Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 2, 2019

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Q.1) Shifting of traditional joint family into nuclear family makes elderly emotionally and financially insecure. Explain

Answer:

The traditional Indian society with an age-old joint family system has been instrumental in safeguarding the social and economic security of the elderly people. The traditional norms and values of Indian society also laid stress on showing respect and providing care for the elderly.

With the emerging prevalence of nuclear family set-ups in recent years, the elderly are likely to be exposed to emotional, physical and financial insecurity in the years to come. There is an upward trend in the elderly staying alone or with spouse only.

Problems:

  1. Family care of the elderly seems likely to decrease in the future with the economic development of the nation and modernization
  2. Lack of financial security to most of the elderly and particularly old women. Pension and social security is also restricted to those who have worked in the public sector or the organized sector of industry
  3. Social isolation and loneliness has increased
  4. elderly in urban area rely primarily on hired domestic help to meet their basic needs
  5. Insurance cover that is elderly sensitive is virtually non- existent in India
  6. The single most pressing challenge to the welfare of older person is poverty, which is a multiplier of risk for abuse
  7. Migration of younger generation, lack of proper care in the family, insufficient housing, economic hardship and break-up of joint family have made the old age homes seem more relevant

 

Q.2) Corruption in India impacts the poor and marginalized, who are most dependent on public provisioning of rations, pensions, health, and education. Discuss the issues with anti-corruption laws in India. Suggests some measure to curb corruption.

Answer:

Issues with Anti Corruption laws:

  1. Recent amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act narrows down the definition of corruption, increases the burden of proof necessary for punishing the corrupt, and makes things more arduous for whistle-blowers
  2. Shield available to officials accused of corruption. Investigating agencies have been barred from even initiating an inquiry or investigation into allegations of corruption without prior approval from the government
  3. Amendments have done away with the offence of abuse of position by a public servant, unless the element of bribery is established
  4. Government removed the erstwhile CBI Director Alok Verma and appointed an Interim Director without consulting the selection committee.
  5. Selection of the Lokpal by a committee having a preponderance of government representatives and an inherent bias towards candidates favoured by the ruling party defeated the purpose of the law and undermined public trust in the institution even before it became functional
  6. Failed to promulgate rules and operationalise the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2014

Way ahead:

  1. Promulgating the Grievance Redressal and Timely Delivery of Services Act to make officials responsible for timely service delivery
  2. Strengthening participation mechanisms for citizens and reducing the discretionary powers available with officials
  3. E-governance systems to reduce human role
  4. Strengthening implementation of RTI Act by also legislating the bill on whistleblowers protection

 

Q.3) The American revolution inspired the French revolution and yet it was markedly different from it. Discuss.

Answer:

When American colonists won independence from Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, the French, who participated in the war themselves, were both close allies and key participants.

Inspired by American Revolution:

Although the French and American people had several distinct and differing motives for revolting against their ruling governments, some similar causes led to both revolutions, including the following:

  1. Economic struggles: Both the Americans and French dealt with a taxation system that they found discriminating and unfair. Additionally, France’s involvement in the American Revolution, along with extravagant spending practices by King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, left the country on the verge of bankruptcy.
  2. Royal absolutism: While colonists revolted against the British monarchy, the French aimed to reform the absolute rule of Louis XVI.
  3. Unequal rights: Like the American colonists, the French felt that specific rights were only granted to certain segments of society, namely the elite and aristocrats.
  4. During the war in America, allied Frenchmen fought side by side with American soldiers, which, in some cases, meant exchanging values, ideas and philosophies.

Different from AR:

  1. France, a country on the verge of financial collapse with an outdated feudal system and a wildly unpopular monarchy, was waiting to explode, with or without the American war to serve as an example.
  2. American Revolution was mainly focused on gaining independence. France wanted to get rid of the French monarchy, the lower classes wanted to enforce equality rather than having the nobles and the king overpower them. Thus FR wanted to change the social system also.
  3. American Revolution was caused by a majority of the America population becoming unhappy because of how the British were ruling them. French Revolution was started by French’s lower class because they were unhappy with how they were being treated.

 

Q.4) Examine the relevance of following in the context of the civil services

a)  Probity

b)  Honesty

c)  Integrity

Answer:

Probity:

Probity is the display of highest morals. It also requires putting in place mechanisms to reduce any chances of corruption. Civil servants are put in situations with huge amount of discretion. They handle large public sums for various development purposes. Also, civil servants are expected to act without any form of bias, nepotism in their duties. Probity ensures that these requirements are met.

Honesty:

Honesty is being truthful. Civil servants should be able to give honest and upright opinions to their political masters. They should declare any conflicts of interest before taking up a job. Their honesty is also needed to ensure justice in critical situations where they are witness.

Integrity:

Integrity of an individual is the strong moral principle that guides his actions, thought and words. A person with integrity does not fear others judgement in taking the action he believes in. Civil servants act in grey areas where the outcomes of actions cannot be predicted. Also they have to ensure that they put organisational values before any other personal interests. Integrity of a civil servant ensures these.

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