Static – Modern History (Post-Independence) – Challenges of Building Democracy | Focus – Mains

Notes for Modern History (Post-Independence)

First General Elections


  • The Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949 and signed on 24 January 1950 and it came into effect on 26 January 1950. At that time the country was being ruled by an interim government.
  • It was now necessary to install the first democratically elected government of the country.
  • The Election Commission of India was set up in January 1950. Sukumar Sen became the first Chief Election Commissioner.
  • The country’s first general elections were expected sometime in 1950 itself. But the Election Commission discovered that it was not going to be easy to hold a free and fair election in a country of India’s size.
  • Holding an election required delimitation or drawing the boundaries of the electoral constituencies. It also required preparing the electoral rolls, or the list of all the citizens eligible to vote. Both these tasks took a lot of time.
  • Preparing for the first general election was a mammoth exercise. No election on this scale had ever been conducted in the world before.
  • At that time there were 17 crore eligible voters. Only 15 per cent of these eligible voters were literate. Therefore the Election Commission had to think of some special method of voting. The Election Commission trained over 3 lakh officers and polling staff to conduct the elections.
  • It was not just the size of the country and the electorate that made this election unusual. The first general election was also the first big test of democracy in a poor and illiterate country. Till then democracy had existed only in the prosperous countries.
  • By that time many countries in Europe had not given voting rights to all women. In this context India’s experiment with universal adult franchise appeared very bold and risky.
  • The elections had to be postponed twice and finally held from October 1951 to February 1952. But this election is referred to as the 1952 election since most parts of the country voted in January 1952.
  • It took six months for the campaigning, polling and counting to be completed.
  • Elections were competitive – there were on an average more than four candidates for each seat. The level of participation was encouraging — more than half the eligible voters turned out to vote on the day of elections. When the results were declared these were accepted as fair even by the losers.
  • The Indian experiment had proved the critics wrong. India’s general election of 1952 became a landmark in the history of democracy all over the world. It was no longer possible to argue that democratic elections could not be held in conditions of poverty or lack of education. It proved that democracy could be practiced anywhere in the world.

 

Gist of Editorials: Protect Indigenous People (The Hindu) | GS – I

Relevance : GS Paper I (Indian Society)

[700 words reduced to 250]


  • The killing of an American national by the Sentinelese has put the spotlight on the vulnerability of indigenous communities in India.
  • There are six tribal communities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands . The population of these tribes have reduced drastically over the decades.
  • India’s policy towards these tribes:
    • (ANPATR), 1956 protected the tribals from outside interference.
    • A policy of non-intervention was also proposed by the Supreme Court.
    • In 2005, the ANPATR was amended and the punishment was enhanced.
    • A policy for protecting the Shompen tribes was released only in 2015.
    • The government amended the ANPATR yet again in 2012, creating a buffer zone in Jarawa tribal reserve.
    • In 2018 the government relaxed the restricted area permit (RAP) for 29 islands.
  • International conventions
    • The 1957 ILO convention insisted on an integrationist approach towards tribal communities.
    • The 1989 ILO convention insisted on a policy of non-intervention.
    • India ratified the 1957 convention but has not ratified the 1989 convention.
  • Has government policies been successful?
    • The Andaman Trunk Road has led to spread of diseases, sexual exploitation, and begging.
    • There continues to be numerous reports of civilian intrusion into the Jarawa tribal reserve.
    • Easing the restrictions by the government could adversely affect the indigenous population.
    • Commercialisation of tribal spaces could lead to encroachment of land.
  • Way forward
    • The government should prioritise protecting the tribes from outside influence.
    • India needs to sign the 1989 convention of the ILO and implement it.
    • India should also make efforts to sensitise settlers and outsiders about them.
  • That Chau incident shows a lack of understanding about the Sentinelese. Only concrete efforts can prevent such an incident from happening again.

 

Editorial Simplified: Protect Indigenous People | GS – I

Relevance: GS Paper I (Indian Society)


Theme of the article

Implementation of the various provisions to protect the tribals of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been poor.


Why has this issue cropped up?

The debates following the recent alleged killing of an American national, John Allen Chau, by the Sentinelese have put the spotlight on the vulnerability of an indigenous community that has lived for thousands of years with little contact with outsiders.


Tribes in Andaman

  • There are four ancient Negrito tribal communities in the Andaman Islands (the Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Sentinelese) and two Mongoloid tribal communities in the Nicobar Islands (the Shompen and Nicobarese).
  • Except the Nicobarese, the populations of the other tribes have reduced drastically over the decades.
  • The Andaman Trunk Road, among other projects, has cut into the heart of the Jarawa reserve, which has not only disturbed their ecological environment but also changed their lifestyle and dietary habits and endangered them.
  • The Sentinelese have been more fortunate than the Jarawas, though.

India’s policy towards these tribes

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Regulation (ANPATR), 1956 protected the tribals from outside interference, specified the limits of reserved areas and said no land in a reserved area shall be allotted for agricultural purposes or sold or mortgaged to outsiders..
  • A policy of non-intervention was also proposed by an expert committee on the directions of the Supreme Court.The committee recommended protecting the Jarawas from harmful contact with outsiders, preserving their cultural and social identity, conserving their land and advocated sensitising settlers about the Jarawas.
  • In 2005, the ANPATR was amended. The term of imprisonment as well as the fine were increased.
  • A policy for protecting the Shompen tribes was released only in 2015.
  • The government amended the ANPATR yet again in 2012, creating a buffer zone contiguous to the Jarawa tribal reserve where commercial establishments were prohibited, and regulating tourist operators.
  • In August 2018 the government relaxed the restricted area permit (RAP) for 29 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar, including North Sentinel Island.

International conventions

  • The Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957, of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) insisted on an integrationist approach towards tribal communities. The 1989 convention insisted on a policy of non-intervention.
  • India ratified the 1957 convention but has not ratified the 1989 convention. However, despite not signing it, India tried to tread the path of non-interference.

Has government policies been successful?

  • The Andaman Trunk Road had ensured increased interaction with the tribals. In the case of the Jarawas, this had led to the spread of diseases, sexual exploitation, and begging.
  • Despite all these amendments and provisions, there continue to be numerous reports of civilian intrusion into the Jarawa tribal reserve.
  • If the government has decided to ease the restrictions in a phased manner, this could adversely affect the indigenous population in the long run.
  • Such commercialisation of tribal spaces could lead to encroachment of land, as we see in other parts of the country.

Way forward

  • Considering the significance of the indigenous tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the government needs to reorient its priorities towards protecting them from outside influence.
  • India needs to sign the 1989 convention of the ILO, and implement its various policies to protect the rights of the indigenous population.
  • India should also make efforts to sensitise settlers and outsiders about them.

Conclusion

That Chau was helped in his journey shows a lack of understanding about the Sentinelese. Only concrete efforts can prevent such an incident from happening again.


 

CSE-2019 | Prelims Daily Quiz 51

Question:

The 2018 Living Planet Report has been published. Consider the following statements in this respect:

1. It is published by WWF annually.

2. The Living Planet Index( LPI) covers more than 10000 species.

3. The biggest drivers of biodiversity decline in the LPI is overexploitation.

 

Choose the correct statement/s from the codes given below:

A) 1 only

B) 1 and 2 only

C) 2 and 3 only

D) None of the above

D) None of the above

  • The 2018 Living Planet Report is the twelfth edition of WWF's flagship publication. It is a biennial report.
  • LPI measures the health of 16,704 populations of 4,005 species.
  • The biggest drivers of biodiversity decline in the LPI is habitat loss and degradation followed by overexploitation.

Gist of Editorials: A Prescription for the Future (The Hindu) | GS – III

Relevance : GS Paper III (Science and Technology)

[900 words reduced to 150]


  • Healthcare in India has been transformed and with the use of technology, we can lower the cost of healthcare.
  • Impact of technology on healthcare
    • Telemedicine can bring healthcare to the remotest corners.
    • Artificial intelligence (AI) can support diagnosis with evidence-based guidance.
    • Augmented reality (AR) can eliminate the risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body.
    • Biotechnology can help make personalized medicine.
  • The case of India
    • India needs to rapidly adapt to and embrace technology.
    • India’s need of change has become more imperative with the launch of Ayushman Bharat.
    • Ayushman Bharat requires reimagining an innovative model.
    • Technology such as Blockchain can improve healthcare operations and costs.
    • Private sector needs to earn healthy returns on investment to continue capital investment.
    • We need to achieve a balance between world-class care and low costs.
  • India can be an example for the rest of the world to emulate.

 

Editorial Simplified: A Prescription for the Future | GS – III

Relevance: GS Paper III (Science and Technology)


Theme of the article

While using cutting-edge technology, we need to find ways to continuously lower the cost of healthcare.


Introduction

Healthcare in India has been transformed over the last three decades, and life expectancy, infant mortality, maternal deaths have improved.


Impact of technology on healthcare

  • Information technology and biotechnology are twin engines, with immense potential to transform the mechanics of care delivery. There are several examples of the kinds of impact technology and biotechnology can make on healthcare.
  • Telemedicine has already brought healthcare to the remotest corners of the country.
  • The use of artificial intelligence for preventive and predictive health analytics can strongly support clinical diagnosis with evidence-based guidance, and also prevent disease.
  • From the virtual reality (VR) of 3D-printing, we are now moving towards augmented reality (AR), by which, for example, every piece of node in a malignant melanoma can be completely removed, thereby eliminating the risk of the cancer spreading to any other part of the body.
  • Biotechnology, cell biology and genetics are opening up whole new paradigms of understanding of human life and disease, and have made personalised medicine a way of life.

The case of India

  • India needs to rapidly adapt to, embrace and drive change if it wishes to stay relevant in the global healthcare order.
  • India’s change imperative has become even more pronounced with the launch of the National Health Protection Mission (NHPM), under the ambit of Ayushman Bharat.
  • The vast scale of the programme requires reimagining an innovative model which will transform healthcare delivery in the country.
  • By leapfrogging through smart adoption of technology and using emerging platforms such as Blockchain, significant improvements are possible in healthcare operations and costs.
  • For India to grow, healthcare as an engine of the economy needs to flourish. And the private sector needs to earn healthy rates of return on investment to continue capital investment in infrastructure and technology.
  • In our quest to achieve low-cost healthcare, we must not inhibit our potential for growth, nor isolate ourselves from exciting global developments.
  • We need to achieve a balance between staying at the cutting edge of clinical protocols, technology and innovation and continue to deliver world-class care, while finding increasingly efficient ways of operating to continuously lower the cost of care and bring it within the reach of those who cannot afford it. This is a difficult balance to achieve, but not impossible.

Conclusion

We have it in our hands to shape the winds of change we face today into the aerodynamics that will definitively propel our collective destinies forward. India can be an example for the rest of the world to emulate.


 

Gist of Editorials: In a Spirit of Accommodation (The Hindu) | GS – III

Relevance : GS Paper III (Indian Economy)

[1300 words reduced to 200]


  • Recently, there has been a spat between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government.
  • Section 7 of the RBI Act gives the government the right to issue directions to the RBI in public interest.
  • The recent setting up the Monetary Policy Committee is a giant step forward in terms of giving the RBI autonomy.
  • There is a distinction between autonomy as a monetary authority and autonomy as a regulator. In the first case, autonomy has to be full. In the second case, autonomy is somewhat vague.
  • RBI and board
    • The right way of interpretation about the relationship between the RBI and board is that have concurrent powers in almost all matters.
    • The board has members nominated by the Central government from various walks of life which can result in a conflict of interest. Therefore, the board has largely functioned as an adviser.
  • Way forward
    • It is important to have continuous and sustained dialogue.
    • While the Governor can act on his own, he must listen to other members as well.
  • The RBI, the board and the government must understand the limits to which they can push. A spirit of accommodation must prevail.

 

Editorial Simplified: In a Spirit of Accommodation | GS – III

Relevance: GS Paper III (Indian Economy)


Theme of the article

The RBI, the RBI board and the government must understand the limits to which they can push each other.


Why has this issue cropped up?

Recently, there has been a spat between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government.


Section 7 of RBI act

  • Section 7 of the RBI Act sets out the relationship between the government and the RBI.
  • This section gives the government the right to issue directions to the RBI in public interest.
  • In context of the current spat, it would have been unwise for government to use Section 7 to issue instructions.

Recent step to give autonomy to RBI

The recent change in the monetary policy framework setting up the Monetary Policy Committee and giving it full freedom to determine the policy rate is a giant step forward in terms of giving the RBI autonomy.


Different aspects of autonomy

  • There is a distinction between autonomy as a monetary authority and autonomy as a regulator.
  • In the first case, autonomy has to be full once the mandate is given. In the second case, autonomy is somewhat blurred because the mandate is broad and vague.

RBI and board

  • There has been a debate about the relationship between the RBI management headed by the Governor and the board.
  • The right way of interpretation is that both the board and the Governor have concurrent powers in almost all matters.
  • The board has members nominated by the Central government from various walks of life, including industry. This can result in a conflict of interest. Therefore, the tradition that had evolved is that the board has largely functioned as an adviser.
  • Section 7 is a mix of things. First, it gives powers to the board, and second, it gives powers to the Governor as well. The way the relationship between the board and the Governor has evolved over time in India is a good one. The board by and large has played an advisory role.

Way forward

  • Section 7 hangs like a sword. It is important to have continuous and sustained dialogue, and an atmosphere of give and take is much needed.
  • While the Governor can act on his own, he must listen to what the members feel and the sense of the board must be fully reflected in his actions.

Conclusion

The RBI, the board and the government must understand the limits to which they can push. A spirit of accommodation must prevail.