DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC | 16 MAR 2021 | RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

16 MAR 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

Supreme Court has boosted independence of SECs in holding local body elections.

 The Hindu

2

Reinventing radical politics, by looking Left

The Hindu

3

What India needs for population stabilisation

Indian Express

4

The Quad’s importance to India’s strategic autonomy

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Over 60% OBC, SC posts vacant in IIMs

Syllabus –

 GS2- Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Analysis: –

  • More than half of the faculty positions reserved for the OBCs in Central institutions of higher education are vacant while about 40% of those reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes also remain unfilled.
  • The situation is particularly acute in the elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), where more than 60% of SC and OBC reserved positions are vacant, while almost 80% of positions reserved for the STs have not been filled.
  • This means that out of 24 positions reserved for the STs, only five have been filled. For the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), data has only been provided for non-faculty positions.

Bill to define Delhi L-G’s powers moved in LS

Syllabus –

 GS2- Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein

Analysis: –

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) moved a Bill in the Lok Sabha recently in which it proposed that the “government” in the National Capital Territory of Delhi meant the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi.
  • The Bill gives discretionary powers to the L-G even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
  • The proposed legislation also seeks to ensure that the L-G is “necessarily granted an opportunity” to give heror his opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers (or the Delhi Cabinet) is implemented.
  • Delhi is a Union Territory with a legislature and it came into being in 1991 under Article 239AA of the Constitution inserted by the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991.

‘Bee fences’ to ward off elephant attacks

Syllabus –

 GS3- Conservation, Bio-diversity

Analysis: –

  1. Pitting the largest animal on land against a minute insect.
  2. That is how the authorities intend to mitigate human-elephant conflict that seems to continue unabated in Kodagu and other parts of the south Karnataka region.
  3. A pilot project launched in Kodagu entails installing bee boxes along the periphery of the forest and the villages with the belief that the elephants will not venture anywhere close to the bees and thus avoid transgressing into human landscape.
  4. This idea stems from the elephants’ proven fear of the bees.
  5. An initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees) intends to create “bee fences” to thwart elephant attacks in human habitations using honeybees.

Call for fresh polls if NOTA tops count

Syllabus – 

GS2- Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Analysis: –

  1. The Supreme Court recently asked the Centre and the Election Commission of India to respond to a plea that fresh elections should be conducted in constituencies where the highest number of votes polled are NOTA.
  2. The petition said candidates ‘rejected’ by voters should not be fielded again in the fresh polls.
  3. During the hearing, Chief Justice of India expressed doubts initially about the feasibility of the petition to arm the electorate with the “right to reject” and nudge political parties to present voters with a better choice of candidates to pick from.
  4. Chief Justice said if voters kept rejecting candidates, Parliament/Assembly seats would continue to remain vacant, affecting legislative functioning.
  5. If your argument is accepted and there is a certain number of NOTAs, then the constituency will go unrepresented in the Parliament. How will the Parliament function then?” Chief Justice asked.

Mains Analysis

Supreme Court has boosted independence of SECs in holding local body elections.

Why in News: –

The Supreme Court directed the Goa government to redo the exercise of delimitation and reservation of municipal wards for women and SC/ST candidates in five municipal councils that were set to go to polls next week and appoint an independent SEC, which the government is now in the process of doing.

Syllabus:

  •  GS-2: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • GS-2: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • A division bench of Justice M S Sonak and Justice Bharati Dangre was hearing a clutch of petitions urging the court to set aside a February 4 order of the director of municipal administration in which, the petitioners alleged, wards were arbitrarily reserved and constitutional provisions mandating 33 percent seats for women and rotation of seats reserved for SC/ST candidates were not followed.

Constitution provision:

  • 73rd (Municipalities)Amendment Bills are introduced in Parliament; referred to the Parliament’s Joint Select Committee in September 1991. 
  • A municipal corporation has three authorities, namely, the council, the standing committees and the commissioner.
  • This Act has added a new Part IX-A to the Constitution of India.
  • This part is entitled as ‘The Municipalities’ and consists of provisions from Articles 243-P to 243-ZG.
  • In addition, the act has also added a new Twelfth Schedule to the Constitution.
  • This schedule contains eighteen functional items of municipalities. It deals with Article 243-W.
  • The act aims at revitalizing and strengthening the urban governments so that they function effectively as units of local government.

 Reservation of Seats:

  1. The act provides for the reservation of seats for the scheduled castes   and the scheduled tribes in every municipality in proportion of their population to the total population in the municipal area.
  2. It provides for the reservation of not less than one-third of the total number of seats for women.
  3. The state legislature may provide for the manner of reservation of offices of chairpersons in the municipalities for SCs, STs and women.
  4. It may also make any provision for the reservation of seats in any municipality or offices of chairpersons in municipalities in favour of backward classes.
  5. The reservation of seats as well as the reservation of offices of chairpersons in the municipalities for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes shall cease to have effect after the expiration of the period specified in Article 334 (which is presently seventy years, that is, till 2020).

Court verdict:

  1. The court struck down the February 4 order of reservation of wards for the council polls in Sanguem, Mormugao, Margao and Quepem in South Goa and Mapusa in North Goa and ordered that the exercise of reservation in these councils be carried out afresh and asked authorities to issue a notification in 10 days to ensure that the reservation for women is not less than one-third the seats in the council.
  2. We do not appreciate the helplessness expressed by the state election commission, which is supposed to be an authority independent of the government. If the illegality has been noticed by the SEC.

The Observation of court:

  1. The state election commissioner enjoys the same status as the Election Commissioner of India when it comes to the domain of election to the Panchayats and Municipal Council in the state.
  2. Therefore, it is not expected of the SEC to express such helplessness when faced with orders of a director, which are ex-facie, unconstitutional, and ultra-vires the provisions of the said Act.”

Concerns of Local government controversies

  1. Municipalities, an entirely different facet of the way these local bodies function is that the manner in which their representatives are elected is often beset by controversies.
  2. Local polls are often marred by violence, and charges of arbitrary delimitation and reservation of wards.
  3. A key factor in any local body polls being conducted in a free and fair manner is the extent to which the State Election Commissioner, the authority that supervises the elections, is independent and autonomous.
  4. Unfortunately, most regimes in the States appoint senior bureaucrats from among their favourites to this office. In practice, SECs frequently face charges of being partisan.
  5. Routine exercises such as delimiting wards, rotating the wards reserved for women and Scheduled Castes and fixing dates for the elections become mired in controversy as a result, as the Opposition tends to believe that the exercise is being done with the ruling party’s interest in mind.
  6. Even though this cannot be generalised inrespect of all States and all those manning the position, it is undeniable that SECs do not seem to enjoy the confidence of political parties and the public to the same extent as the Election Commission of India as far as their independence is concerned.

The Independence of State Election Commission:

  1. There is a separate state election commission to deal with elections to the panchayats and municipalities in the state.
  2. The state legislature may make provision with respect to all matters relating to elections to the municipalities.
  3. The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls and the conduct of all elections to the municipalities shall be vested in the state election commission.

 The SC question over completely independent of SEC:

  1. It is in this backdrop that the Supreme Court’s judgment declaring that a State Election Commissioner should be someone completely independent of the State government acquires salience.
  2. It has described the Goa government’s action in asking its Law Secretary to hold additional charge as SEC as a “mockery of the Constitutional mandate”.
  3. By invoking its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution, the Court has asked all SECs who are under the direct control of the respective State governments to step down from their posts. In practice, most States appoint retired bureaucrats as SECs.
  4. Whether the apex court’s decision would have a bearing on those who are no more serving State governments remains to be seen.
  5. However, it is clear that these governments will now have to find a way to appoint to the office only those who are truly independent and not beholden to it in any manner.

Way Forward:

  1. The verdict will help secure the independence of SECs in the future. More significantly, the Court has boosted the power of the election watchdog by holding that it is open to the SECs to countermand any infractions of the law made by the State government in the course of preparing for local body polls.
  2. Regimes in the States would have to wake up to the reality that they cannot always control the local body polls as in the past.
  3. The Supreme court expect to act with promptitude and issue appropriate directions to the director to rectify the said action by ensuring that it follows the mandate of the Constitution rather than to rush and issue the election schedule.
  4. The silence on part of the constitutional functionary, according to us, is highly detrimental to the democratic concept of this country.

Question: –

The state election commissioner enjoys the same status as the Election Commissioner of India when it comes to the domain of election to the Panchayats and Municipal Council in the state. Explain

Reinventing radical politics, by looking Left

Why in News: –

Confluence technology and a whole-of-government approach need to drive new strategies and tactics.

Syllabus: –

GS-1: Effects of globalization on Indian society/ Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  1. In recent years, radical politics has faced a number of new challenges, not least of which has been the re-emergence of the aggressive, authoritarian state.
  2. The hegemony of the neo-liberal new corporate world along with the demise of the Left and you has the free play of muscular majoritarianism of the Far Right. The Left finds itself in an ideological vacuum.
  3. For survival of left ideology, the Left needs to actively pursue agents of change such as secularism, the Green, ethnic and national movements.

 The Anti-globalisation:

  1. In the face of the disenchantment with ‘free-market’ style liberalism and centralist socialism, a need arises to reinvent far-reaching alternatives.
  2. The anti-globalisation movementhas been in recent years a bulwark against the practices of neo-liberal globalisation in all its signs of voracity, ecological devastation and genetically-modified food.
  3. This movement is relative, geographically and temporally, varying in the multifarious contests in which the dark reality of its operation is felt by the public at large.
  4. Though universal, it remains relative to varying local conditions but with the common goal of emancipation for all.

The neo-liberalism:

  1. the crushing of national dignity by hunger and violence, the unrelenting siege of many developing nations by bankers and by the ‘commercial masters of the world’,
  2. The Left must look into the future for redefining the nature of power and the conditions of existence in a rapidly developing world, thereby striking a balance between technological dominance and liberatory politics.

 Marxist thought now:

  1. The orthodox Marxist model favouring the economic determinism of history and consciousness that overlooks the role of political movements stands revised and reformulated with the trend in Marxist thought moving towards the examination of wider processes of society,
  2. Especially the role of the media and the building of a new alliance between feminists, marginalised groups, gays, lesbians, ethnic groups, teachers, thereby developing a radical movement for social transformation.
  3. The focus is therefore on a more decentralised, pluralistic, and inclusive political system. In many ways, the target is not merely capitalism but other contested areas such as racism, privatisation, workplace surveillance, bureaucratisation, etc.
  4. The irrational my stifications of the dominant discourse of religion and ethnicity stand deconstructed by a more conflictual social existence that is experienced in all aspects of our social and political world.

A phase of hope:

  1. The theoretical position of Marxism, thus, will have to be revised ensuring that more than the belief in the working class revolution ushering in a classless society, it is the agents of change such as secularism, the Green movement, and ethnic and national movements that need to be aggressively pursued.
  2. Though the struggle of the Left against the state has often led to its defeat, it has managed to regain its vigour by aligning itself to the liberal forces and its imperceptibly growing political awakening as is visible in the farmers’ strike or the awakening of radical student consciousness.
  3. Its strength in the coming days would depend on the consolidation of Left forces not on any grounds of expediency, but on ideological grounds with the aim of working together for an innovative and transformed future free of right-wing authoritarianism.

 New phase for hope for the left:

  1. A new phase of hope and forward-looking expectation with newfound passion for a complete turnaround through new strategies of mobilization for left.
  2. The revival of people’s movements in Latin America, in Greece and in Spain along with the fury of the Arab Spring gave a new impetus to the wilting Left so as to challenge the neo-liberal moral high ground that has failed to offer any solution to a fragile, and the appalling present.
  3. It is hoped that the politics of the Left will impact a polarised nation ravaged by ethnic, religious and nationalist conflicts, offering a viable alternative to the emerging demise of democracy.

 The task ahead:

  1. A multiracial society, therefore, must aim for a more democratically functional system as opposed to the vicious politics of division perpetuated and practised in most of the democracies across the world.
  2. Transformative racial policy, on the other hand, will ensure the fostering of an equitable and indiscriminate society at a juncture when a rabid form of ultra-nationalism is resulting in creating a fragmented world.
  3. new progressive movement foran open and participatory form of socialism must be the objective espoused on the Left for a tenacious resolve to seek reform through measures of putting jobs at the top of the economic agenda,
  4. The increasing the funding for public health care, ending police brutality, and gearing up movements at the grassroots.

Way forward: –

  1. Left remains acute within the context of the right-wing regimes with the corporate complexion as in India therefore The Left needs to actively pursue agents of change such as secularism, the Green, ethnic and national movements.
  2. Hyper-masculine nationalism, and a systemic assault of racist and religious politics on the marginalised are the latest rationale for the aggressive assertion of indiscriminate control of all democratic institutions then alternate option for citizen is left ideology.
  3. The serious issues of communalism, caste oppression, environmental degradation, gender discrimination and poverty, serious consideration for re-evaluation of the Marxism, who may led economic progress.
  4. The reenergising of the organizational strength through mass mobilization is consequently imperative for the success of mitigating mass unemployment, homelessness, violence, famine and economic oppression. The world again looking towards democratic social solution (i.e. socialist approach).

 Question: –

Write a note on Left Movement in India.

What India needs for population stabilisation

Why in News: –

concerns have been raised over growing population in India.

Syllabus: – 

GS 1: Population and associated issues
  1. The National Population Policy 2000 affirmed a commitment to achieve replacement levels of fertility (total fertility rate of 2.1) by 2010.
  2. Ten states — Karnataka, Punjab, Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala — and Jammu and Kashmir, have achieved this goal, albeit much delayed.
  3. Kerala and Tamil Nadu had accomplished it decades earlier. This fertility decline over half of India has cut across all sections of society — the privileged and the poor, those educated or not, and the high and low caste.
  4. The National Family Health Survey-4 has shown how TFR has reduced even among illiterate women from all religions in the southern states — even in Kerala and Telangana which have a high proportion of Muslims.

Population Stabilisation in South Indian States

  • When fertility reduction in the five southern states succeeded, irrespective of literacy and education levels and could permeate all sections, it overturns the conventional wisdom that literacy, education and development are prerequisites for populations to teriliza.
  • The simple explanation is that fertility decline was achieved because southern governments proactively urged families to have only two children, followed by female terilization immediately thereafter.
  • Almost the entire state apparatus was teriliza to achieve this objective.
  • The difference between the progressive South and the slowpoke Central- North is becoming disproportionately skewed. UP and Bihar are 23 per cent of India’s population and are projected to grow by over 12 per cent and 20 per cent in the next 15 years.
  • Their high TFR pervades all religious groups despite the averment that high fertility prevails disproportionately only among Muslims. Action to prevent unwanted pregnancies particularly in these two Hindi belt states is urgently required.

 Up and Bihar Uneven Population:

  • For decades UP has had a dedicated agency — SIFPSA (State Innovations in Family Planning Services Agency).
  • Its website gives dated information in contrast to its stellar COVID dashboard — demonstrating that communication and technical difficulties are overcome once a subject gains priority.
  • Women in rural UP are still giving birth to four or more children.
  • In some districts, the contraceptive prevalence rate is less than 10 per cent.
  • In many districts neither Hindus nor Muslims use modern family planning methods.
  • In such a scenario, demographics will eclipse economic growth and destroy the gains from a young populace.
  • UP’s over-reliance on traditional methods of contraception needs to be swiftly replaced with reliable and easy alternatives.
  • Bihar has the highest fertility rate in the country and also the highest outmigration.
  • Almost half the women in some districts have a migrant husband and empirical evidence shows women’s unwillingness to seek contraception in the absence of the husband, resulting in unprotected sex when he returns.

 

Female Sterilisation:

  • While national and state policies emphasise male vasectomy, politicians never champion its adoption. No other country in the world uses female terilization as excessively as India.
  • After the 2014 Bilaspur outrage, when more than four-score sterilisations were conducted in less than six hours and several women died, one expected that states would go slow on compulsory female terilization.
  • But surprisingly, even Kerala with all its progress still relies on female terilization (above 88 per cent) as the predominant modern method of contraception.
  • Indonesia and Bangladesh introduced injectables right from the late 1980s but India only did so in 2016. Executed properly, one jab renders protection from pregnancy for three months.
  • This method needs greater impetus given the helplessness of women who carry the burden of unwanted pregnancies.

Challenges: –

  • There is ageing. Paradoxically, it is the Southern states that will face problems in future.
  • Having largely redeemed their demographic dividend, the cohort of the elderly will start outstripping the working age population.
  • The theoretical possibility that younger people from the Central-Northern states may fill the growing gap in services will need strong political support. 
  • The freeze on the state-wise allocation of seats in Parliament until 2026 was extended through the Constitutional (84th Amendment) Act, 2002, to serve “as a motivational measure to pursue population stabilisation” — a goal which has not been achieved.
  • In the absence of further extension, it will be politically destabilising.

 Way Forward:

  • Incentivise later marriages and child births; make contraception easy for women and promote women’s labour force participation.
  • The population momentum, if managed properly in the Hindi belt, will remain India’s biggest asset until 2055.
  • By 2040, India will be the undisputed king of human capital.
  • But alongside some other disturbing nationwide trends must also be counteracted without delay because stabilisation isn’t only about controlling population growth.
  • A balanced sex ratio is essential to secure social cohesion.
  • Son preference, falling sex ratios, and an abhorrence towards begetting a second or third female child are negative developments that have penetrated even into rural areas.
  • The inheritance law favouring women’s rights to ancestral property is far from being implemented. Decades of policing doctors and sonography machines have failed to bear results.
  • China is already facing a demographic catastrophe because its nearly four decade-long one child policy resulted in a strong son preference and a large bride shortage.
  • India will need more than girl friendly schemes to change track.

Question: –

India’s demography is like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle and whether one starts fitting the pieces at the centre of the puzzle or the corners, greater persistence is needed to complete the picture of a developed India. Explain.

The Quad’s importance to India’s strategic autonomy

Why in News: –

Global Times, the Chinese newspaper called the Quad — India’s coalition with the US and its Asian allies, Australia and Japan — a “negative asset” for the BRICS, where India sits down with China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa.

Syllabus: – 

GS 2: India and its neighbourhood- relations

Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

  • Global Times was highlighting what it sees as a contradiction in India’s participation in both the forums.
  • In moving closer to the US and the US-led Quad in recent years”, the paper argued, Delhi has worsened “India-China and India-Russia relations” and halted progress “in the development of BRICS and SCO”.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is the Eurasian forum founded jointly by Beijing and Moscow a quarter of a century ago.

 China:

  • Many have seen India’s oscillation between the BRICS and Quad all these years as a reflection of Delhi’s strategic confusions between the East and the West, and between Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific.
  • But the Global Times sees a strategic pattern in Delhi’s behaviour.
  • From Beijing’s perspective, India has taken advantage of the BRICS on issues like terrorism and gained access to regional cooperation in inner Asia.
  • At the same time, Beijing sees Delhi’s mobilising the Quad as balancing or even “blackmailing” China.
  • Delhi’s small band of realists might see that as a compliment coming from Beijing’s hyper-realists.
  • If Delhi continues to get closer to Washington, India “will eventually lose its strategic autonomy” and become America’s “hatchet man against China”.
  • Ifit had continued with its logic of realpolitik, the paper could quite easily see it is the very quest for “strategic autonomy” that is generating a new Indian warmth towards the US.

India’s strategic autonomy

  1. That brings us to the understanding India’s “strategic autonomy” — the framework that guided Delhi’s international relations since the Cold War.
  2. In the early 1990s, strategic autonomy was about creating space for India against the overweening American power after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  3. Ideological inertia, however, prevented Delhi’s foreign policy discourse from recognising a fundamental transformation in India’s external environment over the last three decades. 
  4. In his first term (1993-97), President Bill Clinton questioned the legitimacy of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India and declared the US’s intent to resolve Delhi’s Kashmir dispute with Pakistan.
  5. On top of its Kashmir activism, Washington insisted that rolling back India’s nuclear and missile programmes was a major objective of US foreign policy.
  6. If Pakistan fanned the fires of a fierce insurgency in Kashmir, the US declared that J&K was the world’s most dangerous nuclear flashpoint.
  7. All that changed over the last three decades. Under Clinton’s successors, George W Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, Washington discarded its itch to mediate on Kashmir, resolved the nuclear dispute, and widened economic and political cooperation with Delhi to become India’s most important strategic partner.

 Rising China:

  1. A rising China, in contrast, has emerged as the biggest challenge to India and the US is increasingly an important part of the answer. A few elements stand out.
  2. First, with China’s growing military power, the PLA has become more assertive on the contested boundary.
  3. Amidst the breakdown of peace and tranquillity on the border, the support from the US and its Asian allies has been valuable.
  4. Second, on the Kashmir question, it is China that rakes up the issue at the UNSC while the US is helping India to block China’s moves.
  5. Third, on cross-border terrorism, the US puts pressure on Pakistan and China protects Rawalpindi.
  6. Fourth, the US has facilitated India’s integration with the global nuclear order while Beijing blocks Delhi’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  7. Fifth, the US backs India’s permanent membership of the UNSC, China does not.
  8. Sixth, Delhi now sees the trade with China hollowing out India’s manufacturing capability. Its objective on diversifying its economy away from China is shared by the US and the Quad partners.
  9. Seventh, India opposes China’s Belt and Road Initiative as a project that undermines India’s territorial sovereignty and regional primacy. Delhi is working with Quad partners to offer alternatives to the BRI.
  10. Finally, Delhi sees China’s rising military profile in the subcontinent and the Indian Ocean as a problem and is working with Washington to redress the unfolding imbalance in India’s neighbourhood.
  11. These trend lines have evolved over a period of time and the Quad summit is an important part of India’s response to the extraordinary challenge that China presents.

Way Forward: –

  1. The BRICS was part of India’s strategy in the unipolar moment that dawned at the end of the Cold War.
  2. Delhi’s current enthusiasm for the Quad is about limiting the dangers of a unipolar Asia dominated by China.
  3. This does not mean India will walk away from the BRICS. Delhi will continue to attach some value — diplomatic if not strategic — to a forum like the BRICS.
  4. After all, the BRICS forum provides a useful channel of communication between Delhi and Beijing at a very difficult moment in the evolution of their bilateral relations.
  5. The BRICS is also about India’s enduring partnerships with Russia, Brazil, and South Africa. India also values its ties with the Central Asian states in the SCO.
  6. The BRICS could certainly become a productive forum someday — when Delhi and Beijing mitigate their multiple contentions.

 Question: –

The Quad is work in progress and is bound to encounter problems in assessing that India’s stakes in the Quad might rise faster than those in the BRICS.Discuss.

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