Q.1) What do you mean by blended finance? How blended finance will help in achieving the Sustainable development goals (SDGs)?
Answer: Blended finance is the strategic use of development finance for the mobilisation of additional finance towards sustainable development in developing countries.
How it can help in achieving SDGs:
- It is a mechanism to reduce investment risks associated with things such as basic healthcare, energy access and livelihood for the poorest.
- It enhances returns for investors, thus pools more resources.
- It increases financial flows to areas untouched by private finance so far.
- It bridges critical funding gaps witnessed in public investment.
- Creative methods of management of funds and implementation can be brought in from the private investors which increases project success probability.
Examples of blended finance: a €360 million hospital in Turkey was made investible through the use of credit enhancements that allowed the issuance of investment-grade bonds, whose ratings were higher than sovereign ratings.
Q.2) Discuss the various issues in the context of recent Supreme Court Judgement on creamy layer concept of SC/ST reservation in promotion.
Supreme Court’s judgement in Jarnail Singh vs Lachhmi Narain Gupta confirmed the application of creamy layer to promotions for SC/ST government employees.
Reasons behind the judgement:
- Judgment holds valid Articles 16(4A) and 16(4B) that allow for reservations in promotions.
- The court in Jarnail Singh read the concept of creamy layer as part of the equality principle encapsulated in Article 14, 15 and 16.
- For a class to be truly backward and for them to constitute a class, the ‘misfits’ among them i.e. the advanced individuals among them should be excluded.
- Excluding the creamy layer is necessary to make sure that the backward within the class have access to reservations and the better off within the group do not corner all the benefits of affirmative action.
- Not excluding the creamy layer violates the equality principle in as much as it amounts to treating equals and unequals as equals.
Problems with the judgement:
- If the current creamy layer ceiling of Rs 8 lakh per annum were to be applied, even ‘Group D’ SC/ST employees will be barred from reservations.
- Parliament passed the 77th, 81st and 85th constitutional amendments that added the current articles 16(4A) and 16(4B) that explicitly allowed reservations in promotions for SCs and STs.
- Creamy layer is an economic criterion. The assumption is that economic progress reflects social advancement and therefore, the person is liberated from his/her backwardness at attaining a certain economic standard.
- There is a significant difference between OBCs and SC/STs. In Karnataka, many powerful castes like Kurubas, Vokkaligas and Lingayats constitute OBCs. They are landowning, politically powerful and socially dominant castes. Their ‘backwardness’ is nowhere comparable to the social handicaps and exclusion that Scheduled Castes like Mala, Madigas and Holiyas face.
- While economic progress undoubtedly helps personal upliftment of individuals, it is not a proven antidote against prejudice and discrimination.
Q.3) Uniform civil code is the proposal to replace the personal laws of India. What are these personal laws? Define with examples. What are the challenges in the effective implementation of Uniform civil code? (GS – 2)
Answer: UCC is the idea that all citizens, irrespective of faith, should be governed by the same set of laws in ‘personal’ affairs.
Personal laws govern the affairs such as marriage, divorce, succession and inheritance, and adoption for individuals of every religion. Personal laws stem from highly patriarchal structures and women have historically not been engaged in their formation.
Parsi personal law:
- If a Parsi woman marries someone who isn’t a Parsi, their children are not accepted as part of the Parsi community. However this does not apply to a Parsi man marrying outside the Parsi community.
- A non-Parsi woman who is married to or is the widow of a Parsi man cannot inherit on his death though their children can inherit.
Hindu personal law:
- If a married woman dies without having any children, her property, under the Hindu Succession Act, is inherited by the heirs of her husband and not her own.
- Section 6(a) of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act gives the father the status of the natural guardian in the case of a legitimate child. The need for equality of rights of natural guardianship between both parents is ignored.
Challenges in implementing UCC:
- Resistance from conservative elements.
- Often, it is perceived as imposing majority traditions on the minorities.
- It goes against the spirit of unity in diversity in the country.
- The process of consensus building before changing laws is not often resorted to.
- The process of religious reforms assumes political overtones and thus distorts the end.
Q.4)The idea of ‘one nation one election’ has been proposed for many years. In this context discuss the need for simultaneous elections. What difficulty can be arising from these elections?(GS-2)
Answer: Simultaneous Elections envisages holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies in India.
Need for Simultaneous elections:
- Frequent elections different states makes no year without elections.
- Multiple elections and imposing of the Model Code of Conduct prevents government from initiating new projects and slows down development work.
- It affects stability and economic development as announcements are more for the vote bank than the development of nation.
- Reducing government expenditure as elections cost hugely to the government exchequer.
- If elections are held at once, expenses of political parties will be under control and this could reduce the role of black money in election funding.
- It is also said that if elections are held simultaneously, it frees up security forces towards their core duties.
- It reduces accountability of governments formed.
- It follows only after significant constitutional and legal amendments.
- It goes against federalism as state governments follow the rigid timelines of central government in power.
- It will disown today’s reality of fragmented polity at the state level where coalitions are the order of the day.
- It is against many democratic principles of our parliamentary democracy.
- This could also bring in dictatorial tendencies in the government of the day by reducing their accountability to the Lok Sabha or the state assembly since they cannot be removed from office even after losing the confidence of the House.