Essay: Panchayati Raj in India. Useful for Civil Services Mains exam, Descriptive Questions asked in RBI & Bank exams http://ow.ly/tJtK3
Making far reaching recommendations, the Justice Verma Committee report, released on January 23, 2013, has favoured comprehensive amendments to criminal laws, seeking minimum 20 years imprisonment for gang rape and life term for rape and murder, but refrained from prescribing death penalty.
However, the three-member Committee, headed by former Chief Justice J.S. Verma and comprising a former High Court Chief Justice Leila Seth and jurist Gopal Subramanium, which was constituted in the wake of the nationwide outrage over the December 16, 2012 gang rape of a girl in Delhi, is not in favour of reducing the age of juveniles under the law. Nor did the Committee favour chemical castration of rapists, saying the Constitution of India does not permit mutilation of a human body.
In its report to the government, the Committee has suggested amendment of criminal laws to provide for higher punishment to rapists, including those belonging to police and public servants. New offences have been created and stiffer punishment has been suggested for those committing rape and leaving the victim in a vegetative state. They include disrobing a woman, voyeurism, stalking and trafficking.
Sexual misconduct also includes intentional touching, spoken words and gestures made as advances.
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The fruits of economic growth have not benefited everyone uniformly. Some are left behind and some others are not touched by the benefits of economic growth. It is proved globally that the so-called trickle-down effect does not work in all the societies and India is no exception to this. There are various reasons for this uneven development in the society. Modern economy is technology driven and not labour-intensive.
High volume of high quality goods and services are produced with fewer labour hands. In short, the modern economy is not generating much employment and sometimes it displaces and replaces labour with machines and tools. The period of 1999-2000 to 2004- 2005 saw rapid economic growth in the country but it has not impacted on the unemployment problem of the country. During this period, the unemployment rate remained almost same for rural males and decreased by just one percentage for urban male. On the other hand, unemployment among females increased by one percentage for urban and rural females.
One-third of the country’s population is still illiterate and a majority are not educated up to the age of 15 years. Even among the educated, all do not have employable skills of the modern economy. The education system is not tuned to the changing economic scenario. The large agriculture workforce in rural areas is not sustainable with dwindling cultivable land and use of modern methods of cultivation. As a result, the rural labour is pushed into cities in search of work but they do not have any employable skills in the urban formal sector often end up doing odd jobs in urban areas.
Urbanization in this country is mainly due to acute poverty in rural areas, rather than due to the economic opportunities in urban areas. Further, poverty is not uniformly spread in the country. States like Orissa, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have high level of poverty and the levels have not come down significantly in the post-economic reform era.
It is also pertinent to understand that some of the people are unable to be part of the economic reform and do not have the capacity to participate in the economic development process. Such groups need government intervention to ensure that they are not left behind in the development process and deprived of the benefits because they do not have the capacity to be part of the global economy. The government needs to develop safety nets for such groups and try to mainstream them in the development process. They need welfare measures in the form of poverty alleviation programmes to ensure that they survive, if not prosper, in this era of economic reform. Further, the poor are not a homogeneous population and their capacity to survive the economic reform varied from one group of poor to another. Especially, those who are below the poverty line or the poorest among the poor need more government help.
The government of India’s poverty alleviation programmes can be broadly classified under five categories: (a) Self-employment programmes like the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana; (b) Wage-employment programmes like the Sampoorna Grameen Rojgar Yojana and the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) scheme; (c) Area development programmes like Drought Prone Area Programmes and theRashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana; (d) Social security programmes like the National Old Age Pension Scheme; (e) Other programmes like the Indira Awaas Yojana.
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It has been seen that a lasting solution for eradicating poverty and shaping human progress can be found as much through politics as through economics. Politics matters in a large way, because it is through this mechanism that the rights of the citizenry in any country are determined. It decides whether the people should be allowed to participate in the decision-making process that impacts their lives.
In the last few decades, the polity has witnessed a sea change. There are innumerable instances across the world, of the opening up of political systems and increased rights and power to the people. The world can be labelled as much more democratic, but there are several underlying problems to be dealt with. A report outlines that 140 countries hold multi-party elections, out of which only 81 have taken significant steps towards democracy.
The democratic system of voting in the elections has added crucial element of governance from the human development standpoint, because elections symbolize enforceable accountability. When a government fails to live up to the needs and desires of the people, they can simply vote it out of the office the next time.
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Throughout the world today, societies are been torn apart due to the fact that various social groups and classes are not getting their due respect from other forces in society. Many societies are lacking social justice which could be seen as equal opportunity treatment of all persons in society. Various institutions have the responsibility to ensure this happens. Yet social justice is absent in many instances.
Cooperatives are based on principles and values that speak directly to the issue of social justice. Most traditional cooperatives follow the seven principles of cooperative identity, promoted by the International Cooperative Alliance(ICA), an Apex organization for cooperatives around the world. These principles call for the practice of democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. Cooperatives also embrace the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
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The Indian economy slowed down in 2011-12, compared not just to the previous two years but 2003 to 2011 (except 2008-09). However, India remains among the front-runners.
With agriculture and services continuing to perform well, India’s slowdown can be attributed almost entirely to the weakening industrial growth. The manufacturing sector grew by 2.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent in the second and third quarters of 2011-12, respectively. Inflation as measured by the wholesale price index (WPI), was high during most of the fiscal year, though by the year’s end there was a clear slowdown. Food inflation, in particular, came down to around zero, with most of the remaining WPI inflation being driven by non-food manufacturing products.
Monetary policy was tightened by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) during the year to control inflation and curb inflationary expectations.
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Way back in 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, in his convocation address at the University of Allahabad, said “a University stands for humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for progress, for the adventure of ideas, and for the search of truth. It stands for the onward march of the human race towards even higher objectives. If the Universities discharge their duty, then it is well with the nation and the people.”
The definition of a university, so succinctly summed up by the first Prime Minister of Independent India, has undergone a sea change over the last five decades. The Universities today are found wanting in many of the once cherished ideals. The primary reasons for the fast deterioration of these ideals is the continuous political interference in the academic administration of Universities and the grave situation in the financial sphere of higher education.
Unless some urgent steps are taken, it may lead to a real crisis. The current financial trends are so alarming as to drive many intellectuals to give a call for launching an “education emergency”.
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RBI unveils draft Basel III norms.
Lokpal Bill passed by Lok Sabha; Rajya Sabha leaves it in limbo.
Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill.
Citizens’ Charter Bill.
Union Cabinet clears Food Bill.
India’s infant mortality rate down.
Visit of Prime Minister of Japan.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Russia.
UPA government approves 4.5% minorities quota within OBC pie.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il dead.
Canada becomes first country to pull out of Kyoto protocol.
UN climate meet approves roadmap for 2015 deal.
West signals enduring support for Afghanistan at Bonn Conference.
PLUS: Business News/GK
Each age has its pin-pointed passions and pursuits. If the eighteenth century heralded the revolutionary march towards ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries made spectacular strides in science and technology and waged a relentless war against hunger and disease.
The twentieth century witnessed the gradual demise of colonialism, as also the sudden collapse of communism, and thus ushered in the dawn of freedom for many an Asian and African country, along with the sweet-bitter dose of market economy or globalisation. In order to feed the fires of crass consumerism and commercialisation of concepts, excessive exploration and exploitation of both human and natural resources became the hallmarks of the closing years of the twentieth century. Standing at the threshold of the new millennium, one can foresee the triumphant trinity-Information Technology, Communication Revolution and Entertainment Extravaganza, calling the shots and ruling the roost.
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Economic development without environmental considerations can cause serious environmental damage, in turn impairing the quality of life of present and future generations. Such environmental degradation imposes a cost on the society and needs to be explicitly factored into economic planning, with necessary remedial measures incorporated. The challenge of sustainable development thus requires integration of the country’s quest for economic development with its environmental concerns.
Environment management in India has, over the years, recognized these sustainable development concerns. The National Environment Policy 2006 has attempted to mainstream environmental concerns in all our developmental activities. It underlines that “while conservation of environmental resources is necessary to secure livelihoods and well being of all, the most secure basis for conservation is to ensure that people dependent on particular resources obtain better livelihoods from the fact of conservation, than from degradation of the resource”.
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