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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [6th Oct] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

  • IASbaba
  • October 21, 2016
  • 2
IASbaba's Hot Questions, IASbaba's Think Learn Perform 2016, IASbaba's TLP - 2016, Think Learn Perform (TLP)- 2016, UPSC Mains Answer Writing - 2016, UPSC Mains Questions 2016
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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [6th Oct] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

 


1. Accountability is the life blood of a democracy. Comment.

Accountability literally means to acknowledge and take responsibility of one’s own actions.

A democracy is a system of governance with checks and balances. Taking accountability out of equation will convert any government into dictatorship.

(Most of you have written very good, but general points saying how each organ of democratic government is accountable to another in democracy.

You had to mention why that accountability is important. Some of the important points are given below which you can use in your answer. You can add some more points to it.)

  • In a democracy, the final authority is the people of that country. And every organ in the system has to be directly or indirectly accountable to them.
  • Since in a democracy, technically, power flows from the bottom, i.e. from people to the top authority, it is very important that the people are informed. For this the government needs to be transparent. It will help in building faith of the governed on the government. An informed citizen can take a rational decision in selecting the future government.
  • Even for different organs of the government, the responsibilities are divided to prevent encroachment of one organ into the domain of other.
  • It is said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Accountability is required to create a moral pressure on the authority to take the right decision on rational basis and helps in reducing corrupt practices.
  • In India, and many other countries, an oath of secrecy is taken. It is argued, that if the government is taking a morally correct decision and can explain it, than there is no need of secrecy from the people. Rather, there should be an oath of transparency, to have the confidence of public, and have real democracy.

If we see the overall picture, we will find that democracy is nothing but accountability.

Best Answer 1: Singh Swadesh

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Best Answer 2: abhishekrwt597

Democracy, or the rule of the people, and its most sustainable avatar, representative democracy, fails to function without due accountability, ie, the ability to attribute action to individuals/orgn. that pursue it. Being a harbinger of transparency and answerability, the case for accountability cannot be overstated.

The govt is elected either directly or indirectly by the people. Absence of accountability to the people may turn the govt into a despot, where nepotism replaces due process, and tyranny replaces public welfare. Further, if there are no rules and regulations, the govt may be free to use and abuse its powers(undefined) as absence of restrictions give it inbuilt deniability. Bureaucrats, as employees of the Govt, often enjoy widespread discretion, and are accused of abuse of power, and getting away without being held accountable for their actions. Further, the Govt agencies and its programs are funded by public money. Therefore, the public has a right to know, where, how much and how the money was spent, and if the desired ends are met or not. Obfuscation, often a hallmark of bureaucracy, dilutes this vital aspect of accountability, often under the excuse of national security. Transparency, limited govt and rule of law breeds deterrence and leads to responsible exercise of power. This is sought to be achieved through a constitution, a responsible judiciary, an active civil society, NGO’s, transnational organizations, as well as acts and initiatives undertaken by the Govt itself(RTI,Citizens Charter, Zero base budgeting, Freedom of Information Act). All these initiatives too are in the end a pursuit for accountability.
In a democracy, the people are the sovereign masters and the source of all powers, However, rule by all is replaced by rule by a chosen few. To ensure that this provision is not misused, and democracy doesn’t descend into anarchy, Accountabilty is simply irreplaceable.


2. Citizen’s right to information is increasingly being seen as an important instrument to promote openness, transparency and accountability. Why? Examine.

Introduction:

Talk about the RTI Act and what it intends to bring about. Like RTI Act is an act by parliament to establish a framework which helps citizens in bring about transparency, accountability and openness in working of public offices in the year 2005. With 10 rupees post card any person can get hands on any information excluding those affecting security and international relations.

Body:

Why it is seen as instrument to promote the same:-

-Talk about how increase in education and literacy level have changed the concept of democracy and working of government and expectation of public from them.

-Talk about how mass media have shown examples of other countries functioning and the awareness level of people increasing and demands being raised day by day.

-Talk about how citizens participation has increased the need for being accountable for the action taken and changes brought about by RTI in there working atmosphere.

-Also mention one or 2 points about how it can also lead to disruption in normal functioning of government and misuse of the same.

-Give examples for both arguments.

Conclusion:

End with how with many social activists, NGO’s and other institutions have spearheaded the campaign and made it a success and like about its future success of how efforts can also bring about political parties under the RTI net.

Best answer: GURU

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3. In India E-governance is more about the ‘E’ and less about ‘governance’. Examine the statement in the light of the initiatives taken by the government since the beginning of the National E-governance Plan (NeGP).

 

Introduction:

Your introduction should mention about the e – governance program in India. Also mention the main purpose of digitization in governance.

 

Body:

Mention the initiatives taken under National E-governance Plan

  • MeghRaj
  • Digi-locker
  • National judicial data grid
  • E-Basta
  • Swayam, GIAN
  • Service delivery guarantee system like e- Sampark
  • Passport facility, e-visa
  • JAM trinity, PAHAL etc.

Issues related to E-governance plan

  • Digital illiteracy
  • Lack of basic infrastructure
  • Lack of awareness
  • Digital divide
  • Non- responsiveness of government

Success related to E-governance plan

  • Reduction in corruption
  • Reducing time in benefits accessibility
  • Improved connectivity
  • Participation in policy making.

(you can add more points here)

Conclusion: –

You should conclude it by saying that though there are some lacuna in existing scheme but it is a right step in right direction. Govt. should increase its efforts to improve it further.

 

Best Answer1: -Lokesh

NeGP plan was started with the objective to improve governance through use of technology. It was felt that digitsation would help in reducing interface, making process faster, and more trasparent. This would help in upholding norms of good goverance vis rule of law, transaparency, accountability, participation of the citizenry and ease of doing business.
Sadly E- Governance has shown mixed success for eg.

  1. National judicial data grid (NJDG) has not led to reduction in pendency of cases.
  2. While people can complain in online platforms but there is not deadline to redress them.
  3. RTI can be accessed online, but understaff manpower leads to delays.
  4. National land record modernisation programme has not resulted in reduction in land disputes due to absence of land title law.

We need to understand that technology can only help in provding faster access but is not panacea to strcutural problems. For eg. in the absence of judicial reforms, periodic updation of citizen charter, adminstrative reforms in terms of business process restructuring (2nd ARC), the E-governance will merely remain “E” without governace.

It has been found that whereever enabling infrastcuture has been provided E-governance has shown good results for eg. Telangna government right to clearance act, Shram Suvidha portal (labour reforms), PRAGATI platform (for cooperative federalism), India.gov.in (participatory governance)

And, lastly, simultanous efforts for digital literacy, bridging digital divide need to be undertaken actively so that E-governance is more inclusive and participative.

 

Best Answer2: vengeancee

National E-Governance Plan launched in 2006 takes a holistic view of providing services in electronic format in the country. After decade of its inception, E-Governance has been brought in question as less focused on governance as:

1) MeghRaj initiative launched in 2014, has provided cloud services but digital literacy towards what is cloud computing is below 1% in India.

2) Twitter governance in present times is gaining popularity, when Twitter is least used social media enterprise among popular ones.

3) Digital Divide persisting, as only 18% of India is currently connected to internet.

4) Non-Responsiveness in Government portal: where complaints stay pending after stipulated mentioned reply time.

However, situation isn’t such one-sided:

1) Annual award given to ministries for citizen grievance redressal effectiveness making governance stronger.

2) Campaign like Net Neutrality prove importance of E-based governance being achieved as TRAI reversed its decision after huge response in E-Mail.

3) CSCs (Common Service Centers) are hugely popular in states like Madhya Pradesh, and have made E-Governance true in character.

4) Growth of smartphone users in India is 4 times world’s average making E-Governance sustainable alternative.

NeGP was ambitious program, and has made certain strides. However, much needs to be done to improve governance structure, recent initiatives like JAM Trinity, E-Transactions, mygov.in are active steps in that regard.

 

Best Answer3: naadan parinda

 

Concept of governance firmly stands over the pillars of accessibility, transparency and inclusiveness. Bringing in real dimension to this aspect, Indian government came up with NeGP in 2006.The vision was to make government services accessible to all. However greater attention was paid towards electronic interface can be seen as-

>Multiple citizen service centers were opened with availability of timely updates and information dissemination- but adequate attention was not laid on Digital literacy and filling Digital divide

>Government institutions were stressed to be connected optically- but proper training mechanisms to ensure changed mindset of people working was not stressed

>e-NAM to ensure fair prices to farmers and maintain transparency regarding food stock availability- But we face multiple bottlenecks like transportation, storage, farmers’ awareness etc.

>Vigorous campaign to ensure optical connectivity of Gram Panchayats- But we have not been able to provide adequate infrastructure in terms of towers, spectrum, electricity etc.
E-governance as a whole is well accepted norm. However, it requires to ensure equal attention towards governance aspect also. For this we need to have-

>Ensuring content availability in regional languages and timely grievance redressal mechanism in place

>Adequate infrastructural availability with trained professionals in place

>Ensuring safety of data in this cyber world and making it strong enough to counter multiple new challenges

By plugging in the loopholes with approach to bring in change in lives of people, way of “E-governance” provides us with promising future as seen multiple cases like PDS of Chhattisgarh, Digi-locker etc. 


4. Even though fair elections are held at regular intervals for State Assemblies and Parliament, they do not reflect the true consent of the people because a large number of women are ‘missing’ from the electorate. In the light of the term ‘missing women’ coined by Dr. Amartya Sen, critically discuss the gender dimension of voting in India.

Framework:

Amartya Sen coined the term “Missing women” to point out the females that are literally not alive due to gross family neglect and discrimination translating into low sex-ratios.

  • Seen in this context, India remains one of worst performers with a rank of 133 out of 146 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII) – which captures the loss in achievement within a country due to gender inequality and is based on measures of health, labour force participation and empowerment.

In the electoral rolls

  • In the last 50 years of Indian democracy, the absolute number of missing women has increased fourfold from 15 million to 65 million.
  • As a percentage of the female electorate, missing women have gone up significantly — from 13 per cent to approximately 20 per cent.

In Public Policy making

  • Female participation in Parliament and state legislatures is very low around 11%.
  • Moreover, the representation of females in elite civil services, higher administrative posts, judiciary etc. is also very less.
  • In local bodies, representation stands at 33%, but is not effective as many female representatives are political proxies for their husbands.

Implications

  • Hence, fewer female voters will voice their opinions through elections.
  • Political decisions which are based on election outcomes therefore under-represent the female population.
  • They are not a true reflection of the female policy preferences.
  • Such discrimination in public policy sphere will create a vicious cycle resulting in degrading conditions for women.

Therefore, there is a need to increase the representation of women effectively in the legislatures; increase awareness about the importance of voting amongst women; and introduce gender neutral policies with some positive discrimination in the public sphere.

Refer the original article published in The Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/indias-missing-women/article5670801.ece

 

Best answer: SherniZaad

The term “Missing Women” indicates a shortfall in the number of women with respect to their expected number in any particular region or sphere like gender dimension of voting in accordance with the question.

India since its independence has seen mainly successful elections bagging itself the title of a strong and stable democracy. However, looking into it deeply, the picture seems gloomy because of ” Missing women” scenario. The main reason behind this could be the patriarchal mindset of the society where women stay at home and its the men who go out to express their democratic rights.

Despite the provision of adult suffrage Indian women have been lesser active in political activities such as election. Another problem is the lagging behind of women in every field be it education, health and awareness about their rights and freedom of making individual choices. Even till present times , the women of the house are witnessed voting according to the will of their husbands or fathers.

However the scenario is improving with the gradual development of the nation. With the help of government initiatives and role played by civil society more and more women are now getting aware of their rights. Recent trend has been showing an increase in the number of women voters. The 2014 lok sabha election saw one of the biggest youth voter turnouts which included a great share of women voters.

The picture has been improving but more needs to be done. Steps must be taken by Election Commission , State, and the society as a whole to make the election process democratic in true sense by equal participation of both men and women


5. Obsolete and inconvenient laws cause equal inconvenience to citizens, businesses and the administration. With respect to the statement, discuss the present situation in India. What steps has the government taken to remedy this situation?

 

Introduction: –

Your introduction should mention the need of removing inconvenient laws. Various committees and reports (Law commission etc.) has underlined the importance of removing these laws. Also mention how laws are the product of their time.

The existence of obsolete and inconvenient laws is a major hindrance in the exercise of smooth administration in India. Such laws are often not required, either discriminate, or are simply non nonsensical in this day and age.

Body:

  • You should mention the statistics of such laws in present time

Around 1200 such laws exist which led to multiplicity, delay in execution, confusion etc. (acc. To law commission report248, 249, 250, 251 etc.)

Report no 248: -Obsolete Laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal”

Reason why we should remove these laws: –

 

“Every legislature is expected to undertake what may be called the periodical spring-clearing of the corpus of its Statute Law, in order that dead wood may be removed and citizens may be spared of the inconvenience of taking notice of laws which have ceased to bear any relevance to current conditions. This process in itself, assumes still greater importance in modern times when Statue 3 Law is growing in bulk and magnitude”

Also mention the efforts made by Govt. of India in this regard.

  • The passing of one — Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill 2015 — could repeal 758 old appropriation acts, the other one — Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015 — could weed out the other 295 Acts
  • Labour reforms
  • GST
  • APMC act etc.

(examples are given for reference. You can add more examples here)

Mention the potential benefits in brief.

  • Ease of doing business
  • Transparency
  • Improve efficiency
  • Faster resolution – lesser pending cases.

 

Conclusion:

You should conclude it by saying that with changing time, laws also demand change. Govt. should keep a track of them and make necessary changes accordingly which suits the present needs.

 

Best answer1: ILP- KUNA3885 (thevagabond85)

https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a3f1d7b531fe17e8a25348b18292f777c5920ad23aecd2d772ae2ebefdbdf74d.jpg

 

Best answer2: vengeancee

Obsolete & inconvenient laws are not just hampering ease of doing business, but have multitude of implications for general public, administrative authorities, and State including judiciary. Present situation can be termed as:

1) Labor laws: are approximately 44 with wide overlapping, and incompatibility with current times.

2) Taxation laws: direct taxes like Income Tax, Custom Tax, Corporation Tax, Central Excise, etc are constraints hampering tax outputs realized by Government.

3) Dismal global ranking: India in 2015 ranked 130 by World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings.

4) Environment laws: Water, Forest, Environmental protection, Air, Biodiversity laws are indicative of poor environmental governance.

However, Government has recently taken steps to provide remedy like:

1) Introduction of GST: will subsume multiplicity of indirect taxes

2) Foreign Trade Policy, 2015: has merged 6 earlier schemes of export under MEIS (Merchandise Export from India Scheme)

3) NITI Aayog involvement: has been commendable in clearing out obsolute laws in J&K, Rajasthan, etc.

4) PC Jain, Ramanujam, Law Commissions (248th Report) to report on repealing obsolete laws.

India has been climbing steadily in Ease of doing Business rankings over past few years, this is a healthy sign towards improvement where due emphasis is needed.

 

Best answer3: – abhishekrwt597

The existence of obsolete and inconvenient laws is a major hindrance in the exercise of smooth administration in India. Such laws are often not required, either discriminate, or are simply non nonsensical in this day and age.

For instance, the Indian Aircraft Act 1934 makes every kite and balloon flyer a potential offender, unless licensed by the Govt. This makes little sense, especially when India has a rich and ancient Kite flying tradition. Similarly, the Railway act allows it to discriminate against leprosy patients. With increased awareness and treatment of leprosy, such stigmatization has serious constitutional implications. Similarly, the OSA can legally withhold any information from public disclosure under the often dubious garb of national security. Factories Act and IDA, 1947 are seen as major impediments to labour reforms in India, with stringent penal provisions for defaulters, and constraints on hiring and firing. Defamation, although often defended by the Govt, is equally harmful to citizens and administration alike. By preventing even valid criticism of the Govt, it prevents enrichment of the democratic discourse. Similarly, several cess(eg salt cess) exist, whose collections are smaller than the cost involved in their collection.
In light of these, the current govt has passed several bills(eg the appropriation Act repeal bill 2015) that have together seen close to 1200 laws being repealed till date. The law commission of India too has recommended the repealing of several archaic laws from the lawbooks. Further, the govt is actively considering setting up a post legislative scrutiny mechanism on lines of those existing in developed countries, with periodic review of laws (every two years for most laws in Australia), hiring legislative expertise while framing laws, and ensuring sunset clauses in all laws henceforth(as in Canada).

The above steps will go a long way in reducing unwanted legislation, red tapism and attracting investment to the county. What we need is good, and not more laws.

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