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Contents

Indian Polity .................................................................................................................................................. 3

Black Money in Politics .............................................................................................................................. 3

Issue of workers’ safety ............................................................................................................................. 7

Party System in India – Electoral vs Political dominance of parties .......................................................... 9

Mediating Matrimonial Disputes in India ................................................................................................ 11

Low Levels of Electoral Participation in Metropolitan Cities .................................................................. 13

Right to Privacy Judgment ....................................................................................................................... 18

International Relations ............................................................................................................................... 21

India’s Oil Predicament ........................................................................................................................... 21

Indian Economy .......................................................................................................................................... 23

Issues relating to Recapitalisation ........................................................................................................... 23

Delhi–Mumbai Industrial Corridor: Economic and Environmental Consequences ................................. 24

Fairness of Minimum Wages for MGNREGA ........................................................................................... 27

Defence and Security .................................................................................................................................. 29

Privatisation of defence manufacturing .................................................................................................. 29

Agriculture .................................................................................................................................................. 31

Reforming the Marine Fishery Regulatory Regime in India .................................................................... 31

Solar energy for irrigation ....................................................................................................................... 35

Human Development.................................................................................................................................. 37

Healthcare Industry in India .................................................................................................................... 37

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Indian Polity
Black Money in Politics

GS 2
 Constitutional bodies – Election Commission, Salient features of RPA

ADR judgement and powers of EC

 75% of the sources of funding of the six national political parties were not known.
 May 2002 ADR judgment
 The Court noted,

Where the law is silent, Article 324 of the Constitution is a reservoir of power to act for
the avowed purpose of free and fair elections. Constitution has taken care of leaving
scope for exercise of residuary power by the Commission in its own right as a creature of
the Constitution in the infinite variety of situations that may arise from time to time in a
large democracy as every contingency could not be anticipated by enacted laws or rules.

Extent of powers of EC

 Based on this judgment, the ECI had ordered that all contesting candidates file
affidavits providing information on assets and liabilities and their criminal
antecedents. This order was only by way of a regulatory fiat.
 This is one occasion when the ECI used its “residuary power” after the ADR
judgment.

In context of funding of political parties

 The ECI, the Supreme Court, and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) are
acknowledged as the three pillars of our democratic and federal polity.
 While the election process from notification of elections to the declaration of the
winning candidates has undergone considerable reform since 1990, not much
attention has been paid to the issues arising from funding political parties.
 The ECI is fully empowered by the existing law to implement reform relating to the
funding of political parties without seeking any legislative amendments.

Efforts of EC

2004 Proposals

 In July 2004, the ECI submitted a booklet entitled Proposed Electoral Reforms (2004
Proposals) to the Prime Minister for consideration.
 Proposals included
 affidavits to be filed by candidates,
 restricting publication of results of opinion polls, and

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 prohibiting surrogate advertisements,
 Compulsory Maintenance of Accounts by Political Parties and Audit Thereof by
Agencies Specified by the Election Commission.
 It reiterated a proposal made by the ECI to the government in 1998 aimed at
ensuring more transparency in the matter of collection of funds by political parties—
that all political parties be required to publish their audited accounts annually.
 In 2004, the ECI had while endorsing this proposal suggested that a firm approved
by the CAG audit these accounts.

2016 Proposals

 The ECI, in December 2016, released yet another booklet entitled Proposed Electoral
Reforms (2016 Proposals).
 Many of the 2016 proposals are the same as those contained in the 2004 proposals.
 Others have been drawn from the 255th Report of the Law Commission of India on
Electoral Reforms.

Registration and recognition of parties

 The ECI had registered 1,646 parties under the Representation of the People (RoP)
Act, 1951 as on May 2014.
 These included six national parties, 39 state recognised parties, and 1,593 registered
unrecognised parties.
 Of these, six national parties, 39 state recognised parties, and 419 registered
unrecognised parties, totalling 464, participated in the 2014 elections.
 Thus, only 28% of the registered political parties—464 out of 1,646—participated in
the election.

 Under Section 29 of the ROP Act 1951, all political parties need to register
themselves with the ECI.
 Section 29A provides the procedure for registration of political parties;
 29B empowers them to accept contributions from individuals and private
companies; and
 29C requires them to submit an annual declaration to the ECI detailing the donations
received by them above ₹20,000 from any person or company, to avail them of
income tax exemption.

EC proposal

 The 2016 proposal finds that Section 29 of the ROP Act provides only for
registration of political parties by the ECI and not deregistration.
 It therefore proposes that the act be amended to empower it to deregister political
parties also.

Analysis

 The Supreme Court in its judgment in Indian National Congress (I) v Institute of
Social Welfare and Others (INC judgment) held that the law does not empower the

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commission to deregister a political party on the grounds of violations of any
provisions of the Constitution or any undertaking given to the commission.
 It held that the registration can only be cancelled on the grounds of fraud, change of
party objectives which infringe its obligations to abide by the Constitution, and
where the party is declared unlawful.
 The Law Commission in its 255th Report on Electoral Reforms recognising this
position, recommended that a comprehensive legislation regulating the registration,
recognition, deregistration and derecognition of political parties be enacted.
 A similar recommendation had also been made by the Department Parliamentary
Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 61st
Report on Electoral Reforms—Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Anti
Defection Law.
 In June 1994, the ROP (Second Amendment) Act 1994 was introduced in the Lok
Sabha with the objective of amending Section 29 of the act to provide for a
complaint to be made in the high court of jurisdiction to consider petitions for
deregistration of parties. This amendment lapsed. This implies that the government
also subscribes to this view.

Exemption from Income Tax

 All the registered parties are eligible under Section 13A of the Income Tax Act to
exclude (i) income from house property; (ii) income from capital gains; (iii) income
from other sources; and (iv) income from voluntary contributions from their income
for the purposes of determining income tax liability.
 These classification heads cover practically all the income a political party can get.
 The only remaining head is income from salaries, wages, pension, annuity, and
gratuity, which are unlikely sources of funding for any political party.

 The 1,182 registered unrecognised and dormant political parties provide


opportunities to be used as sinks for black money, in view of their tax-exempt
status.
 The 464 registered active political parties do not make their accounts public, nor
do all of them publish a list of donors contributing more than ₹20,000.

EC proposal

 ECI in 2016 proposals proposed to the government that “anonymous contributions


above and equal to ₹2,000 should be prohibited,” and “Exemption from income tax
should only be extended to political parties that contest elections and win seats.”
 If a registered political party is not undertaking any political activity, including
contesting elections, the proper course of action is to remove it from the list of
registered parties—that is, deregister it, which will make it ineligible for income
tax exemption.

Transparency in Accounts

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Past efforts

 In 2003, the law was amended to require that when the contribution exceeded
₹20,000, details of the donor were to be provided to the ECI.
 In its 2004 proposal, the ECI found this amendment “not sufficient for ensuring
transparency and accountability in the financial management of political parties.”
 It therefore reiterated the 1998 proposals with the rider that only auditors
approved by the CAG should conduct such audits.

2016 proposal

 ECI drawing on the Law Commission’s 255th report goes one step further—it
proposes amending Section 25 of the ROP Act to require that political parties
maintain, audit, and publish their accounts.
 It also proposes that political parties provide full details of all contributions above
₹20,000.
 In case contributions below ₹20,000 aggregate to more than ₹20 crore or 20% of
the total contributions, then details of even these lower value contributions should
be provided.

Current situation

 As per the present law, political parties are not required to submit their annual
accounts to the ECI.
 They are merely required to submit an annual report providing details of donations
received beyond ₹20,000.
 Failure to submit such a report debars parties from obtaining tax benefits under the
Income Tax Act.
 Following this, all national parties and some other parties submit reports on
donations to the ECI.
 National Election Watch and the Association of Democratic Reforms report finds
that all the six national parties have submitted incomplete information to the ECI on
donations received above ₹20,000.

CIC judgement 2013 and RTI

 The Central Information Commission in its full bench decision in June 2013 held that
the six national parties “have been substantially financed by the Central
Government. The criticality of the role played by these political parties in our
democratic setup and the nature of duties performed by them also point to their
character as public authorities.”
 It consequently held that these parties should provide information under the Right
to Information Act (RTI Act) on all aspects of their functioning, including finances.
 No party complied with these directions.
 A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed for enforcement of this order in the
Supreme Court.

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 The central government opposed this direction in its affidavit before the Supreme
Court arguing that complying with it would adversely affect the independent
functioning of political parties.

Connecting the dots

 The power to deregister political parties for EC is long overdue. Examine why or
why not such a power is needed.
 Financial accountability of political parties has been a far cry. In the light of CIC
judgement, discuss why or why not political parties be brought under RTI Act.
 Exemption from the income tax for political parties has been a major tool to filter
black money in the politics. What steps can be taken to address this while
maintaining tax exemption?

Issue of workers’ safety


GS 2
 Government schemes and their implementation

Context

 The “accident” at the 500 megawatts thermal power plant operated by the National
Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Unchahar, Raebareli district
 exposed the callous disregard for worker safety and the violation of labour laws that
is virtually a norm in India.

Status of labour laws implementation in formal sector

 This tragedy has not occurred in an unregulated factory, or a small unit operating
outside regulatory laws. This was a thermal power plant run by the NTPC, India’s
largest power utility that manages 48 thermal power stations. – Prelims fact
 Majority of the workers affected were migrant contract workers, brought to the unit
by contractors to whom jobs had been subcontracted.
 This is a ploy used by many large industrial units.
 It helps employers minimise their liabilities to a smaller number of permanent
workers who are covered under labour laws, while much of the work, often the
more hazardous tasks, are farmed out to contractors who employ casual workers,
often on daily wages.
 These workers have no health insurance in the event of accidents or exposure to
hazards.
 This murky underbelly of the formal sector in India stands exposed when such
accidents take place.

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Labour laws amendments

 Proposed amendments to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act,


1970, the Factories Act, 1948, and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
 Furthermore, there are proposals to dilute laws governing contract labour that
will facilitate the use of casual labour for the more hazardous jobs, as in
Unchahar.
 Government has introduced in the Lok Sabha ‘The Code on Wages’ Bill to
consolidate and amend the laws relating to wages and bonus which also seeks to
empower the Centre to fix a “universal minimum wage” aimed to benefit over 40
crore unorganised sector workers.
 The bill seeks to amalgamate four laws — Payment of Wages Act 1936, Minimum
Wages Act 1948, Payment of Bonus Act 1965 and Equal Remuneration Act 1976

SC judgement on Contract Labour

 The landmark Asiad case (Peoples Union for Democratic Rights v Union of India
and Others, 1982) in which the Supreme Court held the government responsible
for contract workers as the principal employer.

Government violating its mandate

 This government has also brought in rules restricting labour inspections, thereby
violating Article 81 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to which India
is a signatory.
 It has introduced the Shram Suvidha Portal that permits employers to “self-
certify” compliance to 16 central labour laws. Such “self-certification” has been
proved to be a fraud in compliance with environmental laws.

Connecting the dots

 The safety of labour is often disregarded while undertaking labour reforms. Discuss
the steps that need to be taken to ensure their safety.

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Party System in India – Electoral vs Political dominance of parties
GS 2
 Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs,
various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other
stakeholders

Context

 Parties remain “dominant” for a long duration but once they lose power, they
also tend to lose a grip on the critical social forces that sustained them
electorally.
 In other words, the resilience of most dominant parties is very thin.

Electoral dominance of a party in states

 Prolonged electoral dominance is not a new thing as far as politics in the states is
concerned.
 The Congress party was famous for its dominance in a number of states ranging
from Assam, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and so on.
 The Left Front in West Bengal holds the record of uninterrupted electoral
dominance for 34 years.
 Curiously, in most of these instances, when the state-level electoral dominance
declines or ends, the downfall is rapid and steep and the collapse is all-round.
 In West Bengal, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)—CPI(M) and Left Front
were finally defeated in 2011 but even before that, they had lost goodwill and
different social sections were finding fault with the Left Front government.
 The current disarray in the Biju Janata Dal which has been in power in Odisha
consecutively for almost two decades now, the situation is on the verge of a
political collapse.

Why dominant parties witness downfall?

Electoral dominance is perception based

 This anomaly relates to the nature of electoral politics.


 Oftentimes, elections are less about actual performance and more about
perceptions. Many factors have contributed to this development.
 Whether a government has actually done well or not, increasingly, much
depends on what is known as the “PR” (public relations) job.
 Once a party is out of power, it has much too little to fall back upon because
images are temporary and can be sustained only while in power.

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Elections are personality oriented, not party-oriented

 Two, in conjunction with the above, elections tend to revolve around


personalities. The belief in the image of the leader is critical for winning
elections.
 Voters are not asked to think of the programmes the party offers, but of the
leader who represents the party. Leaders are then supposed to be harbingers of
well-being, capable of overcoming all constraints and transcending all discussion
of actual policies.
 The linkages between party and the voter remain tentative since voters identify
more with the leader and less with the party.

Political manipulations instead of governance

 Ruling parties are known to ignore—even undermine—governance and instead


survive on political manipulations.
 By co-opting the political elite from various social sections, and by seeking easy
popularity through selectively satisfying some demands, a weak clientelist
politics is adopted.
 It is “weak” in the sense that patronage is disbursed ad hoc; it tends to
manipulate both demands and expectations; no social section is genuinely served
or satisfied; instead, everyone is left with a sense of being cheated, though
temporarily placated. Emphasis is on momentary appeasement.

Sectoral demands addressed instead of mutual development

 Four, in accordance with the above, governments tend to be clever-by-half and


construct public interest on the basis of sectional demands and by producing
conditions for mutual suspicions among different social sections.

Weak party building

 Finally, the task of building party organisations is constantly postponed.


 In the name of party building, parties vacillate between narrowly imagined
cleavage-based mobilisations which tend to be exclusionary and a catch-all
strategy of accommodating one and all and make the party a catch-all
organisation.
 Such opportunistic inclusiveness discourages the party from ideas, policies, and
programmes and imprisons them in images and slogans.

Connecting the dots

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 Why does party system in India reflects that electoral dominance can be stumped
without political dominance? Examine.

Mediating Matrimonial Disputes in India


GS 2
 Dispute Redressal Mechanism and Institutions
Introduction

 Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms have long been touted as an


efficient substitute to traditional adjudication of legal disputes by courts
 However, it was only in 1999 that the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), 1908, was
amended to include Section 89, which codified different mechanisms for such out-
of-court resolutions.

What is mediation?

 Mediation, one of the four mechanisms delineated in the provision—is a voluntary


non-adjudicative form of dispute resolution where a neutral third party assists
parties in reaching an amicable solution through negotiation and facilitation
 Although dispute resolution through negotiation has long been a part of Indian
tradition, this amendment, which came into effect only in 2002, brought mediation
into focus as a key form of alternate dispute resolution.
 It also provided legislative impetus to court-connected mediation, which is a model
that enables sitting judges to refer cases before them for mediation.
 However, it was not until the Supreme Court’s decision in Salem Advocate Bar
Association v Union of India (2005) that a framework for court-connected mediation
centres was established and model rules formulated.

Court-connected Mediation and Matrimonial Disputes

 From being an alternative for suitable civil cases across case types, the focus has
shifted to mediation being particularly well-suited for matrimonial cases.
 This shift came incrementally and established itself in the then existing policy on
matrimonial disputes, as codified in the Family Courts Act, 1984.
 This act provided for the establishment of family courts with a view to “promote
conciliation in, and secure speedy settlement of, disputes relating to marriage and
family affairs and for matters connected therewith”.
 These courts function as district courts and are the courts of first instance for
matrimonial cases
 The draft rules set out “matrimonial, maintenance and child custody matters, among
others” as disputes where conciliation or mediation is appropriate, since the
preservation of a relationship between parties is desirable in such cases
 Court also directed that criminal courts should refer cases under Section 498A of
the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860—which criminalises cruelty towards a woman by

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her spouse or his relatives—for mediation, if elements of a settlement exist and
parties are willing.

Issues relating to mediation in matrimonial disputes

No consent from parties

 The jurisprudence in India lacks clarity on whether parties’ consent is required for
court-connected mediation.

No concrete definition of matrimonial disputes

 Judicial pronouncements have rendered the term “matrimonial cases” amorphous.


 For instance, the Court has, for years, permitted the quashing of first information
reports (FIRs) in certain non-compoundable offences, for example, in cases under
Section 498A, on the pretext that some offences (such as those in matrimonial cases)
“overwhelmingly and predominantly bear civil flavour” (Gian Singh v State of Punjab
and Anr, 2012).
 By deeming criminal offences in matrimonial disputes to be less serious than
others because the harm in such cases is to the victim rather than society (Gian
Singh 2012), the Court has made a problematic classification.
 The term “matrimonial cases” has, therefore, become a catch-all phrase used to
recreate the public/private divide that the legislature sought to debunk by
criminalising certain acts.

Ignoring 'criminal' element in matrimonial cases

 Supreme Court’s decision in Srinivas Rao (2013),where it held that criminal courts
should refer Section 498A (IPC) cases for mediation, raises several concerns.
 For one, the Court overrode the legislative intent expressed in the drafting and
transgressed its judicial mandate.
 Even though the statute limits the use of ADR mechanisms to civil cases, the Court
gave judicial legitimacy to mediation in criminal cases under Section 498A of the IPC
 Additionally, by suggesting that a criminal case be mediated, the Court also
contradicted its earlier opinion in Afcons 2010, which listed criminal offences as
unsuitable for ADR .
 Moreover, by muddling the jurisprudence further, the Court reiterated a false and
gendered hierarchy between offences, deeming some offences—like those in
matrimonial cases—to be less serious than others.

Jurisprudence influenced by gender discrimination itself

 The jurisprudence has been oblivious to matrimonial relations being deeply


gendered and oppressive - Agnes, Flavia.

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Conclusion

 India’s approach to resolving matrimonial cases needs immediate reform.


 There is reason to fear that, in its efforts to provide speedy and sensitive redressal to
parties in such disputes, court-connected mediation frameworks may have gone a
step too far, thus negatively impacting the interests of vulnerable parties without
so much as acknowledging it.
 Inadequate institutional training of mediators and the absence of a more
meaningful process of determining the suitability of cases for mediation are only
some of the problems that plague the court-connected mediation framework in
India.
 Further, issues relating to gender justice have found no mention in the
jurisprudence on the issue, which remains shrouded in a rhetoric that prioritises
the preservation of the institution of marriage above parties’ individual interests.

Connecting the dots

 How has the mechanism to redress disputes of matrimonial nature evolved in last
few decades? What are the issues that need to be addressed to make truly
efficient?

Low Levels of Electoral Participation in Metropolitan Cities


GS 2
 Development processes and the development industry – Role of various groups
and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
Note

 Particularly relevant for Political Science Students, but is a good read for all
nevertheless
 Don’t get bowed down due to the names of scholars. It is fine both ways if you
remember them or not, but ofcourse they can be a good asset in essay

Background

 This phenomenon has puzzled the Election Commission and social scientists alike,
especially since backward and rural areas have reported relatively higher electoral
participation - Banerjee, Mukulika “Why India Votes? Exploring the Political in
South Asia”.
 However, empirical data indicate that metropolitan cities have lower voter turnouts
not because the so-called middle classes do not participate in the national elections
but, rather, because the urban poor residing in these big cities do not exercise their
franchise in larger numbers.
 A large share of these urban poor are internal migrants who do not form a part of
India’s democratic upsurge due to low enrolment rates and, hence, are the reason
behind the low urban turnout rate.

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Voting patterns

 The success of Indian democracy is largely attributed to the country’s electoral


vibrancy.
 Considered an exception to democratic theory, India, unlike many full-fledged
democracies, is said to witness high electoral participation without preconditions
such as a certain level of income, education, social class, or ethnic cohesion-
Varshney, Ashutosh (2013): Battles Half Won: India’s Improbable Democracy
 This democratic success is reflected in the average voter turnout for the 15 Lok
Sabha elections held till now, which has been around 60% and the average turnout
for the numerous state assembly elections, which has been much higher at 65%.
 Though voter turnout did increase after the 1960s, there has been no substantial
decline or increase. However, when the data is disaggregated by locality, an
interesting pattern emerges.

Initial years

 Initially, India, like other Western democracies, exhibited a positive relationship


between the level of urbanisation and electoral turnout - Weiner, Myron (1978):
Sons of the Soil: Migration and Ethnic Conflict in India.

Second democratic upsurge

 From 1952 till the 1980s, the urban voter turnout was higher than the rural voter
turnout, but, from 1984, the rural turnout picked up and surpassed the urban
turnout as part of a larger change that has been described as the “second
democratic upsurge” Yadav, Yogendra (2000): “Understanding the Second
Democratic Upsurge: Trends of Bahujan Participation in Electoral Politics in the
1990s.
 Since then, the rural turnout has been consistently higher than the urban turnout,
despite the saturation of the second democratic upsurge - Palshikar, Suhas and
Sanjay Kumar (2004): “Participatory Norm: How Broad-Based Is It?” - this trend has
continued till the last general election, which witnessed the highest ever electoral
turnout of 66.4%

Voting pattern of urban areas

 Interestingly, even within urban areas, there is a wide gap in turnout levels
between small towns/cities and big cities, with voters in small towns/cities
participating more than voters in India’s big, metropolitan cities.
 However, recently, Chandra, Kanchan and Alan Potter (2016): “Do Urban Voters in
India Vote Less?” have questioned the empirical basis of such a claim and have
argued that this hypothesis extends only to voters residing in big, metropolitan
cities, and that the electoral participation of voters from semi-urban constituencies
is as high as that of voters from India’s rural constituencies.

Why declining vote percentage in urban India a concern?

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 This is a cause for concern as India’s urban population has increased from 28.6%
(2001 Census) to 37.7% (2011 Census) over the past decade, and due to the
accelerating pace of urbanisation, India’s urban population is projected to be 60% by
2050 (Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India).
 Thus, in the context of growing urbanisation, the low voter turnouts in India’s big
cities remain a point of bafflement for policymakers and the Election Commission.

Apathy of the middle class as the reason

 During the past two or three general elections, the media has been flooded with
commentaries on how the low voter turnouts in big cities are the result of the
negligence of India’s well-off, educated middle-class voters.
 The political engagement of the middle classes in big cities is presumed to have
declined with changing political and economic changes in India’s big cities: the
eclipse of working class movements which once characterised India’s industrial
cities and the rise of finance capital
 Unlike the economically lower classes and the poor, the middle class tends to be a
beneficiary of the state system by payment of taxes and does not have to face the
consequences of the dysfunctional nature of the state in India
 This line of reasoning can be traced to the difference in the relationships between
the entity called the “state” and the poor and non-poor citizenry and, consequently,
the different motivations for voting that exist between these two economic
categories.
 The state largely remains inaccessible and is known to misgovern and ignore the
poorer masses.
 Thus, on the one hand, democracy in the form of electoral engagement is a source
of empowerment for the urban poor and lower economic classes, and on the other
hand, for the middle class, it is a quid pro quo in the hope of accessing material
goods in exchange for payment of taxes or performing civic duties - Pradeep
Chibber (2012): “Why the Poor Vote in India: If I Don’t Vote, I Am Dead to the State
 Even the recent association of the middle class with the Anna Hazare–led Anti-
Corruption Movement or the Nirbhaya protests have highlighted the positioning of
social movement–based activism among the middle classes in opposition to
electoral politics
 Electoral politics in urban spaces is often relegated to the domain of the poor for
whom political expression through electoral means is a way of accessing patronage
benefits - Chatterjee, Partha (2004): The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on
Popular Politics in Most of the World,

Is It Really the Middle Class?

 Evidence shows that contrary to popular claims, there is a positive relationship


between electoral participation and economic class.
 Voter turnout levels among the middle class and the richer sections residing in big
cities are much higher than among the economically lower and poorer sections.
 Popular and scholarly accounts often emphasise the disdain of the middle class for
electoral politics and their increasing participation in associational activities as an

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exertion of their citizenship rights - Fernandes, Leela (2006): India’s New Middle
Class: Democratic Politics in the Era of Economic Reform.
 There is no reason to believe that the middle class has become disengaged from
electoral politics. The middle class, as a socio-economic category, has witnessed
substantial expansion with the onset of liberalisation and privatisation, breaking
the dichotomy of a small elite and the impoverished masses - E Sridharan Jodhka,
Surinder
 Size of the Indian middle class has swelled to 267 million individuals currently, and it
is projected to increase to 547 million by 2025–26.
 In addition to its size, the middle class has a strong opinion-shaping voice, adding to
its political salience in electoral politics.
 Therefore, in urban politics, the middle class in India’s big cities is said to be
gradually replacing slum residents as voters who can be mobilised for electoral
purposes.
 This increased engagement with electoral politics has become a platform for the
middle class to demand the effective delivery of public goods and services such as
better roads, cleaner water, etc, by the local state, which is otherwise characterised
as dysfunctional.

Voice of migrants

 Though migrants in India’s cities may come from different economic classes, in big
cities, internal migrants are more likely to be poor than non-migrants
 Even among slum-dwellers (a large part of the urban poor reside in slum
settlements), a large number among them are migrants
 There is a historic relationship between urbanisation and migration. Big cities have
always been dynamos of economic growth and attract domestic migrants from
smaller cities/towns or rural areas, who seek a better livelihood.
 In India, 35.4% of residents in urban areas have been classified as internal migrants
by last place of residence (NSSO 2007–08). Within urban migration, rural–urban
migration far exceeds urban–urban migration and is the real contributor to urban
population growth.
 Apart from relatively longer periods of migration, urban areas also witness shorter
migration periods such as seasonal and temporary migration or commuting
migration, which are not easily accounted for in large-scale surveys
 Delhi, historically, does not have a native population—no group or community which
can claim to be the “sons of the soil”—and it is largely constituted of people who
came in from other parts of the country and settled there at different periods of
time.

Factors responsible for migrants' low voter turnout

Low enrolment rates among internal migrants

 Migrants who face social and institutional forms of exclusion due to non-possession
of identity-based documents such as PAN cards, ration cards, bank accounts, and

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Aadhar cards also face similar problems while exercising their franchise. Denied their
citizenship rights, migrants are subject to a double discrimination—a lower
enrolment rate and, among those who are enrolled, a lower level of electoral
participation.

 This form of political exclusion gets pronounced among migrants from vulnerable
communities, who are also subjected to various forms of spatial and socio-economic
discrimination in India’s big cities

Nature of the occupational engagement of short-term migrants

 The second reason is the informal nature of the work that migrants are usually
engaged in.
 Despite the Election Commission’s diktat that voting day be declared a public
holiday, the nature of work prevents many from taking leave.

Way forward

 Measures such as the Election Commission’s focused registration drives in migrant-


dominated areas, regularly updating electoral rolls, setting up special electoral
booths for migrant voters, and a better identification system for migrants would
serve as policy prescription to address the problem.
 However, the larger political issue related to the “domicile status” of migrant voters
(a prerequisite for someone to get registered as voter in a particular area), which is
often a source of conflict among the “natives” and “migrants,” remains
unaddressed.
 However, amidst the celebration of India’s electoral democracy, we must
contemplate and find ways and means to include sections of the population that
are excluded from the formal political process.

Connecting the dots

 Electoral participation in India’s big, metropolitan cities has been lower than that
in semi-urban and rural areas. Examine the reasons for such a phenomenon.
 Declining voter turnout in urban India is a cause of concern. Examine why and what
steps could be taken to address this scenario.
 The voice of migrants in the formal democracy has declined due to some reasons in
urban India. Identify those reasons and the ways for the correction.

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Right to Privacy Judgment
GS 2
 Indian Constitution

Context

 The affirmation of the individual as the basic normative unit of the Constitution, its
elaboration of privacy in terms of bodily integrity, informational self-
determination, and decisional autonomy, and the narrow framework within which
the state may impose limitations upon it.
 M P Sharma v Satish Chandra (1954) and Kharak Singh v State of UP(1964) seemed
to suggest that there was no fundamental right to privacy under the Constitution.
 However, for the last 40 years, since the judgment in Gobind v State of MP (1975),
the Supreme Court had consistently held that privacy was a fundamental right; it
was an aspect (at the very least) of the right to life and personal liberty under Article
21 of the Constitution.

Puttaswamy judgment

 In different ways, the six separate opinions articulate privacy as a three-pronged


right: the right to bodily and mental integrity, the right to informational self-
determination (that is, control over personal information), and the right to
decisional autonomy or intimate decision-making.
 Each prong is focused on the individual: the sanctity of the individual’s body and
mind, the sanctity of her personal information, and the sanctity of her private
decisions.
 When the judgments discuss the importance of private spaces (such as the home)
and private relationships (such as marriage and the family), they discuss them not as
ends in themselves, but as instrumental to achieving genuine and meaningful
individual privacy.
 The home, for instance, is important because it is within that space that an individual
can be left alone to freely develop her personality, away from the prying eyes of the
state or of society.
 Marriage and other social relationships must be left alone because they are products
of free individual choices regarding whom to associate with and on what terms.
 Consequently, while the Court does not discard the home and the family as sites of
privacy, these exist in order to fulfil the individual’s right to privacy, and not as
competing centres of privacy.

Individual and the state

 To start with, as a corollary to this finding, the Puttaswamy(2017) judgment notes


that individual consent is crucial to any state programme based on data collection
and data mining, a finding that will have an inevitable impact upon the ongoing
Aadhaar challenge.

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 The basic point is that the 2017 Puttaswamy judgment articulates a vision of privacy
that can be the foundation of an important reorientation in how courts in India
understand the constitutional relationship between individual, society, and the state.

Limitations upon Privacy

 The constitutional text itself prescribes limitations upon rights, setting out the
circumstances in which the state may justifiably curtail them.

Limitations of particular fundamental right on which privacy is claimed will apply

 Whenever article of the Constitution was invoked (freedom of speech, freedom of


association, or personal liberty, as the case may be) for privacy right, the limitations
upon that article (as set out in the text of the Constitution, and as developed in the
jurisprudence of the Court) would apply.

Proportionality Standards concept

 Other judges, however, were of the opinion that because privacy was not reducible
to other fundamental rights, a suitably fresh test would have to be devised.
 A close reading of the separate opinions suggests that five out of nine judges
endorsed a “proportionality standard,”which is presently applied in many
jurisdictions (such as in Canada, South Africa, and by the European Court of Human
Rights), and is also a part of international human rights law.
 The proportionality standard requires the state to demonstrate, in cases where it
wishes to set limits to the exercise of rights, not only the existence of a legitimate
purpose, but also that the proposed method would infringe upon rights only to the
minimum degree necessary to achieve that goal.
 The Court’s endorsement of the proportionality standard is likely to have important
ramifications in future cases, especially in the context of data collection and data
mining.
 In cases such as the Aadhaar (or, in the future, a potential DNA profiling law), it will
be incumbent upon the state not only to show that its privacy-infringing activities
are serving legitimate goals, but also that it could not achieve those goals by using
any other, less invasive method.
 It may be argued that preventing the leakage of welfare benefits, or controlling
crime, are legitimate goals of the state; however, the importance of the 2017
Puttaswamy judgment lies in holding the state to strict evidentiary standards in its
justification of the methods used to achieve those goals, as well as placing rigorous
limits upon what, and how much, the state can do to achieve them.

Privacy and Other Rights

 In the wake of the 2017 Puttaswamy judgment, some scholars and activists have
voiced concerns that instead of being used as a shield to protect individuals against
state overreach, privacy may come to be used to cut down other rights: in particular,
the right to free speech and the right to information. These concerns, while

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legitimate, would become largely groundless if future courts were to apply the
judgment in its true spirit.
 It is worth noting that the Puttaswamy judgmentonly recognisesthe existence of the
fundamental right to privacy; it does not indicate how privacy is to be balanced
against other rights.
 In fact, even before this judgment, courts had been engaged in this task.
 Courts had held that while the right to privacy was implicated when an unauthorised
biography was written about a person’s life, no such right could be claimed in the
case of government officials performing public functions (R Rajagopal v State of
Tamil Nadu 1994; Khushwant Singh v Maneka Gandhi 2002).
 Similarly, Section 8 of the Right to Information Act (2015) represents a similar
balancing exercise undertaken by Parliament to exclude personal information from
the ambit of the act.

Connecting the dots

 Privacy judgement has altered the relationship between individual and the
state. Explain.
 Data collection by the state will be subjected through “proportionality
standards” after the privacy judgement. Explain by giving suitable example.

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International Relations
India’s Oil Predicament
GS 3
 Infrastructure – Energy
GS 2
 Bilateral groupings

Background

 India is the third largest consumer of crude oil in the world


 The global oil industry sees India as the most important export destination for the
next two decades.
 India already imports over 80% of its crude oil requirement.
 With domestic production declining, it could become even more vulnerable to the
vagaries of international crude oil markets in the future.

Shale oil emergence

 High oil prices between 2011 and 2014 led to increased investment and output of
United States (US) shale oil (a non-conventional fossil fuel).
 Shale oil extraction involves injecting liquid at high pressure into underground rock
formations to open fissures and force out oil or gas. – Prelims fact
 In the past, shale oil extraction was considered an expensive production process that
would be unviable below a certain price level.
 Despite prices falling dramatically in mid-2014, OPEC did not exercise the option of
cutting production to halt the fall in prices as it hoped to make US shale oil
production unprofitable.
 Instead, although low prices affected it, shale oil extraction proved resilient through
improved production techniques and with producers holding on till prices rose.
 Eventually, the lower prices took a toll on OPEC members themselves, some of
whose budgets depended heavily on oil revenues.
 The resultant OPEC agreement of late-2016 imposed production limits on its
members to address global excess supply and to shore up prices.
 Since then, prices have steadily risen.

Efforts of Indi

 The dependence on imports is the reason India has been trying to diversify its source
countries.

Diversification of sources to non-OPEC

 Even as India continues to import a substantial portion of its crude oil from OPEC
members, the share of non-OPEC sources is increasing.

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 This indicates that the OPEC was ceding market share at a time when its members
are bound by production limits that came into effect from 1 January this year.
 In this context, India’s oil imports from the US are an important development, not
because of the volumes—rather meagre at the moment—being imported, but
because the US has emerged as the world’s largest fast-growing oil producer on
account of increased shale oil production.
 A greater diversity of sources for crude oil will put India in a better position to
negotiate with large OPEC member suppliers.

Renewable sources share increasing

 Global oil markets have been concerned about whether better efficiency and
alternative sources of energy would permanently depress global oil requirements.
 The shift away from oil is slower than expected in developing countries, especially
in sectors like road transport.
 The move to alternative, less oil-dependent, transport systems is an important aim
that India has adopted partially.
 A co-benefit of increased investment in non-polluting public transport or limits on
personal transportation, for instance, would be a reduction in the pollution load in
our cities.

Way forward

 Given India’s growing demand for oil, and its dependence on imports, there is a need
for a more immediate strategy to drastically reduce fossil fuel dependence.
 This makes economic as well environmental sense.

Connecting the dots

 The diversification of sources of oil from the international market is significant for
the energy security of India. Explain in the context of recent developments.

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Indian Economy
Issues relating to Recapitalisation

GS 3
 Mobilisation of resources

Context

 ₹ 2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation plan for public sector banks in India.
 In funding this plan, ₹ 1.35 lakh crore is expected to come from the issue
of recapitalisation bonds, while the remaining ₹ 76,000 crore will be through
budgetary allocation and market borrowing.

Need for recapitalisation

Stressed assets

 Public sector banks have experienced a steady deterioration in the quality of assets.
 Stressed assets are a sum of gross non-performing assets and restructured standard
advances. – Prelims fact
 This deterioration has been happening since 2009 when in the wake of the global
financial crisis, Indian regulators behaved as if this country had a similar crisis and
resorted to measures of regulatory forbearance.
 The resultant exuberance in lending to infrastructure projects via the public–private
partnership (PPP) model, coupled with governance issues in select public sector
banks and associated reports of crony capitalism.

Low credit growth

 Bank credit growth since 2014–15 has decelerated drastically and stood as low as
8.2% during 2016–17.
 More importantly, credit to agriculture and allied activities experienced a sharp
deceleration.
 On an annualised basis, non-food bank credit increased by 6.1% in September 2017
as compared with an increase of 10.8% a year ago.

Recapitalisation may not help credit growth

 In an economy with such subdued economic activity, fuelled by government-created


structural impediments, where there is not much credit demand, recapitalised
banks may not be able to force firms to borrow or to kick-start the investment cycle.

Case of “Lemon Socialism”

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 It was told earlier that loan waivers tended to undermine an honest credit culture
and could lead to crowding out of private borrowers.
 We have also seen huge reluctance of the establishment to publish the debt
defaulters’ lists in the past.
 This is nothing but “lemon socialism,” wherein losses are socialised and profits are
privatised.

Conclusion

 The enactment of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in December 2016 was
anticipated to have ushered in a new era, but the reality turned out to be different.
 Sectors like steel, power, or telecommunication continue to be severely stressed.
 Thus recapitalisation is not enough.

Connecting the dots

 Recapitalisation of banks is necessary but not sufficient for resolving the NPA crisis.
Examine.

Delhi–Mumbai Industrial Corridor: Economic and Environmental


Consequences

GS 3
 Changes in industrial policy and Infrastructure
GS 1
 Factors responsible for the location of industries

What is DMIC?

 In 2007, it was envisioned that the backbone of the DMIC would be a “High Axel
Load Dedicated Freight Corridor” that would traverse the 1,483 km between
India’s political and economic capitals.
 Furthermore, there was a plan to link 10 cities with more than a million residents
each, with 11 investment regions and 13 industrial areas that would serve as growth
poles.
 The tripartite objective for the first five years is to “double employment, triple
industrial output and quadruple exports”
 To this end, each of the six states through which the DMIC traverses has at least
one investment region, and the industrial areas were chosen because they would
either augment existing strengths in particular areas or “transform Under-
Developed Regions along the Corridor to Developing/Well-Developed Regions”

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Critical analysis

Regional inequalities reinforced

 First, in contrast to the centralised nature of Nehruvian development that sought


to reduce regional inequality by steering investment to so-called “backward”
regions, the DMIC arcs through some of India’s most industrialised and urbanised
states.
 Meanwhile, these “backward” states figure into this new regional division of labour
as suppliers of natural resources, agricultural products and labour power.
 As a result, the DMIC exacerbates regional inequality within India.

Capital intensive nature of production

 Second, while an explicit objective of the DMIC is to boost formal sector


employment in manufacturing, the sectors that are likely to flourish within the
DMIC are capital intensive and unlikely to substantially expand employment
opportunities.
 DMIC may indeed foster export-led economic growth, but it will be essentially
“jobless” and, unlike India’s metros whose disenfranchised earn livelihoods in the
informal service sector, there will be significantly less growth in such sectors within
the DMIC.

Wastage of resources

 Finally, the projects that constitute the DMIC require a dramatic increase of
material inputs and resources, whose exploitation will generate a tremendous
amount of waste.
 The existing infrastructure systems cannot cope with the increase of the metabolic
flows, while future infrastructure requirements are likely to be circumscribed by
resource constraints.
 Furthermore, there seems to be an absence of planning across political jurisdictions
to integrate infrastructure systems.
 This will ultimately impose limitations on growth and foster conflicts surrounding
access to resources and exposure to waste.

Role of public sector

 The DMIC Development Corporation was established to facilitate funding and


acquire approval for specific projects.
 Once the relevant financing is secured and approvals are acquired, projects are
managed by special purpose companies/vehicles that are often public–private
partnerships.
 Thus, there is an absence of regional planning and local authorities have scant
influence over DMIC projects, yet governmental authorities play a role in guiding the
expansion of the DMIC.

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 With regard to the role of the state and the extent to which political authority is
centralised, the DMIC is a much closer relative to Nehruvian developmentalism
than it is to an idealised notion of a free-market economy.
 However, it departs from Nehruvian developmentalism in three important ways.

How DMIC is different from Nehruvian development model

Private accumulation of capital

 First, the projects that comprise the DMIC are geared towards facilitating capital
accumulation in the private sector in the sense that people and places are
aggressively integrated into circuits of capital in ways that ensure profits for Indian
multinationals and foreign investors.
.
PPP model

 Second, in contrast to the elaborate licensing system that evolved during the
Nehruvian era to manage the independent activity of private sector firms, the
DMIC projects enrol private enterprises into partnerships with public entities
through a tender system.

Regional inequalities unaddressed

 Third, Nehruvian development sought to balance regional development within


India and, to this end, authorities used licences, permits and quotas to steer
investment to so-called backward regions.
 State-owned enterprises, such as the Steel Authority of India, located capital-
intensive operations in these areas as well.
 In contrast, the DMIC traverses some of India’s most industrialised areas and,
hence, rather than reduce regional inequality, the DMIC will most likely exacerbate
it.
 DMIC will lock in a regional division of labour where “backward” regions in eastern
India serve as a commodity frontier and supply cheap labour, agricultural products,
and natural resources to industrial agglomerations in the West.

Connecting the dots

 DMIC project is a stark shift from the industrialisation process in the early
independent India of planned era. Discuss the differences.
 DMIC will accentuate the regional inequalities. Critically examine.

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Fairness of Minimum Wages for MGNREGA
GS 2
 Government Policies and their implementation
GS3
 Employment

Context

 Since 2009, wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Scheme have been delinked from the Minimum Wages Act and have
not changed from their real value in that year.
 As a result, MGNREGA workers have been victims of stagnating real wages. In some
states, they are paid even less than the minimum wage.

Background

 Wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
(MGNREGA) are to be paid as per Section 6 of the act.
 Three committees have recommended on MGNREGA wages since they were
delinked from minimum wages: (i) Central Employment Guarantee Council’s (CEGC)
“Working Group on Wages;” (ii) Mahendra Dev Committee; and (iii) Nagesh Singh
Committee.

Supreme Court Judgements

 The Supreme Court has recognised payment of minimum wages as a fundamental


right.
 In Sanjit Roy v State of Rajasthan (1983) the apex court stated that

"where a person provides labour or service to another for remuneration which is


less than the minimum wage, the labour or service provided by him clearly falls
within the meaning of the words “forced labour” and attracts the condemnation
of Article 23 … if anything less than the minimum wage is paid to him, he can
complain of violation of his fundamental right under Article 23 and ask the Court to
direct payment of the minimum wage to him so that the breach of Article 23 may
be abated."

 The judges also held that “the State cannot be permitted to take advantage of the
helpless condition of the affected persons and extract labour or service from them
on payment of less than the minimum wage.”
 Justices P N Bhagwati and R S Pathak based their judgment on a previous year’s
ruling in People’s Union for Democratic Rights and Others v Union of India and
Others (1982) in which the Supreme Court included “compulsion arising from
hunger and poverty, want and destitution” in the definition of “forced labour”

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Nagesh Singh Committee

 The committee recommends indexing MGNREGA wages to the price level using the
Consumer Price Index Rural Labourers with 1 April 2009 as the base.
 The committee finds “no compelling argument for convergence of minimum wages
for agricultural labour and wages notified for MGNREGA workers.”
 The most prominent is the lack of a uniform method followed by states in
determining their minimum agricultural wages.

Conclusion

 The appointment of the Nagesh Singh Committee to look into the matter of
MGNREGA wage revision after rejecting the modest recommendations of the
Mahendra Dev Committee for no apparent reason is a clear signal from the ministry
of its lack of intent to determine a fair and constitutionally valid wage for MGNREGA
workers.
 Economically unviable wages are likely to lead to a significant reduction in the
demand for MGNREGA work.

Significance of MNREGA

 The achievements of MGNREGA since its implementation in 2006 have been no


small feat.
 On an average, 50 million households are provided employment for about 40–45
days every year.
 The incomes earned from MGNREGA wages and assets created under the
programme have enabled rural households to ward off hunger and fight poverty.
 As half of the MGNREGA work is done by women, the programme has enabled
them to earn wages in their own gram panchayats, operate bank accounts to
access their wages and participate in gram sabhas to take decisions on the
implementation of the programme.
 MGNREGA has also activated local democracy and principles of transparency and
accountability at many places.

Connecting the dots

 Given the significance of MGNREGA in rural development, it is essential to provide


sufficient wages to the workers. Critically examine.

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Defence and Security
Privatisation of defence manufacturing
GS 3
 Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Status of Indian defence manufacturing

 The Indian Ordnance Factories organisation, a group of 41 ordnance factories that


function under the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Kolkata, has, in its history dating
back to 1775, assisted both in the march of the British Empire in India and in the
wars fought by independent India, delivering, on more occasions than one, at short
notice. – Prelims fact
 Operating under the aegis of the Department of Defence Production in the Ministry
of Defence, the 41 ordnance factories form an integrated base for indigenous
production of defence hardware and equipment, with the primary objective being
self-reliance in equipping the armed forces with state-of-the-art battlefield
equipment

Criticism of ordnance factories

 Indian ordnance factories had not only failed to keep pace with changing
technology but also did not have the capability to absorb it in the event of a transfer
of technology, and in some cases they had even failed to assemble products that had
been imported.
 Whether the below-par functioning of ordnance factories was because of the
assured orders they had since “there was no competition whatsoever” or because of
the lack of accountability.
 Ordnance factories supplied substandard and overpriced equipment, were unable
to support a product, and suffered grossly from time and cost overruns.
 Nothing can be more glaring than the numerous criticisms against the battle tank
Arjun and the assault rifle INSAS (Indian New Small Arms System).

CAG Report

 A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India report in July criticised the OFB
for supplying “inadequate quality of ammunition to the Army since March 2013”
and for the “shortfall in meeting the production target set by OFB *itself+”.
 The report stated that despite an earlier high-level report (in 2015) on “ammunition
management in the Army” highlighting the concerns about the quality and volume of
supplies from the ordnance factories, no significant improvements had taken place.

Government recent steps

 Ordnance factories are in possession of around 60,000 acres (24,281 hectares) out
of the 17.3 lakh acres (seven lakh hectares) that comes under the nomenclature

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“defence land”, with the most valuable OFB parcels being in Kolkata, Pune, Jabalpur,
Kanpur, Medak, Avadi and Dehradun.
 Ministry issued a circular listing around 200 items that could be sourced from the
trade recently.
 These items were to be categorised as non-core, and the armed forces would be
allowed to buy them from the open market.

Alternative opinion against privatisation

 Owned by the government and created for national security, the OFB does not
take commercial considerations for any decisions in manufacture.
 The price the customer pays is decided mutually between the user and the
producer.
 Moreover, the need for war reserves, idle investment to take care of surge
production, social and welfare schemes, residential colonies, hospitals, schools,
other statutory and non-statutory obligations, and the image of the government as
an ideal employer are unavoidable factors.
 Further, the ordnance factories face orders that are of an uneconomical quantity.
 There is a clear gap between design R&D and manufacturing, and we continue to be
capable of only licence production.
 The DRDO [Defence Research and Development Organisation] has not given the
ordnance factories any new designs after the Arjun tank.
 For decades, we followed the dictum that the DRDO will design, the OFB will
produce, the DGQA will inspect, defence finance and defence accounts will exercise
control. The manual has not changed since the British set up the defence industry.
No defence industry can work without R&D.
 Since 2006, we have been given powers to do R&D and DRDO products are giving
revenues.
 creation of an Army Design Bureau, akin to the Naval Design Bureau, will help
remove the disconnect between the user and the manufacturer.
 Rifle Factory in Ishapore, the Small Arms Factory in Kanpur, the Ordnance Factory
Project in Korwa and the Ordnance Factory in Tiruchi have been identified as
possible choices for PPP ventures.

Way forward

 Corporatisation of the OFB by turning the 41 factories into a conglomerate along


the lines of other defence public sector undertakings, such as Hindustan
Aeronautics Ltd, has been suggested as a possible panacea by at least two Defence
Ministry-appointed committees, one headed by former Revenue Secretary Vijay
Kelkar in 2005 and another headed by Vice Admiral Raman Puri in 2016.

Connecting the dots

 Discuss the importance of Ordnance Factories in the security architecture of the


country. Why have they not been able to replace our imports?

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 It is suggested that privatisation of defence manufacture should be done wherever
feasible. Examine the consequences of such a step.

Agriculture
Reforming the Marine Fishery Regulatory Regime in India
GS 3
 Economics of Animal Rearing

Marine resources of India

 India, being one of the largest marine fisheries in the world, has high stakes in
managing its coastal and marine resources.
 The marine resources in India are highly diverse, comprising an EEZ of 2.02
million km2 besides a continental shelf area of nearly 0.5 million km2. - Prelims
 The capture fisheries sector in India, though, experienced a rapid expansion in
recent decades with the advent of mechanised fishing during the 1980s, and
has started showing signs of over-capitalisation and consequent crises.

Fishery Regulations in India – Prelims facts

 Indian Fisheries Act, 1897 was followed by several local regulations promulgated
by various princely states in the subsequent years of the British Raj.
 In the post-independence era, the enactment of two crucial laws—the Territorial
Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zones
Act, 1976, and the Maritime Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign
Vessels) Act, 1981—has significantly altered the way fishery is regulated in the
country.
 These acts, which deal with the demarcation of maritime zones for fishing and
ocean administration, were offshoots of the UNCLOS negotiations.
 Other important legislations and policies passed during the 1970s and afterwards
and which are relevant for marine fishing activities include the Indian Wildlife
(Protection) Act, 1972; the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; the Environment
(Protection) Act, 1986; the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification, 1991;
New Deep Sea Fishing Policy, 1991; Biological Diversity Act, 2002;
Comprehensive Marine Fisheries Policy, 2004; notifications declaring selected
coastal areas as MPAs from time to time, and so on.
 The latest effort in this direction is the National Policy on Marine Fisheries, 2017
which was notified in April 2017.
 As per the act of 1976, areas up to 200 nautical miles (nm) from the territorial
sea baseline is designated as an EEZ, in which India has sovereign rights for the
purpose of exploration, exploitation, conservation and management of natural

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resources and for producing energy. Areas up to 12 nm from the baseline are
designated as territorial waters.
 As per the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, states have the
jurisdiction to govern fishing and fisheries in territorial waters, whereas the
union government reserves its jurisdiction beyond territorial waters, that is,
between 12 nm and 200 nm.
 Marine fishing activities within the territorial waters of maritime states are
governed by the respective marine fisheries regulatory acts (MFRAs).
 Kerala and Goa were the pioneers in passing their own MFRAs in 1980; they were
followed by other maritime states in subsequent years.
 The MFRAs contain several provisions to regulate, restrict or prohibit
unsustainable/destructive fishing practices, to define access rights, to impose
spatial and temporal fishing restrictions, and to make licensing and registration
of fishing vessels compulsory.

Critical Appraisal of the MFRAs

 MFRA, have been found effective to a great extent in regulating fishing within
India’s territorial waters.
 They make use of a variety of regulatory approaches such as access control,
input/effort-based restrictions, and spatial as well as temporal restrictions,
outlined above.
 However, output/catch-based controls have been used sparsely (except in
Kerala, where the minimum legal sizes for fish species were notified in 2015).
 Compulsory registration and licensing of fishing vessels, which are the basic
access control measures used the world over, finds place in the MFRAs of all
maritime states and union territories.
 The temporal restriction of mechanised fishing or seasonal fishing bans is
another tool adopted across the maritime regions of India. The basic rationale is
to restrict fishing activities during the time when most marine fish species
undergo peak spawning so as to ensure the natural replenishment of fish
stock.
 Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala, and Karnataka have been diligently practising
seasonal fishing bans for more than two decades; other states have also adopted
this in later years. The criteria in fixing the closure periods and the type of fishing
activities restricted during SFBs vary across states.
 However, to avoid conflicts of fishermen from different states, the union
government, based on scientific facts on spawning periods, other relevant
details, and stakeholder consultations across states, recommended a seasonal
closure of 61 days - fixed the ban period as 15 April–14 June on the east coast
and 1 June–31 July on the west coast.
 However, within their territorial waters, the states reserve the rights to decide
on the fishing ban period and its applicability on the type of boats.

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Community-based Regulatory Systems

 Along with formal and institutional regulatory mechanisms, a number of sui


generis regulatory and co-management systems have coexisted in various parts
of coastal India.
 Most of these informal, community-based governance models have evolved
over time and have limited administrative jurisdictions in the concerned locales.
 These widely documented cases include the padu system being followed in
parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the kadakodi system in northern Kerala; the
traditional panchayat system along the Coromandel coast of Tamil Nadu, and
alternate-day fishing systems in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay areas. – Prelims
facts
 The primary concerns of all these systems are resource conservation and the
management of sustainable fishery management with community control over
access rights and the regulation of certain kinds of harmful fishing practices.
 Access rights are generally determined by collective decisions based on an
accepted set of criteria and norms within the community.

Steps needed for strengthening the Regulatory Regime

Expanding the contours of regulations

 Though the territorial waters in India’s EEZ are well under the regulatory
framework of the MFRAs, the areas beyond 12 nautical miles, which are under
the administrative control of the union government, are literally left without
any rules for fishing.
 This renders a substantial proportion of the catch from this area (nearly 70% of
trawl catches) as illegal, unreported, and unregulated
 The need for regulatory control in these areas was minimal till recently, due to
limited fishing operations.

Harnessing science and technology for strengthening enforcement

 Recent advancements, particularly in the field of space science and information


technology, can be effectively utilised for strengthening fishery governance and
enforcement.
 We need to devise institutional mechanisms for tracking fishing vessels on their
course of movement during fishing operations.
 The Government of India is already working out the modalities for introducing a
vessel monitoring system (VMS) in India’s EEZ.
 Such a system would be instrumental in strengthening monitoring, control and
surveillance (MCS) in the EEZ, particularly with respect to zoning and protected
areas.
 Similarly, spatial planning of marine and coastal habitats covering major fishing
grounds using advanced GIS mapping tools would be a step forward in ensuring
efficient fishing operations, foolproof MCS as well as enhanced security across
the Indian coastline

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Facilitating co-management/co-governance

 The idea of a rights-based fisheries management is being promoted through the


institutionalisation of co-management approaches.
 It is high time to work out modalities to establish co-management groups with
local partners and other relevant stakeholders within major fishery hubs in the
country which can function with full legitimacy and administrative support of the
respective local governments.
 In this context, it is essential to harness the strengths of civil society
organisations, NGOs, fishermen organisations and other non-state actors who
have considerable influence in fostering ecosystem-based, tenure rights-based
and human rights-based fishery management approaches.
 The Kochi Initiative, wherein traditional fish operators and trawl operators in
Kerala agreed to adopt a package of responsible fishing practices in the wake of a
serious decline in pelagic resources, is one such example of stakeholder-induced
efforts towards co-governance.

Operationalising the CCRF and other voluntary instruments

 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, 1995 provides for an elaborate
set of principles and standards for ensuring the conservation, sustainable
management and development of fisheries.
 For effective implementation, various fisheries should be assessed for their
existing levels of compliance with the Code, followed by concerted efforts to
draw up detailed grass-roots-level strategies to plug the gaps.
 Though CMFRI has embarked on a major exercise to develop a National Marine
Fisheries Management Code (NMFMC) for customised guidance on CCRF
implementation in India, the initiative should be taken forward with the
proactive participation of all stakeholders.

Ensuring global cooperation

 Frequent trespass of international maritime boundaries by fishermen, often


unintentionally, and the consequent diplomatic impasse that ensues between
India and neighbouring maritime countries have highlighted the need for
instituting bilateral and multilateral negotiation and conflict resolution platforms
for the Indian Ocean.

Conclusion

 There is a need for relooking at the marine fisheries regulatory and enforcement
regimes in the country with a view to align it better to address outstanding issues
and emerging challenges.

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 A set of interventions that include revisiting the MFRAs; expanding the contours
of regulation to areas beyond territorial waters; harnessing technological
advancements for tightening enforcement and improving compliance; facilitating
co-governance through the institutional empowerment of local fishery
management groups; operationalising CCRF; and, ensuring multilateral
diplomacy for fishery governance in the Indian Ocean

Connecting the dots

 National Policy on Marine Resources 2017 seeks to streamline the regulatory


mechanisms of the fisheries sector to make it more economically viable.
Enumerate the steps that should be taken in this regard.

Solar energy for irrigation


GS 3

 Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems

Context

 In May 2017, the world’s first Solar Pump Irrigators’ Cooperative Enterprise
(SPICE) completed its first year of operation in Dhundi village in central Gujarat.

Solar irrigation

 Solar pumps are not new in India, and their number has grown from less than
7,500 in 2010 to nearly 1,00,000 in 2015–16 .
 Once the farmers are done with irrigation, they pool their surplus solar energy
and sell it to local power distribution company (or DISCOM) under a 25-year
power purchase agreement.
 In return, these farmers have surrendered in writing their right to apply for a
subsidised grid power connection for 25 years.
 “solar crop” can help in doubling smallholder incomes.

Advantage in Groundwater Management

 India’s major resource governance challenge is managing groundwater demand.


 In India, perverse power subsidies incentivise the waste of energy and
groundwater depletion through deep tubewells. shows that India’s electric tube
wells are concentrated in 10 states which account for 90% of the total number of
tubewells in the country.
 All these offer free or subsidised farm power supply.

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 Four-fifths of India’s groundwater over-exploited blocks are concentrated in these
10 states.
 Power subsidies have accelerated groundwater depletion and raised the energy
cost of irrigation, which in turn has made power subsidy impossible to abolish
without invoking the farmers’ wrath on a massive scale.
 SPaRC offers a painless and politically acceptable way to end these subsidies.

Conclusion

 The bottom-up approach of the Dhundi model is the way to go.


 In this model, as electricity is produced through the cooperative in the village itself
with the surplus power being sold the the DISCOM, it incentivises farmers to
judiciously use electricity which in turn also guard against depleting water tables.
 Also the ownership of the micro-grid to the cooperative in the village provides a
model for active participation of the people in their own governance.

Connecting the dots

 Irrigation systems built by cooperatives are a way forward to address the water
problem. Explain the statement with suitable example.

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Human Development
Healthcare Industry in India
GS 2
 Issues relating to health

Surge of the private sector

 It is well known that since the mid-1980s, the Government of India has actively
encouraged the formal private healthcare sector through direct and indirect
concessions and policy measures.
 The poor performance of the public healthcare sector, arising from prolonged
inadequate funding and deliberate neglect, is conveniently used by the private
sector as well as policymakers to increase private sector participation.

Nature of healthcare industry

 Private sector healthcare in India is known to be a heterogeneous mix of informal


and formal providers, with the formal providers belonging to either not-for-profit or
for-profit categories.
 Further, formal providers range from individual practitioners to formally registered
small-to-medium private hospitals, and the corporate commercial hospital sector.
 While there is a large unorganised sector comprising own account/individual-run
enterprises, however, the National Sample Survey (NSS) data points to a declining
trend in such individual-run enterprises in private health sector and an increasing
trend towards small-, medium- and large-sized enterprises, with large-sized
enterprises increasing at a much faster rate as compared to medium- and- small
ones, between 2001–02 and 2010–11

National Health Policy on healthcare industry

 The National Health Policy (NHP) 2017, in its opening paragraph, refers to the
presence of a “robust” healthcare industry and its double digit growth, and notes
that it brings in revenues and employment
 Further, the NHP refers to “ongoing efforts by the Government to streamline the
own-account-enterprises (OAEs) within the corporate sector and to regulate them”.
 It calls for engaging with the private sector through measures such as strategic
purchasing of services from different providers, including for-profit ones, and for
encouraging “the private sector to invest—which implies an adequate return on
investment that is, on commercial terms which may entail contracting, strategic
purchasing, etc.

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Feature of the Industry

 The term “healthcare industry” is used as an umbrella term encompassing hospitals


and diagnostic centres, drugs and pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical
equipment and device manufacturers, and the health insurance industry.

Corporatisation of the health

 Ownership is no longer confined to medical professionals/doctor entrepreneurs,


nor is it local.
 For eg., Foreign institutions held 45% stakes in the Apollo Health Enterprises
Limited
 Global and domestic private equity funds are acquiring significant stakes in big and
small regional companies, and are becoming part of the governance and ownership
of healthcare companies.
 Indian entities are seen to be expanding their activities across the country, including
previously uncovered regions in eastern and central India.
 Corporate hospital chains were acquiring standalone hospitals; the focus and
attention is on low-cost models and Tier II cities to drive their growth plans, due to
the high competition and high land costs in Tier I cities, particularly targeting the
expanding purchasing power among the upper and middle classes.
 The bigger companies have multiple operations that include: owned hospitals,
hospitals and/or some specialty centre operated and pay revenue share to the
owner of the hospital premises, hospitals, standalone clinics and primary care
facilities operated on a lease or licence basis, hospital management services
provided to third parties for a management fee, and pharmacies, diagnostic centres.
 For companies with such multiple businesses in healthcare, hospitals contributed the
largest share in revenues.
 Companies are also introducing a corporate model for primary healthcare, by
drawing individual practitioners and clinics into a network.

Influx of Finance Capital

 Healthcare has emerged as an attractive sector for investment by venture capital


and private equity funds.
 Healthcare is considered to be a recession proof and a blue-eyed sector for
investors, partly because of the large profits that had been made by some private
equity firm exits.
 A notable development is the intensified support by development agencies and
international finance institutions, such as IFC of the World Bank group and the
Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) of the United Kingdom (UK), to
the spread of private companies in healthcare, through direct and indirect financial
support.
 This support is a manifestation of the larger shift in international development policy
to the use of loans and equity investments to support the growth of a range of
private sector companies, in the name of creating employment opportunities and
promoting economic growth and development.

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Public Needs Private Profits

 Public funds are being diverted to the private sector through state insurance
programmes and PPPs, which reduces funds available for the public healthcare
sector
 Undoubtedly, the healthcare system in India, specifically the private sector, has
moved into a distinct new phase where the provision of medical care has become a
highly sought-after sector by capitalist institutions, with a growing network of
companies supplying medical care for profit.
 The medical/healthcare sector is getting rapidly transformed from an
“unorganised” to organised sector, a process being facilitated also by powerful
institutions such as IFC.
 Not only is there expansion of corporate hospitals and diagnostic chains to smaller
cities and towns, for-profit enterprises are entering into setting up of smaller
facilities for specialised, single-specialty care—such as maternity eye care, cardiac
care, care-dialysis-diagnostics, etc—primary care clinics, providing home-based
care, and getting into partnerships with governments.
 Experience all over the world shows that corporations, big or small, wield great
social, political and cultural influence, nationally and globally; and influence local
communities, and behaviour and values of ordinary individuals.
 For instance, we see that the healthcare industry is active in promoting health
insurance for low income groups, in creating demand and consumer awareness of
market opportunities for buying healthcare, in portraying health as an individual
responsibility, and so on.
 Although corporate businesses are privately-owned enterprises, still their activities
are as pervasive as that of governments, and have consequences that affect the
larger public.
 The primary focus of the corporate sector is on individualised curative care; there is
no attention to public health concerns of disease prevention, surveillance,
monitoring and reporting of epidemics and illness data, research, all of which form
important inputs for comprehensive public health planning at population level.

International experience

 The experiences of the US or even some European countries that depend on private
provisioning show that the cost of healthcare has gone up significantly in the last few
decades, which the best of regulatory systems have not been able to contain, raising
questions about the efficiency and sustainability of these models.
 On the other hand, experiences of Thailand, Malaysia show that, in the long run, a
well-functioning public health system is the only way to contain costs, regulate
practices in the private sector and deliver united healthcare at sustainable costs.

Connecting the dots

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 The healthcare industry should not be treated as an economic industry for making
profits. Examine by highlighting the trends in the industry.

Thank You

IASbaba

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