example- In 2012 gram sabhas in seven villages in Jharsuguda and Sambalpur districts in Odisha opposed two private coal plants. The district administration forwarded gram sabha resolutions which unanimously approved the diversion of forestland for the coal mining projects to the centre for approval, but in reality villagers had opposed the projects. The forgery came to light when the affected people from four villages compared these resolutions and found the real records were different.
- Interference from the MoEFCC- the FRA has to be implemented by Ministry of Tribal Affairs, but MoEFCC have been coming up with new rules interfering the powers of Tribal minsitry. For example- In Maharashtra, such rule was passed in 2014, which would give more powers to the forest department and the villagers would have to manage forests in accordance with that. One of the rule was that if there is any “encroachment,” or fire, affecting more than 40% of trees in the plantations, the forest will be taken back. Upset with the success of the Mendha Lekha in Gadchiroli (Maharashtra), the first village in the country to be given control over 1,800 hectares of community forests and rights to harvest and sell bamboo, the new rules specified that bamboo can only be harvested according to the plans drawn up by the forest department. While the FRA gives powers to the gram sabha, the new rules emphasised the supremacy of the forest officials, defeating the spirit of the FRA.
- Relaxing the supporting laws/rules – The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 has been relaxed by the government. For example -In December 2012, the environment ministry exempted public hearings for existing coal mining projects which applied for a one-time capacity expansion of up to 25% in the existing mining operation.
- Poor implementation by states – Many states have a poor record of implementation of the act: Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have been identified as having lagged behind in implementation of the FRA. The misuse of a law cannot be the reason to dilute it or call for its repeal.
- Proposal under new laws- under the FRA Act gram sabha (village council) is the final authority on forest land of tribals and other forest-dwellers. But the recently framed-The Compensatory afforestation (CAMPA) bill does not clearly acknowledge the power of such councils.
However, FRA has been helpful in following:-
- FRA acts as first line of defence- For conservators, it acts as first line of defence along with protecting the rights of the people. For example- it was beneficial for community conservation in Uttarakhand’s van panchayats, community forest management in Odisha, in the B R Hills Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, etc. It was possible because, FRA includes the principles of respect for rights (including right to use, manage and conserve), transparency and accountability.
- Granting rights over minor forest Produce – FRA’s passage was successful in granting rights to tribal people over minor forest produce like – bamboo, tendu leaves, etc. But, till now the scope of such produce has been very limited.
The forest department perceives FRA as a one-sided legislation that may lead to grave compromises at the cost of the environment. They believe that people residing in proximity of wildlife sanctuaries or parks would hamper conservation effort. Perception – must be changed by popularizing examples like Maldharis effort in conserving lions of Gir National Park, Bishnois are considered to be the environmentalists in the world. Land is a valuable resource for those who live off it and one way of ensuring lesser fragmentation is to approve community forest rights which take a long time for clearance.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Background – The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act was passed in 2013. It makes provision for mandatory internal complaints committees. Success of this acts depend upon the employer, the employees and on the women, who are facing the situation. A survey evaluates the act and its important findings are as below:-
- Poor implementation – Most of the employers have not set up complaints panels till date and even if they have set up, there is very poor awareness about it among employees. The gravity of this problem can be analysed observing the report of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)–Ernst and Young study (2015) revealed that one in every three Indian companies that is- 31% had not yet set up ICC and 40% had not oriented the members to legal provisions while 35% were unaware of the penal consequences of not complying with the law. Around 44% did not create awareness about the law among employees.
- Hesitation among women about complaining – Women, generally do not complain immediately after incidents of sexual harassment occurs. It was found in survey that registering a complaint with the employer was considered as the last choice and was resorted to when they found the workplace atmosphere becoming intimidating and difficult to handle. Women heistiate to complain due to social stigma attached for complainants and loss of economic potential for the family.
- Poor awareness among employees– Many of the women employees did not have information about the complaint mechanism within their organisations and sought the help of women’s organisations, the police or the state commission for women.
- Insensitive attitude of members of ICC- When the women reported sexual harassment to persons in positions of authority, they were laughed at or were not believed. The complaints were rendered insignificant and branded as psychological problems, administrative harassment arising from the complainant’s non-performance, workplace politics, ragging or rude behaviour. Such complaints were ignored and important finding was that – non-verbal forms of sexual harassment were not regarded as harassment and the woman was blamed for making an issue out of “nothing.”
- Uncordial support of employer – Many times, the retaliation from the private employer after complaint was not cordial and just to save the name of organisation and to avoid situation, women were compelled to resign due to humiliating working conditions deliberately created by the employer. In government organisation, for these women, sexual and administrative harassment escalated after they complained. In all cases, however, the women were subjected to senior management personnel actually devising ways of troubling them further.
However, this act has brought the issue of women security to lime light and organizations have started considering it seriously and has helped in following ways :-
- Formation of ICC – In many organisations, Internal complaints committee (ICC) has been instrumental to help women employees, which has caused less burden on courts and police and fear among offenders is visible.
- Model code of Conduct – Based on this act, a model code of conduct is being framed in organizations
- External pressure – Proactive NGOs have also come up to create awareness and help women in the organisation. Persistent efforts by the women and pressure from external agencies has compelled employers to implement the guidelines. Even though it was done half-heartedly complaints committees were constituted or activated after complainants insisted and/or when there was pressure from external agencies like the state commission for women and high court.
Way forward – The definition of sexual harassment should be broadened to cover the overall work culture and the ICC should meet regularly to gain visibility and reach out to the women in the organisation even when there are no reported complaints of sexual harassment. Though the act does not mandate presence of an external member in the quorum, the compulsory presence of such a member should be ensured during the committee’s meetings and proceedings.
Safety of women is very crucial for the society as well as economy, as in terms of labour force participation in India women lag far behind men. According to World Economic forum estimate, equal labour force participation in India would increase our GDP growth by more than 12% .
General Studies – 3
Topic:Linkages between development and spread of extremism
Background – Naxalite/Maoist insurgency is an ongoing conflict, operating in the red-corridor regions of India. The movement started as a peasant revolt, but transformed into insurgency threating the democracy of India. In this context, recent killing of 30 Maoists in Malkangiri district of Odisha by joint operations of Security forces of AP(greyhounds) and Odisha( Special Operations Group ) is making analysts believe that LWE is weakening in India, due to following causes :-
- Failure of Naxalites to help their supporters- Many times, naxalites failed to protect their supporters against the atrocities of landlords and police attacks in the villages. This made them feel harassed and they started surrendering to the government authorities.
- Shift in strategy – For example in Andhra Pradesh, the police’s strategy to counter Naxalites in the 1980s and early 1990s relied heavily on “cordon and search” operations under which locals were made to come to the village centre where suspected Naxalite sympathisers would be harassed and warned. And the innocent ones were supported by police, but it was futile. Then, a shift to this strategy was made and the Andhra Pradesh government adopted a multi-pronged strategy in the mid-1990s, using a combination of “people-friendly” policing and the elite Greyhounds force on the one hand and putting a rehabilitation package in place to encourage surrenders. This included an instant relief of Rs.5,000, and a promise to cut down repeated police summons and fast-track legal processes.
- Developmental works – It is reported that due to enhanced beneficiaries of government schemes and programs in red corridor, there is decline of extremists. The Forest Rights Act 2006, Public distribution system, Direct benefit transfer, District mineral foundation, Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana, penetration of educational and hospital facilities, etc have been instrumental in reducing LWE.
- Modernization of forces – In many parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand uses drones and satellite imagery to keep watch on Naxals leading to weaken the left wing extremism. The states affected with Naxal movement have raised a special task force exclusively to deal with the extremist states and have been successful in putting them in control. The Greyhounds raised by the Andhra Pradesh Police have been instrumental in containing the extremism.
- Weakening of leadership– Since last one decade there is decline in top most leadership and their quality to influence large mass. The leaders realized that their violent means weren’t being heard and thus they surrendered and took the pen.There has been also lack of funds with naxalites and there has been also dip in interest among ideological university students and intellegentia.
- Support of local people – Tribal uprising likeSalwa Judam, in which tribals were equipped with arms by the Chattisgarh police to prevent the spread of Naxalism in the village, was possible only with the support of local people. However, this movement was later disbanded by SC, citing it as unconstitutional. But this way, local people are coming up against the naxal problems.
- Strengthening of democratic institutions– The State and its machinery have been successful in taking democracy to the grass root level by encouraging more tribals in the region to take up the leadership role in governing their people through PESA, 73rd amendment act, etc. This has helped in bringing naxalites into the main stream of the society.
The movement has transformed its original form to destabilizing operation, if central and state governments eliminate the root problems (mainly land and development issue), its radiating nature could be averted.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Ethics in public administration
People criticizing functioning of institutions, government wings, etc. and raising doubts, is a sign of mature democracy. This habit shows that people are rational and want to fix accountability on authorities for their actions. Moreover, the process of questioning of actions of government authorities by intelligentsia and civil society helps in creating awareness among ignorant people. However, sometimes people with ulterior motives (such as political vendetta or due to difference in political attitude) might unfairly question authorities and hinder smooth functioning of government machinery. But, it is not a bad culture in democracy to question authorities because of following reasons:
- It helps in deepening of democracy and since government represents the people’s choice, so people have complete authority to question their representatives.
- If we talk about India, questioning authorities has brought many important issues into the picture like fake encounters by police forces; violation of human rights by Army personnel under the immunity offered under AFSPA; poor quality of government services, etc. When Edward Snowden blew whistle against the US surveillance program, he was questioning the misuse of power by USA through their PRISM program which violated right to privacy of the US and world citizens.
Such questioning culture is met with severe repression, like in India under the Sections 124-A of IPC (sedition) or by forcing people like Snowden into seeking asylum in a foreign country. But, such punitive measures will only embolden citizens to ask more questions.
It should be noted that blaming or questioning authorities for their every actions might demoralize them. Most authorities, such as police or armed forces act on the orders of their superiors. If an authority has erred due to honest mistake, it’s the responsibility of citizens to support such authorities.
Whatever be the circumstances, questioning is always good as it makes authorities accountable, transparent and participative in approach. It is a moral right on the part of citizens to seek explanations for any government action that directly or indirectly affects their lives.
It is the duty of authorities to be empathetic and display emotional intelligence in dealing with such questions and doubts. For example – in case of RTI, many times it has been found that bureaucrats don’t appreciate RTI and its procedures, but we all know what the role RTI has played in empowering citizens of India.
In certain cases, government might not be in a position to explain its actions owing to fear of compromising national security. If such concern is gneuine, government has every right to shield sensitive information or related actions.
Considering contemporary events across the world, one should note that too much transparency or too much democracy is injurious to democracy itself.