Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Science and Technology? developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Reform in Science setup
Science and technology in India is a crucial aspect for development in any parameter. It is important for science and technology set up being updated and vibrant to promote research and stay ahead in global technology sector.
Heads of India’s top scientific, administrative bodies have jointly conveyed to Prime Minister that science in India needs a major revamp.
They have proposed an umbrella science and technology body that marries research and industry, and will report directly to the Prime Minister.
The report had critical remarks –
The stature of Indian science is a shadow of what it used to be … because of decades of misguided interventions.
We have lost self-confidence and ambition and the ability to recognise excellence amongst our own.
In a false sense of egalitarianism, we often chose the mediocre at every level,
Need to Harness goodwill
However scientists and science in India command global “goodwill” as well as those of fellow Indians.
This was a “positive” and “a huge support system” that ought to be harnessed, the report added.
A major challenge in the funding of science by the government was that though scientific departments were headed by scientists, they were frequently not independent to take key decisions, such as filling vacancies and deciding how budgets to various projects within a Ministry ought to be allotted.
Proposed new authority:
To realise India’s scientific ambitions, the science-heads proposed a new authority reporting to the Prime Minister. SPARK (Sustainable Progress through Application of Research and Knowledge), as it is tentatively called, will be a “nimble, empowered board and a quality staff.”
The proposal was part of the report jointly prepared by the heads of all of India’s scientific departments including Atomic Energy, Space, Earth Sciences, Science and Technology and Biotechnology.
The report laid out a broad map on how India ought to prepare itself to be among the top three countries in science and technology by 2030 and ensure that 10% of the top 100 leaders in scientific fields are Indians.
The need for a long term and viable action plan for scientific research is less emphasized. It has to be ensured that policy action takes holistic parameters and is inclusive in nature. Hence a new set up is timely and most necessarily called for.
Connecting the dots
Though science and technology has been in focus since first five year plan India has failed to gather momentum in the field of core research. Elaborate.
General Studies 2 Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Delay in justice delivery
Justice delayed is justice denied is a known maxim. India has been plagued with delay in justice delivery and this has affected the system of judiciary badly. This has been called violation of human rights also with large number of undertrials, convicts languishing in jails much beyond their terms. This calls for urgent reforms.
The Supreme Court has asked itself why numerous orders over the decades suggesting “action plans” to combat staggering backlog of cases in High Courts and trial courts have literally produced no answers and hardly any results.
Justice Jasti Chelameswar pondered on how the “phenomenon of mounting pendency and discomfiting delay in disposal of cases” continue at the cost of gross human rights violations to undertrials, convicts — both who languish behind the walls of prisons, at times spend the entirety of their prison sentence behind bars while their appeals or bail applications stagnate for decades without a hearing — and victims of crime.
Allahabad Case study:
The Supreme Court’s third seniormost judge had found himself hearing a plea for bail by a convict in a murder case.
The lawyer for the convict told the Supreme Court that, with the current backlog at the Allahabad HC, his client entertains no hope of a hearing of his appeal.
Ordering the HC to complete the hearing of the appeal against conviction in four months, Justice Chelameswar, in a seven-page order, wondered about the “umpteen occasions” in which the Supreme Court has suggested proposals and framed guidelines to end pendency in courts.
How the judiciary has been, in a sense, inadvertently responsible for violation of the fundamental right to speedy trial and disposal of criminal appeals under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Novel move So, in a novel move, the Supreme Court decided to put the Allahabad HC under the microscope as a “pilot project” to investigate how High Courts deal with pendency.
The SC said this was a “target-specific” exercise to study how criminal appeals face years of delay as appellants face “inhuman compulsions” inside jails.
Justice Chelameswar called for real-time statistics from the Allahabad HC.
He roped in senior advocates Shyam Divan and C.U. Singh to assist the Supreme Court.
“We are of the view that it is imperative for this court to initiate a target specific exercise, and for the purpose obtain and analyse the relevant data at the first instance with regard to the pendency of the criminal appeals before the Allahabad High Court,” Justice Chelameswar ordered.
The Bench directed the HC Registrar to hand over particulars of the criminal appeals, category-wise and year-wise, for the study in four weeks.
It sought the HC to produce details of the institution and disposal statistics of last 10 years, average disposal time of the appeals, identified causes for the delay, steps already taken and in contemplation for tackling and accelerating disposals, mechanism in place to oversee the process and progress recorded.
The need for innovative measures to understand the root causes of some of the malaises plaguing the country is significant. It is important that we steps of this order in organs of government. Hence the Allahabad high court pilot project is a creative experiment to solve a crucial issue.
Connecting the dots
Critically analyse the reasons behind justice delivery being delayed in India and the associated effects on livelihood and polity.
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