Mains Q & A 18 May 2023
Q1.Poor educational outcomes are a result of poverty and a number of other societal issues that limit opportunities and impede educational advancement. Analyse. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS IIàPoverty related issues:
One of the most effective methods for eliminating inequality and poverty is education. To increase India’s competitiveness in the international economy, education is also essential. To provide universal and high-quality basic education for all, particularly for the underprivileged and rural people, a public school system becomes absolutely important. The economic and social progress of India depends on this.
As a barrier to education, poverty:
Poor nutrition: Children in poverty have poor nutrition. It has effects on how they develop physically, socially, and neurologically, as well as how they live their daily lives.
Children who are hungry, which sadly affects a large number of them, find it difficult to concentrate in class.
A child who is undernourished regularly becomes sick and can’t go to school.
This unfortunate phenomenon has claimed many victims besides education. Just look at how thin our kids are becoming due to bad diet.
Second, poverty ensures that children do not receive the same level of adult assistance and care at home as they would in middle-class families. Simply put, it’s because the adults are fighting to support themselves. Adult supervision and contact are essential for learning.
Third, houses in poverty lack the resources necessary to support and foster a learning environment. They frequently lack books, other learning resources, and time, and their grownups themselves are frequently uneducated.
For instance, during the epidemic, many low-income homes were unable to provide their children with a smartphone, internet, or laptop.
Societal barriers to education:
Gender bias: Boys are frequently sent to private schools while girls attend public schools. In addition, girls are forced to leave education after intermediate school, either to get married or to help out at home.
In certain societies, women and girls are permitted to attend school, but the curriculum is constrained or skewed to fit a specific set of social duties.
Caste discrimination: Even now, children are divided according to caste in some Indian areas.
Numerous studies have shown that the education system contributes to and legitimises social inequality because of the pedagogical, economic, political, and ideological practises that are prevalent in classrooms.
Family income: When parents are under financial strain, kids may quit school early to work. The ability of low-income youngsters to learn can be significantly impacted by worries about financial difficulty at home.
The main barrier is access to education, according to the tribal problem. Due to their poor social integration, the majority of indigenous children drop out of school or are not sent to school.
The children of the wealthy attend top, well-resourced schools and have access to more than enough help at home, resulting in extreme inequality and decision-making power. They study without any issues.
However, the vast majority of kids in our unequal nation attend schools that seem to be on another planet.
As a result, those in positions of wealth who wield or are influenced by the levers of power have no personal stake in or exposure to the reality of the majority of Indian lives.
Steps to Take:
The suggested reforms can only be carried out jointly by the federal government and the states because education is a concurrent issue (on which both the federal government and the state governments may pass laws).
Therefore, the Centre faces the enormous challenge of reaching an agreement on the several ambitious goals.
The goal of universalizing education must be pursued. ‘Inclusion grants’ are also being created to aid children who are struggling academically and socially.
Consistent guidance and activity are necessary for educational improvement. Most educational programmes would not show any real results for 10 to 15 years. However, due to the nature of our governance culture, priorities and course corrections are often. With this level of instability in place, education, which is a generational issue, simply cannot advance.
Q2. What is the income tax faceless E-assessment system? Analyse how well it performs in meeting time-sensitive, impartial, and high-quality evaluation orders. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I àGovernment Policies and Interventions
The Finance Minister recommended the implementation of a faceless e-assessment programme in the Union Budget for 2019. In order to increase accountability, promote efficient and effective tax administration, minimise physical interface, and implement team-based evaluations, the faceless assessment system was introduced in 2020. The plan outlines how to conduct an anonymous assessment in electronic mode.
IT faceless electronic assessment system:
E-assessment will bring about a paradigm change in taxation by eliminating the human element from the Income Tax system’s tax assessment.
The administration of faceless assessments is handled by various divisions within the tax department, each of which plays a distinct and significant role in the procedure. These divisions include assessment units, verification units, technical units, and review units.
The National e-assessment Centre (NeAC) and Regional e-assessment Centre (ReAC) collaborate closely with each of these entities.
The NeAC, which employs a team-based methodology, serves as the taxpayer’s only anonymous point of contact with the I-T Department.
Using computer-generated automatic methods, cases for inspection are randomly assigned to assessment units.
The National e-Assessment Centre, a Central Centre, then issues notices via electronic means without revealing the identity of the assessment officer.
The new approach eliminates the need for in-person interactions by removing the requirement for taxpayers to see territorial jurisdiction tax officers or the I-T Department upon receiving tax scrutiny or assessment notices. Any persecution of law-abiding taxpayers can now come to an end.
By making the process open and taxpayer-friendly, the system is also anticipated to greatly boost public faith in it.
Due to travel time, waiting times at the tax office, etc., a significant amount of time has been saved.
Additionally, online submission of responses outside of usual business hours has facilitated improved time management on the part of the taxpayers and their representatives.
This plan is an automated trial-conducting method that uses dynamic authority.
This plan gets rid of the undesirable techniques that show up when there’s a chance for personal biases and subjective judgement.
The method’s anonymity might deter overly emotional evaluations and produce objective, straightforward, and truthful assessment instructions that can be completed quickly.
When face-to-face encounters were not possible, the launch of the system helped tax authorities and taxpayers during difficult circumstances.
Problems with the plan:
It would not be acceptable to presume that all taxpayers have the necessary IT infrastructure in place to have the documentation of such excessive data in electronic format since assessment hearings frequently need the filing of bulky voluminous submissions.
The IRA must provide appropriate facilities or advice centres in the form of e-centres to help taxpayers who require technical support when submitting their taxes or who are having particular problems.
Additionally, it is only reasonable that e-centres be constructed close to income tax authorities to offer taxpayers the most recent IT infrastructure and technological instruments at a low cost.
The right of a taxpayer to a hearing or to be heard in income tax concerns is an absolute right because any unfavourable decisions made in such hearings could have a significant negative impact on the taxpayer.
In such cases, denying such rights or leaving them up to the discretion of the Revenue Authorities may render such rights illusory, and it may also be necessary for the Indian judiciary to investigate if doing so violates the taxpayer’s fundamental rights.
The revenue authorities should give a taxpayer’s request for a personal hearing careful consideration and should grant such requests without restriction, at least during the first few years of the Scheme.
Technical difficulties: There are numerous persistent and recurrent technical malfunctions, problems with the e-portal server, difficulties uploading data, broken VC links, and more.
Lack of time given to the taxpayer to reply to notices during assessments is another irksome problem. Show-cause notice responses have only been given a day’s notice, and the assessee’s requests for adjournments are frequently disregarded.
Issues with cybersecurity: The faceless assessment has “the use of any telecommunications software which supports video telephony” without a recommended option for individual hearings. Security is a worry until the authorities announce the operation and issue a notification for the purpose.
In a word, the faceless assessment scheme is a key tax reform that moves towards making business easier and enhancing openness and predictability in tax problems. The success of this programme is jointly the responsibility of both parties, and it has the potential to provide future evaluations of higher quality with more cooperation between tax authorities and taxpayers. It would assist to give taxpayers stability and prevent needless conflicts and litigation if tax positions on matters affecting the entire industry were consistent.
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