DEC GOVERNANCE QUESTIONS WITH ANSWERS
1.“In the digital era, the fear of loss of individual autonomy, unregulated and arbitrary use of personal data should be protected by statutory authority”. With reference to above statement, discuss the steps taken by government for protecting individual’s privacy in the country.(01.12.2017)
The dawn of the information age opened up great opportunities for the beneficial use of data. It also enhanced the perils of unregulated and arbitrary use of personal data. Unauthorised leaks, hacking and other cyber crimes have rendered data bases vulnerable. But it is the conflict between the massive scope for progress provided by the digital era and the fear of loss of individual autonomy that is foregrounded in any debates about data protection laws.
Steps taken by government:
- In this era of Big Data analytics and automated, algorithm-based processing of zettabytes of information, the fear that their personal data may be unprotected may conjure up visions of a dystopian world in which individual liberties are compromised.
- India does not have a separate law for data protection, though Section 43A of the Information Technology Act provides a measure of legal protection of personal information.
- In 2012, the Justice A.P. Shah Committee recommended a set of principles for a legal framework for protecting privacy. Drawn from OECD guidelines, these principles were centred on sufficient notice and disclosure to citizens when data are collected, limitations on data collection and use, and norms related to data security and accountability.
- The Srikrishna Committee has also flagged seven major principles. It wants the law to be technology-agnostic and enshrine the principle of informed consent.
- It favours data minimisation and accountability of those who process and control data. It privileges a holistic approach as the law would apply to both government and private entities, but with “differential obligations”. This is where the law requires careful drafting and strictly defined concept.
It is legitimate to collect personal data in the public interest, but this information should be protected and used only for the purposes it was collected. Above all, the law must provide for a suitably empowered statutory authority to enforce its promised protection to citizens’ data.
- Discuss the role and significance of inter-state council to address Centre –State relations in recent days.(01.12.2017)
B.R. Ambedkar once described India and its states as “one integral whole, its people a single people living under a single imperium derived from a single source”. It was a necessary sentiment at a time when a newly independent and partitioned nation was trying to frame a coherent idea of itself. But the political and economic context has changed drastically since then. The relationship between the centre and the states has failed to keep pace with its evolution.
Based on the Sarkaria Commission’s recommendations, it was constituted under Article 263 of the Constitution in 1990. It proved to be crucial in the implementation of many of the commission’s 247 other recommendations, such as altering the states’ share of central taxes. Just as importantly, the council helped bridge the trust deficit between the centre and the states. If not always a problem solver, it at least acted as a safety valve.
True, there are other bodies such as the NITI Aayog’s Governing Council—it has a similar composition, including the prime minister, chosen cabinet ministers and chief ministers—that could address centre-state issues. But the ISC has constitutional backing, as against the NITI Aayog which only has an executive mandate. This puts the states on more solid footing—an essential ingredient in building the atmosphere of cooperation needed for calibrating centre-state relations.
This latest meet has shown some positive signs. The centre was willing in principle to discuss and implement some of the Punchhi Commission’s recommendations on centre-state relations, broadly falling under legislative, administrative and financial heads. But if the ISC is to be more than a talk shop, it must show that it can follow up. For instance, with regard to legislating on education and forests—both subjects that have been transferred from the state list to the concurrent list—the centre would do well to consult states more extensively and offer them greater flexibility.
The challenges of maintaining a federation are many, but the solution is no mystery: healthy debate and discussion. For that, the ISC must be a core component of the new cooperative federalism.
- It is viewed that there is a mismatch between India’s growth rate in food production and the level of hunger in India.In this context, discuss its implications in the society. Suggest measures to improve the situation.(03.12.2017)
The food security legislation will be the most significant among the laws enacted by Parliament. It will mark the fulfillment of Mahatma Gandhi’s call for a hunger-free India. It should lend itself to effective implementation, in letter and spirit. This will call for attention to four pre-requisites. These are food production, procurement, preservation and public distribution.
India faces a formidable task on the food production front. Production should be adequate to provide balanced diet for over 1.2 billion persons. Over a billion cattle and other farm animals need feed and fodder. a road map to strengthen the ecological-economic foundations for sustainable advances in productivity and production and impart an income orientation to farming, helping bridge the gap between potential and actual yields and income in farming systems.
A road map to strengthen the ecological-economic foundations for sustainable advances in productivity and production and impart an income orientation to farming, helping bridge the gap between potential and actual yields and income in farming systems.
Measures to improve the situation:
The widening of the food basket through the inclusion of nutritious millets, the mainstreaming of nutritional considerations in the National Horticulture Mission, and the consumption of salt fortified with iron and iodine will help reduce chronic protein-energy under-nutrition and hidden hunger caused by the dietary deficiency of micronutrients such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A and Vitamin B12.
Procurement should cover not only wheat and rice but also jowar, bajra, ragi, minor millets and pulses. When India started the High Yielding Varieties Programme in 1966, jowar, bajra and maize along with rice and wheat were included in the food basket in order to keep it wide.
The actual procurement price should be fixed at the time of harvest, taking into account the escalation in the cost of inputs like diesel since the time the MSP was announced.
Safe storage of procured grain is the weakest link in the food security chain. India is yet to develop a national grid of modern grain silos.
India’s global rank in the areas of poverty and malnutrition will continue to remain unenviable, so long as the country does not enable all its citizens to have a productive and healthy life. The Food Security Act holds out the last chance to save nearly 40 per cent of India’s population from the hunger trap.
- “Though various reasons stated for holdingsimultaneous elections to Parliament and all State Assemblies,but in reality that will bring new challenges in our federal structure”. Examine the statement.(05.12.2017)
The argument, or slogan, of “one country, one election” is misleading. What this label overlooks is that while India is undoubtedly one country, the Constitution also recognises the existence of 29 States which have a constitutional status of their own in matters of elections and government formation. “One country” does have “one election”, and that is for the Lok Sabha.
The seeming intention to force all States, and sometimes it has even been mentioned all panchayats, not only seems impractical but also a step in the direction of moving the country towards becoming a unitary state rather than a federal one that the Constitution envisages.
India has a federal structure and a multi-party democracy where elections are held for State Assemblies and the Lok Sabha separately; the voters are better placed to express their voting choices keeping in mind the two different governments which they would be electing by exercising their franchise. This distinction gets blurred somewhat when voters are made to vote for electing two types of government at the same time, at the same polling booth, and on the same day.
There is a tendency among the voters to vote for the same party both for electing the State government as well as the Central government. This is a rule rather than an exception, not based on assumption but on evidence.
In order to hold simultaneous national and state elections, all state Assembly polls have to be brought in sync from their present temporal offsets. Thus, certain state assemblies will have to be elected way before their normal term ends while others will last longer than their mandated term of five years.
That in itself is unfair to the sovereign democratic mandate given to states in the first place. And all this for reasons of cost-cutting and vaguely expressed sentiments about governance efficiency and stability.
If simultaneous elections were to become a reality, it would go against the political diversity which is essential for addressing the social diversity of India.
- “Skill training should be viewed as a complementary part of mainstream education, rather than being regarded as an inferior alternative”. Do you agree with this? Discuss(05.12.2017)
India’s status as an information technology (IT) powerhouse has fostered the false hope that the nation could be saved from future disruption. Low wages cannot drive economic growth or foster innovation, and the sector’s professionals are easily replaceable if they ask for higher pay or wish to move up the ladder.
As technology continues to surge forward in leaps and bounds, both blue- and white-collar jobs will become increasingly sparse. To be fair, policymakers recognize the problem and have taken steps to combat it. The “Skilling India” programme aimed at accelerating the pace of skill development, creating new employment opportunities and reforming India’s archaic labour ecosystem is a positive step. Yet the challenges faced by the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship (MSDE) are complex and varied.
The curriculum and education system offered also needs to be overhauled. Industry sources claim that close to 90% of trainees have limited understanding of the business sectors they are entering. For many skill programme graduates, the training does very little to prepare them for their day-to-day jobs. Targeted initiatives focused on updating skills can help ensure that the training benefits its intended audience. A solutions-based approach, where instructors employ case studies and present relevant problems, would provide students with a holistic education, allowing them to compete at both the national and international levels.Implementation of licensing and regulation procedures can also help boost the Indian labour force’s chances globally.
Cutting away excessive bureaucratic fat, implementing structural changes to the pedagogy of the skill training system, and installing licensing and regulatory mechanisms are all important steps to help reskill India. The most important change, however, needs to happen on a cultural level. Skill training should be viewed as a complementary part of mainstream education, rather than being regarded as an inferior alternative.
Gainful employment through skilled trades needs to be embraced by the wider Indian public and given the respectability and opportunity it deserves, for true change to be brought about. Otherwise, India’s youth will be relegated to the same conditions that their grandparents were subject to.
06.“In recent days public and private healthcare sector is under deep public distrust and despair”.In the light of the statement,discuss the major issues in healthcare sector in India.How far the universal health coverage(UHC) will improve the health care sector in the country?.(06.12.2017)
The majority of healthcare professionals happen to be concentrated in urban areas where consumers have higher paying power, leaving rural areas underserved.
Major issues in healthcare sector in India:
Three major issues are involved when we assess health care: access, quality and cost. Each of these needs to be addressed with clarity, and not in isolation. Solutions have to be those that fit into a common system architecture, or a system best designed and delivered as Universal Health Coverage (UHC), now enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Access to readily reachable, trustworthy and affordable health care is a major challenge before poorly served rural areas and overcrowded urban areas. Also, the inadequacy of organised primary health services here is compounded by a weakness at the intermediate level of care in many district hospitals and nursing homes. While corporate hospitals boast of high quality advanced care and compete with each other for a significant share of medical tourism, they are mostly inaccessible to the rural population and the urban poor. Government institutions of advanced care suffer from low budgets and a lack of managerial talent.
Importance of universal health coverage(UHC):
The UHC provides the framework in which all three elements can be integrated. The cry for stronger regulation of quality and cost is justified but regulation will fail to deliver needed health care to all if the health system architecture does not adopt UHC. Similarly, the success of UHC depends on effective regulation. Now, there is a disconnect between these two in ongoing health system reforms. It is time to bridge that gap if tragic tales of terrible health care are not to cause recurring lament.
The solution lies in doubling the level of public financing to at least 2.5% of GDP by 2019, rather than 2025, as proposed in the National Health Policy, and by pooling tax funding, all Central and State insurance schemes and employer-provided health insurance into a single payer system.
India has the opportunity to leapfrog a lot of the healthcare problems that developed nations are grappling with, such as unlinked electronic medical records and overspending.
07.“It is viewed that women can retain her religious identity even after she marries outside her community”.In the light of the statement,discuss the salient features and importance of Special Marriage Act 1954.(08.12.2017)
To safeguard the interests of those people who rose above these caste and religious divides, in order to marry the Parliament enacted The Special Marriage Act, 1954 which provides for a special form of marriage for the people of India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of the religion or faith followed by either party.
- The Special Marriage Act of 1954 is seen as a statutory alternative for couples who choose to retain their identity in an inter-religious marriage.
- The Special Marriage Act is a special legislation that was enacted to provide for a special form of marriage, by registration where the parties to the marriage are not required to renounce his/her religion.
- This Act covers marriages among Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. This act applies to every state of India, except the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
- It extends not only to the Indian citizens belonging to different castes and religions but also to the Indian nationals living abroad.
- It encourage equality amongst the citizens and as a result of it people try to interact more with each other and understand and respect each other and their differences.
- The succession to property of persons married under this Act or any marriage registered under this Act and that of their children will be governed by the Indian Succession Act. But, if the parties to the marriage belong to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain religions, then the succession to their property will be governed by the Hindu Succession Act.
While special marriages are gaining traction, there are those who prefer to stick to a particular religious marriage law, notwithstanding differences like region or caste. In secular country like India importance of Special marriage act cannot be overruled.
- Examine the mandal commission report and discuss the need for sub-categorisation of other Backward Classes (OBC) to achieve greater social justice.(11.12.2017)
Reservation for SCs and STs is in proportion to their population i.e. 22%. But as there is a legal obligation to keep the reservation under Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the constitution below 50%, the commission recommends a reservation of 27% for OBCs.
- Candidates belonging to OBC recruited based on merit in an open competition should not be adjusted against their reservation quota of 27 per cent.
- The above reservation should also be made applicable to promotion quota at all levels.
- Reserved quota remaining unfilled should be carried forward for a period of three years and de-reserved thereafter.
- Relaxation in the upper age limit for direct recruitment should be extended to the candidates of OBC in the same manner as done in the case of SCs and STs.
- A roster system for each category of posts should be adopted by the concerned authorities in the same manner as presently done in respect of SC and ST candidates.
- These recommendations in total are applicable to all recruitment to public sector undertakings both under the central and state governments, as also to nationalized banks.
- All universities and affiliated colleges should also be covered by the above scheme of reservation.
Need for sub-categorisation of other Backward Classes (OBC):
- Issue of sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes speaks to the long years of failure in effectively preventing large sections of the creamy layer from taking advantage of the quota system to the detriment of the poorer sections among their own caste groups.
- It seeks to ensure a more equitable distribution of reservation benefits by further differentiating caste groups coming under backward classes on the basis of their levels of social and economic backwardness.
- If the categorisation of the creamy layer had been done consistently and uniformly, there would not have been any felt need to differentiate among the caste groups.
The reservation pie is limited, and no group, whether rich or poor, dominant or subservient, can hope to gain except at the expense of another socio-economic category.
- “In contemporary global development circles, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are now performing many more roles than before”. In this context, discuss the role of NGO in development and the challenges faced in the country.(11.12.2017)
NGOs take up and execute projects to promote welfare of the community they work with. They work to address various concerns and issues prevailing within the society. NGOs are not-for-profit bodies which means they do not have any commercial interest.
Role of NGO in development:
- NGOs have immense role in bringing about social change and development and it is being experienced from different parts of the country.
- The NGOs are active to promote education, particularly among that section of population, which has remained un-benefited or less benefited by the measures adopted by the government.
- The threat to the human life developed due to environmental pollution and imbalance and the depletion of natural resources as a consequence of the nature of devel¬opment. Here, the role of NGOs is really noticeable and praiseworthy.
- The NGOs have a major role to play towards the cause of people’s resettlement and are also performing commendable job in this direction.
- NGOs plays a key role in creating awareness among the public, and become extended arms of the government to assist them in the process.
Challenges faced by NGOs:
- With recent Government of India crackdown on Greenpeace and several other NGOs coming under the scanner of Indian government, it is important for NGOs to achieve and maintain a high degree of transparency in not just their work but also their financials.
- There is no denying the fact that there is a massive crunch of qualified and experienced development sector professionals in India. This is one of the major issues which NGOs face in their work.
- NGOs often struggle to market themselves, it’s a daunting task for the NGOs to come up with the right communication to connect with their potential donors.
- The regulatory ecosystem for NGOs in India had started deteriorating with the amending the FCRA in 2011 and the Income-Tax Act, making the provisions restrictive and amending the definition of the activities.
In times to come, they will continue to play a significant role in helping large sections of the Indian society come out from the quagmire of poverty and distress.
- .“It is viewed that India’s higher judiciary has strongly resisted the RTI in the country”. With reference to above statement, discuss the scope and limitations of RTI act.(13.12.2017)
A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine. Right to Information Act, was brought on the table and made a reality just to counter such elements of the society. RTI guarantees transparency of Information that is vital to its functioning and to contain corruption. In other words, it aids to hold governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed.
Scope of RTI:
RTI Act gives a right to a citizen to only access information, but not seek any consequential relief based on such information.
It provides that applicant making a request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him.
Limitation of RTI Act:
The act also enforces non-disclosure of some Information which may be vital to the Country’s security and other related Information. Thus, those part(s) of the requested records which are not exempt from disclosure and which can reasonably be severed from parts containing exempt information are to be provided to the requestee under RTI.
The following information is exempted from disclosure
Information which would prejudicially
- Affect the sovereignty and integrity of India
- Affect the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State.
- Affect the relation with foreign State.
- Leads to incitement of an offence.
- Information forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court.
- Cause a breach of privilege of parliament or the state legislature.
- Affect commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party.
- Information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, competent authority if satisfied that the larger public interest can allow the disclosure of such information;
- Information received in confidence from foreign government.
The RTI has suffered another blow, not from the berated political class or the much maligned babus, but from the gems of institutions enjoined to protect the law.
- .“The land mark anti-defection law of 1985 was enacted to enhance the credibility of the country’s polity”.In the light of the statement, discuss its implications in Indian political system.(14.12.2017)
The objective of the landmark anti-defection law of 1985 was to enhance the credibility of the country’s polity by addressing rampant party-hopping by elected representatives for personal and political considerations.
- While this enactment brought about some order in the system, some politicians found ways of circumventing it over the years.
- By indulging in anti-party activities members had “voluntarily” given up the membership of their party.
- According to a Supreme Court judgment, “voluntarily giving up the membership of the party” is not synonymous with “resignation”. It could be “implied” in participation of the member in anti-party activities.
- The anti-defection law came into place, there have been a large number of cases where proceedings have dragged on for years.
- Dissent is a political right, it should be articulated appropriately without striking at the roots of the functioning of the party-based democratic system.
- Whether a particular legislator (lawmaker) is entitled to sit in the Legislature or not, should not be kept pending and dragged on by the Presiding Officers, with a view to save the membership of the persons, who have otherwise incurred disqualification or even to save the Government, which enjoys majority only because of such type of persons.
- All such petitions should be decided by the Presiding Officers within a period of around three months, of course, by giving an opportunity, as per law, to the concerned Members against whom there are allegations, which lead to their disqualification under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India, so as to effectively thwart the evil of political defections, which if left uncurbed are likely to undermine the very foundations of our democracy and the principles which sustain it.
- Further, Rule 7(3) of the Members of Rajya Sabha (Disqualification on Grounds of Defection) Rules clearly stipulates that a member against whom the petition has been made, has to forward his comments to the chairman within seven days of the receipt of copy of the petition. The seven-day time clearly indicates the need for expeditious disposal of the petition.
It is hoped that presiding officers of State legislatures will take the advice of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha in the right spirit.
- “India that has 21st-century aspirations, with a 19th-century bureaucracy”. With reference to above statement, what are the major challenges in Indian bureaucracy? Suggest measures to bring its relevance in recent days. (15.12.2017)
The “New India” that is under way also needs independence from bad bureaucracy, not necessarily from all bureaucracy, for any state would need to be run by some set of rules, by some set of people.
Major challenges in Indian bureaucracy:
- Lateral entry has produced a pilot who was designated Cabinet Secretary in a State who then ran amok, and thoughtful economists who were disasters as leaders inside government.
- Lateral entry does open the risk and prospect of powerful corporate groups placing their men in key positions of government.
- Lack of Implementing existing rules. The rules always existed in the rule book.
- It is highly unlikely that a private sector professional will view civil services as a ‘career’ for, say, 10-15 years given the modest compensation and significant ecosystem issues which often mitigate against measurable inputs and outcomes.
Measures to bring its relevance:
- Specific clauses under All India Services and Central Services Conduct Rules have been invoked to sack officers on grounds of incompetence and/or corruption.
- Alongside introducing lateral entry, there is a need to “put to pasture” those due to whom administrative rigor mortis has set in — if someone is not found suitable in the IAS/IRS/IPS/IFS after about 15 years, i.e. at the Joint Secretary level, shift them out to non-crucial posts.
- Infuse more and more technology into every touch point where a citizen interacts with the government.
- The time is ripe for introducing AI in government services such as passports, licences, building permits, certificates, etc. where it can communicate in natural language with citizens and ensure process compliance.
India needs independence from bad bureaucracy and inane processes and meaningless forms — not necessarily from good bureaucracy, which in every country, system and time has been the harbinger of positive change.
- It is viewed that the series of rights-based laws focused on the marginalised people’s access to constitutional guarantees. Discuss with suitable examples.(15.12.2017)
The RTI and NREGA — two pieces of legislation that have since their passage dominated the discourse on governance and entitlements for the poor — were passed after rigorous debate and discussion, inside and outside Parliament. These were followed by the enactment of many rights-based laws seeking to address basic needs of the marginalised, strengthening their agency and empowerment.
- It requires immense strength of purpose, conviction, and assertion, to push social sector issues and the real concerns of the marginalised into the mainstream of India’s decision-making platforms.
- The National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) and the creation of the National Advisory Committee (NAC), gave these issues a unique space. It enabled the transformation of political commitments to citizens into working frameworks of law and policy.
- NAC mandate to confine itself to social sector promises and initiatives was a significant, deliberate decision.
- Collaborative exercise in preparing draft legislation and policy with civil society organisations and government yielded very useful results.
- The contributions from social activists, rooted in contemporary realities, and robust consultations with communities, lent rigour to the formulations.
- A series of state RTI laws had widened the understanding of the critical need for transparency in governance. The RTI faced bureaucratic contestation in equal measure.
- There were objections about the scope of the law, promoting blanket exemptions, inclusion of parts of the armed forces and covering aspects of intelligence and security agencies under transparency norms.
- Right based legislation raised hope that movements and governments could work in collaboration for realising the constitutional mandate to address inequality and injustice.
The series of rights-based laws that followed drew upon this framework to begin a new phase in the legal lexicon of India’s constitutional democracy. It began to address inequality and the concentration of power.
- .“Recently Supreme court upheld that right to dignity of the disabled people should be ensured while providing public services in the country”. With reference to above statement, discuss the major challenges faced by disabled in the country. Suggest measures to improve the situation.(16.12.2017)
Right to dignity, which is ensured in the constitutional set up for every citizen, applies with much more vigour in cases of persons suffering from disability and it was duty of the State and public authorities to lay down proper norms in this regard.
Major challenges faced by disabled people:
- Most of the government buildings or private offices and other infrastructure are inaccesible for disabling population.
- The Disabled person has a very low representative in fields like government jobs, politics, economy.
- The lack of appropriate services for people with disabilities is a significant barrier to health care. Affordability of health service and transportation are two main reasons why people with disabilities do not receive needed health care.
- Attitudinal barriers which help in stigmatisation and discrimination, deny people with disabilities their dignity and potential and are one of the greatest obstacles to achieving equality of opportunity and social integration.
- Poor implementing policies and plans can prevent the inclusion of people with disabilities.
- Inaccessible communication systems prevent access to information and knowledge and opportunities to participate. Lack of services or problems with service delivery also restricts the participation of people with disabilities.
Measures to improve the situation:
- Accessible Indian campaign or Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan is launched with a focus on universal accessibility for a person with disabilities. It aims at bringing awareness about disabled and for their employment.
- To give effect to UN convention on rights of persons with disability, the government has introduced “The rights of persons with disability bill, 2006”. The bill will replace the existing persons with disability act 1995, which was enacted 21 years back. It will increase reservation for disabled from current 3 percent to 5 percent.
- To create an enabling environment to ensure equal opportunities, equity, social justice and empowerment of person with disabilities. To encourage voluntary action for ensuring effective implementation of the people with disabilities act of 1995.
A disabled person can contribute greatly to society and nation but we have to provide them enabling environment. An inclusive society is not possible unless the disabled population is part of the growth story.
- “According to the Global TB Report 2017, India have the highest number of tuberculosis cases in the world”.In the light of the statement, discuss the various steps taken government to address TB cases in the country and its outcome.(17.12.2017)
At the end of 50 years of tuberculosis control activities, the disease remains a major health challenge in India. National strategic plan for tuberculosis elimination (2017-2025), has set a highly ambitious goal of “achieving a rapid decline in burden of TB, morbidity and mortality while working towards elimination of TB by 2025.”
Steps taken government to address TB cases:
- Government of India is implementing the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme in the country. Under this programme, diagnosis and treatment facilities including anti-TB drugs are provided free of cost to all TB patients.
- Designated microscopy centres have been established for quality diagnosis for every one lakh population in the general areas and for every 50,000 population in the tribal, hilly and difficult areas.
- Treatment centres (DOT Centres) have been established near to residence of patients to the extent possible. All government hospitals, Community Health Centres (CHC), Primary Health Centres (PHC), sub centres are DOT centres.
- Government of India has released Standards for TB Care in India (STCI), an initiative to introduce uniform standards for TB care in all sectors. This is the first time such standards have been defined in India and is an important step to standardize diagnosis, treatment, public health action and social support systems for all TB patients in the country.
- RNTCP is collaborating with the Indian Medical Association in the form of a project for involvement of Private Medical Practitioners.
- Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant TB (PMDT) services, for the management of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and TB-HIV collaborative activities for TB-HIV co-infection are being implemented throughout the country.
- Though the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) has treated 10 million patients, the rate of decline has been slow.
- Providing universal access to early diagnosis and treatment and improving case detection were the main goals of the national strategic plan 2012-17. But RNTCP failed on both counts.
- Though Bedaquiline, the drug for people who do not respond to any anti-TB medicine, is provided in six sites in the country, the number of beneficiaries is very small.
India needs to effectively engage the RNTPC with the private sector and bring key stakeholders together with NGOs, research centres, health workers — to map out a strong and efficient PPP model that can effectively implement a TB control programme on a national level.
- It is viewed that in India, there is no real movement towards democratization of political parties in the country.Do you agree? Discuss its implications in India in recent days.(18.12.2017)
The basic premise on which democracy operates is transparency, therefore the first step towards securing our Indian democracy is to demand transparency in the funding of political parties. In a democracy like India, where even the supreme law of the country – the constitution – derives its authority from the people, political parties are supposed to be accountable to the masses whom they claim to represent.
- National political parties have been claiming that they are transparent because their finances are already in the public domain, as under the law they have been submitting their income tax returns to the IT department and their contributions report – which only includes donations above Rs 20,000 – to the Election Commission of India.
- Political parties rely heavily on ‘voluntary contributions/donations’ for fighting elections and running their daily operations. They receive huge sums of money in the form of voluntary contributions and donations from corporate, trusts and individuals.
- Corporates have increased their control over the political arena by funding political parties and their election campaigns. This is how the corporations that are essentially unaccountable to the general public influence many of the major political-economic decisions in the country.
- Bringing transparency into political funding must be a voluntary action even if it is not imposed by the law.
- The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976, prohibited political parties from accepting contributions from foreign companies or companies in India controlled by foreign companies.
- It is evident that national political parties have for long been resisting the RTI to conceal obscurities in their sources of funding.
- This has also proved how the existing laws have miserably failed in bringing complete transparency in the funding of political parties, creating the need for an overhaul in the mechanism for political funding.
For the government to truly fight black money and ensure complete transparency in political funding, the ambit of the Right to Information Act must be expanded to include political parties.
- It is stated that in recent days trial courts in the country are under societal pressure to award maximum punishment. Discuss various aspects. (19.12.2017)
The trial courts have sent out a significant message that one need not always be cynical about the country’s criminal justice system; that there are times when it responds well, and responds quickly, to the cry for justice.
- For Indian courts to render a final verdict within two years is unusual, therefore probably deserving of praise. This is a noteworthy and welcome departure from the uninspiring record of tardy trials and perfunctory orders.
- It is perhaps a sign of the times that both State governments bestowed considerable attention on securing justice in these cases, getting the investigation supervised at a high level and appointing special prosecutors.
- Given the public outcry over the crimes, any other course would have been unacceptable. In recent years, quick trials and condign punishment have become the order of the day.
- Besides the ‘Nirbhaya’ gangrape and murder in Delhi, the Shakti Mills gang rape case in Mumbai and the rape of a passenger by a Delhi taxi driver are significant instances.
- However, it is odd and discomfiting that all such cases end in condemning the convicts to death. Trial courts appear to be under pressure to be seen as ruthless and unwavering, resulting in their reflexively awarding the death penalty.
- In these two latest cases, the superior courts may well reduce the sentences on a balance of mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
One cannot ignore the core message that efficient investigation and speedy trials help foster trust in the justice system. Judiciary must not hear society outcry while investigating case.
- It is viewed that effectiveness of local self-government institutions is hampered due to lack of capacity building of elected representatives .Examine.(20.12.2017)
Capacity building is therefore concerned with human resource development institutional development operates and interact. Capacity building can also help to determine the efficient utilization and allocation of human resources among competing demand.
- With state decentralisation rapidly becoming the key features of intergovernmental relations around the world , with higher expectations for bridging the gulf between the state and civil society and government structures and bodies, building the capacity of local government should be a key agenda of central governments and other development partners in order to empower local governments to provide services efficiently .
- The centrality of capacity development for sustainable local governance is therefore unquestionable and can best be summed up that “good local government is not just a matter of creating the right legal, political and institutional framework. It is also about actively building local authority capacity, particularly the understanding and skills, and the ability and desire to learn.
- The most unfortunate fact behind the inefficiency of many capacity building initiatives especially in developing economies was because of a lack of comprehensive strategic framework towards capacity development.
- The following measures can be considered as a framework of strategies for capacity development at local government level, Governance and accountability – building credible institutions that are viable and credible, Human skills – individual skills and the link to institutional development – these two are inextricably linked.
- However, depending on the Local Government capacities and the need to enrich the process with experiences beyond the Local Government, Local Governments may opt to employ the services of external facilitators.
- Monitoring an organization’s leadership – this involves evaluating how empowered the organization’s leadership is-how well the leadership encourages experimentation, self-reflection, changes in team structures and approaches.
It reinforced the centrality of capacity building and development as a measure of improving the overall competence of institutions both private and public.
- It is viewed that undernutrition remains high in India at the same time over-nutrition too is becoming an emergency in recent days. Discuss various aspects.(22.12.2017)
While undernutrition remains high in India, over-nutrition too is becoming an emergency. In the last few decades, with strides in technology, irrigation practices, and extension services, and with progressive agricultural policies, India has seen improvement in food and nutrition security. Agriculture, food grain production, and agricutlural export have grown.
- Vast majority of Indians eat cereal-based food, mainly wheat and rice. There is an insufficient intake of food such as milk, pulses, and fruits and vegetables, which are rich sources of micronutrients. What is ironic is that over-nutrition is emerging as an emergency in India.
- Dramatic changes in lifestyle and dietary patterns in recent decades have contributed to an increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases.
- If this double burden of undernutrition and growing percentage of obesity and associated non-communicable diseases is not controlled, it can have serious implications for the economy.
- While the Green Revolution phase saw new, fast-growing varieties of staples, especially wheat and rice, the following decades saw a steady decline in the food basket diversity, especially of traditional grains such as bajra and millet, which have high nutritional value.
- The 1990s, though, saw a focus on the role of micronutrients. Deficiencies of micronutrients such as zinc, folic acid, magnesium, selenium and vitamin D started receiving more attention.
- The Sustainable Development Goal-2, which aims to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”, is a priority area for India. To ensure food and nutrition security, there is a growing need for a multisectoral approach.
The policies and programmes of various ministries should be converged for better results. This will not only transform India’s agricultural practices, but also spread awareness about nutritious food among key target groups, including tribals, women and children.
- “Self Help Groups (SHG) are considered as one of the most significant tools to adopt participatory approach economic empowerment of women”. Comment.(23.12.2017)
Self Help Group (SHG) is a voluntary association of persons with common interests, formed democratically with out any political affiliations. They have been recognized as a useful tool to help the poor and as an alternative mechanism to meet the urgent credit needs of poor through thrift. SHG is a media for the development of saving habit amount the women.
- Empowerment of women would mean equipping women to be economically independent and personally self-reliant, with a positive selfesteem to enable them to face any difficult situation.
- Moreover they should beable to contribute to the developmental activities of the country. The empowered women should be able to participate in the process of decision making.
- The very existence of SHGs is highly relevant to make the people of below poverty line hopeful and self-reliant. SHGs enable them to Increase their income, improve their standard of living and status in society. It acts as a catalyst for bringing this section of society to the main stream.
- The main objective of “Swarna Jayanti Grama Swarojgar Yojana” (SGSY) is to bring the beneficiaries above the poverty line by providing income generating assets to them through bank credit and government subsidy. The Self-Help Groups (SHPs) are the major component of this scheme.
- SHG aims to enhance the confidence and capabilities of women and to develop collective decision making among women.
- The SHG is group of rural poor who have volunteered to organise themselves into a group for eradication of poverty of the members. They agree to save regularly and convert their savings into a common fund known as Group Corpus.
- The members in the group meetings should take all the loaning decisions through a participatory decision making process.
- The group should be able to prioritise the loan applications, fix repayment schedules, fix appropriate rate of interest for the loans advanced and closely monitor the repayment of the loan installments from the loanee.
A number of initiatives are needed to keep the SHG on track. The goal is to make it a dispenser not just of credit but of a variety of social goods and services to the rural poor.
21.“Digitalisation provides great impetus to E-governance in the country”.Discuss.(23.12.2017)
The vision of Digital India aims to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The programme will be implemented in phases from the current year till 2018. The Digital India is transformational in nature and would ensure that Government services are available to citizens electronically.
- It would bring in public accountability through mandated delivery of government’s services electronically, a Unique ID and e-Pramaan based on authentic and standard based interoperable and integrated government applications and data basis.
- Digital India provides the much-needed thrust to the nine pillars of growth areas, namely Broadband Highways, Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity and Public Internet Access Programme, among others.
- The Digital India vision provides the intensified impetus for further momentum and progress for e-Governance and would promote inclusive growth that covers electronic services, products, devices, manufacturing and job opportunities.
- Digital India aims to create a seamless ecosystem across multiple government departments to make services available on both online and mobile platforms.
- As part of the initiative, financial transactions would be made cashless and entitlements would be available on the cloud.
- This programme will provide universal digital literacy to enable citizens to use the digital platform.
- The government services can be accessed in local languages to help users participate in the new governance mechanism.
- Since technology is the key driver in India’s economic growth, it will spur growth in areas of governance and service delivery.
Digital India has been introduced to ensure smooth implementation of e – governance in the country and transform the entire ecosystem of public services through the use of information technology. There is no better way to promote inclusive growth other than through the empowerment of citizens.
22.“Aadhar-India’s ambitious biometric identity will enhance country’s welfare efforts by promoting inclusion and reducing corruption”.In the light of the statement,bring out the positive and negative impact of Aadhar in the country.(23.12.2017)
Aadhaar is a 12 digit number that serves as a unique identifier for Indian citizens and residents. It was introduced by the government in 2010, with the intentions of making subsidy and benefit deliverance more effective and eliminate leakages in the process. Aadhaar has been ever prevalent in the news ever since.
Positive impact of Aadhar:
- Aadhaar system’s positives will not only be limited to the government, but spread to the private business sector too as with an Aadhaar backed identity, banks will be more confident in giving out loans and businesses, both big and small more secure in knowing who they’re working with.
- Given the size of India’s population, something like the Aadhaar system might seem like easiest and most effective way to organize the payments of subsidies and benefits while keeping a check on administrative costs as well.
- It aims is to facilitate direct and transparent delivery of benefits and subsidies to the Indian citizens that required them.
- The system of payments making their way to people’s bank accounts directly was pursued with the goal of preventing fraud and corruption that otherwise took place.
Negative impact of Aadhar:
- There is a lack of proper informed consent and wording of the Aadhaar Act allowing for the possible sharing of Aadhaar data with law enforcement.
- Aadhaar does make managing benefits easier for India but making it mandatory to avail benefit makes the Aadhaar database a prime target for exploitation, increasing the security risk behind it.
- Furthermore, forcing Aadhaar to be mandatory to file taxes opens up an argument on privacy rights. And the government’s argument of privacy not being fundamental does not help assuage any of them.
- India deals with frequent cyber attacks from China and Pakistan. Hacking the Aadhaar database would be an easy way for other countries to create disruption within India.
Given the drawbacks, it is a must that there is more debate and discourse on the scope of Aadhaar as well as the development of proper training for relevant government workers before forcing through Aadhaar anymore.
- It is viewed that civil society must join hands with the government in realising the importance of right to development and to address loopholes in implementing government schemes. Discuss.(26.12.2017)
Government continues to undertake challenging development work in maoist hit areas. This shows how the paradigm on tackling Maoism has changed over time. The government’s response has matured in terms of deliverance — from reactive it has become proactive, and from localised it has become holistic.
- Many new police stations and security camps were set up to prevent any major Maoist attack. The cadre strength of the Maoists has consequently reduced. Security forces were redeployed to ensure better territorial command.
- However, winning a psychological war against the Maoists remains an unfinished task. Though the government’s rehabilitation policies have helped the surrendered cadres turn their lives around, security personnel are still accused of being informers and are killed.
- To end this, civil society must join hands with the government in realising the villagers’ right to development.
- Loopholes in implementing government schemes must not be used as a tool to strengthen the hands of the Maoists. Indian democracy is strong enough to absorb even its adversaries if they abjure violence.
- The Maoist problem is not merely a law and order issue. A permanent solution lies in eliminating the root cause of the problem that led to the alienation of tribals in this area.
- Government has now opened up livelihood centres, known as Livelihood Colleges, in all the districts. If the youth are constructively engaged by the government, the recruitment of youth by the Maoists will slowly stop.
- The focus now is to build roads and install communication towers to increase administrative and political access of the tribals, and improve the reach of government schemes.
The two-pronged policy of direct action by the security forces combined with development is showing results — the government has already made a dent in most of the affected districts and is determined to check the expansion of Maoists.
- Social auditing of flagship programmes of the Central government will achieve the objectives of various central sector schemes in the country. Discuss.(27.12.2017)
Social audits refer to a legally mandated process where potential and existing beneficiaries evaluate the implementation of a programme by comparing official records with ground realities. The proceedings cannot be scripted, and the entire social audit is often a dramatic process of redistribution of power based on evidence and fact. These audits were first made statutory in a 2005 Rural Employment Act.
- Social auditing is a process that enables a government to assess and demonstrate its social, economic, and environmental benefits and limitations.
- It is a way of measuring the extent to which an organisation lives up to the shared values and objectives it has committed itself to.
- Social auditing information is collected through research methods that include social book-keeping, surveys and case studies.
- Social Audit is thus, a method of ensuring accountability of any authority, governmental or otherwise, of its actions and inactions, what it chose to do, the manner in which it is being done and the analysis of what is done.
- Development expenditure is being executed through the local bodies such as panchayati raj institutions and urban local bodies. These local bodies are important service delivery tools and are performing most of the flagship programmes of the central and state governments.
- Even if a state government publicly announces regular social audits, the first round of auditing, because of limited state credibility, is likely to take public officials (or transgressors) by surprise and reveal large irregularities in basic programme delivery.
- Furthermore, local MGNREGA beneficiaries are expected to have high stakes in employment availability and in timely payment, while having sufficient initial capacity to detect transgressions.
- If audits effectively detect malpractices and the threat of punishment is credible, the easy-to-detect irregularities (non-payment of wages or ghost projects) should decline.
- Despite increasing awareness of beneficiaries and the greater capacity of the audit process to detect irregularities, the overall social audit effect on reducing easy-to-detect malpractices was mostly absent.
- One can interpret the rise in irregularities as an underlying change in the anatomy of corruption and a failure of the social audit process to deter leakage of programme funds.
While the potential benefits of public programmes are large, the costs of ensuring that those benefits are realised through beneficiary-led audits are low. But before community monitoring can be scaled up in other parts of the country or for other public programmes, we must strengthen its credibility.
- In the light of recent happenings, do you think that censor board will protect the freedom of speech in the country? Discuss.(30.12.2017)
The task of the Censor Board is to ensure that a film complies with the laws of the land and the guidelines of the Cinematograph Act. It is a legal and constitutional task, not a sentimental or popular one.
- The Censor Board’s actions represent an approach towards the freedom of expression. This approach has two distinct aspects.
- First, that in order to qualify for constitutional protection, a work must have an objectively defined social value that is, it must be good for something, whether it is spreading scientific or historical knowledge, inculcating patriotic values, or advocating good social habits.
- Second, if the work refers to or is about a certain segment of society, then that segment automatically acquires the power to decide whether or not it has been offended by it — a power that is exercised by the self-appointed gatekeepers of the community.
- The idea underlying the actions Censor Board is that every self-identified community no matter how loosely or ill-defined has an automatic right of veto over any work of art, expressed through its self-proclaimed and most noisy gatekeepers.
- The Constitution, however, clearly repudiated this view when it placed the individual and individual rights at its heart.
- Ever since the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of obscenity law in 1964, it has given a clear indication that useful art, or art that can serve a social purpose, may be exempted from the penal consequences of obscenity, or other similar speech-restricting laws.
- Even if we concede that art ought to have a social purpose, the task of deciding whether a particular work of art is socially useful or not will be left to judges who, with the best intentions, will only end up reproducing the dominant conceptions of what is useful.
- The CBFC is, of course, an independent body with an independent mandate. However, we need to remember that it is the Supreme Court which, in the last analysis, sets the norms, principles and values that trickle down the judicial ladder.
As long as the freedom of speech continues to be treated as a minor inconvenience that needs to be regulated in public interest, we cannot really expect the CBFC to protect free speech in a meaningful way. The battle for free speech must be waged both at the bottom and at the top.
- Digital governance has the potential to improve the smallest and least –developed states in the country”. Elaborate the statement with suitable example.(30.12.2017)
Digital governance holds out the exciting possibility that even India’s smallest and least-developed states can see huge gains in their governance capabilities. There’s an increasingly widespread understanding that states are best positioned to drive its ongoing experiments in economic development and good governance.
- Tata Power Delhi Distribution announced that it would begin distributing smart meters to customers. The smart meters are internet-enabled, allowing them to communicate with the central system and give consumers more control over how and when they use electricity.
- Two of Andhra Pradesh’s discoms began accepting digital payments through BharatQR, the first discoms in India to do so.
- States can also use digital tools to improve their economic development. This can be through improved education and training, by improving the business environment for industry or expanding access to market services by deploying technologies.
- States are the pioneers when it comes to using digital tools for delivery of healthcare, education and training, not only expanding access but improving the quality of services received. Telangana and Karnataka stand out as leaders in healthcare.
- Chhattisgarh has decided that empowering women through distribution of smartphones will be a way to improve access to services and information which can be used to conduct small business.
- Nagaland has moved its entire Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme payment architecture to digital payments. Workers’ wages will now be credited directly to their bank accounts, increasing transparency and minimizing opportunities for fraud.
- Karnataka’s agriculture department is working with Microsoft to use Big Data to develop a price forecasting model that will help farmers determine what crops to plant to obtain the best return on their investment.
- In a boost for manual labourers, the Punjab labour department has decided to use an online portal to register construction workers and to increase transparency and accuracy in the distribution of benefits to them.
- West Bengal has decided to launch a new portal to support a new state agency created by the passage of the state’s Single Window System Bill to expedite industrial clearances for businesses.
Given the global interest in the potential for innovation in this area, states should have no trouble finding partners willing to provide funds and expertise. But truly achieving the potential for digital innovation requires that state governments be willing to accept the need for transparency and reform.
27.It is stated that India accounts for the lowest level of health insurance coverage among developing and low and middle-income countries. Give the reasons. Suggest measures to improve the situation.(31.12.2017)
Access to quality health services has remained an abiding challenge for India. Given our complex socio-economic reality and disparities in the quality and availability of health services, the need to focus on health financing is an important economic and social imperative.
The key to increasing access to quality health care in India lies in increasing the patient’s ability to pay. The only sustainable way to do this is by increasing insurance cover because price capping, in a country that already enjoys the lowest prices, is simply not sustainable.
- Curative- and invasive-interventions, such as surgeries and inpatient care, are covered in most public health insurance policies. However, in spite of non communicable diseases (NCD) being held responsible for 60% of all deaths in India, health insurance schemes seem unprepared to meet this disease burden.
- The absence of coverage for outpatient care and pre-existing diseases is now an impediment to a comprehensive and affordable health insurance cover.
- Coverage for diagnostics and health tests remains patchy. It has been the largest contributor to health expenses in urban India.
Measures to improve the situation:
- With most incentivised health insurance schemes, premiums are included in the list qualifying for standard deductible. However, this does not benefit the non-tax paying population.
- Health coverage needs to be re-evaluated and health insurance needs to become a part of a broader social security bouquet. Similarly, innovative social insurance models also need to be explored.
- A lot of funds are being earmarked for creating infrastructure. While this is important, it limits the availability of funds for health financing schemes and the only solution is to implement a long overdue increase in health-care budget allocation.
Focus on quality, outcomes and reliability, coupled with greater budget allocation for health care, must all be central to our combined efforts for an accessible, equitable and effective health system.
- The education is often viewed as an agency of social change in the country. Examine.(31.12.2017)
Social change may take place – when humans need change. When the existing social system or network of social institutions fails to meet the existing human needs and when new materials suggest better ways of meeting human needs. Education is seen as a major vector in society.
- Education can be used as a tool to empower the individual. Through child centered learning, students are able to see their own role in transformation. Societal change comes from the collective transformation of the individuals within that society.
- Education has been accepted as one major agency of socialization, and teachers and educational institutions as socializing agents.
- In describing education as an instrument of social change, three things are important: the agents of change, the content of change, and the social background of those who are sought to be changed, i.e. students.
- Educational institutions under the control of different cultural groups reflect the values of those groups which support and control education. In this situation, teachers Impart specific values, aspirations and to the children.
- Social reformers, who were educated emphasized values like removal of caste restrictions, equality of women, doing away with social evil social customs and practices, voice in the governance of the country, establishing democratic institutions and so on.
- They, thus, wanted to teach liberal philosophy through education for changing society. In other words they regarded education as a flame or light of knowledge which dispelled the darkness of ignorance.
- According to the sociological perspective, education does not arise in response of the individual needs of the individual, but it arises out of the needs of the society of which the individual.
Thus, the relationship between educational system and society is mutual; sometimes the society influences changes in educational system and at other times the educational system influences changes in the society.