1.The image of the women changed from a recipient of justice in the nineteenth century to an ardent supporter of nationalist in the twentieth century. Discuss. (GS Paper-1, History) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Discuss about pre independence image of the women
· Then write about the image of the women after independence.
· Present factual details of women movements for illustration
Women had participated in all streams of the national movement-from Gandhian, Socialist, Communist and even revolutionary terrorism. After independence, when the time came to consolidate the gains of the hard fought struggle, the attention naturally turned to securing legal and constitutional rights. The constitution promised complete equality to women. In the early 1950s, Nehru initiated the process of the enactment of the Hindu Code Bill, a measure demanded by women since the 1930s.
Perhaps inevitably, there was not much evidence of women’s struggles’ in the 1950s and 1960s, which led to a view that there was no women’s movement after independence till the new initiative in the 1970s. The Indian women’s movement went through precisely such a phase after independence.
Tebhaga peasant movement in Bengal in 1946-47, women had organized themselves on a separate platform of the Nari Bahini and they ran shelters and maintained lines of communication. In another major Communist peasant struggle of that time in the Telangana area of Hyderabad state from 1947 to 1950, women’s participation was also quite significant.
The anti-price rise movement, of 1973-75, was organized by Communist and Socialist women in the urban areas of Maharashtra. Thousands of housewives joined in public rallies. The movement further spread to other parts of the country gaining influence from Total Revolution.
In Andhra Pradesh by Mid-1990s a powerful wave of anti-liquor protest by poor rural women led to a policy of prohibition and later restriction of liquor sales. From 1974, women in Uttarakhand were again very active in the Chipko movement which got its name from the actions of women who hugged trees in order to prevent them from being cut down by timber contractors.
The declaration by the UN of 1975 as the International Women’s Year probably contributed to a flurry of activities in Maharashtra. Various women organizations actively raised their voice against the social evil of dowry. Their protest gained result when the amendments strengthening the law against perpetrators of dowry-related crimes were passed in 1984.
The amendment of the law on rape was possible because of the serious interventions made by various women organization.
The educational divide between rural and urban women was also a major hindrance. Their interventions were successful and the Government policy was certainly affected, and it came up with a National Perspective Plan for Women in 1988, which detailed plans for women’s health, education and political participation. In 1989, the Panchayati Raj bill was introduced which instituted one-third of the seats in the panchayats to be reserved for women.
Another factor that is very important in improving gender justice is the provision of free primary health facilities at the grassroots level. As in the case of education, if health facilities are not easily accessible or are expensive, the loss is unequally, that of women and female children.
But the legal and the political rights granted to women in the constitution, which are theirs by virtue of their own efforts as well as by all norms of social justice have to be realized and democratized by millions of women to become capable of understanding and exercising them.
2.Explain the main principles embodied in the preamble to the constitution of India. Discuss the significance of preamble. (GS Paper-2, Polity) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Discuss the principles enshrined in preamble
· Mention the significance of Preamble
The Preamble to the constitution embodies those principles that are the essence of the constitution. These principles explain the purposes and objectives with which the constitution has been written and hence provides the guideline to the constitution.
A careful study of the preamble shows that it contains certain basic principles. The preamble declares Indian State as Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic:
- Popular Sovereignty: The Preamble starts with “We the people of India..” and declares that it is the people of India who had enacted, adopted and given the Constitution to themselves. Thus, sovereignty lies ultimately with the people
- India is a sovereign state: This implies that India is internally supreme and externally free. State authority of India is supreme over all people and all associations within India’s territorial boundary (Internal sovereignty). Externally India is free from all external controls. India’s membership of the commonwealth or of the United Nations does not impose any external limit on her sovereignty.
- The terms socialist and secular were added to the preamble by 42nd amendment in 1976.
- India is a socialist state: This reflects the fact that India is committed to secure social, economic and political justice for all its people. India stands for ending all forms of exploitation, securing equitable distribution of income, resources and wealth. That is why the right of private property was removed from the list of fundamental rights through a constitutional amendment.
- India is a Secular State: As a state India does not give special status to any religion. There is no such thing as a state religion of India. India guarantees equal freedom to all religions. All religions enjoy equality of status and respect.
- India is a Democratic State: The authority of the government rests upon the sovereignty of the people. The people enjoy equal political rights’ they freely participate in the democratic process and elect their government. The government is responsible before the people. The people can change their government through elections.
- India is a Republic: Negatively, this means that India is not ruled by a monarch or a nominated head of state. Positively, it means that India has an elected head of state who wields power for a fixed term. President of India is the elected sovereign head of the state. Any Indian citizen can get elected as the President of India.
The preamble in general and these principles in particular are significant for various reasons:
- These principles explain the objectives which the constituent assembly intended to achieve.
- As Supreme Court has observed, the Preamble is a key to unravel the minds of the makers of the Constitution.
- These principles do not override the specific provisions of the constitution. But in case of any ambiguity judiciary can refer to these principles.
- Finally, we can conclude that the preamble embodies the ideals and aspirations of the people of India.
3.The Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector contributes to an inclusive and sustainable society in myriad ways and assumes a pivotal role in accelerating the growth engine. In the light of above statement, explain the significance of Indian MSME sector. Further, enumerate how MUDRA bank shall aid growth in this sector. (GS Paper-3, Economy) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Highlight the importance of MSMEs in Indian Economy
· Briefly write about MUDRA banks responsibility
· Then conclude with impact of MUDRA banks on MSME sector
MSMEs are important for the national objectives of economic prosperity with social equity and inclusion. The significance of MSME sector is as follows:
- It contributes 40 percent of the exports earning foreign exchange reserves and stabilising CAD.
- The labour to capital ratio in MSMEs and the overall growth in the sector is much higher than in the large industries. Thus the sector provides large employment opportunities (42 million) second only to agriculture.
- In the times of rising unemployment levels, it provides maximum opportunities for both self-employment and entrepreneurship. Thus reaping the benefits of demographic dividend.
- 62% of MSMEs are owned by SC/ST/OBC. This exemplifies the inclusive dimension of MSME sector.
- The wider distribution of these MSMEs in rural areas and their development reduces the rural-urban divide.
Thus, the significance of MSMEs is attributed to their calibre for employment generation, low capital and technology requirement, promotion of industrial development in rural areas, use of traditional or inherited skill, use of local resources, mobilization of resources and exportability of products.
Recently Government has set up a Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank which would primarily be responsible for –
- Laying down policy guidelines for micro/small financing institution (MFIs).
- Registration, Regulation, Accreditation /rating of MFI entities
- Laying down responsible financing practices to ward off indebtedness and ensure proper client protection principles and methods of recovery.
- Formulating and running a Credit Guarantee scheme for providing guarantees to the loans which are being extended to micro enterprises
- Creating a good architecture of Last Mile Credit Delivery to micro businesses under the scheme of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.
The above measures would not only help in increasing access of finance to the unbanked but also bring down the cost of finance from the last mile financers to the micro/small enterprises. Further, with priority given to SCs, STs and women entrepreneurs by stipulating that at least one each from these groups should be financed for setting up enterprises, MUDRA is a step in right direction towards socio-economic justice.
4.Weather officials and students who write exams held by the government for universities should be able to get copies of air evaluated answer sheets under the RTI act has become the latest controversy the new information commission has weighted into.
The RTI act 2005 does not specifically prevent answer sheets from being given out on request. However, when a government post women Tressa in Kerala asked for a copy of the evaluated answer sheet from the Kerala postal circle, she was refused not only by the public information officer, the appellate authority that hard her appeal against the decision, but more worrying by the central information commission.
The central information commission has stated that Tressa’s answer sheet is exempt on two grounds. First the commission has said the information requested is of a personal nature and its disclosure has no relation to any public interest or activity and is therefore prohibited under section 8(1) (j) of themination and the examiner is fiduciary in nature and therefore must be kept confidential under section 8(1) (e) of the RTI act. Do you agree with the views of CIC? Explain. (GS Paper-4, Ethics) (350 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Agree or disagree with the views of CIC with proper arguments
· Give examples of other institution that do not show copies to candidate like UPSC
· Highlight the international practices in this regard
Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics
The arguments the Commission have based its decision upon are of questionable merit. While the RTI Act does protect the disclosure of information, which is personal in nature, it is absurd that the privacy exemption could be used where an applicant has requested his/her own information! Can’t I ask for my own information if it has no relation to any public activity or interest? In other words, unless I am able to show public interest I will not be able to access my own health records from a government hospital.
Further, the idea that there is a “fiduciary” relationship between an authority conducting an examination and examiners is not legally tenable. Examiners are employed to do a job and have to work together to do that — but that is not enough to found a fiduciary relationship. The law defines a “fiduciary” relationship as a special relationship of trust between two persons — the fiduciary (the examiner in this case) and the beneficiary (the public authority in this case).
There are only a limited number of instances where this special relationship has been found, for example, doctors and patients, lawyers and their clients, directors and their companies, managers of trust funds and the investors, etc. This is because being a fiduciary has serious legal implications. To find such a relationship simply because someone has a duty to do his job well is not well founded in law.
The Commission is at odds with both international and Indian best practice. For many years now, the examination systems in India have been criticized for lack of transparency and consistency in grading and evaluation. To address this problem, many state education boards now allow students access to their evaluated answer scripts as a means to bring in transparency into the system and improve the evaluation standards.
In Ireland, for many years, secondary school students have been able to view their school leaving examination answer papers after they have been marked. This right was later extended to universities under the Irish Freedom of Information Act. In many Indian universities, the answer books (university examinations) of the students are available on demand for verification of entries.
The decision of the Commission stands to set a worrying precedent. Specifically, the Commission has stated that students and others will not have any access to the evaluation process. There are even reports in the media that the government is now considering exempting examination bodies such as the U.P.S.C. and the C.B.S.E. from the RTI Act. Amending the RTI Act to exclude answer sheets from coverage would be to dilute the Act’s objectives to widen the scope of information access across the country and it may open up other public authorities applying for similar exemptions and protections. The government is expected to stand firm and resist any attempts to narrow the scope of the Act. Openness (transparency) is an over-riding ethical principle, which the government should protect and promote at all costs.
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