29 Apr 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

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CNA 29 April 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Russian roulette with gas supplies
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. The demand for a revenue share in privatised airports
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY
1. Revisiting death penalty jurisprudence
ECONOMY
1. Are freebies affecting the economic growth of India?
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. Prepare for swift conflicts: IAF chief
2. Xi’s ‘Global Security Initiative’ looks to counter Quad grouping
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY

1. Revisiting death penalty jurisprudence

Syllabus: Indian Constitution—Features, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.

Prelims: Article 21 of the Indian Constitution

Mains: Bachan Singh case principle; Arguments against capital punishment.

Context:

  • Recently, a Bench of the Supreme Court of India, looking into the challenge of the Irfan vs State of Madhya Pradesh case has decided to critically examine the abrupt way in which trial judges impose the death penalty on convicts.

Know more about capital punishment in the link.

Background:

Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980):

  • Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab (1980) is a well-known landmark judgment credited for developing the jurisprudence pertaining to the death penalty. It examined whether the death penalty was in consonance with the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
  • The main issue that was addressed in this case was whether the procedure prescribed under Section 354(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 pertaining to sentencing the culprit is unconstitutional.
    • According to Section 354(3) in the Code of Criminal Procedure, while imposing capital punishment, the judge should specify “the special reasons” for doing so. By this provision, the courts are vested with unguided discretion and it is completely up to them to ascertain whether the death penalty should be imposed or not.
  • The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal in accordance with the majority opinion. The Court dismissed the challenge to the constitutionality of Section 302 of the IPC in so far as it prescribes the death sentence, as well as, the constitutionality of Section 354(3) of the CrPC, 1973 was rejected.
  • Though the Constitution Bench in the case refused to declare the death penalty as unconstitutional, it suggested a humane and reformist framework in the matter of capital punishment.
    • This case led to the establishment of the “rarest of the rare” doctrine applicable while determining whether the death penalty is to be awarded to the accused. According to this principle, the death sentence could be resorted to only in the rarest of rare cases, that too when “the alternate option (in the matter of punishment, such as life imprisonment) is unquestionably foreclosed”. Hence the bench sought to do away with the indiscriminate use of the penal provisions related to capital punishment.
    • The bench had emphasized that apart from examining the gravity of the offence, the courts will also have to consider other factors such as the condition and the ‘reformability’ of the accused. It recommended a person-centric approach while considering the mitigative factors which could include socio-economic backwardness, mental health, heredity, parenting, socialisation, education, etc. to avert the handing of capital punishment.

Concerns with current jurisprudence:

Lack of concrete guidelines:

  • Notably, the Bachan Singh judgment has not elaborated on the mitigative elements in the matter of sentencing or the method of invoking them to avert the death penalty. It also does not clearly explain the issues such as the burden of proof and standard of proof in detail.
  • This lack of clarity is leading to cases being decided contrary to the principles set under the Bachan Singh case.

Breach of Bachan Singh case principle:

  • Notably, the Bachan Singh principle has been breached by the Supreme Court itself in several cases.
    • In Ravji vs State of Rajasthan (1995), the Supreme Court had stated that it is the nature of the crime and not the criminal which is germane for deciding the punishment. This observation runs contrary to the observations made in the Bachan Singh case.
    • In Machhi Singh vs State of Punjab (1983), the Supreme Court noted that the inadequacy of other punishments could justify the death penalty. This runs against the humanistic liberalism propounded in the Bachan Singh case.

Arguments against capital punishment:

  • Capital punishment is described by some as being violative of the right to life envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • As against the belief that the death penalty would act as a deterrent to heinous crimes, a number of surveys and statistical reports have suggested that the death penalty does not act as a deterrent.
  • Across the world, 108 nations have abolished the death penalty in law for all the crimes and 144 countries (more than two-thirds of the total countries) have put an end to imposing the death penalty in law or practice, according to the Amnesty Report of 2021. India is one of the very few countries that are yet to abolish the death penalty.
  • In India, as elsewhere, the poor remain the most affected by capital punishment. The numbers of the uneducated and the illiterate sentenced to death outweigh those who are educated and literate. This is indicative of the unequal impact on the marginalized sections which amounts to infringement of the constitutionally guaranteed rights. This could be attributed to the unsatisfactory legal assistance received by the poor which often leads to their conviction. And in the matter of sentencing too, the mitigating factors are either not placed before the trial court or not persuaded adequately to convince the trial judge to avoid the death penalty.

Recommendations:

Filling gaps in the Bachan Singh case:

  • It is the dire need of the hour to lay down an effective framework for awarding the death penalty.
  • The Court while looking into the instant case will have to revisit the issues related to mitigating factors and individual-centred sentencing policy and come up with concrete guidelines for such policy.
    • The Court should come up with a legal device for procurement of a comprehensive report dealing with the socio-economic and hereditary backgrounds of the accused from experts in the fields of social work, psychiatry, psychology, anthropology, etc.
    • There should be a comprehensive examination of the factors relating to the crime, the criminal, and the punishment.
    • The court should also lay down concrete propositions for assessment of mitigating factors, determination of standard of proof, the burden of proof, etc.
  • This could ensure a convict-centric approach so that the imposition of capital punishment becomes rarer, fairer, and principled.

Relook at the constitutional validity of the death penalty:

  • Given that evolving a just and judicious sentencing policy alone may not be able to accommodate for factors such as judgmental errors, poor quality of adjudication, incapacity or backwardness of the parties and their inadequacy of defence, the disparity in the practical application of the doctrine, etc, the Supreme Court should consider having a relook at the core question in ‘Bachan Singh’ — the constitutional validity of the death penalty.

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The Supreme Court looking into the challenge of the Irfan vs State of Madhya Pradesh case offers an opportunity to radically alter India’s death penalty jurisprudence. While trying to fill the gaps in the landmark Bachan Singh case the court should also consider relooking at the constitutional validity of the death penalty.

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Category: ECONOMY

1. Are freebies affecting the economic growth of India?

Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Mains: Freebie culture – Arguments for and against

Context:

  • Recently while delivering an address at the Delhi School of Economics, N.K. Singh, the chairperson of the 15th Finance Commission, criticised the practice of providing freebies by some state governments. This he warned could be a “quick path to fiscal disaster.”

For detailed information on this topic refer to the following article:

CNA dated April 20, 2022: Danger of electoral sops flagged

Freebie politics:

  • Over the years the politics of freebies has become an integral part of the electoral politics in India.
  • Political leaders offering freebies to lure voters is quite common during the election time in the country. Political parties promise to offer free electricity/water supply, monthly allowance to unemployed, daily wage workers and women as well as gadgets like laptops, smartphones, etc. to secure the vote of the people.

Arguments against freebie politics:

Impact on fiscal stability:

  • This freebie culture may be harmful to the long-term economic growth of the country. Given that some of the subsidies are wasteful, they do not lead to the creation of additional capacity but only lead to expenditure. Hence, they are not sustainable, and it could lead to deterioration of fiscal stability of the economy in the light of mounting interest payments.

Legal questions:

  • Notably, those promising freebies obviously do not pay from their own pockets, but from the taxpayers’ pockets. Hence promising freebies from the state exchequer, raises moral, ethical and serious legal issues, because the revenue is collected from taxpayers by the government, and set procedures exist for using this money for the welfare of the people.
  • Freebies have become one of the ways for political parties to entice and influence voters. The Supreme Court in March 2022 agreed to consider listing for an urgent hearing of a plea, seeking direction to register FIRs against political parties for allegedly inducing voters by offering freebies. The petition pleaded that such inducement using freebies amounted to indulging in corrupt practices and bribery in terms of provisions of Section 123 (1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Undesirable impact of freebies:

  • Non targeted loan waivers have undesired consequences such as destroying the credit culture.
  • The provision of free electricity to the rural communities has led to disastrous consequences in terms of the declining water table, wastage of electricity and various other things.

Arguments in favour:

Poverty reduction:

  • Poverty, existing inequality and the distress caused by the pandemic may necessitate some kind of relief to the population in the form of subsidies and freebies. Welfare measures such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the public distribution system, have contributed to poverty reduction.

Improve productive capacity of population:

  • Freebies in the education and health domain will help improve the productive capacity of the population and can be seen as an investment for the long term.
  • Subsidies going into education, such as for laptops and other things would help increase productivity, knowledge, and skills.

Economic growth:

  • Also, some of these subsidies may actually be necessary for the economy to continue on its growth path.
  • The economic slowdown brought out by the pandemic has led to a steep decline in demand in the economy. Welfare spending has been able to at least prevent consumption demand from falling any further.

Recommendations:

  • The priority for welfare spending should be for productive areas.
  • Also, such spending should be more targeted to reduce the risks of leakage and to also increase the effectiveness of such spending.

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Given that well-directed welfare spending can help in economic growth as well as development, there is a need to distinguish between productive and unproductive forms of welfare spending. The focus should be more on areas where the positive impact of welfare spending is visible.

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F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

1. Prepare for swift conflicts: IAF chief

  • In the backdrop of the Ukraine war and apprehensions about the timely delivery of equipment from Russia, the Chief of the Air Staff said that there is a need to re-evaluate the demand forecasting methods and stocking philosophies. 
  • The Chief of the Air Staff further added that the way forward will be to have a “serviceability-linked inventory management system”.
  • He further added that the geopolitical situation requires the IAF to prepare for intense and small-duration operations at a short notice and the new paradigm of high-intensity operations, coupled with minimal build-up time, would require major changes in terms of operational logistics.

2. Xi’s ‘Global Security Initiative’ looks to counter Quad grouping

  • A new Global Security Initiative put forward by the Chinese President is said to counter the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy and the Quad.
  • China proposed a Global Security Initiative which is committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and opposes unilateralism, and says no to group politics and bloc confrontation.
  • China’s Foreign Minister further said that they oppose the use of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ strategy to divide the region and create a ‘new Cold War’, and the use of military alliances to put together an Asian version of NATO.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements:
  1. India’s first e-waste clinic was set up in Bhopal.
  2. Maharashtra is the largest producer of e-waste in India.
  3. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology notified the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 according to which producers were made responsible for the collection of E-waste and for its exchange.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (Level: Medium)

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, India’s first e-waste clinic was established in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh). 
    • It is set up jointly by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC).
  • Statement 2 is correct, Maharashtra is the largest producer of e-waste in India.
    • Maharashtra is followed by Tamil Nadu (2nd), Andhra Pradesh (3rd), Uttar Pradesh (4th), Delhi (5th), Gujarat (6th), Karnataka (7th) and West Bengal (8th).
  • Statement 3 is not correct, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) notified the E-Waste Management Rules 2016.
Q2. Giddha, Sammi, and Kikli are folk dances from which state of India? (Level: Easy)
  1. Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Himachal Pradesh
  3. Punjab
  4. Sikkim
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Giddha, Sammi, and Kikli are folk dances of Punjab.
  • Giddha is a popular folk dance performed only by women, performed during festive seasons, especially during the sowing and reaping of the harvest. 
  • Sammi dance is performed by the women of Punjab’s tribal communities.
  • Kikli is a folk dance of Punjab, where two girls hold hands and twirl each other in a circle and balance their positions in circular motions.
Q3. Which of the following statements about Poet Jayadeva is/are correct?
  1. Hymns of Jayadeva have been incorporated into the Guru Granth Sahib.
  2. He is known for his epic poem Gitanjali.

Options: (Level: Medium)

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, Two hymns of Jayadeva have been incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib which is the holy book of the Sikh religion. 
  • Statement 2 is not correct, Jayadeva is most known for his epic poem Gita Govinda.
    • Gitanjali is a collection of poems by Rabindranath Tagore.
Q4. With respect to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), which of the 
following statements is/are correct?
  1. It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  2. The Commission consists of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and three other Members whose service conditions and tenure of office are determined by the Parliament.

Options: (Level: Easy)

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) is a constitutional body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. 
    • NCBC was set up under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 and was given a constitutional status through the 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018. 
  • Statement 2 is not correct, The conditions of service and tenure of office of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other Members are determined by the President.
Q5. Which one of the following effects of the creation of black money in India has been 
the main cause of worry to the Government of India? (Level: Easy)
  1. Diversion of resources to the purchase of real estate and investment in luxury housing
  2. Investment in unproductive activities and purchase of precious stones, jewellery, gold, etc.
  3. Large donations of political parties and growth of regionalism
  4. Loss of revenue to the State Exchequer due to tax evasion
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Black money includes all funds earned through illegal activity and otherwise legal income that is not recorded for tax purposes. 
  • The increase and spread of black money have a serious impact on the economy as it results in the reduction of government revenues. 
  • Hence option d is correct.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Proscribing death penalty is an essential feature of a civilized society. Do you agree? Discuss. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS IV – Ethics)
  2. Freebie culture in Indian politics stems from the idea of making India a welfare state. Elaborate. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS II – Polity)

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 29 April 2022:- Download PDF Here

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