1. Examine the role played by Indian women in revolutionary activities. (GS Paper-1, History) (150 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Briefly introduce about national movement
· Highlight the women participation in revolutionary activities
The Indian freedom struggle was a mass movement against foreign government with wide representation from all sections of Indian society. In twentieth century, with political awakening in India, women also actively participated in all forms nationalist activities.
Women role in revolutionary activities
Women were in no way behind men in bravery and in the facing sufferings in the hands of British atrocities.
Young women formed contact with secret societies. For example: The Chatri Sangha started by Kalyani Das developed close contacts with revolutionary activists.
- In the Chittagong Armoury raid by Surya Sen, the young girls like Kalpana Datta and Pritilata Waddedar were lieutenants.
- Bimal Pratibha was organiser of Nari Satyagrah Samiti and organised political dacoity.
- Bina Das tried to assassinate governor of Bengal in University of Calcutta.
- Usha Mehta ran clandestine radio during Quit India movement which helped in speading nationalist message when main leadership was in jail.
However, the women had to overcome many difficulties like the patriarchal society of India did not allow women to take part in political activities in street. They had to overcome prevailing prejudices in society about their intellect, bravery and courage. These efforts helped in involving the other half of population in movement and making it broad based.
2.Discuss the significance of the role of President of India in Indian democracy. Do you agree that it is more symbolic than substantive? (GS Paper-2, Polity) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· In the introduction, briefly talk about the Constitutional status of the President of India
· Critically analyze the institution of President for being symbolic/substantive
· Conclude by giving your opinion on the issue
Reference– NCERT/ Laxmikanth
The word Republic in the Preamble states that India has an elected head of state in contrast to hereditary head in Britain. The Constitution envisaged this institution to maintain continuity in administration and giving representation of States and their diversity in Union government through the office of President.
The institution of President has been under controversy many a times for it being more symbolic than substantive. For instance:
- President is bound to act on the advise of the Council of Ministers
- President can return a law made by the Parliament just once and the reconsidered advice is binding on him/her etc.
But the Constitution of India and Conventions provide several discretionary powers to the President of India, which shows that its institution is more substantive than symbolic:
- He acts on the advice of the CoMs, not at his discretion
- One of the most important powers, which the President wields, is in case of a hung Parliament. The President may then invite the leader of the party he deems capable of proving its majority to form the government.
- Under Article 78, it is his prerogative to be informed by the Prime Minister about the affairs of the State
- Under Article 74, he can return an advice of the CoM back to it for its reconsideration.
- Under Article 78(c) he can use his discretion to enforce collective responsibility of the CoM and many more.
Thus, it can be rightly said that the Presidents of India have fulfilled greater roles in shaping the nation and have not remained mere figureheads. In a country marked by immense diversity of language, culture, preferences, and leadership, the Indian Presidents have served to remain a strong unifying factor and symbol of the nation’s prestige.
3. In India, compared to several other countries, tax-GDP ratio is lower. What measures can be taken to correct this situation? (GS Paper-3, Economy) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Briefly describe the low tax to GDP situation in India and its effects.
· Discuss the measures to improve the situation.
India’s tax to GDP ratio around 16% is well below the emerging Market Economies (EME) and OECD averages of about 21% and 34% respectively. Taxation is the key to long run political and economic development. Therefore, bringing more and more people into the tax net via some form of direct taxation will help in realizing the promise of Indian democracy.
Measures to improve tax to GDP ratio in India
- Improving compliance rate of tax laws– GAAR provisions may be useful in dealing with tax evasionswhere tax benefits exceed Rs. 3 crore.
- Fixing loopholes in taxation agreements– Renegotiating double tax avoidance treaties which are frequently misused to evade tax. Recent amendments in Mauritius double tax avoidance agreement is a case in point. (Mauritius has been the source of around 34 per cent of all foreign direct investment inflows into India between 2000 and 2015)
- Fast tracking of tax disputes, reducing discretion of taxman and creating a predictable dispute resolution mechanism
- Efficient targeting of subsidies and phasing out tax exemptions-subsidies to the well-off need to be scaled back, similarly tax exemptions to be reviewed and phased out ; reasonable taxation of the better-off, regardless of where they get their income from—industry, services, real estate, or agriculture.
- Developing property taxation-They are not only progressive and buoyant but also difficult to evade since they are imposed on a non-mobile good, which can with today’s technologies, be relatively easily identified. Given the extent to which property is a critical constituent of wealth and a potential source of local government revenues, property taxation reforms should be an important part of the country’s tax reform agenda
- Creation of Tax policy council and tax research unit as suggested by Shome Panel for both direct and indirect taxes. These will be crucial in analyzing computerized tax data.
- A number of issues in tax policy and tax administration need to be addressed as mentioned in Tax Administration Reforms Commission. For example: avoiding retrospective taxation, separate dispute management verticals in CBDT and CBEC etc.
It is in India’s long term interest to increase tax to GDP ratio as it holds the key to rapid economic development which is crucial for India’s transformation into a developed economy.
4.Issues around economic inclusion are not just about income gaps, there are many dimensions of moral and ethical choices as well. Discuss. (GS Paper-4, Ethics) (250 words)
|Structure of the Answer
· Briefly describe economic inclusion.
· Explain how issues related to economic inclusion are ethically related to income and wealth inequality, social exclusion and cultural norms.
Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics
Economic inclusion refers to equality of opportunity for all members of society to participate in the economic life of their country. Economic inclusion is based on the idea that an economy should serve all people and the benefits of economic growth should be widely shared, that everybody should have a chance at prosperity, at proper health care and education.
Unequal distribution of wealth is a crucial factor influencing economic inclusion, wealth in a developing country largely determining the opportunities that one can access. Some moral issues that are associated with economic exclusion are:
- Systemic discrimination– Laws, like personal laws of almost all religions, treat different persons differently (e.g. men and women). Categories of persons are entitled to preferential treatment in matters both financial and human. This systematic entitlement leads to perpetuation of differences and growth of inequality.
- Cultural Prejudices– It deals with the attitudes and stereotypes which may not strictly be illegal, but are discriminatory against minority groups. For example not hiring or denying residence to certain community, races, ethnicities etc.
- Social Mobility– Absence of equal opportunity denies social mobility. For instance the chances of a poor child to be able to escape from poverty and become a middle class or a rich person are fairly low.
- Compromised future- Income and wealth inequality leads to unstable economy and is a threat to sustainable development.
Considering the above dimensions of economic inclusion is crucial because economic inequality denies human beings the basic inalienable rights which are recognized under “UN declaration of human rights”.
These rights include the right to a decent life, the right to be able to meet basic needs in society etc. To meet basic rights such as health, education and adequate means of livelihood, economic exclusion needs to be overcome through measures such as progressive taxation, affirmative action and rights based approach to legislation.
For socio-economic inclusion to succeed there ought to be a framework of values and ethics which can guide us regarding the choices which we face.
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