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POPULAR ARTICLES
A brief history of the past 70 years
Or, all that the Congress could learn from Nehru yet if it wants to be a responsible Opposition party One of the outcomes of the recently concluded Assembly elections is that India is set to have the same party ruling at the Centre and in many of the States. While this may have had some advantages in the past, such as for the decisive ending of stagnation after a century of colonial rule, a dispersion of power is desirable for our democracy. India after all is not some small European country. Not only is it set to become the world’s largest country in a matter of decades but it is also an economy challenged by poverty. There is also great cultural and religious diversity here. A governance equal to this configuration is vital.At an ominous junctureTherefore, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s choice of a mahant as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh is ominous from this point of view. The politics that it represents needs to be challenged, but the question is how this is to be achieved. In the Westminster model of government that we follow, dispersion of power requires a strong opposition at the Centre. It is the absence of any real opposition to the Congress for three decades after 1947 that is responsible for India’s slow progress despite its quite spectacular beginning under Jawaharlal Nehru. Political parties become complacent when they face no opposition. It has been pointed out that it is States which witnessed political competition that have made the most progress. The examples usually cited are Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.Thus with the BJP in power open-endedly, we may find a faster pace of development, but may find ourselves under a more authoritarian governance. It is also conceivable that despite economic buoyancy the minorities may feel alienated by the politics of Hindutva even though some of the associated rhetoric has been toned down of late. To avert both these possibilities it is important that the BJP remains challenged by a strong opposition at the Centre.Right now this can be imagined as coming from the Congress alone for it is the only other national party though in reduced circumstances. But this cannot be guaranteed. To effectively be the opposition, India’s grand old party would have to not just rethink its strategy but reflect seriously on what it stands for today. Why have the people of U.P. chosen to vote into government a party that has not a great deal to show in terms of countrywide economic indicators? The economy has slowed and is nowhere near achieving the double-digit growth promised during the general election of 2014. Inflation is lower but far from tamed, with the price of dal, the poor man’s protein, reaching close to Rs. 200 per kg on occasion. To top it all, there was the demonetisation, which by all grassroots accounts led to a dip in output.Yet the BJP has walked away with the prize of power in India’s largest State by far. Accounts such as that the BJP has merely “tapped into its vote bank” imply an irreversible slide, which is hopelessly pessimistic. They fail to acknowledge that the BJP has been voted out in U.P. in the past, most significantly at the first opportunity after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It has returned to power only after a spell in the wilderness, after the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party had been given a chance to deliver broad-based development.The midnight reminderWhile the Congress’s leadership has said little publicly on its defeat in U.P., some of its spokespersons exhibited a thoughtfulness on television soon after when they spoke of a need to reflect deeply on the inability of the party to come up with a winning formula, so to speak. If the party ever gets down to such an exercise seriously, it need do nothing more than study Nehru’s conduct as Prime Minister. And they could make no better a start than to listen to his public address at midnight on August 14, 1947. There, between the weary voice and measured cadence, members of today’s Congress party would find a purpose worth reclaiming. Nehru had spoken of independence as essentially an opportunity for “end(ing of) poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.” There is clarity in this, for Nehru could see that without it Independence would amount to no more that replacing a colonial autocracy with a native one.It is interesting that while even “prosperity” makes an appearance later in the speech ‘secularism’ is altogether missing from it. Does this mean that Nehru was somehow lacking in commitment to it? Not even his most ardent critics would dare propose this. Or can it be said that Nehru could afford to not foreground secularism in a way that the Congress must today as the climate has changed considerably since? Hardly. Nehru was speaking even as communal violence enacted a deathly dance around him. And his subsequent actions speak not only for where he stood vis-à-vis the question of the role of religion in the nascent republic but also of the role of the government in ensuring the safety of India’s Muslims post Partition. Eyewitness accounts speak of him as a man possessed haranguing roving gangs of Hindus seeking revenge on Delhi’s streets in August 1947.Some years later he was to ensure the re-codification of Hindu personal law with a view to redressing the balance against women. Petitions seeking justice in marriage that have reached the Supreme Court from Christian and Muslim women suggest that he erred in not giving the same treatment to all religions. But he had stopped with this. Unlike the Congress after Indira Gandhi, he did not allow his commitment to safeguarding the rights of India’s minorities to be exchanged for any empowerment of the clergy. This was to come much later and was to take a particularly jarring form in some States where, from the women’s rights to freedom of expression for artists, the Congress has shown itself anxious to appease clergymen from the minorities.Nothing, however, can match the cynical calculations of Rajiv Gandhi, in response to the Shah Bano case and the Ram temple agitation, which appeased the most reactionary sections of Muslims and Hindus, respectively. With it the path was cleared for the rise of the BJP. It is entirely in the hands of the Congress to return to being a party that keeps religion out of politics except of course to ensure that an individual’s right to worship, without trampling on the rights of others, is preserved. The ideal is summed up perfectly by Nehru who had ended his speech with: “All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations.”The Congress’s second moment after the national movement was to come in 1991 when it averted a default on India’s international obligations. Led by P.V. Narasimha Rao, it steered the country away from a diminution of its political stature that was assured were it to renege on them. There was also some contingent restructuring of the economy. One need only glance at post-Communist Russia to see how the Rao-Manmohan Singh duo managed the transition with some finesse. It is only later, under the UPA, that the Congress got identified with not only dynastic privilege but also allowing economic inequality to spin out of control. Now the concerns of the corporate sector, including a hankering for recognition by the U.S., came to be privileged over that of the ordinary Indian. The government came to be seen as distant, and instances of the ingenious use of the state apparatus to amass private wealth under a liberalised policy regime came to light. Examples of the latter range from telecom to aviation.There’s still timeWith this the path already cleared for the BJP was widened. By the time of the elections in U.P. Narendra Modi had repositioned himself as the deliverer of broad-based development, a role that historically belonged to the Congress. It was this very role that Nehru had in mind when on the eve of Independence he spoke of prosperity being “indivisible”. It is still not too late for the Congress leadership to internalise this. Above all, in the coarser language of today, Nehru had “walked the talk”. Economic inequality declined as a result of his policies and the man himself died owning far less than he had inherited.Pulapre Balakrishnan is Professor of Economics, Ashoka University, Sonipat and Senior Fellow, IIM Kozhikode

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Wag the dog: On Yogi Adityanath as UP CM
With Yogi Adityanath as U.P. Chief Minister, the BJP has front-staged the hardline fringe When the tail wags the dog, the dog risks losing control of it altogether. The national leadership of the BJP may or may not have been guided by the wishes of a vociferous section of its cadre base in nominating  Hindutva firebrand Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. But in so doing it has ceded considerable power to a faction within its organisational structure that is both fiercely autonomous and frequently defiant. After politically exploiting his divisive rhetoric, and allowing him to share State-level campaign space with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP would have found it difficult to refuse Mr. Adityanath a prominent role in post-election U.P. But to make him the Chief Minister is to risk the fringe taking hold of the centre. In doing so, the BJP has willy nilly shifted the discourse from development, which Mr. Modi often projected in the election campaign. Indeed, his choice is bound to signal in the public mind a front-staging of issues such as cow protection, ‘love jihad’, and forced religious conversion, all of which assume a character of aggressive minority baiting. As the head of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, an organisation implicated in several cases of rioting, the new Chief Minister does not exactly inspire confidence about law and order, an area of major failing for the Samajwadi Party government that was voted out. Indeed, his assuming office sends all the wrong signals to the law enforcement machinery of the State. When the BJP projected only Mr. Modi during the campaign and went into the election without a chief ministerial candidate, it was taking care not to upset the different streams within its support base. But the tact and sense that was evident at that stage seems to have been lost in the messy triumphalism after the victory. By opting for two Deputy Chief Ministers, Keshav Prasad Maurya, the party’s State president who is from the backward classes, and Dinesh Sharma, the Mayor of Lucknow who is a Brahmin, the BJP is perhaps hoping to not only get the caste representation right in the Cabinet but also rein in Mr. Adityanath. But going by experience, a person of Mr. Adityanath’s standing and persuasion is unlikely to let himself be outflanked in government. Mr. Modi, and his alter ego, the party president Amit Shah, may believe they will be able to make Mr. Adityanath behave more responsibly now that he is no longer in opposition but at the helm. But they could well be mistaken. If anything, it is Mr. Adityanath who has so far bent the party to his will by protecting the identity and independence of the HYV and setting his own agenda. Despite his past association with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Mr. Adityanath is not beholden to the Sangh Parivar for his popularity and clout in eastern U.P. As it turned out, it was he who rode the Modi wave to serve his personal ambition and push his pet projects. To make the Hindutva hardliner mend his ways is about as easy as straightening a dog’s tail.

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EMPOWERING WOMEN IN INDEPENDENT INDIA
The last five decades have witnessed some basic changes in the status and role of women in our society. Today this process has been further accelerated with some women becoming increasingly self-conscious of their discrimination in several areas of the family and public life. They are also in a position to mobilise themselves on issues which affect them vitally, and constitute a significant segment in the electoral politics of the nation.    Inspite of all these efforts, it is revealed that during the past decades the sex ratio in the country has been continually worsening. Promoting Awareness    A large number of women are either ill-equipped or not in a position to propel themselves out of their traditionally unsatisfactory socio-economic conditions. They are poor, uneducated and insufficiently trained. Some tend to be ill-nourished , anaemic and burdened by domestic chores and child care responsibilities. They are often absorbed in the struggle to sustain the family physically and emotionally and as a rule are discouraged from even taking an interest in affairs outside the home. There is an urgent need to encourage them to face the problems of illiteracy, lack of information and lack of skills, and try to find solutions to these problems.They should be made aware of their shortcomings in terms of education, nutrition and health.    There are many issues that require to be taken up for betterment of women in India. The recently announced national population policy is built on the correct premise that population stabilisation is a matter of human development. It is also important to look at this in the broader context of women’s health and enhancement of their capabilities. Success will depend upon a number of related factors including simultaneous improvements in education, child health care, how effectively women get empowered to gain access to education, to make the right choices, and to influence decisions. Education    Education of women is a critical input for improving nutrition levels, raising the age at marriage, acceptance of family planning, improvement in self-image, and their empowerment. In India female literacy rate is as low as 39.42 per cent as compared to 63.86 per cent of men. The need of the hour is to improve female literacy. With the exception of Kerala where the female literacy is 86.9 per cent, in the states like Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh less than 30 per cent women are literate. The recent UNDP report placed India 103 out of 174 in the rank of ‘gender-related development index’. Education is the key to development. For educational development of women, a vigorous drive for universalisation of elementary education, retention of girl child in school, reduction in drop out rate and promotion of adult literacy was taken up by Government in the Five-Year Plans. Some of the special initiatives were, review of school text books to remove gender bias, re-orientation of school teachers to present gender equality and setting up of Women’s Development Centre in Universities and colleges to bring about social awareness on women’s issues.    Education is the basic tool for empowering a woman. This is where the NGOs and Social Service Sector people need to work. There are phases of empowerment. Once a girl undergoes the first phase of information, education and communication she becomes aware of her surroundings. Then comes the phase of accountability, where she is given the ability to rationalise and take informed decisions for which she is accountable. Once she is educated and empowered, she is in a better position to take care of herself and this needs to be sustained. On one side where there is a need to educate girls, it is also necessary that the other sex be sensitised towards her. Cultural patterns tend to impose male superiority by assigning males with the roles of producers and heirs. It is important to usher in changes in societal attitudes and perceptions with regard to the role of women in different spheres of life. Adjustments have to be made in traditional gender specific performance of tasks. Mass media and inter-personal communication techniques should be utilised to achieve these ends.Health Care    Equal status of women is difficult, as women are physically smaller in size and strength as compared to their male counterparts. To make woman physically healthy and may be able to take challenges of equality, she needs special health care and diet.    NGOs/Social Service Sector people should look into this aspect and help the women to be enlightened about this. To be useful to the family, community and the society, they must take care of their own health. They must not only think of their husbands, children and in-laws but also think of themselves.    The seventies brought women to the forefront of development concerns. This happened with publication of the report of the committee on Status of Women in India, the observance of the International Women’s year in 1975, preparation of a National Plan of Action for women and introduction of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971.    Thirty years have gone by and a look at indicators of Maternal & Child Health (MCH) care, shows the poor current status of health of women. India like other South East Asian countries has a very high maternal mortality rate of 4.6 per 1,000 live births, Bangladesh 6, Nepal 8.3 where as USA 0.08 and Switzerland 0.05. Magnitude of the problem of anemia for pregnant women in South East Asian countries is high – 60 per cent in India, 77 per cent in Bangladesh and 68 per cent in Nepal in comparison to 29 per cent in America and 20 per cent in Europe. The sex ratio in India was 1,000 males to 978 females in 1901, which has come down to 1000 males to 927 females in 1991. Where as in developed countries like USA, Canada and Britain the ratio is 1000 males to 1080 females. How is it that the population of females in India is going down? Ultra sound, Amniocentesis to detect the sex of the foetus is followed by female foeticide. Besides other causes, female foeticide is one of the main causes for decrease in female population in India.    A girl is discriminated from the very childhood. At birth she is unwanted, she is not sent to school, she is given less food to avoid her to grow fast. After sad experiences of childhood in a woman’s life come three phases that could be remembered with 3 Ms. These are – Menarche, Motherhood and Menopause.    At Menarche, she should be educated to take high protein diet and food items containing iron. She must also be educated about sexuality, teenage pregnancy (17 per cent of pregnancies are in age group of 15-18 years) complications of abortions. The next phase is motherhood. It is also important that she is aware about the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. Access to good health facility for check ups, extra diet rich in protein, calcium and iron, and the power to decide as to how many children she should have. Maternal Care Indicators show that only 62.3 per cent of pregnant women receive antenatal check ups, 53.8 per cent doses of Tetanus Toxoid, 50.5 per cent iron/folic acid tablets, and only 25.5 per cent deliver with propers health care facilities.    Lastly comes the phase of Menopause, when a woman reaches the age of 45 and generally stops menstruating. If she has an understanding of menopause and an understanding partner/husband and family, she gets over this phase smoothly. With the physical changes in this phase comes the need for self-respect and feeling of being wanted. Many a time family members are unable to show these in their behaviour.    The discrepancy in the ideology and practice of the empowerment policy of women in India constitutes its continued social, economic and cultural backwardness. As empowerment of women in a society is the most effective index of measuring modernisation and development, it should be ensured therefore that at every phase of life, a woman needs to be given special inputs in terms of school education, higher education, health education, sex education, population education and education on self development, so that these may improve her status in the society and better the quality of her life .

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How to prepare for the Civil Services Examination
Are you concerned about the quality of governance in the country? Are you young and aspiring to improve the existing social, economic, infrastructural and civic conditions by contributing to policy decisions on welfare and development with honesty and integrity. One wonderful option is to join All India Services such as the India Administrative Service (IAS) by cracking the Civil Services Examination. > Around five lakh candidates appear for the examination every year. At least 100 toppers are selected to the IAS. Another 1,200 candidates join other services. > Graduates or those in the final year of graduation should watch out for the notification in April/May every year in Employment News, a weekly newspaper registered under the PRB Act with RNI, and published since 1975. It is published by the Publications Division of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B). BEFORE YOU START Find the cut-off marks for the competitive examination and chalk out a strategy that suits your knowledge. Last year, the cut-off marks for the mains examination was around 600/1,750. Revise what you learnt in school. Focus on reading NCERT books, newspapers and publications of the Publications Division of the I&B ministry.Need help preparing?Aspirants can enrol in Tamil Nadu government-run All India Civil Services Coaching Centre on Greenways Road and private coaching centres in CIT Nagar, Anna Nagar and Adyar. Study centres have also been formed in major libraries and employment exchanges. PREP TIMEOne year of intense study after graduation, on average HOW TO APPLY> Application can be made online at www.upsconline.nic.in. Detailed instructions on filling up the form are available on the website> No fee is required from SC/ST/women/physically-challenged candidates. Others have to pay Rs. 100. Various modes of payment are available, as mentioned in the notificationPRELIMINARY EXAMINATION> This round has two papers:Paper 1 with 100 questions carrying two marks each (covers general knowledge)Paper 2 with 80 questions carrying 2.5 marks each (Civil services aptitude test, with questions in aptitude, reasoning and English) comprehensionThere is also negative marking is 0.333 > Last year, the cut-off for general category was 241 out of 400 marks and for the physically-challenged (hearing impaired), it was 163 out of 400.MAINS EXAMINATION> Two qualifying papers: English and any of the languages mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Constitution (not for final ranking)> General Studies papers: four papers of 250 marks eachPaper 1: Indian heritage, culture, history, geography of the world and societyPaper 2: Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relationsPaper 3: Technology, economic development, biodiversity, environment, security and disaster management Paper 4: Ethics, integrity and aptitudeOne optional subject: Two papers of 250 marks each General essay paper with two essays of 1,000-1,200 words each > Last year, the mains cut-off for general category was 564 out of 1,750 marks, and for the physically-challenged (hearing impaired), it was 410 out of 1,750> The interview carries 275 marks. It is a test of the candidate’s personality> The cut-off for the finals, last year, was 775 out of 2,025 marks for general category, and 613 for the physically-challenged (hearing impaired)> Usually, the preliminary exam is conducted on the 3 Sunday of August> The mains exam is conducted during December, every year > The interview is held after May every year Expert speakThere seem to be fewer candidates for sensible policy making. Motivated candidates should start preparation for the exam at least one year ahead by shaping their personality and widening their knowledge base.

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IAS 2017 Prelims Paper I Answer Key
IAS 2017 Prelims Paper I Answer Key

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Don't Blame Your Social Media Feed for the Growing Political Divide
U.S. politics is growing ever-more divided, but don't blame Twitter, Facebook and Google for the partisan chasm. Older people are less likely to use social media, but they're posting major signs of increased polarization, based on new research. That's our lead item in this week's economic research roundup, which also takes a look at — and links to — studies about U.S. employment, how disability is distributed geographically, global happiness, and inequality in Germany and America. Political strife: not an internet storySocial media and the internet probably aren't the root cause of political polarization, based on evidence in a new paper by Stanford's Levi Boxell and Matthew Gentzkow and Brown's Jesse Shapiro.First of all, it's worth noting that the divide is real. In 1960, only 5 percent of Republicans and Democrats would have been displeased if their son our daughter married outside of their party, but in 2010 that rose to half of Republicans and almost a third of Democrats. The worst of the strife is coming from senior citizens: Americans older than 75 have shown a bigger increase in polarization than their younger counterparts, based on their responses to the American National Election Study. That's relevant because they're much less likely to go online to communicate, with less than one in every five people older than 75 using social media in 2012 versus 80 percent of the 18-39 group.The finding "s;rules out what seem like the most straightforward accounts linking the growth in polarization to the internet,'' though "s;young adults polarized through social media might in turn affect the views of older adults or might indirectly influence older adults through channels like the selection of politicians or the endogenous positioning of traditional media."s; No cigar on full employmentThe labor market isn't as tight as it appears, based on new research from the San Francisco Fed. After adjusting for demographic changes, the U.S. jobless rate is 0.3 to 0.4 percentage point higher than it has been in past labor market peaks. Once researchers Regis Barnichon and Geert Mesters adjust to account for shifts in the labor force composition, they find that the unemployment rate stands at 5.2 percent as of February, not the 4.7 percent the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. "s;In fact, our adjusted rate is higher than all its previous lows since 1976,'' they write.Three factors have driven the decline in the official number: the baby boom generation's aging, the fact that young workers are getting into the labor force later, and the fact that women are sticking around in the labor force, meaning that they are skipping the spells of unemployment associated with exiting and re-entering the job market.The geography of disabilityDisability insurance use is becoming concentrated in the places with the worst economic prospects, based on new St. Louis Fed research. Disability enrollment tends to increase when unemployment rates rises, and that relationship held in the last recession. From 2009 to 2015, however, unemployment dropped and disability insurance payments continued to climb. That surprise increase wasn't evenly spread across the country: disability payouts became more concentrated in the small share of counties with still-high unemployment in 2015. The takeaway is that disability's "s;rise is not a result of increased hardship on average. Instead, the counties that are doing poorly along one economic indicator — unemployment — now fare even worse along another,'' David  Wiczer writes.

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A clean-up act: no compromise over air quality
The Supreme Court has signalled there can be no compromise over air quality The Supreme Court’s direction to transport authorities to stop registering vehicles that do not meet Bharat Stage-IV emission standards from April 1 sends out the welcome message that short-term economic considerations cannot supersede public health concerns. Some automobile companies, notably those manufacturing two-wheelers and commercial vehicles, have suffered a blow as they must now deal with unsold inventories of the obsolete models. The 2017 deadline for a nationwide shift to BS-IV had been repeatedly emphasised in various forums, and reiterated by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas in its review of the Auto Fuel Policy nearly two years ago. But there was some confusion about whether April 1 was the deadline for the manufacture of BS-III models or their sale. Significantly, some automobile manufacturers themselves called for a decisive shift in favour of the higher emission standard, since they had invested in upgraded technologies over time. But it would appear that two-wheeler and commercial vehicle manufacturers made a costly miscalculation when they hoped for a repeat of the experience they had seven years ago, when the shift from BS-II to BS-III norms was carried out with a relaxation of deadlines often stretching across months. The Centre must share some of the blame, because it assured industry of a business-as-usual approach on a sensitive issue such as automotive emissions, even though producers were already equipped and meeting the higher norms in the bigger cities.The court’s order means that a little over eight lakh BS-III vehicles will have to be either upgraded or sold abroad. As a total sum, this is a small fraction of the 19 crore vehicles on Indian roads today. It is unlikely that the court’s uncompromising approach will have a significant impact on reducing air pollution. But the message it sends out on air pollution is unmistakable. Research reported three years ago estimated that 30% to 50% of total on-road emissions came from vehicles older than 10 years, or about 17% of the fleet. The requirement for manufacturers to adjust to the new reality should serve as a reminder that they, and the fuel companies, must prepare for the next big deadline: an upgrade to the BS-VI standard by April 1, 2020, leapfrogging BS-V. More immediately, the Centre has to ensure that the objective of the Supreme Court’s order is met, and the ‘one fuel, one country’ goal for BS-IV is fulfilled. This is crucial to ensure that the catalytic converters of newer vehicles are not affected by lower-grade fuels. Liquidating obsolete inventory does pose a challenge for manufacturers, but this can be met through exports, technology upgrades or reuse of dismantled parts. The imperative is to shift to a clean fuel pathway.

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Role of civil Services in a Democracy
India is a democratic country and in this system, power confers with the people. The power is exercised through its designated representatives who have the command to manage them for particular period. The civil services by quality of its knowledge, experience and understanding of public affairs support the chosen representatives to device effectual policy and have great responsibility to implement these policies for the welfare of society and enhancement of nation. Parliamentary democracies are generally pigeonholed by a permanent civil service which helps the political policymakers and political executives. India is a constitutional fairness and its operations are usually depends upon four supports that include Legislature, Executive, Judiciary, and Free Press. Each one of these has been assigned its role in democratic establishment. First pillar is associated with the governance of the State. Effective and efficient institutions form the strength of an efficacious development and governance process. One of the basic components of Indian governance planning is the concept of an unbiased, honest, efficient and valiant civil service which is the core of the Executive whether it is All India Services or the other Civil Services. They form the stable structure and support of Indian Administration System. The civil service is a subdivision of government which is usually grouped with the Executive, and without which governments cannot function. These are men and women who establish the permanent staff of the departments of governments. They are expert administrators. Some academicians refer jointly to these employees as public administration or the bureaucracy, or public service. Olaopa (2008) stated that civil service, although commonly used, is usually misinterpreted. According to Lawson, (1974), the civil service is the term used to designate servants of the state or the central government employed as civilians. It does not include ministers or cabinet members or the Judiciary. In some countries, it usually does not cover local government employees nor the staff of public enterprises. In this framework, the civil service will embrace civilian employees of state and federal governments only, excluding cabinet ministers and the judiciary. Idode, (1986), explained civil service as the "s;array of administrative and professional staff employed, on permanent and pensionable basis to established posts, by the state, to advise on and execute its policies. Historical review of civil services: Civil service is described as the body of government officials who are recruited in civil administration that are neither political nor judicial. The public administration system in India has been established since ancient times. Therefore, the notion of civil service was predominant in India from earlier period in history. In the past era, the civil servants performed the role of servants of the king. The Mauryan administration employed civil servants in the name of adhyakshas and rajukas. The investigation for civil servants in those days too was very stringent as revealed by Kautilya's Arthasastra. The expanse of the region and the need to hold it intact made it vital for the Mauryan administration to recruit civil servants based on excellence.In the medieval period, civil servants became State Servants, who contributed their efforts in the development of land revenue system during the Moghul period. The East India Company has a civil service to perform their commercial functions. Afterward, during the British rule they started as servants to the Crown, but slowly they started becoming 'Public Servants'. The British Government established the civil services basically with the aim of strengthening the British administration in India. In this period, the role of civil services was to promote the British interest and its role was totally regulatory. Later on, they assumed developmental roles also. After the coming into force of the Constitution of independent India, the civil services has modified considerably.The modern history of the Indian Civil Service (ICS) began with the East India Company. In the period of 1800 AD, Lord Wellesley realised that the administrators of the Empire must be qualified, expertise, and character established the College of Fort William where every worker of the company was to be sent for a three-year course of education of the standards of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Among other subjects taught were ethics and international law, and in addition, Indian history and oriental languages. The Directors, however, while accepting the proposal decided that the college should be in England. This is how that, for a whole half-century and more, all members of the Civil Service were qualified and specially trained at the East India College at Haileybury. The method of employment was by competitive examination but the method of entry was by nomination of the Directors.There is immense importance of the civil service system in the administrative system which acts as most vital tool for governance of India. In post-independent, India civil service was reorganised. There are three tiers of administration that include Union/Central Government, State Government, and Local Government. At the central level, the civil service include the All India Services, namely the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Forest Service (IFS), and Indian Police Service (IPS). Besides these, there are other Central Services such as the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Railways Service, etc. at central level. The State Governments have their own set of services like State Civil Service. Gradually, with time, the role of civil services has transformed that depend on the schedule of the governance of that specific period. During British period, enforcement of law and order and collection of revenue was major issue of civil services officers. After independence of India, when the Government has attained the role of Welfare State, civil services has imperative role in implementing national and state policies of welfare and planned development. The importance of the civil service to the Indian administrative system develops from the following factors:Service presence throughout the country and its strong binding character.Non-partisan advice to political leadership in the midst of political instability and uncertainties.Effective policy-making and regulation.Effective coordination between institutions of governance.Leadership at different levels of administration.Service delivery at the cutting edge level.Provide "s;continuity and change"s; to the administration.It has been observed that civil services are considered as main component of Indian administrative system that has the responsibility to accomplish the development objectives and welfare of the state. If these objectives have any failure or shortcomings, it has been thought that it is a failure of civil services. It is thought that India's vast administration is maintained at huge cost by the country's taxpayer whose average income is among the lowest in the world. But public perceives for the members of the civil service, who are responsible for higher coordination and policy makers as `burdensome low-performers' and corrupt and incompetent to govern the country.Major responsibilities of civil servants to government and society: It has been found that The Civil Servant has crucial role to ensure continuity and change in administration. The civil servants are dictated by the rules and procedures.The prime responsibility of civil services executives to society is to serve the government it has elected. It denotes that civil services must offer same standard of free, frank, impartial and responsive advice, and the same level of professionalism in administration and delivery of services, policies, programs irrespective of political party in power.Another accountability of civil services executive is to openly involve in all actions within the framework of ministerial actions to government and legislature.Specifically, civil servants are responsible for public interest in maintaining the law and ensuring that proper procedures are followed.Civil servants has close relations with society as they serve array of services. It entails that they must adopt ethical practices to deal with public.Civil servants need to serve the society by ensuring that entitlement and services provided to it under law and government policies are delivered effectively, impartially, courteously and professionally.Civil services officers also responsive to the need of people, treating its member with courtesy and with sensitivity to their rights and aspirations.In civil services, Clearness is a necessary part of accountability. To enhance accountability, experts have recommended following measures: Strengthening and streamlining reporting mechanismsStreamlining and fast-tracking departmental enquiriesLinking performance with incentivesOverhaul of employee grievance proceduresAction on audit findingsImplementation of Citizens Charters' for monitoring service deliveryRight to Information Act and its enforcementCode of conduct for civil servantMajor criticisms of Indian civil services are as follows:Lack of expertise and poor capacity buildingAlienation from the public and they do not have good understanding of what people want.Inefficient incentive systems that do not appreciate upright and outstanding civil servants but reward the corrupt and the incompetent.Outdated rules and procedures that restrict the civil servant from performing successfully.Lack of performance culture and focus on outputs and outcomes and inappropriate performance appraisal.Systemic irregularities in promotion and empanelment.Lack of adequate transparency and accountability procedures. There is also no safety for whistle blowers.Arbitrary and whimsical transfers. Insecurity in tenures impedes institutionalization.Political interference and administrative compliance.A gradual erosion in public service values, ethics and self-esteem. Many experts argued that role of the civil service as a tool in a state's socio-economic and political development is undisputable. In some regions of world, however, the civil service seems incapable to cope with the fundamental ideological, political and economic changes as well as the management innovations. In other parts of the world, particularly in Africa, the institutional and capacity weakness, of the civil service is considered one of the fundamental causes of socio-political disturbances and economic crunch. With awareness of such facts, since last decade, many countries are introducing major changes in the structure and operations of their civil services.Major challenges of civil services include Political support and will, Management capacity to implement reforms, Nurturing support from civil servants themselves, and Safety nets must be in place for those people who are adversely affected, Reforms must reflect the political and institutional environment of a country and developing communication between all the stakeholders.Major benefits of having an independent, permanent and impartial civil service are as follows:Having a trustworthy recruitment process through a neutral agency provides a defence against such abuse.Public policy today has become a difficult exercise requiring in-depth knowledge and expertise in public affairs. A permanent civil service offers continuity and develops expertise as well as institutional memory for effective policy making.A permanent and unbiased civil service is more likely to assess the long-term social payoffs of any policy while the political executive may have a tendency to look for short term political gain.A permanent civil service assists to ensure consistency in public administration and also acts as a uniting force particularly in immense and culturally diverse nations.A permanent civil service is likely to develop over time on principled basis for its functioning.It is well recognized in theoretical studies that smooth functioning civil service helps to nurture good policymaking, effective service delivery, accountability and responsibility in utilizing public resources which are main attributes of good governance. "s;Good Governance"s; is being used as an all-inclusive framework not only for administrative and civil service reform, but as a link between Civil Service Improvement and an all-embracing framework for making policy decisions effective within practical systems of responsibility and citizen participation. Main intent of civil services is to strength the administrative capacity to perform important government functions. These reforms raise the quality of services to the citizens that are essential to the advancement of supportable economic and social development. There is continuous need of civil services reforms for betterment of society. From thorough review, it is established that the basic role of the civil servant is to initiate and actively participate in all the processes leading to the development of policy and ensure that the policy is agreed by government and it is faithfully and honestly executed. The civil service is the most important single institution affecting the lives of the citizens of a state. Its influence is all persistent, in the modern world where most states perform extensive functions in providing social services and regulating the economic life of their inhabitants.To summarize, civil services in India constitute a major support in governing rules and implementing policies. It has vital role in the Indian governance system. From the British rule in India, civil services had been modified and effective in its operations. The role of civil services has changed over the time. Currently, rapid economic growth has led to increase in the quantum of work. The Government is not perceived as a law enforcer or a controller of national resources. It is progressively viewed as a provider although an efficient provider of basic services and public goods. Populace of India expect from Government to facilitate growth and development. With reference to civil services, civil servants have been trained to deal with upcoming challenges arising out of globalisation. They will have to shift their orientation from being controllers to facilitators and from being providers to enablers. They need to prepare themselves with the essential skills and capabilities to tackle these new challenges. They need to be proficient in new technologies and new styles of functioning for the growth of nation.

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Secular India vs. Hindu Nationalism
Six months into his post, India’s Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi appears to be facing his worst nemesis, the resurgence of militant, chauvinistic and violent Hindu nationalism. It is ironic because, after all, Modi’s politics is deeply rooted in the Hindutva movement. His election victory was attained with promises of development and growth for a young India. Foreigners and Indians alike had not expected Hindu nationalist ideologues to derail Modi even before he could launch his agenda of economic reform.The origins of Hindutva or militant and revivalist Hindu chauvinism can be traced back to the early 20th century British rule in India. Hinduism is a religion unlike others, especially the Abrahamic faiths, in that you are born a Hindu but you cannot be converted into one through any ceremony. There is also no fundamental creed or any book or books which every Hindu should know or recite. The basis for the spread of Hinduism across the Indian subcontinent was its pluralism, its acceptance of differences and its catholicity. However, there were Hindus who increasingly believed that their polytheistic faith lacked the wherewithal to face monotheistic faiths. A conservative backlash within Hinduism started which led to the creation of various organizations, some educational and cultural and others political. In 1909 a pamphlet titled ‘Hindus: A Dying Race’ was published which made the absurd argument that Hindus would soon become a minority and Muslims would become the majority in India. That this view still has prevalence is reflected in a recent statement by senior leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) Praveen Togadia spoke about the need to raise the percentage of Hindus from 82 percent to 100 percent.A Hindu revivalist, Nathuram Godse, who believed that India’s founding father Mahatma Gandhi was too sympathetic to Muslims, assassinated him on January 30, 1948. This assassination and the bloody and violent Partition left a legacy on Indian nationalism and the definition of citizenship in the Indian constitution. The Indian constitution provides wide-ranging rights to its citizens, including to its large minority populations. India is a secular, pluralistic democracy where citizenship is territorial and all minorities, ethnic and religious, are treated as equals.Hindutva, or Hindu chauvinism and revivalism, instead defined citizenship differently. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the leading ideologue of Hindutva, wrote a pamphlet in 1923 titled ‘Who is a Hindu’ /’Essentials of Hindutva’ where he defines what he refers to as citizenship for any Hindu or person who lives in the Indian subcontinent. Savarkar states that a Hindu is he who considered the land from the Himalayas or the Indus to the Indian Ocean as his Fatherland (pitrubhumi) and Holy land (punyabhumi). This meant that only followers of these religions Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism can be true citizens. Since all the other faiths in India — Zoroastrian, Christianity, Islam and Judaism — have their holy lands outside of the Indian subcontinent their followers cannot be seen as true citizens. When Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, minister in Mr Modi’s cabinet, in a speech in Delhi on December 2, 104 differentiated between ‘Ramzadon’ (Progeny of Ram) and ‘Haramzadon’ (illegitimate offspring) she was harking back to Savarkar’s definition of who is a true citizen and who is not.Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy as father of the nation coupled with the fact that for the first seventeen years India was ruled by Jawaharlal Nehru, a secularist and pluralist to the core left what is referred to as Nehruvian secularism. This is what has underlay Indian nationalism for the last six decades and has ensured a semblance of stability. This edifice started to crack from the 1990s with the rise of Hindutva within India and with the rise of revivalism in other parts of the world and its reverberations within India. As in other parts of the world with economic growth comes the rise of a middle class which is more conservative, outwardly-religious and demonstrative of beliefs it often seeks to impose on others. The rise of Islamic radicalism and revivalism in other parts of the world including in the Indian subcontinent has only strengthened the roots of Hindu revivalism.There has been a steady rise in the number of religio-communal incidents in India in 2014 whether it be the case of a member of parliament force feeing a Muslim who was fasting for Ramzan or the staged conversion of 57 Muslim families in the city of Agra in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh under the title of “homecoming” There are three potential explanations for these incidents. The first is that this is an internal revolt within the Hindu revivalists who seek to put pressure on Modi to use his electoral mandate to implement policies of their choice. This could explain why members of Modi’s own cabinet have made controversial statements: whether Niranjan Jyoti with her remarks on Ramzadon/Haramzadon or External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj talking about the need to make the Bhagvad Geeta the national book of India. However, what is also known is that Modi has reprimanded his ministers for such remarks in private. A few days after her Geeta remark, Swaraj also spoke about the need for tolerance in India. Another explanation is that the Hindu revivalists supported Modi simply in order to come to power and now that the BJP is in power the Parivar is demonstrating that it is really they who are in control and not Mr Modi. The final possibility is the assertion by some that Modi is coming out of the closet and showing his true self. However, Modi’s election campaign and his speeches after becoming prime minister have focused on development not Hindutva. Further, in his August 15 speech Modi emphasized the need to reduce “communal tensions” and spoke about pluralism and moving forward. India’s future is tied to its identity as a pluralistic, democratic and secular society that is a pillar of stability in a region and world that is increasingly chaotic. What Indians would like is for Mr Modi to come out and say in the open what he believes instead of allowing others to frame the issue for him.

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Non Performing Assets (NPA)
The assets of the banks which don’t perform (that is – don’t bring any return) are called Non Performing Assets (NPA) or bad loans. Bank’s assets are the loans and advances given to customers. If customers don’t pay either interest or part of principal or both, the loan turns into bad loan.According to RBI, terms loans on which interest or installment of principal remain overdue for a period of more than 90 days from the end of a particular quarter is called a Non-performing Asset. However, in terms of Agriculture / Farm Loans; the NPA is defined as under:For short duration crop agriculture loans such as paddy, Jowar, Bajra etc. if the loan (installment / interest) is not paid for 2 crop seasons , it would be termed as a NPA.For Long Duration Crops, the above would be 1 Crop season from the due date.Provisioning Coverage RatioFor every loan given out, the banks to keep aside some extra funds to cover up losses if something goes wrong with those loans. This is called provisioning. Provisioning Coverage Ratio (PCR) refers to the funds to be set aside by the banks as fraction to the loans.Standard AssetIf the borrower regularly pays his dues regularly and on time; bank will call such loan as its “Standard Asset”. As per the norms, banks have to make a general provision of 0.40% for all loans and advances except that given towards agriculture and small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.However, if things go wrong and loans turn into bad loans, the PCR would increase depending up the classification of the NPA as discussed in next section.Classification of the NPAsBanks are required to classify nonperforming assets further into three main categories (Sub-standard, doubtful and loss) based on the period for which the asset has remained non performing. This is as per transition of a loan from standard loan to loss asset as follows:If the borrower does not pay dues for 90 days after end of a quarter; the loan becomes an NPA and it is termed as “Special Mention Account”. If this loan remains SMA for a period less than or equal to 12 months; it is termed as Sub-standard Asset. In this case, bank has to make provisioning as follows: 15% of outstanding amount in case of Secured loans25% of outstanding amount in case of Unsecured loansIf sub-standard asset remains so for a period of 12 more months; it would be termed as “Doubtful asset”. This remains so till end of 3rd year. In this case, the bank need to make provisioning as follows: Up to one year: 25% of outstanding amount in case of Secured loans; 100% of outstanding amount in case of Unsecured loans1-3 years: 40% of outstanding amount in case of Secured loans; 100% of outstanding amount in case of Unsecured loansmore than 3 years: 100% of outstanding amount in case of Secured loans; 100% of outstanding amount in case of Unsecured loansIf the loan is not repaid even after it remains sub-standard asset for more than 3 years, it may be identified as unrecoverable by internal / external audit and it would be called loss asset. An NPA can declared loss only if it has been identified to be so by internal or external auditors.Example of NPAWe suppose that a party was disbursed a loan on January 1, 2010. Its due date is June 1, 2010. But the party does not make a payment. SoIt will be an Standard Asset from January 1, 2010 till June 1, 2010 (Due Date)It will be a Special Mention Account From June 2, 2010 till August 29, 2010 (90 days)It will be Sub-standard from August 30, 2010 till August 29, 2011It will be doubtful from August 30, 2011 till August 29, 2012It may remain doubtful Asset for a period of 3 years, beginning from 12 months of being an NPA, but once the auditors identify it as a loss, it will be assigned a loss asset; however, the period may be anything above 3 years.Implications of the NPAs on BanksThe most important implication of the NPA is that a bank can neither credit the income nor debit to loss, unless either recovered or identified as loss. If a borrower has multiple accounts, all accounts would be considered NPA if one account becomes NPA.Gross NPA and Net NPAThe NPA may be Gross NPA or Net NPA. In simple words, Gross NPA is the amount which is outstanding in the books, regardless of any interest recorded and debited. However, Net NPA is Gross NPA less interest debited to borrowal account and not recovered or recognized as income. RBI has prescribed a formula for deciding the Gross NPA and Net NPA.NPA and SARFAESI ActThe Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act has provisions for the banks to take legal recourse to recover their dues. When a borrower makes any default in repayment and his account is classified as NPA; the secured creditor has to issue notice to the borrower giving him 60 days to pay his dues. If the dues are not paid, the bank can take possession of the assets and can also give it on lease or sell it; as per provisions of the SAFAESI Act.Reselling of NPAsIf a bad loan remains NPA for at least two years, the bank can also resale the same to the Asset Reconstruction Companies such as Asset Reconstruction Company (India) (ARCIL).  These sales are only on Cash Basis and the purchasing bank/ company would have to keep the accounts for at least 15 months before it sells to other bank. They purchase such loans on low amounts and try to recover as much as possible from the defaulters. Their revenue is difference between the purchased amount and recovered amount.

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Beyond the Factory Farm: How Slaughterhouses Are Polluting the Planet
Nobody wants to talk about slaughterhouses. It’s not exactly pleasant dinner time conversation, especially if someone at the table has a steak in front of them. Even people used to discussing the disgusting conditions where animals are raised on factory farms, are reluctant to delve into in-depth discussions of the conditions in slaughterhouses, but they are a crucial component of the factory farm system. After all, nine billion animals are slaughtered each yearAs factory farms have consolidated into fewer companies, these companies have obtained more power within the industry; this results in slaughterhouses that must meet the demands of these companies. Moving at a fast pace often leads to dangerous conditions such as food contamination from fecal matter, mad cow disease, and worker injury due to the high speeds demanded; workers can be expected to kill up to 400 cows an hour. In addition, slaughterhouses are cleaned using strong chemicals and water, contributing to the pollution problem, and wastewater contamination. The problems of slaughterhouses clearly go beyond killing innocent animals.WastewaterOne of the largest environmental concerns associated with slaughterhouses is wastewater and water contamination. The United States alone has 32 slaughterhouses responsible for dumping 55 million pounds of pollutants into the waterways … annually. The wastewater from slaughterhouses, as you can imagine, contains all sorts of disgusting materials, known as suspended solids, including fat, grease, and manure. (Definitely not things you want in your next glass of water.)The lack of regulation related to slaughterhouse waste allows this problem to continue. According to the Environmental Working Group there are eight slaughterhouses that are ranked among the top 20 polluters of surface water in the U.S. – a ranking that includes polluters from other industries as well. Collectively, these eight slaughterhouses dumped 30 million pounds of contaminants including nitrogen, phosphorus, and ammonia into waterways in just one year!  That doesn’t sound like a very responsible business practice and certainly is not the work of an industry that cares about the environment.All this wastewater is a problem for a number of reasons. One of the biggest is its contribution to nitrate pollution. Nitrates are a major source of water contamination in agricultural communities and high nitrate levels in water can cause methemoglobinemia or blue baby syndrome, a fatal condition that impacts infants under six months.Nitrogen pollution in waterways can also kill aquatic life, and make it much more difficult for fish, insects and other creatures dependent on the water to survive.Greenhouse Gas EmissionsAs terrible as the wastewater problems from slaughterhouses may be, their greenhouse gas emissions are equally frightening. The main source of these emissions is from the electricity used to run the slaughterhouses and to get rid of the previously mentioned wastewater as well as packing, cooling and transporting the dead animals. The amounts vary depending on the animal and other factors, but it’s estimated that electricity outputs account for five percent of beef related emissions, 13 percent of pork related emissions and 24 percent of chicken related emissions.Slaughterhouses are also responsible for large outputs of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide, both major contributors to climate change. These gases are created both in the process of slaughter and by the degradation of wastewater. As established above, wastewater contains a number of organic materials, all of which release methane and carbon dioxide when they decompose. Given the fact that 55 milion pounds of wastewater are dumped into waterways each year – the amount of these gases is likely exorbinant.DisposalJust when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they do when you hear about how some of these waste products are disposed of by the agriculture industry. In the United States, slaughterhouse waste is generally taken care of in a couple of ways.One is to spray the wastewater as irrigation over fields. If this sounds like a bad idea, that’s because it is. This method can contaminate surface and groundwater, cause terrible smells, contribute to greenhouse gases and negatively impact the soil. Another approach to dispose of waste is lagoons. These are commonly known due to their use as storage for manure and other factory farm waste, but they are also used for slaughterhouse waste. This use produces a lot of methane and again terrible smells.What Can You Do?It is true that there appears to be cruelty and abuse in every phase of the animal agriculture process. From raising animals in squalid conditions to slaughtering them en masse, there is no denying the cruelty that occurs to the animals. But when we look at the bigger picture and examine the residual environmental pollution that results just from the slaughter process alone, it is clear that farm animals are hardly the only living beings suffering at the hands of this industry.The good news is that we have a power to put an end to this pollution that starts with our food choices every day. The best way to fight this system and reduce or eliminate its waste is to avoid meat altogether. If we lower the demand for meat and other animal products than we can lower the amount of pollution that results as well.As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, it is One Green Planet’s view that our food choices have the power to heal our broken food system, give species a fighting chance for survival, and pave the way for a truly sustainable future.By choosing to eat more plant-based foods, you can drastically cut your carbon footprint, save precious water supplies and help ensure that vital crop resources are fed to people, rather than livestock. With the wealth of available plant-based options available, it has never been easier to eat with the planet in mind.Our everyday food choices have the power to heal our broken food system, give species a fighting chance for survival, and pave the way for a truly sustainable future.One Green Planet’s #EatForthePlanet movement.How to Participate:1. Choose a plant-based/vegan meal2. Snap a photo and upload to Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.3. Add #EatForThePlanet and @OneGreenPlanetin your update.Let’s show the world how eating vegan/plant-based has never been easier or more delicious!

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Can a Muslim man divorce his wife simply by repeating "s;I divorce you"s; three times?
Yes. It is a controversial practice called the talaq or "s;triple-talaq."s; Anytime a wife is not menstruating, a husband may divorce her by saying, "s;I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you,"s; effectively throwing her out on the street and leaving him free to obtain a new wife.QuranIslamic law on this issue is based on the Hadith and a creative interpretation of verse  2:229.Hadith and SiraSahih Muslim (9:3493) - This is one of several hadith in which it is clear that Muhammad practiced the triple talaq and approved of his followers doing the same.NotesSome Islamic scholars believe that it isn't right to do this in one sitting. They say that there should be a period of time between the "s;three strikes."s;Women's rights groups in the Muslim world are waging an uphill battle to prevent governments from recognizing the triple talaq - with some success in the more moderate countries; however, it will always be honored by Islamic courts. Under Islamic law, once a marriage is consummated, a wife has no right to divorce her husband without his permission, even though she may be cast out at will for any reason.Modes of Divorce:A husband may divorce his wife by repudiating the marriage without giving any reason. Pronouncement of such words which signify his intention to disown the wife is sufficient. Generally this done by talaaq. But he may also divorce by Ila, and Zihar which differ from talaaq only in form, not in substance. A wife cannot divorce her husband of her own accord. She can divorce the husband only when the husband has delegated such a right to her or under an agreement. Under an agreement the wife may divorce her husband either by Khula or Mubarat. Before 1939, a Muslim wife had no right to seek divorce except on the ground of false charges of adultery, insanity or impotency of the husband. But the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939 lays down several other grounds on the basis of which a Muslim wife may get her divorce decree passed by the order of the court.There are two categories of divorce under the Muslim law:1.) Extra judicial divorce, and2.) Judicial divorceThe category of extra judicial divorce can be further subdivided into three types, namely,• By husband- talaaq, ila, and zihar.• By wife- talaaq-i-tafweez, lian.• By mutual agreement- khula and mubarat.The second category is the right of the wife to give divorce under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939.Talaaq: Talaaq in its primitive sense means dismission. In its literal meaning, it means “setting free”, “letting loose”, or taking off any “ties or restraint”. In Muslim Law it means freedom from the bondage of marriage and not from any other bondage. In legal sense it means dissolution of marriage by husband using appropriate words. In other words talaaq is repudiation of marriage by the husband in accordance with the procedure laid down by the law.The following verse is in support of the husband’s authority to pronounce unilateral divorce is often cited:Men are maintainers of women, because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property (on their maintenance and dower) . When the husband exercises his right to pronounce divorce, technically this is known as talaaq. The most remarkable feature of Muslim law of talaaq is that all the schools of the Sunnis and the Shias recognize it differing only in some details. In Muslim world, so widespread has been the talaaq that even the Imams practiced it . The absolute power of a Muslim husband of divorcing his wife unilaterally, without assigning any reason, literally at his whim, even in a jest or in a state of intoxication, and without recourse to the court, and even in the absence of the wife, is recognized in modern India. All that is necessary is that the husband should pronounce talaaq; how he does it, when he does it, or in what he does it is not very essential.In Hannefa v. Pathummal, Khalid, J., termed this as “monstrosity” . Among the Sunnis, talaaq may be express, implied, contingent constructive or even delegated. The Shias recognize only the express and the delegated forms of talaaq.Conditions for a valid talaaq:1) Capacity: Every Muslim husband of sound mind, who has attained the age of puberty, is competent to pronounce talaaq. It is not necessary for him to give any reason for his pronouncement. A husband who is minor or of unsound mind cannot pronounce it. Talaaq by a minor or of a person of unsound mind is void and ineffective. However, if a husband is lunatic then talaaq pronounced by him during “lucid interval” is valid. The guardian cannot pronounce talaaq on behalf of a minor husband. When insane husband has no guardian, the Qazi or a judge has the right to dissolve the marriage in the interest of such a husband.2) Free Consent: Except under Hanafi law, the consent of the husband in pronouncing talaaq must be a free consent. Under Hanafi law, a talaaq, pronounced under compulsion, coercion, undue influence, fraud and voluntary intoxication etc., is valid and dissolves the marriage.Involuntary intoxication: Talaaq pronounced under forced or involuntary intoxication is void even under the Hanafi law.Shia law:Under the Shia law (and also under other schools of Sunnis) a talaaq pronounced under compulsion, coercion, undue influence, fraud, or voluntary intoxication is void and ineffective.3) Formalities: According to Sunni law, a talaaq, may be oral or in writing. It may be simply uttered by the husband or he may write a Talaaqnama. No specific formula or use of any particular word is required to constitute a valid talaaq. Any expression which clearly indicates the husband’s desire to break the marriage is sufficient. It need not be made in the presence of the witnesses.According to Shias, talaaq, must be pronounced orally, except where the husband is unable to speak. If the husband can speak but gives it in writing, the talaaq, is void under Shia law. Here talaaq must be pronounced in the presence of two witnesses.4) Express words: The words of talaaq must clearly indicate the husband’s intention to dissolve the marriage. If the pronouncement is not express and is ambiguous then it is absolutely necessary to prove that the husband clearly intends to dissolve the marriage.Express Talaaq (by husband):When clear and unequivocal words, such as “I have divorced thee” are uttered, the divorce is express. The express talaaq, falls into two categories:• Talaaq-i-sunnat,• Talaaq-i-biddat.Talaaq-i-sunnat has two forms:• Talaaq-i-ahasan (Most approved)• Talaaq-i-hasan (Less approved).Talaaq-i-sunnat is considered to be in accordance with the dictats of Prophet Mohammad.The ahasan talaaq: consists of a single pronouncement of divorce made in the period of tuhr (purity, between two menstruations), or at any time, if the wife is free from menstruation, followed by abstinence from sexual intercourse during the period if iddat. The requirement that the pronouncement be made during a period of tuhr applies only to oral divorce and does not apply to talaaq in writing. Similarly, this requirement is not applicable when the wife has passed the age of menstruation or the parties have been away from each other for a long time, or when the marriage has not been consummated. The advantage of this form is that divorce can revoked at any time before the completion of the period of iddat, thus hasty, thoughtless divorce can be prevented. The revocation may effected expressly or impliedly.Thus, if before the completion of iddat, the husband resumes cohabitation with his wife or says I have retained thee” the divorce is revoked. Resumption of sexual intercourse before the completion of period of iddat also results in the revocation of divorce.The Raad-ul-Muhtar puts it thus: “It is proper and right to observe this form, for human nature is apt to be mislead and to lead astray the mind far to perceive faults which may not exist and to commit mistakes of which one is certain to feel ashamed afterwards”The hasan talaaq:In this the husband is required to pronounce the formula of talaaq three time during three successive tuhrs. If the wife has crossed the age of menstruation, the pronouncement of it may be made after the interval of a month or thirty days between the successive pronouncements. When the last pronouncement is made, the talaaq, becomes final and irrevocable. It is necessary that each of the three pronouncements should be made at a time when no intercourse has taken place during the period of tuhr. Example: W, a wife, is having her period of purity and no sexual intercourse has taken place. At this time, her husband, H, pronounces talaaq, on her. This is the first pronouncement by express words. Then again, when she enters the next period of purity, and before he indulges in sexual intercourse, he makes the second pronouncement. He again revokes it. Again when the wife enters her third period of purity and before any intercourse takes place H pronounces the third pronouncement. The moment H makes this third pronouncement, the marriage stands dissolved irrevocably, irrespective of iddat.Talaaq-i-Biddat:It came into vogue during the second century of Islam. It has two forms: (i) the triple declaration of talaaq made in a period of purity, either in one sentence or in three, (ii) the other form constitutes a single irrevocable pronouncement of divorce made in a period of tuhr or even otherwise. This type of talaaq is not recognized by the Shias. This form of divorce is condemned. It is considered heretical, because of its irrevocability.Ila: Besides talaaq, a Muslim husband can repudiate his marriage by two other modes, that are, Ila and Zihar. They are called constructive divorce. In Ila, the husband takes an oath not to have sexual intercourse with his wife. Followed by this oath, there is no consummation for a period of four months. After the expiry of the fourth month, the marriage dissolves irrevocably. But if the husband resumes cohabitation within four months, Ila is cancelled and the marriage does not dissolve. Under Ithna Asharia (Shia) School, Ila, does not operate as divorce without order of the court of law. After the expiry of the fourth month, the wife is simply entitled for a judicial divorce. If there is no cohabitation, even after expiry of four months, the wife may file a suit for restitution of conjugal rights against the husband.Zihar:In this mode the husband compares his wife with a woman within his prohibited relationship e.g., mother or sister etc. The husband would say that from today the wife is like his mother or sister. After such a comparison the husband does not cohabit with his wife for a period of four months. Upon the expiry of the said period Zihar is complete.After the expiry of fourth month the wife has following rights:(i) She may go to the court to get a decree of judicial divorce(ii) She may ask the court to grant the decree of restitution of conjugal rights.Where the husband wants to revoke Zihar by resuming cohabitation within the said period, the wife cannot seek judicial divorce. It can be revoked if:(i) The husband observes fast for a period of two months, or,(ii) He provides food at least sixty people, or,(iii) He frees a slave.According to Shia law Zihar must be performed in the presence of two witnesses.Divorce by mutual agreement:Khula and Mubarat: They are two forms of divorce by mutual consent but in either of them, the wife has to part with her dower or a part of some other property. A verse in the Holy Quran runs as: “And it not lawful for you that ye take from women out of that which ye have given them: except (in the case) when both fear that they may not be able to keep within the limits (imposed by Allah), in that case it is no sin for either of them if the woman ransom herself.” The word khula, in its original sense means “to draw” or “dig up” or “to take off” such as taking off one’s clothes or garments. It is said that the spouses are like clothes to each other and when they take khula each takes off his or her clothes, i.e., they get rid of each other.In law it is said is said to signify an agreement between the spouses for dissolving a connubial union in lieu of compensation paid by the wife to her husband out of her property. Although consideration for Khula is essential, the actual release of the dower or delivery of property constituting the consideration is not a condition precedent for the validity of the khula. Once the husband gives his consent, it results in an irrevocable divorce. The husband has no power of cancelling the ‘khul’ on the ground that the consideration has not been paid. The consideration can be anything, usually it is mahr, the whole or part of it. But it may be any property though not illusory. In mubarat, the outstanding feature is that both the parties desire divorce. Thus, the proposal may emanate from either side. In mubarat both, the husband and the wife, are happy to get rid of each other . Among the Sunnis when the parties to marriage enter into a mubarat all mutual rights and obligations come to an end.The Shia law is stringent though. It requires that both the parties must bona fide find the marital relationship to be irksome and cumbersome. Among the Sunnis no specific form is laid down, but the Shias insist on a proper form. The Shias insist that the word mubarat should be followed by the word talaaq, otherwise no divorce would result. They also insist that the pronouncement must be in Arabic unless the parties are incapable of pronouncing the Arabic words. Intention to dissolve the marriage should be clearly expressed. Among both, Shias and Sunnis, mubarat is irrevocable. Other requirements are the same as in khula and the wife must undergo the period of iddat and in both the divorce is essentially an act of the parties, and no intervention by the court is required.Divorce by wife:The divorce by wife can be categorized under three categories:(i) Talaaq-i-tafweez(ii) Lian(iii) By Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939.Talaaq-i-tafweez or delegated divorce is recognized among both, the Shias and the Sunnis. The Muslim husband is free to delegate his power of pronouncing divorce to his wife or any other person. He may delegate the power absolutely or conditionally, temporarily or permanently . A permanent delegation of power is revocable but a temporary delegation of power is not. This delegation must be made distinctly in favour of the person to whom the power is delegated, and the purpose of delegation must be clearly stated. The power of talaaq may be delegated to his wife and as Faizee observes, “this form of delegated divorce is perhaps the most potent weapon in the hands of a Muslim wife to obtain freedom without the intervention of any court and is now beginning to be fairly common in India”. This form of delegated divorce is usually stipulated in prenuptial agreements. In Md. Khan v. Shahmai, under a prenuptial agreement, a husband, who was a Khana Damad, undertook to pay certain amount of marriage expenses incurred by the father-in-law in the event of his leaving the house and conferred a power to pronounce divorce on his wife. The husband left his father-in-law’s house without paying the amount. The wife exercised the right and divorced herself. It was held that it was a valid divorce in the exercise of the power delegated to her. Delegation of power may be made even in the post marriage agreements. Thus where under an agreement it is stipulated that in the event of the husband failing to pay her maintenance or taking a second wife, the will have a right of pronouncing divorce on herself, such an agreement is valid, and such conditions are reasonable and not against public policy . It should be noted that even in the event of contingency, whether or not the power is to be exercised, depend upon the wife she may choose to exercise it or she may not. The happening of the event of contingency does not result in automatic divorce.Lian:If the husband levels false charges of unchastity or adultery against his wife then this amounts to character assassination and the wife has got the right to ask for divorce on these grounds. Such a mode of divorce is called Lian. However, it is only a voluntary and aggressive charge of adultery made by the husband which, if false, would entitle the wife to get the wife to get the decree of divorce on the ground of Lian. Where a wife hurts the feelings of her husband with her behaviour and the husband hits back an allegation of infidelity against her, then what the husband says in response to the bad behaviour of the wife, cannot be used by the wife as a false charge of adultery and no divorce is to be granted under Lian. This was held in the case of Nurjahan v. Kazim Ali by the Calcutta High Court.Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939:Qazi Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi had introduced a bill in the Legislature regarding the issue on 17th April 1936. It however became law on 17th March 1939 and thus stood the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939.Section 2 of the Act runs thereunder:A woman married under Muslim law shall be entitled to obtain a decree for divorce for the dissolution of her marriage on any one or more of the following grounds, namely:-• That the whereabouts of the husband have not been known for a period of four years: if the husband is missing for a period of four years the wife may file a petition for the dissolution of her marriage. The husband is deemed to be missing if the wife or any such person, who is expected to have knowledge of the husband, is unable to locate the husband. Section 3 provides that where a wife files petition for divorce under this ground, she is required to give the names and addresses of all such persons who would have been the legal heirs of the husband upon his death. The court issues notices to all such persons appear before it and to state if they have any knowledge about the missing husband. If nobody knows then the court passes a decree to this effect which becomes effective only after the expiry of six months. If before the expiry, the husband reappears, the court shall set aside the decree and the marriage is not dissolved.• That the husband has neglected or has failed to provide for her maintenance for a period of two years: it is a legal obligation of every husband to maintain his wife, and if he fails to do so, the wife may seek divorce on this ground. A husband may not maintain his wife either because he neglects her or because he has no means to provide her maintenance. In both the cases the result would be the same. The husband’s obligation to maintain his wife is subject to wife’s own performance of matrimonial obligations. Therefore, if the wife lives separately without any reasonable excuse, she is not entitled to get a judicial divorce on the ground of husband’s failure to maintain her because her own conduct disentitles her from maintenance under Muslim law.• That the husband has been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of seven years or upwards: the wife’s right of judicial divorce on this ground begins from the date on which the sentence becomes final. Therefore, the decree can be passed in her favour only after the expiry of the date for appeal by the husband or after the appeal by the husband has been dismissed by the final court.• That the husband has failed to perform, without reasonable cause, his marital obligations for a period of three years: the Act does define ‘marital obligations of the husband’. There are several marital obligations of the husband under Muslim law. But for the purpose of this clause husband’s failure to perform only those conjugal obligations may be taken into account which are not included in any of the clauses of Section 2 of this Act.• That the husband was impotent at the time of the marriage and continues to be so: for getting a decree of divorce on this ground, the wife has to prove that the husband was impotent at the time of the marriage and continues to be impotent till the filing of the suit. Before passing a decree of divorce of divorce on this ground, the court is bound to give to the husband one year to improve his potency provided he makes an application for it. If the husband does not give such application, the court shall pass the decree without delay. In Gul Mohd. Khan v. Hasina the wife filed a suit for dissolution of marriage on the ground of impotency. The husband made an application before the court seeking an order for proving his potency. The court allowed him to prove his potency.• If the husband has been insane for a period of two years or is suffering from leprosy or a virulent veneral disease: the husband’s insanity must be for two or more years immediately preceding the presentation of the suit. But this act does not specify that the unsoundness of mind must be curable or incurable. Leprosy may be white or black or cause the skin to wither away. It may be curable or incurable. Veneral disease is a disease of the sex organs. The Act provides that this disease must be of incurable nature. It may be of any duration. Moreover even if this disease has been infected to the husband by the wife herself, she is entitled to get divorce on this ground.• That she, having been given in marriage by her father or other guardian before she attained the age of fifteen years, repudiated the marriage before attaining the age of eighteen years, provided that the marriage has not been consummated;• That the husband treats her with cruelty, that is to say-(a) Habitually assaults her or makes her life miserable by cruelty of conduct even if such conduct does not amount to physical illtreatment, or(b) Associates with women of ill-repute or leads an infamous life, or(c) Attempts to force her to lead an immoral life, or(d) Disposes of her property or prevents her exercising her legal rights over it, or(e) Obstructs her in the observance of her religious profession or practice, or(f) If he has more than one wives, does not treat her equitably in accordance with the injunctions of the Holy Quran.In Syed Ziauddin v. Parvez Sultana, Parvez Sultana was a science graduate and she wanted to take admission in a college for medical studies. She needed money for her studies. Syed Ziaudddin promised to give her money provided she married him. She did. Later she filed for divorce for non-fulfillment of promise on the part of the husband. The court granted her divorce on the ground of cruelty. Thus we see the court’s attitude of attributing a wider meaning to the expression cruelty. In Zubaida Begum v. Sardar Shah, a case from Lahore High Court, the husband sold the ornaments of the wife with her consent. It was submitted that the husband’s conduct does not amount to cruelty.In Aboobacker v. Mamu koya, the husband used to compel his wife to put on a sari and see pictures in cinema. The wife refused to do so because according to her beliefs this was against the Islamic way of life. She sought divorce on the ground of mental cruelty. The Kerela High Court held that the conduct of the husband cannot be regarded as cruelty because mere departure from the standards of suffocating orthodoxy does not constitute un-Islamic behaviour.In Itwari v. Asghari, the Allahabad High Court observed that Indian Law does not recognize various types of cruelty such as ‘Muslim cruelty’, ‘Hindu cruelty’ and so on, and that the test of cruelty is based on universal and humanitarian standards; that is to say, conduct of the husband which would cause such bodily or mental pain as to endanger the wife’s safety or health.Irretrievable Breakdown:Divorce on the basis of irretrievable breakdown of marriage has come into existence in Muslim Law through the judicial interpretation of certain provisions of Muslim law. In 1945 in Umar Bibi v. Md. Din , it was argued that the wife hated her husband so much that she could not possibly live with him and there was total incompatibility of temperaments. On these grounds the court refused to grant a decree of divorce. But twenty five years later in Neorbibi v. Pir Bux, again an attempt was made to grant divorce on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. This time the court granted the divorce. Thus in Muslim law of modern India, there are two breakdown grounds for divorce: (a) non-payment of maintenance by the husband even if the failure has resulted due to the conduct of the wife, (b) where there is total irreconcilability between the spouses.Conclusion: In contrast to the Western world where divorce was relatively uncommon until modern times, and in contrast to the low rates of divorce in the modern Middle East, divorce was a common occurrence in the pre-modern Muslim world. In the medieval Islamic world and the Ottoman Empire, the rate of divorce was higher than it is today in the modern Middle East. In 15th century Egypt, Al-Sakhawi recorded the marital history of 500 women, the largest sample on marriage in the Middle Ages, and found that at least a third of all women in the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria married more than once, with many marrying three or more times. According to Al-Sakhawi, as many as three out of ten marriages in 15th century Cairo ended in divorce. In the early 20th century, some villages in western Java and the Malay peninsula had divorce rates as high as 70%.In practice in most of the Muslim world today divorce can be quite involved as there may be separate secular procedures to follow as well.Usually, assuming her husband demands a divorce, the divorced wife keeps her mahr, both the original gift and any supplementary property specified in the marriage contract. She is also given child support until the age of weaning, at which point the child's custody will be settled by the couple or by the courts. Women's right to divorce is often extremely limited compared with that of men in the Middle East. While men can divorce their spouses easily, women face a lot of legal and financial obstacles. For example, in Yemen, women usually can ask for divorce only when husband's inability to support her life is admitted while men can divorce at will. However, this contentious area of religious practice and tradition is being increasingly challenged by those promoting more liberal interpretations of Islam.

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Our history books need rewriting
Textbooks on Indian history have to be purged of Marxist and colonial biases that ignore historical evidence The debate over the need to re-write Indian history textbooks is heating up and, yet again, it is likely to spiral into an ugly political spat. Sadly this debate will distract from the many sensible reasons history books need to be changed. Indian history is mostly written from the perspective of Delhi or at most northern India, as if the rest of the country barely existed except as mere provinces. The average Indian student, for instance, will learn almost nothing about the great Satavahana, Vijayanagar or Chola empires of southern India. Unless you live in the northeast, you may never have heard of the Ahom kings who ruled Assam for 600 years and even defeated the Mughals. This absurd imbalance needs to be corrected. Moreover, history is not just about the rise and fall of empires but also about other streams of history. For instance, Indian textbooks say almost nothing about the country’s rich maritime history beyond a passing reference to Chola naval raids on Southeast Asia. Students learn very little about thriving Indo-Roman trade or the exploits of ancient Odiya merchants who pioneered sea routes across the eastern Indian Ocean. The great influence of Indian civilization on Southeast Asia is barely mentioned, if at all. We hear about groups who came to India as conquerors but nothing of people who came to India peacefully as traders and refugees—Parsis and Jews from the west and the waves of Southeast Asian tribes from east. Similarly, even university-level textbooks are written as if the geographical landscape of the country is static. Little is mentioned of shifting coastlines and rivers, changing wildlife, and evolving cities. The extraordinary history of Indian science is similarly ignored or, as some would argue, deliberately downplayed. There is more than adequate evidence that ancient Indians made great advances in metallurgy, medicine, mathematics and so on. As others have also pointed out, by downplaying genuine scientific contributions, textbook writers have created a vacuum that is filled with claims of flying chariots.Most readers will be surprised to know that many well-known events and characters of Indian history are based on very thin evidence. Emperor Ashoka is much revered for having turned into a pacifist after witnessing the human cost of his invasion of Kalinga. However, texts such as Ashokavadana clearly mention major massacres of Jains and Ajivikas that he ordered long after his supposed conversion. Far from being Ashoka the Great, the evidence suggests an unpopular king whose empire began to crumble while he was still alive. Even the regret over the Kalinga war looks suspiciously like propaganda given that none of the inscriptions in Odisha mention it.Not only have mainstream historians built grand stories on wobbly evidence, they are also strangely impervious to the continuous flow of new evidence being thrown up by archaeology, genetics, climate sciences and so on. Thus, we are still taught about the Aryan Invasion in 1500BC despite the fact that genetic and archeological studies find no evidence for any large-scale migration from Central Asia. The date of 1500BC was always arbitrary and we have good reason to believe that climate change caused the decline of Harappan cities five centuries earlier.This is not to suggest that everything good about Indic civilization is of indigenous origin. Over the centuries, we gained from absorbing foreign ideas and influences, especially in food, architecture, and language. Try to imagine India without the chillies and tomatoes brought by the Portuguese, cricket and railways brought by the British or the Taj Mahal built by a Turko-Mongol emperor. However, it is also true that the same foreign invaders caused the deaths of millions of people through warfare and famine. Indian students need to be told about both the good and the bad. Readers will be amazed by the extent to which colonial era ideas are casually perpetuated. For instance, whenever I write an article mentioning ancient Indians, I have noticed that a subeditor will often put the word “Indian” in inverted commas. It is probably done unconsciously but it is a continuation of colonial-era propaganda that Indians were not a nation till the British turned up. For obvious reasons, colonial writers blatantly disregarded heaps of evidence that Indians have had a strong sense of belonging to a civilization for thousands of years. What is less obvious is why we continue to perpetuate the colonial-era idea. Indian history textbooks need to be rewritten. Opponents will argue that the current government will use this opportunity to insert “right-wing biases” but this is no excuse for perpetuating outdated scholarship and the biases of colonial and Marxist historians. Indian historians tend to mix up the evidence with their opinions. This happens everywhere to some extent as all history is written from some perspective, but mainstream Indian historians are notorious for doing so. Perhaps one way forward is for the next generation of textbook authors to separate the hard evidence from their interpretations. This will have two good outcomes. First, it will make the author’s opinions more transparent. Second, it will encourage students to think more critically and draw their own conclusions. This will have the added advantage of making the subject more an exploration of the past rather than the memorizing dates. Sanjeev Sanyal is the author of Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography (2011).

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Budgeting For Gender Equity
IntroductionGender Budgeting is a powerful tool for achieving gender mainstreaming so as to ensure that benefits of development reach women as much as men. It is not an accounting exercise but an ongoing process of keeping a gender perspective in policy/ programme formulation, its implementation and review. GB entails dissection of the Government budgets to establish its gender differential impacts and to ensure that gender commitments are translated in to budgetary commitments.The rationale for gender budgeting arises from recognition of the fact that national budgets impact men and women differently through the pattern of resource allocation. Women, constitute 48% of India’s population, but they lag behind men on many social indicators like health, education, economic opportunities, etc. Hence, they warrant special attention due to their vulnerability and lack of access to resources. The way Government budgets allocate resources, has the potential to transform these gender inequalities. In view of this, Gender Budgeting, as a tool for achieving gender mainstreaming, has been propagated.NEWTime Line2001:Special reference by the Finance Minister of India in his Budget speech.Study on Gender Related Economic Policy Issues by National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP). (Commissioned by the then DWCD).The second interim report of the NIPFP (August 2001), for the first time analysed the Union Budget 2001-02 from a gender perspective. 2002:Analysis of Budgets of select States was undertaken by NIPCCD.Expenditure on women was elicited from the Union Budgets in the succeeding years 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05 and the broad results were reflected. in the Annual Reports of the DWCD. This became a step forward in the direction of Gender Analysis of the Union Budget 2003:In January 2003, the Cabinet Secretary Government of India, recommended the suggestion that Ministries/Departments should have a chapter on Gender issues in their Annual Reports. Many Ministries/Departments have since been reporting on the same, which forms a major basis of reviewing the achievements on Gender Budgeting within the Ministries/Departments. Letter2004:Ministry of Finance constituted an Expert Group on classification system of Government transactions “to examine the feasibility of and suggest the general approach to Gender Budgeting and economic classification”.Inter-Departmental Committee constituted under the chairmanship of Secretary, Expenditure.The first meeting of inter-departmental committee held on 7 December 2004, wherein need for opening Gender Budget Cells (GBCs) in all Ministries/ Departments was deliberated and subsequently a letter was issued to this effect.Instructions issued by Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, in December, 2004 to all Ministries/ Departments to establish a ‘Gender Budgeting Cell’ by 1st January, 2005.Subsequently, the Secretary, Planning Commission, endorsed the views of the Ministry of Finance and advised “the Ministries/Departments to clearly bring out scheme-wise provisions and physical targets in the Annual Plan proposals for 2005-06 and to carry out an incidence analysis of Gender Budgeting from next financial year.”Report--LetterLetter2005:Since 2005-06, the Expenditure Division of the Ministry of Finance has been issuing a note on Gender Budgeting as a part of the Budget Circular every year. This is compiled and incorporated in the form of Statement 20 as a part of the Expenditure Budget Document Volume 1 by the Expenditure Division of the Ministry of Finance. This GB Statement comprises two parts- Part A and Part B.Part A reflects Women Specific Schemes, i.e. those which have 100% allocation for women.Part B reflects Pro Women Schemes, i.e. those where at least 30% of the allocation is for women. GB Statement 2015-2016GB Statement Previous Year2007:A Charter for Gender Budget Cells (GBCs) issued on 8th March 2007, by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, outlining the composition of GBCs and their functions.Introduction of scheme on Gender Budgeting with a view to building capacity and encouraging research, so that a gender perspective was retained at all levels of the planning, budget formulation and implementation processes. All State Governments, Government agencies and training institutions can apply under the scheme. CharterScheme GuidelinesDocuments which are required to be submitted along with training/research and documentation proposalsAttention NGOs2010:The Planning Commission, Government of India, vide D.O. no. PC/SW/1-3(13)/09-WCD, dated, 5th January, 2010, has clarified that, "s;Women Component Plan should no longer be used as a strategy either at the Centre or at the State level. In its place as already initiated by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Women and Child Development, we should adopt Gender Responsive Budgeting or Gender Budgeting only"s;.The Department of Expenditure has issued ‘Revised Guidelines for preparation of Outcome. Herein the Outcome Budget scope prescribes that “As far as feasible, sub-targets for coverage of women and SC/ST beneficiary under various developmental schemes and schemes for the benefit of North Eastern Region should be separately indicated.”.LetterLatest Outcome Budget Guidelines2012:Formation of Working Group for Developing Guidelines for Gender Audit of Policies, Programmes and Schemes of Government of IndiaThe Secretary, Planning Commission, Government of India, vide D.O. no. PC/SW/1-3(13)/09-WCD, dated, 18th October, 2012, has written to Chief Secretaries of all States/UTs that, "s;To accelerate the process (of GB), State Finance Departments could set up Gender Budget Cells on the lines of the Charter for Gender Budget cells issued by the Ministry of Finance. The State Planning Departments may also be instructed to include the need for gender budgeting as a part of their annual plan circular "s;.Officer OrderLetter2013:The Secretary, MWCD, vide D.O. no. 1-25/2012-GB, dated, 18th February, 2013, has issued guidelines to States to provide a road map towards institutionalizing Gender Budgeting at State level.Letter with GuidelineAchievements3.1 Gender Budgeting Cells (GBCs) in Union Government:The GBCs are envisaged to serve as focal points for coordinating gender budgeting initiatives within their Ministries and across Departments. So far 56 Ministries/Department have confirmed setting up of a cell/nominating a nodal person.Format for preparing Gender Budgeting Action Plan 2015-16 by GBCsList of GBCsMinutes of the meeting of the GBCs3.2 Gender Budgeting in States: In order to have the desired impact, it is imperative that State Governments/ Union Territories also adopt Gender Budgeting. Taking this forward, in 2005 MWCD organized three Regional Workshops, in collaboration with UNDP, to share and discuss the strategy of the Government on Gender Budgeting and Gender Mainstreaming. Subsequently, many State Governments like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa, Kerala, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have adopted Gender Budgeting.Progress in States3.3 Capacity Building for GB:One of the key focus areas of the MWCD has been strengthening internal and external capacities and building expertise on Gender Budgeting. For this, the MWCD has been engaged in conducting a number of trainings, workshops, one to one interactions/discussions and development of resource material.Training Programmes and workshops Reports3.4 Resource Material Development for GB: MWCD, in collaboration with UN Women, has also developed a Manual and Handbook for Gender Budgeting for Gender Budget Cells for Central Ministries and Departments. Gender Budgeting HandbookGender Budgeting Manual3.5 Evaluation of Gender Budgeting Scheme: NABARD Consultancy Services PVT. Ltd.(NABCONS)has been assigned the task of undertaking Evalution of the Gender Budgeting Scheme's performance during the XI Five Year Plan NABCONS has submitted the report with recommendations.

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Should yoga be made compulsory in schools?
The benefits of yoga as a wellness practice are widely recognised today. The controversies related to yoga are also extensively reported. True, yoga is said to be beneficial for the mind, body and soul, but is this reason enough for yoga to be introduced to school-going children? Should it be promoted in schools? Are all the doubts surfacing on the minds of people following Islam and Christianity unfounded?While the traditional practice has been recognised by the United Nations as well and June 21 is marked as the International Day of Yoga, the Ministry of Human Resource Development's (HRD's) last year's decision to make yoga compulsory in government schools across the country faced backlash. Recently, the government underlined that yoga will find a "s;significant place"s; in the new education policy. Now, let's take a look at the various aspects which come into consideration when we try to factor if yoga should be made compulsory in schools:Break from gizmos Increasingly, schoolchildren remain glued to gadgets these days. Whether it is video games, tablets or mobile phones, the power of the clicks amaze children. This results in students becoming couch potatoes and weight gain is the visible problem among others. In such a scenario, if schools introduce yoga, then it will help students remain fit and they will remain physically active. However, many schools argue that they already have compulsory Physical Education (PE) classes and adding yoga is not a viable option."s;The students play during the break. Besides that, there are designated sports classes for each standard every week. The focus needs to be balanced and academics also need attention,"s; an Assam government school teacher told thestatesman.com on conditions of anonymity. The stress buster The fittest survive and others falter in this age of cut-throat competition. "s;To promote yoga in schools is right action by the government. By doing yoga, children of this age will find life more relaxing and playful as the world, nowadays, is very competitive from quite an early age,"s; yoga practitioner Shishir Basotia told thestatesman.com. The asanas like Anjali Mudra (salutation seal), Sukhasana (easy pose) and Savasana (corpse pose), among others help to fight stress and anxiety. Health is wealthHypertension, diabetes and heart diseases—sounds scary? Well, scarier is the fact that many are falling prey to these lifestyle diseases at a young age. Besides, eating healthy food, incorporating other healthy habits like practicing yoga regularly can benefit individuals to a great extent. Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Power, Baptise Yoga and prana flow which come under Vinyasa Yoga, for instance, energises body, boosts mood and has many benefits for the heart. A habit, a rational lifestyleWhile it is true that it is never late to start practising yoga, why not start early? Multiple studies suggest that yoga and meditation are immensely effective in enhancing memory. Pragya Ghildial, yoga therapist and counselor, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre told thestatesman.com, "s;These days society has become materialistic and concept of outdoor play had diminished and children mostly stay indoors leading to little or no physical activity and health issues."s;"s;Yoga helps in overall well-being of the body and soul, especially making your spine flexible which helps keep metabolism and blood circulation healthy,"s; he said.The blood flow can be improved with yoga and oxygen supply to body cells can henceforth be increased. If practised from a young age, yoga can work wonders and help one grow gracefully. Why to wait then?Just for jobsAs the Andhra Pradesh government recently made yoga compulsory in schools and junior colleges in the state, a new problem surfaced—fewer teachers and many vacant posts! Lack of manpower is surely a practical problem which needs to be solved. While the government planned to train physical education teachers in yoga, adequate training and innovative approach like funding under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can resolve the issue.Also, it should be noted that there are many qualified yoga trainers who are sitting without permanent jobs, if yoga is made compulsory in schools, then employment opportunities will open up for them. Also, individuals can be trained and employed in schools, the job market will benefit both ways! Take a look at the various aspects which come into consideration when we try to factor if yoga should be made compulsory in schools.

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What ‘Ignited The Fire’ To What Is Believed To Be India’s Biggest Law And Order Problem?
The Naxalite movement first came to the forefront in the late 1960s, when Naxalbari became famous for the left-wing revolt that took place in West Bengal. Since then, it is perceived as the greatest threat to law and order within Indian. The movement has now advanced to the hilly and forest regions of around eight different states, with more than 150 districts are believed to be under its direct influence. It is mostly active in the tribal areas spreading from Andhra Pradesh to Bihar and Maharashtra, and also covering parts of Karnataka, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu. Naxal violence has resulted in the death of over 10,000 civilians and displaced 12 million people since 1980s with a significant rise in the number of killings in Naxalism-hit states. Additionally, more than 200 of India’s 640 districts are indirectly under Naxal control.Naxalism signifies a particular kind of militant and violent armed struggle by the peasants and tribals who accept Marxist-Leninist ideology. Inspite of Naxalism being termed as the biggest problem in Adivasi areas, the social problems are actually much wider in the form of unemployment, poverty and an untold number of socio-economic injustices. Here are some points to justify the statement: What ‘Ignited The Fire’ To What Is Believed To Be India’s Biggest Law And Order Problem? 1. India’s development paradigm pursued since Independence led to commercialisation of forest resources, reducing the traditional access to forest produce. Besides destroying their natural environment, mining-based industries and the construction of large dams caused wide-scale displacement of the tribals.2. In the late 1990s, privatisation and economic development were the main agenda for the ruling parties like the BJP and Congress. On the other hand, one of the major wings of Naxalism movement, the CPI-Maoist tried to keep the struggle alive on behalf of workers, rural poor and the lower middle classes who suffered tremendously and, largely, silently in the name of economic reforms. The Communist Party of India (Marxist- Leninist) which was formed in 1969 advocated armed struggle and condemned participation in parliamentary elections and work in mass movements.3. In spite of the government laying down a clear plan to tackle the left-wing extremism like launching a Police Modernization Scheme in areas affected by Naxal movements, the bill for safeguarding land rights introduced by the UPA, etc which were all modest measures in the right direction, the local elites still continued to manipulate the Panchayati Raj structures, as it was noticed. Such a move gave fuel to the already ignited fire to the tribals to start the Naxalism movement.4. The police and paramilitary organisations’ approach to the ‘Naxalite’ problem exposed weakness within state governments. Various state governments, from time to time, banned Maoist outfits, without developing any consistent policy to deal with such elements. Without understanding their needs and issues, such bans, along with preventive detention or anti-terror laws that allowed the police to come down heavily on such groups, created a feeling of unrest amongst the Naxals.Development is, without a doubt, very necessary in today’s age but the Central and State governments should make sure that it is not done at the cost of citizens. Having said that, the Naxalite movement attempted to achieve equity in the society by means of a mass movement and struggle, and they did achieve it to some extent but at the cost of the economic development of the state. There has been a range of violence which has had no direct consequence on the rights of people but invariably ended up harming masses by way of disruption in the elections, destruction of schools, trains and rail lines, etc. A mutual understanding, therefore, should prevail which can end Naxalism.Naxalites are powerful and effective in some areas in India because of the unresolved contradictions and issues in our society.  They have proved effective because they have an ideology that inspires youth apart from having an organisational structure and armed groups. Proper enforcement of land ceiling laws, utilisation of the funds provided to the government to the maximum could be the solution to this problem. The central reason for the advancement of Naxalism is the vast exploitation of the poor and the scheduled castes. People, who have been displaced, should be given proper rehabilitation along with police protection. Security, as well as development, has to run hand in hand.

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The GST train chugs along
The ideal of a low, single rate and comprehensive coverage is still far away, but the journey has begun In about a month, India’s new indirect tax system will be rolled out. It has been described as the biggest reform in indirect taxes. India now joins some 160 other countries that already have a Goods and Services Tax (GST). The only large economy exception without a GST is the United States. Most other countries have this consumption tax as a key component of their indirect taxes.In a nutshellHere are the key features of the GST. First, it moves the tax system from production to consumption. It covers the gross domestic product (GDP) more comprehensively. Because the tax base is now a much wider set of transactions, hopefully the per capita tax incidence will be lower. Second, it eliminates a major bane of cascading, i.e. having to pay tax on tax. It will thus increase efficiency of taxation. Third, the GST has interlocking incentives for compliance, because your tax incidence, and refund, depends on production of proof of tax paid by your supplier. The paperwork, or rather the computer records, is interlinked in a chain. No one person in the chain can evade tax because it hurts either his vendor or customer. In that respect, the GST’s interlocked incentives look similar to Grameen Bank’s joint liability lending in microfinance. Micro loans are given without any collateral, but if one person defaults, the entire group is blacklisted. This ensures an almost 100% repayment rate. Similarly, the GST too has interlinked incentives for the whole value chain. For these three reasons and many more, the GST is expected to bring many benefits to the economy. These are higher GDP growth, lower inflation, buoyant tax collections, wider coverage and less tax evasion, and, most importantly, a truly common economic market across the country. Indeed the slogan for promoting the GST was “One Country One Tax”.The roll-out of this historic reform required amending the Constitution, legislative action in Parliament as well as State legislatures, setting up of the GST Council and deciding on the applicable tax rates on more than 1,200 items. Much of this work is already done. Indeed this achievement is itself a heroic example of consensus-building across States and political parties. The implementation will quite likely involve many hiccups, delays, and computer glitches, but the GST train has left the station and is chugging along.Some fault linesLet’s examine what the status of the GST is as it takes birth, and how successful it will be able to fulfil the expectations thrust on it. The origins of the GST go back almost two decades and are also found in the reports of the Kelkar Committee on Tax Reforms, written at the turn of this century. The basic premise of tax reforms then and now is to aim for lower rates, simpler code and eliminate exemptions. On all these three goals we have much distance to travel.First, with five slabs of 0%, 5%, 12%, 18%, 28% plus cess, we have increased the chance of classification disputes, discretion and litigation. The high rates encourage tax evasion, distort decisions, and promote wasteful resources into tax avoidance. As the GST Task Force of the Thirteenth Finance Commission has said, multiple rate slabs exacerbate the problem of bracket creep and classification disputes. A rational tax system should have very few rates and low rates. Indeed, before the introduction of this GST, the service tax had just one rate, that was 15%, applicable to all services. We now have multiple rates and the chances of disputes and legal battles have increased. Multiple rates are attractive politically. Items consumed by the poor are taxed at low rates and luxury goods are taxed at higher rates. But this classification itself is problematic especially in a diverse, fast-evolving economy. For instance, perfumed hair oil may be a luxury item in Bihar but not in Tamil Nadu. Rubber slippers are worn by the poor, but also the rich at beach resorts. There is also a quality continuum, and from unbranded to branded. Furthermore, today’s poor may be tomorrow’s rich, so there is an aspirational class too. It is far too complex to classify goods rigidly as those consumed by the poor and the rich distinctly.But multiple rates increase cost and complexity. As the task force also pointed out, the cost of auditing the classification of exempt, low rate and high rate slabs across every stage of production, distribution and consumption is very high. Single or few rates are easy to comply with and involve much lower disputes. Multiple rates have been introduced so as to soften the blow of inflation. By keeping most of the goods consumed by the poor (as identified by their consumption basket), the hope is that inflation will be in check.Which leads us to the second question. Will inflation remain in control? Since almost 60% of India’s GDP is from services, and the rate is moving from 15 to higher, it is quite likely that inflation will inch up. This is especially evident in the financial, telecom, hospitality and trade services. Of course, to the extent that service providers will now get input tax credit, which they might pass on to their customers, inflation may not rise by much. Since the IT systems are not fully in place and refunds are not instantaneous, the benefit of tax credit will be delayed. This cost of delay and consequent cost of working capital too introduces an inflationary element.It was hoped that not many items would be in the 28% bracket, failing which inflation will be higher. The tax burden on industry is coming down in the GST. This is because currently, excise plus State VAT adds up to more than 25%, which will definitely go down. Since inflation in India is currently moderate — indeed this has been a major achievement of the NDA government — the impact of the GST, even though inflationary, will still be modest. In the longer term, further price moderation is possible due to the supply side-effect of the GST.Still untouchedFinally, a large part of the economy is still not covered by the GST. Potable alcohol, crude oil, natural gas, aviation fuel, diesel, petrol, electricity and real estate are currently out, and States will levy their own taxes on these. Taxes paid on these will not be able to be offset against the GST. To that extent it is an inflationary distortion. Hopefully, this lacuna in the GST will be fixed soon.The high rates and multiple slabs reflect an outcome of a very complicated political compromise achieved in the GST Council. This required assuaging the fear of revenue loss to States which have just surrendered their tax autonomy. It required assuaging the fear of politicians about unleashing inflation.The ideal of a low, single rate and comprehensive total GDP coverage, with a fully IT-enabled compliance system, is a destination still far away. But as Mr. Kelkar himself has said, the journey of a hundred miles must begin with the first step. To that extent this historic tax reform has come alive. Along the way it will be tweaked and modified a thousand times to eventually hit the right stride, for that is the genius of India’s democracy.Ajit Ranade is an economist

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