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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 APRIL 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 APRIL 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: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

1) With many constituencies objecting  upon faulty voting machines, what steps should the Election Commission take to restore the confidence of voters on the elections process? Explain.(250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question is amidst frequent allegations that have recently been gathering under various constituencies regarding the reliability of Electronic voting machines. It has been alleged that voting machines have been tampered to favor of a particular party.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must narrate recent controversies related to electronic voting machines and what should be the course of action by election commission to restore the public faith in the free and fair process of election.

Directive word:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the  particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with the recent issues raised with respect to EVMs.

Body:

  • One must list the various plethora of issues raised against the EVM- EVM-tampering.
  • Discuss how election commission has been evolving with technological innovations , processes and procedures to plug loopholes.
  • Explain the processes such as coming of VVPATs, evolution of ballot boxes etc.
  • Discuss how ECI should come up with awareness camps, use of social media to disseminate information etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by asserting the significance of ECI and highlight the fairness with which the ECI works.

Introduction:

Electronic Voting Machines (“EVM”) are being used in Indian General and State Elections to implement electronic voting in part from 1999 elections and in the current LokSabha elections too. EVMs have replaced paper ballots in local, state and general (parliamentary) elections in India. some political parties have raised voice against the credibility of the EVMs, alleging tampering of EVMs during the said elections. However, the Election Commission has rejected these allegations.

Body:

Reliability factor of the EVMs:

  • EVMs are standalone systems and not connected to internet unlike EVM used in other countries like USA.
  • Program which controls the functioning of the control unit is burnt into a micro chip on a “one time programmable basis”. Once burnt it cannot be read, copied out or altered
  • EVM’s use dynamic coding to enhance security of data transmitted from ballot unit to control unit
  • As an additional precautionary measure, the machines prepared for a poll are physically sealed in the presence of candidates or their agents and guarded by CRPF
  • Allegation regarding modification of votes using an external chip (not much base found by SC and EC)
  • Two-stage randomization is done, to make sure nobody is able to determine constituency-EVM mapping

Steps taken by ECI to restore credibility of EVMs:

Pre poll safeguards:

  • Before every election, a first level checking (FLC) is done for every EVM to be used in the election by the engineers of the manufacturers in the presence of political parties’ representatives. Any malfunctioning EVM is kept separately and is not used in the election.
  • Manufacturers certify at the time of FLC that all components in the EVM are original. After this, the plastic cabinet of Control Unit of the EVM is sealed using a “Pink Paper Seal”, which is signed by representatives of political parties and stored in strong rooms. After this stage, the plastic cabinet of control unit of the EVMs cannot be opened. There is no access to any component of inside of EVMs.
  • Additionally, at the time of FLC, at least 1000 votes are cast by the representatives of political parties on 5%of EVMs randomly selected by them. A printout of the results is shown to the representatives of political parties. Representatives of political parties are allowed to pick machines randomly for this purpose.
  • Representatives of political parties are allowed to do mock poll themselves. It is all documented by DEOs/ROs.
  • Subsequently, stored EVMs are randomized by computer software twice once for allocation of machines to assembly constituencies and second to polling stations in the presence of candidates or their representatives before they are distributed for use in individual polling stations. Such lists of EVM containing serial number of EVM allocated to particular polling station are provided to the political parties/candidates.
  • Candidates and their representatives are allowed to conduct mock polls on EVMs at the time of candidate setting and also before the actual poll on the poll day to satisfy themselves about the satisfactory functioning of EVMs being used.

Day of Polling:

  • On the poll day, a mock poll by casting at least 50 votes is conducted at every polling station in the presence of the representatives of the candidates/polling agents with their signature and a mock-poll certificate to that effect is obtained from every Presiding Officer.
  • After the mock poll is over, another thread seal and green paper seals are put on the EVM to block access to all buttons on the EVM, except those, which are used for the conduct of poll. These paper seals and thread seals are allowed to be signed by the polling agents. After the poll is over, the Presiding officer presses the “Close” button on the EVM in the presence of polling agents. Thereafter, no votes can be polled in the EVM.
  • After this, the entire EVM is sealed. Candidates and their agents are allowed to put their signatures on the seals, which they can check for the intactness of the seal before counting. Candidates/representatives travel behind vehicles carrying EVMs from polling stations to counting storage rooms.

Way forward:

  • Addition of VVPAT has assuaged the fears of the voters as they can now verify themselves about their polled votes.
  • Education of the voters about EVMs and their working through SVEEP.
  • Arranging EVM hackathon and inviting technical teams from across the globe to check for any vulnerabilities.
  • Using Social media to reach out to people about EVM credibility and allay fears of the voters.
  • Continuous R&D by BHEL and ECIL to improve the toughness of the EVMs.
  • An Electronic Voting Machine is “information” under the Right to Information Act and can be demanded by an applicant from the Election Commission of India on a payment of Rs 10, the Central Information Commission has ruled.

Conclusion:

The Commission has put in place an elaborate administrative system of security measures and procedural checks-and-balances aimed at prevention of any possible misuse or procedural lapses.


Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.

2) The recent controversies surrounding the office of Chief Justice of India (CJI) have turned Judiciary into crisis of credibility , discuss the need to create a credible internal culture  in the Indian Judicial system.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The question is around the recent controversies plaguing Judiciary that have questioned the credibility of the system and its functionalities.

Key demand of the question:

The article provides for a detailed analysis of recent issue – The allegation of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the way it is being investigated has put questions on the functioning of the entire judicial system.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

State the issues concerning the system.

Body:

  • Explain the crisis surrounding Judiciary off late – associated with the office of chief justice.
  • Discussion should bring out the errors with which the case is being handled.
  • Discuss the controversy of independence of the judiciary vs supremacy and respective misuse of power.
  • Why is there a lack of credible internal structure ?
  • What needs to be done to facilitate a conducive environment and restore the losing identity of the office.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of the office of CJI and what should be done to preserve the Dignity of the office .

Introduction:

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the head of the judiciary of India and the Supreme Court of India. The CJI also heads their administrative functions. The recent allegation of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India (CJI), is now turning into a crisis of credibility, not just for the CJI but the judiciary and our constitutional scheme of government as a whole.

 

Body:

The crises surrounding Judiciary off late:

  • The Chief Justice’s conduct in the sexual harassment allegations has sent a signal that he is above all principles of natural justice, above all due process, above all law and entitled to be a judge in his own cause.
  • The controversies regarding the CJI being the master of the roster and how the cases were allotted to various benches in partisan manner.
  • The issue of 4 senior most judges holding a public press conference wrt the above issue.

Issues in the handling of the sexual harassment allegations case:

  • The decision to hold an open court hearing is questionable.
  • The bench did not include the two senior-most judges after the CJI; nor was there a woman judge on the Bench.
  • A complaint of this nature requires an institutional response on the administrative side.
  • There was no mechanism created to handle the allegations.
  • The CJI remarks were more petulant than dignified which has compromised the independence of the judiciary by politicising the case.
  • Alleging conspiracy theories for which they themselves have furnished no evidence does not befit a judge.
  • Moreover, the way in which the “two” judge-bench was constituted violates the demands that were behind the whole press conference drama this very CJI had participated in.
  • By not fixing issues of process and bench allocation, CJI has now made it even more difficult for any future judges to complain about wrongdoing in the Court.

Supremacy of the Judiciary v/s Independence of Judiciary:

  • On hearing the case, the Supreme Court bench dismissed the allegations as “wild and baseless”.
  • It said the allegation was designed to attack and erode the independence of the judiciary.
  • CJIs conduct has generated more cynicism.
  • The manner in which the Supreme Court responded shows shades of Judicial supremacy where nobody can question it or point fingers at it.
  • With this, the judiciary is again into a major controversy, after concerns were raised on its credibility in the recent times.

Measures needed:

  • An independent enquiry towards complaints of Sexual harassment is needed to uphold the credibility of the SC.
  • The Gender Sensitization and ICC should inquire into the affidavit of the complainant to ensure justice is done.
  • The focus now shifts to the judges, excluding the CJI, who were all sent a copy of the affidavit and the complaint.
  • Their response, as members of the Supreme Court, is bound to define the path which will guide the institution in dealing with the crisis.
  • The apex court could also respond to the institutional crisis through a full court being convened on the administrative side.

Conclusion:

The politicisation of this case in all its dimensions is not a good portent for the judiciary. There is a need for the SC judges and the authority they command to create a credible internal culture which ensures the independence of the judiciary


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.

3) Examine the status of Malaria in India. What is your assessment of the potential of Mosquera – world’s first Malarial vaccine in this regard?(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is in the context of World Malaria day celebrated on 24th April.

And recently

Demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate in detail the recent controversies surrounding GST, about making it a single rate platform. Evaluate the pros and cons of such a move and an African Nation, Malawi is in plans of undertaking large scale pilot tests for the world’s most advanced experimental malaria vaccine in a bid to prevent the disease.

Directive word:

ExamineWhen asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Start by explaining the expanse of the disease across the world.

Body

  • Discuss the status of Malaria in India – a good way would be to provide for a timeline, associated policies and programmes that focused on elimination of the disease.
  • Explain the coming of World’s first vaccine against a parasitic disease: Mosquirix.
  • What are its significance?
  • Impact on global scenario of Malaria.
  • India’s efforts in this regard.
  • State few examples of initiatives such as Odisha’s Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN).

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Malaria is a disease caused by the infectious single-celled microorganisms of the Plasmodium group,  which is spread by female Anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria is a leading cause of human morbidity and mortality. Despite huge progress in tackling the disease, there are still 212 million new cases of malaria and 430,000 malaria-related deaths worldwide each year according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Most cases (80%) and deaths (90%) were in sub-Saharan African.

Body:

Extent of the Malaria in India:

  • As per World Health Organisation’s World Malaria Report of 2018, India is the only country among the 11 highest-burden countries that saw substantial progress in reducing disease burden: it saw a 24% decrease in 2017 compared to 2016.
  • Large number of cases treated in the private sector, are not reported to the government
  • 80% of malaria cases occurring among 20% of India’s population in 200 high-risk districts
  • The Indian record stands in sharp contrast to some of its neighbours — the Maldives was certified malaria-free in 2015, and Sri Lanka followed last year.
  • In India, malaria is caused by the parasites Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) and Plasmodium Vivax (Pv). Pf is found more in the forest areas, whereas Pv is more common in the plains.
  • Majority of malaria cases in the country occur in its bordering districts, forests and tribal areas.
  • The majority of reporting districts are in the country’s eastern and central parts — the largest number of cases are found in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and the North-eastern states of Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
  • Since 2000, India has reduced malaria deaths by two-thirds and halved the number of malaria cases.

Mosquirix:

  • It is the world’s first vaccine against the deadly Malaria.
  • RTS,S, known by its trade name Mosquirix, uses antibodies to target proteins presented by sporozoites (such as the circumsporozoite protein of falciparum)to enhance the immune system and help prevent the parasite from infecting the liver.
  • Mosquirix is also engineered using a hepatitis B viral protein and a chemical adjuvant to further boost the immune response for enhanced effectiveness.
  • The vaccine offers partial protection from the disease, with clinical trials finding that it prevented approximately 4 in 10 malaria cases, according to WHO.
  • African Nation, Malawi will be undertaking large scale pilot tests for the world’s most advanced experimental malaria vaccine in a bid to prevent the disease. Some 360,000 children a year in three African countries will receive the world’s first malaria vaccine as part of a large-scale pilot project.
  • The vaccine has been recommended by WHO for pilot introduction in selected areas of 3 African countries- Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

India’s efforts to fight Malaria:

  • India’s progress in fighting malaria is an outcome of concerted efforts to ensure that its malaria programme is country-owned and country-led, even as it is in alignment with globally accepted strategies.
  • Indian government has released a National Strategic Plan (NSP) for malaria elimination for years 2017-2022, targeting eradication by 2030.
  • This marked a shift in focus from malaria “control” to “elimination”. The plan provides a roadmap to achieve the target of ending malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.
  • Scaling up a diagnostic testing, treatment and surveillance
  • Ensuring an uninterrupted drug and diagnostics supply chain
  • Training community workers to test all fever cases and provide medicines, and distributing medicated bed-nets for prevention, under its ‘test-treat-track’ in the endemic north-eastern states and Odisha.

Way forward:

  • Strong surveillance system requires high levels of access to care and case detection, and complete reporting of health information by all sectors, whether public or private.
  • Lessons from Srilanka:
    • Most of these people live in forest-rich districts also affected by the Naxalite problem. By reaching out to marginalised communities living in inaccessible areas and also to Naxal cadres with the help of civil society India can expect to eradicate malaria.
    • Improving public health system and rolling out malaria control interventions in these areas is critical if India wants to eliminate malaria by 2030.
    • Malaria control in border districts in the north and the north-east.
  • Web-based surveillance:
    • All fever cases were tested for malaria and each case notified with the Anti ‘Malaria Campaign at the ministry of health. People with a travel history to countries with malaria transmission were closely tracked for symptoms, as were people in the armed forces on peacekeeping missions, immigrants, emigrants, tourists and pilgrims.
  • Rationing medicines:
    • Anti-malarial medicines were only available with the AMC, which compelled the private health sector to notify all cases. With malaria cases sharply falling, it soon became unprofitable for the private sector to stock anti-malarial medicines.
  • 24×7 hotline:
    • AMC ran a 24-hour hotline to notify, track and treat the patient in isolation to stop further spread of infection.
  • Parasite control:
    • In the early1990s, the AMC changed from vector-control (mosquito control) to parasite control strategy to contain infection. From 1999 onwards, cases have steadily declined and by 2008, less than 1,000 cases were being reported per year.
  • Health access:
    • A strong public health system, sanitation and roads lowered mosquito breeding and took treatment to people in the remotest of places. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment by trained health workers with focus on high-risk areas lowered disease and deaths.
  • Stakeholder partnerships:
    • Intensive disease surveillance, integrated vector (mosquito) management, rigorous community engagement and research increased social, technical and financial support for eradication.

Case Study:  Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative:

Among states, Odisha’s Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative is significant.

The initiative aims to deliver services to the most inaccessible and hardest hit people of the State. The initiative has in-built innovative strategies to combat asymptomatic malaria.

The programme is jointly implemented by Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR-NIMR), National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Odisha and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).


Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

4) Discuss the salient features of Anti-defection law in the light of 91st constitutional amendment Act. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is direct and is based upon the concept of Anti-defection law in the background of 91st constitutional amendment Act.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must provide for salient features enshrined in the Anti-defection law. State how historically the constitution had no reference to political parties and their existence and later the anti defection law evolved through historical milestones around the elections.

Directive word:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with definition – The tenth schedule of the Indian Constitution, also called the Anti-Defection act, was amended in 1985 to prevent such defections and stop politicians from changing parties for the lure of office.

Body:

In brief discuss –

  • What is 91st Amendment Act?
  • What is meant by anti-defection law?
  • Under Anti-Defection Act, an elected member of a party can be disqualified on two grounds –
  1. If he voluntarily gives up his membership or
  2. He votes or abstains from voting in the House, contrary to his party’s direction and without obtaining prior permission.

According to the anti-defection law, at least two-thirds of the members of a party have to be in favor of a ‘merger’ for it to possess validity in the eyes of the law.

  • Explain the exceptions –
  1. If a complete political party merges with another political party
  2. If a new political party is created by the elected members of one party
  3. If the party members don’t accept the merger between the two parties and opts to perform as a separate group from the time of such a merger.

Another condition is that his abstaining the voting should not be overlooked by his party within 15 days of such incident.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such an act in conducting free and fair elections.

Introduction:

Defection is “desertion by one member of the party of his loyalty towards his political party” or basically it means “When an elected representative joins another party without resigning his present party for benefits”.

The Anti-Defection Law was passed in 1985 through the 52nd Amendment to the Constitution, which added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution.  The main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections” which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations.  The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies. However, there are several issues in relation to the working of this law.

Body:

Salient features of Anti-defection law:

Grounds for disqualification:

  • If a member of a house belonging to a political party:
    • Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party, or
    • Votes, or does not vote in the legislature, contrary to the directions of his political party. (Whip).
    • However, if the member has taken prior permission, or is condoned by the party within 15 days from such voting or abstention, the member shall not be disqualified.
  • If an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
  • If a nominated member joins a party six months after he becomes a member of the legislature.

Exception:

  • Merger: A person shall not be disqualified if his original political party merges with another, and:
    • He and other members of the old political party become members of the new political party, or
    • He and other members do not accept the merger and opt to function as a separate group.
  • This exception shall operate only if not less than two-thirds of the members of party in the House have agreed to the merger. (91st Constitutional Amendment, 2003)
  • Earlier, a ‘defection’ by one-third of the elected members of a political party was considered a ‘merger’. The 91st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003 changed this. So now at least two-thirds of the members of a party have to be in favor of a “merger” for it to have validity in the eyes of the law.
  • The 91st Amendment also makes it mandatory for all those switching political sides – whether singly or in groups – to resign their legislative membership. They now have to seek re-election if they defect.

Power to disqualify:

  • The Chairman or the Speaker of the House takes the decision to disqualify a member.
  • If a complaint is received with respect to the defection of the Chairman or Speaker, a member of the House elected by that House shall take the decision.

Conclusion:

The anti-defection law seeks to provide a stable government by ensuring the legislators do not switch sides. The true objective to enhance the credibility of the country’s polity by addressing rampant party-hopping by elected representatives should be pursued rather than using it as a political tool to pursue narrow interests of party.


Topic :Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

5) Despite holding many debates and votes on Brexit, the U.K. Parliament seems unable to find a way out of the deadlock and avoid a disastrous no-deal crash out of the European Union. Critically analyse.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The Article discusses the Brexit issue and the imbroglio associated with it.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the entire situation of Brexit; the complications involved ranging from withdrawal agreement to 21-month “transition” period. Discuss in detail the present scenario, effects of it on EU.

Directive:

Critically analyzeWhen 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

Introduce by bringing out the current scenario of Brexit.

Body:

  • Discuss – After months of negotiation, the United Kingdom(UK) and European Union(EU) have come up with a draft withdrawal agreement. To buy more time, both have agreed on a 21-month transition period to smooth the way towards post-Brexit relations. However, Eurosceptics in Theresa May’s (British P.M) own Conservative Party and opposition lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction over the way deal has evolved.
  • Detail upon the Withdrawal Agreement and Transition Period.
  • Discuss the Effect of BREXIT on the EU.

Conclusion –

Suggest way forward.

Introduction:

Despite 2 years of Brexit vote, Britain remains as divided as ever, over the issue of leaving the EU. Demonstrations demanding a reconsideration of the issue and a new referendum have been aplenty on the streets of U.K. Contrarily; there have also been mobilisations by pro-leave lobby albeit in smaller numbers as things are already moving in their favour.

Body:

The major challenges to be faced by Britain before exiting EU are:

  • Exiting the single market of EU, in a phased manner and the consequent levy of charges of trade to be faced later
  • Britain is represented by EU at several of world forums. Britain will have to chart separate aims and appoint new representatives for the respective forums.
  • Britain will have to make its own market more attractive than EU, to keep the flow of investment intact. This will mean lower taxes, which can impact the economy
  • The promises of better economy and lesser outside pressure for the citizens, will have to be fulfilled by the govt to maintain people’s faith
  • Another issue in the deal is regarding the physical border between Northern Ireland (part of UK) and the Republic of Ireland (part of EU) which will become the frontier between the UK and the EU.
  • To address this, the withdrawal agreement includes a “backstop” plan to ensure the border remains as smooth as possible until a trade deal between the UK and the EU is struck.
  • But the backstop plan could also leave the UK subject to EU regulation even after Brexit, with no room for negotiations.
  • Therefore British Prime Minister Theresa May postponed her vote on the withdrawal bill anticipating its non-passage in the Parliament.
  • Following this, the Prime Minister survived the vote of no-confidence from members of her own Conservative Party.
  • And also hit a stumbling block when EU leaders refused to renegotiate the deal.

Effect of BREXIT on EU:

  • Britain can be the starting point of future departures of other nations, leading to question mark on existence of EU in the future
  • Britain was one of the major financial and military contributors to the EU but with BREXIT, the financial of EU will suffer.
  • Brussels being seen as the alternative to London, will need adequate infrastructure and policy framework to handle the investment inflow
  • The major exporting countries such as China and India would get affected as EU is one of the major export market
  • Post Brexit, EU will have to deal with the uncertainty in value of euro as a currency So, it can be said that the impact on UK will be bigger and negative, as compared to EU, where a comparatively smaller impact can be observed.

Global Impact of BREXIT:

  • The globalization has increased correlation between the countries. If there is a disturbance in one country then there will be impact on other countries
  • The BREXIT would affect the global growth
  • It is a big blow when more countries are moving towards multilateral trade arrangements
  • It will further alienate the investors and the capital will move from risky markets to more safer havens
  • As per one of the estimates BREXIT would lead to 25% reduction in imports by Britain
  • BREXIT was a referendum which rode on many components-anti immigration, increasing protectionism etc. with this these sentiments are going to increase in other parts as well
  • With BREXIT there are calls for NEXIT(Netherlands exit), Italeave (Italy leaving) and FREXIT (France Exit) etc
  • With BREXIT there have been demands for Scotland exiting from UK

Conclusion:

The lack of clarity on Brexit-EU divorce deal has placed all stakeholders on tenterhooks. The need of the hour is to include all the stakeholders impacted by the deal and draw up a bilateral trade deal between India and Britain.


Topic:  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.

6) Recently National Sample Survey Office (NSSO)  has been marred with politicization of data, in the context of the statement discuss how cherry picking of data can affect government policy decisions? Suggest solutions.  (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article captures a detailed critical analysis of the data issue associated with  National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and the extent of politicization of the office.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must provide for a critical analysis of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and the way data is being cherry picked, in what way it affects Government’s policy decisions.

Directive word:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Introduce with role of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in providing accurate data .

Body:

Explain in detail the roles and responsibilities of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), what are the controversies involved. Discuss the recent cases with respect to employment data where the data was politicized affecting the policy decisions in the Job scenario.

Take cues from the article and explain what needs to be done to overcome the issues and concerns associated with the office.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to give teeth to the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), so that the data is not manipulated or mismanaged and the office performs its roles and responsibilities duly.

Introduction:

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) is responsible for conduct of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields on All India basis. Primarily data are collected through nation-wide household surveys on various socio-economic subjects, Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), etc. Besides these surveys, NSSO collects data on rural and urban prices and plays a significant role in the improvement of crop statistics through supervision of the area enumeration and crop estimation surveys of the State agencies.  It also maintains a frame of urban area units for use in sample surveys in urban areas.

Body:

Controversies relating cherry-picking of data by the Government:

  • Over the past few months, headlines have focussed on declining employment between 2011-12 and 2016-17; loss of jobs under the National Democratic Alliance government, particularly post-demonetisation; and the government’s refusal to release a report using the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) documenting this decline, leading to resignations of two members of the National Statistical Commission.
  • It did not announce the data on employment created by the ‘Mudra’ scheme.
  • Earlier, the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data on employment were withheld. Data on farm suicides have not been available since 2016.
  • Data are being withheld precisely where experts have flagged problems, such as on employment, farmers’ crisis and economic growth.
  • Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) and others have confirmed the loss of jobs.
  • GDP data also become suspect and so does the claim of 7% rate of growth. A 7% growth rate of the economy is not consistent with this crisis. They are based only on the corporate sector data and not even the organised sector. Thus, they are even less representative of growth of the economy.

Dangers posed due to such false data:

  • It only helps in diverting attention from real issues to the trivial ones while the condition of economy goes from bad to worse.
  • Economic statistics as a “public good” that was vital for policy-making and informed public discourse in democracies where citizens seek accountability from their governments.
  • For decades, India’s statistical machinery has enjoyed a high level of reputation for the integrity of the data it produced on a range of economic and social parameters. The credibility will be wiped out.
  • Transparency and Accountability which are the chief characteristics of good governance is lost. It masks the government’s performance thereby creating a curtain of opacity.
  • Reduces the trust of foreign investors in Indian Economy, thereby hampering the economy further.
  • It increases the trust deficit between the citizens and government machinery.
  • Institutional independence, integrity, reliability and impartiality of the statistical organisations is at stake.

Measures needed:

  • The Indian National Sample Survey is respected the world over. Not just because of its size, but also for its sample design, that uses methods make perfect by some of the world’s most reputed statisticians. It must be kept above the realm of politics.
  • There is an immediate need to dismiss the concerns about alleged political interference in statistical data.
  • The economists have pointed out that economic statistics are a public good and are essential for policy-making and informed public discourse.
  • They also underlined the need for the use of scientific methods for data collection and estimation and their timely dissemination, which form vital public services.
  • A better way of building a robust data infrastructure may be to ensure that each major data collection activity is augmented by an analytical component led by domain experts, recruited from diverse sources, including academia.
  • India, with its vastness and complexities, poses tremendous challenges for data collection.
  • The dualistic nature of the economy means a large unorganised sector coexists with the organised sector that the data collection systems are unable to fully cover.

Conclusion:

This is the time for all professional economists, statisticians, independent researchers in policy — regardless of their political and ideological leanings — to come together to raise their voice against the tendency to suppress uncomfortable data, and impress upon the government authorities, current and future, and at all levels, to restore access and integrity to public statistics, and re-establish institutional independence and integrity to the statistical organisations.


Topic: Government Budgeting.

7) What do you understand by Government Guarantees? Why is there a need to review government Guarantees? Discuss its significance. (250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

Recently the Ministry of Finance has asked all the departments to undertake a review of government guarantees given by respective ministries to their Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) or entities.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must discuss what are Government Guarantees, why is there a need to review them and their significance.

Directive word

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Introduce by defining what are Government Guarantees.

Body

The body of the answer should address the following dimensions:

  • Guarantees are contingent liabilities which have the potential to impact the financial performance of the government.
  • Discuss why their review is necessary?
  • Significance – The review will look into aspects like whether the discharge of repayment obligations or interest obligations as per terms of the loan agreement and covenants and conditions met.

Conclusion

Conclude with significance of such steps.

Introduction:

Government or Sovereign Guarantee is a promise by the Government to discharge the liability of a third person in case of his default. For example, the government sets up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to construct a bridge. The SPV will likely borrow money to build the bridge on the strength of a government guarantee. Article 292 of the Constitution of India extends the executive power of the Union to the giving of guarantees on the security of the Consolidated Fund of India, within such limits, if any, as may be fixed by Parliament. Similar powers are given to States under Article 293.

The Ministry of Finance has asked all the departments to undertake a review of government guarantees given by respective ministries to their Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) or entities.

Body:

The sovereign guarantee is normally extended for the purpose of achieving the following objectives:-

  • To improve viability of projects or activities with significant social and economic benefits, undertaken by government or non-government entities under Public Private Partnerships;
  • To enable public sector companies to raise resources at lower interest charges or on more favourable terms;
  • To fulfil the requirement in cases where sovereign guarantee is a precondition for concessional loans from bilateral/multilateral agencies to sub-sovereign borrowers.

Need to review the Government Guarantees:

  • Guarantees are contingent liabilities have the potential to impact the financial performance of the government.
  • Guarantees are paid out of the Guarantee Redemption Fund of the Government which is positioned in public accounts.
  • The FRBM Rules stipulates that the government cannot guarantee more than 0.5 per cent of the GDP of the respective financial year to CPSE/entities.
  • The review will look into aspects like whether the discharge of repayment obligations or interest obligations as per terms of the loan agreement and covenants and conditions met.
  • Further, the details of CPSEs or entities on due guarantee fee paid on time to the government should also be submitted.

Conclusion:

Regular checks and balances are needed as due diligence of public finance is a vital attribute of the good governance. Further, these have the potential to alter the global standings of the sovereign bonds status which can affect in the long term.


Topic : Honesty and truthfulness

8) Honesty and truthfulness have to be practiced and well-adjusted with gentle diplomacy on some occasions. comment.(250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

The question is about evaluating the virtues of Honesty and truthfulness.

Key demand of the question:

The question demands one to evaluate how honesty and truthfulness need to be professed with a sense of diplomacy on occasion owing to different circumstances.

Directive:

Commenthere we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what are the virtues of honesty and truthfulness.

Body:

  • The line dividing honesty and diplomacy is a thin one, one must analyse the importance of striking a balance between the two.
  • Examples must be provided to explain and justify the question better.
  • Discuss how  diplomacy or lack of honesty can lead to deterioration in our relationships.
  • While Diplomacy is for our self-protection and self-preservation, honesty is to complement truthfulness.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion based on a fair analysis .

Introduction:

Honesty is not just about telling the truth. It’s about being real with yourself and others about who you are, what you want and what you need to live your most authentic life. Honesty promotes openness, empowers us and enables us to develop consistency in how we present the facts. Honesty sharpens our perception and allows us to observe everything around us with clarity.

Body:

Honesty and diplomacy:

We have always been taught that honesty is the best policy, and that to lie is a bad thing to do. As we grow older, we realise that in many situations it is a good idea to keep quiet or, better still, be diplomatic and tactfully handle sensitive issues. The line dividing honesty and diplomacy is a thin one. We have to be careful in deciding when to be honest and when to be at our diplomatic best. We also have to decide whether we should be absolutely candid, or use the truth as a matter of convenience.

Our relationships demand complete honesty, or else, we get into trouble.In a household, for instance, the oldest member Suresh was quite diplomatic in commenting on the new cooks unpalatable creations. Whatever he would cook, the cook would always be told that the food was not bad. Suresh would avoid criticising the cook for the mediocre food he dished out. The situation worsened to a point when what was cooked was almost inedible. Suresh could not take it anymore and screamed at the cook for serving such bad-tasting food. The cook was taken aback. From that day onwards, everything that Suresh had diplomatically papered over started to show huge cracks. Daily fights and arguments became the order of the day and, one fine day, the cook simply left.

                Therefore, diplomacy or lack of honesty can lead to deterioration in our relationships. Diplomacy is always an escape hatch that we use to avoid hurting others and ourselves. Before you decide to be totally frank, you must carefully analyse all consequences of your actions. While life needs a good mix of honesty and diplomacy, when to be honest and when to be diplomatic is a tough individual choice. Whatever we do must make us comfortable, peaceful and happy.

Conclusion:

Diplomacy protects us in the short term, but it is honesty that brings long-term benefits and permanent gains. Honesty and diplomacy, however, are not mutually exclusive. It takes tact and courage to speak the truth at the right time in the right manner, without being abrasive.