GS Paper 1
Topic:- Salient features of Indian Society.
1.Do you think entrenched norms on caste and gender has a role to play in the pursuit of justice in India?
In spite of legal measures that penalize untouchability and violence against women, justice for the victims of these crimes continues to be elusive.
Women subjected to sexual harassment are often blamed for being ‘immodest’ , or with ‘loose morals’. They go through double victimisation, first by the perpetrators and then by the criminal justice system. In cases of a dalit woman the conditions are still worse.
Dubious judgement in Bhanwari Devi’s case citing reasons like the village head cannot rape and a higher caste man cannot rape a lower caste women because of reasons of purity reflect that even judiciary is not immune to the notions of patriarchy and caste based hierarchy.
In cases where victims of untouchability approach the police, policemen discourage victims to register cases against the perpetrators who happen to be mostly upper caste men, by pressuring or threatening them. And even if they do file cases they chargesheet the accused with much diluted sections of the IPC Act. In many instances the victims were slapped with counter cases alleging misuse of such acts.
Poor implementation of these legal measures is just a symptom of a greater institutional failure that extends from the executive to the judiciary and can only be remedied with change in mindset of wider society.
GS Paper 2
Topic:- Constitutional & Statutory bodies in India
2. “The role of CAG acquires greater importance during the management of pandemics” -Examine the role of CAG in ensuring accountability in government spending.
The constitution of India, mandates an independent office of Comptroller and Auditor General of India and assigns him the job of guardian of public purse of the country.
Expenditure related to pandemic management is not an exemption to this mandate.
• Unlike usual disasters caused by flood, earthquake, drought, etc, pandemics are usually due to a novel and less known microbe. This compromises the level of preparedness specific to the disease. But general upkeep of health infrastructure will definitely aid in better response.
• Like any disaster situation, pandemic also warrants a swift action from the executive of the country in order control the damages and mitigate the situation.
• Up scaling the public health infrastructure in order to face the increased demand due the pandemic requires public spending and the rapidly progressing disease numbers may give less time for the administrators to follow the normal financial procedures.
• Huge non plan expenditures, potential corruption in the garb of swift action makes the role of CAG more important during the management of pandemic.
• Additionally CAG audits can throw light upon various aspects of pandemic related public expenditure. Some are mentioned below.
a) Procurements – regarding necessity and price discovery of particular drug, equipment, etc.
b) Insurance schemes – CGHS – for duplication of claims
c) ESI hospitals management – regarding expenditure and service delivery
d) Information and awareness related expenditures of various tiers of government – effectiveness.
e) Economic revival packages – need, targeting strategy, effectiveness
• CAG’s performance audit tracks the expenses, achievement of ouputs and outcome in qualitative and quantitative terms. It can throw light on aspects like documentation, compliance with mandatory rules and regulations.
• The ensuing CAG reports will help in ensuring the accountability and further data analysis will help in public discussions and recommendation which will aid in handling future exigencies better.
The active role of CAG in pandemic situation is warranted in order to effectively direct the already stressed public exchequer apart from ensuring public accountability, transparency and good governance.