UPSC General Studies 2017 Paper II Solutions
1. “The local self-government system in India has not proved to be effective instrument of governance”. Critically examine the statement and give your views to improve the situation.
- According to the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment acts local self-governments has given constitutional status. Since then it has become a constitutional mandate on the part of the states to make sure that local self-governments work properly.
- There was a considerable improvement in the working style, activities performing, public participation etc. Most of the people who are backward, scheduled caste, women have been enjoying the power.
- Most of the welfare activities performing considerably well. In spite of that there were serious problems threatening the gross root democratic institutions of the country.
- Main problems are functions, functionaries and funds. The constitution and central model act delegated the responsibility – of transferring functions to local bodies-to states. Most of the states are guilty of not transferring the functions and powers to the local level.
- When it comes to the funds According to the 14th finance commission there are some funds directly transfer to local bodies depending on their performance, at the state level finance commissions are not appointed, states are not allocating the special funds, and most of the functionaries are not made accountable to the local self-institutions.
- Even in some states they are not conducting elections regularly, some states don’t want loose the control over the reins of power. Because of above problems still they are underperforming and not utilizing their full potential.
2. Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgement on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India.
- Independent judiciary is the basic feature of the constitution. According to the 2nd and 3rd judge cases, in appointing the judges of higher judiciary primacy is given to judiciary. The NJAC(National Judicial Appointments Commission ) Act, 2014 involves executive along with the judiciary in such appointments. So Supreme Court felt that the autonomy given to the judiciary was under threat, so it quashed the NJAC act.
3. Judiciary don’t want to allow any body into its sphere to maintain the integrity and transparency of the institution, but the question arises here is, are they maintaining that impartially?
- Most of the people opinion that judicial proceedings are opaque and nepotism is rising in appointments. Past experiences shows that post retirements posts became a regular phenomenon and giving opportunity to limited number of people in such appointments is also a concern. So executive thought to bring a mix of both herself and judiciary in appointments.
- But to protect the constitution and its values, protecting the rights of people against the tyranny of executive and legislature we need an independent judiciary.
- But on the name of protecting the institution if it is not accountable to any one is like a type of despotism. Even after quashing NJAC if judiciary able to correct above issues then we can balance both the constitutional values and public opinion.
4.‘Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people’ Discuss.
- Election process in our country is risky, time consuming, costly affair. As per the present govt proposal if we conduct simultaneous election to the parliament and state assemblies, it will save lot of time and reduce the money spent and limit the flow of black money.
- Moreover it won’t disturb the development projects in the name of model code of conduct. In India mostly 2 major national parties contest in all most all state elections.
- But once the election process completed to all the states assemblies and parliament, then people have to wait for next five years to express their opinion towards the performance of govt. and other political parties.
- Then govt. of the day may not accountable to the people and neglect the aspirations of the common man.
- But in present day type of election process every year more than one state goes for election. Then union govt. and major national party’s faith will be tested there.
- This is something like a feed back to them at regular intervals. To win those elections and to maintain their credibility at the national level they always in touch with the public and ensure accountability and try to fulfil the aspirations of people. In simultaneous elections we don’t have that choice this will reduce the accountability of the govt. of the day.
5. How do pressure groups influence Indian political process? Do you agree with this view that informal pressure groups have emerged as powerful as formal pressure groups in recent years?
- Assertiveness on the part of people is the key feature of democracy. People with their different organizations always raise their voices on different issues so that they can influence the policies of the govt.
- Earlier this was usually done by the political parties, but in present day, the issues becoming more complex and pure technical. It is necessitated the people who had domain knowledge to come forward and raise their concerns.
- People are also becoming more active and aware in present day. Even political parties supporting their cause or inviting them to join to mount the pressure on the government.
- These groups works on issues like corruption, farmer cause, labour, MSME, Biotechnology, nuclear energy, environment.
- These groups also called pressure groups. Some groups later became political parties; some are serious in creating awareness among people through their campaigns which in turn make the people politically more active.
- These groups are mildly deciding the fate of the political parties, but it is an exaggeration to say that these are more powerful than formal pressure groups.
- Because of lack of wider social base, most of the people are poor and illiterate (they cannot understand the problem). So these groups are not that influential enough on core and technical issues at gross root level.
- Moreover they can raise voice outside but not in the legislature. So their pressure always need not transform into political.
6. Discuss the role of Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people.
- Public account committee at the union and state level will examine the C&AG reports once they submitted to parliament.
- The committee report provides an opportunity to the members of the house to raise the issues like misallocation, unproductive, unauthorized spending of money on the floor of the house. Then govt. of the day must answer to those questions, which in turn improve the accountability. But this is like post-mortem, done once the work is completed.
- We cannot recover any loss, but atleast it will make the govt. more awake and aware at least for the succeeding years. Generally people are also not bothered about these reports, as these are more technical in nature and came to lime light after completion of the financial year. This will provide only a preventive solution but not a curative.
- Though this committee headed by the opposition party member but majority of members belongs to ruling party, they always behave like a subsidiary to executive and never perform like legislature.
- We can’t expect a transparent examination/report from them. Legislature don’t have a time to consider and discuss the whole report. So, even though parliamentary procedure created such watch dog mechanism on treasury, it is not working to that extent effectively and not making govt accountable to the people because of its own style of working and nature.
7.‘To ensure effective implementation of policies addressing water, sanitation and hygiene needs, the identification of beneficiary segments is to be synchronized with the anticipated outcomes’ Examine the statement in the context of the WASH scheme.
- WASH stands for water, sanitation and hygiene. Sustainable access to WASH can improve public health and also part of sustainable development goal.
- Access to pure drinking water, sanitation facilities and hygiene environment is the aim of this scheme. In selecting the beneficiaries that must synch with the anticipated outcomes.
- For example if want to provide pure drinking water facility to all , the focus must be on hilly, desert, rural, back ward areas. Where ground water contain toxic elements, fluoride like elements should be the priority area. Similarly in creating the sanitation facility villages, slums, areas where no proper drainage system available should be the focussing areas.
- Similarly in case of hygiene starting from school children to rural and illiterate people should be the focused area. Then only desired targets are reached, otherwise if we start a flag ship like program in which beneficiaries and participants are not in accordance with the objective it will just waste the resources.
- Note: we can give many examples like fluoride affected districts and ill effects of such problem.
8. Does the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 ensure effective mechanism for empowerment and inclusion of the intended beneficiaries in the society? Discuss
- Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 aims at improving the conditions, facilities and benefits of especially abled persons.
- According to the act the number of disabilities increased from 7 to 21, even 3 types of blood disorder also included in the list of disability.
- Reservations in public employment increased to 4% also reservation in higher education, allocation of land, poverty alleviation also provided.
- Under accessible India campaign provisions were made in the act to make sure public buildings must be accessible to divyangas.
- The existing trust fund and other funds were subsumed and created a National level fund and State level fund. It will provide financial aid to the divyangas.
- It provides penalties for the offences committed against the disable persons. It also ensure for providing special district level courts to handle cases violating the rights of PWDs.
- This act will bring our law in line with the United Nations convention on rights of persons with disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory.
- District level committee will be constitutes will be constituted by state govt. to address the local concerns of PwDs. Every children with bench mark disability between age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
- This act will not only provide protection but also empowers the divyangas. At the same time the act is not specific about the right to information and right to health of PwDs.
9. Hunger and Poverty are the biggest challenges for good governance in India still today. Evaluate how far successive governments have progressed in dealing with these humongous problems. Suggest measures for improvement.
- One of the problems that we are inherited from British’s is hunger, after green revolution production of food grains improved enormously, still hunger is a biggest problem in our country. Indexes like global hunger index report reveals our under performance. Successive govt. through their schemes like, PDS, Food for Work program, RPDS, TPDS, National food security act distributing the food grains at minimum price.
- When it comes to poverty according to rangarajan report it is 29%. Hunger, ill health, poverty is a never ending vicious cycle.
- Schemes like MGNREGA , area development programs also could not lift the people out of poverty. Unless you break that vicious cycle we can’t solve the entire problem comprehensively.
- In receiving the govt. welfare schemes identity becomes the issue for most of the migrant and nomadic groups , so much of food grains lying idle and wasting in go downs.
- Corruption at various levels is also aggravating the problem of hunger. For removal poverty govt. thinking to bring universal basic income (UBI) scheme.
- May be it is a good idea, but unless you solve basic problems like food, health, and education poverty can’t be removed completely.
- Creating an employment which will provide a sustainable income is biggest challenging to the govt. Sanitation is one of the major factor pushing the people into the poverty because of costly Medicare. So govt need to adopt a multipronged strategy to eliminate this menace.
10. ‘China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’, In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbor.
- India is doing around $70 billion trade with china with deficit of around $ 40 billion. It is not the case with just India but most of Asian and other global countries also.
- With such huge deficit countries literally depending on china even for their regular use and essential products. On the name of economic aid it is splendid its huge forex reserves in developing infrastructure projects, ports, military bases in the Indian Ocean countries.
- Because of such huge debts and trade deficits these countries could not raise their genuine concerns.
- With this china is growing aggressively in this region. It is encircling India with its military and economic power .OBOR, string of pearls are some of the schemes which are becoming bit of concern to India as it is threatening its sovereignty on both land (CPEC passes through POK) and maritime(Indian ocean).
- Chinese warships and submarines frequently visiting the Indian Ocean on the name of anti-piracy operations. China wanted to enter into Indian sub-continent group called SAARC. Even engaging with Nepal, China wanted to counter the influence of India. So our own geo political, strategic, economic, security interests are bit of concern with such type of activities of china.
11.What are the main functions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)? Explain different functional commissions attached to it.
- It consists of 18 members elected by the General Assembly, one-third retiring after every three years. Retiring members are eligible for immediate re-election. All decisions of the Council are taken by a majority of those present and voting.
- Functions: The Economic and Social Council is responsible under the authority of the General Assembly for promoting:
Higher standards of living, full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development;
2. International cultural and educational co-operation ;
3. Solution of international economic, social health and related problems;
4. Universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, etc.
It also undertakes and promotes studies and reports on economic, social, health and cultural matters, makes recommendations to the General Assembly, states and specialized agencies, etc. It prepares drafts of conventions and calls conferences of states.
12. Explain the salient features of the constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016. Do you think it is efficacious enough ‘to remove cascading effect of taxes and provide for common national market for goods and services’?
- Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 is Goods and Services tax(GST),which subsume the multiple indirect taxes into one single tax.
- This tax rate decided by GST council consisting of representative from all states, UTs and Union government. This tax consisting of three components like, state GST, central GST, integrated GST.
- Tax amount will be shared between center and states according to suitable formula.
- There shall be an IT network called GSTN, is an IT Platform is a user interface to file the returns and paying the taxes. It eliminates the human interference in entire process. Input tax credit is the novel feature, provided on the goods and services, originated with in the, outside the state.
- This tax will remove the cascading effect of tax and maintain a uniform tax rate throughout that nation. It eliminates barriers to trade across the states by removing check posts. Goods and services are moving freely and traded at similar price as it attracts the same tax rate. This creates a common national market.
- In implementing this act traders and people must create an awareness in order to utilize the full benefits of this tax system.
- Some unscrupulous always takes an advantage of new system to reap maximum benefits by escalating the costs or by not passing the benefits.
- A body like anti profiteering authority need to constitute as early as possible to regulate such trade practices and make sure that IT network should be simple, flexible and user friendly then a common national market will be created.
13. Examine the scope of Fundamental Rights in the light of the latest judgement of the Supreme Court on Right to Privacy
- The scope of fundamental rights are becoming wider in these days. People becoming of more aware about their rights and showing more assertiveness in exercising those rights. In the light of recent supreme court Judgement in privacy case, where 9 judge constitutional bench unanimously agreed to right to privacy as fundamental right under right to life and personal liberty (Article-21).
- The same right in earlier case like, M.P.Sharma and Kharak sing cases not considered as fundamental right. As the country is developing people are just don’t want lead their life mechanically, their preferences are changing, aspirations are growing, they want to exercise their rights through all their available means.
- Individual liberty gained much more importance. Earlier private information like postal address considered as privacy but now thumb impression, iris details, health information, personal choices, bodily information, etc becomes part of life without which we cannot lead our life comfortably.
- As the technology and business promotion activities growing personal data gaining more salience, so people don’t want to share their confidential information with any other which include their personal information. Right to life is now no more limited to the wider interpretation given in Maneka Gandhi case , it reached to a micro level where each and every single entity of life becoming an important component to lead life according to the whims and fancies of individuals with in the frame work of reasonable restrictions.
- The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding joint session of the two houses of the Parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reasons thereof.
- If a bill passed with a required majority in both the houses of parliament separately then it is considered as passed by parliament. If there is logjam in passing a bill in one house, the same was passed in another house, then president convene the joint session of the parliament to pass that bill. But if such bill is constitution amendment bill, money bill, bill pertaining to article 3 president can’t convene joint session. Both the hoses must pass the bill separately otherwise that will set a side. So in case of ordinary bills only president can convene joint session.
- The reason behind not convening the session in some cases is,
i) to protect the constitution against the tyrany of mass majority of ruling party in loksabha
ii) to consider the opinion of both the houses separatly
iii) to consider the opinion of states (Rajya sabha) in constitution amendments
iv) to uphold the federalist nature of constitution.
v) To retain money power of loksabha.
- Why joint session held in some cases
i) In extrardionary circumstances if president thinks that bill is important to national interests but could not pass becuse states (Rajyasabha)are ojecting to it
ii) to protect the nationalist against the political interests
iii) to treat members of both the houses on par in extrardinory circumstances.
14. To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful?
- Amendment to the Constitution of India
1. Constitutional protection for all members of the Commission
2. Budget of the Commission to be ‘charged’
3. Independent Secretariat for the Commission
- Election Management Issues
1. Making of any false statement or declaration before Authorities punishable
2. Proposal regarding ling of false affidavit
3. Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951
4. Retirement of Members in Council of States and Legislative Council
5. Providing open ballot system in case of the election to ll seat/ seats in the State Legislative
6. Adjournment of poll or countermanding of election on the ground of bribery
empowering the District Election Officer to requisition staff
- Use of totalizer for counting of votes
Nomination of Candidates
Section 33(7) of The Representation of the People Act, 1951 – Restriction on the Number of
- 1. Seats from which one may contest
2. Section 33 of The Representation of the People Act, 1951 – Same number of proposer
3. Disqualications under Chapter III of The Representation of the People Act, 1951
- De- Criminalization of politics
1. De- Criminalisation of Politics
2. Misuse of religion for electoral gain
3. Making bribery in elections a cognizable offence
- Reforms relating to Political Parties
1. De- registration of political parties
2. Tax Relief for Political Parties
3. Compulsory Maintenance of Accounts by Political Parties
4. Accounting and Auditing Report of Political Parties
5. Prohibition on Anonymous Donations
6. Maintenance of separate bank accounts by each contesting candidate for poll expenses.
7. Cap on Expenditure by Political Party on a Candidate for election campaign
8. Ceiling of campaign expenditure by political parties
9. Limit the Number of Star Campaigners
- Election campaign and advertisements
1. Ban on exit polls and opinion polls
2. Ban on Government Sponsored Advertisement before elections
3. Paid news in connection with elections
15. Is the National Commission for Women able to strategize and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer.
- National commission for women was constituted in 1992 as a statutory body. It will look into the issues and violation of rights of women and raise voice on behalf of them.
- The subjects of their campaign have included dowry, politics, religion, equal representation of women in jobs and the exploitation women for labour also discuss police abuses against women. In spite of commission women safety and rights are a bit of concern in our county.
- Women are facing lot of problems in both public and private spheres, if at all we want to resolve them we need to build a comprehensive strategy. But who will prepare that? National commission for women is no longer have such capacity.
- As it is not holding constitutional position govt. Are not so serious about funding of that institution and no proper resource allocation, no proper research on issues faced by women are ongoing. Most of the people felt that it is an arm chaired like institution, they don’t know the gross root realities, and they never bothered to take visits around the country.
- Even if it recommend govt. are not so serious in implementing them. Most of the time this institution works as normal govt. department but not as an independent commission.
- They don’t have enough database regarding the exploitation and persecution, molestation, harassment of women.
- They are unaware about the problem of domestic workers who are mostly women, they never talk about women bodily rights. So in order to prepare a strategy let us come with a body or improve the capacity building of the NCW in such a way that they should enough sensitive to the problem of women. Reforms in political, economic, social aspects need to be brought as early as possible.
16. ‘The emergence of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in contemporary times points to the slow but steady withdrawal of the state from developmental activities’. Examine the role of the SHGs in developmental activities and the measures taken by the Government of India to promote the SHGs.
- In the era of liberalization state is withdrawing from developmental activities. Most are given to either private sector or non-governmental organizations. In rural areas are self-help groups filling the vacuum created by the govt. These groups consists of 10-15 women members of a village.
- They are initially confined to only economic activities, taking bank loans, produce some handicraft items etc.
- As the time passes they are also politically became more active, started involving various developmental activities for example in some states SHGs are procuring food grains from the farmers at MSP, in some states they are involving in the vaccine promotion campaign, etc. In this era govt. don’t want to involve in each and every part of governance, except some essential things remaining all are given to external organization in the name of outsourcing.
- These groups are already familiar with the administration is taking some activities, so that they can financially benefit and people also get benefited. Govt. is providing loans at concessional rates to this groups, giving training to this groups, in conducting social audit and implementing and monitoring some activities are also done by this groups.
- In preparing the local level plans and creating awareness among the people regarding welfare schemes and selection of beneficiaries and make sure that benefits must reach to the targeted sections. So these groups raise to their full potential where state is retreating itself from this activities. But only in some states these groups are performing well, in most of the state’s proper impetus is not given to these groups.
17. ‘Poverty Alleviation Programmes in India remain mere show pieces until and unless they are backed by political will’. Discuss with reference to the performance of the major poverty alleviation programmes in India.
- Poverty alleviation scheme is India started since era of Indira Gandhi, still we could not eradicating poverty. These scheme lack political will. Govt.s starts new programs but they don’t continue the same spirit till the end. Serious political interventions in selecting the beneficiaries, not allocating sufficient funds, lack accountability on the part of bureaucracy, corruption are some of the problems.
- For example scheme like NFSA (National food security act), which provides food grains at subsidized rates. Some of the states are wantedly delaying the implementation of this scheme.
- Though it implemented with one or other pretext they are removing genuine beneficiaries in some cases. Most of the dealers diverting these grains. So food grains finally not reaching the intended beneficiaries.
- The program called MGNREGA, working well and women and SC participation is considerable, lack of robust IT system payments are getting delayed and unscrupulous beneficiaries are also receiving the benefits. Various insurance schemes are also not working to that extent in informal sector.
- People are not aware about most of the schemes. So unless there is political will there schemes will not be implemented properly. Serious actions against wrong doers, immediate relief in case of distress, proper allocation of budget, periodic review and necessary changes are made will improve the situation.
18. Initially Civil Services in India were designed to achieve the goals of neutrality and effectiveness, which seems to be lacking in the present context. Do you agree with the view that drastic reforms are required in Civil Services? Comment
- Civil services are premier services in our country, they are drawn from highly talented pool of the country and given rigorous training and revolves around each and every department. Their pay conditions, authority, powers, security of tenure are in such a way to maintain integrity, neutrality, efficient in their duty.
- As the time progress, the model of development is also changing, privatization started, complexity of problem increasing.
- Unless these civil servents cope up with at competition and find the best solutions, transform accordingly their relevance will vanish. Interference of politicians is one of the major concern, that allow the civil servent not to take an impartial decision. It is not an exaggeration to say that some of the civil servents are working on communal and casteist lines. Increasing corruption levels also aggravating the problem.
- When it comes to their effectiveness increasing performance of private sector, increasing the role of specialists in administration, the performance of the state level officers and even present day politicians are also improving their knowledge levels is posing challenges to civil servents. The I KNOW SYNDROME attitude of civil servents is reducing their reputation among people. So drastic reforms are necessary in order to rejuvenate the glory of the civil services.
- Strict disciplinary actions against corrupt and inefficient officers without much delay , give training at regular interval on various issues according to the changing dimensions of governance and developmental models , interaction of civil servents with public and lower official & field level visits must be part of their training , generalist civil servents must be given training in some specializations ,performance based promotions will improve the reputation and helps in achieving the designed goals of Indian civil services.
19. The question of India’s Energy Security constitutes the most important part of India’s economic progress. Analyze India’s energy policy co-operation with West Asian Countries.
- Energy security of the country is life line for the economic security of the country. In our country we mostly consume non renewable energy sources like crude oil and coal. Mostly all our vehicle both passenger and logistics will works on crude oil and its products.
- In our energy needs almost 80% of crude oil we are importing from other countries, mostly from west Asian countries.
- In maintaining the relations with those countries energy Cooperation is the vital part. In west Asian countries our relations with Saudi Arabia is normal and consistent, from here we are importing 20- 30% of crude oil.
- Our relations with Iran is not consistent and is not accordingly with our own interest. During the sanctions time when china able to maintain the consistent relations, we could not do, we reduced the amount of crude oil from Iran.
- Once sanctions relaxed we started maintaining normal relations. In maintaining relations with Qatar, though sanctions imposed on it by fellow countries India maintaining its relation by not supporting it. When it comes to Oman, kuwait and abudubai our relations and energy policies are normal. India building the Chabahar port at Iran, which will ease the movement of ships from there to India mostly loaded with crude oil.
- Though there is ethnic conflicts, sunni shia conflict, terrorist group conflicts our energy policies are not influencing by them. But when oil prices came down entire OPEC and non OPEC oil producing countries decided to cut down their production which increases the cost of crude oil, meanwhile USA is supplying shell oil at an affordable prices.
- We have to wait and see how our relations with these countries will change in near future with this effect on one hand and India’s ambitious targets increase the share of renewable energy levels to 40% in total energy mix will shape the future energy policy cooperation with those countries.
20. Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South-East Asian countries’ economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South- East Asia in this context
- Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South-East Asian countries’ economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South- East Asia in this context India having its age old relations with south east asian countries. Buddhism, Hinduism went to these countries from India. Some of our ancient kings build Buddhist, Hindu temples there. We did maintained matrimonial relations with those countries in the medieval period.
- In the modern period most of business community from south India migrated to these countries, some slaves also migrated. Now they become one of the best entrepreneur class in those countries. Now under the act east policy of the present govt they wanted improve the relations with SE asian countries. Govt may engage at summit level, ministerial level, bureaucratic level talks and build relations but Indian diaspora present there tare he big brand ambassadors in promoting the relations, some groups are highly influential in those countries decision making process, they can turn policies towards India.
- People to people contact will improve our relations in the area of society and cultural exchanges. Asian tigers may bring much more investments to our country.
- Improve in tourism sector because of regular visiting’s of their native places and visiting their kith and kins. Lot of cultural activities performed there by our diaspora will always connect India with those countries.
- Cinema industry is the best example which always connect both the regions because of cooperation of diaspora and stories related to diaspora & cooperation among technicians because of the affection shown by them towards India.
- Demand for Indian cusines and Indian style of apparels also increase provided if reach them properly. This improves relations in both economic and social relations.