Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – December 21, 2018

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Q.1) The Constitution of India explicitly confers the powers of review on Indian judiciary. In the light of this statement critically examine the activism of judiciary in India.

Answer:

Indian Constitution establishes an integrated and independent judiciary. It is vested with the powers to review and invalidate any legislative and executive action that it deems to be violative of constitution.

Benefits of judicial activism:

  1. Failure of the legislative and executive wings to provide ‘good governance’ makes judicial activism an imperative.
  2. Social reform : the recent verdicts by Supreme Court on Triple Talaq, Adultery, Section 377 and Sabarimala Temple show the significant role it can play in taking socially tough and unacceptable decisions
  3. Electoral reforms: Proactive interpretation of laws by the Supreme court has been the reason behind groundbreaking electoral reforms in the country which the legislatures wouldn’t have bought.
  4. We don’t have a very rigid system of separation of powers.

But this role of judiciary is discretionary and is expanding over the years to the extent that it is perceived to be overreach.

Overreach:

  1. There should be a broad separation of powers among the three organs of the state and one organ should not encroach into the domain of another.
  2. Courts do not possess the expertise to make decisions and they cannot be held accountable for the consequences of their decisions as they are appointed and not elected.
  3. Since judiciary is a non -elective body, it does not enjoy popular will to make laws.
  4. Judicial accountability is still not institutionally established fully; the Judicial accountability bill and NJAC couldn’t get materialised and judiciary remains resistant to RTI.

 

Q.2) Prime Minister has focused on putting in place a ‘development state’ in place of the ‘soft state’ and Niti Ayog’s recently released ‘Strategy for New India @ 75’ seeks to achieve this goal. Discuss.

Answer:

Key recommendations of the Strategy for New India @ 75 document:

  1. Steadily accelerate the economy to achieve a GDP growth rate of about 8% on average during 2018-23.
  2. In agriculture, shift the emphasis to converting farmers to ‘agripreneurs’ by further expanding e-National Agriculture Markets and replacing the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act with the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act.
  3. Give a strong push to ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’ techniques that reduce costs,improve land quality and increase farmers’ incomes.
  4. To ensure maximum employment creation, complete codification of labor laws and a massive effort must be made to upscale and expand apprenticeships.
  5. Launch a mission “Explore in India” by revamping minerals exploration and licensing policy.

Some of the key recommendations in the section on infrastructure include:

  1. Expedite the establishment of the Rail Development Authority (RDA), which is already approved.
  2. Double the share of freight transported by coastal shipping and inland waterways.
  3. With the completion of the Bharat Net programme in 2019, all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats will be digitally connected. Aim to deliver all government services at the state, district, and gram panchayat level digitally by 2022-23.

Some of the key recommendations in the section on inclusion include:

  1. Successfully implementing the Ayushman Bharat programme including the establishment of 150,000 health and wellness centres across the country, and rolling out the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyan (PM-JAY).
  2. Create a focal point for public health at the central level with state counterparts. Promote integrative medicine curriculum.
  3. Upgrade the quality of the school education system and skills, including the creation of a new innovation ecosystem at the ground level by establishing at least 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs by 2020.
  4. Conceptualize an electronic national educational registry for tracking each child’s learning outcomes.
  5. As already done in rural areas, give a huge push to affordable housing in urban areas to improve workers’ living conditions and ensure equity while providing a strong impetus to economic growth.

Some of the key recommendations in the section on governance include:

  1. Implement the recommendations of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission as a prelude to appointing a successor for designing reforms in the changing context of emerging technologies and growing complexity of the economy.
  2. Set up a new autonomous body, viz., the Arbitration Council of India to grade arbitral institutions and accredit arbitrators to make the arbitration process cost effective and speedy, and to preempt the need for court intervention.
  3. Address the backlog of pending cases – shift part of workload out of regular court system.
  4. Expand the scope of Swachh Bharat Mission to cover initiatives for landfills, plastic waste and municipal waste and generating wealth from waste.

 

Q.3) The Draft Child Protection Policy is a welcome step in addressing child abuse, exploitation and neglect in institutions/organisations. Justify.

Answer:

Provisions of the draft policy:

  1. All organisations must have a code of conduct based on “zero tolerance of child abuse and exploitation”
  2. It requires organisations to lay down that employees don’t use language or behaviour that is “inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate”.
  3. Institutions should also designate a staff member to ensure that procedures are in place to ensure the protection of children as well as to report any abuse.
  4. Any individual who suspects physical, sexual or emotional abuse must report it to the helpline number 1098, police or a child welfare committee.

Need for the policy:

  1. According to NCRB data for 2016, incidents of rape of children have increased by over 82% compared to 2015.
  2. NCRB Data series show that over the last 10 years, crimes against children has increased 5 times over.
  3. Acc to statistics of NCRB 2016, every day, around 150 children go missing in India – kidnapping and abduction is the largest crime against children in our country.
  4. The study Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India ADSI 2014 reveal that fear of failure in examinations in the second highest cause of suicides in children.

 

Q.4) “Western Disturbances  play a critical role in the meteorology of the Indian subcontinent”. Discuss.

Answer:

In the winter season, the subtropical jet stream is bifurcated into two branches due to physical obstruction of the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. One branch flows to the south of the Himalayas while the second branch is positioned to the north of the Tibetan Plateau.

Role in climate:

  1. The arrival of these storms causes precipitation and thus a sudden decrease in air temperature over North-West India.
  2. The weather becomes clear after the western disturbances passes away.
  3. They also bring heavy snowfall in the Himalayan Region and a cold wave to north Indian plains.
  4. They affect weather conditions during the winter season and give occasional rainfall which is highly beneficial for the standing rabi crops.
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