UPSC General Studies 2014 Paper II Solutions
1: Starting from inventing the ‘basic structure’ doctrine, the judiciary has played a highly proactive role in ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy. In light of the statement evaluate the role played by judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy
The question whether Fundamental Rights can be amended by the Parliament under Article 368 came for consideration of the Supreme Court. In the Shankari Prasad case (1951), the Supreme Court ruled that the power of the Parliament to amend the Constitution under Article 368 also includes the power to amend Fundamental Rights. The word ‘law’ in Article 13 includes only ordinary laws and not the constitutional amendment acts (constituent laws). Therefore, the Parliament can abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights by enacting a constitutional amendment act and such a law will not be void under Article 13.
But in the Golak Nath case (1967), the Supreme Court reversed its earlier stand and ruled that the Fundamental Rights are given a ‘transcendental and immutable’ position and hence, the Parliament cannot abridge or take away any of these rights. A constitutional amendment act is also a law within the meaning of Article 13 and hence, would be void for violating any of the Fundamental Rights.
However, in the Kesavananda Bharati case , the Supreme Court overruled its judgement in the Golak Nath case . It upheld the validity and stated that Parliament is empowered to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights. At the same time, it laid down a new doctrine of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. It ruled that the constituent power of Parliament under Article 368 does not enable it to alter the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. This means that the Parliament cannot abridge or take away a Fundamental Right that forms a part of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. Again, the Parliament reacted to this judicially innovated doctrine of ‘basic structure’ by enacting the 42nd Amendment Act . This Act amended Article 368 and declared that there is no limitation on the constituent power of Parliament and no amendment can be questioned in any court on any ground including that of the contravention of any of the Fundamental Rights. However, the Supreme Court in the Minerva Mills case invalidated this provision as it excluded judicial review which is a ‘basic feature’ of the Constitution. Applying the doctrine of ‘basic structure’ with respect to Article 368, the court held that:
“Since the Constitution had conferred a limited amending power on the Parliament, the Parliament cannot enlarge that very power into an absolute power.Indeed, a limited amending power is one of the basic features of the Constitution and, therefore, the limitations on that power cannot be destroyed. In other words, Parliament cannot, under article 368, expand its amending power so as to acquire for itself the right to repeal or abrogate the Constitution or to destroy its basic features.
The various role played by the judicial activism to keep the ideas of democracy are as following:
- Maintaining the Secular character of the Constitution
- Unity and integrity of the nation at high notes
- to keep the ethos of welfare state (socio-economic justice)
- Provide sound platform to the Freedom and dignity of the individual and Principle of equality
- Rule of law
- Harmony and balance between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principle
- Effective access to justice
- Principle of reasonableness
2: Though the federal feature is dominant in our Constitution and that principles is one of its basic feature,but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism.discuss
The constitutional provision which empower the federal feature in our constitution are :
- The Constitution is not only a written document but also the lengthiest Constitution of the world. It specifies the structure, organisation, powers and functions of both the Central and state governments and prescribes the limits within which they must operate. Thus, it avoids the misunderstandings and disagreements between the two.
- The Constitution divided the powers between the Centre and the states in terms of the Union List,State List and Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule. Both the Centre and the states can make laws on the subjects of the concurrent list, but in case of a conflict, the Central law prevails.
- The Constitution is the supreme (or the highest) law of the land. The laws enacted by the Centre and the states must conform to its provisions. Otherwise, they can be declared invalid by the Supreme Court or the high courts through their power of judicial review. Thus, the organs of the government (legislative, executive and judicial) at both the levels must operate within the jurisdiction prescribed by the Constitution.
- The division of powers established by the Constitution as well as the supremacy of the Constitution can be maintained only if the method of its amendment is rigid. Hence, the Constitution is rigid to the extent that those provisions which are concerned with the federal structure (i.e., Centre–state relations and judicial organisation) can be amended only by the joint action of the Central and state governments.
- The Constitution establishes an independent judiciary headed by the Supreme Court for two purposes: one, to protect the supremacy of the Constitution by exercising the power of judicial review; and two, to settle the disputes between the Centre and the states or between the states. The Constitution contains various measures like security of tenure to judges, fixed service conditions and so on to make the judiciary independent of the government.
- The Constitution provides for a bicameral legislature consisting of an Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and a Lower House (Lok Sabha). The Rajya Sabha represents the states of Indian Federation, while the Lok Sabha represents the people of India as a whole. The Rajya Sabha is required to maintain the federal equilibrium by protecting the interests of the states against the undue interference of the Centre.
The factor which leans in the favour of strong centre that militates the concept of strong federalism are as:
- The division of powers is in favour of the Centre and highly inequitable from the federal angle. Firstly, the Union List contains more subjects than the State List. Secondly, the more important subjects have been included in the Union List. Thirdly, the Centre has overriding authority over the Concurrent List. Finally, the residuary powers have also been left with the Centre.
- Unlike in other federations, the states in India have no right to territorial integrity. The Parliament can by unilateral action change the area, boundaries or name of any state. Moreover, it requires only a simple majority and not a special majority. Hence, the Indian Federation is “an indestructible Union of destructible states”.
- Usually, in a federation, the states have the right to frame their own Constitution separate from that of the Centre. In India, on the contrary, no such power is given to the states. The Constitution of India embodies not only the Constitution of the Centre but also those of the states. Both the Centre and the states must operate within this single-frame.
- The Constitution stipulates three types of emergencies—national, state and financial. During an emergency, the Central government becomes all powerful and the states go into the total control of the Centre. It converts the federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment of the Constitution. This kind of transformation is not found in any other federation
- In US, the Federal government and the state governments have their separate public services. In India also, the Centre and the states have their separate public services. But, in addition, there are all-India services (IAS, IPS, and IFS) which are common to both the Centre and the states. The members of these services are recruited and trained by the Centre which also possess ultimate control over them. Thus, these services violate the principle of federalism under the Constitution.
- The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India audits the accounts of not only the Central government but also those of the states. But, his appointment and removal is done by the president without consulting the states. Hence, this office restricts the financial autonomy of the states. The American Comptroller-General, on the contrary, has no role with respect to the accounts of the states.
- Even in the limited sphere of authority allotted to them, the states do not have exclusive control. The Parliament is empowered to legislate on any subject of the State List if Rajya Sabha passes a resolution to that effect in the national interest. This means that the legislative competence of the Parliament can be extended without amending the Constitution. Notably, this can be done when there is no emergency of any kind.
3: The ‘Power, privilege and immunities of parliament and its member ‘ as envisaged in article 105 of the constitution leave room for a large number of uncodified and un-enumerated privilege to continue. Assess the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the ‘parliamentary privilege ‘. How can this be addressed?
For a peaceful functioning of a democracy, it is essential that the people’s representatives are given the maximum amount of freedom of speech and expression, so as to communicate the opinion and demands of the various sections of the society. The Indian Constitution provides for the privileges and rights of the Member of Parliaments, in Article 105. The Article provides for an unrestrained freedom of speech and expression, which sometimes become problematic:
- The provision that saves the Parliamentarians from being trialed for their speech in the House should be amended to restrict the members from indulging into hateful speeches and derogatory remarks against any particular individual/group or community.
- By leaving the rights and special privileges of the Members of Parliament before the Parliament, the Constitution falls short of it’s obligations of equality before law and a participatory democracy. The severe restrictions put on the freedom of visitors to speak in the house create the Parliamentary house a place of restrictions.
- Uncodified and unenumerated rights of the Parliamentarians give the Parliament an unrestricted freedom to frame the rights and privileges of the Parliamentarians, thus, creating the grounds for political inequality in the society. The Chairperson of the house should be obliged to submit a report to the President or the Supreme Court, about the sanctions that should be put against unruly members.
- This also hampers the principle of Checks and Balances, as Judiciary fails to restrict the violations of the illegitimate actions by the Parliamentarians within the House. There should be provisions through which the Supreme Court could put on trial the members for violations and unacceptable behaviour.
- The Constitution could also be amended to form an independent committee to scrutinise the proceedings of the house on regular basis, and submit a report before the President. Appropriate provisions could be made to empower the President to take an independent action against the unruly members.
4: What do you understand by the concept of ‘freedom of speech and expression’? Does it cover hate speech also? Why do the films in India stand on a slightly different plane from other forms of expressions? Discuss.
Freedom of Speech and Expression implies that every citizen has the right to express his views, opinions, belief and convictions freely by word of mouth, writing, printing, picturing or in any other manner. The Supreme Court has held that the freedom of speech and expression includes the following:
(a) Right to propagate one’s views as well as views of others.
(b) Freedom of the press.
(c) Freedom of commercial advertisements.
(d) Right against tapping of telephonic conversation.
(e) Right to telecast, that is, government has no monopoly on electronic media.
(f) Right against ‘bundh’ (shut-down) called by a political party or organisation.
(g) Right to know about government activities.
(h) Freedom of silence.
(i) Right against imposition of pre-censorship on a newspaper.
(j) Right to demonstration or picketing but not right to strike.
The freedom of speech and expression does not include hate speech. The State can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of speech and expression on the grounds of sovereignty and integrity of India; security of the state; friendly relations with foreign states; public order, decency or morality; contempt of court, defamation, and incitement to an offence. Hate speeches are kept outside the ambit of the freedom of speech and expression, as it violates the rights of the other persons/communities.
The films in India stand on slightly different plane from other form of expression because of the many reason:
- The films are made for the commercial and entertaining purpose, hence compromise the various parameter which are indispensable in nature. Films are made to address the mass audience, and thus have an impact on a greater audience.
- There exist a rich variety in the film industry, that might include works with lack of creativity, negligence of knowledge, unethical work environment. Thus, there is a need to put a regulatory framework on the films that are produced.
- Since films are a means of entertainment for a large number of masses, who often get influenced from them, it is important that the right message is delivered through them. Films containing hate speech and defamatory content could create havoc in the society.
5: Instances of President’s delay in commuting death sentence has come under public scrutiny as denial of justice. Should there be a time limit for the President to accept/reject such petitions? Analyse.
Article 72 of the Indian constitution empower the president to pardon the person convicted and sentenced by the court of law. The president has power to commute death sentence into life imprisonment, but there is no specified time limit for the president to accept/ reject the plea.The president,s delay in commuting death sentence is considered as denial of justice, as it is said that “justice delayed is justice denied. It can be explained from two point of view:from the point of view of the convict; and from the point of view of victim
- the delay in the procedure of commuting death sentence lead to delay in the execution ,which may lead to mental suffering of the Longyears on death row had made them mentally ill.
- recently Supreme Court has commuted Khalistani terrorist Bhullar’s death sentence to life term on the same ground.
- In the landmark judgement, the court had held that prolonging execution of death sentence has a “dehumanising effect” on condemned prisoners who have to face the “agony” of waiting for years under the shadow of death during the pendency of their mercy plea.
- the delay in commuting death sentence is denial of justice from the point of view of victim also as delay in the execution ,increasing the dissatisfaction level of victim which may lead to mental suffering of victim also.
Though no time limit can be fixed within which the mercy petition ought to be disposed of, there should not be inordinate delay. The supreme court in its recent verdicts also expressed this view.
6: The size of the cabinet should be big as governmental work justifies and as big the Prime Minister can manage as a team. How far is the efficacy of a government then inversely related to the size of the cabinet? Discuss.
The Cabinet is the governing framework of the India which is not only machinery of government but also the nerve centre of the government of India .If it is nerve of governmental machinery then it should be framed according to the requirement of structure means neither too small or too big but optimum size of cabinet.
Advantages of mid-size cabinet
- Means less burden on the Public Exchequer
- Eases the problem of Coordination
- Conducive to the fostering of team spirit
- For healthy development of democracy a compact cabinet is always to be commended.
Disadvantages of small/gigantic cabinet
- excessive centralisation of power
- conflict of interest
- Excessive burden
- Overlapping of duties
Although, in the scheme of parliamentary system of government provided by constitution, President is the head of state while Prime Minister is the head of the government.
Prime Minister described as “the steersman of steering wheel of the ship of the state”.PM being a leader of government need cabinet in compact size that steer members act more precise manner not liquidated by working burden of other ministry.
Whereas a large sized cabinet is also not conducive to the healthy growth of public life and the political parties. For such growth it is essential that quite a large number of Parliamentarians should remain out of government to look to non-governmental affairs and to organize them.This aspect of life is important in countries where political process are still in a formative stage.
7: Though the 100 percent FDI is already allowed in non news media like trade publication and general entertainment channel,the government is mulling over the proposal for increased FDI in news media for quite some time. What difference would an increase in FDI make? Critically evaluate the pros and cons?
Government has already allowed the 100 FDI in non news media but reluctant to increase the FDI cap from 26 percent to further, Government recently look over to increase the FDI cap in news media also but with lots of cautious, discussion, involving several stakeholder influence from increased FDI.
The increased limit of FDI in media especially the audio and visual form make a lots of sense because right to know the genuine information is the right of every people and state is the ultimate authority to ensure such right, hence analysing and understanding the composite culture of the nation, Government should think the matter multidimensionally.
Pros of Increase in FDI
- Internal democracy of the working of media increase.
- Transparent, Responsible, Accountable media section emerge which skip off the unscrupulous practice of domestic media house.
- Scrutiny, authenticity and standard of news increased because at present media coverage is limited due to financial crunch and the dogmatic commercial houses who influence the news for profit seeking purpose.
- Mitigate the effect of Yellow Journalism (sensationalism) and broaden the scope for investigation journalism.
- Diversified media coverage
Cons of Increase in FDI
- Media in narrow aspect is news making but in broader sense is connected to integrity and security of India, it’s a very responsible task hence handle to the people of national at large.
- A firm with illicit intention can harm the stakeholder of large spectrum i.e Bureaucrat, politician , commercial firm and people itself.
- It harm the already established domestic media houses.
- Lobby, grouping ,partisanship, malafide collaboration etc by the external player for policy norm regarding media might and will make the condition of chaos and confusion.
- Westernisation of India.
8: The setting of a Rail Tariff Authority to regulate fares will subject the cash strapped Indian railways to demand subsidy for obligation to operate non profitable routes and services. Taking into account the experience in the power sector, Discuss if the proposed reform is expected to benefit the consumer, the Indian Railways or the private container operator.
Rail tariff authority is an authority to institutionalize a regulatory mechanism for pricing of passenger and freight services. It will be vested with the function to develop an integrated, transparent and dynamic pricing mechanism for the passenger and freight segments of the Indian Railway’s business. It will also advise the Central Government on fixation of tariff, based on cost of operations and factors impinging it, to help generate requisite surpluses for healthy growth in the future. The reason for creating such an authority is the inability of the Railways to increase passenger fares to cover the rising cost of operation of passenger services, which is currently heavily subsidised by earnings generated from freight transport and it is also compulsion for the railways provide the enlarge the connectivity of its services making it obligation for railways operation non profitable route and services, which exert the money staunch railways into vicious cycle. The formation of such authority will ameliorate the condition of railway services.
The increase of private sector participation in the power sector lessen the risk aversion factor of the Government and the delivery of service also enhanced. In line of the power sector, the reforms recommended for the Rail tariff authority will help the consumer, India railways as well as the private sector.
The consumer will get the fast, efficient and comfortable service as the subsidised rates have affected passenger business profitability — the loss gradually reaching an unsustainable level. The cast trapped railways will make the good revenue from this by balancing the passenger and freight services, while the private container operator will significantly get the benefits from it because as of now, for subsidising passenger services, Indian Railways has had to increase freight rates, sometimes keeping them abnormally high. This has hurt the Railways which has consistently lost its market share in freight traffic, particularly in cement and steel transport, so Industry get benefits from it.
9: National Human Right Commission in India can be the most effective when its tasks are adequately supported by other mechanism that ensure the accountability of a government.In light of the above observation assess the role of NHRC as an effective complement to the judiciary and other institution in promoting and protectiong human rights standards.
National Human Right Commission is the watchdog of human rights in India. It protects the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
However, factor responsible for Ineffectiveness of National Human Right Commission:
- It is vested with the power to regulate its own procedure. It has all the powers of a civil court and its proceedings have a judicial character. It may call for information or report from the Central and state governments or any other authority subordinate but the concern authority are non obliged with such norm and covertly deny or delay in response to such information, making the proceeding ineffective.
- The commission has its own nucleus of investigating staff for investigation into complaints of human rights violations. Besides, it is empowered to utilise the services of any officer or investigation agency of the Central government or any state government for the purpose, however many a time the authority might reluctant to provide the assistance due to political influence or other and if provide it will be of ill or biased intention toward the culprit.
- It may recommend to the concerned government or authority the initiation of proceedings for prosecution or any other action against the guilty public servant but here also public authority is not always choose to take the appropriate action which caused to fall down the status of NHRC.
The following are the some empowerment and role played by the NHRC in contemporary which shows that it is an effective complements to the judiciary and other institutions in promoting and protecting human rights .
- Abolition of Bonded Labour
- Issues Concerning Right to Food
- Abolition of Child Labour
- Guidebook for the Media on Sexual Violence against Children
- Trafficking in Women and Children: Manual for the Judiciary for Gender Sensitisation
- Sensitisation Programme on Prevention of Sex Tourism and Trafficking
- Combating Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace
- Dalits Issues including Atrocities Perpetrated on them
- Problems Faced by Denotified and Nomadic Tribes
- Rights of the Disabled Persons
- Issues Related to Right to Health
10: The penetration of self help group (SHG) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles? Examine.
The penetration of self help group (SHG) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles in many ways:
With the promotion of women self help group in rural areas, women are crossing the gender barrier into what was called the men’s zone such as construction of road, handling building construction and machinery. With the emergence of women as a new social order are setback for orthodox patriarchal mindset which created the problem in promotion of self help group.
Sustainability of some groups not possible due to lack of understanding, distrust and suspicion due to caste/ class differences among the various segments of population which mitigate the intention of self help group.
Self help organisation empower people and have develop own marketing system, the demonstrating effect cause the people the underprivileged population to feel like privileged the upper and dominant class of society which are opposite of such empowerment cause the hurdle in broad manner.
Some other socio-cultural reason that create hurdle in the path of SHG are:
- Generally the actions and achievements of the SHGs are not visible. Due to which their impact upon the society is never acknowledged.
- Social evils such as liquor consumption exist and impact them adversely.
- Remote village and illiterate members with little or no awareness of their rights.
- The local governance structure sometimes keep distance with self help group due to narrow mindset which lessen the impact of self help group.
11: Do Government’s schemes for the uplifting vulnerable and backward communities by protecting required social resources for them, lead to their exclusion in establishing business in urban economies?
The well intended Government schemes for upliftment of vulnerable and backward communities benefits the various section of society. It check massive migration, uplift poor, and provide job in periphery near to their habitation. While the well intended policies of the government are often based on a principle of re-distributive justice, there are some unintended consequences of the same, which are felt by the business communities.
The effect of these consequences laid to the exclusion of business in urban economies are mainly in the form of:
- Increased labour cost due to the regulations put by the government agencies. By interfering with the free determination of the prices in the market, the government, at times, interfere with the unhampered development of the economy and the private sector.
- Increased competition of market in urban areas is often an outcome of the welfarist stance taken by the government. In the form of subsidised and regulated distribution, the government imposes restrictions on the freedom of the private businesses, thus facilitating the growth of the vulnerable section at an opportunity cost of the development of the private sector as a whole.
- Poorer utilisation of the resources for the welfare of vulnerable sections is another significant point that restrict the optimal growth of the private sector. The government often allocates the natural resources for the development of the vulnerable sections, thus depriving the private businesses to use the same for production and sale.
- However, if seen in the long-run, it appears that the welfares policies of the government does not impede upon the wholesome development of the society. Instead of allowing the growth of a particular section, such policies strive to lay a basic foundation upon which the development of the country could be sustained.
12: An athlete participates in olympics for personal triumph and nation’s glory; victors are showered with cash incentives by various agencies on their return.Discuss the merit of state sponsored talent hunts and its cultivation as against the rationale of the rewarded mechanism as encouragement.
The government and governmental organizations constitute the public sector of the sports industry, which is responsible for making sports policies, allocating grants for developing infrastructure, nurturing talents and designing specialized programmes for overall development of sports. Cash incentive by the various sporting agencies to the performer in any major event is complementary to the some extent, it is not the supplement of government effort to build infrastructure facilities, better facilities to sportsperson and good managerial capacity of the sporting authority. The incentive should not the ultimate means to improve the condition prevails in the country, it will benefits few but not the whole sport fraternity.
The merit and benefits of talents hunts by the government and private players are many as compared to reward mechanism as encouragement because the former is the building process whose approach covered every nook and corner of the country while the later is narrow outlook to curtail the mistake made by the sporting authority.
Talent Hunt Programme and its merit are as following:
- It will help to sort out the best talenting performer and deserve sportsperson in the forum,which lessen the undeserved candidates to take the berth at the cost of good one.
- The faith and trust on sporting and governing bodies increases due to transparent and responsible mechanism of the selection
- The searching of talent is not merely the talent from the metro or big cities but to the rural and interior areas of Northeastern states and rural area are considered to be the powerhouses of talent, one cannot expect to be the leader without inclusion to them. Talent hunt laid the different sporting bodies to reach their to pull the best talent and polished them.
- It will help the brake the various stigma related to sports, gender and caste biased in sport have no place to exist.
- Make it economic viable for those who can not afford to play sport as his primary choice and hesitate to make it professional one.
13: Should the premier institute like IIT/IIM be allowed to retain premier status, allowed more academics independence in designing courses and also decide mode/criteria of selection of students. Discuss in light of the growing challenges.
The premier institute like IIT/IIM be allowed to retain the premier status and allowed to retain more academic independence. The following are the factor which favour the status of these institute are:
- Mushrooming of Engineering and Management colleges, having a mercenary aim and not inclined towards quality education. This has caused a degradation of the curriculum and academic excellence among the students coming out of such institutes. IIT/IIMs are required to have an autonomy to craft the best possible courses for the students.
- Entitlement of such institution and independence of such institution make it industry oriented. By making their courses interdisciplinary in nature, and more suitable to the industry, IIT/IIMs create a generation that is perfectly suited to the needs of the economy.
- Also, these institutions cater to the demand of indigenous industry. It is better to allow the educational institutions to frame the course and other academic requirements by themselves. A political or legal interference in such fields could disturb the whole purpose.
On the other hand, there might be some counter arguments as well:
- For instance, by creating such a division, there would be a long term bifurcation within the educational setup of the country. This could be problematic for the educational policy of the nation, and could drive a wedge among the student community itself.
- Further, giving such an autonomy to these institutions could fail the education system and the regulatory organisations in the country itself.
It may be better argued that, instead of giving the premium institutes an overarching autonomy, the whole educational system should be re-framed to abide by norms of academic excellence.
14: Has the Cadre based Civil Services Organisation been the cause of slow change in India? Critically examine.
Cadre-based Civil Services in India was premised on the belief that career based civil services is best suitable for all the top positions of the government. The natural corollary is that there are very few lateral entries and the civil services enjoy a monopoly over all the top positions of the government. But, in this modern age of governance, cad re based civil services has generated a huge debate. Some cadres, especially those of All-India Services, has been given undue preference over others. For example, officers of IAS cad re have been appointed in all the crucial offices in government such as offices of economic planning, and accounting which should
have belonged to the respective experts. This has slowed down the decision-ma king and diluted the effective ness of the decisions. With rapid expansion of knowledge, increasing complexities in certain fields, and rapid expansion of private sector, a large a mount of expertise developed outside government. Such expertise could help in dealing with the assess such talent, various complexities that the tasks presents. Hence, in order to lateral hiring should be encourage d in all the important government positions so that the cause of growth and development is best services. Experts believe that in Civil Services. lateral entry could bring in more professionalism and knowledge
15: Two parallel run schemes of the government viz the Aadhaar card and NPR, one as voluntary and other as compulsory, have led to debates at national level and also litigation. On merits, discuss whether or not both schemes need run concurrently. Analyse the potential of the schemes to achieve developmental benefits and equitable growth.
As per Section 14A of the Citizenship Act 1955 as amended in 2004, it is compulsory for every citizen of the country to register in the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). The creation of the National Population Register (NPR) is the first step towards preparation of the NRIC. However, the issue arises that NPR and Aadhaar have the common area of contention and assume to be the project of same objective, but this is not true in actual sense. There is actually no conflict between UID and NPR. The illusion of conflict has been created by a misunderstanding about the objectives of the two projects.
NPR is a project whose major objective is geared towards ensuring better national security by developing a mechanism for creating a register of residents, which would, later on, be used as a base for creating a register of citizens. It follows a set of specific procedures in order to authenticate identity, place of residence, before issuing a Resident Identity Card. The UIDs’ emphasis is on assigning a unique number so as to be able to correctly identify an individual. This is the basic difference in project objectives of the two schemes.
On merit, Aadhaar and NPR both schemes played an important role to achieve developmental benefits and equitable growth, but it is not easy, and need routine upgradation of database. The challenge and opportunity by these schemes are separately acknowledged and not as a whole.
Merits of the two are as following
- A large no of e-governance platform can be build from these database, the card given would be an enabler, just like an ATM card allows one to access money, this card could allow citizens to access e-Government schemes and services after proper authentication of identity. Services offered by different ministries could be integrated on a common platform with the card as the common access key.
- For a long time India has been facing various frauds in identity as some corrupt persons has created various fake identity for their individual benefits. Aadhar and NPR India will help in finish all such kind of things.
- Also, the immediate purpose of the two schemes is different, as Aadhaar is being used as a proof of identity, for various purposes, including the disbursal of subsidies and other incentives. In contrast to this, the National Population Register is more like a database of the Indian citizens.
16: With respect to the South China sea, maritime territorial disputes and rising tension affirm the need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the region. In this context, discuss the bilateral issue between India and China.
There is growing tension between different countries, neighbouring the south china sea over the maritime issues like sharing of maritime resources, ownership of islands etc. The tension escalated after the declaration of complete sovereignty, over south china sea, by Chinese government. Recently Chinese government took initiative to construct Maritime silk route. It added fuel to the fire, by raising apprehensions about the intentions of the Chinese government.
New Delhi’s status in the area and beyond is at stake, and its response to Chinese policies can impact not only Japan but the ASEAN countries as well, thereby introducing important geopolitical issues for all concerned. In this context following bilateral issues between India and China are important.
- The maritime sea route proposed by China could affect the strategic interest of india in the Pacific as well as in the Indian ocean.
- China has embarked on a ‘string-of-pearls’ strategy to surround and contain India in South-Asia. China was establishing strategic relations with India’s neighbors to ensure a feeling of fear in Indian Political establishment.
- China is making Military bases, Ports, Roads, Gas Pipeline and other Infrastructures in our neighbors like Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka etc.
- India is countering the Chinese Policy with it’s own “Necklace Of diamond” Strategy and that is sending shivers down the Chinese spine.
- India and Vietnam are forging strong geo-political ties, much to the concern of China, which is engaged in territorial disputes with both countries. Vietnam offered India two oil-exploration blocks located in disputed South China Sea waters, prompting a sharp reaction from Beijing.
- China has already warned India against meddling in its dispute with Vietnam over islands in the South China Sea.
17: The aim of Information Technology Agreement (ITAs) is to lower all taxes and tariff on information technology products by signatories to zero.What impact would such agreement have on India’s interests?
The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) is an agreement enforced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and entered into force on 1997. Since then a formal committee under the WTO watches over the declaration and its implementation. The ultimate aim of the is to lower all taxes and tariff on Information technology products by signatories to zero. In the context of the plurilateral agreements like ITA, India main concern was to attract inward FDI and to facilitate the growth of its then still nascent IT-services industry. For electronics manufacturing however, gains from trade liberalization were overshadowed by substantial costs – with rising electronics imports inflating the country’s current account deficit to unsustainable record highs, while eroding domestic electronic manufacturing and innovation.
To improve reciprocity in the distribution of gains from ITA, the expert suggests that late-comers, like India, deserve, under certain conditions, special and differentiated treatment. In turn, these countries need to agree to reforms that reduce investment barriers in their domestic industries, such as restrictive regulations and discrimination against foreign direct investment.
18: Some of the international funding agencies have special terms for economic participation stipulating a substantial components of the aid to be used for sourcing equipment from the leading countries. Discuss on merit of such terms, and if there exist a strong case not to accept such conditions in the Indian context.
It is true that some of the international funding agencies put special terms for economic participation, by stipulating a substantial component of the aids to be used for sourcing equipment from the lending countries. This creates a handicap upon the freedom of the aid-recieving country in a number of contexts.
- Such terms put stringent restrictions on the economic freedom of the developing countries, thereby restricting them from importing from a country of it’s choice. This often forces the developing countries to set up unviable economic relations with the more-developed countries, thus putting them at a relatively disadvantageous position.
- A greater challenge is posed by the externalities that such relations create for the developing countries. Most of the economic agreements have some or the other social-political-diplomatic impacts on the developing countries, like India.
- In a world, divided into regional blocks, such terms could hamper India’s interest with other states and regional organisations. For instance, increasing proximity with the USA, gave rise to a number of tensions to the Indo-Russian relations.
- A viable strategy to counter such imposition of trade conditions could be to diversify the trade relations and diplomatic agreements with other countries and regions. By securing the support of the allies in the other parts of the world, countries like India could ensure the fulfilment of the economic interest as well as diplomatic sovereignty.
19: India has recently signed to become founding member of the New Development Bank (NDB) and also the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). How will the role of the two Banks be different? Discuss the strategic significance of these two banks for India?
The recently established New Development Bank (NDB) by BRICS member countries and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), with their headquarters in China, by 21 Asian countries herald a shift in economic power from the West to the East. It is speculated that these two monetary institutions would dwarf the size of West-supported World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Need for the creation of NDB was felt because of the discriminatory attitude of the West towards the developing countries, Both the WB and the IMF are based on weighted voting system, which provide the rich countries a big say in the management. There are informal arrangements whereby the American is always at the top in the WB; while the European is in top position in IMF. In those monetary institutions, the developing countries don’t have enough voting rights. It is likely that NDB would take less assertive position with regard to conditions attached to loans than the WB. It would mobilize resources for sustainable infrastructural development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries. Resources from this bank would be invested in power sector, ports, roads, telecommunication networks, water and sewerage.
Like the NDB, the establishment of AIIB by the 21 Asian nations, including Nepal, India, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Beijing on October 2014 will prove another milestone in financing infrastructure projects in the Asian region. China and India played a key role in establishing this bank after it failed to enhance its voice in multilateral organizations like the WB and the IMF.It is, therefore, likely that AIIB would somehow affect the image of ADB, the West-backed multilateral lender that finances projects in Asia. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why the USA and its close allies Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Australia remained conspicuously absent from AIIB.
Strategic significance of NDB and AIIB for India are as following:
- The Reserve and funding arrangement gives India a new instrument for safeguarding their economic stability. This is an important initiative at a time of high volatility in global financial markets
- Lending and other operational activities of New development Bank and AIIB could play significant role in improving financial system of India.
- Augment financing in infrastructure project which is the need of the hour for India.
20: WTO is an important international institution where decision taken affect countries in a profound manner. What is the mandate of WTO and how binding are their decision? Critically analyse India’s on the latest round of the talks on Food security.
WTO is an organisation that intended to supervise and liberalise international trade. The organisation deals with trade between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating and formalising trade agreement and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participant adherence to WTO agreement, which are signed by the representative of member Government. The decision taken affect the countries in a profound manner.
The working of WTO has change dramatically and continue to do so, The principle force behind the changing norms is not hard to find: the continuously rising share of national output that is traded internationally (Globalisation) the collapse of central planning and developing countries rejection of import in favour of developmental strategies based on integration into the global economies so it is imperative for all the signatory country to bind by the agreement in the WTO forum and its violation leads to several penalties.
The mandates related to WTO are as following
- Settlement: exchange information/arguments and provide incentives for parties to come to a mutually agreed settlement;
- Rebalancing: if one party violates, another should not be obliged to continue to perform its obligation v-a-v the wrongdoer; this results from an idea of fairness or reciprocity;
- Compensation: repair damage caused by the breach to victims of the beach
- Compliance: bring about conformity with the rules
- Clarification: clarify the rules to facilitate compliance or settlement in the specific case, as well as to guide future conduct
- Deterrence/Punishment: deter future violations of the law
The following elements that may induce compliance and/or affect deterrence are:
- Reputation costs (in particular the risk that future commitments lose credibility)
- A desire to maintain the stability and legitimacy of the institution itself
- Independent belief in the ideas/benefits behind the rules
- Domestic costs linked to breach (such as higher consumers prices and losses for importers or limits imposed by national law)
The recently Bali round conducted which put forward the Doha round of 2001,which bring out the amicable solution among the member countries through trade facilitation agreement.