SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 NOVEMBER 2017
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.
Topic: Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
1) “The naxal movement has remained relevant and active mainly due to the deepening and widening socio-economic disparities, deprivation and exclusion of tribal people who have always been seen as a dispensable population.” Critically comment. (250 Words)
Introduction :- A Naxal or Naxalite is a member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The term Naxal derives from the name of the village Naxalbari in West Bengal, where the movement had its origin.
Why naxalism is still relevant :-
- Failure to address the rout causes of problems like deepening and widening socio-economic disparities, deprivation and exclusion of tribal people, use of brute force instead of confidence building approach at first etc. Naxalism is more developmental problem rather than law and order problem. So it will persist unless root cause is not addressed.
- Close coordination between state and central force has yet not been achieved
- Intelligence failure- 300 Maoist guerrillas attacked CRPF Jawans in Sukma which was not preceded by any warning from intelligence agencies
- Lacking capacity of State police in Chattisgarh, about 10,000 vacancies in different ranks in the state police exist with 23 sanctioned police stations still not set up
- Lacking technology- The paramilitary forces and the State police forces were supposed to acquire the capability for using small/micro UAVs that can be launched from the battalion/district headquarters and remotely operated vehicles to defuse IEDs. However, the deaths from IEDs still continue
- Leadership issues- Vacancies in Paramilitary forces at leadership level or an Indian Police Service officer heading such forces have seen to affect the morale of soldiers
What needs to be done :-
The government has proposed a three-pronged strategy to combat Naxalism:
- Gain confidence of local people by taking up more welfare related activities.
- Build up infrastructure in naxal-affected areas and generate employment.
- Launch joint security operations with neighbouring states to eliminate left wing extremists.
Other suggestions :-
- The villagers are not against the state per say but against corrupt officials, politicians and contractors. It is corruption, which is one of the main problems. Unless the state is able to identify and punish people, who are stealing money meant for development of these areas, it is not going to be able to deal with the problem.
- Development should come simultaneously with counterinsurgency measures. Grouping of public health, education, public works, agriculture and irrigation to form cohesive multi-disciplinary task force and efforts to generate employment opportunities for people will send a message of the government seriousness in addressing the basic problems of the people.
- Moreover, it is important provide good and sophisticated weapons to the security personnel and to train them in all aspects including networking with the local population, intelligence gathering, sharing, combat operations and coordinated developmental activities.
- “Locate, isolate and eradicate” – Locate the insurgents, isolate them from the local population and their channel of communication and then finish them.
- In order to tackle the problem, there is a need for simultaneous and coordinated action on all the core fronts of credible governance including development, security, perception management and political form. The state must re-establish connectivity with local and tribal people as this can hit the Maoists the most where it matters.
The process of development must also have a human face to prevent tribal alienation. Moreover, displacement without compensation should be avoided. The government must device a public-private partnership to ensure implementation of developmental projects and utilize the media to spread awareness of its good intentions.
Topic: Powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
2) In the light of new challenges posed by computerisation of government transactions and creation of new regulatory bodies, CAG needs more professionalism in its working, wider power delegation, and fundamental reforms in its structural organisation. Analyse. (250 Words)
Introduction :- The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) of India is an authority which audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government.
Duties of CAG :-
As per the provisions of the constitution, the CAG’s (DPC) (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 was enacted. As per the various provisions, the duties of the CAG include the audit of:
- Receipts and expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India and of the State and Union Territory having legislative assembly.
- Trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts and balance sheets, and other subsidiary accounts kept in any Government department; Accounts of stores and stock kept in Government offices or departments.
- Government companies as per the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956.
- Corporations established by or under laws made by Parliament in accordance with the provisions of the respective legislation.
- Authorities and bodies substantially financed from the Consolidated Funds of the Union and State Governments. Anybody or authority even though not substantially financed from the Consolidated Fund, the audit of which may be entrusted to the C&AG.
- Grants and loans given by Government to bodies and authorities for specific purposes.
- Entrusted audits e.g. those of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies under Technical Guidance & Support (TGS).
The CAG office has revealed many financial misdeeds, ranging from the bungling of the purchase of army jeeps, associated with V K Krishna Menon in the 1950s, and the Bofors gun scandal in the 1980s. In more recent times, it has revealed the financial scams of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA II), such as the 2G telecom spectrum, Coalgate, and the Commonwealth Games scams.
However with new challenges posed by computerisation of government transactions and creation of new regulatory bodies, CAG needs more professionalism in its working, wider power delegation, and fundamental reforms in its structural organisation. These developments pose new challenges for public audits, which require the CAG to reinvent itself.
Problems in functioning of CAG and solutions for them:-
- Leadership plays a crucial role in the success of an organisation and, therefore, it is important that the person appointed as the CAG has high professional competence and unimpeachable integrity. Appointing experts in auditing rather than an administrative officers like IAS, making CAG a multimember body and creating a dedicated Organisational workforce is important.
- Taking examples of international practices is important. In the United Kingdom (UK), whose parliamentary traditions we follow, the 100-year-old Exchequer and Audit Departments Act (1866) was amended in 1983 to provide that the CAG will be appointed only after an address is presented in the House of Commons by the Prime Minister, acting in agreement with the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). In India appointment to such crucial post is in executive domain.
- The organisational structure of the office of the CAG is not in consonance with the federal arrangement scheme envisaged in the Constitution. While every state has a separate legislature, governor, high court, and public service commission, there is no provision for a separate audit chief for states enjoying constitutional or legal status. If state level CAG are appointed it will reduce burden over central CAG and will strengthen the states voice in auditing.
- All over the world, SAIs have been vested with wide powers of investigation and are entrusted with the authority to recover the loss of money or property due to malfeasance of public officials like in Japan New Zealand but Indian CAG does not enjoy any such authority which makes it ineffective.
- The work of the CAG can be made more professional, if it recruits computer specialists, engineers, scientists, and economists in its senior cadre, and if it hires domain experts and specialists for short-term consultancy assignments, to perform audit tasks.
In the words of Dr. Ambedkar CAG is probably the most important office under Indian Constitution. Hence reforms and improvements in this office to make it more relevant to changing circumstance .
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
3) India has stepped up trade and investment in hydrocarbons in Africa, with nearly 17% of its total crude oil imports coming from Africa by 2016. Should India step up these petroleum-related foreign direct investment and trade relations with Africa? Discuss merits and demerits. (250 Words)
Introduction :- India and Africa relationship has expanded in many diverse areas and energy field specially hydrocarbon is no exception. India has stepped up trade and investment in hydrocarbons in Africa, with nearly 17% of its total crude oil imports coming from Africa by 2016.
Merits of such investment :-
- Such trade and investment by India could also support Africa’s economic development, particularly if Indian FDI results in technology transfer that builds African capacity in petroleum exploration, production and refining and if African governments use revenues from petroleum exports for national economic development.
- India’s oil consumption has grown at an average annual rate of 5% over the last decade and climbed to over 4 million bbl/day in 2016. Oil consumption is projected to reach 10 million bbl/day by 2050. To meet this demand, India currently imports 80% of its crude oil needs hence investment in Africa will diversify Indian Oil market and reduce it’s dependence on import.
- The Indian expanding refinery capacities can be benefitted with African investment. The recent completion of Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC) new 3,00,000 bbl/day Paradip refinery in the east coast state of Odisha will enable India to refine lighter, sweet crude from West Africa as well.
- With this investment other areas can also be explored. Africa has also become an increasingly important source of coal and natural gas for India. South Africa and Mozambique have become important new sources of coal for India in recent years, while Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt have become the major new suppliers of natural gas.
Demerits of such investment :-
Despite the mutually beneficial relationship in the short term, India’s trade and investment in Africa’s hydrocarbons sector may prove to be less effective economically over the medium and long term because of the three factors discussed below.
- Technological advances of renewable energy: The accelerating rate of technological advances and cost-competitiveness of alternative renewable energy options can render such investment ineffective. According to other data by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the share of electricity that the world’s Group of 20 (G20) economies generate from renewable energy has jumped by more than 70% in the space of five years.
- ‘Carbon tax’ and other restrictions on carbon emissions: The increasing number of countries and cities that are adopting regulations and restrictions on carbon emissions. In 2017, countries around the world have adopted more than 1,200 climate change laws (Clark 2017). For example, the United Kingdom (UK) and France have both adopted plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 (Ward 2017).
- ‘Diminishing returns’ for the petroleum industry: increasing levels of energy input are required for fossil fuel extraction relative to energy output.
This analysis suggests that while India’s FDI and trade in Africa’s hydrocarbons may serve mutual interests in the short term, they may pose significant financial liabilities over the medium to long term. It may be more financially advantageous to consider shifting such investments to other sectors that are projected to prosper, such as decentralised utilities, electric auto companies, battery manufacturers, copper and lithium mining, electronics producers, software developers, electric engine makers, smart grid builders and, of course, solar and wind power manufacturers, installers and financiers.
Topic: Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
4) Despite being an improvement on the ad hoc and restrictive Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management framework, the N K Singh Committee report suffers from some shortcomings. Discuss. (250 Words)
Introduction :- The FRBM Review Committee headed by former Revenue Secretary, NK Singh was appointed by the government to review the implementation of FRBM. In its report submitted in January 2017, titled, ‘The Committee in its Responsible Growth: A Debt and Fiscal Framework for 21st Century India’, the Committee suggested that a rule based fiscal policy by limiting government debt, fiscal deficit and revenue deficits to certain targets is good for fiscal consolidation in India.
Major recommendations of committee :-
- Public debt to GDP ratio should be considered as a medium-term anchor for fiscal policy in India :- The combined debt-to-GDP ratio of the centre and states should be brought down to 60 per cent by 2023.
- Fiscal deficit as the operating target: The Committee advocated fiscal deficit as the operating target to bring down public debt. For fiscal consolidation, the centre should reduce its fiscal deficit from the current 3.5% (2017) to 2.5% by 2023.
- Revenue deficit target :- The Committee also recommends that the central government should reduce its revenue deficit steadily by 0.25 percentage (of GDP) points each year, to reach 0.8% by 2023, from a projected value of 2.3% in 2017.
- Formation of Fiscal Council to advice the government :- The Committee advocated formation of institutions to ensure fiscal prudence in accordance with the FRBM spirit.
- Escape Clause to accommodate counter cyclical issues: The NK Singh Committee points out that there are disadvantages with set fiscal deficit target if some economic instabilities like an external crisis affects the Indian economy.
- The report suggests long-term policy rules without any reasoned intrinsic notion of debt sustainability, resulting in an ad hoc framework.
- The recommendations of the report are built on quicksand; they suggest a target that cannot be easily achieved using the instrument it chooses.
- The analysis of the committee is silent on the fact that the variables that underlie much of the analysis (the fiscal balance and interest rates) must jointly be determined by macroeconomic concerns of achieving full employment and price stability, and that focusing on such variables in the service of debt management alone will lead to macroeconomic feedback effects that may not be planned.
- Debt as Target :- The main recommendation of the committee is that government debt should be a target, set at 60% of GDP by 2023. Several reasons are given for adopting a debt anchor but are, on reflection, not completely coherent or convincing.
Topic: Constitutional features
Introduction :- Article 21 reads as: “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.”
According to Bhagwati, J., Article 21 “embodies a constitutional value of supreme importance in a democratic society.” Iyer, J., has characterized Article 21 as “the procedural magna carta protective of life and liberty.
This right has been held to be the heart of the Constitution, the most organic and progressive provision in our living constitution, the foundation of our laws.
Article 21 can only be claimed when a person is deprived of his “life” or “personal liberty” by the “State” as defined in Article 12. Violation of the right by private individuals is not within the preview of Article 21.
Access to justice and Art 21 :
Judgment of Justices Gautam Patel and Nutan Sardesai ruling has raised issues that have wider implications for the way justice is delivered in this country. They ruled that “access to justice” is a part of the fundamental right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. Given this, a step that places hurdles in the path to access justice is a denial of this right.
The recent Goa government’s attempt to move the state’s environmental cases to the bench in Delhi flies in the face of the basic nature of the NGT violate the right to access to justice.
The question of accessibility to justice is not just a matter of the physical location of the courts but the very system that governs the justice system. Even if courts are easily accessible, they remain out of reach for the majority of citizens because of the circuitous nature of the conduct of trials, the expense involved, and the long delays.
Hence judiciary must initiate reforms in many areas to provide true access to justice :-
- With the increase in rate of pending cases and declination of pronouncement of justice, society now considers Justice delayed is Justice denied. A whopping 2.8 crore cases are pending in district courts across the country.
- Judges-Population Ratio & Vacancies of Judges :- India has 15 judges for 10 mn population compared to US 107. Presently, for dealing with the pending cases there must be required number of judges present to entertain the matter laid before them. But in Indian judicial system there is number of vacancies existing which ultimately affects the efficiency of rendering justice.
- Accountability of Judges :- In India, judiciary is a separate and independent system. Legislature and Executive are not allowed by the Constitution to interfere in the functioning of judiciary. The courts on the other hand check the acts of these two bodies. The functioning of judiciary is independent but it doesn’t mean that it is not accountable to anyone. Woolf Report of 1996, emphasized to make judiciary accountable for their functioning by generating accurate judicial statistics, revised on daily basis.
- Lack of utilizing the applications of information technology for the case management also hampers the accessibility of justice. The options like e-Courts, Online cases tracking must be enhanced.
- Alternative means of justice delivery like arbitration, conciliation, mediation should be strengthened and highlighted for spreading awareness.
- Improving the Quality of Justice: Specialization, Training and Qualification :- The Committee suggested that the cases must be assigned according to the specialized area of the judges. Assigning cases without considering specialization results into delay in deciding the matters. Also some specialized tribunal must be established to deal some matter pertaining to tax, services, and labour etc. separately. It suggested that the specialization provide consistency, certainty, speedy and quality judgments.
Topic: Ethics in human actions
Introduction :- The recent incidence of NTPC Unchahar power plant in Rae Bareli took toll of 32 people and caused sever injuries to security personal. The ethical issues involved in it stems from various concerns :-
- Lack of legal accountability :- The basic objective of the Indian Boilers Act, 1923 is to ensure the safety of life and protection of property by mandating uniform standards in the quality and upkeep of these units. This is violated in this accident.
- Negligence and carelessness :- The accident was entirely preventable because boilers are designed to provide warnings as soon as dangerous pressure builds up and trigger automatic safety devices at a critical point if periodic inspections are done.
- Corruption and malpractices involved :- At the Unchahar plant, the blocking of an outlet for waste gases by ash, unusual in a fairly new boiler, calls for an inquiry into the quality of the equipment and the fuel used.
- Lack of transparent regulatory mechanism :- The slack industrial regulation in country has resulted in inefficiency and corruption which is also exaggerated by governments slackening of safety rules.
- Compromise on safety of life :- Rigorous quality checking, accident reporting, prompt responsive actions are necessary which seemed to be lacking in this incidence. Rise of such incidents shows professional irresponsibility and lack of accountability on administration part.
- Suffrage to families of dead and injured :- Such incidences renders the families in broken state. State though compensate financially can’t reverse back their permanent emotional loss.
Human disasters are very much avoidable if proper care is taken on all fronts. It’s occurrence and then repeated, increased incidences shows deterioration of ethical administration in their management along with technical. Hence proper guidelines, internationally recognized frameworks and constant improvisation of ethical administration is required.
Topic: Corporate governance
Introduction :- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is referred as a corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on the environment and impact on social welfare and to promote positive social and environmental change.
Companies has to spend at least 2% of last 3 years average net profits on CSR activities. This may sound costing companies on their profit but in reality it can make companies more profitable and sustainable :-
- It enhances the “social quotient” of the company hence help in getting appeal for it’s product from people. Ex Lifeboy soap success story
- It impart an ethical, responsible character to company’s profile, helps it to justify it’s product, growth and create a distinct aura of company in public sphere. Ex Nanhi Kali project of Godrej group.
- Competitive advantage – Businesses that show how they are more socially responsible than their competitors tend to stand out. TATA group enjoys much social appeal when compared with fellow competitors. The Classmate notebooks which contributed Rs. 1 towards social welfare gained appeal over other brands.
- Boosts employee morale -CSR practices have a significant impact on employee morale, as it reinforces his confidence on Company’s empathy.
- Presence and involvement of company in CSR activity will provide a soft corner to it in governments approval, preferences. It’s active involvement to implement government flagship program like Swaccha Bharat Mission enhances company’s credibility in government’s eyes.
Socially beneficial activities involves an element of welfare, charity and providing maximum good to maximum number of people. While doing them the donator will definitely get benefitted in terms of positive wishes, economic gains or prestige enhancement. Hence Corporate Social Responsibility makes companies more profitable and sustainable.