|TOPIC: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.(PAPER 2)|
“In the shadow of the election funding, there lies an evil of corruption”. Comment
In India, election funding to the political parties are governed by the RPA act, 1951.according to the act, there is no cap on the money to the political parties by an individual, corporates or industry. The foreigners are permitted to fund any political parties under FCRA (foreign contribution regulation act).
The political parties have to disclose the amount above Rs20, 000 to the election commission along with donors.
Fault in the existing system:
- The political parties found loophole in the existing system. They bypass the existing disclosure norms by stating that they receive donation less than 20, 000. According to Association of Democratic Reform (ADR) report, about 75% of the total fund of political parties comes from unknown sources.
- In budget 2017-18, the government has introduced the electoral bond scheme for the political parties for election funding.
- The scheme has a number of lacunas as revealed by the election commission and the Supreme Court. Out of the total donations, around 95% has been donated to the ruling party .Since the KYC of the donors lie with the State bank of India and RBI which may be accessible to the government, so the donors are more interested to donate to the ruling government willingly or unwillingly.
- The election commission has no check over as the electoral bond scheme provide for anonymity of the donors. The Supreme Court has issued an order to SBI to disclose the name of donors to the election commission.
- The election funding by the third party i.e individual or any corporates has a sense of corruption and favoritism inbuilt in it. The donors will always want favoritism in return of it.
The way forward:
The RPA, 1951 has limited the expenditure of Rs 28 lakhs and 70 lakhs to the election of state legislature and the parliament respectively.
But according to ADR report, the expenditure is around 12 -15 crores for a parliament election so the political party always hide their source of funding. The limit should be increased in order to bring transparency.
The political parties should be brought under RTI act,2005 to make them accountable and transparent.
Many committees in the past has recommended for state funding of the election like:
- Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections (1998)
- Law Commission Report on Reform of the Electoral Laws (1999)
- National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2001)
- Second Administrative Reforms Commission.
|TOPICS: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism(PAPER 1)|
” Gender empowerment cannot be achieved unless gender payment gap is reduced. “Explain.
- According to International labor organization (ILO), on average, women are still paid 34% less than men in India.
- The same is also iterated by United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) sustainable development goals that women earn only 77 % of a dollar which the men earn.
- The labor force participation ratio of the women is also less as compared to men.
- The promotions of women are also less as compared to their men counterpart.
- According to the Monster Salary Index survey 2019, women in India earn on average 19% less than their male counterparts. The disparity is highest in the IT sector where men make about 26% more than women.
Why the disparity?
- Women are denied promotion because of maternity leave during appraisal season and it is generally thought that they wouldn’t give a hundred percent to their work after childbirth.
- The main reasons for this are cultural sanctions and patriarchal hierarchies that define gender roles hindering equal opportunity.
- Women in India are perceived as primary caregivers and are expected to not take up roles that involve intellectual or physical stress.
- On one hand, the labor market considers women less privileged for certain coveted roles and on the other, it deems fit to not pay them on par with men.
- While some organizations have policies that address women’s issues, it’s still a work-in-progress. The increasing demands of the modern workplace, with its cross-cultural and multi-locational work dimensions sometimes counteract such measures.
Barriers don’t just prevail in the professional journey. Women also have milestones such as marriage, maternity, child rearing and other family responsibilities, which may force them to take a break from work. It may help if organizations are empathetic, accept that this is a reality, and realize that it doesn’t make women less competent than men.
Lastly, the men should not be allowed to believe that women’s primary responsibility is towards the household and theirs towards work. It’s important to have an unbiased outlook and make men realize that they must focus on home and work equally, just as women. This will play a key role in changing the way women are perceived in the professional space as well.
|TOPICS: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.(PAPER 3)|
- “With the rising water crisis in India, there is a need to restructure Water governance in India. “Explain.
It is expected that water demand will become twice of the availability by 2030. The Mihir Shah Committee report lays a solid foundation for restructuring water governance in India. Water in India is governed as a public good, with evolving yet disjointed awareness of its environmental, social and economic underpinnings. However, effective management of this limited resource requires a nexus approach to governance, which integrates the cause and effect of water on the environment, society and the economy.
Why concern for water governance:
- In an intriguing order, the Uttarakhand High Court has recognized the rivers Ganges and Yamuna as a living entity, which means that anybody found polluting the river would be seen as harming a human being which reflect a sense of urgency in trying to rescue one of India’s most important rivers from rampant pollution.
- Water levels in major reservoirs are low despite normal monsoon last year.
- Over exploitation of ground water is increasing in India. The inefficient use of water in agriculture is the main source of inefficiency in India’s water governance regime.
- India’s farms consume more water to grow same amount of crops compared to global averages. What makes this even worse is the fact that despite being a water-scarce country, our agricultural exports are extremely water intensive.
- While the farm sector is an obvious candidate for urgent water reforms, non-farm use of water also suffers from unplanned usage and waste.
- According to the 2011 census, less than half the households with access to water supply in their premises depend on treated tap-water. This means that a majority of India’s households are using private means (such as bore-wells) to extract groundwater without any regulation or concern for conservation. Unplanned urbanization will only accentuate this problem.
What need to be done?
- In July 2016, a committee under the chairpersonship of Mihir Shah submitted a report on restructuring the Central Water Commission and Central Ground Water Board.
- India’s existing water-governance system as silo-based which views ground water, river basin rejuvenation and other such challenges as isolated tasks but it should be integrated and holistic work for water governance.
- One-third of technical officer positions in India’s water management bodies are lying vacant, which should be filled first for better efficiency of water management.
- Rain water harvesting technique should be encouraged.
- Government provides higher MSP for water intensive crops like rice, wheat, etc. The minimum selling price policy should be relooked for better water management.
- Alternate and more efficient water irrigation technique like drip irrigation, sprinkle irrigation should be encouraged.
Source : Down to Earth
|TOPICS: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.(PAPER 3)|
- “Despite the double digit growth in aviation sector in the past, the civil aviation sector is facing a crisis”. Explain.
Indian civil aviation sector which stand at ninth largest in the world, and heading for to be third largest in the world by 2050, contributing 5% to GDP and employing around 4 lakhs people is undergoing a phase of crisis .
Reason for crisis:
- The civil aviation sector spend around 40-50% of their income in fuel technically known as aviation turbine fuel(ATF) .The soaring international price of fuel cascaded with devaluation of Indian currency has lowered the profit of the sector.
- Different corporate has different problem which has led to overall crisis of the aviation sector.
- Multiple factors have contributed to the crisis. While Jet Airways and Air India are caught up in a financial mess, Indigo and GoAir are facing a shortage of crew. SpiceJet, on the other hand, had to ground all its 12 Boeing 737 MAX planes following a government ban in the wake of the recent crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane of the same model that killed all 157 on board.
- The closure of airspace in Pakistan post-Pulwama contributed to the crisis as many international tourists had to change their flights because of the time difference of their connecting flights from foreign locations.
- While the financial mess in the airlines has been much debated, the massive crisis in the field of airport infrastructure has not been in focus. Civil Aviation Ministry data shows that many airports owned and operated by Airports Authority of India (AAI) are running in deficit. Only 15 airports located in the major cities are in profits.
- Under the new civil aviation policy, it was mandatory for aircraft to reserve 10% seats for unserved , underserved and NE region. But due to lack of demand in these areas,this is not profitable.
- The new civil aviation policy (NCAP) 2016’s regional connectivity scheme doesn’t help. Its goal is laudable and it may well benefit potential flyers in smaller towns. But the ticket price caps it imposes under the scheme, the fact that the viability gap funding will last only for three years and various operational issues, such as the lack of slots for connecting flights at major airports, mean that carriers are, by and large, left holding the can.
- A stiff competition from the foreign aircraft has further escalated the crisis situation in India
What need to be done to revive it?
- The aviation turbine fuel (ATF) costs remain as big a pain in Indian carriers’ necks now as they were when the financial crisis hit. The Centre charges 14% excise duty on ATF. The states pile on their own sales tax that can go as high as 29%. SO it must be brought under GST.
- Aircraft stabilization fund should be established to make it resilience to fluctuations in fuel price or currency devaluation.
- A scrutiny committee would be established to check the balance sheet of aircraft which could keep track on the profit and loss of the company.
- A restructuring programme should be launched for the airlines undergoing the bad health.
It is irony that although, According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, India’s air passenger traffic has grown by at least 16% annually over the past decade. In 2000-01, it stood at a paltry 14 million passengers. In 2017, Indian airlines flew nearly 140 million passengers, most of them domestic. It is now the third largest aviation market in the world with growth rates that leave the US and China in the dust but it undergoing distress of the decade. The reason should be scrutinized and proper steps should be taken to fill the loopholes.
Source: The outlook india
|TOPICS: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.(PAPER 3)|
- Explain the State of the agriculture report, 2019 released by Ministry of agriculture and farmer welfare.
- The agriculture sector employs nearly half of the workforce in the country. However, it contributes to 17.5% of the GDP.
- Over the past few decades, the manufacturing and services sectors have increasingly contributed to the growth of the economy, while the agriculture sector’s contribution has decreased from more than 50% of GDP in the 1950s to 15.4% in 2015-16 (at constant prices).
- India’s production of food grains has been increasing every year, and India is among the top producers of several crops such as wheat, rice, pulses, sugarcane and cotton. It is the highest producer of milk and second highest producer of fruits and vegetables.
- However, the agricultural yield (quantity of a crop produced per unit of land) is found to be lower in the case of most crops, as compared to other top producing countries such as China, Brazil and the United States. Although India ranks third in the production of rice, its yield is lower than Brazil, China and the United States. The same trend is observed for pulses, where it is the second highest producer.
Key issues affecting agricultural productivity
Decreasing sizes of agricultural land holdings, continued dependence on the monsoon, inadequate access to irrigation, imbalanced use of soil nutrients resulting in loss of fertility of soil, uneven access to modern technology in different parts of the country, lack of access to formal agricultural credit, limited procurement of food grains by government agencies, and failure to provide remunerative prices to farmers.
What should be done to increase the productivity?
Some of the recommendations made by committees and expert bodies over the years include bringing in agricultural land leasing laws, shifting to micro-irrigation techniques to improve efficiency of water use, improving access to quality seeds by engaging with the private sector, and introducing a national agricultural market to allow the trading of agricultural produce online.
|TOPICS: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., (PAPER 1)|
- Explain the phenomenon of Western disturbance with impact on India.
Recently a thunderstorm with rainfall and lightening has claimed the life of around 50 people in the N-W & Western India .These phenomenon is associated with Western Disturbance.
What is Western disturbance?
Western Disturbances are low-pressure systems (temperate cyclones) embedded in the Westerlies, the planetary winds that flow from west to east between 30 – 60 degree latitude. These generally originate in the Mediterranean region and travel over Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to enter India loaded with moisture. The frequency of these systems reaching India increases during winter with the southward shift of pressure belts i.e with the apparent movement of sun towards the tropic of cancer.
The phenomenon associated with disturbance is:
- Mild rain during winter (beneficial to the rabi crop)
- Snowfall in Western Himalayas
- Cold wave in the region
- Sometimes hail formation
Impact on India:
- These disturbances generally affect North-west India but occasionally their effects go farther east and south (up to Central India). But in the recent past, it is observed that this beneficial weather phenomenon is increasingly becoming disaster.
- The season of Western disturbances in India is associated with mild to heavy rainfall. Such rainfall is found to be beneficial for rabi crops, such as wheat. Most of the Gangetic plains and Indus plains receive mild to heavy rainfall whereas the Himalayan region receives precipitation in the form of snowfall. They are responsible for most of the winter and pre-monsoon rainfall in the north and northwest India.
- The entry of Western disturbance is associated with cloudy skies, higher night temperatures, and rainfall. Occasionally, they also result in a dense fog and cold-wave conditions over the Indo-Gangetic plains.
- They also play a role in intensifying monsoonal rainfall over north India. When the monsoon trough interacts with Western disturbances, dense clouds of fog are formed and heavy precipitation occurs. Their influence can be felt as far away as Arunachal Pradesh. After the passage of the disturbance, very low temperatures such as 5 to 10 degrees Celsius can be experienced.
SOURCE: RAJYA SABHA TV (THE BIG PICTURE)
|TOPICS: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges,(PAPER 3)|
“The social media is a double edged sword”.in the context of recent election to Lok sabha, explain how the social media is acting as a double edged sword between development, transparency and polarization.
In the 17th lok sabha election, India has 560 million people with access to the internet. It is also the largest market for Facebook and WhatsApp in the world, while Twitter treats the country as one of its crucial and expanding markets. News reports indicate huge advertising budgets being earmarked by political parties for social media.
There are about 2 crore new voters who are very active on social media and highly influenced by it.
The boon of Social Media:
- The biggest contribution of social media in election is that it brings transparency in the election. Election in India is largest in terms of geographical areas, number of voters, candidates .It is next to impossible to have a check over the misuse of money, power and corruption.in this case, the social media plays an important role.
- Any violation of model code of conduct, if filmed by public, comes under scanner of Election Commission.
- It provides a huge platform for understanding the wave of election also to have a discussion over the manifesto, ideology of the political parties.
- The social media platforms have also been used by civil society and advocacy groups for disseminating development news.
The bane of social media:
- Every coin has two faces. The biggest challenge of social media to election is to identify and check the circulation of the fake news. The Election commission along with the government has issued a notice to all social media HQ to have a track on the circulation of the fake news.
- The people generally youth are polarized on the content of the fake news which are opted to divide the society.
- Facebook Live videos, local events and constant updates turned unorganized outpouring into a national-level protest. Fake videos and images of violence were the tools that were used to incite protesters.
- The radicalization of public debates and campaigns, nationalism, (right-wing) populism, and hate speech, the present special issue focuses on the interplay between social media, political polarization, and civic engagement.
- The features of openness, obscurity and anonymity that once gave strength to marginalized communities are now giving room for malicious intentions to grow.
While the democratization of discourse that social media has brought about is undeniable and most welcome, we are getting trapped in narrower world views that are seeping into not only voter behavior but everyday personal interactions. This is something we must be alarmed about.
While social media is definitely facing the global challenges of information bombardment (both factual and fake), it is also enabling communities to access their rights and voice their opinion. Hopefully, in times to come, people will learn to take more responsibility for what they share and our social media platforms will regain their lost trust.
SOURCE : THE MILLENIUM POST,THE HINDU
|TOPICS: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
8.” Owning to low turnout in the Election of India, should the compulsory voting be implemented in India”. Comment
India has earned the reputation of vibrant and thriving electoral democracy since ancient time.
After India got independence, India opted for representative democracy rather than direct democracy also it opted for first past the post (FPTP) system during direct election.
But the low turnout has over and again raised question for opting out compulsory voting for India.
Art 326 of Indian constitution and RPA act give constitutional and statutory backing to the right of voting. It is also interpreted as fundamental right under art 19 as freedom of choice and expressions.
What is it?
Compulsory voting is a system in which citizens are required by law to vote in elections or at least attend a polling place on voting day. If an eligible voter does not attend a polling place, he or she may be punished with fines or community service.
Globally, as many as 29 countries have experimented with compulsory voting. Presently, around 11 countries enforce these rules. For example, Australia and Belgium levy fines, while Brazil and Peru restrict access to state benefits and social security if one doesn’t vote.
Why is it important?
The argument in favour of compulsory voting is that it improves voter turnout and ensures that the democratic process is truly working. It prevents disenfranchisement of the socially disadvantaged, through bribes or covert threats. Studies also show a correlation between compulsory voting and improved income distribution too.
But in a political system where Members of Parliament have the right to abstain from voting for a Bill or even not to participate in a vote, one can question why ordinary citizens can’t have the same right. Indeed, you can argue that not voting is as valid an electoral choice as any other in a democracy. After all, there is provision of “None of the above”, for those who are unhappy with all the politicians running for office?
Is India ready for compulsory voting?
It had also been debated in the constituent assembly for compulsory voting. But the chairman of draft committee, Dr.B.R Ambedkar had denied the provision regarding large size of electoral franchises in India.
Goswami committee has also reiterated for non-compulsory voting in India.
The compulsory voting in itself is somewhat anti-democratic, because the freedom to speak necessarily includes the freedom not to speak.
In compulsory voting, there is a risk that people may vote at random simply to fulfill legal requirements. Similarly, citizens may vote with a complete absence of knowledge of any of the candidates
There are also concerns over enforcement of this rule. A vast amount of resource and government authority is required for collection of the fine.
This seems to be an idea whose time has not come. The Election Commission already have enough to do, grappling as it is with candidates with criminal records, money-for-vote scams and politicians who don’t declare their real assets.
Source :THE HINDU
|TOPICS: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges,(PAPER 3)|
- How far do you think the banning of sites like tik-tok and porn is justified in a country like India where right of freedom of speech and expression is explicitly mentioned in the constitution?
Recently Madras High Court has banned social site tik-tok and earlier the government has also banned some porn sites in India which has draws criticism from all section of society as against right of freedom of expression.
How far is it justified?
- It was banned on the pretext that it was evident from media reports that pornography and inappropriate content were made available through such mobile applications.
- It was also reported that many have lost their life while filming on the site.
- Any “arbitrary” ban on social media platforms and intermediaries could impede foreign direct investment and affect expansion of the digital India initiative.
- It would prove a roadblock to the growth of digital India and impede FDI in digital if intermediaries were to be banned quite arbitrarily by the courts in the country.
- If the sites contain objectionable contents then it would have been tried under IT act.
- There are many social sites like Facebook, twitter etc which are used to spread the propaganda, fake news and sometimes hatred speech in the society but these have not been banned.
- Nevertheless, they are subjugated under IT act for any misinformation.
- Dilution of the Safe Harbor protection available to intermediaries/social media platforms undermines the steady growth of India’s digital economy and especially impacts the thriving startup ecosystem in the country.
Source :The tribune