UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (25-10-2022)

UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing

Questions

Q1. Despite deep apprehensions worldwide initially, Indian democracy not only sustains itself but also thrives. Discuss the significance of the Indian constitution in the success of democracy in India.  15 marks

Q2. Numerous Interstate disputes are propping up in the country. Examine the existing constitutional mechanism to deal with the same. (250 words)  15 marks


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Model Solutions

Q1. Despite deep apprehensions worldwide initially, Indian democracy not only sustains itself but also thrives. Discuss the significance of the Indian constitution in the success of democracy in India. (15m)

Model Structure
Introduction:

  • India opted for a democratic form of governance due to reasons like familiarity with the system as acts of Britishers from the charter act of 1773 to the Government of India act 1935 were based on the principle of democracy. or
  • Western political scientists were concerned about the future of Indian democracy. They were of the view that Indian democracy which aims for Universal Adult franchise may not survive too long.

Main Body:

  • Reasons for the sustenance of Indian democracy over the 7 decades:
    • Contribution of leaders: Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar, Deen Dayal Upadhyay have contributed significantly to lead a strong foundation of democracy.
    • Continuation of the existing form: Over the years though unintentionally but British form of governance had trained Indians to a democratic form of governance.
    • Strong nationalism: Despite the diversity, the feeling of Indianness holds people together at the time of crisis. This suppresses external hands to destabilize the nation.
    • Democracy in DNA: According to Surjit Bhalla, the Diverse needs of India can only be fulfilled by a democratic form of governance. Hence Democracy is natural to India and not imposed.
  • Role of Constitution in success of Indian Democracy
    • Derived from diverse sources: This enables the constitution maker to select the best governance practices prevalent at that time and suitable for the Indian situation.
      • E.g. India adopted integrated judiciary from GoI act,1935, Judicial review from USA, writ jurisdiction from UK and advisory jurisdiction from Canada.
    • Written Document: It is comprehensive in nature covering even minute details, reduces subjectivity and scope of conflict in diverse nations like India.
    • Principle of equality: Article 14 prevent discrimination on caste, class, gender, religion, race etc. This enables us to avoid mistakes committed by many nations to treat different sections inequal.
      • India granted voting rights to all people above specified age from the beginning.
    • Socialist Principles: Socialist state with the goal of welfare of all sections has ensured that the interests of all sections are fulfilled.
      • Provisions like reservation in education institution (Art 15) and public employment (Art 16)
    • Checks and Balances: Separation of powers among executive, judiciary and legislature ensures powers are exercised within the ambit of the constitution and for people’s welfare.
      • Recent Supreme court intervention has expedited the resumption of the Internet in J&K.
    • Decentralisation: Division of power among center and states in the 7th schedule and power of local bodies under Part IX and Part IXA ensures that work is performed at the closest level to people.
    • Dynamic nature: Dynamism provides the flexibility required for the continuation of democracy.
      • Article 40 which was added in DPSP based on the recommendation of K. Sankaran in constituent assembly becomes mandatory after 40 years by the 73rd constitutional amendment.
    • Independent bodies: Institutions like the election commission, CAG, etc ensure accountability of elected representatives to people.

Conclusion:

  • However, recent events like rising communalism, hyper-nationalism, authoritarian tendencies, rising questions on the credibility of independence of institutions, etc. are challenging foundations of Indian democracy.

Q2. Numerous Interstate disputes are propping up in the country. Examine the existing constitutional mechanism to deal with the same. (250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure
Introduction:

The Indian Constitution has laid a federal setup, that implies division of powers between center and states is bound to raise disputes. To address these disputes the Constitution has established certain mechanisms.

Main Body:

  • Numerous interstate disputes that have risen in recent times
    • River Water Disputes:
      • Kerala and Tamil Nadu: Mullaperiyar Dam issue on river Periyar in Idukki, Kerala.
      • Tamil Nadu and Karnataka: Mekedatu Reservoir Project dispute on Cauvery River.
      • Goa-Maharashtra-Karnataka: Mahadei River dispute regarding water allocation.
      • Odisha and Chattisgarh: Mahanadi River water dispute.
    • Territorial Disputes:
      • Assam-Nagaland: Disputes over Naga dominated areas in North Cachar and Nagaon districts.
      • Karnataka-Maharashtra: Both lay claim over Belgaum.
      • Haryana-Himachal Pradesh: Parwanoo region dispute.
    • GST dispute: Some states wanted to remove GST on critical medical equipment like oxygen concentrators.
  • Existing constitutional mechanism to address the interstate disputes
    • Judicial mechanism:
      • Article 131: This empowers the SC to take up disputes between the union government and states, and among states.
        • E.g. Recently the Kerala government and Chhattisgarh government filed a suit in the Supreme Court challenging CAA and NIA Act respectively.
    • Parliament mechanism:
      • Article 262: The Parliament power to adjudicate inter-state disputes
        • E.g. The Parliament has enacted the interstate water dispute Act, 1956. Under this Act, the Parliament has constituted tribunals such as Godavari Krishna Tribunal in 1969.
    • Federal mechanism:
      • Article 263: Establishment of an inter-state council by the President in the public interest.
        • E.g. The interstate Council had decided that on the subject of delay in state bills so referred for President’s consideration, there should be time bound clearance of bills referred.
    • Financial mechanism:
      • Article 279A: GST council to be constituted by the President
        • E.g. The GST Council decided to extend compensation cess till March 2026 to address the revenue losses of the states.
      • Article 280: Establishing a Finance commission to ease the financial distribution between Center and states and among states.
        • E.g. The 15th finance commission gave 1% of devolution to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to address their developmental needs.
  • Way forward
    • Depoliticising Disputes: interstate council should be strengthened to play a crucial role in facilitating dialogue and discussion towards resolving conflicts
    • Bringing some items into concurrent list: For example, Mihir Shah report has recommended bringing water into concurrent list.
    • Streamlining: Setting up a single, permanent tribunal to adjudicate on interstate disputes could be a better step towards streamlining the dispute read wrestle mechanism.
    • Cooperative approach: There might be problems-legal, administrative, constitutional and political that needs a cooperative approach.

Conclusion

  • While federal consensus is required to make the dispute resolution politically feasible, electoral consensus is also important in the light of regional identity and autonomy.
  • The process of ‘positive politicization’ of bitterly contested issues like river water, despite being tenuous, would give benefits in the long run.
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