GS answer writing practice to GoGet IAS - Day 22

19 Aug 2017, 11:01 AM

2. China is not too worried by expanding US-India Ties. What are the reasons for Beijing’s composure? Critically discuss

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19 Aug 2017, 11:00 AM

1. Indian diplomacy appears to have changed by mentioning Baluchistan and talking openly about the alleged human rights violations in the region. Is this the beginning of a new diplomacy? Comment

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GS answer writing practice to GoGet IAS - Day 21

18 Aug 2017, 07:34 AM

2. “The Give It Up Campaign” motivates well-to-do citizens to voluntarily surrender their subsidized LPG connection and purchase it in market price. Analyse the campaign for its strength and weakness and justify whether it will succeed in realizing its objective.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined the slogan - "give it up" - to exhort the better off sections of society to forego their LPG subsidy that can be utilised in providing subsidised LPG connections to the poor. Accordingly, the Government has launched the ‘GiveItUp’ campaign which is aimed at motivating LPG users who can afford to pay the market price for LPG to voluntarily surrender their LPG subsidy.

LPG is a highly subsidized commodity in India and the subsidy burden was more than Rs. 40,000 crores during 2013-14. The subsidy saved can be used for development activities thereby benefitting all citizens.

It is a very well-known fact that LPG subsidies hold major share in government expenditures because of which UPA 2 government reduced number of subsidized cylinder per connection to 6 which was later on changed to 12 due to political pressure. Since LPG gas is major source of fuel for most Indian kitchens thus their price matters a lot to common man.

After the appeal of the ex-PM of India Lal Bahadur Shastri to the people to donate for the cause of the Indo-Pak War of 1965, comes this direct appeal from the PM.

Strength of the scheme

  • The PM through his slogan evokes a moral conscience of well-to-do families to surrender their LPG connections voluntarily and play a direct role in nation building. This connects individual action to the overall growth of the country which was never tried before.
  • The campaign while aims to target the LPG subsidies to poor and deserved families, pleads only to above middle class families which will not affect the soul of the scheme.
  • The campaign brings immense financial relief to the government by reducing the subsidy burden on LPG cylinders.
  • As it is a voluntary campaign, there can be no legal issues for cutting down the LPG subsidies.
  • The LPG subsidy is a much better candidate for 'targeted' subsidies (than, say, the food subsidy) since the majority of households that benefit from it currently are those who can afford it anyway

Weakness of the scheme

  • There is a popular negative perception about foregoing the subsidies that once they let go off, their other social benefits from the government will be automatically suspended.
  • The consistent high price of LPG despite a considerable decrease in international market demotivates the customers to let go off their subsidies.
  • The lack of details and inadequate publication about this campaign led to low reach and poor reception.

The ‘Giveitup” campaign is a multipronged campaign to reduce the subsidy burden and to target the deserved families for LPG subsidies. the uniques is its voluntariness and linking this campaign to corporate social responsibility motivating their employees to surrender their subsidized LPG connections. The government should make the campaign more popular, easier with an assurance that the surrendered LPG subsidized can be received later upon request.

According to sources at the petroleum ministry, the next step after achieving the one million mark would be to leverage the campaign on the social media.

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18 Aug 2017, 07:34 AM

1. Despite its uneven history in India, decentralisation is vital to strengthen participatory democracy, facilitate responsive governance and enable public service delivery. Discuss

 

  • The rationale for decentralisation comes from the need to strengthen participatory democracy, facilitate responsive governance, ensure greater accountability and enable public service delivery according to diversified preferences of the people. The possibility of greater visibility and linkage between revenue-expenditure decisions is supposed to ensure greater responsiveness and accountability.
  • There are some who advocate decentralisation as an end itself while others take this as a means to strengthen the democratic fabric through participatory governance and responsive and accountable public service delivery.
  • The Constitution placed local governance in the State List (Entry 5). Thus, administrative, political and fiscal decentralisation was entirely left to the discretion of the State governments.
  • There are five important issues for understanding the legal framework for the decentralisation process in the country.
  • First, the Constitution assigns decentralisation including funding entirely to the discretion of State governments.
  • Secondly, the constitutional framework does not (and perhaps should not) prescribe any pattern, standard or model of decentralisation which again is left to the discretion of State governments.
  • Third, there are no easy mechanisms to ensure compliance of even the prescribed provisions of the Constitution by the States. Most States have not complied with the requirement of having to appoint gram sabhas (243 A), ward committees (243 sabhas) district planning committees and metropolitan planning committees.
  • Fourth, on the financial side, local bodies do not have any independent revenues. There is no separate list of tax bases assigned to them in the Constitution and they have to depend on the State governments to levy the taxes that the States choose to devolve.
  • First, it is important to have clarity in the assignment of functions and the local governments should have clear and independent sources of finance.
  • Second, there should be clear mechanisms to ensure that States comply with the constitutional provisions, particularly in the appointment and implementation of the recommendations of the SFCs.

Third, sustainable decentralisation comes from the demands of the people and advocacy should focus on a decentralisation agenda. Indeed, the framework needs to be evolved to accommodate the demand for decentralisation. Even within the existing framework, it is important for intellectuals and the press to pressurise the States to comply with the Constitutional provisions like creation of planning authorities and appointment.

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GS answer writing practice to GoGet IAS - Day 20

17 Aug 2017, 10:10 AM

2.  Most of the unusual climatic happenings are explained as an outcome of the El-Nino effect. Do you agree? 

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