SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [22nd Sep] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

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  • October 3, 2016
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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [22nd Sep] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]


1. The Judiciary must be brought under the purview of the Right to Information Act to address the lack of transparency in its processes and functioning. Do you agree? Critically examine.


The RTI Act has revolutionized the government and citizen interface. Increased people’s participation has contributed in strengthening democracy and is still a transformation in process. The basic idea was to empower the common man and to bring about transparency and accountability in governance.


Judiciary is not an exception under RTI whose details like appointments, transfers or complaints against judges are not covered under any exemptions in RTI. However, judiciary has decided to stay away from it owing to its independent authority and unbiased position. The reasons given being,

  1. Reduce the independence of the judiciary
  2. Make decision making process susceptible to public pressure, not allowing for free and frank opinion
  3. Can hurt the reputation of a judge who is not considered appropriate in the proceedings of the court. It is true that judiciary would lose public trust if it is found corrupt, but then that is the objective of the RTI. In the long term, RTI would lead to long-term trust development. Collegium while appointment, which will in turn hurt the judicial pronouncements of that judge.

RTI act clearly spells out the grounds of non-disclosure of information, threat to national security being one of them, it is hard to understand how will providing information judicial appointments and transfers will be a threat to national security.

Corruption in rampant in lower level judiciary RTI can be a revolutionary tool in curbing this, as judges will know that it will hamper their future prospects, so it can act as a strong deterrent on the erring judges.


Write a brief conclusion.


Best answer: Spectre

The independence of judiciary is significant legal principle in India. Its independence has been used on several occassions most notably to lay down norms regarding appointment of judges, transfer of judges between high courts, claiming exemption for the office of CJI from the Right to information of act.

The use of judicial independence promotes impartiality and is a key feature of fair adjudication. so bringing it under RTI is not right because

>>slightest doubt in the public mind of excessive proximity between the judiciary and the government may lead to significant apprehensions of a lack of impartiality thereby questioning the legitimacy of the entire adjudicatory setup. As the Supreme Court of India itself likes repeating in its judgments, “Judges, like Caesar’s wife, must be above suspicion.”

>>Even if RTI is introduced in judiciary, access to all the information would not be possible with intentions of national security

>>The decisions of judges will be questioned, again reopening the cases and burdening the courts which are already overburdened with pending cases and lack of benches, judges and staff

However bringing judiciary under RTI would disseminate information about its working , making people understand about its functioning (functional transparency) and increase responsibility and accountability and enhances credibility of the institution.

The decision of bringing judiciary under RTI have to be taken after a proper consensus weighing all the pros and cons as judiciary is the last stop for justice and hence no hasty decisions should be made.

2. A strong PMO with centralized decision making powers doesn’t augur well to the ideals and objectives of democratic governance. Elucidate.

Elucidate means you will have to clarify or enunciate the given statement.

Our constitution has provided us with a parliamentary form of government, where the council of Minister is responsible for policy making and execution. We don’t have a presidential government where all executive powers are centralized to one individual.

Our constitution has also given us a federal form of a government where participation of states in policy making is healthy for proper functioning of Indian Democracy.

A strong PMO doesn’t augur well with both of the above ideas.

During the terms of coalition governments, PMO had to become strong in order to have the final say during impasses. So that decision making can become smooth. But it has some negative effects like:

  • Decision making became top to bottom. It was ‘one size fit for all’ approach which sometimes failed on the ground level.
  • Other ministries felt left out from decision making as they lost their say in front of PMO.
  • Process of debate and discussions was many a times by passed to get to a decision.
  • Decisions were influenced by the ideology of PM rather than consensus.

(Many more points can be added)

Moving away from this tread of complete centralisation, the formation of NITI Aayog (including stake holders from states and experts) for planning and decision making is a positive step.

Best Answer 1: Toad Sage


Best Answer 2: Nithish Anchan



3. There is a case to merge some of the central ministries to ensure better coordination and realize the cardinal rule of mininum government and maximum governance. What do you think? Which ministries in your opinion are the most suitable candidates for such merger? Examine.

Part 1: Provide your views on merger of some central ministries to ensure better coordination and realize the cardinal rule of mininum government and maximum governance.

Part 2: Provide examples of some ministries which you think they are suitable candidates for merger. Substantiate your views by providing why they need merger.

End the answer with conclusion.

There are so many Ministries today and there is a saying – the more ministries you create, the more political interests you placate.

So functions that really belong together were divided up amongst different political heavyweights, not because they warranted a separate governmental machinery but because the individual in question had to be given a chance to exercise authority over something tangible, however undemanding that share of the pie might be.

For instance,

  1. Ministry of Industry and MoMSME/MoTextiles/MoSteel/mines
  • Though we have a Ministry of Industry, we also have separate ministries for heavy industries, micro, small and medium enterprises, steel, mines, textiles, chemicals and fertilizers, and food processing, all of which properly speaking, are merely different kinds of industries.
  • The heavy hand of regulatory and licensing authority in each of these industries was then exercised by a different minister in each case, spreading the clout (that comes from having the authority to grant permissions) to many hands.
  1. Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and MoExternal Affairs
  • Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) was set up to improve engagement with the Indian diaspora. However, substantial work of MOIA is done through External Affairs Ministry missions abroad.
  • It would be logical to merge the MOIA with the External Affairs Ministry — Minister for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs to address duplication as well as unnecessary delays in various works.
  1. Different Ministries for energy:
  • We have separate ministries for coal, power, and new (or ‘alternative’) and renewable energy. Different ministries located in different buildings. India’s energy, petroleum and natural gas, stands as a ministry by itself.
  • It would be more logical to have one all-inclusive Ministry of Energy to ensure that the nation has a comprehensive and co-ordinated energy policy, one that sees multiple sources of energy as elements in one national energy mix, needing policy direction from one minister.


Merger of ministry is a much needed effort to downsize the government setup and bring in maximum Governance. However, merger is not the panacea of problems, it has to be complemented with various other reforms like use e-governance, ratings of the ministries, mid term appraisals, ease of doing business and the likes.


Best answer: Aniruddh Shrivastava

Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was recently merged in order to ensure better coordination and reduce redundancies. To put into practice of notion of Minimum government,maximum governance, merger of ministries is required which can help in many ways:

1) Reduce data and work redundancy

2) Cost cutting in official work

3) Effective budget with proper allocation

4) Reduce complexity and clashes of interests between ministries.

There is a need of merger of following ministries:

1) Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation: Objectives of both the ministries are more or less same.

2) Ministry of Coal to be subsumed in Ministry of Mines.

3) Ministry of Steel to be subsumed in Ministries of Heavy Industries and public enterprises.

4) Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been ineffective in tackling local bodies issues. It needs to be bifurcated into department of rural panchayat and urban panchayat and merged in to their respective ministries viz. Ministry of Rural development and Ministry of Urban development.

Ministries can be merged due to its less roles and responsibilities like textile ministry but since India’s textile industries are on a decline and export is falling there is special need to focus on this ministry.

Also, Merging of ministries is not guarantee of well functioning. It might also increase work load on a single person. The need is to properly utilize time and resources thereby making “minimum government,maximum governance” justifiable


Best answer 2: Yogesh Bhatt

Recently India has merged minister of Overseas Indian Affairs with Minister of External Affairs; there is also a demand to merge minister of Panchayat raj with minister of agriculture. Merging ministries good by following reasons-

1- Reduce overlapping- at different level and to ensure single window system for efficiency and reducing duplicity like in MOIA and MEA.

2- Less government and more governance- it reduces complexity in government functions and fast forwards the policy implementation.

3- Reduce government expenditure- to sustain a full ministry is a costly matter so reduce to use resources efficiently.

4- Federalism- on many regards there is demand for more decentralization so fewer ministries will help to achieve it.

5- Will reduce political clashes- at political level, more ministries become cause for political tussle especially in coalition government, so merger will reduce such confusion and challenges.

But there are certain challenges with it

1- It promotes the delegate legislation and execution and bureaucracy holds more power

2- Ministries like Panchyat Raj are very important for reforming the third tier so need to maintain it

3- With more welfare agenda, government needs more specification of implementation and channelizing resources, which may not be possible after clubbing ministries.

In recent time need to merge ministries like

1- Rural development and urban development

2- Agriculture and panchayat raj

3- Ayush with health

4- Power with mines, pertolium and natural gas, and renewable energy.

Merging ministries will one step ahead for reducing government interferes and gap can be filled with experts’ entry in governance and use of IT and technology at all level.

4. Merging the railway and union budgets is a right move but require to be complemented by other key reforms. Do you agree? Substantiate.

Introduction: –
Your introduction should focus on the history of separate railway budget and present step to dissolving the separation.


Why it is good move to remove the separate railway budget

  • Share has been reduced
  • appeasement policy
  • free up the Task of preparing a budget
  • save the dividend paid by railway ministry
  • can regulate railway fares
  • professionalism
  • reduce regional bias

Other reforms

  • Independent Regulator
  • Overhauling the freight sector
  • Rail Safety & Quality Authority
  • Innovation

(You can add more points here)

Your conclusion should say that it is a positive step in right direction but more need to be done. Steps like infrastructure, restructuring in finance, modernization etc. should be taken soon.


Best Answer 1: Simplex

A separate railway budget was made on the recommendations of Acworth Committee in 1924. The Government after more than 90 years has again merged the Railway budget with the Union budget.

This is seen as a needed approach because:

1) Railway budget, over the period of time has become a appeasement policy of the government for political motives.

2) It will free up the Task of preparing a budget by railway ministry and thus more time to work and implement policy initiatives.

3) It will also save the dividend paid by railway ministry to the finance ministry, which means more money to be saved and invested back in railways.

4) Railway fares may be adjusted and revisited at any time and the railway does not have to wait financial year end for such steps.

5) This will further professionalize the working approach of railway ministry.

6) This will end the regional bias in the railway ministry.

7) the Indian Railway will retain its independence.

However, the merger is one among the many reforms which is long due in Indian railways. Such merger must be further complimented with other reforms like:

1) Setting up of Independent Regulator for overseeing tariff and fares, like Railway Tariff authority suggested by Bibek debroy.

2) Attracting more investment in infrastructure of the railways.

3) Overhauling the freight sector of the railways. freight sector contributes heavily in terms of revenue but it hardly gets the due attention.

4) Focusing more on the use of ICT to make the railways more time efficient and comfortable.

5) setting up of independent rail authority with diffferent sections like operation, technical, commercial etc to maintain better services and professionalism in the Indian Railways.

Thus, bringing in a set of reforms is very necessary for overhauling the status of IR, and the merger of the budgets is the work in right direction and a much required step.

Best Answer2: vengeancee

Recently, Cabinet gave approach to proposal of Rail Ministry to merge railway budget with union budget & ending more than 90 year old approach. This is said to be right approach because:

  1. Railway budget is less than Defense Budget: which was unlike when budget was separated after Acworth Committee report & was 80-90% of total budget.
  2. Populist event: Rail budget had become yearly cycle to give away announcements & gain popular support.
  3. Regional bias: new trains announcement were dependent on region of Rail minister.
  4. Loss making exercise: Railways had to borrow funds due to severe losses & thereby increasing deficits.
  5. Professionalize & zero base budgeting adopted by Ministry of Finance: will improve Railway finances.

However, such move needs to be complemented by other reforms like:

1) Rail Tariff Regulatory Authority: which will independently manage tariff rates.

2) No Cross- subsidization of freight & passenger fare: to make railway competitive against water, land transport.

3) Rail Safety & Quality Authority: will independently monitor safety, quality rules & regulations.

4) Innovation: by funding in R&D, developing crucial systems like fog visibility facilitation, etc.

5) Freight Corridors: to be setup on priority basis.

Rail budget abolition was also proposed by Bibek Debroy Committee, and such initiatives should be taken in other aspects to complete Government’s objective of “Good Governance”, and “Maximum Governance, Minimum Government.”

Best Answer 3: rahul bansal

Tradition of presenting separate railway budget in 1924 on recommendation of Acworth committee was aimed to provide secure stability for general revenue and strengthen the railway finances.

Why it’s a good move:

  1. More of a political exercise rather than political necessity: recommendation of Bibek Debroy committee
  2. During post-independence era railways accounted for 75% of passenger transportation and 90% freight: Today share has reduced to ~25%
  3. no need to pay dividend ~9k crores: investment in critical infrastructure as operating cost is 93% leaving little finance with railways
  4. Having a standalone railway budget made sense when the British ruled India because it constituted 85% of the country’s general budget then. Now, it accounts for just about 4%
  5. leverage to increase fares at any stage-> less populism
  6. enticement of sorts for small parties to join coalition government -> Introduction of new home trains to get minor votes -> increase regionalism

Possible exploitable options:

  1. Flexible pricing system for all busy routes -> meet demand and supply gap and raise revenue
  2. Possible tie-up with Aviation ministry -> options for cheap airlines or railways in case of ticket non-availability -> much options for consumers to choose
  3. separation between operations and services -> railways should focus on operations with services transferred to 3rd party eg- Railways run schools which can be outsourced to Kendriya vidyalayas
  4. focus on current infrastructure development than announcement of new trains and services.
  5. Set up independent Railway authority of India and subsume Kayakalp into it -> authority will decide the future course, pricing and revenue model

5. The Panama papers and now the Bahama leaks have again brought the issue of black money on the forefront. In this light discuss the significance of international collaboration on information sharing to curb the menace of black money and money laundering.

Introduction: –

Your introduction should mention the recent findings through Panama papers and Bahama leaks. Also mention how menace of black money and money laundering is affecting the economies worldwide.

Body: –

Discuss the significance of international collaboration

  • Increase collaboration
  • Help in tracking the sources of black money
  • Will have ancillary effect – controlling drug trafficking, arms dealing, terrorism etc.
  • Better coordination, intelligence sharing – Bank details etc.
  • Putting pressure on tax havens
  • Better laws

Ways/ steps taken worldwide

  • FATF
  • DTAA
  • base erosion and profit sharing

(Mentioned in best answers below)

Conclusion: –

Your conclusion should say that to curb this menace coordinated efforts should be made.

Best Answer: – Raging Bull

The spectre of 21st century is blackmoney for every government especially to India as it nearly creates parallel economy.
Both Panama papers and recent Bahama leaks has shown thousands of offshore secret accounts holding up lakh crores of unaccounted money. This will erode nation wealth.

As money is dumped predominantly illegally outside – without interntional co-operation, finding and recovering it is impossible. Various steps has been taken so far.

  1. India being part of FATF, an inter-governmental agency from 1989 to combat money laundering, terror financing etc. This body creates synergy between nations in policy, procedures to curb them.Also regional wide groups like Acia-paciific group, EAG etc are active too.
  2. With so many tax havens, “placing” the black money – 1st stage of black money creation is at relative ease. Thus automatic tax-information sharing must be present as provision in DTAA, if any. This helps to identify the potential defaulters promptly and thus avoid escaping from long arm of law.
  3. Recent releases by Fonseck(law firm), ICIJ consortium, earlier wiki leaks – shows how low the existing mechanisms are. This exposes the low co-operation between governments, central banks etc. Thus to avoid humongous loss to nation finances, international co-operation is key.

Global Financial Secrecy Index shows India fared well(Rank 45 in 2015, earlier 32) in accounting black money holders by passing stringent Black money & undisclosed income act, 2015. This shows Indian law has some deterrence. After the law enacted, there are several people obliged to pay the higher penalty fine.

India dropped the OECD model – taxing non-residents only on their domestic income. On this basis, DTAA has been re-negotiated in 2016. This ensures there is NO Round tripping, Revenue Loss, Double Non-taxation

International co-operation on curbing black money is robust as both G-20 and developing nations are backing our interests. Nations can act on bilateral and multilateral levels through info sharing agreement and fight this global issue

Best answer2: -lokesh

Recent release of Bahamas and Panama paper leaks gives a sordid account of huge proportions that money laundering and Black Money generation has acquired.
Signifciance of international cooeration in this regard is : –

  1. Restructruing of the DTAA (double taxation avoidance agreement), for eg. between Indian and Mauritus to prevent the activity of ” round tripping ” and ” treaty shopping “.
  2. Agreement on AEOI (automatic exchange of information) between large number of countries will provide a CRS ( common reporting standards) for exchanging banking information to curb tax evasion.
  3. OECD new BEPS ( base erosion and profit sharing ) will make sure that companies do not evade tax using price transfers to subsidiaries.
  4. Similarly there is need for international pressure on tax havens like Mauritius, cayman islands and others who serve as source for all illegal activites.
  5. International media community is also playing a larger role as evident in Panama paper leaks where international consortium for investigative journalists compiled the information.
  6. Bilateral agreements between the countries like propose FATCA between Indian and USA will also go a long way in checking money laundering.

While international cooperation is must in present globalised economy, countries must also take effective measures in checking black money generation in their own land. A strong domestic action combined with international cooperation will have a strong detterent impact.

Best answer3: -madster

At an estimated 56% of the GDP, black money has become a politically sensitive and economically alarming topic. With the Panama papers revelations and Bahama leaks, the issue to curb it has once again resurfaced. For this international collaboration on information sharing is of great significance . It will help us in tracking the sources of black money as well as the modus operandi of there transactions. Collaborating efforts through international orgs like interpol will lead to better targeting and help us in tracking the black money and help it bring back to the country .Curbing black money will not only lead to reduction in economic losses of the country but will also curb the terrorist activities being funded by it .Black money is also promoting illicit activities like drug trafficking ,human trafficking .Thus international collaboration will help us in curbing these activities. Institutions like Financial Assistance Task Force will help in nations coming together and fighting the issue which has become a global menace . Also nations can act on bilateral and multilateral levels through info sharing agreement and fight this global issue

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