Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – July 27

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1. In the last few decades, India has seen an increasing number of people migrating from rural areas to urban cities in search of work and for better living conditions. In this context, suggest steps to be taken by the government to address the growing slum issue.(GS 1) | | TOI Introduction:-

  • Marginalisation and ghettoisation remains appallingly commonplace in Indian cities, particularly in Tier I cities where rural-to-urban distress migrants end up in large numbers.
  • Fact:-
    • 68 million people live in slums of India according to the 2011 Census.

Measures need to be taken to curb slum issue:- At urban level:

  • Steps should be initiated to ensure planned development of cities that should incorporate proper plans for slums to avoid problems in the urban areas.
  • Develop satellite towns like Gurgaon, Haryana, Noida so that property and resources of big cities gets evenly distributed.
  • Focus on slum redevelopment under Housing for All scheme with the cooperation of private sector.
  • Slum upgradation :-
    • The government should try to provide basic amenities like water supply,proper sewage,education and health facilities to the people living in the slums by implementing the government schemes effectively.
  • Ahmedabad started Mini-bonds recently, and these can come handy in slum development
  • NITI aayog highlighted the following:
    • Provide dormitory housing for migrants
    • Release of land held by sick units for affordable housing
    • There is need to bring down land prices
  • Schemes like Smart cities ,Housing for all, AMRUT need to be implemented efficiently.

In the long term measures needed at the rural level are:

  • The need to focus on development of rural areas and create employment opportunities as it was the solution to prevent migration of people to urban areas.
  • Necessary steps should also be initiated to make agriculture remunerative
  • Decentralisation of development was the only way to enhance the income of rural households this in-turn can reduce migration.
  • Provision of social amenities: The availability of social amenities such as water, proper education, electricity, health facilities, roads and telephones in rural areas can go a long way in reducing the rate at that youth move to Urban areas.

2. Examine the reasons for having weak public institutions in India. Suggest some solutions for proper functioning of public institutions in India.(GS 2) The Hindu Introduction:-

  • There is a paradox in the working of India’s public institutions working as they successfully manage complex tasks but fail in relatively simple ones.
  • India can organize elections for 850 million eligible voters,conduct a census for 1.2 billion people, and run a highly effective space programme.
  • Yet, on the other hand, its record in providing basic public services, from health to education and water to sanitation, ranges from modest to dismal.

Reasons for weak public institutions are:-

  • The state is undermanned in terms of adequate personnel:
    • While India’s population increased from 846 million to 1.2 billion between 1991 and 2011, total public sector employment actually decreased from 19.1 million to 17.9 million.
  • It is most certainly over-bureaucratized as is seen in the rankings of many world reports like
    • India ranks 130th out of 189 countries in the overall ease of doing business, 155th in ease of starting a business, 178th in enforcing contracts, and 183rd in getting a construction permit
  • high levels of corruption and venality in public life
  • nexus between politicians ,capitalists and bureaucracy leads to unworthy candidates getting projects.
  • lack of competence, both at the policy design and formulation level
  • Lack of effective implementation of the policies.
  • Lack of accountability and transparency as practices of the state remained relatively opaque to most citizens.
  • The objectives for which the institutions were establishes is not met for instance UGC has not achieved its objective of good quality education so far. MCI failed in affordable and good quality health services across India


  • Removing the ease with which politicians can interfere in the postings and transfers of IAS officers can go a long way towards improving performance.
  • If the Supreme Court were to insist on strict limits on courts granting adjournments, it would reduce delays in trial proceedings.
  • Time to time review of working of public institution is necessary and performance needs to be given importance like having lateral entry into civil services is one.
  • Clear adherence to time limit for projects implementation need to be inculcated in the public officers.
  • Bottom up and decentralized approach needs to be undertaken by the public institutions to gain public trust and solve problems effectively.
  • Recruitment and training infrastructure need to be adequately resourced.
  • Using technology and digitization to make institutions more transparent.

As India’s challenges mount, the need for institutional reform is vital if the country is to build and sustain an Indian state for the 21st century.

3. “Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have hampered the process of socio-economic development in India.” Comment.(GS 2) Previous Year Question Paper Background:

  • Independent India inherited the best administrative machinery among all developing nations, along with a highly moral and dedicated public service.
  • However, bureaucratic immorality soon engulfed the political and administrative apparatus of the country.

Some of the characteristics of traditional bureaucratic structure and culture are :-

  • In 2012 Hong Kong-based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd described India as a “bureaucratic nightmare” among 12 Asian countries it covered.It went on to cite inertia and corruption as some of the principal factors that ail Indian bureaucracy.
  • ‘Ivory tower life style’ which alienates the bureaucrats from common man.
  • Trend of bureaucrat politician’s nexus:
    • Some bureaucrats admit that political patronage, and corruption have tainted their image.
    • They have the absurd task of training their bosses, and going along with their politics. The authority granted to the politicians makes patronage, not performance, their fastest path to advancement.
    • With no scrutiny from any other branch of government, the two become cohorts in corruption.
  • Inter-services rivalry
  • Playing safe attitude culture of upright bureaucrats
  • Politics of Reservations.
  • Indian bureaucracy is notorious for its inefficiency.
  • India’s system fuses legislative and executive powers in the guise of providing “efficiency”. But this only leads to bureaucrats’ proficiency in flattery and servility to manage their transient political masters.
  • The truth is India’s bureaucracy is affected by India’s poor political system. This system has fundamental weaknesses :-
    • fusion of powers, sole appointing authority, making ministers out of politicians, no legislative oversight, vote bank politics, reservations that hurt officials’ performance.

How does this hamper the socio economic development:-

  • Hierarchy:-
    • Lead to disconnect between policy formation and implementation thus leading to ineffective and inefficient program formation and implementation
  • Coordination:
    • Myriad of department and lack of coordination mechanism leads to poor program implementation
  • Grievance redressal mechanism are usually lacking for people to highlight lacunae
  • NGO involvement:
    • It is low as policy forming and implementation is done by bureaucracy without the help of NGO which could have helped in effective formation and implementation
  • Ivory tower attitude of civil servant with disconnect form ground reality
  • Work culture in department is not focussed towards proactive and effective implementation and is generally laid back
  • Lack of bottom up communication needed for reform in policy

With the initiatives like compulsory retirement of non performing officials,CPGRAMS, an initiative for grievance redressal the government is moving in the right direction.

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