Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – June 8

1. Discuss the main features of the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme. Examine the challenges faced by India to connect a large number of unconnected places and people with airways.(GS 3)

Introduction:-

  • UDAN is regional air connectivity scheme (RCS) which seeks to make flying affordable by connecting unserved and under-served airports.
  • This scheme has been launched as per the vision in new Civil Aviation Policy which had capped the passenger fares for flight journeys from un-served and underserved airports at Rs.2500 per hour of flying for around 500 kilometers under RCS scheme.
  • The main objectives of this scheme are:
    • To revive the existing under-served and un-served airports / airstrips in smaller towns and provide them connectivity so that persons in those towns are able to take affordable flights.
    • Provide viable and profitable business to operators.
    • Promote tourism, increase employment, promote balanced regional growth

Main features:-

  • RCS is applicable on route length between 200-800 kilometers with no lower limit set for hilly, remote, island and security sensitive regions.
  • The business model of the scheme is based on Government subsidy and viability gap funding (VGF).
  • The central government will provide concessions of around 2% excise on VAT and service tax at 1/10thrate along with liberal code sharing for regional connectivity airports.
  • The airlines are required to commit around 50% of the seats as RCS seats on RCS flights.
  • The fund for this scheme would come from a Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) created by levying certain charges on certain flights. States will need to contribute around 20% to this fund.
  • For balanced regional growth, the allocations will be spread equitably across five regions in the country viz. North, South, East, West and North East with a cap of 25%.

Significance (Extra points)

  • Expansion of air connectivity
  • New opportunities in aviation will revive Investor sentiments.
  • Creation of more employment opportunities by expansion of the sector.
  • Price reduction for short duration flights will make flying more affordable to citizens.
  • Direct air connectivity to prominent tourist destination will boost tourism and development of tourist areas.
  • Through introduction of helicopters and small aircraft, it is also likely to significantly reduce travel timings in remote and hilly regions, as well as islands and other areas of the country.

Concerns:-

  • Constrained by issues such as non-availability of slots in prominent airports such as Delhi and Mumbai & meeting Overhead costs .
  • Air Operator’s Certificate is detailed and cumbersome. Even though the government indicates that it will fast track the AOC procedure, but the target seems too optimistic
  • Majority of the RCS airport are Visual Flights Only which makes them inaccessible during adverse weather conditions, especially in the hilly areas. Also, there is lack of technical staff
  • Passage of GST will lead to increase in airfare, coupled with the rising fuel charges will lead to airlines opposing the move as it doesn’t seem profitable enough and could increase airlines NPA
  • There are also logistics issues, as slots for the routes awarded out of metro cities like Mumbai and Delhi are not available.

Challenges faced by India to connect a large number of unconnected places and people with airways :-

  • Airline operators do not show much interest as it will not be profitable to them.
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure.
  • Lack of adequate manpower and staff.
  • Land acquisition problems.
  • Lack of adequate investment in these places.

2. Highlight the role of NHRC in investigating human rights violations across India.(GS 2)

Role of NHRC:-

  • It can take suo motu cognizance of cases related to human right volations and can investigate on filing a petition of by order of the court.
  • It is entitled to observe the condition of inmates by undertaking frequent observation of jail premises.
  • NHRC works with international organizations, NGOs and SHGs for promotion and protection of human rights.
  • It reviews constitutional, legal and provisions of international treaties from the prism of human rights.
  • It has jurisdiction even to intervene in court proceeding if they are violating the human rights.

Success:-

  • Investigating the violation of human rights or action of any public servant that amounts to negligence in prevention of such violation
  • visiting the jails or any other such public institutions under state government to inquire about the living conditions of inmate.
  • NHRC has taken several measures to promote right education in India like a recent inclusion of human right in curriculum of schools and colleges
  • Several success stories in its track record like Hussainara khatoona case, sunil batra vs Delhi administration, its judgement on custodial deaths etc
  • An important intervention of the Commission was related to Nithari Village in Noida, UP, where children were sexually abused and murdered. NHRC helped bring out in open a multi crore pension scam in Haryana

Failures:-

  • Limited resources, inadequate funds
  • It can only recommend measures
  • NHRC act does not extend to J&K
  • NHRC cannot investigate an event if the complaint was made more than one year after the incident. Hence, a large number of genuine grievances go unaddressed.
  • Violations by armed forces cannot be effectively investigated (no power to summon witnesses)

Overburdened with complaints:

  • With increase in complaints it becomes difficult to address the cases.
  • It depends on state and central machinery like CBI and state police for investigation which has led to several unsolved cases of human right abuses like Godhra masacre, Muzzafarnagar hindu muslim riot.
  • Issue of majoritarianism may affect the impartiality/accountability of the body.
  • Shoddy investigations which lack due diligence.Many of its reports have been severly castigated by civil society activists for being far removed from ground realities.
    • For example, reports in case of alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur.
  • Lack of impartiality :
    • The NHRC at times, has been unable to take a stand critical of the government of the day. For eg. during the Kairana exodus, it submitted a report vindicating the government stand, without undertaking a thorough investigation.
  • Marred with controversies:
    • For instance, the Batla House encounter case in the recent past. The Commission’s report giving clean chit to the Delhi Police came under fire from various quarters.
    • It was said that the Commission had failed to conduct a proper inquiry as its officials never visited the site and filed a report on the basis on the police version.
  • It is often viewed as a post-retirement destinations for judges, police officers and bureaucrats with political clout. Bureaucratic functioning, inadequacy of funds also hamper the working of the commission.

Way forward:-

  • Its decisions need to be made enforceable by the government.
  • If commissions are to play a meaningful role in society, they must include civil society human rights activists as members.
  • Misuse of laws by the law enforcing agencies is often the root cause of human right violations. So, the weakness of laws should be removed and those laws should be amended or repealed, if they run contrary to human rights.

3. What does ethics seek to promote in human life? Why is it all the more important in Public Administration?(GS 4)

What does ethics seek to promote in human life:

  • Ethics promotes morality in human life by making morals and value judgments a part of the decision-making process.
  • Being ethicalmeans choosing the proper course of action despite obstacles and challenges that may hinder one from choosing to do the right thing.
  • Ethics’ broadly acts as ‘Code of conduct’ for leading human life in a co-operative, peaceful & positive manner.
  • Ethics seeks to promote the principle of utilitarianism (Maximum good for maximum people).
  • Ethics in human life is essential to help build character and outlook of and individual.
  • It is important to sustain and cherish human life without infringing rights of others at indiviual level and maintaining sociaL order an harmonay at societal level.

Why is it important in public administration :-

  • Ethics are the rules that define moral conduct according to the ideology of a specific group. Moreover, ethics in public administration are important for good business conduct based on the needs of a specific town, state or country.
  • Ethics provide accountability between the public and the administration.
    • Adhering to a code of ethics ensures that the public receives what it needs in a fair manner.
  • It also gives the administration guidelines for integrity in their operations. That integrity, in turn, helps foster the trust of the community.
  • Public servants have sensitive information about countries economy,defence and security it is necessary that they adopt ethical standards and do not spell the secrets which can harm the society.
  • To adopt to a corrupt free behaviour administrators should have ethical standards.
  • Ethics seeks to promote compassion and empathy in administrator to maintain social harmony, unity, pro-poor policy formulation, more focus on equity and social justice.
  • With a strong code of ethics in public administration, leaders have the guidelines they need to carry out their tasks and inspire their employees and committees to enforce laws in a professional and equitable manner.
  • Another positive outcome of good ethics in public administration is timely and informative communication with the community.
    • This kind of transparency builds trust and prevents or minimizes the potential issues that can arise when information is divulged from outside sources.
  • In a democratic legal order, it is essential (i) to provide both public officials and the public at large with a common frame of reference regarding the principles and standards to be applied and (ii) to assist public officials to develop an appreciation of the ethical issues involved in effective and efficient public service delivery.

 

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