1. Demands for caste based reservations have resurfaced again on the national forefront. Why after more than six decades of independence, the idea of a society based on equity and transcending caste and community barriers remains elusive? Give your opinion.
Demands for caste based reservations have resurfaced again on the national front especially with the agitations of the Patel community in Gujarat, Gujjars’agitation in Rajasthan and Kapu agitation in Andhra Pradesh.
Reservation in India is the process of facilitating a person in education, scholarship, jobs, and in promotion who has category certificates. Reservation is a form of quota-based affirmative action. Reservation is governed by constitutional laws, statutory laws, and local rules and regulations. Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC), and in some states Backward Classes among Muslims under a category called BC (M), are the primary beneficiaries of the reservation policies under the Constitution – with the object of ensuring a level playing field.
Background of caste based reservation
A common form of caste discrimination in India was the practice of untouchability. Scheduled Castes (SCs) were the primary targets of the practice, which is outlawed by the Constitution of India.
In 1982, the Constitution specified 15% and 7.5% of vacancies in public sector and government-aided educational institutes as a quota reserved for the SC and ST candidates respectively for a period of five years, after which the quota system would be reviewed. This period was routinely extended by the succeeding governments. The Supreme Court of India ruled that reservations could not exceed 50% (which it judged would violate equal access guaranteed by the Constitution) and put a cap on reservations.
The primary stated objective of the Indian reservation system is to increase the opportunities for enhanced social and educational status of the underprivileged communities and thus uplift their lifestyle to have their place in the mainstream of Indian society. The reservation system exists to provide opportunities for the members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to increase their political representation in the State Legislatures, the Executive Organ of the Union (Centre) and States, the labour force, schools, colleges, and other public institutions.
However, even after six decades of independence, the idea of a society based on equity and transcending caste and community barriers remains elusive. Some reasons could be:
Growing caste identities
Politicisation of caste groups(vote bank politics)
Socio cultural factors
However, the list is not exhaustive.
Since the question asks for your opinion, you should give your opinion and justify the same by giving suitable reasons in favour of your opinion
2.You must have witnessed numerous interpretations of ‘patriotism’ recently. What do you understand by patriotism? Also opine on the ongoing ideological debate over the issue.
1st part: What do you understand by patriotism?
The standard dictionary definition reads “love of one’s country.”
Our understanding of Patriotism can vary from or includes all the following
Special affection for one’s own country
A sense of personal identification with the country
Special concern for the well-being of the country
Willingness to sacrifice to promote the country’s good
2nd Part: Our opinion on ongoing ideological debate
Misinterpretation about the Ideologies of Patriotism
Discussions of both patriotism and nationalism are often marred by lack of clarity due to the failure to distinguish the two. Patriotism should not be confused with nationalism as the former is defensive and later is aggressive.
Patriotism and Ethnocentrism – People who are ethnocentric are not able to understand the actions of people from other cultures and look negatively upon them.
Government trying to create and impose its own meaning of patriotism and rating patriotism more to a single political ideology. Terming those who dissent as anti-nationalists.
Extreme patriotism – where the paramount interests of one’s country override any moral consideration with which they might come into conflict.
Robust patriotism – where the patriots allegiance is not to any government in power but rather to the nation conceived as a whole (larger interest)
There is no single scale to measure patriotism. We are witnessing an unique patriotism where one is opposing his/her country’s government in the name of the country’s true character, history and aspirations, to that extent, this type of true patriotism is seen as a fundamentally irrational attitude and as often being termed as anti-nationalists.
Increasing influence and threat of ‘Terrorist-organisations’ and ‘Anti-national elements’ make the idea of ‘patriotism’ relevant for the unity and integrity of our nation. Patriotism is the love for the nation based on its values and ideals.
– Aggressive-nationalism is confused with patriotism opposing cultural and artistic exchanges among nations (Recent boycott of foreign artists)
– People criticizing government-institutions and fighting caste-discrimination are attacked and branded as anti-nationals in the name of patriotism (Banning NGOs and organizations)
– Patriotism is mistaken as justifying everything practiced in our country leaving no scope for debate and reform (superstitions)
– Patriotism is participating in nation building by uplifting its people and augmenting its wealth.
– Patriotism is an idea of ‘Nation-loving’ based on affection and peace aiming national progress.
– Patriotism is the pride in nation’s strength and willingness to reform its flaws.
– Recent incidents trigger an ideological debate on patriotism. Patriotism should not be confused with nationalism as the former is progressive and later is aggressive.
– Reasonable dissents, as long as lawful, shouldn’t be termed as anti-nationalism. ‘Party-ideology’ shouldn’t be the yardstick to rate patriotism.
– Patriotism shouldn’t be imposing food, culture and faith of majority on marginalized. Food-preference and Dress-code don’t make someone anti-national.
Patriotism, as it is inherited from our freedom fighters, is to be united and integrated against challenges, cherishing the values and ideals of of our nation
3. Innovation must be brought bottom up in order to make local bodies more effective and participative. Do you agree? Discuss by quoting examples.
Problems being faced by local bodies today:
They were given teeth by 73rd and 74th amendment acts but the stagnancy has eroded their empowered positions.
Limited devaluation of power (lack of democratization of democracy).
Increased political interference.
Financial constraints while meeting developmental demands.
Blanket approach in project designs.
Benefits of bottom up approach:
Inclusive development with targeted approach can be facilitated.
Participation of the masses and cost effectiveness can be increased with local innovative designs.
Sense of awareness and ownership increased.
Efficiency and effectiveness in functioning of local bodies enhanced.
Transparency and delivery of service ensured in remotest of places.
Empower the localized bodies specially women and weaker section. SHG, ASHA worker, NRLM, PMAY and SKILL INDIA is step towards making local bodies self-reliant.
Information Kerala Mission, SUVIDHA CENTRE in Punjab is promoting e-governance.
The Chhattisgarh PDS system involves the decentralized mode of implementation where the list of beneficiaries is published and GPS trackers are used for monitoring the grain movement.
Pani Panchayats in Naigaon is an example of how communities can be leveraged for solving environmental issues.
Efforts of children of a village in Rajasthan to surveillance on people defecting in open in their village brought the whole village defection free in one month.
Dehat, a mobile app, has been developed in Bihar to give information to the farmers related to agriculture.
Conclusion: clarify your stand supporting or not supporting the bottom up approach of innovations in local bodies.
Best answer: the credible hulk
In a huge and diverse polity like India, where each region has its own geo-economical and social idiosyncrasies, a top-down approach might not work as desired, due to some of the ‘conventional’ flaws:
Lack of awareness of granular complexities.
Bureaucratic ‘leakages’ while ‘trickling down’.
Disconnect with ground-level workers and local populace.
This was identified as early as in the 1950s when the government went for implementing Gandhian local self-governance units which finally materialized as Panchayats and Municipalities (73rd & 74th Amendments).
The advantages are:
Increased active local participation.
Customized and local solutions to local problems – usually cuts costs and increases implementation speed.
Better monitoring and increased official accountability.
Brings in a behavioral change in the polity, transforming citizens into responsible stakeholders.
And there are several working instances demonstrating the same:
Mysuru, which recently topped as the ‘cleanest Indian city’, started recycling wastes and composting on local levels which today has become a regular household practice.
Implementing health programmes through local ASHAs not only increased the scheme-penetration but also provided employment to millions of women.
‘Swaraj Budget’ initiative by the Delhi government allowed localities to interact with their representatives directly and put the funds to better use.
The PM Krishi Vikas Yojana aims to implement this bottom-up approach in enhancing irrigation efficiency and increasing farm productivity.