GOVERNANCE AND INTERNAL SECURITY
General Studies 2
- Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure.
- 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 and institutional and other measures.
General Studies 3
- Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
Strengthening India’s national security
Amid growing challenges within, India misses a modern security apparatus, strategic vision and a long-term plan.
Internal threats to India:
- There is long standing insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Various secessionist and rebel movements in the North East and Eastern regions.
- Left wing extremism in red corridor states.
- Political instability created by non-secular forces.
- Uprising of the disappointed masses.
- We have a simmering conflict on our western border, which spills over into northern sectors.
- China’s grasp on the South China Sea jugular is strengthening, which necessitates a naval defence outlay like never before.
What are the issues with present internal security policies?
- No adequate attention is being paid to strengthening the internal security apparatus. The NSAB has been liquidated.
- Ignorance of the government to take ad hoc decisions on crucial matters- No long-term policy for Jammu and Kashmir is a reflection of it. Also, we don’t have a strategic vision to tackle the Maoist insurgency.
- SMART police could never take off because of the indifference of the states.
- The spending on internal security is eating into our war chest against poverty, illiteracy, sanitation, climate change, infrastructure development, self-sufficiency in food, energy and ironically even defence.
- Urgent equipment purchases, which have to be affected in times of war, kill the life cycle required for indigenous production or even adaptation of those technologies.
- India is able to build sophisticated space-capable missiles, but unable to develop an all-purpose, fully satisfactory, assault rifle. The former technology was denied to us for decades and we were forced to develop it, while the latter could be purchased off-the-shelf from world markets in every war-like situation.
- Several committees, reports, study groups and think tanks later have highlighted various reasons behind poor internal security like- Inefficiency of DRDO units/public sector undertakings (PSUs), Cumbersome procurement processes, Adversarial inter-ministerial relationships, Corruption-plagued history etc.
- The US and UK revise their national security doctrines every year and place them in the public domain, India can follow such ideas.
- British imperialists had one Police Act for the entire country, thus police reforms are need of the hour.
- There are threats to internal security by the Islamic state; setting up a National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) will help to address the issue.
- The government need to setup dedicated autonomous bodies to strengthen our northern frontiers.
- New formula of SAMADHAN to tackle the Naxal problems should be framed in a reliable way. The government recently brought in a new formula of SAMADHAN. S stands for smart leadership, A for aggressive strategy, M for motivation and training, A for actionable intelligence, D for dashboard-based key performance indicators and key result areas, H for harnessing technology, A for action plan for each theatre and N for no access to financing.
We need to inculcate a better understanding of national security and the components that go into building it. True cost of national security includes the opportunity cost of compounded growth that is being lost forever. In addition to reminding the young of martyrs, we might want to educate them on disciplines which reduce, if not prevent, the need for martyrs in the first place.
Connecting the dots:
- Internal threats to India is continuously rising. To tackle it we need to inculcate a better understanding of national security and the components that go into building it. Discuss.
General Studies 1
- Social Issues
General Studies 2
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Protecting Right to Dignity of Children
Recently, a two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court heard a petition on the constitutionality of the marital rape exception in the IPC (Exception 2 to Section 375).
The petitioners pointed to the contradictions between the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act), which defines “child” as a person below 18 years, and the marital rape exception in the IPC, which states that sexual intercourse between a man and his wife (who is not under 15 years) is not rape.
The Bench apparently inquired whether the court must intervene to provide protection to married girls between 15 and 18 years from sexual exploitation by their spouse, given the legislative intention to exempt marital rape from prosecution.
What the laws says?
The POCSO Act does not carve out any exception in favour of marriage. The legislative intention is also evident from Section 42A of the POCSO Act, which provides that in case of inconsistency with the provisions of any other law, the POCSO Act will override.
Difference between law and reality:
The marital rape exception under the IPC has not prevented the police from registering cases under the POCSO Act when the victim is above 15 years and is married to the accused.
- The POCSO’s approach fails to recognise the autonomy and evolving capacity of children, particularly adolescents.
- Studies by the Centre for Child and the Law at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru have revealed that the victim was married to the accused before or during trial in 19% of the cases in Delhi, 8% in Assam, and 6% in Maharashtra. The higher judiciary has largely taken a lenient approach in such cases.
- Acquittals are the norm as Section 42A of the POCSO Act is not aligned with the social reality of normal sexual exploration among teenagers and the belief about the sanctity of marriage held by most judges, prosecutors, and the police.
- Parliament and the Supreme Court need to consider the South African Constitutional Court’s conclusions in Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children v. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development (2013), in which provisions that criminalised consensual sexual conduct of adolescents between 12 and 16 years were held unconstitutional.
- At the same time, the government and courts cannot be oblivious to sexual violence within personal relationships. CCL studies show that courts do not consider whether the minor consented freely, or the child was groomed by the accused, or whether the marriage was forced.
Demands for strict construction of all sexual contact with children as rape and the blind exemption accorded to sexual violence within marriage are both incompatible with the constitutional guarantee of a right to life of dignity and protection against violence.
An acceptable exception would only be one that is premised on respect for adolescent children’s right to physical integrity and freedom of expression with safeguards against grooming, force, coercion, and exploitation.
Neither is all sexual contact with children rape nor should there be a blind exemption to sexual violence within marriage.
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