News & Editorial Analysis 21 January 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Central Bureau of Investigation
GS II Topic Statutory and Non-Statutory Bodies
What exactly is CBI:
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is India’s top investigative agency.
It is overseen by the Department of Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pensions & Public Grievances, Government of India, which is part of the prime minister’s office.
The Central Vigilance Commission, on the other hand, is in charge of investigations under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
It also serves as India’s nodal police agency, coordinating investigations on behalf of Interpol member countries.
It has a conviction record of 65 to 70%, which puts it on par with the greatest investigation organizations in the world.
The CBI is in charge of a number of cases:
Anti-Corruption Crimes – for the investigation of cases brought against public officials and workers of the Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, Corporations, or Bodies owned or controlled by the Government of India under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Economic Crimes – for the investigation of major financial scams and serious economic frauds, such as crimes involving Fake Indian Currency Notes, Bank Frauds, and Cyber Crime, bank frauds, Import Export & Foreign Exchange violations, large-scale narcotics, antiques, cultural property, and other contraband items, and so on.
Special Crimes – cases of terrorism, bomb blasts, kidnapping for ransom, and crimes perpetrated by the mafia/underworld are investigated under the Indian Penal Code and other laws at the request of state governments or on the directives of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
Suo Moto Cases – The CBI can only investigate offences in the Union Territories on its own initiative.
The CBI can be authorized by the Central Government to investigate a crime in a state, but only with the approval of the state government in question.
The Supreme Court and High Courts, on the other hand, have the authority to direct the CBI to investigate a crime anywhere in the country without the permission of the government.
2 – QUAD:
GS II Topic International Relations related topics
India, Australia, the United States, and Japan are its four democratic members.
All four nations are democracies, and they all concur that everyone’s interests are served by unhindered marine trade and security.
It aims to ensure and uphold a “free, open, and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
In 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe originally presented the idea of Quad. The initiative, however, was unable to move forward when Australia withdrew, purportedly under Chinese pressure.
This “quadrilateral” alliance between India, Australia, the US, and Japan was finally established in 2017.
What Options Does India Have Under the Quad Agreement?
Chinese maritime interests trump their petty ambitions to take over territory in the Himalayas.
The Indian Ocean routes, which intersect important maritime lanes, are the primary means of transportation for Chinese goods.
India might be able to stop Chinese commerce by cooperating with the Quad nations in the event that China takes any border action.
As a result, the maritime sphere is completely open to India and presents a wealth of opportunities for coalition building, rule setting, and other forms of strategic exploration, in contrast to the continental sphere where India appears to be in a “nutcracker like situation” as a result of China-Pakistan cooperation.
becoming a provider of internet security: Big powers’ interest in the maritime sector has increased with the rise of the “Indo-Pacific” concept. For instance, numerous European countries have lately made their Indo-Pacific strategies public.
India, which is strategically positioned at the centre of the Indo-Pacific geopolitical imagination, can help realise the concept of a “broader Asia” that can expand its influence beyond geographical boundaries.
India can also support coordinated efforts in humanitarian aid and disaster relief, as well as monitoring shipping for search-and-rescue or anti-piracy operations, assisting states with vulnerable climates with infrastructure needs, and participating in connection projects and other related initiatives.
With the assistance of the Quad nations, India can also restrain China’s imperialist activities in the Indian Ocean region, promoting peace and prosperity for everybody.
What are the problems related to Quad?
Undefined Vision: Despite the potential for cooperation, the Quad remains a system without a distinct strategic objective.
Concerns about whether cooperation extends outside the Asia-Pacific and Eurasian regions are raised by the Quad’s transformation into a marine alliance when the Indo-Pacific as a whole is the focus.
The Difference Between India and the Alliance System India is the only member to oppose a treaty alliance arrangement, which has slowed down the development of a deeper Quadrilateral involvement.
How to Proceed:
In order to advance everyone’s economic and security interests, the Quad states must adequately express the Indo-Pacific Vision within a comprehensive framework.
Since India has many other allies in the Indo-Pacific, it should push for countries like Singapore and Indonesia to be invited to join in the future.
India must develop a thorough plan for the Indo-Pacific region that takes into account both current and upcoming maritime concerns, unites its military and non-military capabilities, and includes its most important friends.
3 – Svamitva Scheme:
GS II Topic Government Policies related issues
The Ministry of Panchayati Raj, State Panchayati Raj Departments, State Revenue Departments, and the Survey of India collaborated on the SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme.
The goal is to equip rural India with a comprehensive property validation solution.
It’s a plan that uses drone technology and a Continuously Operating Reference Station to map land parcels in rural inhabited regions (CORS).
Over the course of four years, from 2020 to 2024, the mapping will be completed in phases across the country.
Benefits: The approach would simplify planning and revenue collection in rural regions while also assuring property rights clarity.
Using the maps developed under this program, the scheme will enable the production of higher-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs).
Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDP) are required by law to be prepared by Gram Panchayats for economic development and social fairness.
The GPDP is based on a participatory procedure that aligns with the schemes of the relevant Central Ministries/Line Departments for the 29 subjects included in the Constitution’s Eleventh Schedule.
Current Coverage Area: Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand are the six states where the program is currently being implemented.
4 – Central Vista Project:
GS II Topic Parliament related issues
In 2019, the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs proposed a renovation proposal for Central Vista.
The plan for the project is to:
Next to the existing Parliament building, a triangular structure will be built.
Creating a Central Secretariat for the Common Good.
The 3-kilometer-long Rajpath between Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate is being remodeled.
The North and South Blocks will be turned into museums.
The government’s case for redeveloping Central Vista is as follows:
The amenities and infrastructure of the Parliament building are insufficient to satisfy current demand.
The Central Government’s offices are dispersed around the country, causing inter-departmental coordination issues and unnecessary travel, which contributes to congestion and pollution.
The majority of the existing structures have reached the end of their useful lives.
Located in the heart of the city, Central Vista
Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, North and South Blocks, India Gate, and the National Archives are all located in New Delhi’s Central Vista.
In December 1911, King George V announced in the Delhi Durbar (grand assembly) that India’s capital will be relocated from Calcutta to Delhi.
The Delhi Durbar was held to commemorate King George V’s coronation.
Edwin Lutyens, noted for his strong dedication to European Classicism, and Herbert Baker, a prominent architect in South Africa, were tasked with designing a new city.
The Union buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, were also designed by Herbert Baker.
Lutyens and Baker collaborated on the design of Parliament House.
Edwin Lutyens designed Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Herbert Baker designed the Secretariat, which contains both the north and south blocks.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
There Is Hardly Any Autonomy At The Panchayat Level:
In Telangana, a few sarpanches recently submitted their resignations and vented their resentment for not having received government aid in nearly a year. Sarpanchs asserted that in order to complete panchayat activities and reach their objectives, they were forced to use either private resources or take out sizable loans because the State government failed to deliver cash on time. Another of these up-Saipans committed himself after finding himself unable to repay loans he had taken out to fund Panchayat development projects.
About Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI):
It is a form of rural local self-government practised in India. The management of local affairs by elected local authorities is known as local self-government.
The PRI received constitutional standing in 1992 as a result of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, which was passed with the intention of fostering local democracy and giving the organisation control over the country’s rural development.
The 74th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1999 gave municipalities and other urban local government units constitutional status.
Municipal self-government at the moment:
After the 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts, which gave local governments constitutional status, more than three decades ago, State governments still have considerable discretionary power and control over panchayats through the local bureaucracy.
The objectives of constitutional amendments that meant to boost the status of locally elected officials are undermined in India by the fact that state governments and local bureaucrats continue to severely restrict the authority of locally elected officials in a variety of ways.
The money conundrum:
For daily expenses, gramme panchayats continue to be dependent on funding from the State and the Center (both discretionary and non-discretionary grants).
A generalisation states that the three main financial sources for panchayats are as follows: (local taxes, revenue from common property resources, etc.)
grants granted at the discretion of the federal and state governments or with funds from particular programmes.
The majority of the panchayat funds come from sources other than their own, both tax and non-tax. Furthermore, in order for panchayats to be eligible for discretionary funding, they still need political and administrative connections.
Even when funds are distributed to local administrations by higher governmental levels, sarpanches nevertheless require assistance in order to get them. Excessive delays in transferring approved funds to panchayat accounts hinder local growth.
Telangana’s sarpanches are now compelled to use private funds for panchayat operations in order to comply with legislative requirements as a result of public demand. Several sarpanchs have committed themselves as a result of pressure placed on them as a result of delays in the local bureaucracy’s money distribution.
In addition, the way that panchayats can use the funds that have been provided to them is strictly regulated. State governments regularly impose spending limitations on a number of expenses using panchayat money. This could entail doing everyday things like purchasing posters of national heroes, serving refreshments to dignitaries, or distributing candy during national holidays at a neighbouring school.
Additionally, almost all States have a system of dual permission for spending panchayat revenue. With the exception of sarpanchs, payment distribution requires administrative approval. The sarpanch, who reports to the block development officer, and the panchayat secretary, who oversees payments made from panchayat money, must co-sign all checks issued for such payments (BDO).
The onerous approvals procedure:
State governments bind local governments through local bureaucracy. Approval for public works projects typically involves administrative approval from local officials of the rural development department, such as the BDO, as well as technical approval. This is a time-consuming process for sarpanches that necessitates repeated journeys to government offices (from the engineering department).
The power of sarpanchs is diminished as a result of frequent intervention in government programme beneficiary selection by higher-ranking politicians and bureaucrats.
Sarpanches have limited power to manage local employees administratively. Many States hire locals who work for the panchayat, such as village watchmen or sweepers, at the district or block level. The sarpanch frequently does not even have the power to fire these municipal workers.
Regulatory bureaucracy’s impact:
Sarpanchs, unlike other elected officials at higher levels, are subject to removal at any time. Gram Panchayat Acts in numerous States have granted district-level officials, particularly district Collectors, the power to punish sarpanches for unlawful behaviour.
Why are Collectors allowed to pursue Sarpanches? One of the prerequisites, in addition to misuse of authority, embezzlement, or misbehaviour, is simply refusing to “carry out the orders of the District Collector or Commissioner or Government for the proper operation of the relevant Gram Panchayat.”
This is more than just a formal legal requirement. Sarpanches are frequently fired from their jobs by government officials from all around the country. More than 100 sarpanches have been fired from their positions in Telangana in recent years. One of these instances had a protest (by not attending a government-sponsored event) against the denial of land for an electrical substation as the official justification.
Sarpanchs are not given authority because politicians and state-level government representatives fear they will steal funds given to a village. India only has a limited degree of decentralisation because, if allowed real autonomy, the sarpanch would seize control of local governments’ funds. This way of thinking must change.
The situation in Telangana should serve as a reminder to State governments to review the provisions of their own Gram Panchayat legislation and consider expanding the resources, responsibilities, and staff that are allocated to local governments.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
ASER 2022 Report:
Recent Context: The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)2022, which looks at changes in student enrollment, attendance, and reading and math skills, has just been published after a four-year hiatus.
How has the pandemic year affected the number of students enrolled?
Even though enrollment was already extraordinarily high, it continued to rise even when schools were closed.
Although there was worry that older girls in particular could quit going to school, it has gotten worse, especially for older age groups.
Then there is a large shift toward government schools; according to ASER 2022, this figure for students aged 11 to 14 has climbed from 65% in 2018 to 71.7% in 2022.
From 2006 to 2014, the proportion of children attending government schools fell rapidly, but it then reached a level for the next four years before rising to 71.7% in 2022.
Have improvements to services like lunches and restrooms, among other things, led to the increase in enrollment?
Over time, infrastructure variables have improved. The lack of action taken by rural private schools during the Covid era due to their own shaky economics may be the root of the enrollment issue.
Government schools, however, usually offered midday meals and distributed textbooks because they were connected to the State.
The lecturers were able to relate to the pupils in some way. There is a pull factor as a result.
Additionally, given our past experiences, it’s also likely that even though family incomes have reduced, everyone still believes that education is essential. Therefore, it’s critical to take advantage of parental involvement in and interest in education.
What would indicate an equivalent increase in private tuition?
Because private education is more customizable, tuition may have gone up. With the provider, better arrangements could likely be negotiated so that parents would receive their money next month but not this month.
Parents believed that greater support was required because schools were closed and it was unknown when they would reopen. This might be thought of as a type of local organising.
Tuition can refer to a multitude of things, but it also shows how much parents are willing to sacrifice in order to give their children more, whatever the cost.
What level of development have the fundamental skills reached that the National Education Policy of 2020 emphasises?
Two of the programmes that were the focus of an ASWER assessment of several schools were the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) mission and the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN) Bharat. Did these programmes provide you with any recommendations or train any teachers?
In about 80% of the schools, teachers were reported to have had training, and we were told what to do.
This suggests that governments are taking the promotion of NIPUN Bharat very seriously. It makes the case that momentum must be kept going.
Learning levels have declined since 2018, although again, this varies across the country.
We need to find out why reading is suffering more than math, strangely, from specialists. Is it because math is used so much more frequently now, especially at such a basic level? It’s hard to say, but we can see that recovery is possible.
It is critical to realise that NIPUN Bharat’s goals are for every child to read and do fundamental math operations at grade level by the end of the third grade. Before Covid, there were roughly 30% of these children; today, the numbers for reading and math are 20% and 25–26%, respectively.
What actions are necessary to improve these core skills?
Over the past ten years, there has been improvement, but it has been gradual. Therefore, the current situation needs to be changed immediately.
As a result, we shall announce that both the family and school systems need to make big strides every year.
To increase national productivity, it is crucial to take this action. The current situation won’t work.
The message needs to be reiterated even if it is not entirely fresh. Due to the new teaching approach and how Covid has altered everyone’s thinking, it can also be crucial to emphasise.
ASER stands for Annual Status of Education Report. This yearly citizen-led house survey aims to provide precise estimates of the number of children enrolled and the level of basic education for each district and state in India.
ASER has been conducted yearly in all of India’s rural districts since 2005. The largest citizen-led survey ever conducted in India.
ASER 2022, which will also offer representative estimates of the learning levels of children aged 5 to 16 and the state of their education, will encompass more than 17,000 communities in almost every rural region of the country. By comparing the results with previous ASER rounds, it is easy to observe how the epidemic has changed the way that education is delivered in rural India.
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