IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 31st July 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
First CAG report on GST
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS- III – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources.
Some of the findings of the report are:
- Government had failed to try out the system before its rollout, leading to inadequate compliance mechanisms, and lower tax revenues
- Even after two years of rollout of GST, system validated Input Tax Credit through ‘invoice matching’ is not in place.
- The complexity of the return mechanism and the technical glitches resulted in rollback of invoice-matching, rendering the system prone to Input Tax Credit frauds
- Without invoice matching and auto generation of refunds, assessments, etc, the envisaged GST tax compliance system is non-functional (resulting in falling number of returns filed month after month)
- The government had not been following the rules set out regarding the transfer of revenue to the States.
- There has been lack of coordination between the Department of Revenue, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and the GST Network
Do you know?
- The new indirect tax regime – GST – had kicked in July 2017.
- The transformation tax structure is aimed at reducing tax cascading, ushering in a common market for goods and services and bringing in a simplified, self-regulating and non-intrusive tax compliance regime.
- CAG is a Constitutional body constituted under Article 148 appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
Bills to curb Mob lynching
Part of: Mains GS I- Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
- Rajasthan State Assembly has tabled Bill against mob lynching, making them cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offences with life imprisonment and fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
- The Bill defines a “mob” as a group of two or more individuals.
- “Lynching” is described as an act or series of acts of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation and ethnicity
- The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill mentions the Supreme Court’s recommendation to enact legislation against the mob lynching.
- In recent past there has been spurt in mob lynching resulting in loss of livelihood, injuries and death of persons at the hands of mob
- A dedicated legislation along with provisions of India Penal Code will help nip the evil in bud and provide support for victims of such cases
Part of: Mains GS III- Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
- Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant announced that an inter-ministerial panel has sanctioned 5,645 electric buses for operations in 65 cities and for intercity operations to 8 state transport undertakings.
- This will give huge impetus to automobile sector, clean up our cities & drive Make in India.
- Some of the measures taken to popularise environment-friendly electric vehicles are:
- GST Council headed by Finance Minister decided to cut the tax rates on e-vehicles from 12 per cent to 5 per cent with effect from August 1, 2019
- In the Union Budget 2019-20, the government proposed additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on loans taken to purchase electric vehicles
- Certain parts of EVs have been exempted from customs duty
- The Centre has also approved Rs 10,000 crore under the FAME II scheme, which aims to encourage faster adoption of such vehicles by right incentives and charging infrastructure
Do you know?
- EVs are considered as sunrise opportunity as India has over 72% two-wheelers.
- Niti Aayog has proposed that two-wheelers below the capacity of 150cc sold in the country after March 31, 2025, should be electric ones only.
- It also proposed that three-wheelers sold in the country after March 31, 2023 should be electric ones.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS III- Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways
- The Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop project received a push with the Maharashtra Cabinet approving to appoint a consortium of DP World and Hyperloop Technologies as its Original Project Proponent (OPP).
- With Hyperloop travel the 150-km journey between Mumbai and Pune will be cut down to just 23 minutes, turning the region into one megacity.
- Project is given a ‘public infrastructure’ status, which will enable it an easier access to funds and concessions.
- The project will improve connectivity for the 2.6 crore residents of both cities, and expect 15 crore people to use the service annually.
- If all goes well India could be the first country in the world to officially commission a hyperloop.
- The project is being carried out by the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) and is said to have a total investment of Rs 70,000 crore.
- Hyperloop is a high-speed mode of transportation, where a pod-like vehicle travels through a sealed tube at near the speed of an airline.
TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes
Triple Talaq Bill passed in Rajyasabha
- The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, better known as the Triple Talaq Bill, was passed in the Rajya Sabha.
What is triple talaq?
- ‘Triple Talaq’ or ‘Oral talaq’ is a procedure of divorce mentioned under the Sharia Law which is a body of the Islamic law. Under this, a husband can divorce his wife by pronouncing ‘Talaq’ thrice.
What is instant triple talaq?
- In the practice of talaq-e-biddat, when a man pronounces talaq thrice in a sitting, or through phone, or writes in a talaq-nama or a text message, the divorce is considered immediate and irrevocable, even if the man later wishes to re-conciliate. However, Women cannot pronounce triple talaq and are required to move a court for getting the divorce under the Sharia Act, 1937.
- There are three forms of talaq (divorce) in Islam: Ahsan, Hasan, and Talaq-e-Biddat (triple or instant talaq). Ahsan and Hasan are revocable but talaq-e-Biddat is irrevocable.
- Thus, since Shariat Act had recognised triple talaq, it was no longer a personal law to remain free of the fetters of the fundamental rights rigour but a statutory law which comes under the ambit of Article 13(1) of the Constitution
- In the Shah Bano case in 1985, the SC granted Shah Bano, a 62-year old woman the right to alimony from her husband.
- But in 1986, the government passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act which diluted the positive impact created by the Shah Bano case.
- In 2001, in the Danial Latifi & Anr versus Union of India case, the SC upheld the validity of the Shah Bano judgement.
- In August 2017, a five-judge bench of the SC declared the triple talaq as unconstitutional in a majority 3:2 judgement. This was the culmination of a petition filed by Shayara Bano, whose husband of 15 years had divorced her through a letter where he pronounced talaq three times, to declare the divorce as void.
Triple Talaq bill
- During the proceedings of the case, the centre had told the bench that it will come out with a legislation to regulate the marriage and divorce among Muslims. As reported by various the newspapers, the centre is all set to table the bill in the Lok Sabha. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 seeks to criminalise instant triple talaq.
- The bill will make instant triple talaq a cognizable and non-bailable offence
- The bill seeks to impose a prison term of up to three years and fine for any Muslim man who divorces his wife through instant triple talaq
- It also makes a provision for alimony i.e. subsistence allowance for the Muslim women and also grants her the custody of minor children
What does the supporters of triple talaq say?
All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a non-governmental body that supervises the application of Muslim personal law, in an affidavit before the court had maintained that courts could not decide matters of religious practices and it is for legislature to frame a law. AIMPLB is also of the opinion that the issue has been blown out of proportion by the media and the far rightist groups.
Many community leaders also see this as interference in what they call as religious rights of Muslims as India has a provision for personal laws for all religious communities. They have also claimed that practice will continue as before, irrespective of the legal opinion.
Empowering Muslim Women
Supreme Court: In August 2017 the Supreme Court in a landmark verdict had held that the practice of triple talaq violates the constitutional rights of Muslim women.The triple talaq must come under ambit of Article-13.The personal law can no longer privilege over fundamental rights. Further SC directed central govt to enact a law which make triple talaq an offence.
Giving rights to women: The triple talaq bill passed by parliament, it will protect women who suffer from instant talaq. Talaq will not be unilaterally, the women can also put their ground. The judgment will be given in accordance with law and none of partner will suffer. The other laws for women are Anti dowry Act 1961 and The Domestic Violence Act 2005
Arguments against triple talaq
- It goes against the rights of equality and women’s empowerment. It propagates the dominance of men over women.
- According to a study, 92% of Muslim women in India wanted the triple talaq to be banned.
- It gave men the right to arbitrarily divorce their wives without any valid reason.
- New-age technology has given birth to new modes of triple talaq such as through skype, text messages and email.
- Many Islamic countries have outlawed this practice including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia. There is no reason for a democratic and secular India to continue this lopsided practice.
- It goes against the constitutional principles of gender equality, secularism, right to life of dignity, etc. It goes against Article 14 (Right to Equality) and Article 15(1) which states that there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the basis of gender, race, etc. and this kind of talaq is biased against the interests of women.
- The constitution of the country says that it shall strive to bring a uniform civil code for the entire country. Doing away with triple talaq will definitely be a step closer to the constitution-makers’ dream of having a uniform civil code for all citizens.
- However, the National Commission of Women says that this matter cannot be linked to uniform civil code. Nevertheless, it should be banned in order to protect the interests of Muslim women.
- The Supreme Court has also declared that this practice is unconstitutional and not protected by Article 25 which regards the freedom of religion. Also in December 2016, the Allahabad High Court had said that no personal law board was above the constitution.
- Experts also opine that only the essential or integral features and aspects of a religion are protected by the Constitution. Triple talaq was not an integral feature of Islam.
Challenges in banning triple talaq:
- Religious groups infer the banning of a traditional practice sanctified by Sharia as interfering in the religious aspects of minorities.
- The courts should decide two things basically:
- Whether personal law can be subject to the constitution or not
- How to view the relationship between triple talaq and Muslim personal law
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019
This was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Law and Justice, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad on June 21, 2019. It replaces an Ordinance promulgated on February 21, 2019.
The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal.
- The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine. (A cognizable offence is one for which a police officer may arrest an accused person without warrant.)
- The offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence is given by:
- the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or
- any person related to her by blood or marriage.
- The Bill provides that the Magistrate may grant bail to the accused.
- The bail may be granted only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced), and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.
- The offence may be compounded by the Magistrate upon the request of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared). Compounding refers to the procedure where the two sides agree to stop legal proceedings, and settle the dispute.
- The terms and conditions of the compounding of the offence will be determined by the Magistrate.
- A Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children. The amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.
- A Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children. The manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate.
Triple talaq has been one of the most debated issues in past couple of years in India as it is also connected with other issues such as secularism and uniform civil code etc. However it is important to keep in mind that what is at stake here is the dignity of women and their rights and any move to politicise the issue will undo the efforts and fight of Muslim women for equal rights.
Connecting the dots:
- Women rights are increasingly creating space in male dominated society. Identify areas which speak of women’s fight for their rights and analyse it.
- Triple talaq verdict has been hailed as a progressive judgement. Analyse your opinion regarding the same
General studies 1:
- Role of women and women’s organization, women related issues, Social empowerment
General studies 2:
- Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
ODISHA MODEL OF EMPOWERING WOMEN
- Other States could take a cue from Odisha, which has empowered women politically and financially
- The number of women taking leadership roles in India is rather small compared to the global average.
- The representation of women MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha has seen an improvement from 11% in 2014 to 14% in 2019, but it is still lower than the world average of 24.3%.
- In 2019, 715 women candidates contested the Lok Sabha election, while the number of men who contested stood at 7,334.
Achievements of Odisha model by empowering women:
- State government was among the first to reserve 50% of seats in Panchayati Raj institutions for women.
- Further, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik nominated women for one-third of the seats in Lok Sabha election.
- Thus, seven candidates out of 21 fielded by the party for the 2019 election were women.
- The success rate among the women candidates was higher than for men, as five out of seven won the elections.
- As of now, Odisha has six lakh self-help groups with seven million women under its flagship ‘Mission Shakti’ programme.
- The programme aims at empowering women by helping them start income-generating activities.
- The self-help groups are linked to the Odisha Livelihoods Mission and Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society.
- Members of the self-help groups are encouraged to sell products at fairs and exhibitions organised by the State round the year.
- This gives them an opportunity to travel across different parts of the State and gain greater exposure.
- The State government had announced an interest-free loan of Rs. 3 lakh in January 2019 to each of the self-help groups.
- This amount was increased to Rs. 5 lakh just before the general election.
- The Women and Child Development Department has been rechristened as the Women and Child Development and Mission Shakti Department.
- The state government has announced several sops like smartphones, award of work contracts, and higher entitlements in the State’s health insurance scheme, arguably superior to the national level scheme, Ayushman Bharat.
- The State government has announced an accident insurance scheme for all members of self-help groups
- In the process of empowerment women should consider their strengths and weakness opportunities and threats and move forward to unfold their own potential to achieve their goals through self-development . in our country empowering women through enterprise development has become an integral part of our development efforts due to three important advantage entrepreneurs , economic growth and social stability .
Connecting the dots:
- SHGs in India are the living embodiment of a concept that has led to women empowerment. However, the success stories are few and far in between. Do you agree? Do you think the successful models of SHGs should be adopted on a much wider scale? What are the constraints?
- Real empowerment of women lies in ensuring their economic liberty. Do you agree? Substantiate.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Which of the following duties is NOT performed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
- To Audit and report on all expenditure from the consolidated fund of India.
- To Audit and report on all expenditure from the contingency funds and Public Accounts.
- To Audit the report on All Trading manufacturing, profit and loss accounts.
- To control the receipt and issue of Public Money, and to ensure that the public revenue is lodged in the exchequer.
Q.2) Consider the following statements.
- The CAG is an agent of the Parliament and conducts audit of expenditure on behalf of the Parliament.
- CAG submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of state to the Governor of that state.
- CAG holds office for a period of five years or upto the age of 65 years.
Which of the above statements is / are correct?
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1,2 and 3
Q.3) Consider the following statements
- GST Council headed by Prime Minister decided to cut the tax rates on e-vehicles from 12 % to 5% with effect from August 1, 2019
- Department of Heavy Industry is implementing FAME-India Scheme
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.4) Consider the following statements
- Hyperloop technology is system of magnetically levitating capsules (pods) that are sent at high speeds through low-pressure tubes
- Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop project is being carried out by Ministry of Railway
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
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