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Q.1) How do you justify the view that proxy voters are a major threat to democracy?(GS-2)

Introduction:

  • According to the provisions of ‘Representation of the People Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017 overseas Indians, who are entitled to vote in India, can appoint a proxy voter to cast their votes on their behalf.
  • Also, the oversea Indians would be allowed to use the option of proxy, which till now was only available to service personnel.

Why proxy voters are a necessity?   

  • Section 20A of the Representation of the People Act provides for registration and inclusion of overseas electors in the electoral rolls.
  • Additionally as per the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960 the overseas electors needs to exercise their franchise in person at the specified polling booth.
  • Thus, the rules demand for the physical presence of overseas electors in their respective polling stations in India on the day of polling which causes hardship to the overseas electors.
  • This amendment proposes facilitating an external mode of voting, that is, voting by proxy.

What are the possible drawbacks of the proxy voters?  

  • It threatens the very core of democracy as the special treatment violets the fact that there are many times more domestic migrants who also seek to have a voting right at their homes.
  • The proxy voter may cast vote for the candidate who is not desired by oversea Indians.
  • There can be no guarantee of NRI voters exercising their vote in a free and fair manner as there can be no check on coercion or inducement by the employers.
  • There is no guarantee that votes would not be sold to the so called proxy.
  • There is no fixed number of votes a proxy could cast in an election.

Q.2) What are the drawbacks of PwD Act, 1995 for which it was replaced with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016?(GS-2)

Introduction:

  • In the context of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, the Supreme Court has come out with a series of directions to ensure that public infrastructure is accessible to differently-abled persons.

What are the drawbacks of Person with Disability Act, 1995?

The drawbacks of Person with Disability Act, 1995 are as follows:

Absence of protection against discrimination:

  • The new “The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill – 2016” empowers the right to equality, preservation of dignity and personal liberty which was absent in the PwD Act, 1995.

Limitation in types of disability:

  • Disability being a dynamic concept needed an expansion in its types; the former act had incorporated only seven types of disability.

Absence of benchmark disabilities:

  • The 1995 Act had no special provision for persons with benchmark disabilities.

Limited social security:

  • The 1995 Act’s focus on social security was limited to financial assistance and insurance coverage-community participation.
  • The recreational approaches were ignored.

Gender specific clauses:

  • Gender specific clauses make the new Act gender sensitive, a significant development over the 1995 Act.

Weak enforcement:

  • Penal provisions for violating the provisions of the 1995 Act was weak.
  • Also the Officer of Chief Commissioner and State Commissioner for PwDs was not vested with enough strength and power.

Conclusion:

  • It is not only the duty of Union, states and Union Territories but also citizens of the country to leave no stone unturned to make the lives of the differently abled ones much easier.

Q.3) Present an account of crop residue and examine the adverse effects of burning of crop residue on environment. (GS-3)

What is crop residue?

  • There are two types of agricultural crop residues.
  • Field residues: are materials left in an agricultural field or orchard after the crop has been harvested.
  • These residues include stalks and stubble (stems), leaves, and seed pods. The residue can be ploughed directly into the ground, or burned first. Good management of field residues can increase efficiency of irrigation and control of erosion.

Process residues:

  • Process residues are materials left after the crop is processed into a usable resource.
  • These residues include husks, seeds, bagasse, molasses and roots. They can be used as animal fodder and soil amendment, fertilizers and in manufacturing.

What is the reason behind burning crop residue?

  • Residue burning gives fields to farmers that are easier to seed and less pest infested.
  • Burning residue gives the farmers a seedbed that is easy to work and will not obstruct the growth of a new crop.

What are the adverse effects of burning crop residue?

  • Most importantly, it gives way to a significant amount of air pollution.
  • Recent data says that concentration of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide rises by 7% and 2.1%,
  • Weakens the local capacity of the agroecosystem services, ranging from protection of soils against erosion to recycling of nitrogen.
  • Erosion thus leads to loss of necessary nutrition of the soil.
  • It raises health issues such as acute respiratory problems and heart problems.
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