UPSC MAINS MODEL ANSWER GENERAL STUDIES PAPER – 2
PAPER – 2
Q1 “The most significant achievement of modern law in India is the constitutionalization of environmental problems by the Supreme Court.” Discuss this statement with the help of relevant case laws. (Answer in 150 Words)
Constitutions of almost all nations guarantee the right to life. In recent years, national courts of some countries have used the right-to-life provision as a legal tool to protect the environment by redefining the scope and meaning of the provision. Indian courts have made the greatest contribution to this issue. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution provides that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedures established by law.”
Relevant Case Laws
- Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India: Article 21 has received liberal interpretation from time to time after the decision of the Supreme Court.
- Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra vs. State (Dehradun Quarrying Case): The right to live in a healthy environment as part of Article 21 of the Constitution was first recognized.
- M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India 1986: Right to live in a pollution-free environment
- PA Jacob vs. The Superintendent of Police Kottayam 1992: Article 19 (1)(a) does not include freedom to use loudspeakers or sound amplifiers (Noise pollution).
- Sachidanand Pandey V. State of W.B 1987: Court referred to Article 48A which enshrined the Directive principle to protect and improve the environment.
- Cooverjee B. Bharucha Vs Excise commissioner 1954: In a clash between environmental protection and the right to freedom of trade and occupation, the courts have to balance environmental interests. Relevant Case Laws
- Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum vs. Union of India (1996): “The Precautionary Principle” and “the Polluter Pays Principle” are essential features of “Sustainable Development.”
- Subash Kumar vs. State of Bihar 1991: The right to life included the right to the enjoyment of pollution-free water.
- Pahwa Plastics Pvt. Ltd. v. Dastak NGO case 2022: Existence of necessary infrastructural facilities and equipment for compliance with environmental norms
- TN Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India case 1997: No new permanent structure shall be permitted to come up for whatever purpose within the ESZ-Mining within the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries shall not be permitted.
- Madhya Pradesh High Court Advocates Bar Association v. Union of India: National Green Tribunal Act, 2010: Establishment of NGT The role of the NGT was not simply adjudicatory, but it also had the equally vital role which is preventive, ameliorative, or the remedial category.
Constitutional Provisions related to the Environment
- Article 21 of Fundamental Rights – Right to a decent environment.
- Article 48 -A (DPSP) – “the state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country”.
- Article 51-A (g) of FD– “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.”
Q2 “Right of movement and residence throughout the territory of India are freely available to the Indian citizens, but these rights are not absolute.” Comment. (Answer in 150 Words)
Right to Freedom of Movement and Residence
- Two dimensions: Internal (right to move inside the country) and external (right to move out of the country and right to come back to the country).
- Article 19 protects the first dimension: Right of movement (19(d)} and residence (19(e)}. This freedom entitles every citizen to move and settle freely throughout the territory of the country.
- The second dimension is dealt with by Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty). Every citizen has the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of the country: temporarily or permanently
The Right is not absolute:
- Article 19 (5): The state can impose reasonable restrictions on the Right to Movement.
- Reasonable Restriction: The limitation imposed upon a person in the enjoyment of the right should not be arbitrary or of an excessive nature.
Grounds of Reasonable Restrictions:
- The interests of the general public and
- The protection of interests of any scheduled tribe.
Examples of Restrictions
- Tribal Areas: The entry of outsiders into tribal areas is restricted to protect the distinctive culture, language, customs, and manners of scheduled tribes.
- The Inner Line Permit (ILP): Restrict the entry of non-residents or non-natives to enter a state.
- Certain areas in Andaman and Nicobar Island: Entry is prohibited for the general public to protect the rights of the Tribals.
- Movement of prostitutes: The Supreme Court held that the freedom of movement of prostitutes can be restricted on the ground of public health and public morals.
- During COVID-19 state imposed a lockdown in the interest of public health.
- Security: The state can declare a curfew & impose reasonable restrictions on people’s movement.
- Other Restrictions: The state can impose reasonable restrictions on the movement of people inside military areas, biosphere reserves, protected areas, etc.
Q3 To what extent, in your opinion, has the decentralization of power in India changed the governance landscape at the grassroots? (Answer in 150 Words)
Decentralization has long been recognised as an efficient instrument for development. It builds institutional capacity at the grassroots level, improves delivery of economic and social services to meet people’s needs, and prevents sectarian violence. India has made progress in decentralization through three different channels- political, administrative and fiscal.
Administrative decentralization and its impact on Governance:
- Administrative decentralization has been used to improve service delivery outcomes by taking advantage of better local information and monitoring.
- For instance, India has devolved the implementation of most education programs to the sub-national level.
Fiscal Decentralization and its impact on Governance:
- The fiscal decentralization process started in India, it was geared up after 1992 with the implementation of the 73rd and 74th constitution amendment.
- As the financial responsibilities become closer to the people, it leads to good governance, transparency, and accountability.
- In common parlance, fiscal decentralization aims at shifting financial responsibilities from the central to the lower level of government.
- For the most economical service delivery, local resources are used. As an illustration, the Maharashtrian village of Patoda.
- It began its local voluntary taxation of a very small amount in exchange for free services like sanitary pads, hot water, clean RO drinking water, CCTV cameras in public spaces, a flour mill, a spice grinder machine, and a tractor for agricultural needs on very low rent
- This demonstrates the realization of a development model at the village level with an understanding of local needs.
- But still, there is room for improving economic democracy through fiscal decentralization to create a level playing field.
Political decentralization and its impact on Governance:
- In 1992, India approved the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act that encompassed a set of reforms implementing a nationally standardized and decentralized system of local government.
- In the past 26 years, local governments have successfully provided political representation to over 3 million elected representatives.
- For SCS and women, seats are reserved which helps in their overall empowerment.
- Planning from below through representative bodies like Gram Sabha helps in the effective formulation of policies through a bottom-up approach.
- Implementation of policies for various welfare schemes and services is effectively delivered by local governments. For example, MGNREGA.
Q4 Discuss the role of the Vice –Presidents of India as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Answer in 150 Words)
Article 64: Vice-President of India acts as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. In this capacity, his powers and functions are similar to those of the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
Role of the Vice-President of India as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha:
- The Chairman is also the principal spokesman of the House and represents its collective voice to the outside world.
- He is not a Rajya Sabha member; hence he cannot vote, but in the event of a tie, he can cast a “Casting Vote.”
- He can adjourn the House or suspend its sitting in the event of the absence of a quorum
- It is the right of the Chairman to interpret the Constitution and rules so far as matters in or relating to the House are concerned.
- Maintenance of order in the House: Checking irrelevance or repetition in the speech of a member, intervening when a member makes an unwarranted or defamatory remark by asking him to withdraw the same.
- When a Bill is passed by the Houses and has the Rajya Sabha, the Chairman authenticates the Bill with his signature before presenting it to the President for assent.
- The Rajya Sabha Secretariat functions under the control and direction of the Chairman.
- Some statutes also confer duties on the Chairman. Example: Rules made under the Salary, Allowances, and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, do not take effect until they are approved and confirmed by the Chairman and the Speaker.
- The Chairman may also, if there is consensus in the House, inquire into a matter which was raised on the floor of the House or appoint a Committee of the House in respect thereof.
Q5 Discuss the role of the National Commission for Backward Classes in the wake of its transformation from a statutory body to a constitutional body. (Answer in 150 Words)
National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)
- To safeguard the interests of the socially and educationally backward classes more effectively.
- Further, the scope of functions assigned to the Commission is also enlarged under the new dispensation.
- 102nd Amendment Act, 2018: Conferred a constitutional status to the Commission. It inserted a new Article 338-B in the constitution.
- The Commission ceased to be a statutory body and became a constitutional body.
Role of NCBC:
- To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the constitutional and other legal safeguards for the socially and educationally backward classes.
- To inquire into specific complaints concerning the deprivation of rights.
- To participate and advise on socio-economic development and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union or a state.
- To present to the President, annually and at such other times as it may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards.
- To discharge such other functions about the protection, welfare, development and advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes as the President may specify.
Benefits of awarding of Constitutional Body Status:
- Greater transparency: Parliament’s concurrence is needed to add or delete any community in the backward list.
- The new act has acknowledged that in addition to reservations, BCs also need development.
- The act includes provisions for the creation of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes and the participation of the new NCBC in that process.
- The new NCBC is given the added responsibility of redressing the grievances of backward classes.
- It necessitates comprehensive and holistic growth and advancement of each community toward equality in all parameters of development and welfare aspects, in addition to list inclusion and reservation.
Q6. The Gati-Shakti Yojana needs meticulous coordination between the government and the private sector to achieve the goal of connectivity. Discuss. (Answer in 150 Words)
India’s National Master Plan for Multimodal Connectivity to Economic Zones PM Gati Shakti Yojana was launched. It is a national master plan for the development of multi-modal connectivity to economic zones and boost last-mile connectivity.
Rationale for the need of meticulous coordination between the government and the private sector.
Inflation: Inflation decreases tax collection so the government is unable to spend more money on welfare.
People shift to gold real estate investment black money generation > tax collection down.
To connect 16 minsters-Roads, Highways, Railways, Shipping, Petroleum and Gas, Telecom, Shipping, etc.
Fasters clearance of plans, projects etc.
Q7 The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 remains only a legal document without intense sensitization of government functionaries and citizens regarding disability. Comment. (Answer in 150 Words)
- Article 14 (FR): Right to equality and equal protection of the law.
- Article 38 (DPSP): India is a welfare state.
- Article 41 (DPSP): Old age and disability-related support.
- Article 51 A (FD): To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India.
Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2016:
- To implement the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). India came up with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, in 2016.
- Types of disabilities: 21 types including mental disabilities and physical disabilities covered. The Central Government (not the state government) has the power to add more disabilities.
- To promote the welfare of the people with disabilities, reservation in higher education, government jobs, and allocation of lands, etc.
- RTE is for ages 6-18 for people with disabilities.
- Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan)
- Relevant Penal provisions.
Lack of Sensitisation of Government Functionaries
- SC in National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled v. Department of Empowerment for Persons with Disabilities and Ors. case: Government is not sensitive enough to the PwD in the allocation of services like IPS, Forest Service, Foreign Service, etc.
- Lack of planning of Certifying authorities: Certifying authorities often demand the person be physically present in order to issue the certificate under the Ac.
- Lack of Resource allocation: In the last three years’ budget, the allocation of funds for the welfare of persons with disabilities has been constantly declining. Less than 0.01% of the GDP while the population is around 2.2%.
- Non-utilisation of resources/funds
- During Covid: No particular targeted scheme for PwD.
Lack of Sensitisation of Citizens
- The intersection of disability with caste and gender
- Facilities in the private buildings, and R&D funds in the private medicals, are not in proportion with the interest of PwD.
- Not enough is being done to accommodate the PwD, as the way “Fraternity” is mentioned in the Preamble.
- Feeling of exclusion in schools and colleges.
- Rather than looking at the disabilities from a scientific perspective, people often associate them with superstitions/stigma which further adds to the hardship for the PWDs.
Q8 Reforming the government delivery system through the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme is a progressive step, but it has its limitations too. Comment. (Answer in 150 Words)
DBT involves transferring subsidy/entitlement amount directly beneficiary’s bank account
- PM Kisan- 6K/ per year
- LPG – PAHAL Subsidy
- E-rupi voucher/codes
Indeed, Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme is a progressive step
- Direct Benefit Transfer or DBT is an attempt to change the mechanism of transferring subsidies launched by the Government of India on 1 January 2013.
- This scheme or program aims to establish a Giro system to transfer subsidies directly to the people through their linked bank accounts.
- With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of lockdown and social distancing norms, DBT emerged as a boon in providing succour and relief to millions of citizens whose livelihood was impacted.
- As the crisis loomed large, a lockdown was imposed by the Government for 21 days. The Public Financial Management System (PFMS) team took up the challenge during this adversity of facilitating smooth functioning of the financial machinery of the Govt. of India.
- PFMS recorded the highest number of transactions in a single day on 30th March, 2020 of 2.19 crore transactions largely driven by DBT payments. Cash amounts were transferred using the digital payments technology vehicle, Public Financial Management System (PFMS) under Central Schemes (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS).
- Inclusion error: SECC-2011: some families hid their income. So non-poor included.
- Exclusion error: Landless farmers not benefiting from PM-KISAN 6K, Migrant workers without documents/domicile.
- DBT is revenue expenditure which leads to less budget money left for capital infrastructure expenditure.
- Even though infrastructure is known to give a more multiplier effect than subsidies.
- DBTs transforming into electoral freebies in some states, and unsustainable fiscal deficit problems.
- Gandhiji may not like giving ‘charity’ without hard work.
Yes, DBT is indeed a progressive step. It helps for SDG goals, and subsidy leakage reduction but is not suitable in every case. Hence, Care needs to be taken against freebie culture.
Q9 India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka.’ Discuss India’s role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka in light of the preceding statement. (Answer in 150 Words)
From Hanuman, Adam’s bridge the relations have been age-old. Shastri-Sirimavo pact, 13th Amendment, to standing with Lankan people at times of economic crisis-induced distress.
- Hanuman as India’s first diplomat
- Adam’s bridge without L&T.
- Shastri-Sirimavo pact to solve bilateral stresses of repatriation issue.
- 13th Amendment after IPKF as another case of solving stress.
Recent Sri Lankan Crisis
- Protests started in the capital, Colombo, in April and spread across the country.
- People have been struggling with daily power cuts and shortages of basics such as fuel, food and medicines.
- Inflation is running at more than 50%.
- The country doesn’t have enough fuel for essential services like buses, trains and medical vehicles, and it doesn’t have enough foreign currency to import more.
- This lack of fuel has caused petrol and diesel prices to rise dramatically.
- In late June, the government banned the sale of petrol and diesel for non-essential vehicles for two weeks. Sales of fuel remain severely restricted.
- Schools have closed, and people have been asked to work from home to help conserve supplies.
Role of India in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka
- On the list of countries to which Sri Lanka owes the most debt, India ranks third, behind only China and Japan. It thus has a significant role to play in helping the island nation meet its financial commitments during this time of need.
- India must consider granting Sri Lanka a moratorium on debt repayment and/or the option of restructuring the debt owed to it. This will not only help Colombo better allocate its limited revenues toward meeting the immediate needs of the people such as food, medicine, and fuel but also go a long way in building some much-needed goodwill amongst its leadership
- Over the longer term, India must stand ready to provide any assistance required by the island nation.
- As it is only in India’s interest to reduce Sri Lanka’s dependence on China, the former must contribute to closer integration of the island nation into the world economy. Here, a good place to start would be through expanding bilateral trade between New Delhi and Colombo.
- India favours a multi-vector foreign policy.
- This is in sync with no impact on strategic autonomy.
India wants a stable neighbourhood. This explains that age-old friend’s ought to be supported. However, this support must ensure mutuality of benefits and preserve strategic stability.
Q10. Do you think that BIMSTEC is a parallel organization like the SAARC? What are the similarities and dissimilarities between the two? How are Indian foreign policy objectives realized by forming this new organization? (Answer in 150 Words)
SAARC and BIMSTEC are not Parallel. SAARC was a dream to achieve economic integration in south Asia but got negated due to the obstructionist diplomatic posture of Pakistan. The BIMSTEC offers the realization of India’s dream to economic power politics through fusion of organizational pathology with Elements of Act East Policy.
Similarities and dissimilarities between the SAARC and BIMSTEC
- BIMSTEC brings South Asia and Southeast Asia together. SAARC had this limitation.
- SAARC was to foster South Asian regional integration but failed due to Pakistani insistence on bringing Kashmir during dialogue.
- In BIMSTEC, bilateral issues are not discussed because grouping is modelled on the lines of ASEAN and favours economic deepening.
Indian foreign policy objectives vis-à-vis this new organization
BIMSTEC is India’s new regional diplomacy template.
- India’s Act East Policy syncs with BIMSTEC and explains why India is investing diplomatic energy in BIMSTEC.
- Enables India to display latent power in Southeast Asia, a region with the hard power dominance of China.
- India’s economic growth, a core Indian national interest lies with BIMSTEC
- India is planning to merge the Motor Vehicles Agreement with neighbours BIMSTEC.
- The strategic challenge of China as BIMSTEC has two economic powers is spreading fear among BIMSTEC members.
The region is abuzz with competitive diplomacy. China is ceding space for India in BIMSTEC while it pursues Lancang- Mekong Cooperation. India is the rising star of the BIMSTEC, and this syncs well with competitive elements.
Q11 Discuss the procedures to decide the disputes arising out of the election of a Member of the Parliament or State Legislature under The Representation of the People Act, 1951. What are the grounds on which the election of any returned candidate may be declared void? What remedy is available to the aggrieved party against the decision? Refer to the case laws. (Answer in 250 Words)
The Representation of People Act, 1951 was passed by the Parliament in accordance with Article 327 of the Constitution of India.
- This Act makes provisions for the conduct of elections in India.
- It also talks about corruption and other illegal activities related to elections.
- The Act makes provisions for dispute redressal in matters connected to elections.
- It also talks about the qualification as well as grounds for the disqualification of MPs and MLAs.
Procedure to decide Election Disputes under RPA
- Presentation of Election Petitions to High Court:
- Jurisdiction lies with the High Court – by a Single Judge & Chief Justice & their assigned Judge/s.
- Election petitions: Election petition by the provisions laid.
- Presentation of petitions: By candidate/elector to be within 45 days of the date of the election.
- Trial of Election Petitions:
- Procedure before the High Court: Petition shall be tried by the procedure applicable under Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 & Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
- The decision of the High Court: High Court shall make an order for dismissing the election petition/declaring the election any/all of the returned candidates to be void /void /another candidate to have been duly elected.
Grounds for Disqualification
- Under Section 8:
- The offence of bribery, promoting social crimes such as dowry, sati, etc.
- Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, which provides for punishment for the preaching and practice of “untouchability”
- The offence of insulting the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India and preventing the singing of the National Anthem.
- A person convicted of an offense punishable under the offense of promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.
- Offences relating to rape, cruelty towards a woman by husband or relative of a husband.
- The person convicted of any offense and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years.
- Under Sections 9 and 9A, disqualification for Government contracts, dismissal for corruption or disloyalty, etc. (Basant Soren Case)
- Under Section 10 of the Act, disqualification for office under Government company.
- Under Section 10 A, disqualification for failure to lodge an account of election expenses. (Sunny Deol Case).
- Abhiram Singh v/s E.D. Commachen case: The promotion of feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, and community was considered unconstitutional.
- Lily Thomas v/s Union of India: a three-month window available to legislators to appeal against their conviction to effectively delay their disqualification until such appeals were exhausted and declared unconstitutional.
- Jan Chaukidari v Union of India: all those in lawful police or judicial custody, other than those held in preventive detention, will forfeit their right to stand for election
- Appeals to Supreme Court: Appeal can be made to the Supreme Court within 30 days of the order of the High Court.
- Disqualification of any legislator will be decided by the President (in case of a member of Parliament) or Governor (in case of a member of the state Assembly).
- The President and Governor will act as per the advice of the Election Commission.
- The Election Commission has been given the power of a civil court in case of any inquiry related to it.
- The Election Commission may also, for reasons to be recorded, remove any disqualification.
Q12 Discuss the essential conditions for the exercise of the legislative powers by the Governor. Discuss the legality of the re-promulgation of ordinances by the Governor without placing them before the Legislature. (Answer in 250 Words)
The governor is the chief executive head of the state. He is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal. A governor possesses executive, legislative, financial, and judicial powers more or less analogous to the President of India.
Governor legislative powers: Ordinances making power of Governor (Article 213)
- He can promulgate ordinances when the state legislature is not in session.
- He can issue ordinances only on those subjects on which the state legislature can make laws.
- An ordinance that is promulgated under Article 123 (by President) or Article 213 (by Governor) has the same force and effect as a law enacted by the Legislature but it must (i) be laid before the Legislature and (ii) it will cease to operate six weeks after the Legislature has resembled or, even earlier if a resolution disapproving it is passed.
Essential conditions for the exercise of legislative powers:
- Recommendations of the Council of Ministers are important to Prorogue the state legislature and dissolve the state legislative assembly.
- The question of disqualification of members of the state legislature must be decided in consultation with the Election Commission.
- Reserve the bill for the consideration of the President in case the bill passed by the state legislature endangers the position of the state high court.
- Reserve those bills for the consideration of the President which are Ultra-vires, as opposed to the DPSP, against the larger interest of the country and area of grave national importance.
- He can promulgate or withdraw an ordinance only on the advice of the council headed by the chief minister.
The legality of re-promulgation of ordinances by the Governor
- DC Wadhwa Case 1987: The court ruled that successive re-promulgation of ordinances with the same text without any attempt to get the bills passed by the assembly would amount to a violation of the Constitution and the ordinance so re-promulgated is liable to be struck down.
- It held that the exceptional power of law-making through ordinance cannot be used as a substitute for the legislative power of the state legislature.
- Krishna Kumar Singh Case 2017: It stated that the re-promulgation of ordinances is a fraud on the Constitution and a subversion of democratic legislative processes.
- Re-promulgation of ordinances in the hour of a pandemic: The pandemic scenario Ordinances are ideal and require suitable laws to govern the country in times of crisis. Such ordinances are considered legal.
- If the ordinance route was unhealthy, the route of Re-promulgation is the worst.
Q13. While the national political parties in India favour centralisation, the regional parties are in favour of State autonomy.” Comment. (Answer in 250 Words)
Powers are divided between the national government and the regional governments by the Constitution itself and both operate in their respective jurisdictions.
National parties are powerful in the nation and their actions offer preference to national issues over regional problems whereas Regional parties’ operations are confined to the country or the state in which they work, concentrating mostly on local issues.
National political parties in India favours centralisation
State autonomy means the authority and power of a state to decide and independently execute certain functions as outlined by the Constitution.
The regional parties are in favour of State autonomy
- The unevenness in the levels of development: Different states are at different levels of development and thus need different strategies.
- To gain control over the resources and development process, regional parties are in favour of State autonomy.
- Less focus is put by National Parties on local issues. Regional parties are political beneficiaries of local issues and therefore favours state autonomy.
- Quasi-federal nature (strong center) and division of power are in favour of center.
- Many states (Tamil Nadu, Punjab, West Bengal) and many parties (DMK Akali Dal CPI-M) have made demands for autonomy.
- Regional parties also have national aspirations.
- State parties want to increase their vote base to attain National Party status. Therefore, these parties are also not always in favour of State autonomy. Regional parties having such aspirations favour centralisation.
- The high command’s (National Parties) interference disturbed political dynamics in the States, weakening party unity and increasing factionalism. So, regional parties are in favour of State autonomy.
But the centralization of power in the executive branch is not unique to the Centre. In contemporary India, most States are governed by Chief Ministers who have centralized authority in their own offices. (Example- AAP, TMC)
Q14. Critically examine the procedures through which the Presidents of India and France are elected. (Answer in 250 Words)
Election of the President of France
- Universal suffrage: Elected by direct universal suffrage. All French citizens aged 18+ can vote in the direct election.
- Nomination: To officially be a candidate, candidates must be nominated by at least 500 elected representatives.
- Method: Directly elected by the two-round system (TRS), also known as runoff voting, second ballot, or ballotage
- 2nd round of the election: After eliminating all others except the top 2 only the two candidates with the most votes qualify for the 2nd round. The candidate with the absolute majority of votes cast is finally elected.
- Announcement of the results: The President is elected following the announcement of the results by the Constitutional Council within 10 days.
- The five-year term of the President is renewable once.
Election of India President
- Indirect Election: The President of India is elected by indirect election. Proportional representation, single transferable vote.
- Electoral College: The electoral college consists of elected members of Parliament and elected members of Vidhan Sabha of all the states and Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.
- Nomination: the nomination of a candidate for election to the office of President must be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders.
- Quota: To be declared elected to the office of President, a candidate must secure a fixed quota of votes which is calculated by the following formula Total number of valid votes polled/1 + 1=2.
Q15 Discuss the role of the Election Commission of India in light of the evolution of the Model Code of Conduct. (Answer in 250 Words)
Model Code of Conduct (MCC) are a set of norms laid down by the Election Commission of India, with the consensus of political parties. It is not statutory. It spells out the dos and don’ts of elections.
Evolution of the Model Code of Conduct and Role of ECI
- Origin: In Assembly elections of Kerala in 1960. The State administration prepared a ‘Code of Conduct for political actors.
- 1962: During simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies in several States, the EC circulated the code to all recognized parties, which followed it “by and large”.
- 1979: The EC came up with a comprehensive code that saw further changes after consultations with parties.
- 1991: The Election Commission first effectively put to use the Model Code of Conduct to ensure fair elections and a level playing field.
MCC contains eight provisions dealing with
- General Conduct: Criticism of political parties must be limited to their policies and programs, past records, and work.
- Meetings: Parties must inform the local police authorities of the venue and time for adequate security arrangements.
- Processions: To avoid a clash of plan processions of two or more candidates along the same route, organizers must establish contact in advance.
- Polling Day: All authorised party workers at polling booths should be given suitable badges or identity cards.
- Polling Booths: Only voters and those with a valid pass from the EC are allowed to enter polling booths.
- Observers: The EC will appoint observers to whom any candidates may report problems regarding the conduct of the election.
- Party in power: Ministers must not combine official visits with election work or use official machinery for the same. The party must avoid advertising.
- Election manifestos: Prohibit parties from making promises that exert an undue influence on voters manifestos should indicate the means to achieve promises. Role of the Election Commission:
Role of the Election Commission of India
- Article 324: The Election Commission ensures its observance of MCC by political parties in power, for elections to the Parliament and the State Legislatures.
- It ensures that official machinery for electoral purposes is not misused.
- It ensures that electoral offences, malpractices, and corrupt practices such as impersonation, bribing and inducement of voters, threats, and intimidation to the voters are prevented by all means.
- In case of violation, appropriate measures are taken by ECI through mechanisms like joint task forces of enforcement agencies and flying squads.
- EC introduced the CVIGIL mobile app through which audio-visual evidence of malpractices can be reported.
- During elections, EC bans politicians who breach MCC. Advertisement of the Telangana Government when MCC is functional is heavily criticized by EC.
- In the Namo TV case, EC inquired and took necessary measures as per the inquiry.
Q16 Besides the welfare schemes, India needs deft management of inflation and unemployment to serve the poor and the underprivileged sections of society. Discuss. (Answer in 250 Words)
Preamble and Directive principles of state policy (DPSP) mandates states to take action to promote economic and social justice. So, the Government launched a variety of welfare schemes.
Success of Welfare Schemes:
- There is a reduction in poverty within a community because of the presence of welfare.
- Welfare programs can reduce criminal activities in low-income areas.
- It allows a family to survive devastating financial circumstances if they occur.
Disadvantages of Welfare Scheme:
- People who take welfare benefits face numerous negative societal reactions.
- Welfare doesn’t make an effort to address the issue of poverty.
- Welfare programs can create patterns of dependence for some families.
Hence, unemployment needs attention for the poor and demands its deft management for the following reasons: –
- Despite the welfare schemes the level of unemployment is unreasonably high.
- unemployment breeds a variety of social ills-petty-crime, theft, liquor, gambling, domestic violence, child labour, etc.
- Unemployed are easy victims to terrorists propaganda.
- Problem with employment schemes:
- Skill training not matching industrial demand,
- To improve Ease of doing business,
- Labour laws problems etc.
For the stated reasons, Inflation also needs deft management of inflation – if it is outside the comfort zone of prescribed range of 2-6%.
- Food inflation: Poor families have limited money to spend on food and nutrition and it also limits education expenditure which in return leads to lower HDI.
- Fuel Inflation: LPG becoming expensive then poor people start using firewood/ kerosene. It leads to air pollution and respiratory problems. Mostly, Females going to firewood collection leads to opportunity loss.
- House rents are high: poor are forced to live in slums which leads to crime, disease, disaster among several other vulnerabilities. Erodes household savings. social ill, liquor, child labour, Ponzi scam, etc.
- Fertilizer inflation: Under PM-KISAN 6000 given to farmers but fertilizer and diesel became so expensive which farmers cannot sustain.
- Inflation decreases tax collection so the government is unable to spend more money on welfare. E.g., Due to high Inflation, people tend to shift to gold real estate investment which breeds black money generation and in return lower tax collection.
- A moderate level of inflation (2-6%) is good but high levels of inflation leads to a fall in demand, job loss etc.
Hence, to serve the poor and the underprivileged sections, Welfare schemes, unemployment management and inflation control all three are required. It is also important for the realisation of SDG Goals and inclusive and sustained growth.
Q17. Do you agree with the view that increasing dependence on donor agencies for development reduces the importance of community participation in the development process? Justify your answer. (Answer in 250 Words)
Role of donor agencies
- US-AID, JICA, World Bank grants, ADB grants, etc.
- donor agencies support economic, environmental, social, and political development in developing countries
- Indian govt’s fiscal resources limited- these donors help in socio-economic development
- Knowledge and expertise sharing
- It reduces the role of community participation:
- The top-down approach may be unaware of ground realities, local language, culture,
- Often requires the Government to hire ‘consultants’ to prepare the report= not suitable to local realities.
- E.g., land acquisition:
- Indian farmers ‘prestige’ and ‘social standing’.
- displacement of migrants
- Religious norms: malnutrition project- eggs
Donor agencies’ vs community participation:
Donor agencies may think 24/7 electricity= noble goal
- Jaitapur, Kudankulam nuclear project protests
Fast bullet train = noble goal
- Protest against Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train
Not necessary Donors reduce the role of the community
- It is not necessary that this would reduce the role of the community.
- Sometimes, their staff may work more on the ground; and be more oriented to the needs, goals, and realities of the community.
- Donor agencies helpful
- But also need to ensure local communities are given adequate hearing
- Macro needs of Donor Agencies
- Micro needs of local Community
- The development process needs to be led/coordinated by the state agencies as they are both accountable and constitutionally bound to do so.
Q18 The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 remains inadequate in promoting an incentive-based system for children’s education without generating awareness about the importance of schooling. Analyse (Answer in 250 Words)
Article 21A → Fundamental right to free and compulsory education to all children aged 6-14.
Article 51A(k) → Fundamental duty of every parent and guardian to ensure the above thing.
2009: Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act to operationalize the above things.
Including 25% reservation to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in private schools.
RTE- not generating awareness about the importance of schooling.
Economic Survey: underage children admitted to Class1 because
- Local officials want to fill ‘targets’
- Poor families want their children to get food
But such a child is unable to comprehend.
ASER reports sad data. Class5 unable to read class3
RTE- not generating awareness about the importance of schooling.
- No detention policy/fail no child till Class8 -> mass copy in board exam.
- comprehensive and continuous evaluation (CCE)
- not done in letter and spirit
- absenteeism among teachers and students
RTE- not generating awareness about the importance of schooling.
- Passing/cracking of ‘exams’.
- ‘foreign’ models of entrance exams for universities, colleges, etc.
- Schooling -> should lead to the development of mind, thought, character, creativity, skill, and employability = missing.
Education: Primary- ECCE up to age 8:
- The pressure of rote-learning/coaching classes to pass the exams
- critical thinking ability
- emotional intelligence
- 21st-century skills
- scientific temper etc.
- Curriculum to Core Concepts.
RTE- not generating awareness about the importance of schooling.
- Government is aware of the problem
- National education policy to fix this
- PM-SHRI funding to schools.
- Need to address war footing
- For SDG goals
Q19 How will 12U2 (India, Israel, UAE, and the USA) grouping transform India’s position in global politics? (Answer in 250 Words)
12U2 (India, Israel, UAE, and the USA)
- First: The good diplomacy of India in balancing the Shia, Sunni, and Jewish axis in West Asia explains India’s participation here
- Second: India in 12U2 will display regional power politics that enhance India’s global credibility as a claimant for great power status
- Third: India gets the opportunity to participate in a wide spectrum of minilaterals from West Asia to East Asia (QUAD)
The 12U2 is a QUAD-2 of west Asia and enables India to participate in West Asia architecture where it engages through look west policy.
India’s participation here enhances India’s global credibility to now react to global events rather than merely be an observer, a new element in India’s Foreign policy.
Keywords: 12U2, Transform, India Position in Global Politics.
- First: India in 12U2 will talk about climate change, piracy, maritime security, and trade
- Second: India will gain experience in stated domains here to build a future diplomatic toolkit to negotiate these elements at the global level
- Third: India will enhance its global image because experience from QUAD-1 to QUAD-2 will make the world look at India as a serious player in the global arena
- Fourth: This will enable India to develop strong credentials to seek a great power status because of India’s new template of engagement in global affairs
The glider of the answer
India’s 12U2 is an example that India has emerged out of eclipse diplomacy and is now playing an active but not assertive role which explains the democratic and participatory elements of its diplomacy
Conclusion of the answer
- First: India in 12U2 explains that India is now following a foreign policy based on
- Interest driven
- Is a relationship builder
- Outward looking
- And intends to shape international events to justify the rightful place in the comity of nations
Q20 ‘Clean energy is the order of the day.’ Describe briefly India’s changing policy towards climate change in various international fora in the context of geopolitics. (Answer in 250 Words)
‘Clean energy is the order of the day
- First: Accepting Net Zero commitments, India’s diplomacy is based on common but differentiated responsibilities.
- Second: India’s diplomacy at the Conference of Parties and its negotiation strategy reflects India’s environmental diplomatic toolkit that development is at the heart of the developing nation’s domestic strategy.
- From a nation championing harmony with nature since the Vedic era to agreeing to commitments under Paris Accord and Net Zero targets, India is conscious of clean energy and harmony doctrine
- Based on the evolution of global environmental challenges, India’s geopolitical and diplomatic outlook on climate change has evolved as seen in Indian diplomacy in UNFCCC.
Changing policy towards climate change in various international fora
- First: India favours no legally binding targets to be imposed by anybody as the domestic development agenda requires India to have strategic autonomy space for identifying how it will commit to targets.
- Second: Based on enhancing the global profile of India and its great power ambition, India has advanced from being reactive to Kyoto Protocol commitments to active participation in Paris Agreement
- Third: As part of the power politics agenda, India is working with democratic nations to create an arc of pluralist environmental geopolitical order as seen in India’s International Solar Alliance and One World, One Grid Initiative
Causes of Climate Changes:
- Technology transfers from the developed world remain an inhibiting agenda in fostering global climate mitigation plans.
- The absence of serious commitments on part of the developed world to hand-hold developing nations with clean energy-based toolkits has raised question marks on achieving commitments of the Paris Agreement.
Conscious of how individual centrality plays a role in climate mitigation, based on Gandhian philosophy, India has championed the LIFE initiative at international forums as a new global movement.
History is proof that when nation states fail to elicit desired appropriate geopolitical behaviours, a movement of people can enable, as envisaged by India’s LIFE initiative can convince world politicians to seek global climate justice and India is adopting this path in the international forums now for climatechange.