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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 FEBRUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 FEBRUARY 2019


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– World History

1) The impact of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 does not sit well with the current demography of Iran. Analyze. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

February 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, one of the major events of the 20th century and a momentous development in the modern history of Islam. Thus it is important to revise the impact, causes and the current implications of the Iranian revolution.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the impact of the Iranian revolution and highlight why the current demography of Iran is dissatisfied with the turn their country has taken.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the Islamic revolution of 1979 – Iranian Revolution of 1978–79, also called Islamic Revolution, popular uprising in Iran in 1978–79 that resulted in the toppling of the monarchy on February 11, 1979, and led to the establishment of an Islamic republic.

Body

  • Discuss the impact of the Iranian revolution
    • Polity – Constitution provides political legitimacy to “God” and the divine law given in the Koran. What began as an authentic and anti-dictatorial popular revolution based on a broad coalition of all anti-Shah forces was soon transformed into an Islamic fundamentalist power-grab.
    • Society – brought a reversal in the trend of secularization. There was a clear emphasis on Islam as the centre of governance has profound effects on Iran’s societal fabric. The 1979 Islamic Constitution resulted in a shift of the legal system from a secular to religious orientation.
    • Role of extra and quasi judicial authorities
  • Examine the current undercurrent of protests that is causing disillusionment of the young demography of Iran
    • tensions between republicanism and authoritarianism
    • tensions between two concepts of sovereignty — the divine and popular
    • Despite the forceful post-revolutionary imposition of Islamic values and ways of living and the insertion of cultural politics into the everyday lives of young Iranians in the name of Islamic purity, the Iranian youth — especially young women — have not identified with the conservative values of the Islamic regime.
    • The issues of joblessness, lack of social and political freedom etc which affect the young demography of Iran

Conclusion – Give your view of the discontent with the aftermath of revolution and the way forward.

Introduction:

Iranian Revolution, also known as Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution, was a series of events involving the overthrow of the monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and replacing his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt.

February 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, one of the major events of the 20th century and a momentous development in the modern history of Islam.

Body:

The impact of the Iranian revolution:

After the system of despotic monarchy had been overthrown, the economy and the apparatus of government had collapsed, military and security forces were in disarray.

Polity:

  • The immediate consequence of this development was the establishment of a theocratic state with the institutionalisation of the power of the “faqih” (jurist), who was supposed to possess the necessary charismatic authority and political astuteness to rule the Islamic Republic.
  • The Constitution provides political legitimacy to “God” and the divine law given in the Koran.
  • What began as an authentic and anti-dictatorial popular revolution based on a broad coalition of all anti-Shah forces was soon transformed into an Islamic fundamentalist power-grab.

Society:

  • The Islamic Revolution of 1978-1979 brought a one hundred percent reversal in the trend of secularization which the country was experiencing. In fact, Islam became the official new state ideology of the clerical fundamentalist elites.
  • Such a clear emphasis on Islam as the centre of governance has profound effects on Iran’s societal fabric. The 1979 Islamic Constitution resulted in a shift of the legal system from a secular to religious orientation.
  • Marriage:
    • Men can legally have affairs through the institution of sigheh or temporary marriage.
    • Men can obtain a unilateral divorce from their wife or wives.
    • The marriage age for females has been lowered to nine and in some instances to seven.
    • The reproductive policies of the new regime declared contraception and any form of family planning as being against Islam.
    • Mothers no longer have equal rights in terms of child custody.
    • The religious edicts of the mullahs are enforced by an armed moral police who arbitrarily stop couples in the streets to make sure that no immoral act is taking place

Role of Extra and Quasi Judicial Activity:

  • From 1979 to 1994 more than one thousand women have been stoned to death in Iran. This is just one example of the extra-or quasi-judicial activity taking place in the legal process.
  • In fact, when the new government achieved power, women were once again subjugated and restricted to the confines of their homes. In every aspect of their lives, women were discriminated against.

The present undercurrent of protests that is causing disillusionment of the young demography of Iran:

  • The establishment of the Velayat-e-Faqih (the rule of the jurist) could not put an end to the tensions between republicanism and authoritarianism, which had existed since the early days of the Iranian Revolution.
  • Since its inception, the Islamic Republic was dogged by tensions between two concepts of sovereignty — the divine and popular.
  • The concept of divine sovereignty, which is derived from God’s will through the medium of the imam, is bestowed on the existing “faqih” as the rightful ruler of the Shi’ite community.
  • Despite the forceful post-revolutionary imposition of Islamic values and ways of living and the insertion of cultural politics into the everyday lives of young Iranians in the name of Islamic purity, the Iranian youth — especially young women — have not identified with the conservative values of the Islamic regime.
  • The republican idea of popular sovereignty has found its place through social networks and is evident in the political activities of Iranian civil society.
  • The women’s rights movements, the students’ movements, the online networks of young people and the work of dissident intellectuals and artists are good examples of such activism.
  • Today, more than 60 per cent of the Iranian population is under the age of 30. The image of Iran as a monolith does not reflect the mindset of those who have been fighting for change since the past 40 years.
  • For nearly six million educated youngsters — many of whom have left Iran for the US, Canada, Australia and different parts of Europe — lack of jobs and the absence of social freedoms and everyday opportunities are the principal reasons of discontent and rebellion.
  • In the past 10 years, many protests in Iran — notably the Green Movement of 2009 — were products of the activities of the urban middle-class youth. But more recently, the turmoil in Iranian cities has largely been driven by disaffected young people in rural areas and small towns.
  • A young educated population, whose dreams aren’t fulfilled, and the absence of a rationally-planned and cohesive political and economic programme portend a perilous situation.

Conclusion:

The ideology of the Iranian Revolution has burnt out. Iranian youngsters are disenchanted. The Islamic Reform Movement has failed to fulfil popular demands and spontaneous riots occur in major cities of Iran almost every year. Iran isn’t on the verge of revolution yet. But things could still escalate an unpredictable way, leading to violent repression, bigger protests, and more serious political instability in the country.


Topic– Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes.

2) Explain the factors that contribute to the success of Ujjwala scheme and also highlight the lessons that should be drawn from its implementation so far?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article highlights the success of Ujjwala scheme in terms of the number of beneficiaries it has managed to cover, the efficiency of the public and private sector in implementing the scheme. The article also throws light on the learnings that can be drawn from the scheme and the way forward.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the impact of the scheme, highlight the reasons that have caused the scheme to be successful, the learnings that can be drawn from the scheme and discuss way forward.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the Ujjwala scheme.

Body

  • Highlight the successes of the scheme
    • The scheme took the household coverage from about 56% to about 81% in just three years.
    • Despite being a social scheme, the delivery was cost-effective with numbers indicating about ₹1,600 spend per beneficiary.
    • Ujjwala has empowered women and protected them and their families through the use of clean burning fuel. It is helping prevent a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused by indoor air pollution.
  • Discuss the factors which helped in successful implementation
    • Ujjwala scheme was possible only because of the robust foundation created by the subsidy payment scheme, direct benefits transfer (DBT), which was another significant achievement of the government.
    • The coordination showed between private and public sector also helped in efficiency delivery
  • Discuss the lessons that can be learnt from the implementation of the scheme
    • Aggregation of demand from low-demand areas using technology, servicing them by vehicles that also carry other goods, and using private sector services may be a solution.
    • Tech-enabled, Aadhaar-based micro-financing may help bridge the finance gap for refill purchase.
    • The possibility of avoiding full payment, as subsidy follows immediately, can be explored in case of digital payments as the payer’s credentials are established while paying.
    • Refill bookings need to become easy and quicker by making the interface simpler, including possibly by voice

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households. India is home to more than 24 Crore households out of which about 10 Crore households are still deprived of LPG as cooking fuel and have to rely on firewood, coal, dung – cakes etc. as primary source of cooking.

Body:

Achievements:

  • LPG coverage has touched 90%, with a significant increase in eastern states, with 48% of the beneficiaries being SC/STs.
  • The government reports show that around 80% of the beneficiaries have been refilling cylinders, with average per capita consumption being 3.28 cylinders.
  • PMUY has resulted in an additional employment of around 1 Lakh and provide business opportunity of at least Rs. 10,000 Crore in last 3 Years to the Indian Industry.
  • The scheme has also provided a boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign as all the manufacturers of cylinders, gas stoves, regulators, and gas hose are domestic.
  • PMUY reduces these ill-effects by providing clean fuel and cutting out on drudgery. Increased use of cooking gas will shrink the incidence of tuberculosis in India, based on the statistics from the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) on TB prevalence.
  • PMUY has helped in reducing the drudgery for women. The time saved can be used in socio- economically productive activities like Self-Help Group activities.
  • The World Health Organisation hailed PMUY as decisive intervention by the government to facilitate the switch to clean household energy use, thereby addressing the problems associated with Indoor Household Pollution.

The factors that contributed to the success of PMUY are:

  • Subsidies: Ujjwala scheme was possible only because of the robust foundation created by the subsidy payment scheme, direct benefits transfer (DBT), which was another significant achievement of the government.
  • PPP: The coordination showed between private and public sector also helped in efficiency delivery.
  • A decentralized approach which involved stakeholders down to the level of panchayats and had a perfect programme governance.
  • Political and Administrative Confluence: It is learnt that the minister of petroleum and natural gas, the secretaries in the ministries and the chairpersons and managing directors of oil marketing companies personally supervised the work.
  • They visited at least one district to understand the issues on the ground coming in the way and provided solutions.

The lessons that should be drawn from PMUY implementation are:

  • Increase Affordability: A case in point is state-run fuel retailers introducing a 5kg refill option to make purchases affordable. Tech-enabled, Aadhaar-based micro-financing may help bridge the finance gap for refill purchase.
  • Increase Accessibility: Gas Agencies should be set up within 10km radius, especially in the rural and remote areas to increase accessibility. Refill bookings need to become easy and quicker by making the interface simpler, including possibly by voice
  • Increase Availability: Alternatives like Gas-grid and piped connections in cities and areas near the bottling plants can free up the cylinders for other areas.
  • Promote ‘Give it up’: The initiative of the government to persuade the well-off to give up the LPG subsidies has added to the corpus of PMUY. Similar initiatives can be promoted.
  • Encourage Private Players to set up LPG franchises at rural areas. Aggregation of demand from low-demand areas using technology, servicing them by vehicles that also carry other goods, and using private sector services may be a solution.
  • Sensitization and Education of safe use of LPG though LPG Panchayats, NGO’s etc.

Conclusion:

PMUY is a novel scheme having twin benefits of women empowerment as well as environmental conservation. Ironing out the implementation issues can reap the envisioned benefits and lead to a sustainable future in energy consumption.


Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

3) Critically examine the effectiveness of electoral bonds in ensuring transparent political funding and suggest alternatives?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article discusses the impact of the introduction of electoral bonds on making the process of electoral funding more transparent and examines the alternatives such as state funding of elections. Considering the fact that electoral funding is an issue that has long puzzled the policy makers and in light of impending elections, the issue becomes important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain about the electoral bonds scheme, discuss the impact of the electoral bonds on cleaning up political funding. Thereafter, the question expects us to discuss suggestions that can help in bringing in more transparency and accountability.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the electoral bonds.

Body

  • Highlight the impact that electoral bonds are having on enhancing transparency in political fundings
  • Discuss the limitations of the scheme
  • Suggest and examine alternatives such as state funding of elections and give view of past committees and ECI regarding the same

Conclusion – give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

Electoral bonds will allow donors to pay political parties using banks as an intermediary. Although called a bond, the banking instrument resembling promissory notes will not carry any interest. The electoral bond, which will be a bearer instrument, will not carry the name of the payee and can be bought for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 crore.

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking to strike down the ‘Electoral Bond Scheme 2018’ and amendments in the Finance Act, 2017, which allow for “unlimited donations from individuals and foreign companies to political parties without any record of the sources of funding.

Body:

Rationale behind the electoral bonds:

  • Electoral bonds have been introduced to promote transparency in funding and donation received by political parties.
  • The scheme envisages building a transparent system of acquiring bonds with validated KYC and an audit trail. A limited window and a very short maturity period would make misuse improbable.
  • The electoral bonds will prompt donors to take the banking route to donate, with their identity captured by the issuing authority. This will ensure transparency and accountability and is a big step towards electoral reform.
  • The previous system of cash donations from anonymous sources is wholly non-transparent. The donor, the donee, the quantum of donations and the nature of expenditure are all undisclosed.
  • According to government the system of Bonds will encourage political donations of clean money from individuals, companies, HUF, religious groups, charities, etc.
  • After purchasing the bonds, these entities can hand them to political parties of their choice, which must redeem them within the prescribed time.
  • Some element of transparency would be introduced in as much as all donors declare in their accounts the amount of bonds that they have purchased and all parties declare the quantum of bonds that they have received.
  • The electoral bonds are aimed at rooting out the current system of largely anonymous cash donations made to political parties which lead to the generation of black money in the economy.

Concerns expressed:

  • The move could be misused, given the lack of disclosure requirements for individuals purchasing electoral bonds.
  • Electoral bonds make electoral funding even more opaque. It will bring more and more black money into the political system.
  • With electoral bonds there can be a legal channel for companies to round-trip their tax haven cash to a political party. If this could be arranged, then a businessman could lobby for a change in policy, and legally funnel a part of the profits accruing from this policy change to the politician or party that brought it about.
  • Electoral bonds eliminate the 7.5% cap on company donations which means even loss-making companies can make unlimited donations.
  • Companies no longer need to declare the names of the parties to which they have donated so shareholders won’t know where their money has gone.
  • They have potential to load the dice heavily in favour of the ruling party as the donor bank and the receiver bank know the identity of the person. But both the banks report to the RBI which, in turn, is subject to the Central government’s will to know.

Alternative mechanisms for electoral funding:

  • According to Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, an alternative worth exploring is a National Electoral Fund to which all donors can contribute.
  • The funds would be allocated to political parties in proportion to the votes they get. Not only would this protect the identity of donors, it would also weed out black money from political funding.
  • The total cost of MPLADS funding for all MPs is nearly ₹4,000 crore every year, and scrapping the scheme even for one year in an MP’s five-year term will be enough to bankroll state funding of Lok Sabha candidates. This is a legalized way of allowing MPs and MLAs to shower money on their constituencies at state expense.
  • Direct funding of candidates, who will be reimbursed according to their final share of the votes cast.
  • The best way to bring about such transparency in political funding is to put a complete ban on cash donations by individuals or companies to political parties.
  • Making it mandatory for all parties to receive donations only by cheque, or other modes of money transfer.
  • There should be clear provisions for getting tax benefits for all those making such donations.
  • Make it mandatory for political parties to submit details of all donations received with the Election Commission and also with the income-tax department.
  • State funding of political parties can be considered. The Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections had endorsed partial state funding of recognised political parties.
  • The mechanics of this process need to be carefully worked out to establish the allocation of money to national parties, State parties and independent candidates, and to check candidate’s own expenditure over and above that which is provided by the state.
  • Voters have to be made aware through awareness campaigns about ill effects of money power during elections. Bringing political parties under the preview of RTI act.

Topic– Probity in Governance

4) What is probity and why is it important, Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the meaning and scope of probity. We have to discuss at length  as to why probity is important at what purpose it serves.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  probity. E.g write a simple definition of probity- “the quality or condition of having strong moral principles, integrity, good character, honesty, decency.

Body-

  1. Discuss about probity in more detail. E.g Probity has been described as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. It is concerned with procedures, processes and systems rather than outcomes.
  2. Discuss the importance and relevance of probity. E.g
  • The principles of probity, ethics and good governance operate on many levels – from, the individual, to the organisation and on to the ‘watch-dog’.
  • For individuals, probity is about understanding the limits of their authority and powers and acting within those limits. Public servants need to be conscious at all times of the need to uphold the highest standards of conduct in their dealings on the government’s behalf, which includes acting with integrity and avoiding conflicts of interest.
  • For organisations, probity is about setting values at an organisation level, and then implementing those values through policies and codes of practice.
  • It is then for managers to demonstrate those values through leadership, to positively reinforce the values and also to ensure compliance with, and enforcement of, the values etc.

Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

Probity is “the quality or condition of having strong moral principles, integrity, good character, honesty, decency”. It is the act of adhering to the highest principles and ideals rather than avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It balances service to the community against the self-interest of individuals

Body:

Probity has been described as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. It is concerned with procedures, processes and systems rather than outcomes. The principles of probity, ethics and good governance operate on many levels – from, the individual, to the organisation and on to the ‘watch-dog’.

The importance and relevance of probity:

  • Individual level:
    • For individuals, probity is about understanding the limits of their authority and powers and acting within those limits.
    • Public servants need to be conscious at all times of the need to uphold the highest standards of conduct in their dealings on the government’s behalf, which includes acting with integrity and avoiding conflicts of interest.
    • Having a conflict of interest is not morally wrong or unethical in itself. The challenge is in recognising and managing them.
    • Public servants should also be aware of the need to avoid any perception of bias in their dealings. This requires an open mind in decision-making and acting fairly and impartially in good faith.
  • Organisational level:
    • For organisations, probity is about setting values at an organisation level, and then implementing those values through policies and codes of practice.
    • It is then for managers to demonstrate those values through leadership, to positively reinforce the values and also to ensure compliance with, and enforcement of, the values.
    • Government agencies should establish an ethical culture. Then, they should set out to live that culture.
    • To ensure the equitable distribution of resources
    • To bring strong image of country around the globe
    • To cater to the needs of all sections of society. So that inclusive growth is achieved.
  • Watch-dogs:
    • At another level, there are the watch-dogs, being the public sector bodies charged with oversight and investigation of standards and behaviours.
    • To ensure compliance with processes.
    • To prevent unethical practices like misconduct, fraud and corruption in governance. It will bring the lost public trust back.

Conclusion:

According to Second Administrative Reforms Commission, apart from the traditional civil service values of efficiency, integrity, accountability and patriotism, it is necessary for civil servants to inculcate and adopt ethical and moral values including probity in public life, respect for human rights and compassion for the downtrodden and commitment to their welfare.

Probity in governance is the antithesis of corruption in public life. Probity is emphasised by the UN Convention against corruption. Probity is the evidence of ethical behaviour in a particular process. For Government employees and agencies, maintaining probity involves more than simply avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It involves applying public sector values such as impartiality, accountability and transparency.


Topic-  challenges of corruption.

5) “Corruption is not just the clearly “bad” cases of government officials skimming off money for their own benefit. It also includes cases where the systems don’t work well, and ordinary people are left in a bind, needing to give a bribe to get a work done or the licenses they need.” Discuss how corruption affects a nation.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to Write in detail as to how corruption  affects a Nation. we have to bring out its effect on public money, Service Delivery and   governance etc.

Structure of the answer

Introduction-  write a few introductory lines about corruption. E.g Corruption comes under many different guises: bribery, misappropriations of public goods, nepotism (favoring family members for jobs and contracts), and influencing the formulation of laws or regulations for private gain.

Body-

Discuss how corruption affects a nation. E.g

  • Vitiates the business atmosphere and discourages businesses from operating freely;
  • thus, acts as a demotivating force, which reduces opportunities for all.  
  • Reduces the amount of money government has and degrades the quality of government services; for example education, healthcare, infrastructure, welfare programs, police, etc  
  • Is an important factor behind the widespread poverty in India. A large chunk of funds meant for the welfare programs for the poor is siphoned off by the corrupt officials and the intermediate agencies.
  • Allows criminal activities such as money laundering, extortion and drug trafficking to thrive.
  • Allows those with money or connections to bend the law or government rules in their favor etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

Corruption is an age-old phenomenon. The word corruption means destruction, ruining or spoiling–a society or nation. It is the abuse of public power for private gain. Corruption comes under many different guises: bribery, misappropriations of public goods, nepotism (favouring family members for jobs and contracts), and influencing the formulation of laws or regulations for private gain.

Body:

Corruption affects a nation in the following ways:

  • Hindrances for Development:
    • Corruption leads to loss of wealth and prosperity which is a great loss for the future of India. For the past ten years, India has shown growth in corruption rate, where the country has lost billions and billions dollars of money in various scams, which are tax payer’s money.
    • Many developmental projects are taking unnecessary delay for their completion due to corruption.
    • This leads to backwards in every field like sports, technology, medicine, research, economy, defence, and infrastructure.
  • Obstacles for business:
    • Corruption in public services sector carries high risks for conducting good businesses.
    • Companies are likely to unwanted red tapes, petty corruption, bribes for finalizing any procedures or deals.
    • Payments to expedite public services, such as police protection, water supply, and government assistance will be a headache.
    • Likewise, irregular payments to government officials even for applying business license are proving to be a major hindrance for business.
    • Companies personally feel bad, when they have to bribe officials even for getting a water or electrical connection.
  • Backwardness and Poverty:
    • Due to corruption in India, the Indian government is unable or lacked the will to eradicate poverty. While the rich are becoming richer, the poor are becoming poorer.
    • Despite the announcement of rehabilitation and monetary packages, corrupt people in various government departments and contractors, suck the fund through various means leaving very little for the end users.
  • Brain Drain and Loss of Talent:
    • Corrupt government employee and mediators offer jobs to unskilled and incapable candidates by taking bribe leaving the management with poor decision making.
    • When good employees in private sectors also face harassment due to government policies and corruption in India they move to foreign countries.
    • This is a tremendous loss for the country as a developing nation without the contribution of talented and creative people can never grow
  • Loss of faith in Judicial system:
    • There is a high risk of corruption in India while dealing with India’s judiciary, particularly in lower court levels put the common man in great stress.
    • With bribes often exchanged in return for favourable court decisions leads to people to lose faith in judiciary. Besides, prosecution of office abuse by public servants is tough, as it requires authorized by a minister prior to launching an appeal.
    • Such a legal hurdle hinders the judicial process. Besides, delaying the allotment of judges and creation more courts leads to delay in justice. When it comes with resource shortages negatively impact the efficiency of the court system; the current backlog of cases runs into crores.
  • Loss of natural resources:
    • India is abundant in natural resources, but corruption in India leads to loss the precious resources.
    • Widespread problems in the illegal mining of sand, results loss revenue also severely disturbing water resources in the country.
    • Bribery in the mining industry is common, leading very huge revenue for the government.
    • This mainly due to the fact that there is a lack of oversight and transparency, for example, it is estimated that nearly half of the iron ore exported from the state of Goa has been mined illegally
  • Other effects:
    • Distorts national and international trade.
    • Jeopardizes sound governance and ethics in the private sector.
    • Undermines democracy and the rule of law.

Conclusion:

Accountability and transparency are two great antidotes to corruption. If the legal system is quick, fair and uncomplicated, it makes the task of fighting corruption easier. Free and strong press is the third facilitating factor. Therefore, laws fixing accountability and encouraging transparency combined with efficient judiciary and free press provide ideal atmosphere to tackle the menace of corruption.


Topic– challenges of corruption.

6) Discuss the institutional and legal framework to deal with corruption in India. (250 words)

Reference

 

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the framework that has been in place in India to deal with corruption. We have to highlight and discuss both the institutional as well as the legal framework to deal with the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about anti-corruption measures in India. E.g India endorsed the ADB-OECD Anti-Corruption Action Plan in 2001 and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) recently in May 2011.

Body-

  1. Discuss the institutional measures to deal with corruption in India. E.g
  • Supreme Court,
  • Central Vigilance Commission (CVC),
  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),
  • Office of the Controller & Auditor General (C&AG), and the Chief Information Commission etc.
  1. Discuss the legal framework to deal with corruption in India. E.g
  • Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
  • The Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002
  • The 2005 Right to Information (RTI) Act etc.

Discuss about these institutions and laws in further detail in order to bring out their strengths and limitations.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

Corruption has precisely been defined as a deviant human behaviour, associated with the motivation of private gain at public expense and, as such, has persisted for centuries. Corruption promotes illegality, unethicalism, subjectivity, inequity, injustice, waste, inefficiency and inconsistency in administrative conduct and behaviour. It destroys the moral fabric of society and erodes the faith of the common man in the legitimacy of the politico-administrative set up.         

Body:

India endorsed the ADB-OECD Anti-Corruption Action Plan in 2001 and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) recently in May 2011.

The institutional measures to deal with corruption in India are:

  • At the federal level, key institutions include the Supreme Court, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Office of the Controller & Auditor General (C&AG), the Chief Information Commission (CIC) and Lokpal. At the State level, there are local anti-corruption bureaus such as the Anti-corruption Bureau, Lokayukta
  • In recent years, the Supreme Court has taken a stronger stance against corruption. It has challenged the powers of states in several instances. Judges have taken on a stronger role in responding to public interest litigation over official corruption and environmental issues.
  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is the apex watchdog agency which oversees and supervises vigilance and anticorruption work in all central government ministries, departments and PSUs. All group A officers (joint secretary and above) come under its ambit.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the prime investigating agency of the central government and is generally referred to as a credible and respected institution in the country. It investigates offences by central government and PSU employees. States too can seek help. Also probes criminal cases.
  • The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C & AG) is the apex auditing body. The C &AG has produced several reports on state departments such as railways, public sector enterprise, and tax administration. These reports have revealed many financial irregularities, suggesting a lack of monitoring of public expenses, poor targeting and corrupt practices in many branches of government.

The legal framework to deal with corruption in India is:

  • Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (POCA)
    • It is India’s principal legislation against corruption.
    • Its main thrust is to prohibit public servants from accepting or soliciting illegal gratification in the discharge of their official functions.
    • In addition, bribe-givers and intermediaries maybe held liable under POCA for bribing public officials.
    • However, prosecution under POCA requires prior approval of high authorities which severely limits its usefulness particularly where there is collusive activity within government branches.
  • The Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002:
    • It seeks to prevent money laundering including laundering of property through corruption and provides for confiscation of such a property.
    • It mainly targets banks, financial institutions and intermediaries such stock market intermediaries.
    • They must maintain records of all transactions exceeding Rs 10 lakhs.
    • Later amendment has also brought non-profit organizations under PMLA.
    • They have been the typical conduits for terror organizations.
  • Right to Information (RTI) Act (2005)
    • It represents one of the country’s most critical achievements in the fight against corruption.
    • Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a “public authority” which is required to reply within 30 days.
    • The Act also requires every public authority to computerize its records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information for easy citizen access.
    • This act provides citizens with a mechanism to control public spending.
    • Many anti-corruption activists have been using the RTI to expose corruption.
    • Lack of legal protection against whistleblowers, however, puts them in risky situation and many RTI activists have lost their lives in last six years.

Conclusion:

The assessment of the legal and institutional anticorruption framework points to a combination of robust institutions and lack of accountability in key areas. Despite these emerging trends, however, the institutional anti-corruption framework generally suffers from a lack of coordination, and overlapping and conflicting mandates between institutions addressing corruption.


Topic– Utilization of public funds

7) What are the issues faced in public procurement in India. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the issues faced in public  procurement in India which ultimately lead to faulty, low quality procurement and corruption.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– mention that in order to realize the desired outcomes from the budgetary outlays in India, an efficient and effective public procurement system is essential where strong and consistent implementation of the prescribed rules and regulations is equally critical etc.

Body-

Discuss in points, the issues faced in public procurement in India. E.g

  • The absence of a comprehensive procurement Act
  • Lack of standard bid documents
  • Delays in activities in procurement cycle
  • Unfair practices and corruption
  • Presence of anti-competitive elements
  • Low participation of the domestic MSEs
  • Absence of an independent grievance redressal mechanism etc.

Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

Public  procurement  accounts  for  a  significant  level of  public  all  over  the  world.  It constitutes about 15 percent or more of the gross domestic product (GDP) across the countries. the government expenditure in India has grown from INR 11,973billion to  INR  16,637  billion  in  the  last  five  years  (Ministry  of  Finance,  2017).  A  few  Union ministries,  namely,  Defence, Railways,  and  Telecom  allocate  approximately  50  percent  of their respective  budget  for  public  procurement.

Body:

The public procurement framework in India has four broad features namely constitutional provisions, legislative provisions, administrative guidelines, and overseers. Within the constitutional provisions, Articles 298, 299, 300 and 300A authorize the governments to contract for goods and services. While  Article  355  specifies  the  executive  powerArticle  282  directs the  financial autonomy in public spending. Beyond that, it does not provide any guidance on public procurement principles, policies, and procedures.

Challenges faced in public procurement in India are:

  • Absence of a comprehensive procurement Act
    • In the absence of a comprehensive procurement Act, General Financial Rules allow the government entities to frame procurement process with its own perception of public interest.
    • It has resulted in heterogeneous procedures and multiplicity of rules across the procuring entities
  • Lack of standard bid documents
    • In spite  of  the  initiatives  for  standardizing  the  bid  documents  and  code  of  contract following the international agencies such as IMF and the World Bank, there continues to be a multiplicity of bid documents across the entities in terms of addition/rephrase/repetition of clauses/provisions.
    • Such ambiguities and contradictions in the bid documents stand against the principles of standardization, transparency, and accountability.
  • Delays in activities in procurement cycle
    • The procurement process is often delayed in the stage of need assessment, budget preparation, and approval. Similarly, unavailability of sufficient procurement professionals and non-realization of the required information usually appear responsible for the delay in preparing the technical specifications.
  • Unfair practices and corruption
    • Given the size and the interests of the stakeholders, public procumbent is vulnerable to unfair practices imposing high costs on both the government and the society.
    • Despite the procedural safeguards, corruption level in India is perceived to be high in recent years leading to low quality of public services which ultimately hampers the development process.
  • Presence of anti-competitive elements
    • The existence of anti-competitive practices by the bidders’ community tends to hamper the procurement process by negating the best value of money.
    • Competition issues in India mainly concern with collusive bidding, bid rigging, cartelization, and abuse of dominance.
  • Low participation of the domestic MSEs
    • Despite the MSEs provisions, the participation of domestic MSEs in the public procurement activities remains low in India.
    • Apart from  resource  related  entry barriers  including anti-competitive elements, many MSEs do not also take part in public procurement due to a perception  that government  procuring  entities  often  delay  in  releasing  the  contract 
  • Absence of an independent grievance redressal mechanism
    • India does not have an Independent Grievance Redressal Mechanism in the procurement system.
    • The GFR 2017 only allows the aggrieved bidders to file complaints with procuring entities, arbitrators, and courts.
  • Competency and skill of the procurement officials
    • There are implementation challenges concerning the skills and competency of the government procurement officials as these activities require professional skills.
    • The officials need to be more acquainted with the procurement management, rules and regulations, legal issues, contract management issues, and others

Way forward:

  • The Draft Public Procurement Bill 2012 which was introduced in the parliament seeks to  regulate  procurement  activities valued  over  INR  50  lakhs  by the government  procuring  This must be reintroduced.
  • The adoption of e-procurement portals (GeM portal) have certainly helped in enhancing the transparency in the procurement system. Still,  a  few  areas  need  to  be  addressed  to  reap  full benefits  of  e-procurement  such  as  e-opening  of  bids,  e-deposit  of  the  tender-related  payments, e-filing for contract payment, and e-payment to the suppliers.
  • An effective procurement management information system (PMIS) is important for a sound and sustained procurement system.
  • The procurement  competency  and  capacity  of  the  concerned  officials  should  be enhanced  through  training  and  exposure  to  the  best  procurement  mechanisms  used  in  advanced countries as well as the international agencies.
  • The CCI and CVC provide support to the procuring entities in detecting anti-competitive elements and adopting counter-measures.
  • In order to enhance the participation of MSEs in the public procurement, efforts should be made to provide access to information, technology, credit facilities, training especially for tendering process, and use of IT in public procurement.
  • Establishment of independent and decentralized grievance redressal system is crucial for building  public  confidence  in  the  procurement  system imparting  that  the  procurement activities are undertaken transparently and in an impartial manner.
  • It is also important to develop a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for the pro-curing entities to assess and monitor their efficiency.