# SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [27th Sep] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

• October 7, 2016
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1. Discuss the role of various constitutional bodies which give Indian polity its unique federal character.

It is a straight-forward question. Refer to best answers.

In introduction, you can briefly provide about what federal character means.

You should discuss the roles of following bodies – (at least any 5 of them)

• Election Commission
• Union Public Service Commission
• State Public Service Commission
• Finance Commission
• Comptroller and Auditor General of India
• Integrated Judiciary
• Inter State Councils

India borrowed federalism as a system of polity from the West however the way we apply it according to the Indian scenario through the constitutional bodies which make india federalism unique in true sense.

1) Election Commission of India– it’s an integrated election machinery system which conducts election at both the levels- Centre and States.

2) Integrated Judiciary – where Supreme court is at the top followed by the High Courts and then the subordinate civil and criminal courts to maintain same application of laws through India.

3) Finance Commission – constituted by the President every 5 years to decide the formula based on which funds are devolved to the States and local government despite them deriving their powers from the constitution and not the Centre.

4)CAG – to conduct audits and keep a check on the public purse being spent by the government at the Centre and states.

5) Inter State Councils – inserted later in the constitution to tackle the the problem of disharmony among centre and states, facilitate coordination among states as well as between centre and states promoting cooperative federalism.

6) UPSC- which conducts competitive examination for All India Services whose officers are posted at all the levels of the government to maintain similar level of administration throughout the country.

Thus, our constitutional bodies serve the interest of the nation and despite the federal character, these bodies help in taking a tilt towards unitary system of governance to maintain the unity and integrity of the nation

2. There are several constitutional, statutory and non­-statutory bodies/ offices/ posts which function as safeguards against corruption and excessive appropriation by the Government. Identify these bodies/ offices/ posts and critically evaluate their role.

Introduction:

Constitution of India envisages democratic political setup, to check on the concentration of power in any one organ of the state. Hence it has many internal checks and balances as well as outside bodies which act as a check on the state especially the executive.

Body:

• Constitutional bodies:
1. Comptroller and Auditor General: Under art 148 of the constitution the CAG audits all the accounts of the central as well as state governments to hold the executive answerable to the legislature for the financial handlings. The CAG has helped in identifying the corrupt practices of the government by unearthing 2G scam, coal allocation scam etc.
2. But excessive scrutiny and notion of presumptive losses by CAG has had an adverse impact on the decision making capabilities of the Bureaucracy as many officers fear that, any managerial mistakes can be seen as corrupt practice.
3. The Election commission of India: under art 324 the EC has the power to conduct election for the legislatures of the union as well as the state. It has been given various powers to make sure a level playing field and that the government of the day does not use its official position gain an unfair advantage.
4. But still favorable postings and transfers, use of money and muscle power by the successive governments both at the Centre as well as state are rampant.
• Statutory and non-statutory bodies
1. Lokayuktas: many states have setup institutions of Lokayukta with various degree of freedom to investigate and prosecute the ministers, Legislators and civil servants for misuse of official positions and corruption. But the lack of powers, funds and expert personnel has seriously curtailed their scope of operations and efficacy.
2. Central bureau of investigation: CBI has had a chequered history with many prosecutions as well as failures. CBI has been effective in arresting and prosecuting many ministers and higher bureaucracy officials in 2G and coal-gate scams, yet given its lack of autonomy and shortage of personnel has rendered it a caged parrot.
3. The Chief Information Commissioner: CIC works through the RTI Act and help bring transparency in the governance system. Many corruption issues came to light through the information disclosed by RTI. Though it is unable to bring political parties under its ambit.

Conclusion: Write a brief conclusion.

Dealing with menace of corruption has been top priority of Indian Government over the years, which has led to creation of several bodies & safeguards. Let’s evaluate their respective roles:

1) Lokpal:

Positives:

1. Appointment of Lokayuktas in various States.
2. Made corruption as issue to bring awareness.
3. Findings & investigation successes in Karnataka, etc.

Negatives:

1. No Lokpal appointment after 3 years of passage of Act.
2. Lokayuktas getting allegation of corruption.
3. No coherence in appointment of Lokayuktas making post vacant. Ex: UP.
4. Recent amendment in July 2016 of Lokpal Act to extend deadline of disclosure by officials, NGOs.

2) CVC (Central Vigilance Commission)

Positives:

1. Became directly responsible for corrupt practices abolition.
2. Authority to receive complaints & work on them.

Negatives:

1. No appointment of CVC since more than 2 years.
2. Acted in hands of Political Executive.
3. No significant findings or achievements in recent past.

3) CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation)

Positives:

1. Most active & vibrant anti-corruption body.
2. Significant findings & research activities in past.
3. Well structured & functional approach towards complains.

Negatives:

1. “Caged Parrot” as called by Supreme Court.
2. Acting on directions of Political Executive.
3. Biased approach as dictated by Central Government. Ex: Ishrat Jahan case.

India has created institutions, but their functioning has been matter of debate. Other bodies like CAG, ECI, Supreme Court, have also been playing their active part in combating corrupt practises & ongoing civil society activism will certainly help in the process.

3. The National Human Rights Commission lacks the teeth and autonomy to function as an effective enforcement agency of human rights. Do you agree? Critically examine.

The Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993. It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA). The NHRC is the national human rights institution, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as “rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants”.

NHRC put forward its grivance infront of Supreme Court that it has become a “toothless tiger”. Considering recent developments we can say that NHRC’s grievance has some weight to it.

• It is facing difficulties in discharging its duties because of non cooperation of state governments.
• It has acute shortage of staff.
• It is helpless in taking any coercive measures since it has no power to take action against persons or authorities who do not follow the guidelines laid down by it [NHRC] nor does it have power to give directions or pass orders but can only make recommendations.
• Armed forces and areas under AFSPA are out of the ambit of NHRC.

(The above points have been cited by the NHRC itself. You can mention some more points)

But the picture is not as gloomy. You can mention many positive steps taken by NHRC.

NHRC’s intervention has improved the condition of people with Disabilities and mental disorder, bonded labour, victims of rape, acid attacks and household vilence, child labours, Juvenile Justice Act etc.

(You can elaborate the above points if the word limit permits.)

Conclude the answer by providing some positive measures like

• Providing some autonomy and power to prosecute.
• Proper guidelines for selection of members.
• Reducing political interference
• NHRC should be given the right to investigate a case and summon officials if need be. Also it should be allowed to check the police records for investigation without prior permission of State Government.

Being a signatory to UN declaration on Human Rights,India formed statutory body NHRC in 1993.Its aims were to ensure respect for human rights,fair treatment and dis-allow atrocities.However now NHRC is also being termed as toothless tiger because-

>The members are directly appointed by Executive. This generates suspicion over its functional autonomy
>Its recommendations are kept recommendatory in nature with no enforcing power.This provides Executive with a free hand to surpass it

>Has not been awarded power to look into matters of atrocities involving persons of armed forces-no AFSPA review scope

>Though it can take up cases within 1 yr of their incidence,it does not have its own investigating team.This refrains effectiveness on its part as it is completely dependent upon state machinery

>The composition of members do not leave scope to bring in any expertise and professionalism- 3 members from judicial stream only

WAY FORWARD-

>Bringing in expertise in work panel and filling staff requirement-will ensure efficiency

>need to avoid conflict of interest between executive’s working and NHRC

>Spreading awareness among people by NHRC-would increase credibility in minds of people

>Bringing in regions like North-east,JK under its ambit as most cases are reported from there under shield of AFSPA

Though NHRC has played its role positively by highlighting conditions of prisoners, riot victims etc but there is need to reform this body. However by functionalist approach keeping interest of all stakeholders in mind, NHRC can play well in future

Best Answer 2: Rahul Bansal (Not exactly an ideal answer because of the word limit. But a detailed answer.)

Recent statement by ex-chief Justice Mr. H.L.Dattu calling NHRC as “Toothless Tiger” describes the lack of functional autonomy with the commission.

Reason for statement:

1. Power to hear cases only < 1 year old -> In India most of cases go unnoticed due to societal shame specially in rural areas and rape cases -> cases where victims gather courage later are out of ambit
2. no power to hear Armed forces abuse -> can only ask for reports from center -> hence AFSPA abuses out of reach
3. only recommendatory powers , no enforcement -> can only make recommendations to center and judiciary -> not back by “human rights prevention Act”
4. not empowered to act if human rights violations take place through private parties
5. ambiguous qualification condition for members -> 3 members are from judiciary, but does not require any prior experience in human rights cases -> for other 2 members language vague -‘people having knowledge and experience of human rights’
6. lack of human and financial resources -> commission working with less than prescribed strength -> back log of cases -> big chunk of expenses lost in daily activities leaving little for research and expansion

What should be done

1. Bring armed forces and private parties under ambit of commission -> with certain limitation where unity and integrity of nation is of utmost importance
2. give enforcement power to commission -> 3 members are from judiciary, hence full utilization of experience -> saves time and resources for higher judiciary -> potential solution to severe backlog in courts
3. increase in budget allocation -> ample space for commission to expand -> more frequent trips in prison (recent data shows that suicides rate in prison higher than outside)
4. culture of human rights be inculcated in students through updated curriculum -> as very less emphasis on this aspect of life given in schools
5. remove ambiguity in language for members qualifications -> non-judiciary members must not be filled on center discretion but on recommendation of a body comprising PM, CJI and former members

4. Why was the Indus Water Treaty in news recently? Do you think the treaty is unfair to India? Critically examine.

Introduction

You should mention about the recent news related to Indus water treaty. Also give details in brief.

Body

(points were taken directly from answer by “OK”.

Unfair to India

1. JK
2. disproportionate distribution
3. failure of reciprocation
4. denial of development works- energy
5. internationalization of issue – disrespecting generous attitude.
6. non uniform distribution among states – SYL crisis
7. complete utilization of S, B, R not possible – environmental + human rights violation.

How it can be considered fair:

1. 20% can be utilized
2. division 3-3 rivers
3. respecting the riparian states
4. regional balance- china also.
5. respecting developmental needs
6. successful treaty – no major setbacks.

1. JK denial. major issue.
2. equitable distribution of all the rivers.
3. involve all stakeholders. development of JK region.
4. redistribution: SYL solve.

(You can add more points here)

Conclusion
Your conclusion should be a balanced one which should say that this treaty is one of the most successful one and it should not be considered unfair due to current conditions. Efforts should be made to utilize it fully by Indian side.

Indus Water Treaty came into news in aftermath of Uri attacks allegedly by Pakistan as retaliatory measure against its state sponsored terrorism. Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960 between Pt. Nehru & General Ayub Khan to divide Indus river & its tributaries.

Critics have often called it to be unfair to India due to reasons like:

1) India got Eastern rivers namely Ravi, Beas, Sutlej with low catchment area, and water flow.

2) Water sharing arrangement allows only 20% of Indus water to be used by India, & 80% by Pakistan.

3) 35% of Pakistan’s share of water goes in sea without being utilized by either country.

4) Western rivers where India can use water for non-consumptive purpose is red-flagged by Pakistan, and International tribunals. Ex: Baglihar Hydropower projects.

However, calling it unfair is wrong:

1) Western rivers can be used for non-consumptive purposes which are willfully not used by India except recent Kishanganga, Baglihar projects where permission was finally granted.

2) Indus is lifeline of Pakistan, and its importance is similar to Ganga’s for India.

3) Earned India respect & stature over its generosity, which makes IWT at most successful water treaty anywhere.

4) Water reaching Pakistan contains silt, and isn’t same as used by India.

IWT was willfully made in generosity to avoid troubles from neighboring state, and escaping their hostility. But, it has become instrument of army & Government in Pakistan to incite its citizens against India.

Indus water treaty was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, which covers water distribution of six rivers. This treaty is in news recently after Uri terror attack and seen as part of India’s one of multidimensional options to put Pakistan under pressure. It has been argued that Indus water treaty is most generous water treaty across the world. It can be said unfair to India as

1- Indus flow from India, but India uses only 20% of its water for different purpose and rest flow to Pakistan.

2- Largest river under treaty, Indus has been utilized very little by India even when it passes from India

3- Indian potential to use rivers for hydro power project is up to 18000 MW but generating only 11000 MW.

4- In spite of climate anomalies, continuous hostility by Pakistan, and increasing water demand India has never demanded to modify the water treaty.

5- Efficient use of three rivers passes to Pakistan can help to irrigate large part of J&K to boost local economy.

However many do not feel it as unfair treaty because

1- Water as common good need to accessible to all

2- India is also using three eastern rivers and do not share water with Pakistan.

3- Indus and Sutlej do not originate to India so we are also users of water coming from China.

4- 95% Indus flow in Pakistan but still India uses 20% water.

India need to look all aspects before taking any paradigm shift change regarding existing water treaty because it will affect our relation with other neighbor nations and position as global major power.

5. The poor operational and financial efficiency of state owned distribution companies (discoms) has been a cause of serious concern. In this light, discuss the provisions and significance of the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna (UDAY) scheme for the power sector in India.

Introduction: –

Your introduction should mention the condition of power sector and the conditions of discoms in present time. Also add some facts related to it.

Body: –

• You should mention the provision of UDAY
• Mention the significance of UDAY

(Details are given below in best answer section)

Conclusion: –

You should mention that UDAY scheme is a positive step in right direction. Success of it will improve the conditions of Indian discoms and will also benefit the consumer at last.

Electricity plays an important role in boosting a nation’s development cycle in multiple ways like industries,social infrastructure,transport,agriculture etc.However distribution companies of India have found themselves in pitiable situation because-

>Higher transmission loss

>are forced to sell electricity at prices lower than market price

>frequent political interventions in form of subsidised electricity

>opaque mechanism of power pricing in power exchanges

This led to multiple side effects like disrupted power services,inadequate infrastructure development,increased financial deficit etc

Citing this scenario govt came up with ujjwal discom assurance yojana(UDAY).Its provisions are-

>50% of debt of power companies to be taken up by state govt in this fiscal year

>next 25% in upcoming year 2017-18

>remaining 25% of debt to be converted into bonds with state govt being guarantor-can be purchased by banks but out of statutory quota

>this financial negative would be kept out of FRBM targets of state government in respective years

>scheme is optional for state government

Significance-

>Coopertion-Respects the principle of cooperative federalism to solve a grave financial situation with win-win situation for all

>efficiency-will help companies to focus more on operational efficiency-installing new feeder lines,transformers

>financial support-states to get incentives in multiple schemes like DDUGJY,increased availability of coal for energy production

>Inclusive growth-will help to expand infrastructure in regions still out of reach of electricity

The worthiness of this scheme has been accepted by multiple states.This innovative idea has come up with promising framework tangible enough to serve India’s aspirations.

India’s power distribution companies are plagued by two types of losses

1. transmission and distribution losses
2. aggregate technical and commercial losses, the reasons being tariff hikes not keeping pace with rise in costs, pilferage, incorrect billing etc.

UDAY is an effort to make these DISCOMs financially and operationally healthy, to be able to supply adequate power at affordable rates, and enable the Governments to make efforts towards 100% Village electrification and 24X7 Power For All.

Provisions of the scheme:

>> According to the scheme, states will take over 75% of DISCOM debt as 2015 over two years – 50% of DISCOM debt will be taken over in 2015-16 and 25% in 2016-17.

>>states will issue bonds in the market or directly to the financial institutions holding the discom debt

>>GoI will not include the debt taken over by the States as per the scheme in the calculation of fiscal deficit of respective States

>>States accepting UDAY and performing as per operational milestones will be given additional/priority funding through DDUGJY, IPDS etc

Thus is UDAY accelerates the process of reform across the entire power sector and will ensure that power is accessible, affordable and available for all.
Rating agency Crisil believes that by fiscal 2018, UDAY can potentially reduce the power companies’ losses by 50%.

DISCOMs debt had risen to about 4% of GDP due to years of trouble in operational procedures, and financial lacunae. With launch of UDAY (Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana) in 2015, power sector debt is hopeful to be resolved.

Provisions of scheme:

1. 75% of debt taken over: by State government within 2 years & it won’t add up to their fiscal deficit.
2. State governments can sell bonds to market, banks, financial companies.
3. Bonds can be purchased by banks, but they won’t be allowed when calculating SLR requirements.
4. Future bonds of DISCOMs need to be guaranteed by State government to prevent losses.
5. Loss reduction to be reduced by upgrading & replacing transformers in certain identified circuits.
6. Regions with reduced losses will be rewarded by increased supply of electricity.

Significance:

1. Help DISCOMs get over the debt.
2. Encourage DISCOMs to align tariff with respect to real purchasing cost.
3. Operation efficiency with loss reduction in supply.
4. State Governments to get incentives in other schemes like DDU Gram Jyoti Yojana.
5. New beginning for sustainable growth prospects of DISCOMs.

UDAY scheme is ambitious and is readily adopted by many states whose number has now exceeded 15.