Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – November 20, 2018

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Q.1) Media and Social networking sometimes posed serious internal security challenges. What steps are taken by government to handle these challenges? Also give some recommendations.

Answer:

Due to the wider reach and the impact created by audiovisuals, modern media and social networking sites create potential threat to national security. This is witnessed in the Muzaffarnagar riots and the mass exodus of North East people from Bangalore.

Steps taken to handle the challenges:

  1. Indian Broadcasting Foundation has released ‘Self-Regulatory Content Guidelines for Non-News and Current Affairs Television Channels’, after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
  2. Recently government requested WhatsApp to establish a mechanism to tackle fake news.
  3. RBI mandated all the foreign financial service providers to localise data within the boundaries of India.
  4. IT Act 2000 empowers the government to issue directions for blocking of information for public access in certain circumstances.
  5. Many state police are launching awareness campaigns to prevent spread of fake news.
  6. Recently Supreme court ordered a series of measures to prevent the propagation of fake news through regulations and institutions.

Other recommendations:

  1. Enabling monitoring mechanisms to report fake and potentially sensitive news.
  2. Cyber security awareness generation.
  3. Constituting digital media regulation body on the lines of Press Council of India.
  4. Self regulation by digital media to not divulge information concerning national security.
  5. Strong data protection regime.
  6. Strengthening cyber crime cells in state police.

 

Q.2) What are the salient features of ‘inclusive growth’? Has India been experiencing such a growth process? Analyze and suggest measures for inclusive growth.

Answer:

OECD defines Inclusive Growth as the economic growth that is distributed fairly across society and creates opportunities for all.

Challenges in India’s inclusiveness:

  1. Despite India occupying 6th position in global assets, the average assets of Indians are much lower than the global average.
  2. According to Oxfam, only 1% of the people on the global level have 50% wealth. But this figure stands at 58% in India and 57 billionaires have assets equal to 70% of the country’s population.
  3. The participation of women in the total labor force of the country is only 27%. The latest estimates from the World Bank show that in the period from 2004-05 to 2011-12, 19.6% of the women moved out of labor force.
  4. According to FAO’s ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2017” report, 190.7mn people are undernourished in India. By this measure 14.5% of the population is undernourished in India.

Measures for Inclusive Growth:

  1. Investing in people through healthcare, quality education, jobs and skills helps build human capital, which is key to supporting economic growth.
  2. New technology including massive open online courses and virtual classrooms can be used for education and telemedicine for health.
  3. Integrating Micro Industries to Marketplace – creating and integrating more micro enterprises at village level to large marketplaces may limit migration and increase the chances for continued livelihood.
  4. It is necessary to increase the public expenditure on basic services such as education and health, and pay special attention to employment generation.
  5. Rapidly improving agricultural productivity––against the headwinds of climate change and water scarcity––will be another key to achieving good growth and hence sustainable growth.
  6. Hyperglobalization backlash in advanced countries, over which India has little control, must recede to create a favorable external climate to sustain rapid growth.

 

Q.3)  It is said that the Parliament’s contempt power to punish for transgression of its privileges is wider. Discuss various privileges enjoyed by the members of parliament and issues arising out of their use.

Answer:

Parliamentary privileges are special rights, immunities and exemptions enjoyed by Houses of Parliament, their committees and members.

Privileges enjoyed by members of parliament:

Collective Privileges:

  1. Can exclude strangers from its proceedings and hold secret sittings to discuss some important matters.
  2. Can make rules to regulate its own procedure and conduct of its business and to adjudicate upon such matters.
  3. Can punish members as well as outsiders for breach of its privileges or its contempt by reprimand, admonition or imprisonment(suspension or expulsion-members).
  4. Right to receive immediate information of arrest, detention, conviction, imprisonment and release of a member.
  5. Institute inquiries and order attendance of witnesses and send for relevant papers and records.
  6. Courts are prohibited to inquire into proceedings of a House or its committees.
  7. No person can be arrested and no legal process can be served within precincts of House without permission of presiding officer.

Individual Privileges – The privileges belonging to members individually are:

  1. Cannot be arrested during session of Parliament and 40 days before the beginning and 40 days after end of a session(only in civil cases and not in criminal cases)
  2. No member is liable to any proceedings in any court for anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or its committees
  3. They can refuse to give evidence and appear as a witness in a case pending in a court when Parliament is in session.

Issues with the usage:

  1. Often, these powers are used to censor media for their criticism of the working of legislatures. They go against the fundamental rights of citizens.
  2. The lack of any codified law leads to excess punishment and arbitrary usage of power.
  3. It curtails accountability of the legislators to the general public.
  4. The codification of privileges is resisted because it would make the privileges subject to fundamental rights and hence to judicial scrutiny.
  5. Legislators used privileges to cover up corruption and even pleaded in courts that they were not ‘public servants’.

 

Q.4) Discuss the nature, methods of operation and limitations of pressure groups in India.

Answer:

Pressure group is a group of people who are organised actively for promoting or defending their common interest.

Nature:

  1. Conventional Pressure Groups based on caste, community, religion and region.
  2. Professional pressure groups like FICCI, CII, Bar Council, Press Council of India.
  3. Some groups are sponsored by political parties themselves e.g. Youth Congress, ABVP, SFI.

Methods of operation

  1. Traditional means – invoking caste, region or religion based loyalties in key persons.
  2. Modern means – lobbying, funding political parties and supporting favourable person in legislature as well as in key administrative posts.
  3. Means of direct action like hunger strike, demonstrations, etc.,

Limitations:

  1. Sometimes they have biased interests limited to few members.
  2. Most of these groups except big community groups do not have autonomous existence.
  3. Their loyalties shift with political situations which threatens general welfare.
  4. Many a times, they resort to un-constitutional means like violence.
  5. Since pressure groups are not elected, it is not fair that they decide crucial policy decisions in a democracy.
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