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20th October – Editorials/Opinions Analyses


Contents

  1. The sorry plight of the Andhra Pradesh higher judiciary
  2. How fertiliser subsidy works
  3. A long way from 1962

THE SORRY PLIGHT OF THE ANDHRA PRADESH HIGHER JUDICIARY

Context: The letter of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister cannot be brushed aside as interference with judicial independence

Relevance:

GS Paper 2:
 

  1. Separation of Powers (between different organs, dispute redressal mechanisms, institutions);
  2. Judiciary (structure, organisation functioning)

Mains Questions:

  1. Do you think that constitution of India does not accept principle of strict separation of powers rather it is based on the principle of ‘checks and balance’? Explain. 15 marks
  2. The judiciary is the important pillar of the Indian political system it protects the fundamental rights of people, adjudicates the disputes, save the democratic ideals and ensure that the government must run as per spirit of the Indian constitution. 15 marks

What is meant by independent of judiciary?

Judiciary is an important pillar of democracy which adjudicates the disputes and ensures that the government must run according to spirit of the Indian constitution. The Indian constitution protect independence of judiciary through following ways:-

  • The judges of higher judiciary are appointed by the president of India in consultation with the members of judiciary itself moreover the collegium gives recommendations regarding appointment of judges.
  • The salary and expenditure  of the Supreme Court and Judges are charged from consolidated fund of India.
  • Judges and their conduct cannot be discussed except during the removal.
  • Supreme Court judges are barred from practice after the retirement (High court Judges can practice)
  • Supreme Court can appoints it’s own staff .
  • Parliament cannot curtail jurisdiction of Supreme Court but can extend it.
  • Security of tenure for judges, it means the President of India can remove the judges according the grounds mention in Indian constitution.
See the source image

What is the separation of power?

  • The separation of power is part of governing of a state in which the components of state like legislative, executive and judiciary remain independent with each other so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches. It is also a part of independent of judiciary.
  • Separation of powers, therefore, refers to the division of government responsibilities into distinct branches to limit any one branch from exercising the core functions of another.  The intent is to prevent the concentration of power and provide for checks and balances.
See the source image

Although the Constitution of India does not provide strictly for the separation of powers, these articles provide a general guideline:

  1. Article 50: This states that the State or the Government concerned will take appropriate steps to ensure that the judicial branch is separated from the functioning and working of the executive branch.
  2. Article 121 & 211: It, in a way, provides for the separation of the legislature and the judiciary. This article states that the conduct of justice or the way a judge discharges his duties of any Court cannot be discussed in the legislature (state or union).
  3. Article 122 & 212: This article is aimed at keeping the judiciary (the law interpreting body) and the legislature (the law-making body) separated. It does so by stripping the judiciary of any power to review and question the validity of proceedings that take in a legislature or the Parliament.
  4. Article 361: This article separates the judiciary and the executive. It states that the President or any governor of any state is not answerable to any court in the country for actions and activities are taken in performance/exercise of the powers and duties of their office.

Functional Overlapping amongst the organs of Government

  • While separation of powers is key to the workings of Indian Government, no democratic system exists with an absolute separation of powers or an absolute lack of separation of powers.
  • Every organ is, in a way, overlapped in its practical functioning with the other two organs of the Government. This overlapping enables the organs to act as a check on each other without too much interference.
     
  • Overlapping Powers of Legislature
With Judiciary With Executive Impeachment and the removal of the judges. Power to amend laws declared ultra vires by the Court and revalidating it. In case of breach of its privilege and it can punish the person concerned. The heads of each governmental ministries are members of the legislature. Through a no-confidence vote, it can dissolve the Government. Power to assess the works of the executive. Impeachment of the President. The council of ministers on whose advice the President and the Governor acts are elected members of the legislature.  


Overlapping Powers of The Executive

With JudiciaryWith Legislative
Making appointments to the office of Chief Justice and other judges. Powers to grant pardons, reprieve, respite or remission of punishments or sentence of any person convicted of any offence. The tribunals and other quasi-judicial bodies which are a part of the executive also discharge judicial functions.Power to promulgate ordinance which has the same force of the Act made by the Parliament or the State legislature. Authority to make rules for regulating their respective procedure and conduct of business subject to the provisions of this Constitution. Powers under delegated legislation.


Overlapping Powers of The Judiciary

With ExecutiveWith Legislative
Under Article 142, the Supreme Court functions as an Executive in order to bring about the complete justice.Judicial review, i.e. the power to review executive action to determine if it violates the Constitution. Unamendability of Constitution under basic structure.

 
Hence, we can see that although the Constitution mentions a certain amount of separation of powers, it does not do so strictly to keep every organ in check and ensure that it is not entirely free in exercising powers vested in it without any restraint or ulterior motive that will not be in the public interest. In addition to functional overlapping, there is a lack of administrative distinction between the three divisions of the Indian system.

Issues in Overlap:

The problems in the overlapping of practical powers of the governmental organs are:

  • The biggest issue of overlap might be that a particular organ cannot be held accountable for its decision, for example, Judicial Decision in 2G case, Coal Block case. (Unaccountability)
  •  The faith of the public in the institutions of the Government plays a very crucial role in such a complex and vest democracy. The organs repeated interventions into others’ decisions leads to the diminishing of the faith of the people in the quality, efficiency and integrity of them. (Erosion of faith)
  • It undermines the spirit of democracy as too much accumulation of powers in organs of Government undermines the principle of check and balance. (Accumulation of power)
  • Excessive infringement on each other jurisdiction may impede the smooth functioning of Government and hinder public service and overall development (Adverse effect on development)

Benefits of Overlap:

The functional overlapping of the three institutions also provides benefits.

  • The accountability and equality in governance are enhanced by enabling power-sharing laws (Rule of Law).
  • The overlap prevents arbitrary actions by the other two organs of the Government; an example is the power of judicial review of the Apex Court of India. (Check and Balance)
  • Constitutional demarcations of overriding powers decrease the scope of conflict among the government organs. (Check arbitrariness)
  • The overlapping functions induce power-sharing and also provides power decentralisation, thus ensuring that the three organs can work hand-in-hand to solve problems faster. (Cooperation)

What is check and balance?

  • Checks and balances, principle of government under which separate branches are empowered to prevent actions by other branches and are induced to share power. Checks and balances are applied primarily in constitutional governments.

What are the issues related to judiciary?

  • Allegations against sitting and retired judges: for example, recently chief minister of Andhra Pradesh wrote a letter to chief justice of India and complaint against justice N.V. Ramana for allegedly influencing posting of state High Court.
  • Lack of transparency : The judges are nominated by collegium which work secretly moreover it does not give much space to executive in appointment of judges. It is against the principle of check and balance.
  • Pendency of cases: A Large number of cases that are pending in the Supreme Court as well as the other lower courts has defeated the purpose of the judicial system. Moreover it compromise the justice in India.

Measures to address the issues related to judiciary:

  • Addressing issues related to allegations:  The chief justice of India follow in house procedure. In which, The chief justice of India looks the matter and enquire the case and if the allegations are serious the it informs to the president of India. Later the parliament starts the impeachment process.
  • Appointment of judges: The supreme court should bring transparency in appointment of judges. It should give more space to executive in appointment of judges so that allegations like nepotism and favouritism can be avoided.
  • Pendency of cases:  Number of judges should be increased specially in lower court to address the pendency of cases in India which will ensure the speedy justice to people.

Way forward: the judiciary is important pillar of the Indian political system it protects the fundamental rights of people, adjudicates the disputes, save the democratic ideals and ensure that the government must run as per spirit of the Indian constitution therefore it should uphold its dignity and ensures the faith of people in it.


HOW FERTILISER SUBSIDY WORKS

Context: The government proposes to limit the amount of fertilisers each farmer can buy during a cropping season. What is the objective of this move, and what will its implications be, including on the subsidy bill?

Relevance:

  1. GS Paper 3: Farm subsidies and MSP and issues therein (direct and indirect); 

Mains questions:

  1. What are the different types of agriculture subsidies given to farmers at the national and state levels? Critically analyse the agriculture subsidy regime with the reference to the distortions created by it. 15 marks
  2. How do subsidies affect the cropping pattern, crop diversity and economy of farmers? What is the significance of crop insurance, minimum support price and food processing for small and marginal farmers? 15 marks

What is the farms subsidy?

  • Agricultural subsidies are monies given to farmers to support their operations. Subsidies may be provided directly, in the form of cash payments, or they may take the form of indirect support.
  • Fertilizer subsidy: Farmers buy fertilisers at MRPs (maximum retail price) below their normal supply-and-demand-based market rates or what it costs to produce/import them.

Types of the farms subsidy:

  1. Explicit input subsidy: Explicit input subsidies are payments made to the farmers to meet a part of the cost of an input. E.g. Subsidy on agriculture inputs like seeds etc.
  2. Implicit input subsidy: it is hidden subsidy or the government gives these subsidy indirectly to the farmers. E.g. Subsidy on Urea.

Rational behind farms subsidy:

  • High inputs costs: The chemical fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and other inputs are costly. The poor and marginal farmers can afford these costly inputs so the government gives subsidy on these inputs.
  • Low productivity: In India the productivity is low as compared to other countries therefore to improve the yields the government gives subsidy so that yield can be increased.
  • Food security: The farms productivity is directly related to the agricultural production. So the government provides cheap inputs so that high productivity can be maintained.
  • Doubling of farmers income: the high productivity gives higher income to farmers.
  • Protection from adverse circumstances: it helps during droughts and other adverse circumstances.

Issues related to farms subsidy in India:

  • Heavy fiscal burden: The total outgo on fertilizer subsidy alone in 2018-19 was more than Rs. 70,000 crore.
  • Excessive use of Ground water: The power subsidy has led to overuse of ground water which has further resulted into dramatic fall in ground water levels. In several villages, wells have gone dry. Water extracted from deep inside earth has shown contamination of Arsenic and other heavy metals.
  • Environmental Effects and decline in Soil Fertility: Indiscriminate use of fertilizers (recommended ratio of NPK fertilizer is 4:2:1 while actual usage is 8:3:1. Similarly, urea consumption has increased to 60% in 2018 from 55% in 2010-11) harm the soil fertility, biodiversity, and also leads to eutrophication and bio-accumulation/biomagnification.
  • No benefits to the targeted groups: Fertilizer subsidies are generally cornered by the manufacturers and the rich farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Western UP.
  • Cereal Centric, Regionally Biased, and Input Intensive: The farms subsidy has made Indian agriculture cereal centric, and neglectful towards pulses, oil seeds and coarse cereals. This has led to import of these crops and food insecurity in lower strata which depend upon coarse cereals. Also, most of the subsidies go to the rich farmers, and the rich states which are able to grow marketable surplus and have well developed infrastructure.

Measures to address the issues related to farms subsidy in India:

  • A better targeting of subsidies with the usage of JAM (JanDhan – AADHAAR- Mobile Number) trinity can reduce the fiscal burden. E.g. Under PAHAL Scheme, the government provides direct subsidy to customers. It reduced the fiscal burden of the government.
  • The government should focus on Separate agriculture feeder network (under Deen Dayal Upadhayay Gram Jyoti Yojna). This separate agriculture feeder will supply electricity only for a few hours a day. The process has shown positive results in arresting decline of ground water levels in Gujarat.
  • Creating awareness among farmers, increasing penetration of soil health card scheme, promoting organic farming and innovative products like neemcoated urea will go a long way to check the issues related to decline of social fertility and other environmental issues.
  • Crop diversification by including more crops under MSP, Mission on Integrated Development of Horticulture, Organic and Cooperative farming, food processing, mixed farming, Direct Benefit Transfer.

Recent development related to fertilizer subsidy:

  • Proposal: The Centre is working on a plan to restrict the number of fertiliser bags that individual farmers can buy during any cropping season.
  • Reasons: Being super-subsidised, urea is always prone to diversion for non-agricultural use — as a binder by plywood/particle board makers, cheap protein source by animal feed manufacturers or adulterant by milk vendors — apart from being smuggled to Nepal and Bangladesh.

Way forward: The time has come to seriously consider paying farmers a flat per-acre cash subsidy that they can use to purchase any fertiliser. The amount could vary, depending on the number of crops grown and whether the land is irrigated or not. This is, perhaps, the only sustainable solution to prevent diversion and also encourage judicious application of fertilisers, with the right nutrient (macro and micro) combination based on proper soil testing and crop-specific requirements.

Background

Minimum support price: Minimum Support Price is the price set by the government to purchase crops from the farmers, whatever may be the market price for the crops.

  • Recommended by Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).  it is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), Government of India, determines the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) of various agricultural commodities in India.

A LONG WAY FROM 1962

Context: Fifty-eight years later, India-China relationship has changed. Inequality has grown

Relevance :

  1. GS Paper 2: India and its Neighbourhood (relations)

Mains questions:

  1. ‘China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’, In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbour. 15 marks
  2. What do you understand by ‘The String of Pearls’? How does it impact India? Briefly outline the steps taken by India to counter this. 15 marks

Development of India China relations:

Phase 1: Bonhomie

  • The first phase lasted for a decade, from the founding of the PRC in 1949 to 1959. During these years, India regarded China as a fellow Asian country that had emerged from imperial control and stood ready to craft a new future. Although the political systems of the two countries were rather different, many Indians—including the top political leadership—believed that the countries had lots of avenues for cooperation and learning. This period came to a close in 1959, when the border dispute came to the fore and the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa, Tibet, to take refuge in India.

Phase 2: Conflict

  • Over the next three years, these tensions rose to a boil and culminated in the Sino-Indian War of 1962. During the same period, public and elite perceptions of China turned sharply negative. For many Indians who lived through the defeat of November 1962, Communist China came to be seen as an aggressive neighbour that sought to humiliate a democratic, non-aligned India. It took almost three decades for China-India relations to recover. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Beijing in 1989, and his meetings with Deng Xiaoping, marked the beginning of a new phase.

Phase 3: Cautious Admiration

  • The most recent phase, over the past twenty-five years, has been marked by India’s admiration for China’s developmental accomplishments. India also has questions about what China’s rise means for the international order and itself. Can the cooperative and competitive elements in the relationship coexist?

Major irritants of India china relations:

India china border disputes: The Sino-Indian border is generally divided into three sectors namely: (i) The Western sector, (ii) The Middle sector, and (iii) The Eastern sector.

  1. The western sector: it is around 2152 km long. It is between Jammu and Kashmir and Xinjian province of China.
    •  Aksai chin: The Johnson’s line shows Aksai chin under India control while McDonald’s line shows it under China’s control.
See the source image
  1. The middle sector: it is 625km long. It runs along the watershed from Ladakh to Nepal.
  2. The eastern sector: it is around 1140 km long. It was demarked by Henry Mc Mohan in 1913-14 under Shimla accord. China consider Mc Mohan line as illegal and unacceptable because during Shimla accord, Tibet was not a part of China.

The Dalai Lama and Tibet:

  • The Dalai Lama formed a Tibetan government in exile, which still functions without any real authority over the people. But it was opposed by China.

Arunachal Pradesh and Stapled Visa:

  • China began the practice of issuing stapled visa to residents of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

String of pearls:

  • China has an undeclared policy of String of Pearls to encircle India. This involves building of ports and naval bases around India’s maritime reaches.
  • China is present at Cocos Island in Myanmar, Chittagong in Bangladesh, Hambantota (Sri Lanka), Marao Atoll (Maldives) and Gwadar (Pakistan). Interestingly, China is the only other country than India to have a fully functional embassy in Male.

River Water Dispute:

  • Brahmaputra River water sharing is the major flashpoint between India and China. China has been building dams (Jiexu, Zangmu and Jiacha) in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra which is called Tsangpo in Tibet.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor:

  • India considers building of the CPEC as China’s interference in India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. But China has not deterred from going ahead.

Trade imbalance:

  • While China is India’s largest trade partner, concerns about trade imbalance between the two countries remain, with the imbalance skewed in China’s favour. India’s trade deficit with China is around $56 billion.

Cooperation between India and China:

  • Both are members of the BRICS grouping of emerging economies, which is now establishing a formal lending arm, the New Development Bank.
  • India also was a founding member of the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
  • The two sides are ready to continue cooperation under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. China welcomed India’s full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
  • China and India have similar stand during WTO negotiations. In the Doha Round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiation, India and China coordinated their stands on several issues.
  • The two sides support a comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including recognizing the imperative of increased participation of developing countries in UN’s affairs and governance structures, so as to bring more effectiveness to the UN.
  • India and China are member of G-20 grouping.

Way forward:  India has to continue to focus on its domestic economic capability and human capital. There are no short cuts to global power and influence.

Background:

  1. Disputed regions between India and China:
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PIPELINE 
PAKISTAN 
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Gwadar 
C h ipse wrt 
Lnder construction 
Born 
A R A BIAN 
INDIA 
NEPAL 
Kyauk Phyu 
Chirpse 
BAY or 
BeijinqCJ 
CHINA 
PLANNED LAO s 
PIPELINE 
THAILAND 
Coco Islands 
Chipse 
MALAYSIA 
PACIFIC 
OCEAN 
n naval 
r State 
Anda ma n 
Islands 
INDIAN 
OCEAN 
BORDER FLASHPOINTS 
c cat estearw 
Strait of Malacca 
Tasses here

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