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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 19th November, 2016

  • November 19, 2016
  • 2
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Nov 2016, National, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 19th November, 2016

 

NATIONAL

 

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

National Litigation Policy

 

Current Problems faced by the Judiciary

 

The judiciary in India is currently facing a lot of problems which can be enlisted as below:

  • Pendency of cases,
  • Lack of nationwide digital connectivity across courts,
  • Constant conflict between the executive and the judiciary,
  • Pendency of vacancies of judges in various High Courts and the Supreme Court,
  • Increasing number of under trials due to pendency of cases,
  • Inefficient working of the alternative dispute redressal mechanisms, and
  • Excessive litigation by the government

The problem of excess litigation by the government has led to excess burden of pendency on the judiciary. This can be understood by the fact that half of all litigations in the Indian judiciary today are government litigations. This issue has been raised by the Law Commission of India in its 126th Report in 1988, the Supreme Court of India and now recently by the Prime Minister of India. Efforts have been made to tackle this problem with the help of the National Litigation Policy launched in 2010. Such a policy is also being followed in Australia where the Australian Taxation Office conducts its litigation in accordance guidelines of PS LA 2009/9 Conduct of Tax Office Litigation.

 

Benefits of National Litigation Policy (NLP)

  • Reduces the burden on the public exchequer arising due to these cases.
  • Will assist in reducing the burden of pending cases on the judiciary.
  • In 2010, the NLP was launched to make the government an efficient and responsible litigant.
  • It will keep a check on the government so that it does not enter into petty litigations on minor issues

Shortcomings in the NLP

  • NLP has been a failure due to ambiguity.
  • It is said to be filled with rhetoric and policies which cannot be easily implemented
  • It contains a lot of examples describing the problem but lacks an in depth analysis addressing the reasons behind the excess government litigation
  • For the purpose of performance appraisal and determining responsibility and efficiency, the policy lacks specific measurable benchmarks.
  • Though NLP 2010 provides for accountability but it lacks definition of ‘suitable action’ that would be taken against those officials who violate the policy.
  • NLP provides for setting up Empowered Committees for proper implementation. However, there is a lack of clarity with respect to the role to be played by these committees. This increases chances of confusion and loss of transparency.
  • Absence of adequate data which can be used as a monitoring tool for the success and effectiveness of the policy.

 

Way Forward / Reforms in the NLP

With the growing share of troubles of the judiciary, this problem needs to be dealt in a much more dynamic and resourceful manner. The bureaucracy needs to be motivated sufficiently to tackle this problem.

Necessary changes and reforms can be undertaken in the NLP which can offer a long term solution to the rising government litigations. Such changes are as follows:

  • Clarity on the objectives of the NLP so that effective monitoring can be carried out.
  • Role of different functionaries involved such as the Empowered Committees has to be stated very clearly.
  • The policy for must set minimum standards to be followed by the government for taking forward litigations.
  • There is a need to ensure adequate accountability mechanisms.
  • Consequences of violation of the terms of the policy have to be mentioned.
  • Regular review and assessment of the policy is essential.

The government has to ensure that, for the smooth functioning of the judiciary and to provide timely justice to the citizens; NLP should be implemented at the earliest. The government should make efforts to ensure that a dispute between two departments or public sector undertakings should not go to the court. It should be settled at the ministerial level. Court opinion can be taken in case of further problem.

Connecting the dots

  • Critically analyse the National Litigation Policy 2010. Discuss how this policy can be helpful in reducing the burden on the judiciary.

 

NATIONAL

 

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

 

Towards a cashless society- the demonetisation effect

  • Demonetisation has definitely turned people’s lives upside down as 86% of cash with the public became illegal.
  • The move has been largely hailed but the cash management crisis has now captured the positive move in cage of lack of proper planning.
  • This has led to many politicians, economists and opinion leaders condemning the move and immediate hardships caused to common man.
  • Though government had to have more planned measures before announcing such drastic step, it is understood that its concern over the secrecy of such a move was more important.

Identifying the need of the hour

  • It is incumbent upon the government to take adequate and quick steps to alleviate sufferings of the common man which was done by announcing various steps and measures in upcoming days.
  • Right now, there is need of indulging more in taking actions to help people in difficulties rather than concerning too much over merits or demerits of the policy.
  • The foremost action is to restore calm and reduce anxiety levels across the board by providing correct information. When SC expresses concern over ‘creation of riot-like situation’, the government is bound to dole out slew of measures to ease hardships for common man.
  • The government is incurring about Rs. 10 crores in awareness campaigns to promote its demonetisation drive. It should stress and constantly repeat that adequate time is available for depositing the old currency in the accounts.
  • Government can inform people that ATM/Debit/Credit card should be used for their transactions wherever possible. This will create lesser queues in front of ATM and banks.
  • Volunteers can assist in filling up forms or vouchers of the illiterate and ignorant persons and also simultaneously educating them on availability of alternate means to avoid risks of carrying cash and running from place to place.
  • The major criticism of the ban is that 70-80% of people have no bank accounts and hence are in distress. But the facts represent different picture. According to official figures, more than 25 crore Jan-Dhan accounts have been opened and nearly 20 crore ‘Rupay’ debit cards have also been issued.
  • Hence, if an average family is considered to be of three persons, then the accounts should cover up to 75 crore of population. So, these accounts can be activated for depositing the old notes and withdrawal of cash.

 

Using the established networks

  • Another criticism is that of lack of banking facilities for the poor and those living in isolated villages, particularly in north east, hilly and tribal areas.
  • Under the RBI policy of financial inclusion, it has been made mandatory for the banks to open branches in every village with 2,000 or more population. And a large number of such branches in fact have been opened.
  • In addition, a vast network of more than 1,50,000 post offices are spread across the length and breadth of the country. Most of these post offices have at least one computer terminal installed.
  • Thus, these outlets have helped India Post in making transfer of money from one corner of the globe to the other easier, faster and safer.
  • Also, many urban and semi-urban post offices have been fully computerised and are inter-connected through a core banking solution. Additionally, India Post Payments bank will be launched shortly. Hence, people have options to carry out their financial transactions instead of suffering stress for exchanging money.
  • It is true that farmers and small traders don’t have big transactional value and so, in order to strengthen this institutional network, a large number of banking correspondents are also functioning.
  • The number of point of sale (PoS) terminals has substantially gone up in the recent past as several street corner stores and other retail establishments have PoS swiping machines.
  • But they are not used optimally. Hence, the traders must be persuaded to use the machines in these difficult times to help their business as well as customers.
  • It has been come to notice that vegetable vendors and street food carts are offering to accept cards with small PoS machines. Here, the banks could aggressively market themselves through awareness campaigns about the availability of machines for free, including their maintenance and the ease of using them.
  • Earlier, the traders gave the tax waiver bait to customers and dealt in cash. Now if the customer asks for bill and show their preference for card payments, the futility of cash transactions and utility of non-cash transactions will be encouraged.
  • Another important tool available for avoiding the need for cash even for the poorer but literate sections is the mobile payments system. Slowly, mass awareness is being generated amongst people to use mobile payment system so as to avoid cash mobility and induce time saving. Mobile wallets are also being introduced and garnering popularity.
  • Of course, there are apprehensions about reliability and safety of their usage but over a period, as case of cards and net banking, this mode of transactions too will find better acceptance.
  • Nothing should be expected overnight, but the initiation has to be done with determination and sustained efforts by all concerned which will guide in moving towards less dependence on cash.

IASbaba’s views

The current challenges experienced is for a long term gain. Currently, there is a risk of increased uncertainty in spending behaviour of consumer and business, temporary strains upon already weak balance sheets and growth is expected to fall for next two quarters due to fall in working capital and trade payments that are cash based.

But, as the dust will settle, there will higher levels of recorded transactions, wider tax base, better tax compliance, reduced transaction costs and enhanced efficiencies in various supply-chains. The macroeconomic indicators will also improve with slowing down of inflation, improvement in fiscal balance and softening of interest rates.

Hence, the implementation of demonetisation policy, with awareness, attitude and administrative efficiency, will be a true game changer.

Connecting the dots:

  • How will demonetisation help India move towards cashless economy? Explain.
  • In a bid to become cashless society, the demonetisation policy has disrupted the routine of citizens. Critically analyse the effect of demonetisation on lives of people and business.

 

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