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1. Discuss the salient features of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and examine its importance. (GS 2)

The Hindu | Link PRS

Salient features of motor vehicles bill 2016 :-

  • The Bill amends the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to address issues such as third party insurance, regulation of taxi aggregators, and road safety.
  • Under the Act, theliability of the third party insurer for motor vehicle accidents is unlimited.  It caps the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at five lakh rupees in case of grievous injury.
  • The Bill provides for aMotor Vehicle Accident Fund which would provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.
  • The Bill defines taxi aggregators, guidelines for which will be determined by the central government.
  • The Bill also provides for: (i) amending the existing categories of driver licensing, (ii) recall of vehicles in case of defects, (iii) protection of good samaritans from any civil or criminal action, and (iv) increase of penalties for several offences under the 1988 Act.
  • Bill has increased the compensation payable to the victims in accidents. The compensation for hit-and- run cases will increase from ₹25,000 to ₹2 lakh.

Importance :-

  • Actually has comprehensive rules that run the gamut on every aspect of road safety, from a National Registry for vehicles, to automated testing for driving licences, to guidelines encouraging commuters to report and help accident victims.
  • It also simplifies the provisions for claiming and settlement of vehicle accident insurance claims.
  • It proposes stiff penalties for drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding, overloading and other serious offences. The new law intends to halve the number of deaths and injury due to road accidents by 2020.
  • Accidents kill 400 people every day on Indian roads. A government report indicates a loss to the economy of 3 per cent of GDP (1999-2000) due to road mishaps, compared to 1.5 per cent for other middle income countries.
    • With provisions to improve the overall transport eco-system by supporting States in improving public transport and last mile connectivity, the Bill may also make travel easier for the common man.
  • The Bill also aims to reduce the corruption and waiting time in vehicle registration and licensing through the use of automation and e-governance

Concerns :-

  • The Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance, but does not cap the compensation amount that courts can award.
  • In cases where courts award compensation higher than the maximum liability amount, it is unclear who will pay the remaining amount.
  • Purpose of the new fund is unclear as there is solatium fund already for compensation of hit and run victims.
  • State governments will issue licenses to taxi aggregators as per central government guidelines. There could be cases where state taxi guidelines are at variance with the central guidelines on aggregators.
  • While the penalties are specified in the Bill, the offences that would warrant such penalties have not been specified.
  • The Bill does not address several issues around road safety that have been highlighted by other committees such as: (i) creating road safety agencies, and (ii) improving road design and engineering.
  • The Bill puts a ceiling on maximum claim in case of death from a road accident at ₹10 lakh (₹5 lakh for grievous hurt) from insurance companies. Currently, an insurer’s liability is unlimited in case of third party insurance policies for injury or death.
  • Periodic and ineffective enforcement with respect to penalties makes it less likely that these will be uniformly applied
  • Move to amend the MV Act overly emphasises the concurrent jurisdiction of the Centre at the cost of State powers

2. Discuss the factors that contributed to the Agricultural Revolution in Europe. How did it contribute to industrial revolution?(GS 1)

BBC Link

Introduction:

  • Agricultural revolution and industrial revolution are closely associated with each other. Agricultural changes which occured continuously from 1650 to 1850 met very well the challenges of industrial revolution and helped in preparing essential background for it.

Factors leading to agricultural revolution in Europe :-

  • Period of significant agricultural development marked by new farming techniques and inventions that led to a massive increase in food production.
  • Enclosure was a way of making sure land was consolidated into a field system that could be more economically and efficiently farmed.
  • In place of open and scattered fields of the middle ages cultivation now consolidated on large scale.
  • Extension of agronomy in other areas and intensive animal husbandry.
  • Transformation of the rural folk from self dependent farmers into agricultural labourers increase in per capita productivity in agriculture.

Agricultural revolution strengthened industrial revolution in many ways like:-

  • It provided food for increasing population, particularly the population in industrial centres.
  • It increased people’s purchasing power so that they might buy goods produced by British industries
  • It helped in providing sufficient capital for industrialization
  • Leaving their agricultural jobs labourers joined industries and supplied labour requirements of the industries .
  • The population in cities increase in proportion to the development of workshop system and to met their needs village farmers had to grow more food grains and produce more cotton.Therefore it became imperative to apply scientific techniques in agriculture
  • On the one hand enclosure act accounted for an increase in agricultural produce and on the other it constrained poor farmers to surrender their small fields.

3. “With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.” Critically comment. (GS 4)

Democracy is of the people, by the people and for the people.This shows public sentiments are the parameter for sustenance of democracy.

Importance of public sentiments:-

  • Public opinion is important in a democracy, as it can guide policy decisions.
  • Public sentiment reflects the need to address the issue they are facing.
  • In a democracy understanding the public sentiments is key aspect for effective law making.The laws can not be imposed which are not in tune with the demands of the public.
  • Effective,efficient governance as is witnessed d by the passage of RTI,citizen charter etc.
  • Trying to bring Pro active reforms which have been neglected.For example the anti corruption movement triggered waves and made government take action.
  • Public sentiments make government realise the need to resolve the grievances of the people some measures are taken by proactively creating platforms for people to vent out their problems.

However, for the success of democracy public sentiments are not everything as sometimes unpopular decisions need to be taken in public interest.

  • Like  demonetisation despite causing discomfort to the people government took action keeping in mind the benefits of it as a whole to the society.Many social reform laws taken were not popular
  • Public sentiments sometimes demand instant justice and violate rule of law like the cow vigilantism taking place in some places in India.
  • Public policy should be grounded in sound principles supported by experts.Decision making should not simply be the result of popular will.
  • Certain people, such as individuals with few economic resources, have a difficult time getting their views recognized.
  • Many people do not have a good understanding about issues and related policies.
  • Kills the unity in diversity concept in India as only majoritarian sentiments are visible and minorities demands would be largely neglected.
  • Public sentiments can be relatively well manipulated through the media and other sources and used to maintain the status quo and allow the representatives to make decisions based on their interests.

So, public judgement and deliberative polling are attempts to give people the opportunity to become more informed about issues and to contemplate policy options.


 

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