Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 19, 2019

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Q.1) What are electoral bonds? How do electoral bonds work? What are the benefits and challenges associated with electoral bonds?

Answer:

Electoral bonds are bearer bonds which are not registered in the name of a specific owner and will pay to whoever bears them.

A person wishing to donate to a political party can purchase these bonds from an authorized bank using cheques or digital payment methods. These bonds shall be redeemable only in the designated account of a registered political party.

Benefits:

  1. bring more transparency on who the donor and donee is
  2. curbs anonymous donations and keep a check on parties that are formed only with an eye on availing the benefits of income tax exemption
  3. the bonds can be encashed by an eligible political party only through a designated bank account with an authorised bank. Every political party has to submit details of one designated account to the Election Commission and the bonds can be encashed only in that account.

Challenges:

  1. bonds will help any party that is in power because the government can know who donated what money and to whom.
  2. Any potential donor, corporate houses or industrialists do not have to worry about donating to the party in power, but will have to worry about donating to party in opposition. Any party in power wants to know the donors for opposition and they may face some trouble.
  3. Also income tax breaks may not be available for donations through electoral bonds. This pushes the donor to choose between remaining anonymous and saving on taxes.

 

Q.2) The inconsistency and arbitrary application of the death penalty remains a matter of great concern to the judiciary. Analyse

Answer:

Problems with death penalty:

  1. arbitrary imposition of the death penalty – Grounds relating to the criminal such as his conduct in prison, his socio-economic and educational backgrounds, or the probability of reformation are sometimes considered and sometimes not; At the core of the arbitrariness in death penalty sentencing is the inconsistent approach to mitigating factors
  2. Supreme Court has not developed any requirements that guide the collection, presentation and consideration of mitigating factors
  3. Long delay in hearings cause suffering: Convicts facing Death row continue to face long delays in trials, appeals, and executive clemency. During this time, prisoners on death row suffer from agony, anxiety, and fear because of an imminent yet uncertain execution.
  4. India has retained capital punishment while 140 countries have abolished it in law or in practice. That leaves India in a club with the USA, Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia as a country which retains it.
  5. There is no evidence to show that death penalty acts as a deterrent for sexual violence or any other crime
  6. In the Indian context, there is a high possibility of its misuse given the social biases that influence police investigation and prosecution.

 

Q.3) Recent annual survey of industries data shows surge in contract worker usage in the organised manufacturing sector. Explain the reasons for increase in contract worker intensity and its possible consequences.

Answer:

The share of contract workers in total employment increased sharply from 15.5% in 2000-01 to 27.9% in 2015-16, while the share of directly hired workers fell from 61.2 per cent to 50.4 per cent over the same period.

Reasons for increase:

  1. After Globalization in India, the vast changes of political, economic and social conditions led to decentralization and specialization of production process in various industries.
  2. It imposes the employers to reduce the labour cost for taking a competitive advantage in the market.
  3. Lack of awareness of migrant labours about their labour laws also led to rise in contract labour.

Consequences:

  1. Deprives workers of protections under national legislation and internationally accepted labour standards
  2. Denies workers of contractual rights such as overtime, sick and holiday pay.
  3. Prevents workers acquiring continuity of employment and building experience.
  4. Limit workers access to national insurances and social security benefits where available.
  5. Denies workers access to redundancy payments and unemployment benefits.
  6. Restricts worker’s ability to build up any form of work-related pension.
  7. Leaves workers with no recourse in the event of work-related disease of industry training and apprenticeships.
  8. Lowers industry standards of skill and quality.
  9. Threatens workplace health and safety standards causing accident, absence and even death.
  10. Allows the evasion of taxes and social contributions by both workers and employers.
  11. This also impact the real wages of directly employed workers as the pool of contractual labour continues to expand

Q.4) “Suicides are a not just a result of psychological or emotional factors but has social dimensions too”- Discuss in the context of rising student suicides in India

Answer:

Reasons for rising suicides:

  1. youths are taking their lives due to the fear of failing in examinations, constant flak from teachers, bullying from peers, family pressure and a loss of a sense of a decent future
  2. The instrumental value of education in India is its potential in generating decent job opportunities in the future; but education system has not been successful in generating enough job options; students are put under constant pressure to perform due to these limited opportunities
  3. They have failed to learn to enjoy the process of education. With a loss of community and other social bonds, students in schools, colleges and coaching centres end up taking their lives
  4. According to Navodaya Vidyalaya Samitis, merely one or two training sessions are included to sensitise the teachers and principals regarding safety and security of the children and to prevent suicidal tendencies
  5. In 2018, government approved an integrated school education scheme subsuming the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the RMSA, and Teacher Education from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2020; without any significant rise in budgetary allocations for education, it may lead to cuts in “non-productive” areas of education such as guidance and counselling
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