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Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – Feb 20



Following are the Suggested Answers for Mains Marathon, Feb 20:


1.To what extent is Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, bearing marginal note “Temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir”, temporary? Discuss the future prospects of this provision in the context of Indian polity. (GS 2)


Background:-

  • Since there were UN resolutions calling for plebiscite in J&K, the constituent assembly decided, till a decision was taken, a temporary constitutional provision should be introduced to give a shape to the relationship between the state and Union of India. This provision came to be known as Article 370.
  • Part XXI of the Constitution of India (which contains Article 370) categorically specified it as ‘Temporary, transitional and special provisions’.

To what extent it is temporary:

 

  • Under section 3 of Article 370, it was provided that the article can be removed or changed only on the recommendations of Constituent Assembly of J&K and that is why it was called a temporary provision.
  • Also it has been changed in many ways by presidential orders starting from 1950 and continued later as well.
  • Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution to change this provision.
  • However it is a permanent provision based on the following arguments:
    • Since the Constituent Assembly in 1954 decided that the Article 370, which was temporary in nature, shall remain in force and therefore it became permanent feature of the Indian Constitution.It became un-amendable after the Constituent Assembly ceased to exist after 1957.
    • This article, along with Article 5 that defines the contours of jurisdiction of Indian Parliament regarding law-making for the state, cannot be amended.
    • The Indian Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in J&K.
    • Disrespecting the Tricolour and other national symbols is not a crime in the state.
    • J&K residents enjoy dual citizenship. They will lose their J&K citizenship if they marry residents of other states.
    • The Jammu and Kashmir high court has ruled that Article 370 of the Constitution that grants the state special status is “permanent” and “beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation”.
    • The non-applicability of Emergency provisions on the grounds of “internal disturbance” without the concurrence of the State; and the name and boundaries of the State, which cannot be altered without the consent of its legislature.

Future prospects:-

  • Ambiguous nature of the article is used against the spirit of the constitution and separatist take advantage of it by turning Kashmir into anti-constitutional state and promote violence.
  • Demands for abrogation-
  • Those who argue for abrogation of the article say that it has created certain psychological barriers and is root cause of all the problems. Moreover, Article 370 encourages secessionist activities in the country.
  • Those who argue against the article 370 say that the abrogation will cause serious consequences. They ask why there are separatist activities in other states which have not such special treatment by constitution.

At present the scope of amending this article is minimal .More development efforts need to be considered in this state to reduce the alienation caused to it over the years.


2.Discuss each adjective attached to the word ‘Republic’ in the preamble. Are they defendable in the present circumstances ?(GS 2)


Background:

In the preamble,the heart and soul of the Indian constitution the word republic has four adjectives attached to it namely sovereign,secular,socialist and democratic.

The adjectives are explained as follows:

Sovereign:-

  • It means free from the control of any foreign power and internally has a free government which is directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people.
  • In the Indian context ,Popular sovereignty is also one of the basic structures of constitution of India. Hence, Citizens of India also enjoy sovereign power to elect their representatives through elections held for the parliament, state legislature and local bodies as well.
  • India is not subject to interference of any other State or external power wit respect to its internal as well as external policies. Sovereign power lies in the people of India.
  • However in the recent time,
    • India had to submit to WTO ruling over the policy of “domestic content requirements” in solar panels.
    • International governance especially on environment and climate change dilutes sovereignty of individual.
    • Also the experts have been criticising India that the LEMOA agreement signed between India and US has compromised Indian sovereignty as well.

Secular :-

  • The Government respects all religions.It does not uplift or degrade any particular religion. There is no such thing as a state religion for India.It stands for the right to freedom of religion for all citizens.It means equal freedom and respect for all religions.
  • Even today Hindus, Muslims and Christians pay reverence to dargahs and shrines (Velankanni shrine and Ajmer Dargah for example) and join in the celebration of religious festivals.
  • However in the recent years
    • There have been incidences about lynching of Muslims,discrimination against dalits,caste discrimination which are compromising the secular nature of the Indian society.
    • Secularism encourages the politics of vote banks.

Socialist:-

  • Before the term was added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, the Constitution had a socialist content in the form of certain Directive Principles of State Policy. The term socialist here means democratic socialisme. achievement of socialistic goals through democratic, evolutionary and non-violent means.
  • It expresses widely felt sentiments and give a sense of direction to more detailed social and economic programmes and policies of governments.
  • However the LPG reforms,India has significant amount of poor, and India embracing the mixed economy approach the democratic socialism aspect has been compromised.

Democratic:-

  • India is a democracy. The people of India elect their governments at all levels (Union, State and local) by a system of universal adult franchise.Every citizen enjoys the voting right without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, gender, Religious intolerance or education.
  • The word ‘democratic’ not only refers to politicalbut also to social & economic
  • Apart from Universal adult franchise, periodic election, rule of law, independent of judiciary; RTI, social audit etc has increased the depth of democracy in Indian society.
  • However in the recent years the rising corruption in the society in general,increase in criminalisation of politics ,vote buying and other instances show this aspect has been neglected a bit.

Indian republic is evolving and the adjectives still serve the purpose for which they were imbibed in the constitution and successive governments have tried to uphold that.


3.Has the Indian governmental system responded adequately to the demands of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization started in 1991? What can the government do to be responsive to this important change? (GS 2)


Background:-

  • The 1991 reforms did away with the Licence Raj, reduced tariffs and interest rates and ended many public monopolies, allowing automatic approval of foreign direct investment in many sectors.

 

Yes:-

  • By the turn of the 21st century, India had progressed towards a free-market economy, with a substantial reduction in state control of the economy and increased financial liberalisation.
  • The successive governments
    • began privatising under-performing government owned business including hotels, VSNL, Maruti Suzuki, and airports, and began reduction of taxes, an overall fiscal policy aimed at reducing deficits and debts and increased initiatives for public works.
    • Opened up the coal industry through the passing of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill of 2015. It effectively ended the Indian central government’s monopoly over the mining of coal.
    • Further increase in FDI limits in many sectors,opened up defence sector as well.
    • Pushed through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. The Code creates time-bound processes for insolvency resolution of companies and individuals.This law drastically eases the process of doing business.
    • Make in India to attract investment.
  • Since liberalisation, the value of India’s international trade has become more broad-based and has risen to 63,0801 billion in 2003–04 from 50 billion in 1950–51.

 

No:-

  • No government has tried to take on powerful lobbies such as trade unions and farmers, on contentious issues such as reforming labour laws and reducing agricultural subsidies.
  • Slow growth of the agricultural sector, where half of Indians earn most of their income.
  • Highly restrictive and complex labour laws.
  • High inflation
  • High poverty
  • India has continued its opposition to the inclusion of such matters as labour and environment issues and other non-tariff barriersinto the WTO policies.

What can government do:-

 

  • According to OECD market reform is essential to achieve a broader-based development and provide sufficient and higher productivity jobs for the growing labour force.
  • A number of barriers to competition in financial markets and some of the infrastructure sectors, which are other constraints on growth, also need to be addressed.
  • The GST indirect tax system needs to be implemented effectively to create a true national market, while for direct taxes, the taxable base should be broadened and rates lowered.
  • Public expenditure should be re-oriented towards infrastructure investment by reducing subsidies.
  • Furthermore, social policies should be improved to better reach the poor
  • Given the importance of human capital the education system also needs to be made more efficient.

 

 

 

 

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