For Previous PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION (ARCHIVES) – CLICK HERE
1. Does the Indian political culture match with its constitutionalism? Discuss.
15 marks (250 words)
We can introduce the question with the simple definitions of both the political culture and the constitutionalism. And then we need to compare the political culture of India with its constitutionalism. Every argument of ours should link both the keywords given in the question. It is better to provide a balanced answer.
We can bring in the names of some of the thinkers from the 1st paper. The quotes and keywords can also be brought in.
Political culture is a set of shared views and normative judgements held by a population regarding its political system. And constitutionalism is the phenomenon of being ruled by a basic standards and ideals which are consistent with an overriding rule of law.
Matching the political culture of a community with its constitutionalism simply means that the belief, attitude, values, feeling and knowledge of a population aligning with the values and tenets written in the constitution.
Taking Gabriel Almond’s Subject, Neglect and Participatory political cultures as the benchmark; we can say that India is going through the phase of participatory political culture. I.e. we are participating in the system of governance rather than being passive beneficiaries as we were in the past.
Now, the question is whether our participation is matching with the expectations provided in the constitution. Whether we utilise the powers given by our constitution effectively, whether we abide by its limitations and whether we strive to achieve the targets and goals stipulated in the constitution? All these are worth discussion here.
Yes our political culture matches with our constitutionalism;
- The advent of Right to information, Right to service (citizen’s charter), etc have made us believe that the Indian constitution belongs to ‘we the people of India’ and not to the government of the day.
- By bringing in right to education, right to work, etc we are making the effective use of the fundamental rights provided in the constitution.
- When the Indian citizenry urged for stringent laws against child labour, untouchability, safety of women etc. The political culture of Indians matched with the very preamble of the constitution.
- Greater voters turnout, productive use of the assembly sessions, effective use of NOTA and so on indicate that, the political culture of India aligns with the spirit of democracy adumbrated in the constitution.
No there is still a long way to go;
- Rising backlogs and delays in the RTI, week implementation of citizen charter, etc, indicate that there is still a huge gap between our political attitude and the aspirations of the constitution.
- Increasing cases of rapes, killing in the name of caste and religion, frequent violation of laws, etc show the contrast between our belief in our system and the laws, and expectations we had set ourselves in our fundamental duties.
- Even the governors have lot to change as far as their political culture is concerned. Horse trading, appeasement politics, shifting ideologies, etc doesn’t match with the spirit of Indian constitutionalism.
- Lastly government exceeding its powers to curb the free speech, blocking the internet, encroaching into the citizen’s privacy etc, show that our political culture is actually contrasting than matching up with our constitutionalism.
Thus we can conclude by saying that, our political culture is just a work in progress. It has miles to go in-order to live up to the aspirations of the constitution. For this, the loopholes and gaps mentioned above have to be plugged. As of now we are in the course of achieving our goal.
Rajni Kothari who discovered the pulse of Indian Political system also says that” the Indian political cultural is both saintly and unsaintly”. May be a saintly political culture can match fully with our constitutionalism.
2. The origin of the Prime minister’s office is a bolt from the blue; its journey is a roller coaster path. Elaborate. 15 marks (250 words)
Question contains two parts, the first part of the question demands to explain how the PMO was established. In the second part we have to explain the ups and downs in the journey of PMO.
Again bring quotes of various thinkers, along with the optimum usage of keywords.
It happened in 2014-15 that the newly elected Prime Minister amended the TRAI Bill which prohibited the TRAI chairman from further appointments. Amended Bill removed the prohibitory clause and paved the way for Nripendra Mishra to become the head of the prime minister’s office. This shows the significance of the office, that the political masters do anything and everything to get the best person in that seat.
The Office of Prime minister originated like a bolt from the blue because;
- In the 1940s and 50s, the Prime Minister of India didn’t have the office as such. The then PM Jawaharlal Nehru had a joint secretary as his assistant.
But the current scenario wherein PMO has overshadowed all the secretaries at centre raises the eyebrow on the origin and growth of this office.
- Its origin is literally a bolt from the blue because, the death of Nehru and the sudden rise of Lal Bahadur Shastri to the prime minister-ship demanded for a senior officer to guide the new leader. This prompted Shastri to appoint Mr.L.k. Jha as the secretary to the prime minister.
- Later, again the rise of Indira Gandhi to the power demanded a more powerful adviser. And it was during her prime minister-ship that, it got the name Prime minister’s Secretariat.
Hence, the origin of PMO is not only a surprise but also heroic. It came to fill the void that was created and to relieve the leaders from the fear of inexperience and the knowledge vacuum they were facing.
However its journey is filled with various ups and downs;
- As seen above the need and activity of PMO has changed with the change in the person occupying the chair of Prime minister.
- PMO was least visible during the times of Nehru, and it started developing its shoots during the times of Mr.Shastri.
- However it was sidelined again during the initial stages of Indira Gandhi’s prime minister-ship. But it actually reached its zenith during the later part of Mrs. Gandhi’s rule when Mr.P.N.Haksar was the PMO. And it was Haksar who coined the term the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.
- The secretariat of PM which was infamous during the emergencies was reduced to an office during the Janatha Party rule. Now it was renamed as PMO- the Prime Minister’s Office.
- Again PMO rose to peak during the rule of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The incumbent of the office Brijesh Mishra was highly active during the Kargil war, IC 814 hijack etc.
- However, currently PMO is going through the moderate phase as there are too many advisers around the incumbent Prime Minister Viz, Mr.Ajith Doval, Mr.Rajiv Kumar etc.
Hence we can say that the life office of PMO is full of surprises with many ups and downs. As put by Ashok Parthasarathy” future of PMO lies in the mood of the prime minister”, it is literally unpredictable.