Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 6

1.A search cum evaluation committee can go a long way in easing the pressure on judiciary and help make non partisan and fair judicial appointments. Discuss. (GS 2)

एक खोज सह मूल्यांकन समिति न्यायपालिका पर दबाव सहजता में एक लंबा रास्ता तय कर सकती है, और गैर पक्षपातपूर्ण और निष्पक्ष न्यायिक नियुक्तियों बनाने में मदद कर सकती हैं। चर्चा करें।

Suggestion Answer:

Indian judiciary is witnessing mounting pendency of cases, with nearly 59000 cases pending in the Supreme Court, 4 million in the High Court and 25 million in subordinate courts. Lack of access to timely justice delivery hampers the ideals of justice enshrined in the constitution.

SC and HC judges are appointed by the collegiums comprising of the CJI and senior-most judges of the SC. Recently, the SC struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission, which was set up to replace the opaque collegiums system. The reason given was that since it contained non-judicial members, it hampered on the judicial autonomy and the primacy of judiciary to appoint judges.

A search-cum-evaluation committee, as suggested by the GoI, can help in the following manner:

  1. It will shortlist all the advocates that are eligible for appointment as SC or HC judges and thus broaden the pool from which selection has to be done.
    2. It will do the background checks of all the eligible candidates and thus reduce the burden on the collegiums. It will also result in a thorough and non-partisan check for national security, integrity, and competence.
    3. It will leave the collegium with fewer properly recommended and vetted candidates; say 5 candidates per vacancy. This will expedite the collegium’s functioning and reduce the rejection rate.
    4. This will institutionalize the search and selection process, making it objective and transparent.
    5. It will bring judicial appointments in line with appointments in other governmental institutions, where search committees recommend candidates that are approved by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet after due consideration.

The search-cum-selection committee will constitute former judges, academics and other experts. This will bring a wider exposure to the judicial appointments process.
Moreover, the committee will be purely recommendatory. Thus, it would not impinge the primacy of the judiciary or the collegiums, or any other institution formed at a later date for appointing judges.

A robust judicial system is a sine qua non for the proper functioning of the State, since it is the chief dispute resolution body of the State. An efficient, transparent, non-partisan judiciary thus benefits the businesses as well as citizens and upholds the principle of rule of law. Regular and fair appointments to the judiciary, therefore, merit serious attention at present.

2.The Economic Survey 2016-17 remarks that there is ostensibly free flow of goods, people, and capital across India and yet income and health outcomes are not converging. Why? (GS 3)

आर्थिक सर्वेक्षण 2016-17 की टिप्पणी जाहिरा तौर पर भारत भर में माल, लोगों से मुक्त प्रवाह, और पूंजी और आय और स्वास्थ्य के परिणामों में अभिसारी नहीं हो रही है। क्यूं?

Suggestion Answer 

Free flow of goods, people and capital within a country indicates good economic integration across states. This should ideally lead to convergence in income and health status of different states. However, the same is not happening as per the Economic survey analysis.

The underlying factors for income non-convergence may be:

  1. Governance traps: It refers to state’s ability to attract investors.
    1. Labour laws vary across states. Hence some states like Bihar and UP might not become attractive destinations for investors whereas states like Rajasthan and Gujarat can attract more investors.
    2. Corruption level in states varies, hence the effect on growth at the per capita income (PCI) also varies due to rent-seeking.
  2. Political role: States like Karnataka and Andhrapradesh saw active political support in 90’s and early 2000’s which was driven by political leadership. This resulted into increased investment in these states and they become major software hubs. Gujarat followed up later, however rest of the states were unable to show same level of activism (Now being driven by NITI Ayaog under competitive federalism). This resulted into differential in income levels.
  3. Labour migration results into development of one particular hub at the cost of source states (Bihar,UP,Jharkhand etc). A macro-level migration pattern shows three to four hubs like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Gurgaon whereas the movement to other cities are very low. Thus migration is still skewed in India which affects economy of states.
  4. Effect of green revolution: The high PCI of states like Punjab and Harayana were driven by GR of 60’s while eastern and north-east states remained aloof from this effect. Evergreen revolution is yet to take off.
  5. Effect of geography: Coastal states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhrapradesh and Karnataka are having competitive advantage with respect to other interior states because of nearness to seas.

Health divergence: Survey analyzes three paramters:

IMR (Infant mortality rate)

LE (Life Expectancy) and

TFR (Total Fertility Rate).

In case of LE and IMR, unlike income there is good convergence which shows the effect of higher literacy, awareness campaigns, and government programs (like BBBP).
Even in TFR, the Indian states have done well and many of them have reduced their TFR level to optimum level (2.1). The high TFR states like UP, MP, Rajasthan and Bihar have shown remarkable progress.

However, the rate of convergence can be improved. States like Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand can improve and reach high LE level or reduce their IMR level to good performing states like Kerala.

 The underlying factors for this slow convergence are:

Institutional factors: Health is a state subject. While Kerala followed the so called “Sen Model” (high human capital expenditure on health and education), other states couldn’t do the same due to fiscal burden.

Poor implementation of flagship schemes like PDS  due to corruption and leakages. Also food security is not treated as nutritional security resulting into increased malnutrition in states like Odisha and Jharkhand.

These issues highlight the need to address systematic problems prevalent in different states.
For income convergence, the improvement in governance across the states, reform in legislative and regulatory procedures, labour law reforms are necessary. For expediting health convergence, there is a need to increase health expenditure (to at least 3% of GDP as suggested by draft National Health Policy 2015), implement “Right to health” and improve existing health institutions.

3.Differentiate between the following:

a). Laws and Values.

b). Ethics and Morality. (GS 4)

निम्न के बीच अंतर लिखें:

ए) कानून और मूल्य।

ख) आचार विचार और नैतिकता।

Suggestion Answer:

  1. A) Laws and Values

Laws are a set of rules formulated by a society or a governing body. Their source is external, whereas values are intrinsic to an individual or a group of individuals and are not specifically formulated.

Laws deter a person from committing a wrong action even if s/he wants to, whereas values direct a person to perform right actions because they are the correct path to take.

Laws are same for individuals living within the same political construct such as a state or a country. Values differ from individual to individual.

Violating a law leads to a punishment as ordained by the law, such as community service or a jail term, whereas violation of values does not necessarily lead to a specific punishment. It may result in mental unrest or social ostracization.

Most of the laws are usually framed based on collective values of a society. For example, killing someone is abhorred in a civilized society; therefore it is also a crime according to law.
On the other hand, lying is not a crime according to law, but a person’s value system may forbid lying to others.

Thus, both Laws as well as Values are the instruments of behaviour regulation in any society. Both aim to build a better, more peaceful, more progressive, and just society.

  1. B) Ethics and Morality

Ethics refers to a set of moral principles that govern individual interactions at a social level whereas morality delves into the rightness or wrongness of an action at an individual level.

Thus, ethics are wider in scope and deal with acceptable behaviour in the society. For example, slavery was widely accepted as ethical in the 18th and 19th century. Morality is narrower in scope. For example, commodifying other human beings and treating them in an inhuman manner (as in slavery) is immoral.

Ethics are context specific such as administrative ethics or medical ethics, whereas morality is simply the degree to which ANY action is right or wrong, and therefore not context specific.


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