Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 29, 2019

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Q.1) The model code of conduct has been violated by several candidates during campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections. Critically examine the power of election to take against such candidates and parties.

Answer:

The MCC is a set of norms for conduct and behavior of the political parties and candidates during elections. It aims to provide a level playing field for all political parties.

MCC does not a have a statutory backing and it is more a consensus driven code by political parties. Thus, we often see violations of MCC and no effective action against such deviations.

Need for statutory backing:

  1. since most of its provisions are enforceable, the remaining stipulations in the MCC should also be accorded statutory backing
  2. Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice recommended in its 2013 report that statutory status be accorded to the MCC
  3. absence of an immediate appeal mechanism against the decision of the returning officer to cancel the nomination of a candidate. The decision can only be challenged in the High Court after the announcements of election results
  4. The bar on the ruling party from the use of its position for electioneering to combine official work with campaign activity, the exercise of monopoly over public places and transport facilities are important non-statutory stipulations in the code

However, the Election Commission has argued against making the MCC legally binding. EC observe that elections must be completed within a relatively short time, and judicial proceedings typically take longer, therefore it is not feasible to make it enforceable by law.

 

Q.2) Data from the Annual survey of industries (ASI) Shows a surge in contract worker usage in the organised manufacturing sector. Discuss the reasons for rise in contract labour. Also, examine its impact on Indian economy.

Answer:

The growth of gig economy is characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.

Reasons rise in contract labor:

  1. More disruptive technologies playing a role in manufacturing
  2. Preference to short, asset-light, transborder industries
  3. Growing competition for the same markets demand cutting costs thus reducing labour expenses
  4. educational gap may be contributing to the growing gig economy. …
  5. Changing attitudes towards work is driving more people to freelancing

Impact on economy:

  1. It affects the wage premium and formal wage employment.
  2. No comprehensive social security to majority numbers in the population
  3. No guaranteed minimum wages despite existing laws
  4. Lack of healthy and congenial environment at the workplace
  5. Less premium on growth of the individual employees
  6. Traditional solutions to unemployment may not yield results

 

Q.3) In Parliamentary democracy office of speaker should be apolitical in nature. What is the Challenges face by speaker in India? What steps should be taken to ensure trust in the office of speaker.

Answer:

Challenges faced by speaker’s position:

  1. Speaker contests the election for the seat in legislature on a party ticket. The need for re-election compel speaker to favour their political party also pushes them to compromise neutrality.
  2. With the increase in the multitude of parties, the time available to each party to represent its interests during discussions is reduced. This aggravates the constraints faced by the Speaker in prioritising between matters and often faces the allegation of partisan.
  3. In recent times, there are number of instances where the role of speaker has been criticized for decision on membership of MLAs under the anti-defection law and their ruling have been challenged in courts.
  4. The Tenth Schedule says the Speaker’s decision on questions of disqualification on ground of defection shall be final and can’t be questioned in courts. It was anticipated that giving Speakers the power to expel legislators would prevent unnecessary delays by courts and make anti defection law more effective.
  5. Frequent disruptions reduced the time required for important discussions and compel speaker to allocate less time for discussion.

Steps to be taken:

  1. Increase transparency in his decision-making process.
  2. Speaker should act against those legislators who defy the party whip while voting on matters that impact government stability.
  3. Anyone seeking the office of the Speaker might be asked to run for election on an independent ticket.
  4. Speaker should be barred from future political office, except for the post of President, while being given a pension for life.

 

Q.4) The independence of the judiciary and fundamental right to free speech and expression are of great value and both are required to be balanced. Examine the statement in the context of recent case in supreme court where a petition seeking clarification whether the office of Chief Justice of India (CJI) is covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Answer:

Why judiciary should be brought under RTI:

  1. Offices of all constitutional functionaries should be made amenable to the RTI law to bring transparency and accountability in their functioning. Just as the legislature and administration are open to scrutiny, judiciary should throw itself open.
  2. The citizens’ right to know the true facts about the administration of a country is essential for a democratic State.
  3. The secrecy surrounding the appointment process will be reduced to some extent
  4. It will reduce scope for judicial corruption; as, often, there are allegations of bribery against judges

At the same time, judicial independence should be fiercely protected and any information detrimental to the institution need not be revealed. This, however, need not act as a blanket ban against transparency.

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