Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

14 July 2021 - Wednesday


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



The upcoming crisis in Indian federalism

The Hindu


Reshuffle & digital refresh

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Aadhaar uncertainty for 27 lakh in Assam as NRC in limbo

Syllabus–GS 2: Government Policy

Analysis: –

  • The Aadhaar enrolment of more than 27 lakh people in Assam has been shrouded in uncertainty because of the delay in completing the process of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
  • The biometrics of 27,43,396 people were collected during the claims and objections phase of the NRC exercise prior to the publishing of the complete draft on August 31, 2019. They included the 19,06,657 people left out of the complete draft.
  • The applications of 3.3 crore people were processed during the exercise to update the NRC of 1951.
  • Replying to a question by the All-India United Democratic Front MLA Ashraful Hussain in the Assembly on Tuesday, Assam’s Minister for General Administration Ranjeet Kumar Dass said the onus was on the Centre to decide whether or not these 27.43 lakh people would be issued Aadhaar cards necessary for banking and other services.
  • The biometrics of these people were frozen after the publication of the NRC in August 2019. The Centre had earlier been asked to unfreeze the biometrics since the NRC was yet to be recognised as a document for citizenship.

Sputnik V developer partners with SII for 300mn jabs a year

Syllabus— GS 2: Health

Analysis: –

  • The developers of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine and Serum Institute of India (SII) announced a partnership agreement on Tuesday to manufacture more than 300 million doses in India.
  • Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), told a virtual news briefing that the developers of Sputnik V are looking at using the vaccine along with the AstraZeneca dose (marketed as Covishield in India) in a “mix and match” format.
  • September will be a “key month” for scaling up the production of Sputnik V in India as SII and several other companies are expected to launch production by then, and RDIF is in talks with the Indian government to allow the export of “some portion” of the vaccines after the immediate needs of the Indian population are met.
  • SII is the world’s largest company in terms of Covid-19 vaccines production. In addition to developing its own vaccine, it currently manufactures Covishield and Covovax (developed by Novavax) and is conducting trials of Codagenix in the UK.
  • Talking about the “mix and match” approach of vaccines – which is now being considered by a growing number of countries due to shortage of doses – Dmitriev said Sputnik V was a “leader in this field” and was the first to start trials along with AstraZeneca vaccines in Azerbaijan and some other countries.

Mains Analysis

The upcoming crisis in Indian federalism

Why in News?

SC has struck a blow for inquisitorial powers of legislatures against social media companies

Syllabus— GS 2 Fundamental Rights

  • When the Lok Sabha’s composition changes dramatically in 2026, the Indian Constitution may face an unprecedented crisis.
  • Seats in the Lok Sabha have been based on the 1971 census since 1976, and have not taken into account population changes.
  • As a result, the freeze provided an opportunity to ensure that India’s most prosperous states were not penalised politically for their achievements.

 Position of states in federation –

  • To understand that States are distinct associative communities within the federal structure of the Indian Union, one only needs to study the history leading up to the linguistic reorganisation of States in 1956, and subsequent movements for Statehood afterward.
  • It couldn’t be any other way in a polity as diverse as ours – linguistically, culturally, and ethnically.

Competition among states –

  • All citizens are equal in a democratic system, and they are thus entitled to equal representation in government.
  • However, this implies that larger states are more likely to dominate national debates than smaller states.
  • Small states are concerned that they will receive a smaller economic share of the pie, have less say in national issues, and be rendered irrelevant in the country’s political governance.
  • To allay this well-founded fear, federal democracies have incorporated various compromises into their governing structures in order to strike a balance between democratic and federal principles. American example is the best one to suit this picture.

 Indian Structure –

  • The quasi-federal structure of India has always been unique.
  • Our founders recognised that India’s diversity necessitated federalism, but they also established a strong centre to avoid fissiparous tendencies among States that had never been a single political unit.
  • While history is mixed, fears of severing Indian national unity simply by giving states more power have proven to be unfounded — and, if anything, it has been the other way around.
  • The 1956 linguistic reorganisation of states was a popular recognition of federal principles that did not result in separatist tendencies.
  • Since then, new states have been formed within the Union in response to public demands for greater autonomy.
  • As a result, there is a pressing need to reimagine our national compact; another pause will only push this thorny issue further down the road, perpetuating an increasingly undemocratic system.

 Tackling Challenges –

  • To assuage the fear of smaller States being dominated by larger ones, the powers of States vis-à-vis the Centre contained in the Lists and in provisions dealing with changing state boundaries must be increased.
  • There’s no reason to believe that giving our states more power will lead to national disintegration. More localised decision-making, on the other hand, is certain to boost national prosperity.
  • Second, the Rajya Sabha, our House of States, needs to be expanded in terms of its role and composition. This would provide a kind of check on national majoritarian politics that have a negative impact on smaller states.
  • Third, constitutional changes and changes in state financial redistribution must have the approval of all or nearly all states (the fate of the Goods and Services Tax, or GST, serves as a salutary warning in this regard).
  • Language and religious provisions in the constitution must also be unaffected.
  • Fourth, serious consideration should be given to breaking up the largest States into smaller units that will not dominate national discourse on their own.

 Way Forward

  • Devolution of powers will not break national bonds of affection and patriotism, but it will put them under severe strain when one part of the country is given more power than another.
  • The memorable quote “Everything must change for everything to remain the same” can be found in Lampedusa’s Il Gattopardo.
  • This includes the question of how, in the coming years, we will balance the competing claims of democracy and federalism.

Question: –

Any conflict between federal principles and democracy in India will inevitably have linguistic, religious, and cultural ramifications, potentially leading to new forms of sub-regional chauvinism.Discuss.

Reshuffle & digital refresh

Why in News?

In the first Cabinet meeting after reshuffle, the Union government allocated Rs 23,000 crores package for emergency response to Covid-19. “Rs 23,123-crore package to be given to deal with Covid-19.

Syllabus—GS2: Issues related to Union Executive

  • The recent revamping of the Union of the council of minister led to the induction of the new Minister of Electronics & Information Technology i.e. replacing Ravi Shankar with Ashwini Vaishnav.
  • The induction happened at a time when the Indian govt has been at loggerheads with social media giants & the pandemic has pushed the governance focus towards a digital environment.
  • The new IT minister has the following mammoth tasks to tackle for advancing an agenda that promotes both digital rights & innovation in India,

The pivotal issue is of ACCESS

  • At present, there is few arguments on the larger policy goal of increasing internet access.
  • However, the performance has been dismal & targets are being missed.
  • As per the latest TRAI’s report, till Dec 2020 the rural penetration rate is 34.7% with 300 million rural internet subscribers, which is less than 1/3rdof the urban penetration rate.
  • More importantly, 37k villages in India are still not covered by telecom service providers.
  • Existing digital literacy schemes have also witnessed slow progress.
  • For instances, PMGDISHA has only certified 2.7 crore candidates out of identified 4.5 crore target candidates.

The issues of Internet Shutdowns:

  • The data shows in 2012-2019, state govt have shut down the internet across India approximately 374 times, with 2019 & 2020 witnessing 106 & 129 shutdowns respectively.
  • These shutdowns caused monetary losses of $2.4 billion.
  • Hence there is widespread non-compliance by state govts with the SC’s Judgment in the Anuradha Basin Case that required publication of internet shutdown orders.
  • There is no enforcement body formed for implementing net neutrality in India.
  • Finally, for decades, there has been no policy proposal towards improvement on internet shutdowns & net neutrality.

The more contentious issue of SOCIAL MEDIA REGULATION:

  • The previous Minister has considerably invested in the IT Rules 2021& these rules are jointly administered by Information & Broadcasting Ministry.
  • The I&B Ministry regulates online news portals & video streaming services under these rules.
  • However, rather than leading to clear regulatory principles, these have only led to uncertainty & dispute.
  • At present 14 constitutional challenges are pending across India.
  • These are the same IT rules that hope to regulate not only Twitter but substantial parts of the Indian internet.
  • However, they emerge from the absence of any clear legislative power & end up hurting the user’s rights.

A significant concern of an increasing number of DATA BREACHES:

  • According to a report, the average data breach in India costs Rs. 14 crore & the average time to both detect & contain a breach went up to 221 days & 83 days respectively.
  • This indicates a significant amount of data loss for users with further risks of financial crimes.
  • There have been no policy movements to address these lapses & this delay the incoming Data Protection Law.

The solutions:

  • The current IT rules must be withdrawn & a broader & more comprehensive digital governance framework is implemented.
  • Until then, the intermediary liability can be regulated by the pre-existing legislative frameworks refined by the SC in the Shreya Singhal case.
  • Most importantly, the updating IT Act 2000 process must be made public.
  • This involves large-scale consultations with various stakeholders as well as setting out a position paper on the future of the IT Act.

Way Forward

  • A larger, participative vision for legislative action will resolve continuing issues of website blocking & encryption in a rights-respecting manner.
  • To over Data breach issues & to protect Data Privacy, the new Minister have to effectively & efficiently plan in addressing privacy risks as more Indians get connected while services gather user data in a completely unregulated manner.
  • It is high time for the new minister to ensure the growth of the Indian internet into a healthy forum that enshrines our Constitutional values. This is also reflected in the recent G-7 Open Societies Declaration that states “Human rights for all, both online & offline”.

Question: –

The nature of problems presented by the digital environment requires large-scale reforms while recognizing its utility.Comment.

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