Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

24 APRIL 2021


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



Arise and rejuvenate the third layer of governance

The Hindu


A Court in Crisis      

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

China tore up the modus vivendi in 2020, the LAC is now live

Syllabus– GS 2: IR

Analysis: –

  • Shivshankar Menon, a former National Security Adviser, Foreign Secretary and Ambassador to China, traces the history and evolution of India’s foreign policy and place in the world in the new book, “India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present.”
  • For me, the lesson of our history and experience since Independence is that India does best the more connected, she is with the rest of the world, the more engaged she is with the rest of the world.
  • It is those parts of India which were connected to the world through the Indian Ocean, the whole east coast of India, the Coromandel coast, all the way up to Bengal, and the west coast, Malabar, all the way up to the Gujarat coast, that were the most advanced economically, the most prosperous, the most stable core areas in terms of civilisation and culture, and the ones most in touch with the rest of the world for the last 3000 years or more.
  • In much of Southeast Asia and East Asia, Indians were the enforcers of imperialism and colonialism.
  • The Shanghai policemen, for instance, who had to enforce signs on the parks saying, ‘No dogs and Chinese’.

Infections after Covid-19 vaccination

GS 2: Health, GS 3: Science

Analysis: –

  • Coronavirus vaccines are supposed to protect the individuals from getting infected. In the last few days, however, there have been several cases of vaccinated people, even those who have received both doses, testing positive for the virus.
  • Such cases are referred to as “breakthrough” infections, indicating that the virus has been
    able to break through the defences created by the vaccine.
  • Very few cases of breakthrough infections have been reported, but these have led to some doubts being expressed about the effectiveness of the vaccine, and contributed to the already prevailing vaccine hesitancy.
  • Earlier this week, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) released data that showed breakthrough infections were extremely rare in India’s vaccinated population, with an incidence rate of less than 0.05%.
  • During trials, various Covid-19 vaccines have been shown to be between 60% and 95% effective.
  • In actual use scenarios, a vaccine is usually less effective than what is reported in the trials. It is not surprising, therefore, that some vaccinated people do get the infection.
  • Also, it typically takes about two weeks for the body to build immunity after being vaccinated, so the chances of a person falling sick during this period are as high — or as low — as the chances for any person who has not been vaccinated.
  • Then there is the emergence of new variants of the virus. Some are able to evade the human immune response, and therefore have a greater chance to break through the defences created through the vaccine.

Mains Analysis

Arise and rejuvenate the third layer of governance

Why in News?

April 24 is celebrated as Panchayat raj day.

Syllabus– GS 2: Local Self Governance

  • Panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) are simultaneously a remarkable success and a staggering failure, depending on the goalposts against which they are evaluated.
  • If the goal was to create another layer of government and political representation at the grass-roots level, then there is no parallel to the PRIs.
  • And if the goal was to provide better governance, then PRIs are a failure and not equipped to succeed anytime in the foreseeable future.
  • Soon after the 73rd and 74th Amendments, every state government began the process of creating the requisite layer of PRIs and urban local bodies.
  • State election commissions were in charge of the infrastructure required to elect local representatives. There are about 250,000 PRIs and urban local bodies, and over three million elected local government representatives.
  • The 73rd and 74th Amendments required that no less than one-third of the total seats in local bodies should be reserved for women.
  • At 1.4 million, India has the most women in elected positions. Seats and sarpanch/pradhan positions were also reserved for SC/ST candidates.
  • The government must ensure that even the last man sitting in the remote corner of the last row should have access to the benefits of the plan.
  • This is why it is crucial that strong local bodies are formed to enable genuine feasibility and execution.
  • The Cholas were the pioneers in the formation of local bodies as part of a well-organized hierarchy to oversee the implementation of progressive plans.

The journey of Panchayati raj

  • “The voice of the people is the voice of god; The voice of the Panchayat is the voice of the people,” is the quote attributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
  • Panchayati raj ensures that the voices of the people are heard loud and clear.
  • Realizing that seamless administration is impossible without power sharing, the British, in 1884, passed the Madras Local Boards Act.
  • With this, the British formed unions in both small towns and big cities and began to appoint members to ensure better administration.
  • To a certain extent, this brought about positive changes in basic parameters such as health and hygiene.
  • With the advent of gram panchayat laws in 1920, people over 25 years of age were bestowed with the right to vote and choose their panchayat members.
  • Even though Gandhiji was constantly laying emphasis on the importance of autonomously ruled villages, the idea received constitutional recognition only in 1992.
  • It was only after the 73rd Amendment in the 1990s that the Panchayati raj law came into force.

The initiation of grama sabha,

  • A three-tier Panchayati raj methodology of governance,
  • Reservation for the downtrodden and women,
  • Consistency in economic development,
  • Local body elections once in five years,
  • The formation of the State Election Commission,
  • Finance Commission, and the
  • Power to draft the rules and responsibilities of the Panchayat.
  • The regions which were better equipped with basic facilities and which were more developed than the villages were brought under one coordinated body, namely, the municipality.
  • The district capitals were further slotted into a combined parameter, namely, the corporation.
  • The administration was transferred to the people, from the politicians and other officials.

Ideal platform

  • For seemingly trivial and easily resolvable issues, the villages did not have to seek the assistance of the State or the Central governments.
  • Grama sabhas could and can be the platform to resolve such issues.
  • Besides, grama sabhas can be convened as and when the necessity arises.
  • Every grama sabha meeting ensures the equal right to highlight the issues that disrupt life.
  • In addition to this, the elected members of the Panchayat are obliged to read out the financial statements and balance sheet to ensure transparency.

Issues and challenges: –

  • The decisions taken during a grama sabha meeting and the proposed solutions with a feasible deadline are potent and powerful.
  • Unfortunately, the reality today is that grama sabhas have become more like auction houses.
  • Even though the government announced that people’s opinions would be considered, it went ahead and conducted meetings, which were marked by poor attendance and poor representation from the people.
  • Even then, the government went ahead with the approval of projects which are impediments to normal life.
  • The truth is that keeping in mind a single goal, of profit, politicians hold ‘negotiations’ with the of?cials. Several projects are being implemented for the bene?t of private and corporate entities.
  • Sadly, in this age, women do not find themselves in major administrative roles in the local bodies, though, on paper, women are shown to be a considerable force.

Case study: – Kerala

  • The State of Kerala has been diligently working toward ensuring the proper use of allotted funds, and ensuring the ef?ciency of administration and eligible member appointments.
    • To ensure efficiency,
    • We need to strengthen our grama sabhas,
    • Hold area sabhas in cities,
    • Form ward committees,
    • Hold online Panchayat meetings,
    • Ensure decent remuneration to Panchayat chiefs and councillors and
  • Also bestow the grama sabha with the power to revoke appointed members and representatives.
  • These steps are what will ensure real growth in the State.
  • The State-appointed corporation commissioner faces mammoth challenges when a member of the Opposition party takes charge as a mayor.
  • The constant and meaningless con?icts between the ruling party and the mayor from the Opposition party make it impossible for the corporation commissioner to execute what was agreed upon in a meeting.
  • The same treatment is meted out to municipal councillors and district councillors.

Way Forward: –

  • The lofty dream of Gandhiji to make each village of independent India a republic organization, and to reiterate that the autonomous administration of villages should be made the foundation of the entire country’s administration was heard and he lay stress on the active participation of the people in governance.
  • We must collectively ensure that Panchayati raj should be strengthened. This should be the outcome of a peoples’ movement.
  • Gandhiji’s belief was that the voices of people will resolve what violence can never be successful in resolving.

Question: –

Explain how the political acts depriving people of their rights must stop and there needs to be a movement to strengthen Panchayati raj.

A Court in Crisis

Why in News?

As the new CJI steps in, the debate arises about his approach in dealing with the mammoth challenges before SC, by upholding Constitutional spirit & values.

Syllabus– GS 2: Judiciary


The Constitutional Checks on Judiciary:

  • The oath taken by judges keeps them without fear or favour & upholds the constitutional value in performing their duties.
  • Article 50 of the constitution empowers the state to take steps in separating the judiciary from the executive in the public services.

Need of the Checks: –

  1. To prevent the possibility of translation from a high judicial office to a equally high or sonorous executive office.
  2. To remove public suspicion on Judiciary.
  3. To prevent personal privileges or personal ambitions encroachment in the administration of justice.
  4. To be able to maintain judges civil liberties to the degree & in the manner of purity which is highly desirable.
  5. To prevent any possibility of influencing the conduct of a member of the judiciary by the govt.
  6. To seek strict accountability from the legislature & executive & any infraction of the constitution must be corrected.
  7. To serve the needs of billion-plus needs by standing for the people but not for the executive.

Fundamental Challenges faced by Judiciary:

  • Millions of pending cases
  • Inequality & lack of representation for vulnerable sections in the higher judiciary.
  • Issues of quality of judges & their decisions
  • Organizational issues.
  • Outdated technology
  • Questions over its integrity & impartiality.

CJI: The Hope

  • The Chief Justice of India is the first amongst the equals.
  • CJI assumes the significant powers as the Master of the Roster to constitute benches & allocate matters.
  • Actions to be taken by New CJI:
  • CJI must seriously introspect & review the actions of immediate predecessors.
  • Free himself of the bias in constituting benches & allocating cases.
  • Taking concrete steps to revitalize the administration of justice.
  • Taking proactive steps in appointing new judges for higher judiciary.
  • Taking concrete steps in providing equal representation for vulnerable sections in higher judiciary.

Question: –

It is in the hands of New CJI to seriously address the systemic issues plaguing the judiciary to affirm the people’s faith in the institution. Discuss.

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