Mains Question for UPSC Aspirants

Mains Question for UPSC Aspirants

29 May 2021 gs-mains-paper-2 Current Affairs       
Question : Despite a rapidly expanding middle class, economic growth and measurable strides in modernization since India’s independence, dowry deaths continue to rise year on year. Do you think that laws are not stringent enough to curb the victimisation of women?

(GS Paper I & GS Paper II)
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National Crime Record Bureau of India, as recently as 2017, recorded nearly 7000 dowry linked deaths a year. Dowry deaths rose from about 19 per day in 2001 to 21 per day in 2016 and these are just the reported dowry deaths. There are many that go unreported. Taking or giving dowry has been criminalized by law as early as 1961. But, it is still a significant part of Indian marriage and is openly defying laws and failing women empowerment.
Dowry prohibition Act 1961 has criminalized the practice of taking or giving dowry in India but this law has become outdated and not been able to produce the required deterrence. Problem is that after so many years of the modernization process that Indian society has witness demand for dowry has seen no reduction. Dowry demand is not restricted to some communities in India rather it has been observed in various field studies that dowry is in practice within the well-off communities and families too.
Outdated Law and Provisions
Dowry prohibition Act 1961 defines the term ‘Dowry’ very loosely and prescribes minimal punishment for violations. Apart from that poor public support for this law has made it redundant and inoperative in many ways. Section 6 of this act in some way provide a legal loophole for dowry to exist. Similarly, state governments have failed to appoint some powerful officials for the prohibition of dowry practice as required under section 8 of this act.
Apart from the outdated nature of the Dowry prohibition act, certain judicial guidelines that the Supreme Court has given made it hard for women to seek police action against culprit family members. In Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar (2014), the Court had held that arrest should not be made in a random way and for an offence under Section 498A IPC arrest is to be made only in exceptional circumstances, that too after recording special reasons in writing in accordance with Section 41(1) (b) of the Cr PC.
In order to deal with the practice of Dowry and associated deaths, multi-pronged steps are required, where all the social stakeholders can collaborate over the mechanism of how to prevent such incidents. Social evils like dowry cannot be eliminated just by enacting more stringent laws rather there is a need for social behavioural change in society. At the same time, various laws in India are gender biased and give male privilege over what a woman gets. Therefore, these laws need to be changed so that there exist total equality.
In recent years we have often come across the news where the bride has steadfastly stood against this practice of dowry and refused to walk-off from the marriage ceremony. Such kind of exemplary courage needs to be displayed from more and more prospective brides. The prevalent dogmas also need to be done away with. An attitudinal change in the mindset of the people which try to commodify women, dissemination of more and more modern perspective by the govt., and recent initiatives like doing away with words like ‘Kanyadaan’ and substituting with ‘Kanyamaan’, appeal of the chief Justice of India to women to ask for 50% of reservation  in judiciary will certainly go a long way to eradicate this evil practice. 
It's true to some extent that laws made under the dowry prohibition act have not been stringent enough to create deterrence in society and curb the victimisation of women. But only the stringent nature of law won't suffice, this dowry law needs support from the public, CSO and other social institutions for effective execution.

Question : "Cyclones are inevitable, but communities need fiscal rehabilitation for their recovery." Examine this statement in the context of recent tropical cyclones in India.

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India’s capacity to deal  with  Cyclones is being tested with  a very Severe Cyclonic Storm, Yaas, striking Odisha  and a  stronger Cyclone Tauktae wreaked havoc along the west coast.
Although the preparation causes mass evacuation from habitations which appears to have limited the loss of life. But still thousands have lost houses and property. The problems of corruption had also been reported during the relief operations 
India will have to improve its resilience to cyclones. Government is raising the capacity of the disaster response forces, but much work needs to be done when it comes to protecting assets and creating fiscal instruments to help people rebuild their lives.
World Meteorological Organization in its State of the Global Climate 2020 report described Cyclone Amphan that hit Bengal last year as the costliest cyclone on record for the North Indian Ocean, with economic losses to India of the order of $14 billion. In the light such reports Rehabilitation and reconstruction need to be included in more strategic plans, although in practice they tend to be poorly integrated with emergency response
Apart from providing emergency needs of medical care, food, shelter, clothing and facilities that are essential for health, safety and welfare, power and transport, fiscal measure need to be created for faster recovery of affected communities. Government must insure people against losses from catastrophes using a system of documentation that makes relief and rehabilitation funds non-discretionary.
Governments are best placed to compensate people, since they can spread the cost of the risk of disasters across the population. But the challenge is to address the risk of cyclones and other extreme weather events using specific funds, making citizens members in a social insurance model. Considering the negative climate change impact on tropical cyclones, rebuilding should use a green, build back better approach. 

Question : There is an urgent need to strengthen the public distribution system and the MGNREGS in order to tackle rural economic distress. Discuss.

(GS MAINS; Paper 3)
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The impact of COVID-19 causes several states are under lockdown. This results in severe implications for the livelihoods of those in the informal sector. A survey conducted by Right to Food campaign and the Centre for Equity Studies published a ‘Hunger Watch’ reported that 27% of the had no income; 40% respondents had nutritional quality degraded to worse”; and 46% had to skip one meal at least once. The plight of migrant worker is no less than rural poor as most of them are without work and are short of food and cash and require immediate support 
 In this context, there is an urgent need to strengthen the public distribution system (PDS) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
The government should expand PDS coverage immediately and include all eligible households under the schemes. A robust PDS system can address the problem of Food and nutritional security. The government should expand PDS coverage immediately and include all eligible households under the scheme National Food Security Act. The steps taken by the government in regards to food security require strong PDS to discharge it hence need to strengthen it 
As migrant workers across the country return to their villages, rural India’s dependence on NREGA wages for survival is expected to increase manifold. To address the problem of migrate worker, Government had allocated ₹73,000 crore for 2021-22 for MGNREGS and notified an annual increment of about 4% in wages. Along with this, boost up in agriculture easy credit, infrastructure etc will address the issue unemployment and have the potential to increase the agriculture produce 
The COVID -19 causes a large population of India to face hunger and a cash crunch. The situation is only becoming direr as the pandemic continues to rage on. Therefore, the Union government should prioritise food and work for all and start making policy reforms right away to strengthen MGNREGA and PDS.

26 May 2021 gs-mains-paper-1 MODERN HISTORY & POST INDEPENDENCE 
Question : The bourgeois pressure was a significant factor behind the compromise of 1931 which resulted in the signing of Gandhi-Irwin Pact. Critically Examine.

(GS Mains; Paper 1)
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Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed between Mahatma Gandhi and the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin on 5 March 1931 after a series of talks seeking settlement of the issues originating from the civil disobedience movement.
Civil Disobedience passed on to an apparently contradictory phase in the last few months of 1930. The effect of the Depression increased the pressures for no rent, which the UP Congress reluctantly sanctioned. Though incidents of peasant and tribal militancy increased, official reports indicated a marked decline of enthusiasm and support among urban traders, many of whom started selling foreign goods on the sly. Industrialists grumbled about the limits of patience while noted industrialist Homi Mody complained of the frequent hartals dislocating trade and industry. The ruthless seizure of property by the government reduced the nationalistic ardour of the rich peasants. Gandhi had to retreat probably due to all this as also owing to the fact that almost all leading congress leaders were in jail. 
In the agreement reached on 5th of March, Gandhi agreed to discontinue Civil Disobedience as it embraced defiance of the law, non-payment of land revenue, publication of news-sheets, termination of its boycott of British goods and the restraint of aggressive picketing. The Government of India agreed to cancel ordinances opposing the movement, to release Indian prisoners, return fines and property.
Although many Historians argue that the Indian bourgeoisie played a ‘crucial’ role both in the initial success of the movement as well as in its subsequent withdrawal but it cannot be deduced conclusively. 
One argument is that the alliance between the Congress and the capitalists was uneasy and vulnerable from the very beginning and now uncontrolled mass movement unnerved the business classes, whose enthusiasm was dampened by the Depression, boycott, hartals and the social disruption. They wanted to give peace a chance. Hence, the pressure was on Gandhi to return to constitutional politics which ultimately resulted in the Gandhi-Irwin pact. But the problem with this premise is that the business groups hardly represented a homogeneous class in 1931 and did not speak with one voice.
But on the other hand, the marketers and the traders still remained staunch supporters of Gandhi, and their radicalism even increased as Civil disobedience made progress. More significantly, although business community supported the movement and could partly claim credit for its early success, they were never in a position to pressurise Gandhi to withdraw the movement. 
Gandhian Congress was projecting itself as an umbrella organisation, which would incorporate all the different classes and communities. So it was highly unlikely that Gandhi would take such a vital decision only to satisfy the interests of one particular class. 
It is important to notice that the CDM had helped to the growing radicalisation of certain lower classes that often refused to remain under the official control of local congress leaders. Against this larger backdrop, Gandhi had assessed the appropriateness of suspending the movement by agreeing to effect an understanding with Irwin lest the movement should turn violent and thereby spark off colonial repression.

25 May 2021 gs-mains-paper-1 SOCIAL ISSUES AND SOCIAL JUSTICE 
Question : Expanding the scope of POCSO Act is necessary to account for the reporting of historical child sexual abuse in India. Critically analyse.


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The POCSO Act 2012 seeks to protect children from offences such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography and to safeguard the interest and well-being of children.
There are several salient features of this act like it is a gender-neutral act, defines child as any person below eighteen years of age, provision of medical examination and special courts for speedy justice delivery, mandatory reporting of child sexual offences, criminalizing child sex and child pornography and penalizing provisions, which act as deterrence against possible offences against children.
However, according to NCRB, there is a rise in the number of cases since 2015-16, which shows that there is some deficiency that should be addressed. another major defect of POCSO is its inability to deal with historical cases.
Historical child sexual abuse refers to incidents that are reported late. These cases are reported late because it's hard for a child to report at the earliest time as offences are intrafamilial or related to the institution where they reside.
Once delay in filing cases, it dilutes the efficacy of the prosecution’s case. the major drawback of delayed reporting is the lack of evidence to advance prosecution. As hardly any physical evidence is found in delayed reporting, result is less prosecution.
Another major reason for delayed reporting is, there is a lack of procedural guidance as to how to prosecute historical cases of child sexual abuse in India, unlike the UK where everything is explicitly mentioned.
There is not only a general barrier as mentioned above but also a Legal barrier too. There is a legal barrier against the registration of historical child sexual offences like
  • CrPC prohibit judicial magistrates from taking cognisance of cases beyond a specific time period.
  • Any reporting of an offence, under Section 354 of the IPC, more than three years after the date of the incident would be barred by the CrPC.
Such a scenario renders historical reporting of child sexual offences which took place before 2012 legally implausible. So, there is need to get rid of above mentioned provisions of CrPC as circumstances around child sexual abuse must not be viewed in the same manner as other criminal offences.
Hence, India needs to review the law in the line with the UN Convention on the rights of children. Today there is an urgent need to reform and revise our laws and expand the scope of the POCSO Act to resolve historical reporting of child sexual abuse and ensure justice.

21 May 2021 Current Affairs 
Question : Arguably the collective consciousness is the need of the hour today as we are grappling with the menace of Covid-19. Discuss the significance of the ‘Collective Consciousness’ in the light of COVID pandemic.[GS Paper-IV]

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20 May 2021 Current Affairs 
Question : 'The universalization of social security remains an unfulfilled aspiration in the new code on social security.' In the light of this statement, critically examine the 'code on social security.' [GS Paper-I &GS Paper-III]

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20 May 2021 Current Affairs 
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18 May 2021 Current Affairs 
Question : The casual resort by the police to the sedition clause continues to cause concern. Do you think the sedition law has lost its relevance and needs to be repealed at the earliest to maintain the spirit of democracy? [GS Paper-II]

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