Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 July 2022

 

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.

 


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

1. The rising tide of popular agitations and the withdrawal of the British paramountcy sealed the fate of the princely order and they were soon absorbed in to the Indian Union. Discuss the role of Sardar Patel in this regard. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Chapter-1 – NCERT XII – Politics in India since Independence

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the process of integration of princely states in to the Union of India.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of hundreds of princely states and humongous task in front of Sardar Patel.

Body:

In the first part, write about the popular pressure on the princely states for integration with India.

Next, mention as to the tactics used by Sardar Patel to achieve integration of majority of princely states.

Next, throw light on how Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir resisted overtures to join India. Write in detail the methods used to integrate them.

Conclusion:

Summarise the contributions of Sardar Patel towards preserving the unity and territorial integrity of India.

Introduction

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India, also considered to be the architect of modern India. India’s first deputy prime minister and home minister is remembered perhaps most for the manner in which he united the country by integrating 565 princely states soon after Independence. Modern Indian history is incomplete without Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. His vision, his work, and his principles were highly remarkable in Independent India

Body

Dream of united India made true by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

  • When India became independent in 1947, Sardar Patel took over the role as a deputy PM at a time when Indian history was in a very critical stage.
  • In a truly masterful display of statesmanship, Sardar Patel ensured a smooth integration of the troubled domains by not allowing the situation to deteriorate into civil unrest.
  • There was neither bloodshed nor any kind of rebellion as he went about the task of building a strong India with a missionary zeal.
  • Patel often invoked the patriotism of the princes in his attempt to convince them to join India.
  • On other occasions he reminded them of the possibility of anarchy and on event of their refusal to join.
  • He also introduced the concept of ‘privy purses’ as a payment to be made to the families of the princes for their agreement to integrate with India.
  • With great skill and masterful diplomacy & using both persuasion & pressure, Patel succeeded in integrating hundreds of princely states.
  • Most princely states joined Constituent Assembly with wisdom but others like of Junagarh, Kashmir, Manipur and Hyderabad publicly announced their desire to claim an independent status.
  • Sardar Patel had strong will and his decisiveness, taking tough decisions, and his undivided loyalty towards Mahatma Gandhi marks him out among his peers.
  • His skilful combination of diplomatic persuasion of pointing to the larger long term interests of the population and also with a certain amount of arm-twisting which made it clear that there would be a price to pay if the rulers did not accept the conditions the Indian government was putting.

Conclusion:

Often referred to as the “Bismarck of India”, Patel was instrumental in bringing India together. Patel laid out the initial framework for persuading the princes to join, it was his secretary, V.P. Menon, who did the actual groundwork of coaxing them. The final touch in the process was applied by the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten.

Value-addition

  • The roots of Amul can be traced back to his vision for empowering local communities, particularly women.
  • It was Sardar Patel who also popularized the idea of cooperative housing societies, thus ensuring dignity and shelter for man.
  • Patel’s lasting contribution was protecting the Indian constitution from the ogre of communal electorates.
  • He was a major driving force behind the liberal industrial policy resolution of 1948.
  • Patel was among the few to see the dangers from China’s imminent takeover of Tibet.
  • Junagarh
    • A small state on the coast of Saurashtra surrounded by Indian Territory
    • Had no link with Pakistan yet Nawab announced accession to Pak
    • But majority of the people (majorly Hindu), desired to join India
    • This led to a violent movement against Nawab along with Indian troops marching into the state
    • A plebiscite was held which favoured joining India.
  • Jammu and Kashmir
    • Hindu ruler Hari Singh tried to negotiate with India & Pak to have an independent status for his state.
    • Since majority population of the state was Muslim, the Pakistan thought Kashmir ‘belonged‘ to them.
    • On 15th August Harisingh offered standstill agreement with both countries which allowed the free movement of people & goods.
    • Pakistan signed the agreement but India didn’t.
    • Pakistan became impatient & started violating standstill agreement.
    • 24th October Hari Singh demanded military assistance from India.
    • Mountbatten pointed out that under international law India can send its troops only after state signs a formal instrument of accession
    • Thus on 26th Oct Maharaja signed instrument of accession which got ratified in 1954.
    • On 27th Oct. morning nearly 100 planes airlifted men and weapons to Srinagar.
    • Pakistan army left the main valley region but continue to occupy a large chunk of territory of Gilgit, Baltistan region – Pak occupied Kashmir.
  • Hyderabad
    • Largest princely state of India which was ruled by Nizam
    • Nizam led to tyrannical ways & aspired to set up a Muslim dominion rather than integration with India
    • He wanted an independent status for Hyderabad & thus entered into negotiation of standstill agreement with India
    • Meanwhile people revolted against Nizam’s rule, particularly the peasants of Telangana due to his worst oppression measures.
    • Nizam retaliated on popular movement by unleashing a para-military force
    • 150,000 soldiers were mobilized by Nizam to fight against the Indian Union
    • They murdered, maimed, raped and looted, targeting particularly the non-Muslims
    • In Sep 1948, Indian army under operation Polo invaded Hyderabad state & overthrew its Nizam, annexing the state merged it into the Indian Union.
  • Manipur
    • Indian government was prepared to be flexible in giving autonomy to some regions.
    • Maharaja of Manipur signed the instrument of Accession with the Indian government on the assurance that the internal autonomy of Manipur would be maintained.
    • Under the pressure of public view, Maharaja held elections in Manipur in June 1948 & thus state became a constitutional monarchy.
    • Manipur was the 1st part of India to hold an election based on universal adult franchise.
    • Government of India succeeded in pressurizing the Maharaja into signing a Merger Agreement in September 1949, without consulting the popularly elected Legislative Assembly of Manipur.
    • This caused a lot anger and resentment in Manipur, the consequences of which are still being felt.

 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

2. Partition triggered riots, mass casualties, and a colossal wave of migration. Examine the impact of partition on the newly independent India. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Chapter-1 – NCERT XII – Politics in India since Independence

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the impact of Partition on India.

Directive word:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate 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: 

Begin by mentioning how transfer of power happened hastily resulting in a massive humanitarian crisis.

Body:

In detail, bring out the various issues that were caused due to abrupt and unplanned partition. Communal clashes, refugee crisis, minority issues, threat of administrative breakdown etc.

Mention how the leaders responded to Partition.

Conclusion:

Write about the bitter lessons learnt that made India to evolve into an inclusive and a secular democracy.

Introduction

“Partition” – the division of British India into the two separate states of India and Pakistan on August 14-15, 1947 – was the “last-minute” mechanism by which the British were able to secure agreement over how independence would take place. At the time, few people understood what Partition would entail or what its results would be, and the migration on the enormous scale that followed took the vast majority of contemporaries by surprise.

Body

Impact of Partition on India:

Social impacts

  • Huge number of refugees belonging to religious minorities crossing over the border
  • In terms of human resource the loss was enormous as it received about 16 million uprooted, homeless  refugees  who  had  to  be  rehabilitated  at
  • Demographic changes due to migration and Overcrowding in border districts, towns and cities
  • Emergence of ethno-cultural, ethno-religious minorities leading to inter-ethnic conflict
  • Influx of people in the metropolis of Kolkata resulting to over-urbanization
  • Logistics of rehabilitation of refugees
  • Rise in the number of unemployed
  • Later bouts of communal tension generated further movement, with a trickle of people still migrating as late as the 1960s.

Economic impacts

  • West Punjab  and  Sind  traditionally  formed  a  great  source  of  food  supply  so  much so that they were called the granary of undivided India.
  • But since the two regions came to belong to Pakistan after the partition, India was hit hard so far as food production was concerned.
  • The industrial  sector  suffered  considerably  from  the  impact  on  agriculture,  for  reasons  of  the  traditional  linkage  of  industries  with  the  agricultural  sector  for  deriving  raw  materials  produced  in  the  agricultural
  • In addition  the  riots  that  ensued  after  the  partition  led  to  a  massive  migration  of  skilled  labour  from India to Pakistan. A majority of the skilled workers and artisans were incidentally the people of the Muslim community.
  • The biggest calamity in the jute sector arose from the fact that nearly 80% of jute production went to east Pakistan because of the partition.

Geographical impacts

  • Loss of territorial resources, i.e. fertile agricultural land, in this case an extensive area under jute crop, forest lands, loss of huge mangrove forests in the deltaic region of Sunderbans
  • Sharing of water resources between upper and lower riparian states
  • Border disputes  related  to  demarcation  of  boundary  running  through  riverine  delta  areas  and  flat  alluvium plains
  • Inadequate transport and communication network system between newly created independent nations
  • Inadequate infrastructure for inter and intra-regional trade and commerce
  • Enclaves on either side of the border

Geopolitical impacts

  • The geopolitical  situation  is  a  direct  impact  of  unwise  partition  of  territories  the  implication of which is far- reaching.
  • In order to achieve a lasting peace in the sub-continent a pragmatic foreign policy  and  settlement  of  unresolved  issues  such  as  sharing  of  water,  border  management,  settlement of border disputes, disbanding of terrorist outfits are of prime importance.

Conclusion

Today, the two countries’ relationship is far from healthy. Kashmir remains a flashpoint; both countries are nuclear-armed. Indian Muslims are frequently suspected of harbouring loyalties towards Pakistan; non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan are increasingly vulnerable thanks to the so-called Islamisation of life there since the 1980s. Seven decades on, well over a billion people still live in the shadow of Partition.

 

Topic: Social empowerment

3.  What are the causes for gender inequality in the country? Examine its impact on the society. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Insights on India

Why the question: The Global Gender Gap Index for 2022 was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) Wednesday, and it ranks India at 135 out of 146 countries. In 2021, India was ranked 140 out of 156 countries.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the causes for gender inequality and its impact.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate 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 giving context of Global Gender Gap report.

Body:

First, write about the various causes for gender inequality – historic, educational, economic and social causes.

Next, write about the how the gender inequality impacts the Indian society. Cite examples and statistics to substantiate.

Next, write about the various measures needed to bridge the gender gap.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

India ranks 135 among a total of 146 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index, 2022, released by the World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report, 2022, says it will now take 132 years to reach gender parity, with the gap reducing only by four years since 2021 and the gender gap closed by 68. 1%. India ranks poorly among its neighbours and is behind Bangladesh (71), Nepal (96), Sri Lanka (110), Maldives (117) and Bhutan (126). Only the performance of Iran (143), Pakistan (145) and Afghanistan(146) was worse than India in South Asia. In 2021, India ranked 140 out of 156 nations.

Body

Causes for Gender inequality in the country

  • High gender divide: The gender gap in the country has widened, with only 62.5% of it closed and especially low gender parity in political empowerment and economic participation and opportunity.
  • Wage gap: Women are paid considerably less than men, with some research showing that the gender pay gap between women and men in the same jobs with equivalent qualifications can be as much as 34%.
  • Labour force participation: India, as of 2020, has the lowest female labour force participation rate among South Asian nations, with four out of five women neither working nor looking for jobs.
  • High Job loss: According to Oxfam, 17 million women in India lost their jobs in April 2020, with their unemployment rate rising far higher than that among men.
  • Lesser opportunities for women: Women were found to be seven times more likely to lose their jobs during the lockdown phases, and if rendered unemployed, were 11 times more likely to remain jobless than their male counterparts.
  • Uneven domestic responsibility: Potential reasons for this include the increased burden of domestic responsibilities that Indian women typically had to bear, in terms of not just household chores but extra time needed for elderly care and children’s studies, with schools shut.
  • Even pre-pandemic, a Time Use Survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office showed that women spent nearly 4.5 hours on childcare and other care-giving responsibilities, in contrast with the meagre 0.88 hours for men.

Impact on society

  • Pre-natal sex-selective Abortion:The most extreme expression of the preference for sons is female infanticide and sex selective abortion. A study in a Bombay hospital found that 96% of female were aborted.
  • Sexual Harassment at work places: is a harassment of a sexual nature, typically in the work place. Sexual harassment is considered a form of illegal discrimination. Sexual harassment at work place is not an isolated phenomenon but a mainfestaion of the larger gender discrimination in society.
  • Female are malnourished: India has exceptionally high rate of child malnutrition, because tradition in India requires that women eat last and least throughout their lives, even when pregnant.
  • Women are uneducated: Families are far less likely to educate girls than boys and far more likely to pull them out of school, either to help out at home or from fear of violence. So women and girls receive far less education than men both due to social norms and fears of violence.
  • Women are in Poor health: Females receive less health care than males. Many women die in childbirth. The practice of breast feeding female children for shorter periods of time reflects the strong desire for sons.
  • Women are overworked: Women work longer hours and their work is more than the men (agricultural Work).
  • Women are Unskilled: Women have unequal access to resources.
  • Injustice Policy of Reservation in Public office:The women occupy 46% of the Indian population but reservation is given for only 33% where reserved.
  • Women are mistreated:In recent year there has been an alarming rise in atrocities against women in India in term s of rapes, assaults and dowry related murders.
  • Women are Powerless:While women are guaranteed equality under the constitution. But due to lack of power to decide who they will marry and are often married off as children.

Need of the hour

  • Behavioral Nudge: For instance, by using taxes to incentivize fairly sharing child-care responsibilities, or by encouraging women and girls to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors such as the armed forces and information technology. Eg Supreme Court in India declared that women could now hold commanding positions in Army.
    • Paternity leaves for men, to share the responsibility of child rearing.
    • Incentivizing companies to employ women, and reach 50% target.
  • Gender Justice at Work
    • Bridging the wage gap for equal work.
    • Making work places safer through strong laws. India has enacted Sexual Harassment at workplaces act.
    • Promote diversity and anti-bias courses for all employees.
    • Comprehensive leadership training for women to excel in their fields.
  • Gender sensitization: Breaking the social barriers by gender sensitization and education at families, schools and workplaces. Eg : In the NCERT Books, gender roles, bias and prejudice inducing writings were removed.
  • Social security and financial literacy: Formalization of jobs should be pushed to avail benefits to many women. Until then, social security benefits should be provided to women in unorganized sector. Eg : Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme in India
    • Embedding financial literacy in programmes where women have significant representation could be a good starting point.
  • Strong laws and policies wrt equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits are needed to promote women’s representation in economy.
  • Political Representation: India has provided 33% reservation for women in the Panchayats and Local Bodies. Capacity Building and training can increase their capabilities further.

Way forward

  • Learning from the Nordic region, noteworthy participation of women in politics, institutions and public life is the catalyst for transformational change.
  • Women need to be equal participants in the labour force to pioneer the societal changes the world needs in this integral period of transition.
  • Every effort must be directed towards achieving gender parallelism by facilitating women in leadership and decision-making positions.
  • Social protection programmes should be gender-responsive and account for the differential needs of women and girls.
  • Research and scientific literature also provide unequivocal evidence that countries led by women are dealing with the pandemic more effectively than many others.

Conclusion

Gender equality is a human right which entitles all persons irrespective of their gender to live with dignity and with freedom. Gender equality is also a precondition for development and reducing of poverty. Gender shouldn’t be an unreasonable determining factor curbing the potential of women.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

4. Critically Examine the view that the president of India is merely a rubber stamp of the executive. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Insights on India

Why the question: India is going to elect its new President on July 18. The new President will be sworn in on July 25.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the role of President of India in the Indian executive.

Directive word: 

Critically examine – When 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. 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 judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving a brief about president as the head of the Indian state.

Body:

First, discuss how he is just a titular head – He is the nominal head of the government but the real power lies with the Prime Minister. Discuss article 53, 74, 75 etc. Use suitable examples of recent incidents from which it is evident that he is a mere rubber stamp.

Next, give the counter view – situations where President has powers and does not act as a rubber stamp. For Example -Veto powers of president like pocket veto, suspensive veto etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion.

Introduction

Article 53 reads as ‘The executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers’ subordinate to him’. In spite of the expression ‘directly’ in Article 53 of the Constitution, India’s President merely ‘reigns and does not rule’. The role of president is largely ceremonial in nature. This was the consequence of 42nd Constitutional Amendment that drastically curtailed the President’s powers with respect to the Council of Ministers. Article 74 (1) now mandates the President to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. This prevents the president becoming a power center rivalling that of prime minister.

Body

President’s role in Indian political setup:

  • The President of India is the Head of State and the Chief Executive. The executive powers of the Union are in the hands of the President.
  • The President of India is vested with Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers. But as the advice given by CoM is binding on Indian President, in reality, most of these powers rest with the COM; but decisions are taken in the name of President of India.
  • He exercises these either directly or through officers subordinate to him. However, being the head of a parliamentary system, he is only a constitutional/titular head and exercises nominal power.
  • The President always acts in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister. All his powers are really used by the Prime Minister and the Union Council of Ministers.
  • The President holds the highest office in India, represents the sovereignty of India, enjoys the highest position and plays a valuable part in the working of the Indian Constitutional system.
  • President is also the supreme commander of armed forces and has powers to prorogue or dissolve the Parliament.
  • He/She further makes appointments to important posts including the PM, state governors and Supreme Court and High Court judges.

By looking at the powers of the President, it becomes quite easy to evaluate the position of the President. At the face value, the powers of the President appear to be very big and formidable. A close review, however, reveals that President of India is a nominal and constitutional executive head who exercises all his powers on the advice of the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers. The President is always bound to accept the advice of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. However, despite such a provision, the President is neither merely a figure head nor a rubber stamp in the hands of the Ministry.

President’s discretionary powers:

  • Suspensive Veto:
    • The President has discretionary power when he exercises suspensive veto ie. when he returns a bill (not money bill) for reconsideration of the parliament.
    • However, if the bill is passed again by the Parliament with or without amendments and presented again to the President, it is obligatory for him to give his assent to the bill.
  • Pocket Veto:
    • This is not a provision mentioned in the Indian constitution, but this is a possible situation when the President of India can use his discretionary power. In this case, the President neither ratifies nor reject nor return the bill, but simply keeps the bill pending for an indefinite period.
    • As the time limit within which the President has to take the decision with respect to a bill presented to him for assent, has not been mentioned in the constitution, in effect the inaction of the President stops the bill from becoming an act.
  • President can seek information from Prime Minister:
    • Under article 78 the President enjoys the right to seek information from the PM regarding the administration of the affairs of the union.
    • Under the established convention, the President has the right to warn or encourage the Council of Minister (CoM) in the exercise of its power.
  • Case of no sitting of both houses:
    • Under Article 85, the President can summon each House of Parliament to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit, to ensure that six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its sitting in the next session.
  • Case of no majority:
    • When no political party or coalition of parties enjoy the majority in Lok Sabha, then the President has discretion in inviting the leader of that party or coalition of parties who in his opinion is able to form a stable government.
  • Case of no-confidence with CoM- dissolving Loksabha:
    • It is for the president to decide if he should dissolve Loksabha or not when CoM loses the majority in Lok Sabha. The President can dissolve Lok Sabha only on the advice of CoM but the advice is binding only if the government is a majority government.
  • Case of no-confidence with CoM- dissolving CoM:
    • It is for the president to decide if he should dissolve CoM or not when CoM loses the majority in Lok Sabha.
  • Case of a caretaker government:
    • A caretaker government does not enjoy the confidence of Lok Sabha and hence it is not expected to take major decisions but only to make the day-to-day administrative decisions. It is for the President to decide the day-to-day decisions.

Indian Presidents are not rubber-stamps:

  • While India’s first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad is known to have frequently disagreed with then PM Jawaharlal Nehru, seventh President Giani Zail Singh is known to have a rocky relationship with PM Rajiv Gandhi.
  • K R Narayanan, India’s tenth President, famously told the Parliament that he is ‘not a rubber stamp’ while returning a proposal calling for imposition of President’s rule in UP.
  • Pranab Mukherjee was more assertive than any of his predecessors. Although he is known to have rejected 28 mercy petitions, a record number, he commuted four sentences, in defiance of the government’s wishes and refrained from sending those back to the government for reconsideration.

President can play an effective role:

The President is not a silent institution and his role stands beyond the constitutional provisions and established conventions. The powers of the President flow from the oath he takes under Article 60 to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and submit himself to the service and well -being of people of India’. Therefore, new norms can be devised and used to preserve the faith and belief of the common man in the system. These norms can be:

  • The Constitution is silent on the limitations on the President’s activities in public affairs. Public speaking of president can initiate the debate in the society.
  • Use of pocket veto in the cases which are considered to be undermining the Constitution.
  • Reaching out to the people of India.

Conclusion

The office of the President should not be conceived as merely a ceremonial post or a rubber stamp. Within the confines of constitution, a president can redefine the activities of his office. The President can declare Emergency, suspend rights, dissolve state Assemblies and declare the government bankrupt.

 

Topic:  Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government

5. The judicial system in India is under tremendous pressure. Inadequate infrastructure has resulted in overburdened courts, which in turn has led to a massive backlog of cases. Analyse the reasons for the same and suggest corrective measures. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Insights on India

Why the question: More than four crore cases are pending in the lower courts (District and Taluk Courts) of India, of which about 25% have been pending for over five years.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the causes for pendency of cases in India, its impact and suggest measures to overcome.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Describe the current conditions with few vital statistics to substantiate the pendencies.

Body:

First write the causes for it – The cumulative effect of persisting vacancies, strained budgets, inadequate infrastructure combined with the continuous inflow of cases inevitably impacts mounting pendency and the time taken for cases to resolve.

Next bring out the impact of it – faith in the justice system, under trial prisoners their due of justice, impact on Economic reforms and foreign investors, Judiciary becomes overworked and lose its efficiency.

Suggest measures to overcome the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to ensure speedy delivery of justice.

Introduction

The justice system in any democracy is set up, under the Constitution to serve the public without “fear or favour, affection or ill-will” as far as judges are concerned. The Indian Judiciary plays an increasingly important role in the life and the governance of this country. A measure of the justice delivery system is the pendency of cases in courts across the country. There has been a significant deterioration in this aspect.

Body

Background

  • More than four crore cases are pending in the lower courts(District and Taluk Courts) of India, of which about 25% have been pending for over five years. More than half of India’s pending cases were filed in lower courts of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, and West Bengal.
  • Chief Justice of India N. V. Ramana has once again called for measures to improve the judge-to-population ratio. At present, India has a sanctioned strength of 25,628 judges.
  • The Supreme Court’s statistics show that 70,362 cases are pending with it as on April 1, 2022.
  • About 1.08 crore cases (25%) of 4.18 crores total cases have been pending for over five years.
  • With over one crore cases, U.P. has the most pending cases, of which 14% have been pending for more than 10 years.
  • Judicial vacancies as a share of sanctioned strength in lower courts are 20% or more in 19 States/U.T.s. Due to inconsistent recruitment, in some States such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Telangana, there is only one judge per one lakh people.
  • Because of the incessant delays, undertrials as a share of total prisoners have peaked at 76% in 2020. And prisons, especially in the north are overcrowdedwith occupancy rates as high as 177% in Uttar Pradesh.

Causes for huge pendency of cases:

  • Shifting role of SC:
    • The key reason for the mounting of pending cases can be attributed to shifting the role of the Supreme Court from adjudicating cases of constitutional significance into a regular court of appeals.
    • According to legal experts, most of the cases that the Supreme Court was handling daily are either appeals from various high courts or cases of gross violation of individual’s fundamental rights. But this role was never meant for the apex court.
  • Shortage of judges:
    • From 1950 to 1921, the number of Supreme Court judges has increased nearly four times. Even then, case pendency has steadily kept rising.
    • Around 5,580 or 25% of posts are lying empty in the subordinate courts, which leads to poor Judges to Population Ratio, as India has only 20 judges per million population. Earlier, Law Commission had recommended 50 judges per million.
  • Frequent adjournments:
    • The laid down procedure of allowing a maximum of three adjournments per case is not followed in over 50 per cent of the matters being heard by courts, leading to rising pendency of cases.
  • Low budgetary allocation leading to poor infrastructure:
    • India spends only about 09% of its GDP to maintain the judicial infrastructure.
    • Infrastructure status of lower courts of the country is miserably grim due to which they fail to deliver quality judgements.
    • A 2016 report published by the Supreme Court showed that existing infrastructure could accommodate only 15,540 judicial officers against the all-India sanctioned strength of 20,558.
  • Burden of government cases:
    • Statistics provided by LIMBS shows that the Centre and the States were responsible for over 46% of the pending cases in Indian courts.
  • Special leave petition:
    • cases in the Supreme Court, currently comprises to 40% of the court’s pendency.
    • It is because of frivolous PILs and various government policies which are challenged by the people that takes up most of judiciary’s time
  • Judges Vacation:
    • Supreme Court’s works on average for 188 days a year, while apex court rules specify minimum of 225 days of work.
  • Lack of court management systems:
    • Courts have created dedicated posts for court managers to help improve court operations, optimize case movement and judicial time.
    • However, only few courts have filled up such posts so far.
  • Inefficient investigation:
    • Police are quite often handicapped in undertaking effective investigation for want of modern and scientific tools to collect evidences.

Measures needed:

  • Improving infrastructure for quality justice:
    • The Parliamentary Standing Committee which presented its report on Infrastructure Development and Strengthening of Subordinate Courts, suggested:
    • States should provide suitable land for construction of court buildings etc. It should undertake vertical construction in light of shortage of land.
    • Timeline set out for computerization of all the courts, as a necessary step towards setting up of e- courts.
  • Addressing the Issue of Vacancies:
    • Ensure the appointments of the judges be done in an efficient way by arriving at an optimal judge strength to handle the cases pending in the system.
    • The 120th Law Commission of India report for the first time, suggested a judge strength fixation formula.
    • Supreme Court and High Courts should appoint efficient and experienced judges as Ad-hoc judges in accordance with the Constitution.
    • All India Judicial Service, which would benefit the subordinate judiciary by increasing quality of judges and help reduce the pendency.
  • Timeframe to dispose of cases:
    • Having a definite time frame to dispose the cases by setting annual targets and action plans for the subordinate judiciary and the High Courts. The judicial officers could be issued a strict code of conduct, to ensure that the duties are adequately performed by the officials.
    • Strict regulation of adjournments and imposition of exemplary costs for seeking it on flimsy grounds especially at the trial stage and not permitting dilution of time frames specified in Civil Procedure Code.
  • Better Court Management System & Reliable Data Collection:
    • For this categorization of cases on the basis of urgency and priority along with bunching of cases should be done.
  • Use of Information technology (IT) solutions:
    • The use of technology for tracking and monitoring cases and in providing relevant information to make justice litigant friendly.
    • All the courts in the country must switch to a hybrid virtual mode immediately and start disposing cases.
  • Process reengineering:
    • Involves redesigning of core business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity and quality by incorporating the use of technology in court rules. It will include:
    • Electronic filing of cases: e-Courts are a welcome step in this direction, as they give case status and case history of all the pending cases across High courts and Subordinate courts bringing ease of access to information.
    • Revamping of National Judicial Data Grid by introducing a new type of search known as elastic search, which is closer to the artificial intelligence.
  • Alternate dispute resolution (ADR):
    • As stated in the Conference on National Initiative to Reduce Pendency and Delay in Judicial System- Legal Services Authorities should undertake pre-litigation mediation so that the inflow of cases into courts can be regulated.
    • The Lok Adalat should be organized regularly for settling civil and family matters.
    • Gram Nyayalayas, as an effective way to manage small claim disputes from rural areas which will help in decreasing the workload of the judicial institution.
    • Village Legal Care & Support Centre can also be established by the High Courts to work at grass root level to make the State litigation friendly.

Conclusion

The fundamental requirement of a good judicial administration is accessibility, affordability and speedy justice, which will not be realized until and unless the justice delivery system is made within the reach of the individual in a time bound manner and within a reasonable cost. Therefore, continuous formative assessment is the key to strengthen and reinforce the justice delivery system in India.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

6. The knowledge and understanding acquired from genomics research can be applied in a number of different settings, including medicine, biotechnology and social sciences. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question: Access to genomic technologies needs to be expanded, especially for low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), according to a report by the World Health Organization’s Science Council.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the various applications of genomics research.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining genomics.

Body:

First, write about the various applications of genomics – Medical applications, Medical applications, Social science applications. Cite examples to substantiate with examples.

Next, write about the steps needed to promote genomics research in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The field of genomics uses biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology methods to understand and use biological information in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).

This information benefits medicine and public health — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — as well as agriculture, biological research and more. Access to genomic technologies needs to be expanded, especially for low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), according to a report by the World Health Organization’s Science Council.

Body

Various applications of genomics

  • Population health: Genomics can make enormous contributions to human health, from surveying populations for infectious agents — such as the virus that causes COVID-19 — to predicting and treating a wide variety of diseases, such as cancers and developmental disorders.
  • Identification and diagnosis of genetic factors contributing to common disease: Genomic technologies are increasingly being used to understand the contribution of both rare and common genetic factors to the development of common diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
  • Gene therapy: Gene therapy involves the administration of DNA or RNA, in order to correct a genetic abnormality, or modify the expression of genes.
  • Genome editing: Genome editing uses molecular techniques to modify the genome – genome editing can add in, cut out, or replace sections of the DNA sequence.
  • Infectious diseases: Sequencing the genomes of microorganisms which cause human infection can identify the exact organism causing symptoms, help to trace the cause of infectious outbreaks, and give information as to which antibiotics are most likely to be effective in treatment.
  • Prenatal diagnosis and testing: Genetic diseases are often devastating and may cause significant disability and even death in childhood. Prenatal diagnosis of genetic diseases allows parents to make decisions about whether to continue with the pregnancy or to allow early diagnosis and possible treatment in utero or at birth.

Steps to promote genomics research in India

  • Increase funding for healthcare research with appropriate emphasis on genomics.
  • Leverage India’s assets such as traditional knowledge and genomic diversity in consultation with knowledge-holders
  • Prioritize strategic entry points for India and improve industry-academic interface with appropriate incentives to improve public health and the nation’s wealth.
  • Develop independent, accountable, transparent regulatory systems to ensure that ethical, legal and social issues are addressed for a single entry, smart and effective system.
  • Engage the public and ensure broad-based input into policy setting and ensure equitable access of poor to genomics products and services.
  • Deliver knowledge, products and services for public health. A key outcome of the course was the internet-based opinion leaders’ network – the Indian Genome Policy Forum – a multi-stakeholder forum to foster further discussion on policy.

Conclusion

Advocacy for genomics is needed to persuade governments, commercial and non-commercial organisations, academic institutions and others of genomic technologies’ medical, scientific and economic benefits.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Utilization of public funds;

7. Disbursal and utilisation of public funds is mired in opaqueness. Mention ways to ensure transparency and accountability in the utilisation of public funds. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Abstract Thursdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To explain how transparency associated with utilization of public funds of the country will improve it efficacy.

Directive:

Justify – When you are asked to justify, you must pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question using suitable case studies or/ and examples.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Discuss the importance of transparency and accountability in public funds.

Body:

Explain the lacunae in the country with respect to utilization of public funds such as corruption, nepotism, incomplete works, bad quality work, siphoning funds etc.

Discuss the significance of Transparency and efficiency as tools for monitoring and supervising distribution of public fund.

Explain various mechanisms through which it can be done – Public Fund Management System, Auditing agencies – CAG, Budgeting – Outcome based budgeting, zero base budgeting, Participation and transparency – Social Auditing, Financial Prudence etc.

Conclusion:

Summarize of this will aid in the developmental process of the country as well as reduce corrupt practices.

Introduction

‘Public money ought to be touched with the most scrupulous conscientiousness of honour. It is not the produce of riches only, but of the hard earnings of labour and poverty.’ – Thomas Paine

Kautilya also wrote extensively on handling public funds in Arthashastra which remains relevant even today. Government and public funds are riddled with corruption and only complete accountability and transparency can rid us of this situation.

Body:

Four principles underpin trust in the public finances:

  • Transparency −accurate records that show where money is raised and spent.
  • Assurance − figures and processes are checked by independent experts.
  • Accountability −decision makers are clearly identified and subject to strict rules and review of performance and outcomes.
  • Objectivity − policies are based on accurate information and rigorous analysis

The question of utilization of public funds has different aspects.

  • The first aspect relates to accountability and efficacy
  • The second aspect concerns the manner of fund utilization.
  • The third aspect relates to the outputs and outcomes which result from the fund use.
  • The fourth aspect is the source of funds.
  • Finally, any fund utilization or expenditure has to meet the audit requirements.

Reasons for under-utilization and mis-utilizations of funds

  • Corruption: The large sum of money earmarked for public activities are taken away by officials as well as politicians in form of bribes. This results in funds not able to contribute towards development.
    • Ex: Money allocated for construction of houses for poor is consumed by corrupt officials.
  • Political rivalry: Sometimes political class indulges in act of vendetta where they do not cooperate in allocation or release of funds to their opposition. They hope to reap the anger against their opponents for their political gains.
    • Ex: Government in power not allocating developmental funds to opposition MLAs.
  • Diversion: The funds allocated to one activity is diverted to another in order to meet strict control over finances.
    • Ex: Funds allocated to road repair is diverted to giving freebies.
  • Red Tapism: Colonial bureaucratic attitude sometimes acts as hinderance in carrying out developmental activities. They complicate the process due to which funds are not properly utilized.

 

Transparency and accountability: Significance

  • It is vital to uphold the ‘social contract’. Citizens must be confident that they are protected by the law and that public institutions and servants will act in accordance with it.
  • Public institutions with operational independence from political control are more likely to be trusted to act in the public interest.
  • A well-informed population is far more likely to be confident about investing for the future. This means both providing appropriate information in ways that are accessible and easy to understand, and educating citizens as well as inviting them to participate in decision making.
  • Effective public financial management requires that decision-makers, citizens and other stakeholders, are able to ‘follow the money’ to see how taxes were raised, why decisions to spend it were made, how the money was actually spent and what was bought.
  • Where government plans and activities are measured against expected outputs and outcomes, citizens and other stakeholders will be able to judge the performance of government. This, in turn, provides the basis for feedback and continuous improvement mechanisms.
  • For the public to believe that public officials will do the right thing, a range of controls to promote integrity and ethical behaviour and to tackle fraud and corruption are required.
  • Most importantly, the public must believe that individuals will be held responsible for their actions, no matter who they are.
  • A climate for investment is created when investors believe a state is stable, well run and that political and fiscal risks will be managed effectively.

Conclusion

Only transparency and accountability can ensure that public funds are being used for the greater welfare and benefit of the people and society. Weeding out corruption is also necessary to ensure funds are not underutilised or siphoned off illegally. Only when we bring in more openness in working of government can there be real productivity and good governance.