Accountability without responsibility is like a bird without wings. Comment. (150 words – 10 marks)

Accountability is necessary for better governance but not sufficient. It has some
fundamental limitations which can be overcome only by performing our duties
with a sense of responsibility. Such limitations include:
i) Difficulties in constantly monitoring the various activities of subordinates.
ii) Accountability can consider quantity but not quality. In situations where
discretion is involved, accountability is of limited value.
iii) It is vulnerable to the risk of collusion.
Due to these limitations, accountability remains effective only till supervision is
maintained. It needs to be supplemented by self-regulation, which is driven by a
sense of responsibility. Therefore, to address these issues, it is imperative that
we use our discretion/judgment in deciding how best to perform our duties in a manner that promotes public welfare. This can only come from a sense of
responsibility and devotion towards public welfare.

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Question on Growth of Naxalism

“Being the centers of concentration of the industrial proletariat, urban areas play an important part within the political strategy of the new Democratic Revolution”. Examine this statement in the light of rising Maoist activity in the urban areas and why is it essential to keep a close watch on Maoist activities in towns and cities?

Approach:
 Introduce the first statement of the question
 Evidences of Maoist activities in urban centres
 Causes for the rise in Maoist activities

Answer:

The urban movement has a defined role in the political strategy and military strategy of the CPI (Maoist). They believe that in the absence of a strong revolutionary urban movement, the growth of the people’s war will face limitations and difficulties in its advancement. Working class leadership is the indispensable condition for the Maoist design in India. Working class has to send its advanced detachments to rural areas. The rebels stress on forming secret party units in the bastis and slums of the urban areas. Their main focus is that of mass political mobilization by inculcating the leadership qualities in the urban working class: the real class, according to Karl Marx, which possesses the consciousness of revolution.
Evidences:

 The basic task of the Communist Party of India (Maoists) in the urban domain is to deal with the problem of coordination between open and secret work. Another chief component is to retain contacts between city organization and leadership in the rural areas – the heartland of the insurgency.
 Propaganda through student-worker organizations would be the mainstay of their strategy
 According to latest estimates, 104 districts in 13 states are affected by the Maoist movement.
 With 2017 marking the 50th anniversary of the Naxalite movement, security forces
stationed in the so-called Red Corridor have sounded the alarm that recent attacks on security forces could signal the start of a resurgence of anti-state activity by the armed insurgents. On March 11, 12 personnel of the CRPF were killed by Maoists in Sukma of Chhattisgarh.
Causes:
 India’s central and eastern parts, home to about 84 million adivasi, or indigenous people,is rich in mineral resources. Renewed mining activity pose a threat to their livelihoods. Most of them are subsistence farmers or landless, mainly living in extreme poverty.
 The Naxalite movement heavily draws intellectual support from urban intelligentsia.
 Maoists from Andhra Pradesh helped organize tribals in Chhattisgarh over the issue of land rights and displacement during the 1980s. The state has emerged as the stronghold of the Maoists in recent decades since 2000 when mining was initiated.
 The movement keeps on reappearing like a phoenix because the basic socio-economic factors, which are responsible for it, remain unaddressed. Poverty continues to be a problem and, according to the expert group headed by C Rangarajan, 29.5% of the population lived below the poverty line in 2011-12. Wealth is increasing, but its distribution is unequal.
 Unemployment is another area of concern. Land reforms have been forgotten. Tribals are an alienated lot, largely due to their displacement as a result of developmental activities in the forest areas.
 Home Ministry has identified several org. in Delhi & National Capital Region as Maoist front organizations.
 These organizations and political parties try to gain inroads by talking about issues
like “bijli, paani, sadak aur rojgaar “, issues that are relevant to the common person. At the same time, the masterminds work on their bigger strategy of disruption and taking over control of government.

Way forward:
 The state police to take the terrorists/extremists head-on, to win the battle against terrorism/extremism.
 Government departments to establish themselves in areas when the Maoists have been driven away, so that it does not surface again.
 Step up human intelligence network and continue to nab the urban outfits of the Maoists as they had been doing for some time recently.
 Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, equipped with cameras, data and video links are the latest weapons can be deployed against Naxals in India.
 Government service delivery should be improved in these tribal areas. Both state and government must ensure that things such as statutory minimum wages, access to land and water sources initiatives are implemented.
 By opening dialogue, the government can give opportunity for the rebels 2join the
mainstream by showing them that solutions can be created together with the government, by being part of the political system in a legitimate way

 

Discuss the Seven Principles of Public Life given by the Nolan Committee. (150 words – 10 marks)

The Nolan Committee provides 7 Principles which state that holders of public
office should:
i) Selflessness: act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in
order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their
friends.
ii) Integrity: Not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside
individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance
of their official duties.
iii) Objectivity: should make choices on merit in carrying out public business,
including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending
individuals for rewards and benefits.
iv) Accountability: hold themselves accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
v) Openness: be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they
take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only
when the wider public interest clearly demands.
vi) Honesty: declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take
steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
vii) Leadership: promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

H1N1 Flu:

H1N1 Flu:

  • It is a respiratory disease caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus known as H1N1.
  • H1N1 Flu is also known as swine flu.
  • It is called swine flu because in the past the people who caught it had direct contact with pigs.
  • It can be transmitted from one person to another by coughing and sneezing.
  • Its symptoms are similar to those of standard, seasonal flu like fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and chills.
  • The vulnerable groups include pregnant women, children under five, the over-65s and those with serious medical conditions.
  • The virus first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spreaded around the world.
  • In 2009, H1N1 was spreading fast around the world, so the World Health Organisation called it a pandemic.

What makes Maharashtra, particularly vulnerable?

  • Urbanisation and overcrowding: More the number of people, more are the chances of spreading the disease.
  • Good surveillance system: Presence of good surveillance system helps in tracking of all the cases. The increased number of cases is a reflection of good surveillance system.
  • Antigenic shift: It is a process in which two or more strains of a virus combine to form a new subtype. It is observed at regular intervals which is the main reason why there has been a spurt in the cases.
  • Failure to detect on time: The symptoms of disease such as fever, a runny nose and a sore throat are often ignored and self-treated. By the time patients consults the doctor two or three days have been wasted.
  • Faded effect of vaccination: Vaccine against H1N1 was administered to the patients in 2015 when major cases were reported. The vaccine gives immunity for about 8-9 months. This could be the reason why state of Maharashtra did not have many cases in 2016 but now see a rise in number of cases.

Madhyamik and Uchchatar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK)

Madhyamik and Uchchatar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK)

  • A single non-lapsable corpus fund Madhyamik and Uchchatar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK) will work as a repository for the revenue of the Secondary and Higher Education Cess.
  • It will be inducted to help the education schemes for which demand exceeds budgetary allocations.
  • A non-lapsable reserve fund means that if the amount collected is not utilized it would be carried forward to the next financial years.
  • The HRD Ministry will be responsible for the administration and maintenance of MUSK.
  • The fund will cater the following schemes:
  1. Interest subsidy on education loans
  2. Education credit guarantee fund
  3. Scholarship schemes
  4. Girls’ education schemes
  5. Higher education funds in states.
  • MUSK is similar to Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh (PSK) which was in place to fund elementary education schemes such as Sarva Shikha Abhiyan (education for all) for which the government collects a separate 2% cess.

NATIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL PRICING AUTHORITY:

NATIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL PRICING AUTHORITY:

  • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs and equipments in India.
  • NPPA is an organization of the Government of India which was established to fix/ revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order.
  • The organization is also entrusted with the task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers.
  • It also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.
  • At present the Drug Price Control Order (2013) regulates ceiling prices of 432 medicines based on “essentiality.”

About the Direct Benefit Transfer

  • The program aims to transfer subsidies directly to the people through their bank accounts.
  • Crediting subsidies directly into bank accounts help reduce leakages, delays, etc.
  • DBT has now extended to most of the government schemes.

DBT has two components:

  • Subsidy: When a government meets a part of the cost of providing a good or service to a beneficiary.
  • Income transfer: When a government provides income support to a beneficiary.
  • This is a pure transfer payment unrelated to the cost of providing any good or service.

Pros and Cons of DBT

Positives:

  • Better targeting of the beneficiary: In case of physical delivery of subsided products there are numerous reports of leakages, diversion of supplies, black marketing etc.
  • By the use of DBT there is an assured transfer of the subsidy to the beneficiary.
  • Also the problems like product adulteration, delay in supplies are eliminated.
  • There is no need to have an elaborate administrative apparatus maintained at huge cost to manage the rationing of subsidized commodities.
  • DBT brings in transparency and efficiency, and enables beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly to them without any delay.
  • Direct transfer increases the circulation of money that will help in increasing the demand in the economy. Thus, keeping the growth cycle viable.

Negatives:

  • DBT is dependent on the banking system, which is backbone of the system.
  • Hence, anyone without a bank account will not be able to avail subsidies.
  •  In India, we still have the rural pockets where bank facilities has not reached yet.
  • Now, the government in its move to provide universal financial inclusion is taking the initiative to provide each household with at least one bank account under Jan Dhan Yojna. Linking of the two systems i.e. DBT and financial inclusion is now actively pursued.

Related Scheme:

PAHAL (PratyakshHanstantritLabh):

  • The Direct Benefit transfer of LPG (DBTL) scheme is PAHAL.
  • Consumers who wish to join the scheme will have to either link their Aadhaar number into their bank account.
  • DBTL is designed to ensure that the benefit meant for the genuine domestic customer reaches them directly and is not diverted.