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IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [7th March]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis

  • IASbaba
  • March 8, 2016
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IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [7th March]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis

 


1. The decision to give statutory backing to Aadhar will go a long way in laying strong foundation for the social programmes being run by the government. Also it will put to rest the rising concern over privacy and personal data. Comment.

 

The original purpose of the UID scheme was to establish the identity of individuals to ensure targeted delivery of subsidies and services under various welfare programmes of the government. The idea here was to ensure these benefits were going to the intended recipients. The Aadhaar platform was to serve as a means to authenticate the identity of the purported beneficiary, while weeding out fictitious, duplicate or non-targeted recipients.

Statutory backing to Aadhaar will go a long way in laying strong foundation for the social programmes: (Choose any 3 points)

  1. Ensures Universal Enrollment and Implementation: The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 seeks to give statutory backing to the processes of enrolment, authentication and use of Aadhaar-related information for delivery of various benefits, subsidies and services by the government.
  2. Build the confidence of people and will encourage Universal Enrollment: The Bill has provisions to guarantee the security and confidentiality of identity information and authentication records of every individual who has been issued an Aadhaar number.
  3. Full potential of JAM(Jandha-Aadhar-Mobile) can be realized: can help government to implement large-scale, technology-enabled and real-time Direct Benefit Transfers (DBTs) to improve economic lives of India’s poor.
  4. Spreading JAM to other areas will reduce leakages and provide more fiscal space to the Government.
  5. Promote a cashless economy with digital initiatives such as biometric attendance, the Jan Dhan Yojana, digital certificates, pension payments and the proposed introduction of payments banks.

The Bill will put to rest the rising concern over privacy and personal data

A series of orders of the Supreme Court has, however, categorically restricted the use of Aadhaar to certain specified services, including PDS, and even there only if the use of Aadhaar is voluntary and not mandatory. The court’s caution was prompted by the seriousness of the concerns that was brought before it. These include concerns about exclusion, ownership of data, privacy as personal security, the role of companies with close connections with foreign security establishments, untested technologies and experimenting on a whole population, rampant outsourcing, absence of regulation and monitoring, surveillance, cost, personal data as property of an agency, and the as-yet obscure status of the UIDAI.

(Choose any 3 points)

  • The government expects to address, through the proposed legislation, concerns that have been raised on the mandatory use of Aadhaar in government schemes.
  • The Bill provides for the establishing of the Unified Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the establishment, operation and maintenance of the Central Identity Data Repository.
  • The Authority shall ensure the security, confidentiality and protection of identity information and authentication records of individuals in its possession or control, including the information stored in the repository, according to the Bill. These include biometric information collected, created and stored in electronic form.
  • It would propose that no core biometric information will be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever other than for generation and authentication of Aadhaar numbers.
  • An officer not below joint secretary would take a call for disclosure of information in the interest of national security.

End with short conclusion

 

Best answer: Vajrasattva 

The Aadhaar scheme, part of the government’s JAM — Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Mobile number – policy, which is stuck in the Supreme Court over several issues. Recently, the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill 2016 is introduced in Lok Sabha to provide “statutory backing” to the scheme, of issuing unique identification numbers to every resident and using this biometric information-based platform to make payments under welfare schemes.

The Bill will provide a strong foundation for social programmes of government:

  1. Develops a social security platform to accurately target beneficiaries.
  2. Government benefits, subsidies and services are conferred upon persons who deserve it
  3. Introduction & Expansion of Direct Benefit Transfer scheme in other sectors like Fertilizers etc…
  4. Promote a cashless economy with digital initiatives such as biometric attendance, the Jan Dhan Yojana, digital certificates, pension payments and the proposed introduction of payments banks.
  5. Also it will provide end to end transparency and traceability of subsidies and other benefits.

The bill will also adequately address privacy concerns as:

  1. The information could be stored in a centralised database of biometrics, the Central Identities Data Repository ( CIDR).
  2. Access to Aadhaar data will be allowed only at a very high government level
  3. It would propose imprisonment of up to three years and fine of Rs 10,000, which will be Rs 1 lakh in the case of a company, for disclosing or sharing of the core biometric information
  4. It would propose that no core biometric information will be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever other than for generation and authentication of Aadhaar numbers.
  5. UIDAI-hired agencies/consultants to implement technical measures to ensure privacy
  6. An officer not below joint secretary would take a call for disclosure of information in the interest of national security.

Oversight committee, consisting of the Cabinet secretary and the secretaries in the Department of Legal Affairs and Department of Electronics and Information Technology, would review each decision before the information is disclosed.

This bill is important for giving statutory backing to the Aadhaar based on which govt can save thousands of crores by reducing leakages and corruption. Poor will be benefited most through better targeting without causing extra burden on govt finances and many issues related to Aadhaar will get resolved through this legislation. 


2. The recent stand off between local civic bodies and state government in Delhi over payment of salaries left the city filled with filth and garbage. What reasons can be attributed to such incidents? Are political parties always in poll mode? What steps would you suggest to bring governance on the forefront of priorities?

  • Intro:
  • Write briefly about the causes and the series of events that led to garbage problem in Delhi.
  • The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment act provided constitutional recognition to the gram panchayats and Urban Local Bodies, It was left to the respective state assemblies to chart their own legislations to provide functions and funds to the local bodies
  • Body
  • Reasons for such instances:
  1. Different parties in power at state and local bodies which creates confrontational positions
  2. Perennial lack of funds for local bodies both in form of insufficient grants and revenue generation sources
  3. Over centralization at the state level , as most state legislations have given more powers in terms of funds and decision making powers.
  4. Lack of manpower and specialized persons at local level
  • Parties being in poll mode
  1. Different parties in power at state and local bodies create confrontational stances where it should be co-opting and synergizing.
  2. Media exaggerates the differences and political parties talk through the media rather than by committees
  3. Every year at least 3 elections are held, which makes the parties to always be in polling mode
  • Suggestions
  1. State must provide clear demarcation on of authority and responsibility through legislations
  2. The second ARC RECOMMENDED THE 3Fs I.e., more Funds ,Functions and Functionaries it should be implemented through proper legislations
  3. Political parties must change their attitude and become more accommodating for the larger national interest
  4. The tool of Social audit must be used to engage the local populace and to hold the authorities accountable
  5. Privatization or PPP model must be employed for increasing the efficiency of the local bodies
  6. The recommendations of state Finance Commission must be properly implemented and reasons for not implementing must be widely discussed in the Houses of state legislature
  • Conclusion
  1. State your opinion
  2. Explain a little on your opinion

 

Best answer : Rishi Ranjan Singh

Local civic bodies in India are vested with various functions like public health, welfare, public safety, public infrastructure works etc. Twelfth Schedule of Constitution (74th Amendment) provided an illustrative list of eighteen functions, that may be entrusted to the municipalities by State government.

Many workers of local civic bodies in Delhi went of strike because of non-payment of salary. This created ruckus of filth and garbage in various localities. Ultimately its the common people who suffered the burnt of stand-off between Delhi government and Municipal bodies.

Delhi government blamed that there is mismanagement and corruption in those civic bodies and appropriate grant has been paid. However civic bodies refuted this claims. Thus there was lack in clarity and transparency on financial management.

Reason of Conflict
1. Psychology of Poll Mode : Opposing parties try to blame each other and misguide public opinion for coming election. This tendency towards creating chaos and blaming other party is very deterimental to good and efficient government.
1. Lack of resources : Since long time Delhi municipalities is facing resource crunch mainly because of rapid urbanization etc. They should start looking for innovative resource mobilization.
2. Clearly defined policy on Fund devolution : Both parties made conflicting claims. There was lack of understanding between State government and Local Civic bodies workers.
3. Lack of Accountability : Public servant cannot go after blaming each other for the problem. There is need to fix accountability to public and punishment if needed.
4. Opacity to Municipal functioning : To check mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption in local civic bodies there is need of active transparency. Unless they are scrutinize by a competent authority any wrong doing cannot be checked.

Steps which can bring better governance
1. Simple Policy on fund devolution : There should be simpler policy by State Finance commission. So that there are no conflicting interpretation.
2. Transparency : Any kind of mismanagement and corruption must be check. Active transparency in functioning of local civic bodies must be promoted.
3. Accountability to public : There should be provision that municipalities should inform public before going onto strike. A people’s forum can be created which can discuss this issue and try to find a solution. So that political vendetta is avoided.
4. Process of Dialogue : If both the parties were in election mode, there cannot be any dialogue. A permanent forum for dialogue must be created with membership for Judges and civil society.
5. Public Report card : This can be promoted to judge the performance of municipality.
6. Privatisation : Bring is PPP wherever possible to relieve civic bodies of responsibilities which they cannot perform efficiently.

In early years of democracy we saw same kinds of conflict between centre and state. We need greater decentralization and accountability to public. Local civic bodies should be trusted and larger public interest should be kept in mind


3. Has the time come to tax agricultural income of farmers’ earnings over a certain threshold? Give arguments in favour of your response. Are such decisions politically viable in India? Examine.

Introduction:

  1. Agriculture to GDP ratio: 14%
  2. Agriculture to employment ratio: approximately 50%
  3. Tax to GDP ratio: 16% which is lower than the emerging economies which is: 20%
  4. India’s current tax base:5%
  5. Eco survey and Shome panel can be mentioned.

Stand in favour of taxation:

  1. It will widen the number of tax payers
  2. Revenues will increase and more can be spent on the social sector.
  3. Income proof via usage of PAN cards and better access to formal credit.
  4. Better targeting of subsidies.
  5. Saving habits inculcated.

             Political viability: no

  1. Vote bank.
  2. Illiteracy will become a hurdle.
  3. Implementation is a problem

Stand against taxation:

  1. Small land holdings of majority of the farmers therefore the income is also very small.
  2. Majority farmers are landless or small or marginal.
  3. Dependency of Indian agriculture on monsoon and lack of insurance is a hindrance to their source of income.
  4. Promotion of agriculture will be halted considering the moving away of next generation from the agricultural sector.
  5. Much development still has to be made considering 500 suicides every year.
  6. Revenue assessment by patwaris would lead to more corruption.
  7. Revenue department has not been digitalized yet which will cause problems of record keeping.

Political viability: yes

  1. Status quo should be maintained but threshold taxation can be done on rich farmers.
  2. Instead taxation and making revenue receipts an attempt should be made to decrease agricultural revenue expenditure in budget by addressing subsidies.
  3. Standard of living and quality of living should be increased by increasing the viability of various Govt. Schemes in rural areas.

(EITHER OF THE 2 STANDS HAS TO BE TAKEN. PLEASE DONT TAKE BOTH)

BEST ANSWER: CSE2016 aspirant

India has tax/GDP ratio of about 15% which is low as compared to other developing economies. Already, government is under high fiscal deficit. It is important for it to increase its earnings. One of the ways is increasing the efficiency of PSUs. Second important way is increasing the tax net.

Time is ripe to tax farmers earning above certain threshold. Reasons being:

(1) POPULATION: 55% of Indian population is engaged in agriculture. This huge section should not be left completely. Moreover, agriculture comprises only 13% of GDP. Taxation from farmers can be solely utilized for the growth of this sector.

(2) RICH FARMERS: There are many farmers, especially in Punjab, Haryana and western UP, who are extremely rich. If middle class employees in urban area can be taxed, why should they be left?

(3) COST OF LIVING is low in rural areas as compared to urban centres.

(4) EQUALITY: Taxing rich farmers will a good idea to create equality between rich and poor farmers. This will also eliminate various socio – economic ills prevalent in villages.

(5) SUBSIDIES: Government has helped farmers in time of their distress by floating various subsidies like on fertilizers, HYV seeds. Now it’s time for farmers to pay back.

(6) LAND PRICES: Land prices have skyrocketed in past few years in some states. Hence, the farmers cannot be thought of as vulnerable.

However, such decisions cannot be considered as politically viable.

(1) VOTE BANK: 55% of population acts as a huge vote bank for political parties. Why will they anger them by taxing them?

(2) LOW LITERACY: Although some farmers are rich, but still most of them are not so educated so as to understand the importance of taxing. They will only think about their benefits first. The idea of taxing may backfire for the parties.

(3) IMPLEMENTATION: As the primary sector is highly unorganized, it will take a lot of efforts from the authorities to implement the taxation policies in this sector.

(4) PAST MEMORIES: Britishers used to tax ryots very high. Memories of Zamindari system has yet not faded in many parts of India. Taxing farmers may evoke such memories. No party would like to be thought of as pro capitalist with imperialistic mindset.

It is evident from the Union budget of 2016-17 that government has taken pro-rural path. Although, the authorities should realize it’s high time to keep the rich farmers exempted for taxation.

 

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