Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 14, 2019

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Q.1) Colonial era Official Secrets Act (OSA) needs a relook in light of modern realities and the norms that are prevailing today. Comment.

Answer:

Problems with OSA:

  1. There is no clear definition of “secret” documents or information, government can declare any document as official secrets.
  2. The act is in contravention of the Right to Information (RTI) Act that came into effect in 2005.
  3. OSA’s background is the colonial climate of mistrust of people and the primacy of public officials in dealing with the citizens, which do not suit to the present democratic India.
  4. It provides a mechanism to promote culture of secrecy in the governance and makes disclosure an exception, going against the transparency requirement of democratic governance.
  5. Section 5, which deals with potential breaches of national security, is often misinterpreted and misused to frame journalists

Way ahead:

  1. Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) Report recommended That OSA should be repealed and replaced with a new chapter in National Securities act.
  2. The Law Commission also recommended consolidation of all laws dealing with national security and suggested a “National Security Bill”.
    Commission also recommended that any person voluntarily receiving any official secret knowing or having reasonable ground to believe, at the time he receives it, that the official secret is communicated in contravention of this Act, shall be guilty of an offence under this section.
  3. The Shourie Committee recommended a comprehensive amendment of Section 5(1) to make the penal provisions of OSA applicable only to violations affecting national security. The Commission is of the view that the disclosure of information has to be the norm and keeping it secret should be an exception.
  4. In order to send a strong signal about the change and for the sake of effective implementation, the old law/s should be repealed or modified to the extent necessary.

 

Q.2) Discuss the effectiveness of UNSC in dealing with the issue of terrorism. How does it provide a deterrent against the capabilities of terrorist organisations?

Answer:

UNSC ban:

The ban will subject the person and the groups to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo

Benefits:

  1. Limits the flow of funds to terror groups
  2. Puts in place accountability mechanisms against state sponsored terror
  3. Enables an effective way for international community to cooperate

Challenges:

  1. The process follows arbitrary procedures for terrorist black-listing an individual or organisation
  2. Limitations of consensus and veto by members like China
  3. Lack of support from host country like Pakistan renders the resolution ineffective
  4. The committee is being criticised for being non transparent and in recent time there is demand for its reforms to address procedural shortcomings

 

Q.3) What do you mean by emotional intelligence? Explain the importance of emotional intelligence at the workplace?

Answer:

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise one’s emotions in a situation and act efficiently. It also needs the ability to understand others emotions.

Importance of EI:

  1. Emotional intelligence can lead to better decisions
  2. Emotionally intelligent employees are more likely to keep their cool under pressure and act efficiently
  3. Those with high EQ are better at resolving conflicts
  4. Emotionally intelligent leaders tend to have greater empathy
  5. Employees with high EQs are more likely to listen, reflect, and respond to constructive criticism
  6. It creates conducive work culture and environment for outcomes

 

Q.4) PM Jan Aarogya Yojana outcome depends on States effort. In this context discuss the concerns raised by some states and possible way forwards for such concern?

Answer:

Several states like Telangana, Delhi, Odisha have conveyed unwillingness to join PMJAY. Their reasons are as below:

  1. Apprehensions of insufficient coverage under the scheme
  2. States like Telangana already have their existing schemes
  3. Some other states like Odisha provide a better coverage than that is provided by the centre’s scheme
  4. The funding ratio of 60:40 is a constraint quoted by some states.
  5. An IndiaSpend analysis, citing a study published in Social Science Medicine, had pointed out that the existing insurance programme, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), has not led to any reduction in out-of-pocket expenditure by its 150 million beneficiaries. It also left 40% beneficiaries uncovered.
  6. NHPS provides cover for services that southern states are already providing within an average per capita outgo of less than Rs 50,000 despite the ceiling of an assured sum of Rs 2 lakh. Offering a higher ceiling for the same set of services will only help the hospitals game the system.

Way ahead:

  1. Partnerships and coalitions with private sector providers.
  2. Bringing together all relevant inter-sectoral action linking health and development to universalise the availability of clean drinking water, sanitation, garbage disposal, waste management, food security, nutrition and vector control. The Swachh Bharat programme must be incorporated in the PMJAY.
  3. Technology and innovation are further reducing costs
  4. Government will have to think of many non-budgetary means of financing for the schemes related to healthcare.
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