iClub Synopsis : 18 April 2019

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Q.1 What were the causes of Santhal Insurrection which took place in 1855-1856?(250 words)

Relevance : General studies Paper – I History

Structure of the Answer

• Introduction- Discuss about peasant insurrection took place in 1855-1856.

• Mention the causes of Santhal rebellion.

• Conclusion.

Reference- NCERT

Answer:

The Santhals are an agricultural tribal group who are mainly concentrated in Bihar. The first peasant insurrection took place in 1855-1856, which arose due to the establishment of the Permanent Land Settlement of 1793. Following this settlement the Britishers took away all the lands from the Santhals. The zamindars took these lands on auction from the Britishers and gave them to the peasants for cultivation. The zamindars, the moneylenders, and the government officers hiked the land tax and also oppressed and exploited the common peasants. Though the Santhals tolerated the injustices to some extent, later on they decided to rise in revolt against the zamindars, moneylenders, and traders.

The following were some of the main causes of the revolt:

• There was a combined action of extortions by the zamindars, the police, the revenue, and the court. The Santhals had no option but to pay all the taxes and levies. They were abused and dispossessed of their own property.

• The representatives of the Zamindars made several violent attacks on the Santhals.

• The rich peasants confiscated all the property, lands, and cattle of the Santhals.

• The moneylenders charged exorbitant rates of interest. The Santhals called the moneylenders exploiters and were known as “dikus”.

• For the railroad construction, the Europeans employed the Santhals for which they paid nothing to them. The Europeans often abducted the Santhal women and even murdered them.

There were also certain other unjust acts of oppression.

• The oppression by the moneylender, zamindars, and Europeans became unbearable by the Santhals. In such a situation, they did not have any other alternative indeed and they rose in rebellion. The leading Santhals began to rob the wealth of the moneylenders and the zamindars, which was ill earned by exploiting the Santhals. Initially, the officials ignored the rebellion. Later on in early 1855, the Santhals started to build their own armies who were trained in guerilla fighting. This was totally a novel experience to the people of Bihar.

• The Santhals can be praised with great honor for building such an organized and disciplined army without any previous military training. The large army, which exceeded about 10,000 assembled and disassembled at a short notice. The postal and railway communications were completely broken down by the Santhal army. The government then realized that the activities of the Santhal army are defying the government.

• Though the Santhal insurrection was quite strong it couldn’t succeed against the power of the government. Thus, the revolt was suppressed. Despite the suppression, the rebellion was a great success.

• This was because the Santhals gave a message to the whole country to resist the oppressive activities of the moneylenders and zamindars. Not only the Santhals but the other agricultural tribal groups also got united.

• It brought a realization among the diku population that the Santhals were an organized group of people and possessed much enthusiasm.

The Britishers took appropriate measures after the Santhal insurrection. Earlier to the insurrection, the settlement areas of the Santhals were divided into several parts for administrative convenience. Due to the Santhal rebellion, the Santhal areas are considered as Santhal Paragana. Due to the insurrection, the Britishers recognized the tribal status of the Santhals and now they came under the uniform administration.

Q.2 It has been highly a matter of arguments and discussions in the past that whether Preamble should be treated as a part of the constitution or not. Discuss.(250 words)

Relevance : General studies Paper – II Polity

Structure of the Answer

• Introduction

• Discuss Berubari case and Kesavananda Bharti case on this issue

• Include LIC case to give present status of Preamble

• Conclusion

Reference- Laxmikanth

Answer:

The Preamble was added to the Constitution after the rest of the Constitution was already enacted. One of the controversies about the Preamble is as to whether it is a part of the Constitution or not.

In the Berubari Union case (1960), the Supreme Court said that the Preamble shows the general purposes behind the several provisions in the Constitution, and is thus a key to the minds of the makers of the Constitution.

Further, where the terms used in any article are ambiguous or capable of more than one meaning, some assistance at interpretation may be taken from the objectives enshrined in the Preamble. Despite this recognition of the significance of the Preamble, the Supreme Court specifically opined that Preamble is not a part of the Constitution.

In the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973), the Supreme Court rejected the earlier opinion and held that Preamble is a part of the Constitution. It observed that the Preamble is of extreme importance and the Constitution should be read and interpreted in the light of the grand and noble vision expressed in the Preamble.

In the LIC of India case (1995) also, the Supreme Court again held that the Preamble is an integral part of the Constitution.
Like any other part of the Constitution, the Preamble was also enacted by the Constituent Assembly, but, after the rest of the Constitution was already enacted. The reason for inserting the Preamble at the end was to ensure that it was in conformity with the Constitution as adopted by the Constituent Assembly. While forwarding the Preamble for votes, the president of the Constituent Assembly said, ‘The question is that Preamble stands part of the Constitution’. The motion was then adopted.

Hence, the current opinion held by the Supreme Court that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution, is in consonance with the opinion of the founding fathers of the Constitution.

Q.3 Forests around the world are under threat that manifest in the form of deforestation and forest degradation. Discuss the main causes and consequences of deforestation. (250 words)

Relevance : General studies Paper – III Environment

Structure of the Answer

• Introduction

• Discuss causes of deforestation

• Highlight the consequences of deforestation

Reference- NCERT

Answer:

In spite of their great values, human beings are destroying forest at a fast rate. Felling or cutting of forest trees is called as deforestation. The rate at which deforestation is being done today is of great concern. Currently, 12 million hectares of forests are cleared annually. At this rate all the moist tropical forest could be lost by the year 2050, except for isolated areas in Amazonia, the Zaire basin, as well as a few protected areas within reserves and parks. Some countries such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Costa Rica, and Sri Lanka are likely to lose all their tropical forests by the year 2010 if, no conservation steps are taken.

Following are some of the basic causes of deforestation-

(i) Conversion of forests and woodlands to agricultural land to feed growing numbers of people;

(ii) Development of cash crops and cattle ranching, both of which earn money for tropical countries;

(iii) Commercial logging (which supplies the world market with woods such as meranti, teak, mahogany and ebony) destroys trees as well as, it opens up forests for agriculture;

(iv) Felling of trees for firewood and building material; the heavy chopping of foliage for fodder; and heavy browsing of saplings by domestic animals like goats.

To compound the problem, the poor soils of the humid tropics do not support agriculture for long. Thus people are often forced to move on and clear more forests in order to maintain production.

Consequences of deforestation

1. Forests act as a major carbon store because carbon dioxide (CO2) is taken up from the atmosphere and used to produce the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that make up the tree. When forests are cleared, and the trees are either burnt or rot, this carbon is released as CO2. This leads to an increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration. CO2 is the major contributor to the greenhouse effect. It is estimated that deforestation contributes one-third of all CO2 releases caused by people.

2. Trees draw ground water up through their roots and release it into the atmosphere (transpiration). In Amazonia, over half of all the water circulating through the region’s ecosystem remains within the plants. With removal of part of the forest, the region cannot hold sufficient water. The effect of this could be a drier climate.

3. With the loss of a protective cover of vegetation more soil is lost.

4. Deforestation leads to soil erosion, which causes Silting of water courses, lakes and dams.

5. Destruction of forests results into extinction of species which depend on the forest for survival. Forests contain more than half of all species on our planet – as the habitat of these species is destroyed, so the number of species declines.
6. Deforestation leads to desertification. The causes of desertification are complex, but deforestation is one of the major contributing factors. 

Q.4 What is vertical and horizontal accountability? Discuss the importance of social accountability. (250 words)

Relevance : General studies Paper – IV Ethics

Structure of the Answer

• Explain vertical and horizontal accountability

• Define social accountability

• Discuss the importance of social accountability

Reference: Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude

Answer:

Broadly speaking, accountability can be defined as a relationship between two bodies, in which the performance of one is subject to oversight by another. In the context of public administration, for oversight to be exercised, two distinct mechanisms need to be in place – “answerability” defined as the obligation of public officials to inform and explain what they are doing, and “enforcement”, defined as the ability to impose sanctions on those who violate their mandate.

In a democracy, the main instrument that citizens can use to hold the legislative accountable is periodic elections, a key mechanism of vertical accountability. In practice, as has been shown by many studies, free and fair elections are insufficient to ensure that duty bearers and service providers adhere to the principles of good governance like rule of law, transparency and accountability.

The system of checks and balances between the institutions of the state is referred to as horizontal accountability. It includes the ability of the legislative (parliament or council) to hold the executive politically accountable (political oversight) through planning and budgeting and ministerial oversight. In many countries, the parliament and the judiciary are supported to implement their oversight function by various secondary institutions like ombudsmen offices, human right commission and anti-corruption bodies. Independent judiciary is playing a powerful role in holding executive branch to account. Horizontal accountability is also exercised through fiscal mechanisms, like formal systems of auditing and financial accounting, and administrative mechanisms like hierarchical reporting, public service codes of conduct, etc.

Social Accountability

• Vertical and horizontal accountability measures are not sufficient to ensure that public money is actually spent in accordance with existing regulations and standards and for the purpose it is intended. Additional accountability mechanisms allowing for more direct participation of citizens in accountability processes beyond elections are termed diagonal or social accountability.

• Social accountability refers to a form of accountability that emerges through actions by citizens and civil society organizations [CSOs] aimed at holding the State to account, as well as efforts by government and other actors [media, private sector, donors] to support and respond to these actions.

• The goal of social accountability is not to replace but to reinforce and complement existing (horizontal and vertical) accountability mechanisms.

• It affirms the fundamental principle that duty-bearers (public officials and service providers) are accountable to rights-holders (citizens) and offers a rich set of approaches and tools for applying that principle into practice.

• Social accountability approaches can be applied at local to national level and can target a range of governance issues and processes including: public information-sharing, policy-making and planning; the analysis and tracking of public budgets, expenditures and procurement processes; the participatory monitoring and evaluation of public service delivery, as well as broader oversight roles, anti-corruption measures and complaints handling mechanisms.

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