February 2021 : The Hindu Editorials Summary Compilation for Civil Services




GS-1 Mains

  1. QUESTION : Discuss the idea of Gandhi’s empowerment and how this abolished the inequality amongst different sections of the society ?
  2. QUESTION : What is a glacier outburst flood and possible reasons behind this calamity and how much prepared is India to tackle such natural hazards ? Discuss 

GS-2 Mains

  1. QUESTION : Discuss about the major problems of health services in India and what are the way forward to deal with ?
  2. QUESTION : Analyse, despite its military coup, Myanmar is the key in linking South Asia to Southeast Asia and the eastern periphery becomes the focal point for New Delhi’s regional outreach.
  3. QUESTION : Discuss the significance of the right to protest in a democracy.
  4. QUESTION : Discuss the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in India, during the lockdown scenario emanating from covid-19 and Examine the socio-economic impacts of this pandemic on the vulnerable section of society.
  5. QUESTION : Exemplify the Challenges facing European Union today and What would be the implications on EU and it’s relations with India ?
  6. QUESTION : Write about the key challenges in adopting the insurance model in achieving the universal health coverage in India and effective steps to be taken by the government of India in this direction ?
  7. QUESTION : Can you consider that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill doesn’t do enough to safeguard women’s choices and interests over abortions in the country? Discuss
  8. QUESTION : Discuss the significance of Pangong Tso for India and China and give way forward to solve the long running dispute between both the nations.
  9. QUESTION : What are the steps to be taken by the Government of India right now to tackle these online increasing breach of information and coming Challenges in between ? Elaborate
  10. QUESTION : How tele-medicine can help India fight corona virus better and benefits of virtual shared Multiple residents ?
  11. QUESTION : Discuss the significance of the International Criminal Court orders with respect to Palestinian territories.
  12. QUESTION : India needs to focus on quality and unique solutions through technology rather just expanding educational institutions to improve delivery systems of education. Comment.
  13. QUESTION : Discuss the need and importance of legislative councils in Indian states and what are the recent issues coming before these councils ?
  14. QUESTION : Covid-19 immunisation drive will be a different kettle of fish from regular vaccination programs”. In light of the statement analyse the challenges in the development & distribution of Covid-19 vaccine and give the importance of India’s Vaccine Diplomacy
  15. QUESTION : Elucidate on the role played by India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in dealing with serious violation of human rights.
  16. QUESTION : Indian federalism is undergoing structural as well as functional changes. In the light of the statement analyse the need for re-examining the federalism in India. Also suggest some measures for deepening federalism in India.
  17. QUESTION : Discuss the emergency provisions enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Have they been the same since beginning? Examine
  18. QUESTION : How far has the anti-defection law succeeded in preventing the destabilisation of the governments? Give reasons in support of your argument.


GS-3 Mains

  1. QUESTION : What do you mean by fiscal conservatism and explain its important role in the reducing fiscal deficit in an economy like India?
  2. QUESTION : The Budget 2021-22 is characterised by its departure from the path of fiscal consolidation. Examine the theoretical basis for such departure. What are the key concerns?”
  3. QUESTION : Smart fencing along with physical fencing can protect major infiltration areas of Indian borders. Analyse its feasibility for India
  4. QUESTION : “Just focus on fiscal deficit as an economic management tool is not full proof.” Critically analyse this statement with appropriate solution to overcome increasing fiscal deficit problem.
  5. QUESTION : Define Direct Services Tax by giving key issues that are coming now a days and explain the rationale behind devising a separate framework to tax online service providers.
  6. QUESTION : Discuss the term Cryptocurrency with various concerns related to it and the solutions to tackle the digital fraud at the same time.
  7. QUESTION : What is Over the Top (OTT) media services? Critically analyse the benefits and challenges offered by the OTT media services in India and mention about the important steps taken by the Government of Canada self-regulation code is concerned .
  8. QUESTION : “Increasing fireworks accidents can easily be seen now a days with fatalities” what are the reasons behind these and recent steps taken by government to reduce such incidents in India?
  9. QUESTION : Do you think the budget 2021 offers proper solutions to the issues faced in public health system ? Critically analyse.
  10. QUESTION : India needs to move beyond the inflation targeting in its monetary policy. Discuss.
  11. QUESTION : India’s Mission to Mars – Will it lead to a heightened scientific temper of Indians?
  12. QUESTION : Critically examine the impact of India’s huge dependence on imports to meet its energy and oil needs and also suggest measures to attain self-sufficiency in this regard.
  13. QUESTION : Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development?





GS-1 Mains

QUESTION : Discuss the idea of Gandhi’s empowerment and how this abolished the inequality amongst different sections of the society ?






  • Gandhi’s Idea of Empowerment




  • If there is only one idea that Gandhi should be remembered for and identified with, it is the idea of empowerment of the other.
  • One should think of Gandhi as a noble spirit who contributes to the betterment of the world. The task is how one, individually and collectively, can understand and take forward the Gandhian nobility of spirit in today’s world.





  • Empowerment of the other:


o The essence of Gandhi’s political philosophy is the empowerment of the other, irrespective of gender, race, class or creed.


o As such, Gandhi viewed the empowerment of the other as a right to express a different opinion than that of the majority and to be heard openly and transparently.


o Empowerment, for Gandhi, was an act of empathy and affinity, not a mode of social interconnectedness taken for granted.


o The empowerment of the other is a value which needs to be created and cherished.


  • Method to empower the other:


o Gandhi understood democracy as a socio-political institution which seeks to empower the other by asserting its right to speak freely and to act differently.


o One such idea is captured by Gandhi’s statement, that “The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms”.


  • Otherness of the other:


o In his quest to defend the otherness of the other, Gandhi invited individuals to rule themselves against their weaker natures by becoming self-governing agents.


o But he also looked for the creation and cultivation of a public culture of citizenship that guaranteed everyone the right to opinion and action.


o By addressing the question of the otherness of the other, Gandhi was trying to cultivate the individual’s capacity for ethical citizenship and empathetic friendship.


  • Approach to Politics :


o Gandhi understood the civilisational process of freedom-making as an inclusion of the other as the other.


o The Gandhian appeal to the ethical is in fact a way to civilise modern politics from within, by shortening the circuit of conquest, domination and violence.


o From Gandhi’s perspective, non-violence encouraged an awareness, which moved the individual away from a monistic egocentricity and closer to a pluralistic shared suffering.


o Therefore, as a transformative force, the empowerment of every citizen is an experience of conscience underpinning the harmony between ethics and politics.




  • Gandhi’s idea of empowerment of the other is feasible only in a political community where people have the art of listening.


  • The art of listening, as much as the freedom of speech, is a mode of laying emphasis on the otherness of the other against all forms of tyranny.


  • Gandhi, through his readings of human civilisation, showed that he was well aware of the dangers of the conquest of the other.


o That is why he refuses to reject the otherness of the other in the situation of intolerance and exclusion.


  • Gandhi did not consider social, political or religious marginality as a curse, but more as a constructive asset which helped the individual maintain critical distance from all traditions of thought while entering a dialogue with any form of otherness.




  • His seminal work, Hind Swaraj, can be read and understood as a manifesto for the otherness of the other.


  • Gandhi introduces to a new model of civilisation which takes humanity to a higher moral level.


  • Gandhi suggests his own idea of moral interconnectedness and empathetic pluralism, pointing to utilitarianism as a false mode of existence.


  • For Gandhi, civilisation has to give primacy to moral progress of humanity, rather than just generate tendencies towards futility and violence.


  • Gandhi’s view of civilisation is that, it should help humanity realise the path of righteousness and compassion, by putting morality before materialism.


  • Gandhi was aware of the importance of pluralism of ideas and values because of the dissimilarities and differences that exist.




As such, Gandhi’s experiments with truth made him conscious not only of his similarities but also of his dissimilarities and differences with others.


Gandhi replaced the linear and monolithic discourse of reality with his dialogical vision of civilisation and political life.

By bringing beauty out of the ugliness of modern civilisation, he forged a new form of solidarity — that of shared humanity — as a tool for the survival of the otherness of the other.



QUESTION : What is a glacier outburst flood and possible reasons behind this calamity and how much prepared is India  to tackle such natural hazards ? Discuss 






  • Glacial Burst in Chamoli District (Uttarakhand)




  • Recently, a glacial burst on Nanda Devi triggered an avalanche and caused flash floods in Rishiganga and Dhauliganga rivers in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, causing the death of seven persons and over 125 reported missing.


  • The scientists are not sure what triggered the sudden surge of water that reminds the 2013 disaster in the state.


  • Hence, the possibility of a glacial lake burst, a cloud burst or an avalanche, the impact of climate change or development projects can not be ruled out.


  • An early survey of the damage caused by the glacier break and flood to Uttarakhand’s Tapovan Vishnugad hydro power plant shows the dam has been completely washed off.




  • A Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) is a type of outburst flood that occurs when the dam containing a glacial lake fails.

The dam can consist of glacier ice or a terminal moraine.


Failure can happen due to various factors such as:


  1. Erosion, a buildup of water pressure


  1. Avalanche of rock or heavy snow


  1. Earthquake or volcanic eruptions under the ice or


  1. Displacement of water in a glacial lake when a large portion of an adjacent glacier collapses into it.




  • An avalanche is falling masses of snow and ice which gathers pace as it comes down the slope.


  • But an avalanche is unlikely to result in the rise of water of that magnitude what Chamoli witnessed.




  • What happened in Uttarakhand in 2013 was a multi-day cloudburst.


  • It is a sudden, very heavy rainfall accompanies by a thunderstorm. But it generally happens in monsoon.


  • In fact, the season in which such a disaster was witnessed has surprised experts as there is no immediate trigger that can be pointed to as the reason why water level rose to that level washing away two hydro projects.




  • Human activities profoundly affect the earth’s climate and mountains are a sensitive indicator of that effect.


  • The mountain ecosystem is easily disrupted by variations in climate owing to their altitude, slope and orientation to the sun.
  • As the earth heats up, mountains glaciers melt at unprecedented rates.


  • Several scientists believe that the change occurring in the mountain ecosystems may provide an early glimpse of what could come to pass in a lowland environment.


HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK : (The NDMA guidelines)


  • Identifying and mapping such lakes.


  • Taking structural measures to prevent their sudden breach.


  • Establishing mechanisms to save lives and property in times of a breach.


  • Use of technology: NDMA has recommended use of Synthetic-Aperture Radar imagery to automatically detect changes in water bodies, including new lake formations, during the monsoon months.


o Methods and protocols could also be developed to allow remote monitoring of lake bodies from space.


  • Reducing the volume of water with methods such as controlled breaching, pumping or siphoning out water, to manage the lakes structurally.




  • Work already done: Identification of such lakes has been done by Central Water Commission (CWC).


  • Work in progress: A robust early warning system (EWS) and a broad framework for infrastructure development, construction and excavation in vulnerable zones.


  • Areas that need attention: In contrast to other countries, there are no uniform codes for excavation, construction and grading codes in India.




  • Restricting constructions and development: In GLOF/Landslide Lake Outburst Floods (LLOF) prone areas is a very efficient means to reduce risks at no cost. The guidelines say construction of any habitation should be prohibited in the high hazard zone.


  • Land use planning: Procedures or regulation in India for land use planning in the GLOF/LLOF prone areas need to be developed.


  • Monitoring systems: Prior to, during, and after construction of infrastructure and settlements in the downstream area.


  • The current policy of the government of pursuing hydro-power projects indiscriminately cannot be ignored.


  • The entire State of Uttarakhand is categorised as falling in Zone-IV and V of the earthquake risk map of India.


  • The potential of the cumulative effect of multiple such projects has turned out to be more environmentally damaging than sustainable.




Experience has shown that over 80 percent of search and rescue is carried out by the local community before the intervention of the state machinery and specialised search and rescue teams. Thus, trained and equipped teams consisting of local people must be set up in GOLF and LLOF prone areas.























GS-2 Mains

QUESTION : Discuss about the major problems of health services in India and what are the way forward to deal with ?






  • Healthcare System in India




  • The article focuses on the wide variation across the state in terms of the important health parameters and suggests prioritising health.


  • Public health being a state subject, the efficacy of the public health system varies widely across the country. The condition of a public health system can be easily judged by certain health parameters such as Infant Mortality Rate, Maternal Mortality Ratio and Total Fertility Rate. Poor results in these parameters along with the wake of COVID-19 pandemic have stressed the need to revamp the public health system quickly.




  • Poor health indicators


o The northern States are performing very poorly in vital health parameters.


Parameter Northern state Compared southern state

Infant deaths (Per 1000 live births) Madhya Paresh-48 Kerala-7


Maternal Mortality Ratio Uttar Pradesh-197 Kerala-42; Tamil Nadu-63


% deliveries by untrained personnel Bihar- 19 (190 times of Kerala) Kerala-0.


Total Fertility Rate (India’s 2.1) Bihar-3.2 Tamil Nadu-1.6; Kerala-1.


  • Government’s satisfaction with the average


o The Government is looking at the averages which are somewhat reasonable due to the excellent performance of well-governed States and not focusing on the states which are pulling down the average for India.


  • State Government’s priority


o Some of the States have skewed priorities such as cow protection and ‘love jihad’ and are themselves indifferent to their poor performance.


  • Malafide Governance:


o Despite Finance Commissions pouring non-Plan funds in addition to substantial Plan allocation from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the Empowered Action Group States, the outcome is poor.


o Thus, more money cannot produce results including FDI in human capital, which accentuate income disparity.


  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):


o Poor health infrastructure will jeopardise to achieve Goal 3 (good health and well-being) of the SDGs set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.


o Earlier, India failed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because of the poor performance of the northern States.




  • Health care delivery is in State List.


  • Most provisions related to health are in Part-IV {Directive Principles}. These are: Article 38, 339(e), 41,42, 47 and 48 A .


  • Panchayats and Municipalities also have some provisions related to health. These include drinking water, health and sanitation, family welfare, women and child development, social welfare etc.


  • The right to life provided under Art. 21 of the Constitution of India have been used time and again to demand access to health care.




  • The Centre and the Empowered Action Group States should realise that public health and preventive care is a priority.


  • Each State government must focus on public health (health is a state subject) and aim to improve the health indicators.


  • Need to improve monitoring of health indicators at the highest level.


  • Public and preventive health should be focused by holding the Empowered Action Group States accountable to the SDGs.


  • Northern states need to build a public health cadre quickly and must be asked to reach the levels of the southern States within three to five years.




Northern States can bring their health systems on a par with southern states with better governance only. There will be no improvement in the health system unless all the States perform well. Therefore, a good administrative structure could deliver to the demands of the political executive, benefiting the people of the State.



QUESTION : Analyse, despite its military coup, Myanmar is the key in linking South Asia to Southeast Asia and the eastern periphery becomes the focal point for New Delhi’s regional outreach.






  • Military Coup in Myanmar




Coup in Myanmar is an outcome of many unresolved differences between the democratically elected government and the army. It has many consequences.




  • Myanmar is a partially democratic country. The democratic government led by Aung San Suu Kyi shared half of its power with Myanmar’s Military.


  • On February 1, the Myanmar army captured power by declaring an emergency.


  • The military justified its action by citing the reason that there was “terrible fraud in the voter list” in the recently held Parliamentary election. Since the Election Commission failed to settle the matter, the army declared an emergency.


  • Similar incidents of overtaking the democratic government by forcing military rule has taken place in 1962, 1988 and 1990.




The following arguments prove that the incident that took place on Feb 1 is a military coup and not an emergency.


  • First, electoral issues needed to be addressed and resolved by relevant authorities, not by the military leadership.


  • Second, Myanmar Constitution empowers the President to proclaim an emergency, in consultation with the National Defence and Security Council. However, neither the Council met nor the Presidential consent was obtained.




Many unresolved differences between the democratic government and Myanmar’s army, led to this coup.


1)  Ideological differences:


  • The army feels that it’s power should not be undermined. As it is the one that secured independence, defended the country against secession, and ensured stability and development.


  • Whereas the government has been a strong supporter of democracy. In this system, the army should be completely apolitical.


2) Differences over different socio-politico- economic issues. For example, differences over ethnic reconciliation, constitutional reform, the Rohingya issue, and the China policy.


3) Fight for power:


 Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was willing to become Myanmar’s President. He was also about to retire in July.


 However, Ms. Suu Kyi was opposed to it, and she did not want to extend his tenure. Presumably, the coup guarantees an indefinite extension of tenure. It will also help him to retain the Power in his hands.


4) Role of China: The Chinese Communist Party shares a very close association with the Myanmar army for decades. The increasing popularity of the Democratic government over Myanmar army would have been detrimental to Chinese interest in Myanmar.




Impact on Rohingya’s:


  • Rohingya’s are a Predominantly Muslim population who are facing Ethnic violence in Myanmar.


  • Currently, a million of them are living in Bangladesh as refugees due to persecution in Myanmar, and are waiting to be repatriated.


  • Though the Myanmar army was against repatriation, recently the democratic government of Myanmar and Bangladesh held talks for repatriation. These efforts, will definitely be impacted by the current coup.


Impact on Democracy: 


  • With great efforts the Suu Kyi’s administration has nurtured the growth of democracy even in the deeper roots of Myanmar. Now the coup is a step back for Myanmar’s democracy.




  • Both nations have shared cultural roots and historical relations, apart from the strategic, economic, social and political ties.


  • Myanmar is a member of both ASEAN which is an organization of East Asian nations as well as BIMSTEC which bridges South and South-East Asia.


  • Connectivity projects through Myanmar help India overcome its Chicken-neck dilemma (Siliguri Corridor). Myanmar is also necessary for the development of North-Eastern India.


  • Myanmar stands at the confluence of India’s Neighbourhood First and Act East Policy and India-Myanmar partnership is at the heart of


India’s vision to create a connected and cooperative neighbourhood.


  • Recently, India and Myanmar had signed 10 agreements with a focus on socio-economic development of Myanmar , during Myanmar President U Win Myint’s visit to India.


  • Myanmar’s growing closeness with China and the recent proposal of China Myanmar Economic Corridor is a cause of concern for India amidst Indo-China tension .




  • One important reason for the change is that India’s security relationship with the Myanmar military.


  • These days, it has become extremely close, and it would be difficult to “burn bridges” with them given their assistance in securing the North East frontiers from insurgent groups.


  • Apart from strategic concerns, India has cultivated several infrastructure and development projects with Myanmar, which it sees as the “gateway to the East” and ASEAN countries.


  • These include the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and the Kaladan Multi-modal transit transport network, as well as a plan for a Special Economic Zone at the Sittwe deep-water port.




Though India is a torch-bearer of democracy, the government is also committed to the policy of non-interference in another state’s internal affairs. Therefore, India should cautiously balance its principles, values, interests while dealing with Myanmar based on geopolitical realities and national interest.



QUESTION :  Discuss the significance of the right to protest in a democracy.






  • Violence in US and India




  • The violence that took place in the US and India has some similarities. It highlights the erosion of democratic values in the world’s oldest (US) and largest democracies (India).




  • Recently, In the US, a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol building. This mob vandalized public property and threatened lawmakers in Congress.


  • Similarly, India witnessed violence on Republic Day. A rally planned to protest against three farm laws, broke off from the planned parade. Protesters entered the premises of the Red Fort by breaking the gates. It later led to a Police crackdown.


  • These two episodes witnessed in the world’s oldest (US) and largest democracies (India) have few similarities and differences.




First, in both countries, the aggrieved parties challenged the political developments.




  • Following the victory of Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, Mr. Trump raised questions on the electoral process. It was despite having no proof for that.


  • He even spread misinformation on social media. This led to the incitement of violence in the US.




  • The anger was against the three laws passed by the Parliament to reform the mandi system. It was felt that the farm laws can endanger the minimum support price system that has been the economic backbone of small-scale farmers.


  • The farmers protested peacefully for months baring the cold winter. Yet, the lack of political will to negotiate with the protesting farmers triggered the violence on Republic day.
  • Second, social media played an important role to show the darker side of mass rallies, in both examples.




  • Social media telecasted an invading mob holding zip ties (zip ties imply a threat to the lives of lawmakers in the building).


  • A truck filled with guns and bombs near the site of the attack that was discovered by law enforcement agencies was also telecasted.




  • Social media was flooded with images of the religious flag of the Sikhs (Nishan Sahib) being hoisted at the Red Fort. This gave an impression that the protest was politically motivated.




  • US mass rally was in support of Trump’s call for nativist populism and racist ethos i.e. in support of white supremacy. It created a sharp division among the US population and will have long-term impacts.


  • Whereas the farmer’s protest in India is against the law enacted by a powerful government. They are resisting the neoliberal economic policy of the government.




  • The above incidents clearly give a picture that Democracy is a contested topic in the world. It favours a religious or social majority through democratic processes like elections.


  • Moreover, democracies are inherently capable of turning into a power structure that overtakes democratic processes. It is evident in the rise of fascism in the pre-World War Europe.


  • The ongoing events in the US and India clearly explain that Democracy has been wrongly understood as the rule of the majority leading to the undermining of Democracy.




A democracy’s ability to preserve its citizen’s right to protest is a result of that democracy’s political health. However, resorting to violence during the protest is a violation of a key fundamental duty (enumerated in Article 51A, the Constitution makes it a fundamental duty of every citizen “to safeguard public property and to abjure violence) of citizens.



QUESTION : Discuss the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in India, during the lockdown scenario emanating from covid-19 and Examine the socio-economic impacts of this pandemic on the vulnerable section of society.






  • Covid-19 Scenario and Impacts of Lockdowns




  • January 30, 2021 marked one year since India detected its first case of COVID-19. Analysing the country’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, reveals the need to be addressed to limit damage and get back to the path of economic and social recovery.


  • India is second largest in the world in terms of cases, after the United States, and fourth in terms of deaths.




In India:


  • Official statistics show that India has fared better on rates of infections and deaths than many higher income countries.


  • India’s case fatality ratio on February 3 stood at 1.4%


  • Deaths due to COVID-19 per million population in India is 112.


In the world:


  • Case fatality ratio: 2.8% in the United Kingdom and 3.1% in South Africa.


  • Deaths per million: 1,362 in the United States, 1,486 in Italy, or 1,831 in Belgium, 50 in Bangladesh, 54 in Pakistan and 16 in Sri Lanka.


  • The case fatalities ratio was Bangladesh (1.5%) and Pakistan (2.1%), Bhutan (0.1%), Nepal (0.7%), the Maldives (0.3%) and Sri Lanka (0.5%).




  • The large-scale fleeing of migrants and families forced to walk hundreds of kilometres back to their homes in the countryside.


  • Dozens died in the exodus, with many in horrific road accidents.


  • Deaths due to lack of sufficient food, drinking water and the sheer stress of travelling
  • Lack of a social safety-net for poor Indians both from before as well as during the pandemic.




  • India’s initial response was marked by;


o Political commitment at the highest level


o Several steps in screening international travellers


o Restricting inbound traffic from severely affected countries


o Preparing quarantine facilities for those testing positive.


  • India was also among the few countries to announce a stringent nationwide lockdown much before it had a significant number of cases.




  • The lack of consultation with State governments resulted in non-innovative policy and its implementation.


  • The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), India’s national disease surveillance framework, was not visible throughout the response.


  • The limited capacity of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to carry out sero-surveillance studies.


  • the pandemic would have been an ideal ground for accelerating plans to create an integrated digital health information system to improve the efficiency and transparency of the COVID-19 response.


  • Civil society’s role: Lack of involvement of civil society organisations as partners with state agencies.


o The way it helped in polio eradication and AIDS response as preventive and promotional role in bringing the infections under control.




  • There is need to rethink the bottom-up approach towards States at the national level.


  • A challenge of the existing social inequalities and the poor facing the economic stagnation needs to be addressed on priority.


  • India’s COVID-19 response plans to revive the economy and restore livelihoods of people needs to be addressed keeping in the mind those millions in danger of starvation and for whom even basic health care has become unaffordable.




  • Without a widespread debate, India would be missing yet another chance to learn the right lessons and ensure a more robust response to similar crises in future.
  • For this, there is need to rethink the bottom-up approach towards States at the national level. Moreover, a challenge of the existing social inequalities and the poor facing the economic stagnation needs to be addressed on priority.
  • In nutshell, India’s COVID-19 response plans to revive the economy and restore livelihoods of people needs to be addressed keeping in the mind those millions in danger of starvation and for whom even basic health care has become unaffordable.



QUESTION : Exemplify the Challenges facing European Union today and  What would be the implications on EU and it’s relations with India ?






  • The EU is in a turbulent situation currently due to COVID-19, Brexit, and international tensions with the US. This has unsettled the EU and worsened internal issues.


  • India is planning to start negotiations on investment and trade agreements with the European Union (EU).


  • However, these discussions might face the same problems as faced during 2007 discussions on free trade agreements.


  • The EU was one of India’s major trade and investment partners before COVID-19 and Brexit. But it is facing many internal issues at present. To revive its relations with the EU, India need to recalibrate its policies.




  • It is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe.


  • Objective of EU and its policies


o Ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market,


o Enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development




1)  Euroscepticism is impacting the unity of the EU. After the UK, many other EU member countries are resisting the EU Policies. Unity is lacking on issues such as-Eurozone, migration crises, secularism, and implementing COVID-19 lockdowns. There is no consensus upon the strategy for dealing with China, Russia, Turkey, and Iran.


2) EU countries are facing many Internal issues. For the first time in 40 years, Netherlands faced Pandemic led riots.


3) Deteriorated relations with the US. During the Trump regime in the US, the EU-US relations took a downfall. Now many EU countries are looking for greater self-reliance in security.

 However, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, and others are uncomfortable with the prospect of building larger military capabilities.


  The EU is trying to avoid involving in the US-China conflict. It has signed the       EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment which was decided after negligible consultation with Washington.


4) Vaccine nationalism is widening the divide. The COVID-19 introduced divisive vaccine nationalism into the Union. Germany and France restricted exports of personal protective equipment. 



  • Terrorism has become a common focus and gained currency as Europe has been subjected to repeated terrorist attacks recently.


  • Shared core values of democracy, pluralism, human rights etc.


  • Both are “committed to a sustainable, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan”.


  • Both EU and India sought that Beijing should follow the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for resolving all maritime territorial disputes.


  • The EU and India also work together on green technologies.


  • Cyber security is another area where the EU and India are developing closer exchanges to protect economies and the functioning of democracies.


  • To meet the challenge of China’s growing presence, EU also recognised India’s interest and role in Africa.


  • Both have a common position on China’s “One Belt and One Road”. Connectivity must be based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality.




  • Rebuilding ties with Europe needs a significant corrective to Delhi’s traditional strategic neglect of the continent.


  • The bipolar Cold War dynamic and the North-South framework developing world versus the developed prevented Delhi from taking a more nuanced view of Europe’s political agency after WWII.


  • Attempts to impart strategic momentum after the Cold War did not really succeed.


  • As the economic gap between China and India widened, so did the scale of European interest in both countries.


  • It is also true that the European ability to project military power int


o the Indo-Pacific is limited.


  • But in combination with Asian democracies, Europe can certainly make a difference.


  • It can mobilize massive economic resources, wield political influence, and leverage its significant soft power to shape the Indo-Pacific discourse




  • A close bilateral relation between India and the EU has far-reaching economic, political and strategic implications on the crisis-driven international order. Both sides should realise this potential and must further the growth of the bilateral ties with a strong political will.


  • The EU will require enormous political will and clever skill to resolve these innumerable and diverse problems without further widening the existing gaps. Trade agreements with India will be the least of its problems.



QUESTION :  Write about the key challenges in adopting the insurance model in achieving the universal health coverage in India and effective steps to be taken by the government of India in this direction ?






  • Universal Health Care




  • The issues with India’s approach in achieving universal health care and issues with it.




  • About 20 years ago, Thailand rolled out universal health coverage at a per capita GDP similar to today’s India.


  • What made this possible was a three decade-long tradition of investing gradually but steadily in public health infrastructure and manpower.


  • This meant that alongside the availability of funds, there also existed robust institutional capacity to assimilate those funds.


  • This is important because enough evidence exists on weak fund-absorbing capacities particularly in the backward States in India.




  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare budget for 2021-22, viz. ₹73,932 crore, saw a 10.2% increase over the Budget estimate (BE) of 2020-21.


  • Also, a corpus of ₹64,180 crore over six years has been set aside under the PM Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, (PMANSBY).


  • ₹13,192 crore has been allocated as a Finance Commission grant.


  • These allocations could make the first steps towards sustainable universal health coverage through incremental strengthening of grass-root-level institutions and processes.




1) Insurance route for achieving universal health coverage and issues with it


  • The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) has stagnated at ₹6,400 crores for the current and a preceding couple of years.


  • Large expenditure projections and time constraints involved in the input-based strengthening of public health care have inspired the shift to the insurance route.


  • However, insurance does not provide a magic formula for expanding health care with low levels of public spending.


  • Beyond low allocations, poor budget reliability merits attention.


  • Another related issue is the persistent and large discrepancies between official coverage figures and survey figures (for e.g. the National Sample Surveys, or NSS, and National Family Health Survey) across Indian States.


  • Such discrepancies indicate that official public health insurance coverage fails to translate into actual coverage on the ground.


  • Robust research into the implementational issues responsible for such discrepancies and addressing them is warranted.


  • Without the same, the PM-JAY’s quest for universal health coverage is likely to be precarious.


  • Finally, even high actual coverage should not be equated with effective financial protection.




  • Health and Wellness Centres — 1,50,202 of them — offering a comprehensive range of primary health-care services are to be operationalised until December 2022.


  • Of these, 1,19,628 would be upgraded sub health centres and the remaining would be primary health centres and urban primary health centres.


  • Initially, most States prioritised primary health centres/urban primary health centres for upgradation over sub health centres, since the former required fewer additional investments.


  • Till February 2, 58,155 health and wellness centres were operational, of which 34,733 were sub health centres and 23,422 were primary health centres/urban primary health centres.


  • This means that of the remaining 92,047 health and wellness centres to be operationalised by December 2022, 84,895 will be sub health centres.


  • The current allocation of ₹1,900 crore, an increase of ₹300 crore from previous year, is a paltry sum in comparison.


  • Since 2018-19, when the health and wellness centre initiative began, allocations have not kept pace with the rising targets each year.


  • Additional funding under the PMANSBY and Finance Commission grants is reassuring, but a greater focus on rural health and wellness centres would be warranted.


  • Continuing the expansion of health and wellness centres without enough funding would mean that the full range of promised services will not be available, thus rendering the mission to be more of a re-branding exercise.


  • Second, under-funding would waste an opportunity for the health and wellness centre initiative to at least partially redress the traditional rural-urban dichotomy by bolstering curative primary care in rural areas.




  • Universal Health Coverage (UHC) covers three key elements — access, quality, and financial protection.


  • India is committed to achieving Universal Health care for all by 2030, which is fundamental to achieving the other Sustainable Development Goals.


  • UHC is firmly based on the 1948 WHO Constitution, which declares health a fundamental human right and commits to ensuring the highest attainable level of health for all.


  • UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.

o It includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.


  • WHO is supporting countries to develop their health systems to move towards and sustain UHC, and to monitor progress.




  • Proportion of a population that can access essential quality health services


  • Proportion of the population that spends a large amount of household income on health




  1. Reproductive, maternal, new-born and child health
  2. Infectious diseases
  3. Non-communicable diseases
  4. Service capacity and access




  • A functioning health insurance system must ensure that patients neither under-treated nor over-treated nor over-charged. Ensuring this requires adaptive price setting, third-party monitoring, and strict regulation.


  • The health budgets must rise substantially, at both state and central level


  • State governments should draw up blueprints for universal health coverage and begin experimenting and innovating with pilot programmes


  • Modern technology and innovation could be used to reduce costs of healthcare system in India


  • The government should appoint a commission which makes recommendations for the healthcare system and monitors its performance




  • COVID-19 has prodded us to make a somewhat stout beginning in terms of investing in health. The key, and the most difficult part, would be to keep the momentum going unswervingly.



QUESTION : Can you consider that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill doesn’t do enough to safeguard women’s choices and interests over abortions in the country? Discuss






  • Women Rights over abortion




Recently, Argentina’s Congress legalised abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy. The MTP Bill was passed in Lok Sabha in March 2020, and is likely to be brought before Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session


  • Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP): The MTP Act of 1971 was framed in the context of reducing the maternal mortality ratio due to unsafe abortions.


o It allows an unwanted pregnancy to be terminated up to 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires a second doctor’s approval if the pregnancy is beyond 12 weeks.


o Further, it only allows termination when there is a grave risk to the physical or mental health of the woman or if the pregnancy results from a sex crime such as rape or intercourse with a mentally challenged woman.


  • The amendment too continues this legacy of hetero-patriarchal population control, which does not give women control over their own bodies.




  • The Bill amends the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.


  • Time limit and grounds for terminating a pregnancy: The Act specifies the grounds for terminating a pregnancy and specifies the time limit for terminating a pregnancy. The Bill amends these provisions.   The provisions of the Act and Bill are  –


  • It provides for requirement of opinion of one registered medical practitioner for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation.


  • Opinion of two registered medical practitioners is required for termination of pregnancy of 20 to 24 weeks of gestation.


  • The provisions relating to the length of pregnancy shall not apply in cases where the termination of pregnancy is necessitated by the diagnosis of any of the substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by a Medical Board..



  • Termination due to failure of contraceptive method or device: Under the Act a pregnancy may be terminated up to 20 weeks by a married woman in the case of failure of contraceptive method or device.


  • The Bill allows unmarried women to also terminate a pregnancy for this reason.


  • Medical Boards: All state and union territory governments will constitute a Medical Board.


  • The Board will decide if a pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks due to substantial foetal abnormalities.


  • Each Board will have a gynaecologist, paediatrician, radiologist/sonologist, and other members notified by the state government.


  • Privacy: A registered medical practitioner may only reveal the details of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated to a person authorised by law.


  • Violation is punishable with imprisonment up to a year, a fine, or both.




  • Autonomy for women over their own bodies: While the current Bill provides that safe abortions can be performed at any stage of the pregnancy in case of foetal “abnormalities,” it fails to consider any other reason such as personal choice, a sudden change in circumstances due to separation from or death of a partner, and domestic violence.


o Thus, it is not based on any request or isn’t at the pregnant person’s will but on a doctor’s opinion.


  • Unsafe abortions: In such circumstances, women usually resort to unsafe methods of abortion. Unsafe abortions are the third largest cause of maternal deaths in India.


  • Biased boards: Medical boards can rely on the facts of the case but personal beliefs could impact the medical board’s opinion, which is one of the biggest challenges in having a third-party opinion on a decision which is very personal.


o The proposed amendment still requires one doctor to sign off on termination of pregnancies up to 20 weeks old, and two doctors for pregnancies between 20 and 24 weeks old.




  1. Unsafe: It is estimated that 15.6 million abortions take place in India every year. A significant proportion of these are expected to be unsafe. Legalising abortion would further put mother’s life in danger especially in rural areas.


  1. Female foeticide: In India there is a major problem with female foeticide. For sociological and economic reasons parents prefer to have boy babies. When parents can discover the gender of the foetus in advance, they sometimes request the termination of a pregnancy solely because the foetus is female.


  1. Unethical: Abortion is morally wrong because it deprives the foetus of a valuable future. In a way it snatch foetus’ right to life.


  1. Damages women: Abortion because it can damage the long-term physical and emotional health of women who have an abortion.


  1. Women atrocities: Legalising abortion may lead to forceful abortion by the husband or family of husband in want of dowry or son.




  • Abortion rights are central to a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course. Neither the state nor doctors have any right to deny a woman a safe abortion. Doing so means that women are not being treated properly as adults who are responsible for their own choices.




QUESTION : Discuss the significance of Pangong Tso for India and China and give way forward to solve the long running dispute between both the nations.






  • Disengagement activities between India-China




 India and China have simultaneously begun disengagement activities around the Pangong Tso region in eastern Ladakh. It is a laudable step for reducing tension between the two countries.




  • The two countries were undergoing severe tensions since May 2020. It is when the Chinese army entered 8 km inside Eastern Ladakh.


  • This Chinese encroachment along east of finger 8 along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) led to unprecedented clashes. The most severe was the Galwan valley clash that caused casualties at both ends.


  • Almost 10 months after the first clash, China agreed to enter into a conciliatory agreement.




  • It calls for a systematic and coordinated withdrawal along the northern and southern banks of Pangong Tso region.


  • China has to pull back its troops at Siriraj, east of Finger 8 and dismantle infrastructure created after April 2020.


  • India has to return to its Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3.


  • A temporary moratorium on patrolling activities has been imposed along the northern bank of Pangong Tso.




  • Pangong Tso literally translates into a “conclave lake”.


  • Situated at over 14,000 feet, the Lake is about 135 km long.


  • It is formed from Tethys geosyncline.


  • The Karakoram Mountain range ends at the north bank of Pangong Tso. Its southern bank too has high broken mountains sloping towards Spangur Lake in the south




  • Good diplomacy was shown by the Indian government that didn’t surrender to Chinese demands.


  • A strategic advantage was gained by Indian army at Kailash heights in the southern bank which enhanced its bargaining power.


  • China realized that a long stand-off will only hamper bilateral relations and would give little gain.


  • The growing closeness of India-US and their greater engagement in the QUAD group, might have pressurized China to alter its stance.


  • Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is an informal group of the US, Japan, India and Australia. The group aims to maintain a rules based order in the Indo-Pacific region.




  • The north and south banks of Pangong Tso are two of the most significant and sensitive regions when it comes to the current standoff that began in May 2020. What makes the areas around the shores of the lake so sensitive and important is that clashes here marked the beginning of the standoff; it is one of the areas where the Chinese troops had come around 8 km deep west of India’s perception of the Line of Actual Control.


  • China had positioned its troops on the ridgeline connecting Fingers 3 and 4, while according to India the LAC passes through Finger 8.


  • Further, it is in the south bank of the lake that Indian forces in an action in late August had gained strategic advantage by occupying certain peaks, outwitting the Chinese. Indian troops had positioned themselves on heights of Magar Hill, Mukhpari, Gurung Hill, Rezang La and Rechin La, which were unoccupied by either side earlier




  • The agreement must be implemented in letter and spirit to re-instill the lost trust between the countries.


  • The focus should be on doing robust verification and monitoring in order to ensure its effective implementation.


  • The success of this disengagement agreement will also open gates for negotiation on other friction points like Hot Springs and Depsang plains.




QUESTION : What are the steps to be taken by the Government of India right now to tackle these online increasing breach of information and coming Challenges in between ? Elaborate






  • Need of Reforming the blocking powers of GoI




Twitter has not complied fully with the Indian government’s statutory orders under Section 69A of IT Act because of following arguments.


  • Legitimate Voices: Twitter has said that the government’s blocking list had accounts of journalists, activists, and politicians whose accounts appear to be bonafide; that their posts are legitimate expression.


  • Disproportionate Order: Twitter has said that it reasonably believes that keeping them blocked would be a disproportionate act contrary to both Indian law and the platform’s charter objectives.




  • Disrespecting Indian Laws: Twitter is an intermediary bound by statutory orders of the government under the Act, and its refusal shows a lack of respect for Indian law.


  • Twitter is not the Judge: Twitter, as a private company, cannot adjudicate or sit in appeal over the government’s judgment on what is proportionate or lawful. It may challenge the order in a court, but cannot simply choose to comply partially or not at all.


  • Inconsistency in its actions: Twitter’s blocking of Trump’s account even while he was the sitting President of the U.S. and its refusal to block here shows it denying parity to India with the U.S.


  • Impunity of Big Tech: Twitter’s defiance indicates the increasing power and impunity of Big Tech, requiring a clear and unequivocal zero tolerance response.




  • Powers of Government is not absolute: Twitter appears to have justifiably formed an informed opinion that the blocking orders, even if validly issued under Section 69A(1) of the IT Act, are partly not lawful and that it is confident of succeeding in a challenge to the orders should the government take any coercive action to enforce them.


  • Upholding Fundamental Rights: It is undeniable that platforms such as Twitter have significant control over how people’s right to free and informed speech is fulfilled. Mechanically following government orders without regard to their lawfulness, necessity or proportionality will seriously impact their audience’s fundamental rights.


  • Checks on arbitrary Power needed for Democracy: The tension between two powerful entities — the government and social media platforms — on questions of which speech to promote and whose speech to curtail is healthy and constructive. It acts as a check on the arbitrary power that would prevail if both were on the same side as a matter of routine.


  • Not a fair comparison with Trumps case: With regard to US President’s Trump’s misleading tweets, Twitter initially resorted to the less intrusive measure of flagging his content, followed by limiting its reach before suspending his account. All of these actions were suo motu and not under government orders.





  1. Section 69A of I.T Act 2000:


o It empowers the government to order an intermediary for blocking access to any information in the digital world.


o The grounds for exercising the power are; threat to national security, public order, sovereignty and integrity of the country etc.


o A punishment up to 7 years can be imposed on intermediaries who don’t comply with the government’s blocking orders.


  1. Blocking Rules 2009:


o It tells the procedure which needs to be followed for blocking online content. As per these rules, the orders are subject to review by government committees. Further all orders and complaints should remain strictly confidential.




  • Reforms should take place in compliance with prior judgments of SC. In the Shreya Singhal case, the court allowed challenges to blocking orders in high courts. In the Kashmir Internet ban case, the court said any order restricting access to the internet should be put in the public domain.


  • The government should block access to information only when an affected party is given a fair hearing in courts. Direct blocking should be permissible only in emergency situations.


  • Blocking orders must be put in the public domain along with proper reasoning. The power of government to limit the flow of information needs to be rationalized.




Structural and institutional solutions must be found to limit the power of both the government and Big Tech and to enforce their obligation to act rationally and responsibly.




QUESTION : How tele-medicine can help India fight corona virus better and benefits of virtual shared Multiple residents ?






  • Telehealth Services




  • The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted Normal health Services in India. The telehealth services like Remote Shared Medical Appointments (SMAs) should be used.




  • Due to COIVD-19 restrictions and lockdown, the physical check-ups with doctors was severely restricted.


  • With stoppage of routine follow ups, blood sugar control for diabetics was at risk, increasing the chances of adverse events requiring hospitalisation. The antenatal care visits were down by 56% in the first half of 2020.


  • Cancer care has been badly affected in many countries, as well as diagnosis and treatment of other non-communicable diseases.


  • Further, people living in rural and remote areas were further disadvantaged by not being able to travel to cities to seek specialist care.


Thus, there is urgent need to augment the efficiency of Virtual health consultations in India to avoid such future scenarios.




  • E-Sanjeevani is a telemedicine service which is implemented under Ayushman Bharat health initiative for doctor-to-doctor interaction.


  • Aim: To connect all the 1.5 lakh health and wellness centre which has been established under Ayushman Bharat.
  • This telemedicine technology was developed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.


  • It offers both provider-to-patient interactions and provider-to-provider interactions, where patients visit community health officers in rural health and wellness centres; these in turn connect to general practitioners and specialist doctors.




  • A framework can be designed in which multiple patients with similar medical needs meet with a clinician at once and where each receives individual attention.


  • Remote shared medical appointments virtualise in-person shared medical appointments (SMAs) which have been offered successfully in the United States for over 20 years.


  • eSanjeevani and other telehealth platforms could consider offering virtual shared medical appointments.




  • It increases telehealth capacity by eliminating repetition of common advice.


  • Providers who have offered SMAs have found them to improve both productivity and outcomes for many conditions, notably diabetes.


  • Example:


o A Hospital in Puducherry has successfully trialled in-person SMAs for patients with glaucoma, a disease that causes gradual, irreversible blindness.


o The hospital found that in shared appointments, patients spur one another to engage more. Such virtual peer interaction could be welcome in the current paradigm of social distancing.


Patients in villages, after seeing similar patient groups in a virtual consultation, can build supportive bonds, share local knowledge, and can attract supplementary providers (physiotherapists etc) due to scale.


Providers can offer virtual group information sessions in which a health-care worker explains the benefits of vaccination, reaching quite large audiences. This will encourage safe behaviours to a greater extent.


Thus, acceptance of virtual SMA model could amplify the impact of health systems both during the pandemic and beyond.




  • Telemedicine: As per the WHO telemedicine is the delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using Information Technology (IT) for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, etc., all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.


  • Tele-consultation is one of the applications of telemedicine. It uses IT to facilitate communications between a patient and a doctor who are otherwise geographically separated.





  • Implementation of SMA in India requires rigorous testing combined with mentoring, training and behaviour change for both patients and providers.


  • Training platforms such as ECHO can accelerate adoption.

o Project ECHO (Expanding Capacity of Primary Care Providers to Address Complex Conditions) trains primary-care providers in many States through an online platform.


  • The switch to a new technique of healthcare delivery will require adequate training and mentoring of both providers and patients.


  • India is blessed to have very low data rates where 1.5 GB data/day is easily affordable for many Indians. This automatically gives the country a significant edge towards augmenting telehealthcare.


  • Further, the strengthening of digital health services will also be in line with WHO’s Global strategy on Digital health. It would help in realizing the dream of ‘Health for All”.




Along with cheaper data plans in India than anywhere in the world, the unique telehealth capacity crisis which COVID-19 has created is drawing interest to virtual SMAs.


Also, WHO’s Global Strategy on Digital Health, adopted by the World Health Assembly, is a call to action providing a road map for nations to rapidly expand digital health services.

Thus, with innovation in systems thinking adaptation, India should utilize new digital tools to leapfrog into a reality of ‘Health for All’.



QUESTION : Discuss the significance of the International Criminal Court orders with respect to Palestinian territories. 




  • ICC Ruling and Palestine




The recent ICC (International Criminal Court) ruling allows it to prosecute war crimes in Palestinian Territories. The ruling has been welcomed by Palestine but criticized by the U.S. and Israel.




  • Israel had been accused of committing atrocities in Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967


  • Palestine joined the ICC in 2015 but remained silent towards the atrocities during the Trump administration. It was because it didn’t want to end U.S. aid towards Palestinian Territories.


  • It is notable that the US Congress was allowed to freeze US Aid in Palestinian territory if Palestine pursues its own legal matters.


  • The change of administration in the U.S. allowed it to be more focal in the ICC. The recent February 2021 ruling of ICC is a result of this changed stance.




  • It allows the ICC to investigate persons committing war crimes in the Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip.


  • However, there is no possibility of immediate investigations, even on the cases already filed in front of ICC.




  • The Rome Statute, a multilateral treaty, is the foundation and governing document of the International Criminal Court (ICC).


  • The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is an agreement that led to the formation of the International Criminal Court (ICC).




  • The International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague, Netherlands.


  • The ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.


  • It is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore exercise its jurisdiction only when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer situations to the Court.




India did not signed the Rome Statute, and thus, is not a member of ICC because of following reasons:


  • State sovereignty


  • National interests


  • Difficulty in collection of evidences


  • Problem to find impartial prosecutors


  • Crime definition




  • It will ensure accountability and justice delivery in the region.


  • It will ensure that individuals and militant groups like Hamas are subjected to international law. Furthermore, it will impose adequate criminal responsibility on them.




  • Palestine: It welcomed the judgement as a step towards correcting past injustices suffered by the country since the 1967 occupation of Israel.


  • Israel: It criticised the judgement of being Anti-Semitic and accused the court of ignoring atrocities done by Iran and Syria in the region.


  • US: It objected against the judgement and reminded that Israel was not a member of the ICC.


  • India: It has refrained from commenting on the judgement based on its geopolitical interest as both Palestine and Israel share a good bond with it.




India’s stance may be unwelcome to Israel that considers the country to be an important partner and a ‘like-minded nation” but will have to sort out middle and harmonious path that leads to equitable justice delivery in that region.



QUESTION : India needs to focus on quality and unique solutions through technology  rather just expanding educational institutions to  improve delivery systems of education. Comment.






  • Expansion of IITs and affecting quality standards of Education




  • The recent decision of the University Grants Commission to permit select IITs under the ‘Institutions of Eminence’ category to set up campuses abroad could further weaken these already stretched institutions.




  • The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are India’s premier institutes with world-class quality standards. They are among few Indian higher education institutions that perform well in the global rankings.


  • However, in the last decade, the IIT institutes have expanded beyond their capacity. This accelerated expansion is likely to affect its quality standards. For example, Currently, there are 23 IITs compared to 5 IIT’s in the early 1960s.


  • Moreover, recently, the University Grants Commission permitted select IITs under the ‘Institutions of Eminence’ category to set up campuses abroad. This decision could further weaken the quality standards of IITs.


  • So, we need to rethink the changing role and mandate of IITs in order to ensure that quality and focus are maintained.




  • It will be difficult for IITs in small locations to attract top-quality faculty and staff. For example, IIT Dhanbad is approved to hire 781 instructors, but only 301 positions were filled as of January 2021.


  • Also, it will be difficult to provide world-class facilities and infrastructure for IITs that are located in smaller towns.


  • Thus, inevitably it will lead to quality decline and the dilution of “IIT brand”


  • IIT’s are unable to attract a sufficient number of young faculty to fill vacancies resulting from retirements.


  • Exclusive focus on technology and engineering and very less importance given to the humanities and social sciences.


  • Lack of correlation between the local needs and IITs. Only a few State governments are effectively utilizing the presence of IITs for community outreach programmes through knowledge-sharing networks.




  • While excellent engineering/STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) institutions are more needed, they all do not have to be IITs.


  • Rather than creating new IIT’s we need to prioritise limited “IIT system”. It should be funded at “world-class” levels and staffed by “world class” faculty. Only, 10 to 12 “real” IITs located near major cities are practical for India.


o Whereas, the newly established institutes can be renamed. After that, they can be provided with sufficient resources to produce high-quality graduates and good research.


o The recent decision to liberalise the recruitment rules to attract more foreign faculty is a good step in the right direction.


  • IITs need to pay attention to internationalization by collaborating with the best global universities and hiring foreign faculty. Rather than starting overseas branches we need robust policies to attract international students.


o This move will produce excellent results and build the IIT’s international brand. For instance, IIT Bombay-Monash Research Academy and University of Queensland-IIT Delhi Academy of Research (UQIDAR), are promising examples.


  • Adequate and sustained funding is mandatory from both the government and the philanthropy to ensure high-quality standards.




IITs are institutes of national importance established and funded by the central government (MHRD), whereas IITs are funded both by the government and the private sector, and are usually set up on a PPP model. There are some IITs established by state governments, too. IITs provide courses in all kinds of engineering, management and even medical sciences need center –state coordination and co-operation.





QUESTION : Discuss the need and importance of legislative councils in Indian states and what are the recent issues coming before these councils ?






  • Importance of Bicameralism




The  issue of undermining of the upper house by passing the certain bills through voice vote and use of money bill route




  • The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill was passed by the State’s Legislative Council by voice vote without any division.


  • The law was passed by the Council despite the lack of a majority.


  • There was no division vote based on actual voting as is usual and as the Opposition members had demanded.




  • Similar process was followed to pass the controversial farm laws (by the Rajya Sabha) in September 2020.


  • The pandemonium in the House caused by heated interventions by the Opposition was used as a pretext to resort to a voice vote.


  • The laws passed with a voice vote seem like a new template for bypassing the constitutionally envisaged legislative process.


  • Another process repeatedly used over the last few years to bypass the Upper House of Parliament is the Money Bill route.


  • The Aadhaar Bill was passed in this manner.


  • Other controversial laws such as those pertaining to electoral bonds, retrospective validation of foreign political contributions and the overhaul of the legal regime relating to tribunals have also been carried out through the Money Bill route.




  • The Lok Sabha is seen as directly representing the will of the people, and the Rajya Sabha as standing in its way.


  • The countervailing function of the Upper House is rarely seen as legitimate.


  • The Rajya Sabha has historically stopped the ruling party from carrying out even more significant legal changes.


  • The Rajya Sabha is imperfect, partly because of constitutional design.


  • And partly because obviously undesirable practices, such as members representing States they have no affiliation to, have been allowed to flourish.




India has a bicameral system i.e., two Houses of Parliament. At the state level, the equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly; that of the Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.




  1. To act as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House.


  1. To ensure that individuals who might not be cut out for the rough-and-tumble of direct elections too are able to contribute to the legislative process.


  1. Having a second chamber would allow for more debate and sharing of work between the Houses.




  • The very questioning of the monopoly of the Lower House to represent the ‘people’ makes bicameralism desirable, argues legal philosopher Jeremy Waldron.


  • In India, the fact that the Rajya Sabha membership is determined by elections to State Assemblies leads to a different principle of representation, often allowing different factors to prevail than those in the Lok Sabha elections.


  • John Stuart Mill had warned about a single assembly becoming despotic and overweening, if released from the necessity of considering whether its acts will be concurred in by another constituted authority.


  • The other merit of bicameralism is significant in a Westminster system like India, where the Lower House is dominated by the executive.


  • The Rajya Sabha holds the potential of a somewhat different legislative relation to the executive, making a robust separation of powers possible.




Under Article 169 of the constitution, Parliament may by law create or abolish the second chamber in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority.




As per article 171 clause (1) of the Indian Constitution, the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall not exceed one third of the total number of the members in the legislative Assembly of that state and the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall in no case be less than 40.




  1. 1/3rd of members are elected by members of the Assembly.


  1. 1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state.


  1. 1/12th by an electorate consisting of teachers.


  1. 1/12th by registered graduates.


  1. The remaining members are nominated by the Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, the cooperative movement, and social service.




The important role played by the upper house needs to be recognised and respected in the legislative processess.



QUESTION : Covid-19 immunisation drive will be a different kettle of fish from regular vaccination programs”. In light of the statement analyse the challenges in the development & distribution of Covid-19 vaccine and give the importance of India’s Vaccine Diplomacy






  • Vaccine Maitri Campaign of India




The ongoing ‘Vaccine Maitri’ campaign of India aimed at provisioning COVID-19 vaccines to the world is one of the most important initiatives to leverage science and technological advantages for the furtherance of foreign policy objectives.

India’s efforts to address COVID-19 health emergency have witnessed global appreciation by the leaders of the world.



Efforts made in the past :


  • Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru clearly articulated India’s priorities in science and technology in his address to the country’s Science Congress on January 21, 1959.


  • India’s international science and technology (S&T) engagement for much of the 20th century met with mixed results as more powerful states such as the United States sought to curb its ambitions in critical spheres such as its nuclear and space programmes


  • Despite limitations, India managed to assist its partners from the Global South in key areas of S&T such as health across Asia and Africa.


  • India established the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India in November 1999.


  • By the early years of the 21st century, it sought to reduce its dependence on foreign countries and emerged as a net provider of development assistance in the international system.


  • The 21st century international system was more conducive to country’s S&T designs in spheres such as nuclear and space technology due improving ties between India and the United States given the rise of an aggressive China.




  • India has signed strategic partnerships bearing substantial S&T components with advanced economies such as the United Kingdom, Japan, Israel, Germany, European Union, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea and Australia.


  • It has strengthened its traditional partnerships with countries such as France and Russia.


  • The country’s Science and Technology Policy 2003 and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2013 clearly related international S&T cooperation with national interest.


  • In the recent years, S&T has been placed at the forefront of the country’s diplomatic engagement.


  • India currently fields four Development Partnership Administrations under its Ministry of External Affairs.


  • The Ministry of External Affairs has seen a restructuring with a Cyber Diplomacy Division, an E-Governance & Information Technology Division and a New Emerging & Strategic Technologies Division to manage S&T issues.




  • The capacity of India’s S&T was tested internationally through the unprecedented global disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • India was swift to address the global challenge by initially sending medicines such as hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol to over 150 countries.


  • India’s pharmaceutical firms such as the Serum Institute of India competently partnered with U.K.’s Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine project to develop Covi-Shield.


o Bharat Biotech gave rise to indigenous vaccine- Covaxin.

  • India’s COVID-19 response came closely aligned with its Neighbourhood First, Act East, Indo-Pacific and Look West policies.



  • The financial allotment to S&T related research must rise to enable the country’s own rise.


  • The participation of its states, universities and private sector in research and development efforts must be encouraged.


  • India’s young scientists and technologists to be made more aware of the country’s foreign policy objectives.


  • All stakeholders in the policy establishment must be encouraged to learn more about science and technology to bridge the intellectual divide.




India through Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative focusses on capacity building and creating an environment where S&T can be used to answer national needs and as well as cross-border interests & global challenges.


India’s decision-makers can convert COVID-19 crisis to mainstream S&T in the country’s domestic and foreign policy.



QUESTION : Elucidate on the role played by  India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in dealing with serious violation of human rights.






  • Human Rights




  • India should respect the universal nature of human rights. It should allow constructive criticism of its policies by the Global community. Thus, India should welcome, praise as well as criticism from other nations.




  • The use of military-grade barriers and internet shutdown against Farmer’s protest attracted criticism from global celebrities. However, the government has advised them to refrain from interfering in the internal issues.


  • Moreover, the government has arrested activists (like Disha Ravi) and warned social media companies (Like Twitter) supporting such celebrities.


  • It is not the first time global celebrities stood for human rights. They also advocated democratic and human rights in other cases, like for Syrians on an Italian shore, the Rohingya in Myanmar, or Hindus in Pakistan.


  • The global community is surprised by such a response. It is because India has itself been a champion and propagator of the universal nature of human rights.




  • The country criticized the practice of apartheid and arbitrary rivoria trail of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The efforts led to the setting up of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid.


  • India was part of the committee that formulated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration was adopted in 1948. This created a list of universal rights available to every human being.


  • Indian freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi played a pivotal role in drafting the UN charter at the 1945 San Francisco conference.




  • The framers of the Indian constitution didn’t intend to protect the customs and traditions. They adopted liberty, equality, and fraternity ideals of French Revolutions on the basis of following justifications.


  • Liberty without equality will lead to the supremacy of few and equality without liberty would kill innovation.


  • Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things.




  1. India itself intervened on matters of other countries on grounds of human rights. The 1971 intervention in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was justified on humanitarian grounds.


  1. Implementation of the latest laws like the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is only possible when criticism from other countries is accepted. The law offers a home for certain persecuted citizens of three foreign countries.


  1. The interests of Sri Lankan Tamils can be protected when the country is itself open to foreign comments.


  1. The country anyway welcomes praise from foreigners as observed in case of giving refuge to the Dalai Lama. Similarly, some Europeans were allowed to visit Kashmir in order to examine the human rights situation.


  1. Public criticism is not a direct intervention in internal affairs.




Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10th December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).


  • The UDHR established a set of common basic values both with regard to the view of human beings and to the relationship between the state and the individual.


  • 2020 Theme: Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights.

Human Rights:


  • These are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.


  • These include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.


  • Nelson Mandela had stated ‘To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity’.


  • International Human Rights Conventions and Bodies:


  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):


  • The 30 rights and freedoms include civil and political rights, like the right to life, liberty, free speech and privacy and economic, social and cultural rights, like the right to social security, health and education, etc.


  • India took active part in drafting of the UDHR.


  • The UDHR is not a treaty, so it does not directly create legal obligations for countries.


  • The UDHR, together with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols (on the complaints procedure and on the death penalty) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol, form the so-called International Bill of Human Rights.


Other Conventions:


  • These include the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), the Convention in rights of child (1989) and the Conventional      demands in the Rights on the Rights of persons .


  • India is a party to all these Conventions.




  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights. It is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.


  • The most innovative feature of the Human Rights Council is the Univer Periodic Re This unique mechanism involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN member states once every four years.


  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) serves as the secretariat for the Human Rights Council.


  • Amnesty International: An international of volunteers who campaign for human rights. This organisation brings out independent reports on the violation of human rights all over the world





  • India must realize that it can sustain its reputation as the world’s largest democracy only when it ensures and secure universal rights for all. This would require giving everyone a sense of security and respecting their dignity.


  • Further, the practice of accepting only praise from foreign celebrities also needs to be changed. Constructive criticism also requires acceptance.


  • India must refrain from shunning the criticism on the grounds of ‘internal matter’. India has itself intervened in fellow countries to protect and uphold human rights.



QUESTION : Indian federalism is undergoing structural as well as functional changes.  In the light of the statement analyse the need for re-examining the federalism in India. Also suggest some measures for deepening federalism in India. 






  • Federalism and Human Capital




  • Investing in human capital through interventions in nutrition, health, and education is critical for sustainable growth




Federalism is a system of government in which powers have been divided between the centre and its constituent parts such as states or provinces. It is an institutional mechanism to accommodate two sets of politics, one at the centre or national level and second at the regional or provincial level.


  • While submitting the Draft Constitution, Dr. Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, stated that “although its Constitution may be federal in structure”, the Committee had used the term “Union” because of certain advantages, These advantages, he explained to the Constituent Assembly, were to indicate two things, viz., (a) that the Indian federation is not the result of an agreement by the units, and (b) that the component units have no freedom to secede from It



  • ARTICLE 1(1) of our Constitution says-“India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”




  • Governments at two levels – centre and states


  • Division of powers between the centre and states – there are three lists given in the 7th schedule of constitution which gives the subjects each level has jurisdiction in:


  • Union List


  • State Lis


  • Concurrent List


  • Supremacy of the constitution – the basic structure of the constitution is indestructible as laid out by the judiciary. The constitution is the supreme law in India.


  • Independent judiciary – the constitution provides for an independent and integrated judiciary. The lower and district courts are at the bottom levels, the high courts are at the state levels and at the topmost position is the Supreme court of India. All courts are subordinate to the Supreme Court.





  • In the World Bank’s Human Capital Index, the country ranked 116th.


  • The NFHS-5 for 2019-20 shows that malnutrition indicators stagnated or declined in most States.


  • The National Achievement Survey 2017 and the ASER 2018 show poor learning outcomes. There is little convergence across States.


  • India spends just 4% of its GDP as public expenditure on human capital (around 1% and 3% on health and education respectively) — one of the lowest among its peers.


Various government initiatives in this regard -like Mission Poshan 2.0’ and the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan – are not leading to better outcomes. One reason may be India’s record with decentralisation.


  • Globally, there has been a radual shift in the distribution of expenditures and revenue towards sub-national governments.


  • These trends are backed by studies demonstrating a positive correlation between decentralisation and human capital.


In recent years, India has taken some steps towards decentralisation. The Fourteenth Finance Commission increased the States’ share in tax devolution from 32% to 42%, which was effectively retained by the Finance Commission




  • Lack of Devolution of Powers: Many States do not clearly demarcate or devolve functions for panchayats and municipalities


  • Disparities in role of Local Bodies: The 73rd and 74th Amendments bolstered decentralisation by constitutionally recognising panchayats. However, the Constitution lets States determine how they are empowered, resulting in vast disparities in the roles played by third-tier governments.


  • Issue with Article 282: Article 282 of the Constitution is listed as a ‘Miscellaneous Financial Provision’, unlike Articles 270 and 275, which fall under ‘Distribution of Revenues between the Union and the State. Article 282 is normally meant for special, temporary or ad hoc schemes.


  • Issue with Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs): These typically have a cost-sharing model, thereby pre-empting the States’ fiscal space.


  • Third-tier governments are not fiscally empowered. The collection of property tax, a major source of revenue for third-tier governments, is very low in India (under 0.2% of GDP, compared to 3% of GDP in some other nations).


  • Institutional Failure: Many States have not constituted or completed State Finance Commissions (SFCs) on time.




  • Centre should play an enabling role, for instance, encouraging knowledge-sharing between States.


  • For States to play a bigger role in human capital interventions, they need adequate fiscal resources.


  • States should rationalise their priorities to focus on human capital development.


  • The Centre should refrain from offsetting tax devolution by altering cost-sharing ratios of CSSs and increasing cesses.


  • Heavy reliance on CSSs should be reduced, and tax devolution and grants-in-aid should be the primary sources of vertical fiscal transfers.


  • Panchayats and municipalities need to be vested with the functions listed in the Eleventh and Twelfth Schedules.




Leveraging the true potential of our multi-level federal system represents the best way forward towards developing human capital.



QUESTION : Discuss the emergency provisions enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Have they been the same since beginning? Examine.






  • State Emergency




President’s Rule has been imposed in Puducherry after all parties failed to make government. Legal and constitutional provisions related to UTs contribute to the destabilization of government there.




  • President rule has been imposed recently in Puducherry after the Narayanasamy government lost majority support in the assembly.


  • This incident is not new. It is very common especially when Union Territories with assemblies and Central government are ruled by different parties.


  • Present constitutional and legal provisions for Union territories facilitate this destabilization.




Constitution of India under article 239A provides for Legislature and Council of Ministers in Union territories. The intent behind this move was to fulfill the democratic aspirations of the people of these UTs. In other words, the rule of the President under article 239 through administrator is not in line with democratic needs.


However, certain provisions are working as hurdles in achieving the real intent behind these provisions.


  1. Article 239A provides that a local Legislatures or Council of Ministers (CoM) or both can be created for Union territory. It means there can be a Council of Ministers without a legislature or with it or vice versa.


o In our constitutional scheme, either CoM or legislatures can work alone. The legislature is a law-making body and CoM proposes these laws.


  1. Constitutional provisions provide that legislature to be a partly elected and partly nominated body. Center through a simple amendment can create a legislature with more than 50% nominated members.


o In the case of Puducherry, the Center can nominate 3 members to 33 members in the Puducherry Assembly. Thus, the Centre nominated 3 members of its party to the assembly. This move was challenged in SC. However, SC ruled that the Centre is not required to consult the State government for nomination and nominated members have the same right to vote as regular members.


o Rajya Sabha also has nominated members, but, under clause (3) of Article 80, some qualifications are mentioned for such nominations. It ensures enrichment of quality of debates.


o However, it is not the case with Puducherry assembly. No qualifications are mentioned for nominations.


  1. Lieutenant Governor in the UTs restricts the autonomy granted to UTs. Center can interfere in every decision of the Council of Ministers through LG and President.


o Article 239 AA(4) and section of UTs act vests the power in the administrator. He or she can express disagreement with any policy matter and refer the matter to the President. Then, he or she can take all actions he or she deems fit in the matter.


o In Puducherry too, conflicts between the Lt. Governor and the Chief Minister were perennial.




  • Article 356 of the Constitution of India gives the President of India the power to impose this rule on a state on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.


  • There are some conditions that the President has to consider before imposing the rule:


o If the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.


o The state government is unable to elect a leader as chief minister within a time prescribed by the Governor of that state.


o There’s a breakdown of a coalition leading to the chief minister having a minority support in the House, and the CM fails to prove majority in the given period of time.


o Loss of majority in the Assembly due to a vote of no-confidence in the House.


o Elections postponed on account of situations like natural disasters, war or epidemic.




Experience shows that the UTs having legislatures with ultimate control vested in the central administrator are not workable. There should a relook at the existing legal and constitutional provisions to realize the vision of a free and autonomous government in the UTs.



QUESTION : How far has the anti-defection law succeeded in preventing the destabilisation of the governments? Give reasons in support of your argument.






  • Anti Defection Law




  • The problems associated with Anti defection law got highlighted again in the Puducherry assembly issue. The law was unable to provide stability to the ruling government which led to the imposition of President rule in the State.




  • Some MLAs from the ruling government resigned from the Puducherry assembly. This eventually resulted in imposition of the President’s rule.


  • This is not only the case with Puducherry, similar instances have been seen in the past in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka as well. Due to that, experts are now pointing towards the flaws of Anti defection law.




  • The 10th schedule was added to the constitution by the 52nd amendment in 1985. This deals with the Anti defection process.


  • The objective behind such a law was to prevent political defections and provide stability to the ruling government.


  • As per the 10th schedule, a member can be disqualified if he/she votes contrary to his party directions. The Speaker/Chairman is the final deciding authority in this regard.


  • The law is applicable to Parliament as well as State legislatures. Further, any person disqualified for defection cannot get a ministerial position unless he/she gets re-elected.




  • A split in a political party won’t be considered a defection if a complete political party merges with another political party.


  • If a new political party is created by the elected members of one party.


  • If he or she or alternative members of the party haven’t accepted the merger between the two parties and opted to perform as a separate group from the time of such a merger




  • The MPs or MLAs are supposed to act as per the party’s command and not by their own judgment. This undermines representative democracy as they are unable to put forward the demands of the people.


  • The scope of defection is very wide as it is applicable on every bill. It is not restricted to important bills only like no-confidence motion, money bill, etc. Moreover, it is also applicable to members of Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils which don’t have a say in the stability of the government.


  • It ensures that legislators are accountable to the party and not to voters. Thereby it reduces their status to mere party agents.


  • The elected legislators are unable to ensure independent accountability of the executive. They scrutinise the working as per collective opinion of the party. This is against the spirit of the Parliamentary system which was adopted to ensure robust accountability.


  • Law also erodes the constructive role of legislatures. Fruitful discussion and debates can’t happen when the legislators are not allowed to freely express their opinions.


  • The stability of the government is hampered when multiple resignations are used to topple it as seen in the case of Puducherry. The anti-defection law fails to prevent such a thing.


  • No time limit in which the Speaker/Chairman takes a call on disqualifications.




  • Rational use of the anti-defection law: Several experts have suggested that the law should be valid only for those votes that determine the stability of the government. e.g. passage of the annual budget or no-confidence motions.


  • Advice of Election Commission: Various commissions including National Commission to review the working of the constitution (NCRWC) have recommended that rather than the Presiding Officer, the decision to disqualify a member should be made by the President (in case of MPs) or the Governor (in case of MLAs) on the advice of the Election Commission.


  • Independent authority to deal with disqualification: Justice Verma in Hollohan judgment said that tenure of the Speaker is dependent on the continuous support of the majority in the House and therefore, he does not satisfy the requirement of such independent adjudicatory authority.


  • The scope of anti-defection law needs to be re-examined. It will enable the MPs to perform the dual role as a delegate of the constituency and a national legislator effectively.


  • For example, in the recent vote on the impeachment of former U.S. President Donald Trump, seven members from his party voted to remove him.


  • The voters should be more cautious while casting their votes. Many defectors in States such as Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh got re-elected in the by-polls, thereby encouraging them to do future defections.


  • The Speaker/Chairman should give decisions within 3 months as advised by the Supreme Court.


  • The ultimate solution to defection lies in the creation of robust exit barriers by political parties. It includes an opportunity to rise on merits within a party rather than on inheritance.




To sum up, we can say that the anti-defection law has been unable to control the defections. It has reduced the accountability of executives by the legislatures and been unable to provide the desired stability to the elected government.




























GS-3 Mains

QUESTION :  What do you mean by fiscal conservatism and explain its important role in the reducing fiscal deficit in an economy like India?






  • A close analysis of Budget 2021




  • A close analysis of Budget 2021 reveals that the Government is following the principle of fiscal conservatism. The policy of Fiscal spending was the need of the hour.




  • Fiscal conservatism is a political and economic philosophy regarding fiscal policy and fiscal responsibility advocating low taxes, reduced government spending and minimal government debt. Deregulation, free trade, privatization and tax cuts are its defining qualities. Fiscal conservatism follows the same philosophical outlook of classical liberalism and economic liberalism.





Falling revenues had forced the government to restrict its aggregate spending. Some of the issues that contributed to falling revenues are,


  • A sharp reduction in corporate tax rates in September 2019,
  • The under-performance of Goods and Services Tax regime.
  • Failure of government’s ambitious disinvestment agenda. The government was only able to collect ₹32,000 crores last year, compared to the plan of ₹2.1-lakh crore.
  • The mandate of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act to reduce the fiscal deficit.
  • Because of the above reasons the total expenditure for 2021-22 is projected to rise only by just 0.95% compared to revised estimates for 2020-21.




  1. Allocation to MGNREGA and Food subsidies:


  • According to the Budget 2021-22, the allocations for the MGNREGA programme, is drastically reduced from the ₹1,11,500 crore spent in 2020-21 to ₹73,300 crores in 2021-22.
  • Similarly, the allocation for food subsidies has been reduced from ₹4,22,618 crore in 2020-21 to ₹2,42,836 crore in 2021-22.
  • MGNREGA and food subsidies supported the vulnerable sections in a big way, to survive during lockdowns.
  • Experts see this as neglect of responsibilities by the government to support the vulnerable and marginalized people.


  1. Allocation to health and wellbeing
  • As per the Budget, the government has increased its spending on health and capital expenditure.
  • Health spending increased by 137% compared to the previous year. (From ₹94,452 crore in 2020-21 to ₹2,23,846 crore in 2021-22)


However, closer scrutiny of budget allocations for health suggests otherwise. For example,


  • The expenditure on the Jal Jeevan Mission is included as a part of ‘Health and Wellbeing’ expenditure. It has magnified the figures on Health expenditure.


  • Also, an increase in Budget spending on Health is not reflected equally in the allocation for the Department of Health and Family Welfare. For example, the Budget estimate of Department of Health and Family Welfare for 2021, shows a mere increase of 9.6% compared to last year.


  1. the allocation for infrastructure investment
  • As per the budget, Capital spending is increased by 35% compared to the previous year. (from ₹4.12-lakh crore in 2020-21 to ₹5.54-lakh crore in 2021-22)
  • But the Budget estimate for infrastructure will also not be adequate. Because of the following reasons,
  • The government is planning to finance new investments in infrastructure through disinvestments of equity, strategic sale, and privatization of the public financial sector. It is expected to yield ₹1.75-lakh crore in 2021-22.
  • However, after looking at the past performance of disinvestment targets, it seems to be an overambitious target.




  • The provisions presented in the 2021-22 Budget, if effectively implemented, promises to revive the economy faster and take it on a higher growth trajectory.
  • It not only addresses the immediate requirements to augment aggregate demand by increasing infrastructure spending, but also initiates reforms in critical areas to take the economy on a higher growth trajectory in the medium term.
  • However, the social sectors will need higher attention and higher resource allocation going ahead.



QUESTION : The Budget 2021-22 is characterised by its departure from the path of fiscal consolidation. Examine the theoretical basis for such departure. What are the key concerns?”






  • The Budget marks an important departure from one of the key tenets of the Washington Consensus, the framework for market-oriented economics that has dominated policy-making in most parts of the world. Though this is a step in the right direction, it has some key macroeconomic stability concerns.




  • The Washington Consensus is a set of 10 economic policy prescriptions by Washington, D.C.-based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and United States Department of the Treasury.


10 Policy prescriptions:

  • Fiscal policy discipline, with avoidance of large fiscal deficits relative to GDP.
  • Redirection of public spending from subsidies (especially indiscriminate subsidies) toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment.
  • Tax reform, broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates.
  • Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms.
  • Competitive exchange rates.
  • Trade liberalization: Liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by low and relatively uniform tariffs.
  • Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment.
  • Privatization of state enterprises.
  • Deregulation: Abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudential oversight of financial institutions.
  • Legal security for property rights.



  • Budget 2021 rests on six pillars: Health and well-being, physical & financial capital and infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India, reinvigorating human capital, innovation, and R&D, and minimum government-maximum governance.
  • This will require a major increase in funding, not only from the Central Government but also from the states and the private sector. This can be reflected in some of the following highlights of the budget :
  • The present budget presents a whopping 34.5% increase in budget allocation — Rs 5.54 lakh crore.
  • The Budget has proposed a new bad bank framework to deal with the problem of non-performing assets. Given the magnitude of NPA, a huge amount of capital will be required to finance it.
  • The government also announced the setting up of a development finance institution to provide long-term financing for infrastructure projects.




Departure From Rigid Adherence To Fiscal Consolidation


  • The Economic Survey that preceded the Budget laid the groundwork for a departure from rigid adherence to fiscal consolidation.
  • It has a quote from economist Olivier Blanchard, “If the interest rate paid by the government is less than the growth rate, then the intertemporal budget constraint facing the government no longer binds.”
  • According to the Economic Survey, in the current situation, expansionary fiscal policy will boost growth, and given India’s growth potential, we do not have to worry about debt sustainability until 2030.




  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, both flag-bearers of the Washington Consensus, have been urging a departure from fiscal orthodoxy in the wake of the pandemic.
  • Both these institutions used to be wary of any increase in the public debt to GDP ratio beyond 100%.
  • Today, they are urging the advanced economies to spend more by running up deficits even when the debt to GDP ratio is poised to rise to 125% by the end of 2021.



  • An important factor for adhering to the fiscal constraint in the past was the fear that the rating agencies would downgrade India if total public debt crossed, say, 10%-11% of GDP.
  • That is a risk that cannot be wished away unless the rating agencies have decided to toe the IMF-World Bank line on fiscal deficits.
  • Another concern is that a large fiscal deficit can fuel a rise in inflation.
  • A third concern is that, with the tax to GDP ratio not rising as expected, the sale of public assets has become crucial to reduction in fiscal deficits in the years ahead. This is a high-risk strategy.
  • A large-scale privatisation almost always involves substantial FDI.
  • In South East Asia and Eastern Europe, privatisation of banks meant a large rise in foreign presence in the domestic economies.



  • If the nation’s political economy came in the way of our meeting the FRBM targets, it is also likely to pose an obstacle to large-scale privatisation. A departure from fiscal orthodoxy is welcome. But the government needs to think of ways to make it more sustainable.



QUESTION : Smart fencing along with physical fencing can protect major infiltration areas of Indian borders. Analyse its feasibility for India





  • Need for Smart walls in India




  • United States dismantled the idea of construction of the “border wall” between the U.S. and Mexico. It has decided on a ‘smart wall’ concept that replaces the physical and armed patrolling with advanced surveillance tech.




  • The U.S.-Mexico border wall, proposed by the earlier US President, envisaged this concept.


  • It uses Artificial intelligence at a novel scale to complement steel barrier.


  • It is deployed with:


  • Mobile surveillance towers


  • radar satellite


  • Computer-equipped border-control vehicles


  • Control sensors and underground sensors


  • thermal imaging to help in the detection of objects.


  • It can distinguish animals, humans, and vehicles, and sending updates to mobile devices of the U.S. patrol agents.




  • The need is to solve the problem of terrorists and smugglers infiltrating into the country.


  • There exists difficulty in erecting fences, walls or any physical structure as the terrain region is rugged and not clearly defined.


  • It is difficult to secure establishments due to their vast size.


o Example: The attack on the Pathankot Air Force base.


  • It is imperative for Indian armed forces to be well-equipped and simultaneously have the latest technological advantage over its enemies.


  • Therefore, it is proposed to use of technology to help India secure its borders.




  • It can operate even in rugged areas.


  • Cost-effectiveness, less damage to the environment, fewer land seizures, and speedier deployment.


  • Enhance critical security establishments and complement the already-existing physical fencing and walls.


  • It is imperative for Indian armed forces to be well-equipped and simultaneously have the latest technological advantage.


  • It falls in line with the goal of Digital India and using such kind of smart technology will help India secure its borders.




Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS):


  • It has been deployed on the Indo-Pakistan Border and Indo-Bangladesh Border.


  • It vastly improves the capability of detecting and controlling cross border crimes.


  • It involves deployment of a range of state-of-the-art surveillance technologies like thermal imagers, infra-red and laser-based intruder alarms, etc.


Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique (BOLD-QIT):


  • It is the project to install technical systems, enabling the Border Security Force (BSF) to equip Indo-Bangla borders with different kinds of sensors in the unfenced riverine area of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.




Experts must explore this idea to effectively counter the problem of cross-border infiltration. Smart borders will not only strengthen India’s security infrastructure but also can go a long way in reducing the loss of valuable lives of soldiers. Besides, the idea has a potential to boost innovation in Indian companies and research institutes, which could develop cost-effective technologies. Once the smart border comes into operation fully, the Government can explore numerous opportunities in future.



QUESTION : “Just focus on fiscal deficit as an economic management tool is not full proof.” Critically analyse this statement with appropriate solution to overcome increasing fiscal deficit problem.






  • A Roadmap to Fiscal Consolidation




  • The Budget will aid the growth in the aftermath of the pandemic, however, concerns remain over the fiscal deficit.





  • Fiscal Deficit is the difference between the total revenue of the government and its total expenditure. A fiscal deficit situation occurs when the government’s expenditure exceeds its income. High fiscal deficit means that the government has been spending beyond its revenue. Many government target fiscal deficit for a stable economic growth. India target to retain fiscal deficit around 3-3.5% of GDP.




  • Fiscal deficit targeting is also known as fiscal targeting to achieve objective of fiscal consolidation. India follows obligation under FRBM act to limit its fiscal deficit in prescriptive manner and adopt various strategies to deal with fiscal deficit.


  • The FRBM Act, aimed at establishing financial discipline, provides for a trigger mechanism for a deviation from the estimated fiscal deficit on account of structural reforms in the economy with unanticipated fiscal implications.


  • Fiscal targeting resolves around judicious and balanced call keeping in mind the need to support the economy on one hand and the sustainable level of fiscal deficit that is consistent with macroeconomic and financial stability on the other.




  • Proposed growth in central expenditure, both in 2020-21 Revised Estimates (RE) and in 2021-22 Budget Estimates (BE), indicates the extent of contemplated fiscal stimulus.


  • For reaching the projected 2020-21 RE levels, the growth required in the last quarter of the current fiscal year over the corresponding period of the previous year appear extraordinary.


  • This involves transferring on to the Budget, the accumulated food subsidies amounting to ₹2,54,600 crore given to the Food Corporation of India through National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) loans.


  • The balance of subsidies amounting to ₹1,68,018 crore would be the food subsidy pertaining to 2020-21 (RE).


  • This is a desirable change towards transparency.


  • Taking revenue expenditure figures as budgeted and adjusting for the NSSF-accumulated food subsidy amount, the growth is 6.7% in revenue expenditure in 2021-22 (BE) over 2020-21(RE).


  • A good part of expenditure for the last quarter of 2020-21 may also pertain to clearing unpaid dues of various stakeholders including the private sector, autonomous bodies and government-aided institutions.


  • Clearing these payments is desirable and would add to demand.


  • The main expenditure push comes through a budgeted growth of 26.2% in capital expenditure in 2021-22.


  • Relative to GDP, capital expenditure is expected to increase from 1.6% in 2019-20 to 2.3% in 2020-21 RE and 2.5% in 2021-22 BE, signalling a significant change in priority.




  • Significant increases are planned in non-tax revenues and non-debt capital receipts.


  • This increase is mainly predicated on higher dividends from non-departmental undertakings and spectrum sales.


  • From a contraction of 35.6% in 2020-21 (RE), non-tax revenues are budgeted to grow by 15.4% in 2021-22.


  • In the case of non-debt capital receipts, mainly covering disinvestment, a budgeted growth of 304.3% in 2021-22 stands in contrast with the contraction of 32.2% in 2020-21 (RE).


  • Disinvestment initiatives have so far yielded minimal results.


  • Budgeted increase in the Centre’s gross tax revenues is dependent on nominal GDP growth of 14.4%, with a buoyancy of 1.6 for direct taxes and 0.8 for indirect taxes.




  • An important initiative pertains to the launching of a National Monetisation Pipeline.


  • The time lags involved in starting yielding revenue remain unpredictable because of various potential disputes and claims involving government-owned land.


  • A transparent auction process needs to be set up to facilitate suitable price discovery.




  • The Budget includes central government’s share to the National Infrastructure Pipeline.


  • However, success of the infrastructure expansion plan would depend on other stakeholders of the pipeline playing their due role.


  • The Budget also proposes setting up of a Development Finance Institution (DFI), to serve as a catalyst for facilitating infrastructure investment.


  • The DFI would have an initial capital of ₹20,000 crore.


  • In order to manage non-performing assets of public sector banks, there is a proposal to set up an Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) and an Asset Management Company (AMC).


  • Much depends upon the fine-tuning the operations of these institutions.




  • In the action taken report, the Union government has accepted the recommended vertical share of 41% for the States in the shareable pool of central taxes.


  • The government has accepted the Fifteenth Finance Commission’s recommendation for revenue deficit grants, local body grants and disaster-related grants.


  • The scope of revenue deficit grants has been extended to cover 17 States in the initial years.


  • The determination of these grants is not based on equalisation principle although some norms have been used in the assessment exercise.


  • However, the government has put on hold the consideration of State-specific and sector-specific grants including performance-based incentives.


  • The substantive issue pertains to the mode of transfers in terms of general-purpose unconditional transfers against specific purpose and conditional transfers.


  • States had shown a preference for the former mode and it is for this reason that the 14th Finance Commission had raised the States’ share from 32% to 42%.


  • The reduction from 42% to 41% is only on account of the consideration of 28 States excluding Jammu and Kashmir because of its new status.


  • The imposition of cesses which are almost permanent has reduced the shareable pool.


  • In fact, the States’ share in the Centre’s gross tax revenues is only 30% in 2021-22 (BE).




  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission has also proposed a revised fiscal consolidation road map for the Centre and States.


  • Recommendations of the N.K. Singh Committee should be implemented in a time-bound manner so that the developmental needs of the economy are not unduly compromised while being on the path of fiscal prudence.


  • The Government should consider a medium-term framework for fiscal policy and ensure that over the medium-term targets are met.


  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission has recommended the setting up of a High-Powered Intergovernmental Group to re-examine the fiscal responsibility legislations of the Centre and States.


  • Giving up the prudential norms will be a wrong lesson to learn from the crisis.




Fiscal deficit must be related to household savings in financial assets and the interest payments to revenue receipts. We must be conscious of the burden of the rising stock of debt.



QUESTION : Define Direct Services Tax by giving key issues that are coming now a days and explain the rationale behind devising a separate framework to tax online service providers.






  • Digital Services Tax




  • Last month, a United States Trade Representative (USTR) investigation report found India’s Digital Services Tax (DST) to be discriminatory.
  • It said the tax is “inconsistent with prevailing principles of international taxation”, and burdens or restricts U.S. commerce.
  • Section 301 investigations are unilateral in nature, because the USTR is essentially deciding whether a measure is violative of the U.S.’s rights.
  • India has denied these charges.




  • The Equalisation Levy was introduced for the first time in 2016 as 6 per cent tax on revenues earned by non-residents from online advertising and related services.
  • The burden of this tax eventually fell on local firms advertising on these platforms.
  • Later, the government expanded the scope of this levy to include the sale of goods and services in the country by overseas e-commerce operators.
  • The transactions will be taxed at 2 percent if businesses earned more than Rs 2 crore.
  • India, originally in 2018, had introduced a test for significant economic presence in the Income Tax Act, according to which, if a company had users in India, it sort of defined its economic connection with India, and therefore gives India the right to tax.
  • Globally, the rate of digital tax varies from 1.5 per cent (in Poland and Kenya) to 15 per cent (Paraguay). In Europe, the tax rate varies from 3 per cent (France, UK, Spain) to 7.5 per cent (Hungary)




  • Base Erosion and Profit Shifting: Multinational Firms make profits in one jurisdiction, and shift them across borders by exploiting gaps and mismatches in tax rules, to take advantage of lower tax rates and, thus, not paying taxes to the country where the profit is made.


  • The need to tax digital companies – the likes of Amazon, Google and Netflix – arises because these companies collect digital revenues from countries where they do not have significant business presence, which in tax parlance is referred to as permanent establishments.


  • These are new-age companies, which can use virtual infrastructure to operate in another country.


  • The Akhilesh Ranjan Committee Report had suggested that in order to create a level-playing field between online businesses and brick-and-mortar businesses, digital businesses which do not have a physical presence in India but are able to enjoy a sustainable economic presence should be paying a certain amount of tax.




  • The US investigation finds that India’s equalisation levy discriminates against U.S. companies in particular.


  • The same services offered non-digitally are not taxed, and this is leading to a ring-fencing of the digital economy.


  • DST taxes a company’s revenue rather than its income. This is inconsistent with international tax practice that income, not revenue, is the appropriate basis of corporate taxation.


  • Taxing revenue for digital transactions as location-specific rent is more feasible than a digital presence, because it would lead to lesser compliance costs.


  • DST taxes companies with no permanent establishment in India, contravening international tax principles.




  • The Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) programme by the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] was launched by the G20 countries.


  • Under the 15 action points, action point one was to look at the tax challenges of the digital economy.


  • The main problem was to find a new way of taxing digital companies that are not adequately taxed because of how the rules are designed. So, the primary concern was that companies don’t have a physical location in the markets where they operate.


  • India has been engaged in the global discussions at the OECD level.


  • Even other countries introduced DSTs like India’s equalisation levy.


  • India has always maintained that once there is a global consensus, it would cease to keep the equalisation levy in force.




  • A key issue on the OECD agenda is the “digital services tax” (DST), which is a levy on the overall revenues earned by the supplier of specific digital services.


  • The OECD, under the authority of the Group of 20 countries, has considered ways to revise tax treaties, tighten rules, and to share more government tax information under the BEPS project, and has issued action plans.


  • In the early versions of the Base Erosion and Profit Sharing (BEPS) report on the issue, the Task Force on Digital Economy at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) mentioned three measures — an equalisation levy, withholding taxes and a new nexus rule.




  • One of the primary criticisms against India’s equalisation levy is that it is a tax on revenue as opposed to being a tax on profits.


o The U.K. allows companies to not pay any tax if their net operating margin is negative.


  • Another major difference is that companies that sell their own inventories are explicitly excluded from the scope of the U.K. DST.


o Whereas, India’s equalisation levy covers everything under the sun




  • OECD process: The position that India has taken is to remain committed to the OECD process, to influence it, and to say that there are ways to tweak this design.


o So, the design could be worked out better to take into consideration the interests of the developing countries.


  • The United Nations has proposed an automated DST which is to say that within the existing treaty framework today, we introduce a withholding on payments that are made from markets to jurisdictions.


  • Bilateral pacts: India should apply the DST and then allow countries to bilaterally negotiate with their respective partner countries a process of crediting this tax.




More than 24 countries have either adopted or are considering adopting, a DST or a DAT after the concept got introduced in India. So the tax challenges posed by the digital economy is not a problem between India and the US. It is a global problem and the US has to accept this and act accordingly.



QUESTION : Discuss  the term Cryptocurrency with various concerns related to it and the solutions to tackle the digital fraud at the same time.






  • Cryptocurrency and its Regulation




  • Government has proposed bringing in a law on cryptocurrencies so as to put an end to the existing ambiguity over the legality of these currencies in India.




  • A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend.


  • Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology—a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers.




  • The government has, from time to time, suggested that it does not consider cryptocurrencies to be legal tender.


  • The disapproval of cryptocurrencies by government is due to fact that such currencies are highly volatile, used for illicit Internet transactions, and wholly outside the ambit of the state.


  • In 2018, the RBI did send a circular to banks directing them not to provide services for those trading in cryptocurrencies.


  • Those challenging the RBI Circular in Supreme Court had argued that these were commodities and not currencies. Therefore, RBI did not have the jurisdiction.


  • The circular was set aside by SC, which found it to be “disproportionate”.


  • Regulatory bodies like RBI and Sebi etc also don’t have a legal framework to directly regulate cryptocurrencies as they are neither currencies nor assets or securities or commodities issued by an identifiable user





  1. Privacy Concerns: The privacy of users’ data is at stake.

 There is concern regarding privacy of users data in using cryptocurrencies as all the transaction information is stored in distributed ledger (called blockchain), which is publicly visible. Thus Hacker can easily observe how the money flows.


  1. High Volatility: The price of Bitcoin suddenly rose to almost $20,000 and then dropped to $6,000. Due to such incidents, it is complicated for the investors to trust the ecosystem.


  1. Destination for black money: The fear among regulators and policymakers is that cryptocurrencies, being an alternative source of value to fiat currency, could be misused to launder black money or finance terrorist activities.


  1. Cybersecurity Concerns: Cryptocurrencies are prone to cybersecurity breaches and hacks. Various attacks are common, even companies and governments are not full proof to them. For example, the Swiss blockchain company, Trade.io, has reported that crypto tokens worth almost $8 million have been stolen from their cold wallet.


  1. Dark activities: The possibility that the new money will nurture illicit activities and markets like drug selling, weapons etc. through Darknet is always high using cryptocurrency anonymously. It also increases the risk of its use in various terrorist activities across the border.


  1. Monetary control and economic behaviour: It could dramatically change global monetary policymaking. People will exchange their national currencies for the new digital coin in order to buy and sell the many products that will be priced in it. This will further impact the profit of banks and will put stress on their balance sheet.


  1. Inflation: Governments and policymakers will have reduced ability to control inflation. Usually, when inflation picks up, central banks take steps to control it through various monetary rates. Cryptocurrency will be out of control of the central bank so liquidity control will be an issue.




  • This legal ambivalence has not, however, been able to prevent cryptocurrencies from having a growing user base in India.


  • Their attraction may only grow now, given that the most well-known of them as also the most valuable, Bitcoin, has hit new peaks in price and is gaining influential followers such as Tesla founder Elon Musk.


  • Cryptocurrency exchanges, which have sprung up, are reportedly lobbying with the government to make sure these currencies are regulated rather than banned outright..




  • Smart regulation is preferable, as a ban on something that is based on a technology of distributed ledger cannot be implemented for all practical purposes.


  • Even in China, where cryptocurrencies have been banned and the Internet is controlled, trading in cryptocurrencies has been low but not non-existent,


  • The government must resist the idea of a ban and push for smart regulation




  • It is important to note that further digitisation, in itself, does not make processes more robust.


  • Any solution to electoral problems must be software independent and fault tolerable, where failure or tampering of one mechanism — or several — would not affect the integrity or transparency of the overall process.



QUESTION : What is Over the Top (OTT) media services? Critically analyse the benefits and challenges offered by the OTT media services in India and mention about the important steps taken by the Government of Canada self-regulation code is concerned .






  • Self-regulatory Codes for OTT




  • The government should consider allowing the Over-The-Top (OTT) services to self-regulate themselves. Recently, they published a new tool kit to implement the self-regulation code of 2020.




  • The Over-The-Top (OTT) services in India have witnessed an increase in subscription revenues during the Pandemic. The growth has been so significant that major films are now getting released over OTTs, against the earlier trends.
  • The growth of OTT and the absence of censorship regulation for the OTT’s supported the growth of creative talent in the film-making industry.


  • However, there are growing concerns regarding the misuse of creative freedom. Many court cases have been filed against them.


  • For instance, in UP the Amazon Prime Video series has been charged with cyberterrorism, obscenity, promoting social enmity, and defiling places of worship.


  • Similarly, in M.P, a petition has been filed, seeking a court direction to bring OTT channels under the censorship laws.


  • Following these developments, the I&B Ministry stated its intention to bring regulatory code on the content for OTT platforms.


  • In this backdrop, recently the Internet-based Over-The-Top (OTT) services operationalized a self-regulation code.




  • It is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet. Examples include Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Hotstar, and others. Currently, there is no law or autonomous body governing digital content.




In 2020, OTT platforms signed a universal ‘self-regulation’ code under the Internet and Mobile Association of India(IAMAI). The key features of the code are:


  • Regulatory environment: Information Technology Act, 2000 is the primary governing statute for online content.


  • Age classification: The code includes a framework for age classification and content descriptions for titles as well as access control tools.


  • Consumer Complaints:: Each OTT platform will have to set up a Consumer Complaints Department. Other than that an advisory panel to deal with complaints, appeals, and escalations will also be set up.




  • Purpose: Toolkit will help in the implementation of the code 2020 of the OTT platforms. It will also address the feedback received from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on the issues of conflict of interest and prohibited content.


  • Implementation of the Code: It will also frame the code of ethics and guiding principles for the signatory OTTs.


  • Guidance: Further, The toolkit will guide OTTs on various dimensions like:


  • Grievance redressal mechanism


  • Relevant laws of the land,


  • Awareness programs for consumers


  • Training programs for creative and legal teams


  • Implementation of a detailed audit and compliance mechanism.


  • Secretariat: A ‘secretariat’ will be set up for monitoring the implementation of the code. It would have representatives from the OTT platforms and IAMAI.




  • the code of self-regulation is in accordance with the Indian rule of law. It accepts IPC rules, laws on women’s and children’s rights, copyright and age-appropriate certification, and parental control. It also upholds the constitutional right to free speech.


  • It is also consistent with the 2016 Shyam Benegal committee recommendation on film certification. Some important recommendations are,


  • Creative expression should not be curbed in the process of classification of films. It leaves viewing decisions to audiences.


  • Furthermore, it also recommended for classification of films on the basis of viewer’ age.


  • It called for ensuring transparency in the way reviewing bodies are constituted.




The idea of pre-censoring films and forcing arbitrary cuts based on prejudice is against the values of liberal societies. Hence, the self-regulatory code operationalized by the Over-The-Top (OTT) services should to be given a chance.



QUESTION : “Increasing fireworks accidents can easily be seen now a days with fatalities” what are the reasons behind these and  recent steps taken by government to reduce such incidents in India?






  • Causes of Accidents in firework industry




  • Labour reforms and technological advances within the fireworks industry is the need of the hour to minimise the causes of accidents in the firework industry.




  • Thousands of workers in Tamil Nadu’s famed fireworks’ industry are working in unsafe conditions. It resulted in a series of accidents. Such as


  • 20 workers died and 28 injured in the latest accident at a fireworks unit in Virudhunagar. These incidents take place due to gross violation of norms governing the industry and human error in handling explosive substances.


  • 25 lives were lost in an accident in three fireworks factories in Virudhunagar (9), Cuddalore (9), and Madurai (7) in the past 11 months.


  • After such accidents, only short-term action is taken. It includes


  • Registration and identification of cases,


  • Arrest the person responsible for an accident


  • Symbolic inspections,


  • Issuance of warnings and safety advisories




  • There is a large-scale illegal sub-leasing of workers for licenced firework units.


  • There is a violation of the limit on workers to be deployed. This leads to crowding in each shed.


  • There is a piece-rate system in payment (payment to workers is provided based on the number of firecrackers produced by workers). People are tempted to produce more units per day.
  • For example, a tired worker hurriedly emptied semi-finished crackers, which caused the recent accident.


  • There is also a lack of trained workers. This encouraged the industry to hire new workers with limited skills leading to accidents.


  • Unlicensed units have expanded. They mostly escape the inspection until an accident occurs.




  • Occasional accidents in an industry dealing in explosive materials may seem inevitable.


  • But the probability of such mishaps can certainly be reduced by adopting safe work practices, complying with rules and through cohesive monitoring by Central and State licensing and enforcement authorities.


  • Crackdowns against violators have been few and far between despite illegal sub-leasing of works to unlicensed cottage units becoming a widely acknowledged practice in the industry




It examined, among other things, statutory and administrative shortcomings that led to the death of 40 workers at Om Shakti Fireworks Industries in 2012.


Some of the committee’s key findings are:


  • Conspicuous absence of proper inspection mechanisms at various government departments.


  • Lack of coordination between Central and State authorities dealing with the regulation of fireworks industries.


  • It recommended making sub-leasing of works by licensed units a cognisable penal offence.


  • As part of industrial safety measures, it mandated inter-safety distances between sheds to be covered with earthen mounds.





  • Supervision of the chemicals to be mixed or stored is a key task to avoid casualty.


  • There should be periodic inspections at factories and strict penal action against violators.


  • Central and State governments must provide the needed manpower for enforcement agencies as the industry has grown manifold.


  • A continuous political push for labor reforms and technological innovations within the industry is also essential.


  • Adopting safe work practices


  • Comprehensive monitoring by Central and State licensing


  • Strict enforcement of the safety guidelines by authorities.


  • Implementing the recommendation of Chaitanya Prasad Committee


  • Awareness among stakeholders involved in the sector about the significance of safety in manufacturing process.




  • After all, there can be no joy during any celebrations using firework if those making it lead a life of dangerous uncertainty.



QUESTION : Do you think the budget 2021 offers proper solutions to the issues faced in public health system ? Critically analyse.






  • Healthcare sector of India




  • Against this covid-19 backdrop, the Union Budget 2021 had several important initiatives for healthcare, thus boosting Health Infrastructure across country.




  • Healthcare spending of over ₹2-lakh crore over a six-year period. Out of this, ₹35,000 crore has been earmarked for Covid vaccination.


 Impact: This will pave the way for structural improvements in the healthcare sector over the long-term.


  • Provision of ₹64,180 crore to the newly launched Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana.


o Aim of the scheme: To develop institutions that can detect new diseases, provide a cure, and improve the healthcare systems.


o Interventions under the new scheme: will offer support to 11,000 urban and 17,000 rural wellness centres.

o Impact:


  • Augment the level of care and outreach across different strata of society.
  • The marginalised sections will be beneficiaries of these centres.
  • Addressed pressing issues of equity and inclusion.
  • PMANSBY lays emphasis on the health system being strengthened at all levels. This is crucial as there is need for enhancing disease surveillance and diagnostic capabilities to be better prepared for disease outbreaks in India.
  • Provided New health infrastructure scheme with a higher outlay of Rs 61,000 crore.


            Impact: Investment in health infrastructure has multiplier effects through growth and employment.


                          Investing in health infrastructure, through primary, secondary and tertiary care centres and by providing    emphasis on Centres for Disease Control and Prevention is noteworthy.


  • Rs. 20,000 crores for setting up Development Financial Institution (DFI) to act as catalyst for infrastructure financing.

o Under this, 5 lakh crore lending portfolios will to be created in 3 years.


o Impact: This is a great opportunity to augment the health infrastructure in India, which currently has less than 9 beds per 10,000 population.


  • Rs. 2,87,000 crores over 5 years for Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban).


Aim of Mission


  • 86 crore household tap connections


  • Universal water supply in all 4,378 Urban Local Bodies


  • Liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities


    Impact: A report suggested that one out of every 100 Indian children died before the age of 5 due to either diarrhoea or pneumonia. Suboptimal access to clean water and sanitation is directly linked to diseases such as diarrhoea, polio and malaria. The mission will help in addressing this issue.


  • The Made-in-India Pneumococcal Vaccine to be rolled out across the country, from present 5 states.


o Impact: Pneumococcal pneumonia is a major killer of children under the age of five years. Once universalised, this vaccine could save up to 50,000 lives annually.


  • 40% hike for the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).


o Impact: will catalysed a behavioural shift in favour of preventive care, holistic health and wellness.




  • Production-Linked Incentive schemes have been announced to boost domestic manufacture of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.


  • Mission COVID Suraksha was launched to promote the development and testing of indigenous vaccine candidates.


o At least 92 countries have approached India for a COVID-19 vaccine, thus bolstering the country’s credentials as the vaccine hub of the world.


  • To ensure food and nutrition security for the poor and the vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis, Government launched the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package for providing free foodgrains.


  • To facilitate access to subsidised grains across the country, the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme has been enabled in 32 States/Union Territories covering 690 million beneficiaries.




  • Tangible intermediate plans to execute the budgetary provisions on healthcare sectors that enable us to achieve sustainable well-being must be implemented.


  • National Health Mission need to be made more robust too


  • Given that over 80 % of Indians rely on private healthcare, the government should offers incentives to the private sector to strengthen the health systems.


  • A coordinated effort by the government in reducing the taxes on healthcare sector will help private healthcare players offer services at more reasonable rates.


o Currently, the healthcare sector pays GST on inputs, injectables etc., but is unable to recover it from billing. This has resulted in a significant negative impact on healthcare providers.


  • There is considerable potential for promoting ayurveda and yoga as well as integrative health-care approaches in the post-COVID-19 scenario, especially for stress reduction.




While much remains to be done, the Union Budget 2021–22 has laid a strong foundation to increase the resilience of the sector in the post-COVID-19 era and achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.


QUESTION : India needs to move beyond the inflation targeting in its monetary policy. Discuss.






  • Increasing Inflation is a cause of concern




  • The recent January 2021 retail inflation data provides relief to monetary authorities. Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 4.06% which is a desired outcome for ensuring macroeconomic stability.




  • The inflation had remained above the RBI’s threshold mark of 6% for six months till November. The ideal range of CPI is 2-6%.


  • In January 2021, inflation reached a 16-month low.


  • The fall in the inflation rate was particularly attributed to a modest rise of 1.89% in Consumer Food Price Index. This was majorly a result of 15.48% drop in vegetable prices and easing of cereal prices.




  • Inflation is defined as a situation where there is sustained, unchecked increase in the general price level and a fall in the purchasing power of money. Thus, inflation is a condition of price rise. The reason for price rise can be classified under two main heads : (1) Increase in demand (2) Reduced supply.




Having understood what inflation really is, let’s ponder what effects can inflation cause in an economy? Is inflation that bad? High rates of inflation is bad because, it can eat up hard-earned money of ordinary people. Life of common man will become tough. His savings will soon be exhausted, unless his investments offer high rate of return than the inflation rate present in the country.


What is the difference between WPI & CPI?


  • WPI, tracks inflation at the producer level and CPI captures changes in prices levels at the consumer level.


  • Both baskets measure inflationary trends (the movement of price signals) within the broader economy, the two indices differ in which weightages are assigned to food, fuel and manufactured items.


  • WPI does not capture changes in the prices of services, which CPI does.




Headline Inflation is the measure of total inflation within an economy. It includes price rise in food, fuel and all other commodities.


The inflation rate expressed in Wholesale Price Index (WPI) usually denotes the headline inflation. Though Consumer Price Index (CPI) values are often higher, WPI values traditionally make headlines.


CORE INFLATION  (Underline Inflation or Non-food Inflation) :


Core inflation is also a term used to denote the extend of inflation in an economy. But Core inflation does not consider the inflation in food and fuel. This is a concept derived from headline inflation. There is no index for direct measurement of core inflation and now it is measured by excluding food and fuel items from Wholesale Price Index (WPI) or Consumer Price Index (CPI).




  • Demand Pull Factors –


  1. Rise in population.


  1. Black money.


  1. Rise in income.


  1. Excessive government expenditure.
  • Cost Push Factors –


  1. Infrastructure bottlenecks which lead rise in production and distribution costs.


  1. Rise in Minimum Support Price (MSP).


  1. Rise in international prices.


  1. Hoarding and black marketing.


  1. Rise in indirect taxes.




  • As per RBI, bumper Kharif crops, good vegetable supply in winters, and better prospects of rabi produce could reduce inflation in future months.


  • Further, rising fears of avian flu will decrease poultry demand and control inflation.


  • However, RBI is cautious of higher inflation in pulses and edible oils. A 13.4% price rise was seen in pulses and products. Further, the rise in the oils and fats category was 19.7%.




  • Inflation for eggs and meat was in double digits despite the avian flu threat.


  • The favourable base effect is about to decrease. It is causing fear of rising inflation in the future. The base effect is the fluctuation in a monthly inflation figure due to low or high base i.e. level of inflation in the same month a year-ago.


  • The producers in multiple sectors (automobile, real estate, etc.) are expected to transfer the cost of inputs to consumers. This is due to rising input costs as shown by IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).


  • The rising fuel prices could also contribute to increasing inflation. Diesel has already crossed the 80 rupees mark which has pushed prices of numerous goods.




  • Climate resilient agriculture which is able to better adapt to frequent climate extremities.


  • Better collaboration at international level to ensure that essential food articles are distributed evenly across the globe where at present we have wastage on one hand & hunger/shortage on other hand




  1. Monetary Measures:


(a) Credit Control

(b) Demonetisation of Currency

(c) Issue of New Currency


  1. Fiscal Measures:


Monetary policy alone is incapable of controlling inflation. It should, therefore, be supplemented by fiscal measures. Fiscal measures are highly effective for controlling government expenditure, personal consumption expenditure, and private and public investment


(a) Reduction in Unnecessary Expenditures

(b) Increase in Taxes

(c) Increase in Savings

(d) Surplus Budgets

(e) Public Debt


  1. Other Measures:


(a) To Increase Production:


The following measures should be adopted to increase production:


(i) One of the foremost measures to control inflation is to increase the production of essential consumer goods like food, clothing, kerosene oil, sugar, vegetable oils, etc.


(ii) If there is need, raw materials for such products may be imported on preferential basis to increase the production of essential commodities,


(iii) Efforts should also be made to increase productivity. For this purpose, industrial peace should be maintained through agreements with trade unions, binding them not to resort to strikes for some time,


(iv) The policy of rationalisation of industries should be adopted as a long-term measure. Rationalisation increases productivity and production of industries through the use of brain, brawn and bullion


(v) All possible help in the form of latest technology, raw materials, financial help, subsidies, etc. should be provided to different consumer goods sectors to increase production.


(b) Rational Wage Policy

(c) Price Control

(d) Rationing




In the current scenario, banks have been given necessary support which has enhanced their liquidity. This calls for due vigilance by policymakers, else inflation can’t be moderated thereby impacting macroeconomic stability.



QUESTION : India’s Mission to Mars – Will it lead to a heightened scientific temper of Indians?






  • NASA’s Mars Rover




NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover landed on the Jezero Crater in Mars on February 18, to much celebration.


  • Its earlier Mars expedition which carried the Curiosity rover, landed on August 5, 2012.


  • It identified regions that could have hosted life.


  • NASA’s exploration of Mars has focused on finding traces and trails of water that may have existed, and relate it to finding evidence of ancient life.




  • Perseverance is the most advanced, most expensive and most sophisticated mobile laboratory sent to Mars.


  • Different from previous missions: The rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside in a “cache” on the surface of Mars.


  • Duration: It is expected to last at least the duration of one Mars year, or about 687 earth days.


  • Launch: 30th July, 2020


  • Landing: 18th February, 2021


  • Landing site: Jezero Crater in Mars


The mission of Perseverance on Mars


Perseverance addresses both the critical themes around Mars


  • the search for life


  • a human mission to that planet.




  • Perseverance will take the inquiry made by Curiosity to the next level and search for signs of past life by studying the Jezero Crater.


o The crater was chosen for study as based on an earlier aerial survey, it was found to be home to an ancient delta.


o Clay minerals and carbonates were seen, making the crater a good place to search for life’s existence.




  • Perseverance will carry the Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX).


o RIMFAX will provide high resolution mapping of the subsurface structure at the landing site.


o The instrument will also look for subsurface water on Mars – which, if found, will greatly help the case for a human mission or the cause of a human settlement on Mars.


  • The rover also carries a helicopter named Ingenuity that is specially designed to fly in Mars’s thin atmosphere; its sole purpose would be to demonstrate flight on Mars.


o It is a technology demonstration experiment: to test whether the helicopter can fly in the sparse atmosphere on Mars.


o The low density of the Martian atmosphere makes it difficult to fly a helicopter or an aircraft on Mars very low.


o Long-distance transportation on Mars has to rely on vehicles that rely on rocket engines for powered ascent and powered descent.




  • Collect: As the first step, Perseverance will collect rock and soil samples in 43 cigar-sized tubes. The samples will be collected, the canisters will be sealed, and left on the ground.


  • Fetch: The second step is for a Mars Fetch Rover (provided by the European Space Agency) to land, drive, and collect all samples from the different locations, and return to the lander.


  • Transfer: The Fetch Rover will then transfer the canisters to the Ascent Vehicle.


  • Return: The Mars Ascent Vehicle will meet with an Orbiter after which the Orbiter will carry the samples back to Earth.
  • This long-term project is called MSR or Mars Sample Return.


o MSR will revolutionise our understanding of the evolutionary history of Mars.


o If MSR is successfully executed, we will have a reasonable answer of whether there was microscopic life on Mars.




  • Mars, fourth planet in the solar system in order of distance from the Sun and seventh in size and mass.


  • Reddish object in the night sky: Mars is known as the Red Planet because iron minerals in the Martian soil oxidize, or rust, causing the soil and atmosphere to look red.


Mars has two small moons:


  • Phobos and Deimos. Both Phobos and Deimos were discovered in 1877 by American astronomer Asaph Hall.


  • The moons appear to have surface materials similar to many asteroids in the outer asteroid belt, which leads most scientists to believe that Phobos and Deimos .




  • Composed primarily of carbon dioxide (about 96 percent), with minor amounts of other gases such as argon and nitrogen.


  • The atmosphere is very thin, however, and the atmospheric pressure at the surface of Mars is only about 0.6 percent of Earth’s (101,000 pascals).


  • The primary reason for Mars’ atmospheric loss is the solar wind.


  • Without a “thermal blanket,” Mars can’t retain any heat energy.


  • On average, the temperature on Mars is about minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 60 degrees Celsius).




Perseverance mission will be able to answer whether little green microbes did inhabit Mars in the distant past or not. But till then we have to wait and watch the progress.



QUESTION : Critically examine the impact of India’s huge dependence on imports to meet its energy and oil needs and also suggest measures to attain self-sufficiency in this regard.






  • How To Become Petroleum Independent




  • The steps taken by the government to improve fuel efficiency standards and the for the transition to clean sources of energy




  • Speaking on the increase in petrol and diesel prices, Prime Minister emphasised the need for clean sources of energy.


  • Expanding and diversifying energy supply is good, but if India is to reduce its energy import dependence, it must look towards first managing the demand for petroleum products.


  • It is worthwhile to reflect on measures taken by the previous governments as well as this government in this context.




  • Revenue from an increase in duty could not compensate for the shortfall in other revenue resources. Thus, the fiscal deficit has increased to 9.5%.


  • Further, these duties have been increased on final and intermediate goods which would increase the inflation level in the future.


  • The estimation of a 7.7% output decline simply means loss of employment. This along with rising price levels would enhance inequalities in society.




National Electric Mobility Mission Plan


  • The UPA-2 administration formulated fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles that are now in effect.


  • It also constituted the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP).


  • While well-intended, both these actions fell short in terms of ambition.


  • India’s 2022 fuel efficiency standards for passenger cars are nearly 20% less stringent than the European Union’s standards.


  • The NEMMP primarily focused on hybrid electric vehicles.


  • Most of the incentives under the NEMMP went towards subsidising mild hybrids instead of electric vehicles.




  • Recently, the government has encouraged multiple fuel pathways in the transport sector including natural gas.


  • The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) scheme now focuses largely on electric vehicles.


  • The government has also provided several additional fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to encourage a transition to electric vehicles.




  • The government should formulate a zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) programme that would require vehicle manufacturers to produce a certain number of electric vehicles.


  • At present, the electric mobility initiative in India is driven largely by new entrants in the two- and three-wheeler space.


  • A ZEV programme would require all manufacturers to start producing electric vehicles across all market segments.


  • The government should also strengthen fuel efficiency requirements for new passenger cars and commercial vehicles.


  • Two-wheelers, which consume nearly two-third of the petrol used in India, are not subject to any fuel efficiency standards.


  • Adopting stringent fuel efficiency standards and a ZEV programme by 2024 can result in India’s petroleum demand peaking by 2030.


  • The FAME should be extended not only to all passenger cars and commercial vehicles but also to agricultural tractors.




As the economy recovers from the pandemic, the demand for petroleum products will rise, as will prices. But the government can save money for the consumer while enhancing long-term energy security by wielding the regulatory tools at its disposal.



QUESTION : Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development?






  • Role of Science In Nation Building




  • National Science Day, on February 28, is a moment to celebrate the progress that India has made in science and technology research, thanks to its science policies. It is also an opportunity to ponder about the problems that India face in research. As for the metrics on scientific research in India, there is the good news, the not-so-good news, and some hope.





  • India was the third largest publisher of peer-reviewed science and engineering journal articles and conference papers, with 135,788 articles in 2018.


  • This milestone was achieved through an average yearly growth rate of 10.73% from 2008, which was greater than China’s 7.81%.


o However, China and the United States had about thrice and twice the number, respectively, of India’s publications.


  • But, the publications from India are not impactful.


  • In the top 1% of the most cited publications from 2016 (called HCA, or Highly Cited Articles), India’s index score of 0.7 is lower than that of the U.S., China and the European Union.


o An index score of 1 or more is considered good

  • The inference for India is that the impact, and hence the citation of publications from India, should improve.


Patents filed by India:


  • In its report for 2019, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said India filed a modest number of 2,053 patent applications. Compared to the 58,990 applications filed by China and 57,840 by the U.S.


o The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) through their Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is the primary channel of filing international patent applications.


Government’s step:


  • The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy put in place in 2016 to “stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced intellectual property rights system”.


  • Objective: human capital development.


  • The mission to foster innovation, replicate it at scale and commercialise it.


o China filed just 276 patent applications in 1999 but rose to become an innovation titan in 2019.


Expenditure on R&D:


  • India’s Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD) is currently around 0.6% of GDP.


o This is quite low when compared to the investments by the U.S. and China which are greater than 2%. Israel’s GERD is more than 4%.


  • A key reason for India’s low funding in R&D is the low private sector contribution.




  • India realised early as a republic the need to use science to become a welfare state.


  • There have been four science policies till now, after 1947, with the draft of the fifth policy having been released recently.


1st science policy:


  • Adopted in 1958, ‘Scientific Policy Resolution’


  • Aim: To develop scientific enterprise and lay the foundation for scientific temper.


  • It led to the establishment of many research institutes and national laboratories, and by 1980, India had developed advanced scientific infrastructure with sufficient scientific personnel.


2nd science policy:


  • Adopted in 1983- ‘Technology Policy Statement’


  • It was technological self-reliance and to use technology to benefit all sections of the society, while strengthening research in fields such as electronics and biotechnology.


3rd  science policy:


  • The Science and Technology Policy 2003.


  • The first science policy after the economic liberalisation of 1991.


  • Aim: To increase investment in research and development and brought it to 0.7%


  • The Scientific and Engineering Research Board (SERB) was established to promote research.


4th  science policy:


  • Adopted in 2013- ‘Science, Technology and Innovation Policy’
  • The policy included Innovation in its scope.
  • Aim: To be one of the top five global scientific leaders which India achieved through:

o Building partnerships with States

o Establishing more research and development centres

o Collaborating in international projects such as the Large Hadron Collider in the European Union.


5th  science policy:


  • The draft of the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020 (STIP2020) was released in January 2021.


  • It offers hope to research in India.


  • Aim: To double the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers, Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD) and private sector contribution to the GERD every 5 years.


o To position India among the top three scientific superpowers in the next decade.


  • STIP2020 defines an Open Science Framework which will create a “one nation, one subscription” solution that will provide access to all top journals through a central subscription.


  • This scheme will provide fillip to improving access to knowledge.


  • It also defines strategies to improve funding for and participation in research, thus:


o All States to fund research, multinational corporations to participate in research.


o Fiscal incentives and support for innovation in medium and small-scale enterprises.




  • The new measures should not become a pretext to absolve the Union and State governments of their primacy in funding research. The government should invest more into research.
  • Other critical focal areas are inclusion of under-represented groups of people in research.


  • Support for indigenous knowledge systems using artificial intelligence.


  • Reaching out to the Indian scientific diaspora for collaboration, science diplomacy with partner countries, and setting up a strategic technology development fund to give impetus to research.


  • Science diplomacy is at the fore now with India offering COVID-19 vaccines to many countries; formulating a policy around it will yield dividends.


  • Support for indigenous knowledge systems should enable them to improve upon their limitations in subscribing to transparency and verifiability.




More specific directives and implementation with a scientific temper without engaging in hyperbole will be key to the policy’s success; and its success is important, as Carl Sagan said, “we can do science, and with it we can improve our lives”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *