Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – September 27


Q.1) What is Section 498A? The simplest way to harass is to get the husband and his relatives arrested under Section 498A. Discuss with a valid case law. GS 2

Defining 498A

  •   Section 498A, which was passed by the Parliament in 1983, states that “whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine’
  •  In 1983, ‘Section 498-A of the IPC was introduced with affirmed object to combat the menace of harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband and his relatives.
  •  The fact that Section 498-A is a cognizable and non-bailable offence has lent it a dubious place of pride amongst the provisions that are used as weapons

Rajesh Sharma vs The State of Uttar Pradesh

  •  Proceedings had arisen from complaint dated 2nd December, 2013 filed by respondent.
  •  The complainant alleged that she was married to appellant on 28th November, 2012.
  •  Her father gave dowry as per his capacity but the appellants were not happy with the extent of the dowry.
  •  They started abusing the complainant. They made a demand of dowry of Rs.3,00,000/- and a car which the family could not arrange.
  •  On 10th November, 2013, appellant dropped the complainant at her matrimonial home.
  •  She was pregnant and suffered pain in the process and her pregnancy was terminated.    

498a misuse

  •  498a can only be invoked by wife/daughter-in-law or her relative.
  •  In most cases 498a complaint is followed by the demand of huge amount of money (extortion) to settle the case out of the court.
  •  After giving interim bail, the cases are referred to mediation where the man is psychologically tortured to bow down before wife’s demands and if he does not do so, his bail is canceled and he is sent to jail.

Q.2) Passing of GST is a shining example of cooperative federalism where States and Centre have ceded their power to tax and come up with a single tax system to realize the dream of one Economic India with ‘One Market’. Examine. GS 3

What is the meaning of GST?

  •  GST is an indirect tax reform which aims to remove the tax barriers between states and create a single market.
  •  It is a single tax on the supply of goods and services, right from the manufacturer to the consumer.
  •  The Government had introduced the 122nd Amendment Bill, 2014, in the Parliament to facilitate the introduction of GST in the country.
  •  The Bill was finally passed by both the Houses in 2016
  •  It is a consumption based tax/levy. It is based on the “Destination principle.”
  •  GST is applied on goods and services at the place where final/actual consumption happens.
  •  It came into force from 1 July, 2017.
  •  It is levied at multiple rates ranging from 0% to 28%.

There are three components of GST:-

Central GST (CGST) – it will be Levied by Centre

State GST (SGST) – It will be levied by State

Integrated GST (IGST) – It will be levied and collected by Central Government on supply of goods and services

How GST will help in achieving Cooperative Federalism?

  • The participation of all States and Centre in the framing of GST laws has led to the following features in the GST Laws. These features signify spirit of cooperative federalism.
  • Harmonisation of GST law: Even though Centre and each state legislature have passed their own GST Acts, they all are based on the Model GST law co-drafted by the Centre and the States.
  • Common Definitions: There are common definitions in the CGST and SGST Act.
  • Though GST will be jointly administered by Centre and State, for ensuring ease of doing business, but the individual taxpayer will have a single interface with only one Tax Authority either Centre or State.
  • Joint Implementation Committee: In order to ensure smooth rollout of GST, the GST Council has formed a three tier structure consisting of :
  • GST Implementation Committee(GIS)
  • Standing Committees
  • Sectoral Groups have representation of Centre and State Officers in the spirit of cooperative federalism to ensure quick administrative decisions.

What are the objectives of GST?

1- To eliminate the cascading effects of taxes: for example tax on tax, on production and distribution of goods and services across the country.

2- One Nation, One Tax: Uniformity of tax rates across the India by subsuming all indirect taxes at the centre and state levels.

3- To reduce tax evasion and corruption.

4- Increasing tax to GDP ratio and revenue surplus.

Q.3) Do you think that economic reforms have reduced gender discrimination? What has India done to reduce gender discrimination? Suggest measures to tackle the same. Discuss. (GS 3)

  • Economic reforms have not reduced gender discrimination.

Economic reforms and gender discrimination in India:

  • Gender discrimination has not declined in India even after the economic liberalization in early 1990s.
  • Increased market competition forces firms to eliminate inefficient discriminatory practices, including gender discrimination.
  • The room for hiring their own “types” is less when firms face intense competition.
  • Market competition works in favour of women, as women are more competitive, and offer cheaper and more flexible labour.
  • Evidence suggests that India’s economic liberalization has not reduced gender discrimination. It may have worsened in many respects.
  • The share of females in manufacturing employment has not increased much over last two decades.
  • Female activity is largely concentrated in the unorganized sector. The concentration of female entrepreneurs in low-wage industries has grown over time.
  • Despite many competitive reforms that India has undertaken, this pattern of gender-based segmentation has been increasing over the years.
  • Women entrepreneurs are more dominant in industries that pay lower average wages.
  • Within the manufacturing sector, female ownership shares are highest and typically exceed 50% in industries related to chemicals and chemical products, tobacco products, and paper and paper products.
  • Among service industries, female ownership shares exceed 30% in industries related to sanitation and education.
  • Inadequate infrastructure also affects women more than men, because women are often responsible for a larger share of, and often more time-consuming, household activities.

Steps taken to reduce gender discrimination:

  • India’s 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, passed in 1992, instituted one-third seat reservations for women in local governance bodies.
  • The political empowerment of women had huge beneficial effects.
  • The political reservation for women has gained India global recognition.
  • However, India’s economic liberalization and increased market competition has not eliminated gender segmentation.
  • India’s gender balance in entrepreneurship and jobs remains among the lowest in the world.
  • Globalization and trade policy have made a limited contribution towards India’s convergence in gender segmentation.
  • Improved physical and human infrastructure and domestic pro-competitive reforms can reduce gender segmentation.
  • Gender will play a bigger and more strategic role in India’s future growth.
  • Gender growth can come in many ways: increased female labour force participation, improvements in productivity, elimination of gender discrimination in access to bank loans, and increased voice and political representation.
  • Finally, empowering half of the potential workforce has significant economic benefits beyond promoting gender equality.
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