UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (23-12-2022) - GS 2


Q1. State the reasons behind the poor performance of cooperatives in India. Also, discuss the reforms undertaken by the government to overcome the shortcomings. (250 words)  15 marks

Q2. Critically assess whether according statutory backing to the Model Code of Conduct will contribute towards free and fair elections in India.(250 words)  15 marks

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Model Solutions

Q1. State the reasons behind the poor performance of cooperatives in India. Also, discuss the reforms undertaken by the government to overcome the shortcomings. (250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure

  • The recent creation of a separate Ministry of Cooperation, aims at realizing the vision of "Sahkar se Samriddhi", indicating the importance of cooperative sector in India’s development.

Main Body:
The sector had been marred with poor performance, for which the following reasons can be cited:

  • Lack of democratic spirit:
    • Government Interference: the government has put restrictions on borrowings, other transactions with non-members, investment of funds.
    • Politicization of Cooperatives: Many cooperative societies are dominated by locally powerful members of the society, with strong political affiliations.
  • Lack of awareness: Majority of the members as well as directors of cooperative societies lack adequate awareness about the activities of the society.
    • They are either less educated or have indifferent attitudes.
  • Skewed geographical penetration: The cooperatives in the North-Eastern States and in States like West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha are not as well developed as the ones in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
    • There is also a lot of friction due to competition between different states, which affects the working of cooperatives.
  • Operational challenges:
    • Lack of fair audit mechanism: Audits are generally done by department officials only.
    • Further, delays in the conduct of audits and submission of reports are widespread.
    • Lack of coordination among cooperatives exists.
      Steps taken by the government:
  • Establishment of key institutions to promote cooperative movement in India
    • The National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI): It is the apex organization representing the entire cooperative sector in the country.
    • The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED): To assist the Marketing Co-operatives in the States to develop their marketing business and to help them render better services to their members.
    • The National Co-operative Development Corporation (NCDC): planning and promoting programmes for the production, processing, storage and marketing of agricultural produce and notified commodities through co-operative societies.
  • 97th Amendment Act: This Amendment Act relates to effective management of co-operative societies in the country.
    • The change in the Constitution has amended Article 19(1)(c) to give protection to the cooperatives and inserted Article 43 B and Part IX B, relating to them.
    • Though the Supreme Court has annulled a part of this Act, multi-state co-operative societies still come under its ambit.
  • The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020: Key provisions of the Act include:
    • It gives the RBI powers to supersede boards of the Cooperative banks.
    • Cooperative banks are also allowed to raise money via public issue and private placement, of equity or preference shares as well as unsecured debentures, with RBI’s permission.


  • It is necessary to ensure the autonomous and democratic functioning of co-operatives, by ensuring the accountability of management to the members and other stakeholders and enhancing deterrence for violation of the provisions of the law.

Q2. Critically assess whether according statutory backing to the Model Code of Conduct will contribute towards free and fair elections in India.(250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure

  • The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is a set of norms, which has been evolved with the consensus of political parties who agreed to abide by the principles embodied in the said code, which binds them to respect and observe it in its letter and spirit.or
  • The MCC does not have a statutory backing and the violation of many of its provisions does not attract any punitive action. In 2013, the Parliamentary Standing Committee recommended that statutory status be accorded to the MCC.

Main Body:
Statutory backing to the Model Code of Conduct will contribute towards free and fair elections:

  • Presently, the ECI uses the plenary power under Article 324 to curb malpractices in elections, which is an extra-ordinary power vested upon the ECI.
    • Giving statutory backing to MCC will leave no vacuum for ECI to exercise powers for enforcement of the MCC.
  • Most of the provisions of the MCC are already contained in various laws like-
    • Violation of secrecy of voting, causing enmity among communities, the prohibition of public meetings during a period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of polls.
    • Statutory backing will add teeth to existing provisions thus invoking quick and effective action.
  • ECI can strictly enforce the provisions of MCC, which are relatable to other statutes enacted by Parliament or otherwise.
    • For instance, the EC can then even de-recognize a political party as National or State Party under Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, provided violation of those provisions of MCC is found.
  • The instructions/orders issued by the Election Commission of India under Article 324 of the Constitution sometimes encroach upon the legislative power of Parliament.
    • Such instructions/orders issued by the Election Commission of India may be suitably incorporated in the Representation of People Act, 1951, thus, providing an acceptable alternative.
  • MCC can resolve the absence of an immediate appeal mechanism against the decision of the returning officer to cancel the nomination of a candidate.
    • Presently, the decision can only be challenged in the High Court after the announcements of election results.

Arguments against according statutory status to MCC:

  • The Election Commission itself is of the view that statutory backing to the code may make it more effective and strengthen its binding nature.
    • It may complicate the implementation of the code in the middle of elections.
  • The Election Commission has argued against making the MCC legally binding.
    • Elections must be completed within a relatively short time (close to 45 days), and judicial proceedings typically take longer time.
  • The legal codification of these norms would expose the entire electoral process to needless litigation.
    • The broad objectives of MCC are best achieved by oversight of an impartial election watchdog.
  • The manner in which violations of MCC have been handled by the Election Commission with speed and urgency, proves that the code has stood the test of time.


  • Free and fair elections form the bedrock of democracy for which MCC has proved very effective. Though it has no statutory backing it carries significant moral weight. or
  • Given the practical difficulties in giving statutory backing to the MCC, another alternative would be to strengthen ECI to deal with contemporary challenges, electoral malpractices, Poll Code violations etc.
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