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Model question and answers for practice for Mains 29-11-2015
  1. 1.       “Hidden hunger is the major challenge for India.” Discuss the statement in the light of recent Global Hunger Index. Add a note on India’s effort to achieve food security.

Global hunger index and its ranking reflects the status of food security in a particular country.

It is based on four factors - stunting, wasting, under nourishment and child mortality. GHI – 2015 specifically referred to the growing hidden hunger in India.  That is, micro nutrient deficiencies such as anemia, goiter, night blindness etc.

Nutritional transition in India where food habits are moving from minimally processed food to highly processed, calorific, micro nutrient poor foods can be cited as a reason. Excessive stress on high yielding staple crops such as a rice and wheat also have worsened the stress on micro nutrient rich food. Food inflation, lack of sufficient information, education on balanced nutrition can be cited as other reasons.

 

In contrast to the above, report took a positive opinion on India s effort to raise its food security. PDS system, NRHM, Midday meal program, ICDS scheme, Antyodaya anna yojana all are the steps in ensuring food security. Here the criticism is Indian planning was centered on carbohydrate security rather than nutritional security as a whole. Added to this, leakages in PDS, improper targeting need to be addressed. In this context, reforms initiated in Chhattisgarh for protein malnutrition, Universal PDS system can provide a direction.

 

  1. 2.       Do you think the new Juvenile Law Bill in India is a departure from its commitment on Child Rights? Substantiate your answer with reasons.

Amendments to the Juvenile Justice act allows to try children between 16-18 years as adults if they are involved with heinous crimes such as murder, rape. It involves the constitution of Juvenile Justice Board to assess whether the crime has been committed as a child or an adult and this assessment guides the trial process.

In this context, the following points needs to be considered

1)      The adolescent’s crime behaviour majorly flows from their risk assessment. They underestimate the risk and are susceptible to negative influences and environmental influences. It predisposes them to poor decision making. Here, Children’s rights consider the vulnerable character of the child and the necessity to protect them. It means to grant a particular assistance to them, and to give a protection necessary to their age and to their degree of maturity.

2)      On empirical side, there is an ample evidence that punitive laws do not improve public safety or deter juvenile crime.  So, better we shall deal with the causes of Juvenile crime like poverty, pornography, broken families, failure of child protection system etc.  The Judicial waiver system did not provide for a positive outcome in  USA and UK in terms of juvenile crime rate, public safety. Improving the conditions of schooling and providing quality education, creating an identity are essential parts of the child rights.

3)      The law is also against the UN convention on the rights of the child which treats everyone as a child, if he/she is less than 18 years. Along with this, child rights emphasize on criminal laws appropriate for the age and development of the child The children thus have the right to live and to develop suitably physically and intellectually.

Finally, the objective of punishment is reformation and not retribution. It applies much stronger in the cases related to Juvenile Justice.

 

3. Social progress index is considered to be a better reflection of inclusive growth.” Why India is placed at the bottom of the Index? Do you think good governance can change this situation?

a) Social progress index has greater inclusive criteria to map the various degrees of achievements by countries in education, health, skill development, personal safety etc. The index is broadly divided in to basic human needs, foundation of wellbeing and oppourtunities. India is placed at 101 out of 133 countries with a score of 53.06.

Basic Human needs in turn include Nutrition and medical care, water & sanitation, shelter, personal safety. On this front, high levels of undernourishment, child mortality rate, lack of access to safe drinking water are the major challenges. Increased citizen participation, decentralization can improve the public health service delivery. Implementation of NFSA by integrating it with Aadhar  is a right step in this direction.

Foundations of wellbeing include access to basic knowledge, information and communication, health and wellness, ecosystem sustainability. Here, ICT tools can lay the foundations for good governance. ICT technologies can help in effective implementation of RTI, citizen charters , monitoring of programs. E Pragati is one such an example.

Opportunity involves personal rights, personal freedom and choice, tolerance and inclusion, access to advanced education. Here, most of these are political choices and governance can only play an instrumental role.

At last it shall be remembered that, good governance can be a guide and reforms centered around it can be successful, if they get deeply enrooted in to the values of Indian society.

 

  1. “Minister-civil servant relationship needs to be built on trust and confidence. Lack of clarification on responsibilities and politicization of bureaucracy is undermining the foundations of this relationship.” Discuss in the light of recent developments.

Minister civil servant relationship are based on the foundations of Neutrality and Anonymity. The relationship shall be driven by trust, confidence where the civil servant shall act as an able advisor to the political master and political master shall consider the opinion of civil servant with due respect.  This professional equilibrium got disturbed in India from days of emergency and sycophancy, unquestioned obedience became the virtues desired from a civil servant. Fear of reprisal made the Bureaucracy tight lipped and politics driven administration became all pervasive. It is one of the major reasons for growing corruption.

At the same time, trust replaced with confrontation and neutrality replaced with commitment. This politicization made bureaucracy loose its integrity. Lack of security of tenure, increased number of transfers, unnatural promotions all are associated with this phenomenon. Along with this, lack of clarity on responsibilities between Centre and state on various critical areas is making bureaucrats the victims of politics of the day. Recently, it is visible in the administration of Delhi.

In this context, the role of central leadership acts as a prime motivator with setting pace, direction of the governance. The Prime minister as Primus inter pares shall set the tone. The risk avoiding behaviour, buck passing at the highest level creates the same culture down the hierarchy. This is the major reason for policy paralysis. But, the coalition regimes weakened the authority of Prime minister, every minister of concerned department became supreme for the same. It lead to the slow disintegration of the cabinet form of Government. The growth of multiple group of ministers also weakened the centrality of the Prime minister and caused disarray in administration. Political rehabilitation in the name of coalition dharma made the systems much vulnerable for damage.

Loss of professionalism of bureaucracy, investigative agencies such as CBI, ACB need to be corrected by promoting merit based appointments at every level.

Finally, governance is a cooperative enterprise between politics and bureaucracy, Centre and states, past and present. Essentially this spirit shall lay foundation for future.

 

  1. Executing Green India needs restructuring of forest laws and bureaucracy. Idea of conservation shall replace consumption in development.” Discuss the above statement in the light of displacement of tribal people.

 

Indian forest act 1927 has made the Government the sole owner of the forest property and increased the distance between forest dwellers and government.  Wild life protection act, project tiger, project elephant and other environmental laws continued in the same line. Forest rights act changed this situation by identifying land, management rights and rights over the minor forest produce. But, the implementation of law has totally ignored the community rights of tribals over minor forest produce. Growing incidences of left wing extremism in tribal belts reflects the discontent growing over the state.

On the other hand, Forest Department is the only Government department in the country and is custodian of public property for the welfare of the people. It is bestowed with the responsibility of detecting any illegal activity inside the forest on its own, investigate the case and also assist in the prosecution.  That is, Forest Department is the only department having a dual role, namely protection and development.

So, forest management in India is a double edged sword with dissatisfaction to both the inhabitants and regulators. In this context, increasing the community participation, resource sharing, proper rehabilitation policy for displaced are the critical needs of the hour. Objectives of green India shall protect the green ecosystem in the country rather than aiming for creation of managed forests through fragmented ecosystems in the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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