Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

02 July 2021 - Friday


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



Envisioning the post-pandemic smart city

The Hindu


Rule of Law vs Rule by Law

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Delhi’s lame duck Assembly

Syllabus–GS 2: Constitution, Federal relations

Analysis: –

  • The GNCTD (Amendment) Act prohibits the exercise of free speech in the Assembly and its committees
  • The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD)(Amendment) Act, 2021 has been extensively criticised as a retrograde law that turns the clock back on representative democracy.
  • The bulk of criticism has been focused on the reduced autonomy of the elected government and the consequent vesting of several crucial powers in the unelected Lieutenant Governor, who is the representative of the Union government.
  • This is largely attributable to public consciousness of the regular skirmishes between the elected government and the Lieutenant Governor.
  • However, what deserves equal condemnation is the Act’s assault on the functioning of Delhi’s Legislative Assembly, which has been sought to be reduced to a lame duck.

The religious life of Indians, according to a recent survey

Syllabus— GS 1: Society

Analysis: –

  • The just released Pew Research Centre Report, Religion and India: Tolerance and Segregation, based on serious survey data with almost 30,000 respondents, is a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the complex interplay of religion, identity and politics in India.
  • All surveys have significant limitations. But this is the only major, relatively credible survey we have of Indian religious attitudes, and so it is worth reflecting on its findings, with all caveats in mind.
  • India emerges from the survey as an overwhelmingly religious country, across all religions.
  • But this is also true of every dimension of religion from ritual observance to social identity, belief and practice.
  • In his last book, Religion’s Sudden Decline, the doyen of value surveys, Ronald Inglehart had argued based on survey data that between 2007 and 2019, the world had generally become less religious; 43 out of the 49 countries studied showed a marked decline in religion.
  • The big exception to this story was India, where religiosity increased. This survey confirms the staggeringly high degree of religiosity that seems not to decline with education or class.

Mains Analysis

Envisioning the post-pandemic smart city

Why in News?

It is clear that the pathway for ‘smart cities’, and also other towns not on the map, needs to change

Syllabus— GS 3 Infrastructure

Background: –

  • Six years ago, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government started a journey of urban development based on the belief that a select set of cities across the country could be ‘transformed’ and made smart, after they were chosen through a competition among the States.
  • The Centre would support the chosen projects and others would learn from them.
  • The idea of a transformation is indicated in BJP’s manifesto for the 2014 election, where, in a reference to the squalor that has traditionally marked cities and towns, the party declared that they should “no longer remain a reflection of poverty and bottlenecks.
  • Rather they should become symbols of efficiency, speed and scale”. This racy vision laid the foundation for a programme to create 100 smart cities.
  • The government embarked on an urban development journey with the notion that a select group of cities across the country might be ‘transformed’ and made smart after a competition among the states.
  • But Covid 19 pandemic has put forth new dimensions to consider while designing such cities.

General concept of smart cities –          

  • Sensors everywhere, smart houses, high levels of connection, vast and ubiquitous data collection by multiple organisations, and a continuous flow of helpful information to citizens are all part of vision of smart city.
  • It can assist governments in allocating resources wisely and making timely decisions to improve efficiency and living standards.
  • Infrastructure deficiencies, insufficient water supply, waste management, sewage and transportation arrangements, high levels of pollution, and, as a result of climate change, frequent extremes of floods and drought plague India’s cities.
  • The Smart Cities Mission, which was created in response to these concerns, is a mix of improved civic services and high-profile initiatives in selected cities, with the investments significantly influenced by the Centre.

Focus on Health –

  • COVID-19 disrupted the lives of cities, locking people indoors for lengthy periods of time, interrupting economic processes, and paralysing vibrant urban life before a thorough critique of the costly programme could emerge.
  • When the Smart City Awards 2020 were announced recently, one component of the project, the Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs), was given a health focus by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • COVID-19 used these centres as “war rooms,” and when combined with “other smart infrastructure established under the mission, communities were able to battle the epidemic through information dissemination, improved communication, predictive analysis, and supporting effective management.”

Convergence of infrastructure

  • Over the years, Smart Cities Mission projects converged with other infrastructure programmes such as AMRUT, the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, the PMAY (Urban), the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, for housing.
  • According to the most recent official tally, 5,924 Mission projects worth Rs. 1,78,500 crore have been bid, reflecting the magnitude of the investments.
  • According to some projections, 90 percent of urban development will take place in developing countries by the middle of the century.
  • Jan Gehl, a Danish urban planning expert who opposes smart cities and “silly gimmicks,” speaks of a city’s universal values as a gatheringplace for people, inviting them to spend time, walk, bike, and explore through public, semi-public, or private gardens.
  • A good city also prioritises pedestrianisation over motorization. Despite their attempts to incorporate some of these components, India’s smart city plans are unable to achieve a structural shift in which people’s movement takes precedence over vehicle movement.
  • In fact, expanding the green logic would entail a moratorium on all wetlands and commons diversion for any other purpose, the creation of new urban gardens and water bodies, and a climate change audit for every piece of infrastructure planned.
  • Less damaging flooding, more water to gather, and lower peak temperatures would all result from a green and blue metropolis, all at a reasonable cost.

Designing Common spaces –

  • Cities that allocate adequate road space for bicycles, which symbolise safe commuting and can complement enhanced public transportation when commuters return in large numbers to bus and urban rail, could be elegant, healthy, and sensible after the epidemic.
  • Pedestrianisation, biking, and peaceful chances for street selling produced by designating additional commons would be truly democratic, addressing the complaint that smart city planning ignores the informality that characterises India’s urban environments.
  • None of this negates the importance of essential modernisation, such as the deployment of multiple sensors to monitor air, noise, and water pollution, the provision of electronic citizen services, whether online or in a government office, intelligent public transportation, and the expansion of renewable energy.
  • Even in the largest cities, recovering useful materials from waste remains a missed opportunity.
  • However, it would necessitate a move away from flyovers, underpasses, and low-cost parking lots that serve significantly fewer people.

Way Forward: –

  • Citizens can only benefit from real-time control rooms if they have a decent public dashboard of information.
  • This includes access to health alerts, immunizations, hospital beds, and topical counselling in COVID-19 times, with data on pollution, rainfall, congestion, and other factors thrown in for good measure.
  • Smart city planning must be democratised so that all members of society, not just those with access to the internet, have a say in the process.
  • However, the pressure to frame initiatives typically leaves many people out, including elected officials.
  • They should be assisted in framing their goals around people and nature, learning from their failures, and avoiding costly technical solutions.

Question: –

The pandemic has provided a unique chance to rethink the smart city paradigm and direct the fate of hundreds of smaller municipalities that aren’t yet on the map.Discuss.

Rule of Law vs Rule by Law

Why in News?

Syllabus—GS2: Issues related to Constitution

After a very long period

CJI N V Ramana: The former is what we fought for, the latter is an instrument of colonial rule. In the face of a pandemic, it’s important to reflect on how the tension between the two defines the quality of justice.

  • , the entire world is facing an unprecedented crisis in the form COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At this juncture, everyone necessarily has to pause & evaluate the utilization of the Rule of Law to ensure the protection & welfare of all the people.

What is Law means?

  • Law is a tool of social control that is backed by the sovereign.
  • But above definition makes law a double-edged sword because It is not just used to render justice but also used to justify oppression.
  • So many scholars argued that a Law cannot really be classified as law unless it imbibes within itself the ideals of justice & equity.
  • However, an unjust law might not have the same moral legitimacy as a just law but it still commands the obedience f some sections of the society to the detriment of others.
  • From above it is evident that Any Law backed by a sovereign must be tempered by certain ideals or tenets of justice.
  • Only that state governed by such law can be said to have the Rule of Law.

Rule of Law vs. Rule by Law:

India’s journey:

  • The colonial power used the law as a tool of political repression enforcing it unequally on the parties.
  • The British rule was famous for Rule by Law rather than Rule of Law because it is aimed at controlling Indian subjects.
  • India’s Struggle for independence thus marked India’s journey towards the establishment of a state defined by the Rule of Law.
  • The much-needed framework that forms a binding link between law & justice is enshrined in the Constitution of India.

What is the Rule of Law?

  • Within many emerged conceptions of Rule of Law, there four relevant principles to be emphasized:
  • The first principle, laws must be clear & accessible that the people at least ought to know what the laws are.
  • Also, the law should be worded in simple, unambiguous language.

Second, relates to the idea of Equality Before the Law:

  • The important aspect of equality before the law is having equal access to justice.
  • If vulnerable sections due to their poverty or illiteracy unable to enjoy their rights, then the guarantee of equal justice will be rendered meaningless.

Issue of Gender equality is another aspect of the principle:

  • The legal empowerment of women not only enables them to advocate their rights & needs in society but also increases their visibility in the legal reform process & allows their participation.
  • The third principle, the Right to participate in the creation & refinement of laws.
  • The very essence of Democracy is that its citizenry has a role to play in the laws that govern them.
  • In India, it is done through elections, where people elected representatives to enact the laws.
  • The masses of India proved themselves to be intelligent & up to the task.
  • Now it is the turn of those who are manning the key organs of the state to living up to the Constitutional mandate.
  • It is well-recognized that the mere right to change the ruler by itself need not be a guarantee against tyranny.
  • The idea that people are the ultimate sovereign is also to be found in the notions of human dignity & autonomy.

The fourth principle: Presence of a strong independent judiciary.

  • Judiciary is the primary organ in ensuring that the laws are enacted are in line with the Constitution.
  • The SC has held above the judicial review function to be a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • However, the importance of the judiciary shouldn’t blind us to the fact that the responsibility of safeguarding constitutionalism lies not just with the courts, but with all three organs of the state.
  • the role of the judiciary & scope of judicial action is limited as it is driven by facts/evidence.
  • This limitation calls for other organs to assume responsibilities of upholding constitutional values & ensuring justice in the first justice, with the judicial checks.
  • Complete freedom becomes paramount for the Judiciary to apply checks on governmental action & power.
  • If the judiciary is controlled by the executive or legislature, then the Rule of Law becomes null & void.
  • The new media tools that have enormous capabilities of amplifying the public opinion has to lead to increasing instance of medial trails.
  • At the same time, judges should not be swayed by the emotional pitch of this amplified public opinion or media trails.
  • However, judges have to be mindful of the noise & have to be rational & unbiased in their rulings.
  • Therefore it is extremely vital to function independently & withstand all external pressures & aids.

Way Forward

To summarize, there is no need for judges & judiciary to completely dissociate from the world because the judges cannot sit in a ivory castle & decide social issues questions.

However, the Ultimate duty & responsibility lies in the Oath taken by the Judges in performing their duties without any fear or favor, affection, or ill-will & to uphold the Constitution, its ideals & the laws.

Question: –

A public discourse that is both reasoned & reasonable is to be seen as an inherent aspect of human dignity, hence essential to a properly functioning democracy. Comment

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