UPSC 2015 General Studies Paper 2 Solved
Q1. Discuss the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizens a uniform civil code as provided for in the Directive Principles of State policy.
Constitutional Aspect : Article 44 of the Constitution of India requires the State to strive to secure for its citizens a Common Civil Code throughout India. The secular activities, such as inheritance covered by personal laws should be separated from religion. A uniform law thus prepared and made applicable to all would on the contrary promote national unity. It was pointed out at that time that, firstly, as Common Civil Code would infringe the fundamental right of freedom of religion as mentioned in Article 25 and secondly, it would amount to a tyranny to the minority. The first objection is misconceived because secular activity associated with religious practice is exempted from this guarantee and since personal laws pertains to secular activities they fail within the regulatory power of the state.
UCC enacted at the time of independence :
The framers of the constitution wee convinced that a certain amount modernisation was required before a uniform civil code was imposed on citizens belonging to different religions. It was also feared that any attempt to ignore personal laws of various religions might lead to civil war, rioting and social unrest.
India’s leaders at the time wanted a secular constitution on the model of a western democracy. However, what resulted was not secularism in the western sense of the word, but rather a ‘secular’ state with religious laws for its religious groups.
Thus, the forefathers of constitution who imposed several reforms upon the Hindu law were cowed down by the threats of islamists and kept the sharia strictly unaltered. Hence, the Muslims and the Christians had to be governed by their own set of laws.
The Hindu marriage act of 1955 extended to whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The effect of the Hindu marriage act was to prohibit polygamy amongst Hindus and to increase the right of divorced wife to maintenance or alimony. The act applied to everyone in India except Muslim, Christians, Parsees and Jews. Since Jews and Parsees are a small minority remained de facto the only large community with a distinct religious law that had not been reformed to reflect modern concepts.
The legal practice of excluding Muslims continued with the passage of the dowry prohibition act of 1961 which specifically excluded, “dowry” or “mehr” in the case of persons to whom the Muslim personal law(shariat) applies”. In 1973 on a debate over the revision of the criminal procedure code, it was pointed out in regard to the maintenance of divorced wives that in cases involving Muslims, the court should take note as to whether the woman had received maintenance under the personal law.
Codification of Muslim law or enacting a Common Civil Code is a sensitive issue owing to its politicisation.
Some experts claim that there are operation problems in enacting the uniform civil code . They talk about a serious practical difficulty in adopting a uniform code of marriage since most people do not take the recourse to Special Marriage Act,1954 and prefer religiously formalized marriages . It is difficult to think of a common code borrowing from all religious and customs . It is also claimed that the proponents of the code haven’t given serious thought to what it would look like and how different religious customs associated with the solemnisation of marriages would be accommodated.
Role of the Judiciary :
In Mary Roy v. State of Kerala , the question argued before the Supreme Court was that certain provisions of the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1916, were unconstitutional under Art. 14 Under these provisions, on the death of an intestate, his widow was entitled to have only a life interest terminable at her death or remarriage and his daughter. It was also argued that the Travancore Act had been superseded by the Indian Succession Act, 1925. The Supreme Court avoided examining the question whether gender inequality in matters of succession and inheritance violated Art.14, but , nevertheless, ruled that the Travancore Act had been superseded by the Indian Succession Act Mary Roy has been characterized as a ” ̃momentous’ decision in the direction of ensuring gender equality in the matter of succession.
Q2. The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Highlight the drawbacks in the existing structure and the extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the shortcomings.
Promoting cooperative federalism and giving States greater freedom in designing their development plans were two of the key objectives behind the setting up of the NITI Aayog. Chief Ministers, cutting across party lines, demanded that they be given such freedom, with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy pointing out that schemes such as Jan Dhan Yojana or Beti Bachao were of little relevance to his State which already boasted of superior metrics in both fields. Similarly, Rajasthan’s Chief Minister demanded that the number of Centrally-sponsored schemes be reduced to 10, while Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar wanted such schemes to be dispensed with altogether. If these demands prove something, it is this: there can be no one-size-fits-all approach to development in a diverse country like India. And no longer can development be orchestrated from the Centre alone; it is as much the preserve, prerogative and responsibility of the States. Thus, the NITI Aayog will stop with making recommendations; implementing them will be the responsibility of the States.
An important decision made at the meeting was to constitute a subgroup of Chief Ministers who would study the 66 Centrally-sponsored schemes to assess whether they should be continued, transferred to States or dropped altogether. While doing this assessment, care should be taken to ensure that socially important inclusion schemes are not either downgraded or dropped. There could be examples of schemes that may not have national relevance but have resonance with particular States; these should be identified with due care and alterations should be made only after a consensus is evolved in the Governing Council. In this regard, it is encouraging to note that inclusion of the vulnerable and marginalised sections and redressing identity-based inequalities are at the top of the seven guiding principles for the Aayog as laid out in an e-book published by the government. This should also reassure those who see the body’s mandate as promoting a free-market economy which could come at the cost of the less-developed States. Of course, the true test of this government’s commitment to inclusive policies will come in the Budget’s allocations to social sector schemes. All the lofty ideals of the Aayog will come to naught if the government, forced by fiscal considerations, decides to set aside lower sums for social spending.
How can we achieve cooperative federalism:-
1.Indian federalism lives in the states and districts . So real challenges have to be initiated at these levels, else our democracy will remain an unfinished task.
2. Imbalances in fiscal federalism have created new obstacles in the path .
3.There is a need for better distribution of resource bases so that the dependency of states reduces , but access to resource does not .
4.There is a need to define the fiscal space of the local governments.
5.A reform of the seventh schedule lists in the direction of greater empowerment of States would be consistent with the logic of increased financial transfers and cooperative federalism. Locating the right level for making and implementing policy is a central feature of the cooperative responsibility matrix. etc.
Cooperative federalism vs Competitive federalism :
1.Cooperative federalism implies the Centre and states share a horizontal relationship, where they “cooperate” in the larger public interest. It’s visualised as an important tool to enable states’ participation in the formulation and implementation of national policies.
2.Sharing of powers and responsibilities between the three levels of government is a key element of the concept, which involves participative policymaking. This is particularly important in areas of concurrent responsibility, where the Centre has had a tendency to ride roughshod over the States by occupying the common legislative space. A reform of the seventh schedule lists in the direction of greater empowerment of States would be consistent with the logic of increased financial transfers and cooperative federalism.
3. In a free-market economy, the endowments of states, available resource base and their comparative advantages all foster a spirit of competition.
4. Fiscal constraints of the states have led to the proliferation of central schemes and national missions.etc.
Q3. In absence of a well-educated and organised local level government system, ‘panchayats’ and ‘Samitis’ have remained mainly political institutions and not effective instruments of governance. Critically discuss.
EDUCATON AS A CRITERIA FOR PANCHYAT ELECTIONS:-
1.The story starts with the issuing of ordinance by GOVT. in Rajasthan in December 2014. The ordinance specifies educational qualifications for persons contesting elections to local bodies.
2.The Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2014, promulgated by the Governor on December 20, 2014 less than a month before the panchayat and zilla parishad elections, amends Section 19 of the 1994 Act to expand the eligibility criteria by including educational qualifications for contesting the elections.
3.To contest a zilla parishad or panchayat samiti seat, a candidate must have passed class 10 of the Board of Secondary Education or its equivalent. To contest for the sarpanch’s post in a non-Scheduled area, a person must have passed class eight and in a Scheduled area class five.
4.Rajasthan had earlier amended the panchayati raj Act to debar persons having more than two children from contesting elections.
5.The “education ordinance” was preceded by an ordinance on December 8 which made it mandatory for a candidate to have a functional sanitary toilet, which meant a water-sealed toilet system or a set-up surrounded by three walls, a door and a roof.
Upholding the constitutional validity of a law enacted by Haryana government to bar the illiterate from contesting panchayat polls in the state, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that “it is only education which gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad”.
The top court also said it would be perfectly valid for the legislature to disqualify a candidate from seeking election to a civic body if he or she lacks “basic norms of hygiene” by not having a functional toilet at home.
The supporters of the such amendments in panchayat law say :- The Center is spending crores of money on panchayats and this goes directly to the sarpanch. There are thousands of pending cases of fund embezzlement against these elected representatives in the state and the standard excuse is that ‘I am illiterate and put my thumb impression on whatever papers were given to me’. Earlier the audits were managed by the state government so the accountability was not with the sarpanch but now with funds to the tune of crores coming in for projects like MNREGA and others, there has to be better accountability. Another argument is that the two child norm (those with more than two children will be disqualified from contesting the panchayat polls) has helped in checking population growth and similarly the education eligibility will have a positive impact.
The critics of such move are also many. They put forward following arguments:- As for embezzlement of funds the accountability should lie with government employees who are trained and qualified for the job. Be it MPs or MLAs, they do not sign cheques then why do sarpanches have to do so? Financial accountability should not lie with the sarpanch. The handling of such huge amounts is anyway a complex process and even if they were to have a certain educational qualification it would not serve the purpose. In Rajasthan the literacy rate of women in rural areas is only 45.8 percent, which is lower than the national literacy rate of 57.93 percent. In tribal areas, the situation is even worse with literacy rate of women 25.22 percent. By introducing such a discriminatory disqualification criteria, it excludes the rest of the non-literate women from the possibility of exercising their political right to contest elections thereby defeating the very purpose of the 50 percent reservation of seats for women in the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Act. Similarly, Haryana’s statistics on key social indicators is not encouraging. For example, in this State, 41 per cent of Scheduled Caste men have not cleared class 8; and 68 per cent of SC women have not made it to class 5. Roughly 45 per cent of rural households do not have a toilet, and among SC households that figure rises to 55 per cent.
Q4. Khap Panchayats have been in the news for functioning as extra-constitutional authorities, often delivering pronouncements amounting to human rights violations. Discuss critically the actions taken by the legislative, executive and the judiciary to set the things right in this regard.
Khap panchayat is the union of a few villages, mainly in north India though it exists in similar forms in the rest of the country.
Khaps are kind of community organization which deliberates the social issues related to the community it represents and comes out with order or diktats. Khaps enjoy so much clout in their areas of operation that their orders and diktats are de facto enforced. In fact, Khaps are infamous for their diktats and orders some of which are very regressive in nature. Khaps control the community behavior especially of women. Any deviation from the accepted norms of behavior is sternly dealt with.
Why is the government not controlling the khaps?
1.The Khap Panchayats have been powerful due to the intrinsic weakness of the Panchayati Raj institutions which are democratically elected.
2.Further, the Jats, who make up 25% of the Haryana’s population, are the State’s largest caste group and are demographically a big number to be antagonized.
3.The government lacks will or way to act against the khaps. In many villages, because of no legal action against them, the authority of these khaps remains unquestioned.
4.Even the police tend to ignore the khap verdicts, regarding the declaration of death for offenders, because of the strong power and influence that these have acquired on people in villages overtime.
JUDICIARY ON KHAP PANCHAYATS
1.On April 19 2011, Supreme Court wants a strict criminal action against people forming and ruling in khaps, emphasizing that the khap panchayats are illegal and the honour killings they enforce to be “Barbaric and shameful”, along with demanding action against the police authorities and bureaucrats who fail to prevent them.
2.According to Supreme Court, these khap panchayats encourage honour killings or other atrocities in an institutionalized way on boys and girls belonging to different castes, who have been married or are going to get married.
3.On grounds that these khaps interfere with the personal life of the people, Justice Katju said, “Atrocities in respect of personal lives of people committed by brutal, feudal-minded persons deserve harsh punishment”.
4.Even after the continued cruel practices of these khaps for long and the crucial judgement by the Supreme Court, the heads of these panchayats have disapproved of the decision of the Supreme Court and said that they have been denied justice.
5.The supporters still stick to their view that these Khap Panchayats have been there since time immemorial under which laws have been formed by their forefathers for their own benefits and protection, and that the khaps do not aim to and nor they have harmed anyone.
6.Based on the All India Democratic Women’s Association’s recommendations, the High Courts of Punjab and Haryana passed an order to set up “couples’ protection homes” in every district in both the States.
7.However, according to activists, this has produced mixed results. However, there is increased pressure to shut down these homes from the caste panchayat, which has repeatedly been approaching the state government.
8.However, despite the flaws in the functioning of these homes, the way forward was to set similar protective spaces in all States while making them more responsive to the couples’ needs.
Q5. Resorting to ordinance has always raised concern on violation of the spirit of separation of powers doctrine. While noting the rationales justifying the power to promulgate ordinances, analyse whether the decisions of the Supreme Court on the issue have further facilitated resorting to this power. Should the power to promulgate ordinances be replaced?
Ans. Plz Wi8.
Q6. What are the major changes brought in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 through the recent Ordinance promulgated by the President? How far will it improve India’s dispute resolution mechanism? Discuss.
The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”) has been amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 (“Ordinance”), promulgated by the President of India on October 23, 2015. The Ordinance has introduced significant changes to the Act and seeks to address some of the issues, such as delays and high costs, which have been affecting arbitrations in India. The Ordinance is an attempt to make arbitration a preferred mode for settlement of commercial disputes and to make India a hub of international commercial arbitration. With the amendments, arbitrations in India are sought to be made more user-friendly and cost effective. The major changes brought about by the Ordinance are summarized in this update.
The Ordinance introduces a paradigm shift in the mode and method of grant of interim measures in an arbitration proceeding.
Recent judicial decisions had held that Part I of the Act would not apply to foreign seated arbitrations. The Ordinance has inserted a proviso to section 2 of the Act, whereby, sections 9, 27 and clause (a) of sub-section (1) and sub-section (3) of Section 37 (all falling in Part I of the Act) have been made applicable to international commercial arbitrations, even if the place of arbitration is outside India. As a result a party to an arbitration proceeding will be able to approach Courts in India for interim reliefs before the commencement of an arbitration proceeding, even if the seat of such arbitration is not in India.
Importantly, under the newly inserted section 9(3), a Court cannot, as a matter of course, entertain an application for interim measure once an arbitral tribunal has been constituted, unless the Court finds that circumstances exist which may not render the remedy available under section 17 of the Act, i.e. approaching the arbitral tribunal for interim measures, efficacious. The intention of the Legislature is to limit the involvement of Courts in an arbitration proceeding thereby making such proceedings swift and effective.
Another important change introduced by the Ordinance is the power of an arbitral tribunal to grant interim reliefs. Though the original section 17 of the Act afforded an arbitral tribunal the power to grant interim measures, it definitely did lack the saber- tooth. In this regard the Supreme Court of India had held that though section 17 of the Act gave an arbitral tribunal the power to pass interim orders, but the same could not be enforced as an order of a Court.
President Pranab Mukherjee has promulgated the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Ordinance, 2015 to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996. The Ordinance is largely aimed at encouraging the ease of doing business in India in a bid to promote foreign investment. The following major amendments that have been proposed:
1.A distinction has been made as regards jurisdiction for international commercial arbitration, and for all other matters. For the former, the appropriate High Court shall have jurisdiction, whereas for the latter, the principal Civil Court of original jurisdiction or the High Court shall have jurisdiction.
2.The following sections shall apply to international commercial arbitration even when the place of arbitration is not in India:
– Section 9 which deals with interim measures by the Court;
– Section 27 that deals with Court assistance in taking evidence;
– Section 37(1)(a) which states than an appeal shall lie on orders granting or refusing to grant measures under Section 9; and
– Section 37(3) which states that no second appeal shall apply in such cases.
3. In case the arbitration agreement or certified copy thereof is not available to the party applying for reference for arbitration, such party can file an application requesting the Court to call upon the other party to produce the same.
4. If the court passes any interim measure under Section 9, the arbitral proceedings must commence within 90 days of the court doing so.
5. No application for interim measure under Section 9 shall be entertained after the arbitral tribunal has been constituted unless the remedies under Section 17 have been rendered inefficacious.
6. The High Court may frame rules for the purpose of determination of fees of the arbitral tribunal and the manner of its payment to the arbitral tribunal. However, such rules shall not apply to international commercial arbitration and in arbitrations where parties have agreed for determination of fees as per the rules of an arbitral institution.
Resolution mechanism or Some recommendations
ADR or “Alternative Dispute Resolution” is an attempt to devise machinery which should be capable of providing an alternative to the conventional methods of resolving disputes. ADR offers to resolve matters of litigants, whether in business causes or otherwise, who are not able to start any process of negotiation and reach any settlement. It has started gaining ground as against litigation and arbitration.
Advantage of Alternate Dispute Resolution: It is less expensive. It is less time consuming. It is free from technicalities as in the case of conducting cases in law Courts. The parties are free to discuss their difference of opinion without any fear of disclosure of this fact before any law Courts. The last but not the least is the fact that parties are having the feeling that there is no losing or winning feeling among the parties by at the same time they are having the feeling that their grievance is redressed and the relationship between the parties is restored.
Legislative recognition of Alternative Dispute Redressal:-
1.The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 brought about the establishment of Lok Adalat System for settlement of disputes cheaply and expeditiously and also in the spirit of compromise by give and take formula.
2.Section 30 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 encourages arbitrators, with the agreement of the parties, to use mediation, conciliation or other procedures at any time during the arbitration proceedings to encourage settlement.
3. Further still, the Civil Procedure Code (Amendment) Act, 1999 carries Section 89 which is designed to enable the courts to bring about a settlement of dispute outside the Court. As and when the Amendment comes to be enforced, the four methods listed in the section and known as court-ordered or court- annexed ADRs would become statutory alternatives to litigation for settlement of disputes and would be legally enforceable.
Q7. Does the right to clean environment entail legal regulations on burning crackers during Diwali? Discuss in the light of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and Judgement(s) of the Apex Court in this regard.
Q8. Examine critically the recent changes in the rules governing foreign funding of NGOs under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976.
The recent changes in the rules governing foreign funding of NGOs under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) have been widely discussed. The last word on it will perhaps never be written. The UPA government initiated this and we see some concrete changes now. Sifting through the bewildering range of issues discussed, a few stand out. First, there is a sharp polarisation on the issue between the government and civil society, and even within civil society. Second, the polarisation is based on lack of trust, bordering on fear, with each group highlighting faults of the other.
Behind all this are differing ideas of India we all hold. It is ironical that what is at stake is not that important — a relatively small amount of money that does not significantly help or harm India. The total FCRA funds coming in was Rs.11,546.29 crore for 2011-12, the latest year for which the government has put out figures. Of this, the funds for explicitly religious activities were to the tune of Rs.270.83 crore; Rs.227.4 crore for maintenance of priests, and Rs.208.71 crore for religious schools, together coming to 6.12 per cent of total foreign funding.
Similarly, those that are clearly identifiable as lobbying advocacy, awareness building, and so on, are Rs.539 crore for research and Rs. 241 crore for awareness, or 6.76 per cent of total foreign funding. Even if all these funds are used for anti-national activities, what will we do if they are domestically funded? The major uses of foreign funds are for rural development, education of the poor, health, and so on. Out of 22,702 NGOs registered under FCRA, 13,193 actually received grants, making it on average Rs.87.52 lakh per NGO that year. About 9,000 NGOs have rightly got their FCRA permissions cancelled for not submitting accounts or responding to repeated reminders.
Meanwhile, there is a list of 109 international agencies that are exempt from the FCRA, consisting of the World Bank group, UN agencies, and so on. The World Bank funding in 2013-14 was $5.2 billion or about Rs.3.22 lakh crore. This funding goes to the government and not to any NGO. Indian bureaucrats are among the largest beneficiaries of World Bank and UN assignments at dollar salaries that entitle them to life long pensions after five years of deputation.
There are other foreign funds coming into India. In 2010, the RBI reported that FDI totalled $23.7 billion or about Rs.1.40 lakh crore, about 12 times the FCRA funding. By 2014-15, this had gone up to Rs.1.76 lakh crore. This is about 10 per cent of the Central government budget of about Rs.18 lakh crore. This would have been much higher but for the global slowdown, as India got $40 billion in 2008 before the global meltdown. We periodically see announcements of relaxation in FDI rules for various sectors like retail, insurance, and so on.
In short, foreign funding of NGOs is dwarfed by other foreign money coming into India. Of this, the amount used for potentially questionable purposes is about 13 per cent. Let us look at another set of issues. All organisations working in society need to be transparent and accountable, including NGOs, whether domestically or foreign funded. The RTI tries to do that for the government. But beyond the NGOs, corporates and the government, there are political parties and religious organisations.
The Maharashtra Government has passed an ordinance that an FIR cannot be filed against legislators and senior officers without prior approval to avoid frivolous allegations. But there is no protection for ordinary citizens against harassment whether by the police, income tax or other authorities. The police investigate allegations against themselves and give themselves a clean chit. There is no remedy for citizens who need some permission from the government and there is no reply for months or years. The government has publicly used the phrase ‘tax terrorism,’ but has so far done nothing to protect the citizen. It is well known that several religious organisations and their affiliates receive foreign funding. Those that indulge in anti-national and subversive activities will not be affected by the new FCRA rules — their work is underground.
There is no organised conspiracy here. It is in the nature of power to exercise greater control, and exempt itself from accountability. Unfortunately, the Indian way of doing this has a colonial legacy — it is often through more red tape, leading to petty corruption and harassment. For a handful of NGOs who may be doing something wrong, about 13,000 are completely paralysed. It would be more honest if as a nation we take a decision to ban all foreign funding.etc.
NGOs are the voluntary organizations which perform wide ranging activities from raising awareness to mobilizing vulnerable sections of society.It includes trusts,societies and some religious organizations. Recently government cancelled the registrations of around 1400 NGOs citing following reasons:
1)They did not comply with section 18 of FCRA,which forces them to file their annual return.
2)They openly violated other provisions of the act which makes them not to spend more than 50% of its funding it its administration.
3)Government has alleged that some of them are involved in the activities which are detrimental to nation’s security.
4)Their methods of action such as direct action,lobbying are seen as an impediment to our economic progress. Though the legislation is in full competence of the government , but it has gone too far beyond because:
1)NGOs are the civil institutions which are key in proper functioning of proper democracy.It is well within the right of society to have a right to dissent.
2)NGOs in many ways assists the government plans and schemes by conducting surveys,providing their valuable input etc,
3)It would deprive the country of much needed foreign exchange.
4)Since many of the organizations have got international credibility,government’s reputation will take a severe blow.etc.
Q9. The Self-Help Group (SHG) Bank Linkage Programme (SBLP), which is India’s own innovation, has proved to be one of the most effective poverty alleviation and women empowerment programmes. Elucidate.
SHG bank linkage means that the opening up of bank accounts of SHG, and providing them, formal credit, saving opportunity and technical assistance on viable projects. NABARD provides assistance to banks for refinancing the activities The SHG – Bank Linkage Programme was started as an Action Research Project in 1989 which was the offshoot of a NABARD initiative during 1987 through sanctioning Rs. 10 lakh to MYRADA as seed money assistance for experimenting Credit Management Groups. In the same year the Ministry of Rural Development provided PRADAN with support to establish self-help groups in Rajasthan. The SHG – Bank Linkage Programme is a major plank of the strategy for delivering financial services to the poor in a sustainable manner.
The search for such alternatives started with internal introspection regarding the innovations which the poor had been traditionally making, to meet their financial services needs. It was observed that the poor tended to come together in a variety of informal ways for pooling their savings and dispensing small and unsecured loans at varying costs to group members on the basis of need. The experiences of these early efforts led to the approval of a pilot project by NABARD in 1992. The pilot project was designed as a partnership model between three agencies, viz., the SHGs, banks and NGOs. This was reviewed by a working group in 1995 that led to the evolution of a streamlined set of RBI approved guidelines to banks to enable SHGs to open bank accounts, based on a simple “inter se” agreement. This was coupled with a commitment by NABARD to provide refinance and promotional support to banks for the SHG – Bank Linkage Programme.
Positive Features of the SHG – Bank Linkage Programme:-
The financial inclusion attained through SHGs is sustainable and scalable on account of its various positive features. The programme confronts many challenges and for further scaling up, these challenges need to be addressed.
Financial Inclusion of Poor Women The Committee noted that more than 90% of the members of SHGs are women and most of them are poor and assetless. The SHG movement has been instrumental in mainstreaming women by-passed by the banking system.
Loan Repayments One of the distinctive features of the SHG – Bank Linkage Programme has been very high on-time recovery. As on June 2005, the on-time recovery under SHG – Bank Linkage Programme was 90% in commercial banks, 87% in RRBs and 86% in cooperative banks.
1.Reduced the incidence of poverty through increase in income, and also enabled the poor to build assets and thereby reduce their vulnerability.
2.Enabled households that have access to it to spend more on education than nonclient households. Families participating in the programme have reported better school attendance and lower drop out rates.
3.Empowered women by enhancing their contribution to household income, increasing the value of their assets and generally by giving them better control over decisions that affect their lives.
4.Reduced child mortality, improved maternal health and the ability of the poor to combat disease through better nutrition, housing and health – especially among women and children.
5.Contributed to a reduced dependency on informal money lenders and other noninstitutional sources.
6.Facilitated significant research into the provision of financial services for the poor and helped in building “capacity” at the SHG level.etc.
1.Group Loans to SHGs and SHG Loans to Member.
2.Cost Recovery and Sustainability It is important for banks to carefully work out their actual costs for SHG lending. While the SHG portfolio is often only a small part of the total bank lending, and since the portfolio quality is good, it may be possible to reduce interest rates while ensuring recovery of costs.
3.Regional Imbalances 7.19 The spread of the SHG – Bank Linkage Programme in different regions has been uneven on account of various factors like pro-active role of State Governments, presence of well performing NGOs, socio-cultural factors, better performance of SHGs, etc. In March, 2001, 71% of the linked SHGs were from Southern Region consisting of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The share of Southern Region has come down progressively over the years but it is still at 44%. Many States such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with high incidence of poverty have shown poor performance under the programme.etc
Amendment to NABARD Act 7.59 At present, NABARD is permitted, as per its Act and Mandate, to support micro finance activities in rural and semi-urban areas only. Considering the levels of exclusion prevalent among the urban poor, the unique nature of difficulties faced by them in accessing institutionalized banking services and with a view to leveraging the expertise of NABARD in microfinance, the Committee recommends that an enabling provision be made in the NABARD Act, 1981 permitting NABARD to provide micro finance services to the urban poor.
Q10. How can the role of NGOs be strengthened in India for development works relating to protection of the environment? Discuss throwing light on the major constraints.
There is a growing environmental awareness amongst stakeholders, individuals and communities within the Asian and Pacific Region. This increase in knowledge and awareness has been, by and large, the result of campaigns and education programmes run by major public interest groups concerned with the environment. These include non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the international, regional and national levels, as well as groups concerned with the empowerment of marginalized sections of society, such as women, indigenous peoples, and youth groups, and other community based organizations.
ROLE OF NGOs & MAJOR GROUPS
Traditionally, community based organizations played an important role in the management of common property resources such as forests and fisheries in the Asian and Pacific Region. Although over successive years their role was reduced by governments in some countries, recent years have seen a re-emergence of community involvement and the development and growth of NGOs, youth, women and indigenous people’s groups and associations of farmers and businessmen. NGOs have, in particular, played an important role in raising environmental concerns, developing awareness of environmental issues and promoting sustainable development.The encouragement of public participation in environmental management through legislation in recent years has also enhanced the role of NGOs and Major Groups.
For example, in Thailand, Article 56 of the 1997 Constitution recognizes the rights of people to participate in the protection of natural resources and environment. Similar provisions have been made, for example, in the Philippines, New Zealand (Resource Management Act), Azerbaijan (EPA 1999) and the Australian Landcare and Coast Care programmes.In recent years, the range of activities undertaken by environmental NGOs and other major groups has broadened. They now undertake a much wider range of activities than simply raising environmental awareness and/or acting as pressure groups. Their activities now include environmental monitoring; promoting environmental education, training and capacity-building; implementing demonstration projects; conducting advocacy work in partnership with the government; and the promotion of regional and international cooperation on environment.
A website that has been specifically developed to facilitate regional networking is ECANET (Environmental Communication Asia Network, Website 21), developed and operated by AMIC. Support for this website has been provided by the ADB and UNESCO. The website disseminates information on environmental groups in the region, bibliography on environmental information (including websites) and environmental success stories written by Asian journalists. At international level, websites have been developed by UNEP in collaboration with other agencies. Chief among them is Infoterra, one of the most comprehensive environmental resource systems currently available which facilitates the exchange of scientific and technical information.
This website has links with over 6 800 national and international institutions, NGOs, industrial and commercial enterprises, academics and experts from around the world. Small NGOs and CBOs particularly in rural areas of Asia and the Pacific are slow in harnessing the benefits from internet and world wide web. It is important to strengthen their capacities in this respect so that they could take full advantage of the growing information technology which provides tantamount opportunities not only for networking both nationwide and worldwide, but also for strengthening the capacities of major groups, especially NGOs.
Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement
All the major groups identified in Agenda 21 are involved in decision making in different capacities. Participation of these groups is ensured through consultative meetings and discussions at local, state and national levels.
Government of India has made public hearings mandatory for developmental projects wherein affected person, stakeholders are given opportunity of hearing/discussion before arriving at a decision. Public participation is also an important step in every major decision for social, economic and sustainable development. Participation is encouraged by bringing in transparency in decision making.
Major groups which participate in international cooperation activities programmes are indigenous groups, NGOs, Industrial Associates, Investigators, Research Institutions, Advocates, etc. The Government facilitate the participation of various groups in arriving at a decision in a more participatory manner.
India has had modest, but increasing success in attracting private capital flows. Furthermore, much of these private capital inflows into India have been of the non-debt creating variety, which has helped boost the balance of payments as well as the availability of invertible resources in the economy. The international community is very positive about India’s effort to achieve a high rate of growth. After the advent of liberalization which was initiated in 1991, the involvement of private sector (local and foreign) has been encouraged.
Global Environment Facility through the World Bank, UNDP and UNEP: India is the second largest recipient of GEF funding. The salient feature of the GEF portfolio are: a diverse and varied portfolio comprising projects that are environmentally, socially and financially sustainable; projects involving a range of issues and approaches to address the questions of innovation, experimentation, demonstration, cost effectiveness and replicability; projects that are country-driven, based on national priorities; capacity building, human resources and skills at the community level and into Government.
The Country cooperation Framework- I Environment Programme through the UNDP: Development Objective: The thrust areas reflect the national policy and plan statements – (i) management of natural resources (ii) capacity building for decision making (iii) management of development (iv) information, advocacy and participation.
Montreal protocol: The Protocol sets out a time schedule for freeze and reduction of ODS or controlled substances. A Multilateral Fund was established by the parties to assist developing countries meet the control measures as specified in the Protocol. It assists the Government and the industry to design, implement, monitor and evaluate ODS phase-out projects and programmes in the aerosols/foam/solvent refrigeration and fire extinguishing sectors, covering large, medium and small scale enterprises. The MOEF is the national executing agency for the Institutional Strengthening projects for the phase-out of ODSs under the Montreal Protocol. In Asia, India is number three in receiving funds for CFC phase out programme, next to China and Malaysia.
Capacity 21 Initiative: There is only one Capacity 21 project in India which is being implemented by the Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research (IGIDR) through the Ministry of Environment & Forests. The main objective of the project is to build capacity at various levels of Government, national institutes and the community at large through NGOs by introducing concepts of environmental economics into their resource use and planning decisions. Specific interventions of natural resource accounting through practical applications at policy and field levels include – Air quality, Water Quality, Biodiversity and Common Property Resources. IGIDR have come out with documentation on the above areas.
Q11. The quality of higher education in India requires major improvements to make it internationally competitive. Do you think that the entry of foreign educational institutions would help improve the quality of higher and technical education in the country? Discuss.
India has one of the largest systems of higher education in the world. Higher education has expanded significantly after independence in terms of quality and range of fields of knowledge.T he overall scenario of higher education in India does not match with the global Quality standards. Hence, there is enough justification for an increased assessment of the Quality of the country’s educational institutions. Traditionally, these institutions assumed that Quality could be determined by their internal resources, viz., faculty with an impressive set of degrees and experience detailed at the end of the institute’s admission brochure, number of books and journals in the library, an ultra-modern campus, and size of the endowment, etc., or by its definable and assessable outputs, viz., efficient use of resources, producing uniquely educated, highly satisfied and employable graduates.
Role of the Indian Government and Private Sector in Higher Education
Higher Education in India at the undergraduate level and above is controlled and monitored by the University Grants Commission. Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission. Since the onset of Indian independence all the governments at the centre have been focusing heavily on education. Most five year plans, more significantly the last and the current i.e. the 11th and the 12th plans have made significant contributions and provisions for improving reach and quality of education across the country.The Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-2017) confronts the challenges facing India’s higher education system and has proposed several initiatives to resolve them. These include increased funding for disadvantaged groups, imbibing cutting-edge technologies, faculty improvement programmes, improved governance and provision of incentives for advanced research.
The government of India has been actively promoting the participation of the private sector in promoting the reach of higher education. Over last two decades, a growing Indian economy has led to spectacular demand for educated and skilled labour. To match the manpower needs of an accelerating economy, private players have sprung up unstoppably to complement government education institutions. Over the past few decades, it has actually been the private sector that has been driving capacity-creation in Indian higher education.
In terms of human and physical resource there has been tremendous change in this area. There has been enormous increase in the number of students, teachers and educational institutions.The Central government must finance entirely all the universities and colleges in the country. Appropriate structural transformation that would maintain uniformity while granting sufficient autonomy can be evolved for higher education institutions across the country. A paradigm shift is needed with a focus on the use of new technologies and better utilization of existing capacity. An innovative model of Public-Private Partnership should be developed to seek private participation in higher education without compromising the quality and equity.
Q12. Public health system has limitations in providing universal health coverage. Do you think that the private sector could help in bringing the gap? What other viable alternatives would you suggest?
Ans:- 20th Pradanya, an international conference on Universal Health Coverage- Road Map for 2020, will be held in Jaipur on October 3 and 4, 2015. Delegates at this international level platform will be able to share ideas and innovations and the conference will serve as a platform for healthcare leaders and professionals to share best practices, exchange ideas and discuss strategies on how to spend least amount of resources while achieving the best outcomes. According to WHO, UHC means providing all people with access to affordable, quality health care services in order to ensure that they “obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them”.
Evidence that universal health coverage is necessary but insufficient to achieve health goals:-
Countries that have advanced in implementation of UHC still face unresolved challenges, such as persistent health inequities (linked to social determinants of health and/or discrimination) and inadequate quality of services (due to inadequate health infrastructure or a mismatch in health care personnel and health care needs). Thus, while Brazil, Mexico and Rwanda’s universal health coverage policies show increasing utilization of services, major shortcomings remain.In Mexico, inequality and inequities in availability of health resources persist across states and within states – and rural vs. urban areas – that lead to differences in health outcomes
Implications for sexual and reproductive health and rights
Sexual and reproductive health and rights may be systematically neglected in many ‘essential services packages’ but we contend that three factors in particular require attention within and beyond the health sector to secure sexual and reproductive health and rights for women: accessibility, national legal and policy frameworks and social norms.
Universal health coverage and the post-2015 development agenda
Despite many calls for action and UN commitments, progress on sexual and reproductive health and rights lags behind the other MDGs. While some countries have shied away from fulfilling their obligations of delivering sexual and reproductive health services on the basis of political or religious opposition, others have simply failed to consider women’s needs and rights as a priority because of social norms that subordinate women. In still others, the policies exist on paper but too few resources are committed to make them a reality. Unfortunately, the MDGs lack specific language and frameworks for addressing many of the sensitive issues that sexual and reproductive health and rights encompass, especially in relation to sexuality and gender. This gap was addressed in the 2005 World Summit when world leaders recognized that the exclusion of targets and indicators related to sexual and reproductive health was holding back progress not only in maternal health, but in tackling HIV, improving gender equality and child survival, and reducing poverty.
With regards to the aid of private sector in public healthcare. While the primary healthcare is the most nascent stage in the health care system and it is available through private aid as well in case of emergency, it is the secondary and tertiary healthcare where our institutional framework lacks and the point of universal access to health falters. So with this reason being the foremost, secondary and tertiary healthcare needs to made accessible via private aid. Public prive partnership (PPP Model) would be a better alternative. eg- secondary and tertiary healthcare such as surgery and transplant respectivey could be subsidised. Generally the infra deficiency in public health centres is the foremost reason why people suffer..so one alternative here could be to utilize the infra via private aid which is generally more efficient whereas the manpower of public health institutes could be effectively utilized. Or…in nutshell it could be a mix of public and private.
So, main question is how to finance UHC?
1.Ensure availibilty of free essential medicines by increasing public spending on drug procurement.( increase public spending from 0.1% of GDP at present to around 0.5% of GDP).
2.Expenditure on primary health care should be atleast 70% of all health care expenditures and should cover General health information and promotion, curative services at primary level and screening for risk factors at the population level.
3.Use general taxation as a principal source of health care financing.
4.Do not levy any kind of user fees for use of health care services under UHC.
5.All govt funded insurance schemes should be eventually merged with UHC.
6.To address regional variation of capacity of health care delivery with in India, additional funds should be allocated should be made to such regions.etc
It is clear from the preceding analysis that no ideal health care exists and that each system examined has its shortcomings. The U.S. health care system is one of the most technologically advanced in the world, but increasing costs, declining access, and growing public dissatisfaction indicate that the system is in crisis. The national debate over reform of the ailing U.S. health care system continues to focus on the roles of the private and public sectors in the health care arena. Should health care be treated like any other good or service and be competitively bought and sold, or should it be treated as a public good guaranteed and regulated by the government? Clinton’s proposals for health care reform generally embrace an approach known as mangaged competition, providing for a combination of competition and regulation.
Q13. Though there have been several different estimates of poverty in India, all indicate reduction in poverty levels over time. Do you agree? Critically examine with reference to urban and rural poverty indicators.
Q14. In the light of the Satyam Scandal (2009), discuss the changes brought in corporate governance to ensure transparency, accountability.
Q15. “If amendment bill to the Whistleblowers Act, 2011 tabled in the Parliament is passed, there may be no one left to protect.” Critically evaluate.
Q16. “For achieving the desired objectives, it is necessary to ensure that the regulatory institutions remain independent and autonomous”. Discuss in the light of experience in the recent past.
Q17. Increasing interest of India in Africa has its pros and cons. Critically examine.
The third India-Africa Summit will be held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on October 29. The third summit also promises to be a milestone and will be much bigger and grander than the two previous summits held in New Delhi (2008) and Addis Ababa (2011) as this is the first time India is inviting the leaders of all 54 African countries to the forum summit. The third summit is expected to raise the bar and will build upon substantive outcomes and plans outlined in the 2008 New Delhi Declaration and 2011 Addis Ababa Declaration and Africa-India Framework for Enhanced Cooperation.
Africa–India relations refers to the historical, political, economic, military,helper and cultural connections between the India and the African continent. Historical relations concerned mainly India and Eastern Africa. Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi forged India’s enduring links with Africa through their uncompromising support for the continent’s decolonisation process and struggle against Apartheid.
India’s Former PM said,
Africa is “emerging as a new growth pole of the world” and that India’s partnership with the continent based on the three pillars of capacity-building and skill transfer, trade and infrastructure development was a “living embodiment of South-South cooperation.”
Convergence Between India and Africa
1.Resurgence, Renewal and Renaissance.
2.Democracy, Development, and Demographic Dividend.
3.Trade, Technology and Training.
4.Both are marked by geo-economic diversity. Just as coastal India is more developed than the landlocked regions, coastal Africa is more developed than inland Africa, except where nature has blessed it with oil and other valuable commodities.
The development of modern-day relations has gone through two main periods. During the period ofcolonialism and liberation wars, political relations became stronger. India’s commitment to decolonisation through nonviolent means made it relatively reluctant to provide military assistance to national liberation movements. India’s role in East Africa was also constrained by the large Indian ethnic population that was often resented by black African nationalists. Africa is complex, diverse, with numerous fault lines. India has wisely kept aloof from its internal politics. It has also pursued the same approach in its assistance programme. India is among the largest troop contributors to the UN Peace Keeping Force in Africa.
in the context of trade relation India’s trade with Africa has increased from $39 billion in 2009-10 to $71.4 billion in 2014-15, with the surge in exports than imports.The Indian private sector is making considerable investments in agriculture, telecom and automobiles, among others.Both the regions in J une signed a tripartite free trade agreement (TFTA) to boost their economic relationship.
Africa has decisively shed the stereotype of a “Hopeless Continent” and become a “Cape of Good Hope,” with six of the world’s fastest-growing economies located in in Sub-Saharan Africa and more than thirty African countries becoming functioning democracies.
Add to this potent mix, the demographic dividend, shared by both India and Africa, with the bulk of their population in the age group 19-35. The emergence of a new generation of quality-conscious middle class consumers has enhanced the attractiveness quotient of both Africa and India
Authorities in China have invested in a systematic, institutionalised campaign to purge at least the educated urban Chinese of their racial prejudice against ‘black’ Africans. Without a change of attitude at the people-to-people level, mere summitry at the top and government-sponsored events are unlikely to bring India and Africa closer to each other. Regional diversity- If India is a sum of its diversities, so is Africa, in every sense of the term. Indian Diaspora in Africa provides a cultural link.
The collapse of Libya in 2010 and the general unrest in north Africa has caused instability all through the Sahel region now flooded with arms, illicit drugs and terrorist groups. The of terrorist and extremist groups in the continent like Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, Nigeria-based Boko Haram, and Al-Shabaab and their suspected links with militants in other parts of the world entails a more proactive collaboration between India and Africa on the issue of terrorism. Thus, terrorism is a major challenge for both. The security of the Indian Ocean is vital for African countries on the continent’s eastern shore as well as for island countries that are members of the AU. India has been active in defence through training programmes with many of these countries. The time has come to further develop these ties with the objective of enhancing naval capacities. India’s private sector will have to show integrity and sensitivity to African concerns, lest it earn the opprobrium that blatantly exploitative Chinese investments attract.
Q18. Discuss the impediments India is facing in its pursuit of a permanent seat in UN Security Council.
Q19. Project ‘Mausam’ is considered as a unique foreign policy initiative of the Indian government to improve relationship with its neighbours. Does the project has a strategic dimension? Discuss.
What is MAUSAM: This is a transnational initiative that aims at revival of India’s ancient maritime routes and cultural linkages with the countries of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The project aimed for reviving the ancient links among countries of the Indian Ocean to expand the base of Delhi’s soft power diplomacy.
1.to deepen cultural bonding
2.to ensure maritime security
3.to broaden economic connectivity with nations of the IOR.
The project is supposed to have both a cultural and serious strategic dimension. Perhaps one thing India could consider is seriously developing its Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a security and trade zone. The Economist recently reported on some Indian steps to do just that, which is sensible given the islands’ location close to the strategically important Straits of Malacca and Thailand. However, India has yet to reveal actual details on the policies and projects that it intends to pursue to advance Project Mausam.
It is clear that India’s government intends to expand its maritime presence, culturally, strategically and psychologically (in order to remind the region why the ocean is called the Indian Ocean). Despite the lack of details, Project Mausam seems like a positive step in that direction and one that will generally be well-received. It is to be hoped, however, that the project is meaningful and does not lack teeth, like many other Indian initiatives of the past. The fact that Narendra Modi’s government is initiating Project Mausam, however, at least gives one assurance that the Indian government is not launching another arbitrary and half-hearted initiative.
India is using its history, culture and geography to compete with China’s “Maritime Silk Road.”
China has expressed its readiness to work with India to link its ambitious Maritime Silk Route plans with India’s “Mausam” project in a bid to address New Delhi’s strategic concerns and derive “common benefitsDefence secretary RK MathurChina has expressed itswillingness to work with India to link its Maritime Silk Route plans with India’s Mausam Project, which will address India’s strategic concern and derive common benefits. The call for policy coordination followed the Chinese President Xi Jinping formally launching the multibillion dollar Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road projects.
Chinese Ambassador to India Le Yuchenghas remarked that “the One Belt and One Road initiatives can also be linked with India’s Spice Route and Mausam projects,” Whereas Mausam aimed at re-establishing India’s ancient maritime routes with its ancient trade partners in and along the Indian Ocean. Similarly, the “Spice Route of India” refers to the ancient network of sea routes that linked Asia, Europe and Africa.
Recently, a possible “Indo-Pacific Arc” has drawn a great deal of attention from regional and international observers. It is an old concept brought up by Australians, but has been heatedly discussed in India in recent years. The objective of the strategy is to link the Indian Ocean with the Western Pacific Ocean.
China to integrate Mongolian, Russian initiatives with MSR
In tune with its effort to interface India’s Mausam and Spice Route projects with its Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiative, China is making headway in integrating a Mongolian and a Russian initiative to develop another spur of its ambitious Silk Road land corridor. China wants to include Mongolia’s “Steppe road” initiative, and link up with the Moscow-driven transcontinental rail plan to develop the China-Mongolia-Russia (CMR) economic corridor.etc.
Q20. Terrorist activities and mutual distrust have clouded India-Pakistan relations. To what extent the use of soft power like sports and cultural exchanges could help to generate goodwill between the two countries? Discuss with suitable examples.
Ans. coming soon please wait.