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Indian Polity & Governance - 3 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

Document Description: Indian Polity & Governance - 3 for UPSC 2022 is part of Indian Polity & Governance for Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly preparation. The notes and questions for Indian Polity & Governance - 3 have been prepared according to the UPSC exam syllabus. Information about Indian Polity & Governance - 3 covers topics like Section 498 (A) Misuse , Television Content Regulation, Representation of Women in Judiciary, Kanya Shiksha Pravesh Utsav, Swatantrata Sainik Samman Yojana, Democracy Report 2022, Brahmaputra (NW2) gets connected with Ganga (NW1), What are Inland Waterways?, SC Upheld FCRA Amendments and Indian Polity & Governance - 3 Example, for UPSC 2022 Exam. Find important definitions, questions, notes, meanings, examples, exercises and tests below for Indian Polity & Governance - 3.

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Table of contents
Section 498 (A) Misuse 
Television Content Regulation
Representation of Women in Judiciary
Kanya Shiksha Pravesh Utsav
Swatantrata Sainik Samman Yojana
Democracy Report 2022
Brahmaputra (NW2) gets connected with Ganga (NW1)
What are Inland Waterways?
SC Upheld FCRA Amendments
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Section 498 (A) Misuse 
Supreme Court has highlighted the growing misuse of section 498A of IPC with the rising clash in marriages. It is observed by the Court that there is increased use of provision such as section 498A IPC as an instrument against the husband and his relatives. Section 498 (A) 

  • Section 498 (A) of IPC 1860 was passed by the Indian Parliament in 1983. 
  • It is a criminal law. It is defined that if husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjected such woman towards cruelty, then they would be punished with imprisonment for term which might extend to 3 years and may be liable for fine. 
  • The fact that Section 498-A is a cognizable and non-bailable offence has lent it a place of one of progressive rescue for violence against woman. However, it is important to stop the misuse of procedure of law and use this provision to shield and not as weapon.

How Section 498A is Misused

  • Against Husband & Relatives: With the rise in the rate of education, financial security, and modernization, the more independent and the radical feminists have made Section 498A of IPC as a weapon in their hands than a shield.
    (i) Police often visit the office premises of men in order to shame them and jeopardize their job situation. Police also pick up relatives of men who are not even named in the complaint, they are illegally detained by police and forced to give their statements.
    (ii) Judges grant interim bail and then keep on extending the bail for every 5 or 7 days and thus the man is neither arrested nor free but keeps on attending court dates without any reason 
  • Blackmail Attempts: In most cases the Section 498A complaint is generally followed by the demand of a huge amount of money to settle the case outside the court. 
  • Degradation of Marriage: Women have begun misusing Section 498 of IPC as a tool for their vengeance or to get out of wedlock. 
  • Malimath Committee Report, 2003: Similar views were also expressed by the Committee report on reforms in the criminal justice system. It noted that the "general complaint" of Section 498A to be a subject to gross misuse.

Television Content Regulation
Information and broadcasting Ministry (I&B) cancelled broadcast license of Malayalam- language news channel through an order. The order mentioned that Home Ministry denied security clearance to the channel. Background Union Government amended the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994. The amendment brings in a statutory mechanism in the form of Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021 for three tier redressal of grievances /complaints of citizens 

  • A viewer can successively approach the channel, then a self-regulatory body of the industry, and finally the I&B Ministry, which can issue a show cause notice to the channel, and then refer the issue to an InterMinisterial Committee (IMC). 
  • For content on OTT platforms too, there is a similar structure. Power of I&B 
  • In Feb’ 2021, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 extended its regulatory powers over internet content, Over the top platform (“OTT”) etc. 
  • Films Related: Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has power to withhold a rating unless the filmmaker agrees to its suggestion. While it isn’t the CBFC’s mandate to censor a film
  • TV channels related: The Ministry also has the Electronic Media Monitoring Cell that tracks channels for any violations of the programming and advertising codes mentioned in the Cable TV Network Rules,1994. 
  • Print Media and Website Related: The Ministry acts on the recommendation of Press Council of India, the government can suspend its advertising to a publication. Freedom of speech and expression is not absolute. It is important to have proper implementation of rules and regulation on contents creation. The content on any of these platforms has to follow the free speech rules of the country. Article 19(1) of the Constitution, while protecting freedom of speech, also lists certain “reasonable restrictions” including content related to:

Do Other Agencies Play a Role

  • There is no direct involvement, as the powers to regulate content rest only with the I&B Ministry. However, the Ministry relies on inputs from other ministries, as well as intelligence agencies. 
  • For Example: In the recent case, the license was revoked because Home Ministry had denied it security clearance, which is essential as part of the policy. 
  • There is also a new mechanism the I&B Ministry adopts: It has used emergency powers it has under the new IT Rules to block certain YouTube channels and social media accounts based on inputs from intelligence agencies. The recourse available to anyone whose channel or account has been banned would be to go to the courts.

Representation of Women in Judiciary
Why in News?

Recently, the Chief Justice of India raised concerns about the lack of women among High Court judges.

  • He made this remark while addressing an event on the occasion of the International Day of Women Judges (10th March).
What is the International Day of Women Judges?
About
  • United Nations General Assembly Resolution 75/274 designated 10th March the International Day of Women Judges in 2021.
  • India was among the nations that sponsored the resolution, which was moved by Qatar.

Significance

  • The day aims to recognise the efforts and contributions being made by women judges.
  • The day also empowers young women and girls who aspire to become judges and leaders in the community.
  • Combating gender disparity in the judicial services will also help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
  • SDG Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

What is the State of Women in Judiciary?

  • In high courts, the percentage of women judges is a mere 11.5%, while in the Supreme Court there are four sitting women judges out of 33 in office.
  • The situation of women lawyers in the country is not any better. Out of 1.7 million advocates registered, only 15% are women.

What are the Reasons for Low Women Representatives?

  • Patriarchy in Society:  The primary reason for underrepresentation of women in judiciary is deeply ingrained patriarchy in society.
  • Women often have to face hostile atmospheres within courtrooms. Harassment, lack of respect from members of the bar and bench, the silencing of their opinions, are some of the other traumatic experiences often recounted by many women lawyers.
  • Opaque Collegium System Functioning: More women tend to enter the lower judiciary at the entry level because of the method of recruitment through an entrance examination.
  • However, the higher judiciary has a collegium system, which has tended to be more opaque and, therefore, more likely to reflect bias. Recently, the Supreme Court Collegium recommended 192 candidates for the High Courts, out of these, 37, that is 19%, were women. But Unfortunately, so far only 17 of the 37 women recommended were appointed.
  • No Women Reservation: Many states have a reservation policy for women in the lower judiciary, which is missing in the High Courts and Supreme Court.  States such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Rajasthan have benefited from such reservation as they now have 40-50% women judicial officers.
  • However, the Bill for giving 33% reservation to women in Parliament and state legislatures has not been passed till date, despite all major political parties publicly supporting it.
  • Familial Responsibilities: Factors of age and family responsibilities also affect the elevation of women judges from the subordinate judicial services to the higher courts.
  • Not Enough Women in Litigation: Since lawyers elevated from the bar to the bench form a significant proportion of judges in the high courts and Supreme Court, it is worth noting that the number of women advocates is still low, reducing the pool from which women judges can be selected.
  • Judicial Infrastructure: Judicial infrastructure, or the lack of it, is another barrier to women in the profession. Small courtrooms which are crowded and cramped, absence of restrooms, and childcare facilities are all barriers.
  • No Serious Attempt:  No serious attempt has been made during the past 70 years to give adequate representation to women either in the high courts or in the Supreme Court.
  • In India, women constitute about 50% of the total population and a large number of women are available in the Bar and in the judicial services for elevation but, in spite of that, the number of women judges is small.

What is the Significance of High Women Representation?

  • Motivates More Women to Seek Justice: Higher numbers, and greater visibility, of women judges can increase the willingness of women to seek justice and enforce their rights through the courts.  Though not true in all cases, having a judge who is the same gender as litigant, can play a role in setting the litigant’s mind at ease.
    For instance, think of a transgender woman as a judge listening to the case of other trans women. That would inspire confidence in the litigant, as well.
  • Different Point of Views: It is definitely valuable to have representation of various marginalities in the judiciary because of their different lived experiences. Diversity on the bench would definitely bring in alternative and inclusive perspectives to statutory interpretations.
  • Increase Judicial Reasoning: Increased judicial diversity enriches and strengthens the ability of judicial reasoning to encompass and respond to varied social contexts and experiences.
    This can improve justice sector responses to the needs of women and marginalized groups.

Kanya Shiksha Pravesh Utsav
Why in News?
Recently, the government launched a nation-wide campaign called Kanya Shiksha Pravesh Utsav on the eve of the International Women’s Day (8th March).

  • The aim of the campaign is to bring back four lakh out-of-school adolescent girls in the 11-14 years age group into the education system.

What are the Key Points of the Campaign?

  • Aim: The project aims to work on a complete system for out-of-school girls by building on existing schemes and programmes such as Schemes for Adolescent Girls (SAG), BetiBachaoBetiPadhao (BBBP), and National Education Policy (NEP).
  • Implementing Agency: The campaign is being steered by the Ministry of Women And Child Development in partnership with the Ministry of Education.
  • Implementation: The campaign focuses on convergence and coordination between ministries, departments and states.
    The campaign will be implemented as part of the BBBP project, with the primary beneficiaries being over 4,00,000 out-of-school adolescent girls.  Over 400 districts across all states will be funded under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme for grassroots level outreach and awareness generation to sensitise communities and families to enrol adolescent girls in schools.
    Further, funding from Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, and Anganwadi workers (AWWs) will be further incentivised for counseling and referring out of school adolescent girls.
  • Data to be Collected: It strives to collect data on outof-school girls, based on their visits to anganwadi centres for nutrition, nutrition education and skilling.
  • Significance: Bringing out-of-school girls back to the education system has been the target since the Right to Education Act was enacted (2009).
  • Need: The need has arisen because the Scheme For Adolescent Girls (SAG), which initially took care of out-of-school girls, was getting less traction.

Swatantrata Sainik Samman Yojana
Why in News?
The Centre has approved the continuation of the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Yojana (SSSY), under which freedom fighters and their eligible dependents are given pension and other financial benefits, till 2025-26.

What are the Key Points?
Background

  • The Government of India introduced the ‘ExAndaman Political Prisoners Pension Scheme’ in 1969 to honor the freedom fighters who had been incarcerated in the Cellular Jail at Port Blair.  In 1972, to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Independence, a regular scheme for grant of freedom fighters’ pension was introduced.  Since 1980, a liberalized scheme, namely the ‘Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980’ has been implemented.From the financial year 2017-18 onwards, the nomenclature of the Scheme 
  • has been changed as ‘Swatantrata Sainik Samman Yojana’.
  • The amount of pension has been revised from time to time and Dearness Relief has also been given since 2016.

About the Scheme

  • The scheme provides for a monthly Samman Pension to freedom fighters, as a token of respect for their contribution in the national freedom struggle. On their demise, pension is provided to their eligible dependents viz. spouses and thereafter, unmarried and unemployed daughters and dependent parents, as per prescribed eligibility norms and procedure. 
  • It is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs (Freedom Fighters Division).  There are 23,566 beneficiaries across the country covered under this scheme

Democracy Report 2022
Why in News?
According to the latest report from the V-Dem Institute at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, the level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2021 is down to 1989 levels, with the democratic gains of the post-Cold War period eroding rapidly in the last few years.

  • The Report is titled ‘Democracy Report 2022: Autocratisation Changing Nature?’.
  • Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) produces the largest global dataset on democracy with over 30 million data points for 202 countries from 1789 to 2021.
  • Earlier, the Global State of Democracy Report, 2021 was released by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International-IDEA).

What Parameters were used to Assess the Status of a Democracy?

  • The report classifies countries into four regime types based on their score in the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI):  Liberal Democracy, Electoral Democracy, Electoral Autocracy, and Closed Autocracy.
  • The LDI captures both liberal (individual and minority rights) and electoral aspects (free and fair elections) of a democracy based on 71 indicators that make up the Liberal Component Index (LCI) and the Electoral Democracy Index (EDI).
  • The LCI measures aspects such as protection of individual liberties and legislative constraints on the executive, while the EDI considers indicators that guarantee free and fair elections such as freedom of expression and freedom of association. In addition, the LDI also uses an Egalitarian Component Index (to what extent different social groups are equal), Participatory Component Index (health of citizen groups, civil society organisations), and Deliberative Component Index (whether political decisions are taken through public reasoning focused on common good or through emotional appeals, solidarity attachments, coercion).

What are the Main Findings of the Report?

  • Top Performance
    Sweden topped the LDI index, other Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Norway, along with Costa Rica and New Zealand make up the top five in liberal democracy rankings.
  • India’s Performance
    India is part of a broader global trend of an anti-plural political party driving a country’s autocratisation.  It was ranked 93rd in the LDI, India figures in the “bottom 50%” of countries. It has slipped further down in the Electoral Democracy Index, to 100, and even lower in the Deliberative Component Index, at 102.
    In South Asia, India is ranked below Sri Lanka (88), Nepal (71), and Bhutan (65) and above Pakistan (117) in the LDI.
  • Spreading Autocratisation
    Autocratisation is spreading rapidly, with a record of 33 countries autocratising.  Signaling a sharp break from an average of 1.2 coups per year, 2021 saw a record 6 coups, resulting in 4 new autocracies: Chad, Guinea, Mali and Myanmar.  While the number of liberal democracies stood at 42 in 2012, their number has shrunk to their lowest level in over 25 years, with just 34 countries and 13% of the world population living in liberal democracies. Closed autocracies, or dictatorships, rose from 25 to 30 between 2020 and 2021.
  • Electoral Autocracy Most Common Regime Type
    The world today has 89 democracies and 90 autocracies, electoral autocracy remains the most common regime type, accounting for 60 countries and 44% of the world population or 3.4 billion people.
  • Electoral democracies were the second most common regime, accounting for 55 countries and 16% of the world population.

What does the report say about the Changing Nature of Autocratisation?

  • Biggest Drivers of Autocratisation: One of the biggest drivers of autocratisation is “toxic polarisation”.
  • Polarisation has been defined as a phenomenon that erodes respect of counter-arguments and associated aspects of the deliberative component of democracy.
  • It is a dominant trend in 40 countries, as opposed to 5 countries that showed rising polarisation in 2011.
  • Toxic levels of polarisation contribute to electoral victories of anti-pluralist leaders and the empowerment of their autocratic agendas.
  • Noting that “polarisation and autocratisation are mutually reinforcing”, the report states that “measures of polarisation of society, political polarisation, and political parties’ use of hate speech tend to systematically rise together to extreme levels.”
  • Tools used to Sharpen Polarisation: “Misinformation” has been identified as a key tool deployed by autocratising governments to sharpen polarisation and shape domestic and international opinion.  Repression of civil society and censorship of media were other favoured tools of autocratising regimes.
  • While freedom of expression declined in a record 35 countries in 2021, with only 10 showing improvement, repression of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) worsened in 44 countries over the past ten years, “putting it at the very top of the indicators affected by autocratisation”.
  • Also, in 37 countries, direct government control over CSOs’ existence moved in an authoritarian direction — “evidence of the far-ranging weakening of civil society around the world.”
  • Decisive autonomy for the Electoral Management Body (EMB) deteriorated in 25 countries

Brahmaputra (NW2) gets connected with Ganga (NW1)
Why in News?
Recently, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways received the maiden voyage of food-grains from Patna to Pandu port via Bangladesh in Guwahati (Assam).

  • Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is planning to run a fixed schedule sailing between NW1 and NW2 heralding a new age of inland water transport for Assam & the Northeast India.
  • The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021, was also approved to regulate safety, security and registration of inland vessels.

What is the Significance of this Achievement?

  • The start of cargo movement through ships through Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBRP) marks the beginning of a new age of economic prosperity for the whole region of Northeast.
  • This will pave the way for growth & development of inland water transport.
  • This will also provide the business community a viable, economic & ecological alternative and will also play a pivotal role in energising India’s northeast as the engine of growth.
  • The sustained effort to rejuvenate the historical trade routes via Bangladesh got a fillip under PM Gati Shakti. It has been envisioned that Northeast will slowly turn & convert into a connectivity hub.  The integrated development plan, under PM Gati Shakti, has been envisioned in order to amp up swift movement of cargo over Brahmaputra.

Indian Polity & Governance - 3 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

What are Inland Waterways?
About

India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which consist of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.  As per the National Waterways Act 2016, 111 waterways have been declared as National Waterways (NWs).

  • NW-1: Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System (Prayagraj-Haldia) with length 1620 km is the longest National Waterway in India.
  • The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is implementing the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for capacity augmentation of navigation on the Haldia-Varanasi stretch of Ganga (part of NW-1) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank.
  • Related Steps taken: The waterways have also been proposed to be linked to the eastern and western Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs), as well as the Sagarmala Project, which aims to promote port-led direct and indirect development.Further, the provisions of the 
  • Indo-Bangladesh (Sonamura-Daudkandi) and Indo-Myanmar protocol (Kaladan) permitting transhipment of goods through Bangladesh and Myanmar waters – which, in many cases, are a continuum of India’s inland waterways – enabling quicker shipments and deeper market penetration in India’s North East.

What is the Scope of Inland Waterways in India?

  • About 55 million tonnes of cargo is being moved annually by IWT (Inland Water Transport), a fuel efficient and environment-friendly mode.  However, freight transportation by waterways is highly underutilized in the country as compared to developed countries.
  • Its operations are currently restricted to a few stretches in the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly rivers, the Brahmaputra, the Barak river (northeastern India), the rivers in Goa, the backwaters in Kerala, inland waters in Mumbai and the deltaic regions of the Godavari - Krishna rivers.
  • Besides these organized operations by mechanized vessels, country boats of various capacities also operate in various rivers and canals and substantial quantum of cargo and passengers are transported in this unorganized sector as well.
  • In India, IWT has the potential to supplement the overburdened railways and congested roadways. In addition to cargo movement, the IWT sector also provides a convenient function in related activities such as carriage of vehicles {on Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo) mode of cross ferry} and tourism.

What are the Advantages of an Inland Waterways Network?

  • Cheaper Mode of Transportation: Waterways are a cheaper mode of transportation visà-vis the available alternatives, significantly reducing the point-to-point cost of goods transportation.  It also reduces time, cost of transportation of goods and cargos, as well as congestion and accidents on highways.
    The network requires no green field investment, but only capex (capital expenditure) for improvement/upgradation.
  • Seamless Inter connectivity: They are expected to also “help create seamless inter connectivity connecting hinterlands along navigable river coasts and coastal routes” and “are likely to play a crucial role in connecting the north-eastern states to the mainland.”
  • What  Navigability throughout the Year:  Some rivers are seasonal and do not offer navigability through the year. Around 20 out of the 111 identified national waterways have reportedly been found unviable.
  • Intensive Capital and Maintenance Dredging: All the identified waterways require intensive capital and maintenance dredging, which could be resisted by the local community on environmental grounds, including displacement fears, thereby posing implementation challenges.
  • Other Uses of water: Water also has important competing uses, viz. need for living as well as for irrigation, power generation etc. It would not be possible for the local government/others to overlook these needs.
  • Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Central Government: The exclusive jurisdiction of the Central Government is only in regard to shipping and navigation on inland waterways declared to be ‘national waterways’ by an act of Parliament.  Utilisation/sailing of vessels, in other waterways, is within the ambit of the concurrent list or is in the jurisdiction of the respective state governments.

SC Upheld FCRA Amendments
Why in News?

Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) upheld the constitutional validity of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act (FCRA), 2020.

  • It held that receiving foreign donations cannot be an absolute right and can be regulated by the Parliament.
  • In 2020, the Indian government had proposed amendments to the FCRA, which imposed new restrictions on how Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), individuals, and other organisations could receive or use funds contributed from abroad.

What are the Highlights of the Judgements?

  • Medicine vs Intoxicant Metaphor: Foreign Contributions serves as a medicine so long as it is consumed (utilised) moderately and discreetly. € However, free and uncontrolled flow of foreign contribution can act as an intoxicant that has the potential of impacting the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.
  • Imposing Political Ideology: The SC underlined that foreign contributions may tend to influence or impose political ideology. Thus, FCRA amendments are essentially conceived in the interest of public order as the intent is to prevent misuse of donations coming from foreign sources.
  • Global Precedents: Receiving foreign donations cannot be an absolute or even a vested right. € This is because the theory of possibility of national polity being influenced by foreign contribution is globally recognised.
  • Upholding Legislation: In this scenario, it had become necessary for Parliament to step in and provide a stringent regime for effectively regulating the inflow and utilisation of foreign contribution.

What is Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010?

  • Foreign funding of persons in India is regulated under FCRA act and is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Individuals are permitted to accept foreign contributions without permission of MHA.  However, the monetary limit for acceptance of such foreign contributions shall be less than Rs. 25,000.
  • The Act ensures that the recipients of foreign contributions adhere to the stated purpose for which such contribution has been obtained.
  • Under the Act, organisations are required to register themselves every five years.

What were the Amendments done in the Act?

  • Prohibition to accept foreign contribution: It bars public servants from receiving foreign contributions.
  • Transfer of foreign contribution: It prohibits the transfer of foreign contribution to any other person.
  • Aadhaar for registration: Aadhaar number is mandatory for all office bearers, directors or key functionaries of a person receiving foreign contribution, as an identification document.
  • FCRA account: The foreign contribution must be received only in an account designated by the bank as FCRA account in such branches of the State Bank of India, New Delhi. No funds other than the foreign contribution should be received or deposited in this account.
  • Restriction in utilisation of foreign contribution: It allowed the government to restrict usage of unutilised foreign contribution. This may be done if, based on an inquiry the government believes that such person has contravened provisions of the FCRA.
  • Administrative Capping: While NGOs earlier could use up to 50% funds for administrative use, the new amendment restricted this use to 20%.

What are the Objectives and Issues Related to the Amendments?

  • Objectives: Many recipients of foreign contribution have not utilised the same for the purpose for which they were registered or granted prior permission under the FCRA 2010.
    Recently, the Union Home Ministry has suspended licences of the six (NGOs) who were alleged to have used foreign contributions for religious conversion. Such a situation could have adversely affected the internal security of the country.
    It also aims to enhance transparency and accountability in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contributions and facilitate the genuine NGOs who are working for the welfare of society.
  • Issues: The Amendments led to criticism from some quarters that it could have a deleterious effect on civil society organisations. The government aims to control the NGOs which engage in dubious activities.
    However, by failing to recognise the diversity of NGOs, which include world-class organisations that are recognised globally, will crush their competitiveness and creativity.
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