1. The Government of India Act, 1935 is the watershed of India’s constitutional history. Critically examine.
Government of India act, 1935 is argued as a watershed in Indian constitution as it introduced various vital provisions. The argument stands more valid when viewed retrospectively because of significant features adopted from this act by constituent assembly. Many of the features of the Indian constitution are if not directly borrowed but are based on the Act of 1935.
The major features which formed the part of the Indian constitution were:
It provided for an all India federation with the inclusion of princely states in the federation. Though it did not succeed, yet it formed the basis of the federal structure of the present constitution.
It was the first act with a definite preamble. The idea of preamble that is the soul of the constitution was inspired from it.
The division of subjects into Federal, Provincial and Concurrent list can be attributed to GOI Act 1935 which provided the division of power.
Post of Governor, the setup of Public Service Commission, Reserve bank of India, emergency provisions , setting up of Federal Court were taken from this act.
This act extended the limited franchise based on certain criteria laying foundation for adult franchise after independence.
This act from the bedrock of the administrative details which are mentioned in our present constitution. These details helped the fathers of the constitution make a smooth transition from the colonial system to the Indian system without any major difficulty
This act also had certain limitations and drawbacks,
The residuary power vested with the governor general.
The diarchy was introduced at the centre.
The system of communal representation still continued which furthered the agenda of divide and rule of British.
Governor General could issue ordinances thus bypassing the legislature.
Important subjects concerning defence and communication was exclusive to governor general.
The act failed to provide Fundamental rights and protection of civil liberties to Indians.
The federation envisioned by this act never came into existence due to difference among princes with British.
The right to vote was limited to nearly 10% of population only.
Indian constitution has changed and evolved with time. There have been other significant acts and events which too played a major part such as:
The Nehru Report of 1929 was like a mini constitution which provided a lot of essential features like fundamental rights, structure of legislature , nature of government whose experiences later helped in the constitution formation.
The various Regulating Acts, Government of India Acts paved way for political enlightenment of the Indians.
the 42 and 44th constitutional amendment acts are another important period in the constitutional history of India as they altered and restored respectively the spine of the constitution.
Hence it can be safely said that the GOI Act 1935 provided the foundation and the experience to the Indians to develop a beautiful constitution that could cater and respond to the needs and requirement of the diverse nature of the country like India. It was indeed a watershed moment in Indian constitutional history.
2. Who were ‘swarajists’? What did they want to achieve? Did they succeed?
Who were the swarajists?
The withdrawal of the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922 led to demoralisation in the nationalist ranks. Serious differences arose among the leaders who had to decide how to prevent the movement from lapsing into passivity.
One school of thought headed by C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru advocated a new line of political activity under the changed conditions. They said that nationalists should end the boycott of the Legislative Councils.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr Ansari, Babu Rajendra Prasad and others, known as ‘no-changers’, opposed Council entry. They warned that legislative politics would lead to neglect of work among the masses, weaken nationalist fervour and create rivalries among the leaders. They, therefore, continued to emphasise the constructive programme of spinning, temperance, Hindu-Muslim unity, removal of untouchability and grassroots work in the villages and among the poor.
Thus, the Congress was divided internally into Swarajists and No-changers. The Swarajists formed a new party called the Swaraj Party in 1923 under the leadership of Motilal Nehru and C.R. Das. The Swarajists opposed the suspension of the Civil Disobedience Movement and the boycott of the legislative Assembly by the Congress Party.
Objectives of Swarajists:
· It decided to take part in elections and ending boycott of legislative assemblies.
· Obstruct the working of legislature according to official plans. expose their weaknesses, transform them into arenas of political struggle and thus use them to arouse public enthusiasm.
· The Swaraj Party declared that the national demand for self-government would be presented in councils. In case of the rejection of the demand of its elected members, their policy would be to uniformly and consistently obstruct within the councils.
Evaluating their success:
Even though the Swarajists had little time for preparations, they did very well in the election of November 1923. They won 42 seats out of the 101 elected seats in the Central Legislative Assembly.
They succeeded in following areas:
The Swaraj Party kept the light of nationalism burning even after the suspension of the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Having entered into the legislature the Swaraj Party created eagerness for parliamentary democracy among the people.
They made diarchy unworkable in the provinces. It was due to their obstructionist policies that the government in the councils was forced to appoint the Simon Commission.
With coalition partners, they outvoted the Government several times, even on matters relating to budgetary grants, and passed adjournment motions.. They agitated through powerful speeches on questions of self-government, civil liberties and industrial development.
In March 1925, they succeeded in electing Vithalbhai Patel as the president (Speaker) of the Central Legislative Assembly.
They filled the political void at a time when the national movement was recouping its strength. They also exposed the hollowness of the Reform Act of 1919.
They could establish Hindu-Muslim unity during the period.
A noteworthy achievement was the defeat of the Public Safety Bill in 1928 which was aimed at empowering the Government to deport undesirable and subversive foreigners
The Swarajists failed to change the policies of the authoritarian Government of India and found it necessary to walk out of the Central Assembly first in March 1926 and then in January 1930.
By 1924, the Swarajist position had weakened because of widespread communal riots, split among Swarajists themselves on communal and Responsivist, Non-responsivist lines; the death of C.R. Das in 1925 weakened it further.
The Swarajists can thus be said to have achieved limited success. However, their role cannot be belittled in Indian national movement.
3. That the English left the country not because of the mighty resistance that they were facing in India but due to their diminished status post WWII is often put forward as an argument. How far do you agree with it? Comment.
British Left because of the resistance they faced in India:
The general mood during the Quit India movement and the strong resistance against the British indicated that Indians would not wait anymore for freedom. The movement was leaderless and the entire movement was carried out by people.
Success in the various movements in the decades before the World War 2 had already dented the supremacy of the British. They had realized that mere force was no longer the weapon to suppress the Indians
The deployment of various missions like Cripps, Cabinet Mission indicated that the British wanted a peaceful transition of power and future good relations with the Indians.
When the Indian Prisoners of War started fighting on behalf of Azad Hind Fauj, it had seriously damaged the morale of other Indian soldiers and the government could not take loyalty for granted.
The various non-cooperation movements, RIN mutiny, communal riots, famines and the failure of British to suppress them showed that administration was no longer under the control of the British.
British left India due to diminished status post WW-II:
British had lost the status of world superpower and the new power centres, USA and USSR were in favor of De-colonization, Hence, they supported India’s claim for independence.
Due to the exhaustion of its military and economic resources and the huge damage done to its trade and commerce, British could control the economy of India anymore
The Indians who participated in the war with the British and against the British through the INA and Japanese forces, exposed the racial and selfish nature of the British. This dented the theory that British were benevolent to India and were needed to keep it safe
independence movements in other colonies had made it difficult to co-ordinate troops, as simultaneous uprisings meant loss of face of the British authorities internationally.
Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) is the top decision making body regarding defense procurement in India. It is chaired by Defense Minister. Recently, it released Defense Procurement Policy, 2016.
1.Acquisition schemes are broadly classified as, ‘Buy’, ‘Buy and Make’, and ‘Make’. ‘Buy’ is further categorised as ‘Buy (Indian indigenously designed, developed and manufactured—IDDM)’, ‘Buy (Indian)’, and ‘Buy (Global)’.
2.‘Buy & Make’ essentially is initial procurement of equipment in Fully Formed (FF) state followed by indigenous production through Transfer of Technology (ToT).
3.Buy Indian or IDDM must have at least 40% indigenous content. ‘Make’ portion of the contract has to be minimum 50%.
4.‘Buy (Global)’ is outright purchase of equipment from foreign vendors and the Government to Government route may be adopted. Ministry of Defence will spell out 15 years Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP), the 5 years Services Capital Acquisition Plan (SCAP) and Annual Acquisition Plan (AAP) for clarity.
5.Appointment of ‘strategic partners’ for manufacturing equipment like aircraft, warships, helicopters, submarines, tanks, etc., based on technology from foreign vendors will be a priority.
6.The ‘Make’ procedure will see the government reimbursing 90% of the development cost.
7.After successfully developing a prototype, if the vendor does not get an order, even his 10% expenditure would be refunded. DPP-2016 liberalises the ‘fast track’ procurement of urgently needed equipment.
8.Increase in the offset baseline from Rs 300 crore to Rs 2,000 crore. However, even beyond that, the policy promises to make the defence market more lucrative for Indian industry.
Impetus to Indigenization
Through, putting emphasis on building indigenous products, it is expected that companies which wants to win to win that defense tender, will invest in India. DPP 2016 may lead to,
1.Significant technology transfer as more defense companies will built manufacturing bases in India.
2.Development of defense complexes in JV (Joint Venture) with Indian companies and global manufacturing powerhouse.
3.Strategic autonomy of India in defense sector. Currently, India is too much dependent on foreign defense partners for its weapon trade.
Ancillary Industries connected to defense industry will develop. It will lead to growth in manufacturing bases.
However, there are challenges in indigenization:
1.DPP 2016, falls far short of the expectations raised by the “Make in India” push that aims to transform the country into a global manufacturing hub.
2.The DPP is noticeable for the absence of Chapter VII, titled ‘Strategic Partners and Partnerships’, which the Defense Minister said would be notified separately. Under Strategic Partnerships, select Indian private companies were to be given preferential status in major defense projects.
3.The inability of the Centre to finalize a credible policy to radically increase indigenous military manufacturing is a sure sign that India will remain heavily dependent on defense imports.
Other factors like infrastructure, govt policies might not be ready for building high technology defense sector.
5.Unavailability of highly skilled work force that could be employed in such sectors.
Hence, it can be said that though Indigenization is our requirement in defense sector, it should be accompanied by capacity building of our domestic industries and human resources.
5. The 7-pronged strategy ‘Indradhanush’ was announced last year to improve the condition of India’s state-run banks. What are the components and features of this strategy? Which additional measures have been taken recently? Discuss.
Besieged by the problem of rising NPAs , deteriorating governance of banks and increased political interference in its functioning , the Government appointed PJ Nayak committee( director of Axis bank) to look into problems of PSBs based on which Government formulated Indradhanush , 7 point formula to overcome present crisis and rectify ills ailing PSBs.
According to Economic Survey 2015, Indian banks face problems on both the policy and structural sides.
Policy issues– Banks face what has been termed as ‘double financial repression’- issues with policies of Statuary Liquidity Ratio and Private Sector Lending policies
Structural issues– Governance issues, rising stressed assets (Non- Performing Assets) and lack of diverse funding sources for infrastructure.
Components of Mission Indradhanush
Mission Indradhanush is a 7-pronged plan to address the challenges faced by public sector banks (PSBs). Many of the measures taken were suggested by P J Nayak committee on Banking sector reforms as indicated.
The 7 parts include appointments, Banks board bureau, capitalisation, de-stressing, empowerment, framework of accountability and governance reforms (ABCDEFG)
Appointments – separation of posts of CEO and MD to check excess concentration of power and smoothen the functioning of banks; also induction of talent from private sector ( recommendation of P J Nayak Committee)
Bank Boards Bureau – will replace the appointments board of PSBs.
It will advise the banks on how to raise funds and how to go ahead with mergers and acquisitions.
It will also hold bad assets of public sector banks.
It will be a step into eventual transition of the bureau into a bank holding company. It will separate the functioning of the banks from the government by acting as a middle link.
The bureau will have three ex-officio members and three expert members, in addition to the Chairman.
Capitalisation of the banks by inducing Rs 70,000 crore into the banks in the next 4 years
Banks are in need of capitalisation due to high NPAs and due to need to meet the new BASEL- III norms
Solve issues in the infrastructure sector to check the problem of stressed assets in banks
Greater autonomy for banks; more flexibility for hiring manpower
Framework of accountability
The banks will be assessed on the basis of new key performance indicators. These quantitative parameters such as NPA management, return on capital, growth and diversification of business and financial inclusion as well as qualitative parameters such as human resource initiatives and strategic steps to improve assets quality.
GyanSangam conferences between government officials and bankers for resolving issues in banking sector and chalking out future policy.
RECENT INITIATIVES TO STRENGTHEN BANKING SECTOR:
Asset quality review by banks under aegis of RBI to nip the problem of NPAs in the bud.
Other initiatives like S4A (scheme for sustainable structuring of stressed assets) by RBI tackle problems of large borrowers
SDR initiative (strategic debt restructuring ) for converting debt into equity has also been received well
5:25 formula extend loans for large projects to up to 25 years while refinancing them every 5 years.
Formation of Joint lenders forum to suggest deadlines for stressed assets problem.
Government is in process to set up an Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency (PARA) in lines of a bad bank to take over large loans
A three member Banks Board Bureau has been formed under former CAG Vinod Rai to suggest names for top posts in PSBs
Merger of SBI & associate banks to form large banking conglomerates with other PSBs to follow suit for consolidation and easy monitoring of the sector
Other notable initiatives include formation of Insolvency and bankruptcy board of India(IBBI) and Financial stability and development council( FSDC)
have brought a modicum of hope to the banking sector and has set in path of rehabilitation so that the banking sector by self-diagnosis and treatment can get back to being the robust backbone of the Indian economy and set a global example.