Current Affairs September 29


  • I n a meeting with State leaders and representatives, Home Minister noted that the geographical influence of the Maoists has reduced from 96 districts in 10 States in 2010 to 41 now.
  • the merger of two major Naxalite groups into the proscribed Communist Party of India (Maoist) — the organization is limited to the remote and densely forested terrains of central and east-central India.
  • The Maoists have privileged armed struggle, invited state repression and sought to use this to recruit adherents.
  • Such a strategy has led to some of India’s poorest people, the tribals in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand in particular, being caught up in endless violence, and also caused severe losses to the Maoists as well as anti-insurgent security forces.
  • The Maoist insurgency still has potency in South Bastar in Chhattisgarh, the Andhra-Odisha border and in some districts in Jharkhand.
  • These States must focus on expansive welfare and infrastructure building even as security forces try to weaken the Maoists.
  • The Maoists must be compelled to give up their armed struggle and this can only happen if the tribal people and civil society activists promoting peace are also empowered.
  • The Indian government should not be reduce commitments made for the developmental needs of some districts of concern in States such as Jharkhand,
  • The Union government and the States must continue to learn from successes such as the expansion of welfare and rights paradigms in limiting the movement and failures that have led to the continuing spiral of violence in select districts.


Governance and happiness

  • Until the beginning of the publication of the United Nations World Happiness Report in 2012, happiness was not considered an objective of governance.
  • But it has now emerged as a new measure of the quality of governance.
  • The connection between law, governance and happiness has been gaining considerable attention over the years.
  • This is because the report has shown time and again that countries with a higher GDP and higher per capita income are not necessarily the happiest.
  • The United Nations World Happiness Report of 2021 ranks India 139 out of 149 countries. Happiness was measured by also taking into consideration the effects of COVID-19 on the people and their evaluation of the performance of governance systems.
  • The report shows that COVID-19-induced social distancing had a severe impact on happiness as sharing and community life were hugely affected during the pandemic.
  • India’s dismal performance on happiness is crucial if we look at governance and the law.
  • Happiness has never been considered an explicit goal of public policy in India.
  • The trust and confidence enjoyed by public institutions are quite pertinent in the happiness score sheet.
  • Guarantees of rights, participation, dignity, and social justice are crucial in the determination of happiness in a society like India
  • Law ought to bring happiness to the lives of people.
  • The great degree of unhappiness in Indian society has a lot to do with the way the law and its institutions operate. People live in pain and anguish as their legitimate grievances remain unaddressed by the legal system
  • The estimated figure of 3.5 crore pending cases in various courts of the country is not merely a number as all those connected with these cases are in a state of anxiety. They are certainly not happy people.
  • India’s rule of law rank was 69 as per the World Justice report 2021.
  • It has a chilling effect on the right to life, liberty, economic justice, dignity and national integration. Justice in India hardly seems to espouse the goal of happiness in society
  • The data suggest that happy countries have lower crime rates. Crime and its resultant suffering are a major source of unhappiness.
  • For instance, in Finland, Denmark, the Philippines, South Africa, India and Sri Lanka, at least one of the four crime variables share an inverse relation with the happiness score of the nation.
  • It means that individuals living in nations with high crime rates are less happy and satisfied than individuals living in nations with comparatively lower crime rates.
  • Nations are now responding to the happiness index.
  • The United Arab Emirates was the first country in the world to have set up a Ministry of Happiness
  • The Ministry monitors the impact of policies through a happiness meter and takes measures to ensure a better life. Bhutan introduced Gross National Happiness as a measure of good governance


Bureaucracy and digital challenge

  • The biggest challenge today to Indian bureaucracy is the shift from desk to digital.
  • This shift is not limited to a transition towards e-office and e-governance, but includes the organisational and bureaucratic response to digital spaces, especially the use of social media.
  • There are two opinions on the use of social media by civil servants.
  • While there are many people, including former civil servants, who are in favour of civil servants using social media in their official capacity,
  • others argue that anonymity, the defining feature of Indian bureaucracy, gets compromised in the process. In fact, as an organisational form, the bureaucracy is incompatible with social media.
  • While bureaucracy is characterised by hierarchy, formal relationships and standard procedures, social media is identified by openness, transparency and flexibility
  • It is true that many civil servants have become accessible to the common people and public service delivery issues have been resolved through the use of social media.
  • Social media has also created a positive outlook towards an institution long perceived as opaque and inaccessible.
  • Social media has increased awareness among people about government policies and programmes. But social media also does more.
  • It provides an opportunity to bureaucrats to shape the public discourse and engage with the public while being politically neutral.
  • At a time when the tendency among the political executive is to receive the very remarks or advice from bureaucrats that they want to hear, social media ensures that blind obeying is minimised and bureaucrats serve the people.
  • Anonymity has been a hallmark of Westminster bureaucracies, including in India.
  • But there is a basic contradiction in remaining habitually anonymous while governance in public is now the new normal.
  • Further, values are becoming more dominant than facts in public policymaking. And both values and facts are getting reshaped due to fake news and systematic propaganda within public policy circles as well.
  • In such a scenario, the bureaucracy, which is expected to be the epitome of public values and a storehouse of facts, shouldn’t be expected to govern in private.
  • The use of social media is gradually getting institutionalised in many Westminster system-based countries.
  • During the Brexit debate in the U.K., many civil servants shaped public debate through the use of social media even while remaining politically neutral. In India, civil servants haven’t reflected on this aspect of digital bureaucracy
  • In India, the role of social media in bureaucracy has taken a different direction.
  • Social media is getting used by civil servants for self-promotion.
  • Through their selective posts and promotion of these posts by their social media fans, civil servants create a narrative of their performance. All this is justified in the name of accessibility and accountability.
  • There is a wrong notion getting entrenched in the public consciousness that social media is the way to access civil servants and make them accountable.
  • Social media may have improved accessibility and accountability, but it is important to note that civil servants are at an advantage to share the information they want and respond to those they want.
  • It is not a formal setup where accessibility and accountability are based on uniformity of treatment.
  • Social media accountability is no alternative to institutional and citizen-centric accountability.
  • It is, in fact, partly unethical to use social media during office hours and justify it when some people who have travelled long distances are waiting outside the office.


Judicial challenge

  • A measure of the justice delivery system is the pendency of cases in courts across the country.
  • We have seen a significant deterioration in this aspect as shown in the table.
  • More than 40% of cases are decided after three years in India, while in many other countries less than 1% of cases are decided after three years. If India does not act decisively and quickly.
  • This severely impacts the poor and marginalised. For them, the judicial process itself becomes a punishment.
  • Data show that about 70% of prisoners in India are undertrials and are mostly poor citizen


  • Two measures can be implemented within two years to tackle this issue.
  • First, reduce the pendency of cases by filling sanctioned judicial positions
  • The responsibility of selecting judges is largely with the judiciary itself.
  • The responsibility of appointments in the subordinate judiciary lies with the State governments and their respective High Courts.
  • The responsibility of ensuring near-zero vacancies should be with the Chief Justices of the High Courts and the Chief Justice of India and they should be held accountable for the same
  • The second is to improve working with the use of technology. The eCommittee of the Supreme Court has been in existence since 2005. It has made three outstanding recommendations which are not being followed.
  • One, computer algorithms should decide on case listing, case allocation and adjournments with only a 5% override given to judges.
  • It said all rational reasons and limits should be put on adjournments; case listing should give main weightage to ‘first in, first out’; and case allocation should take into account logical criteria.
  • This would be a big step in reducing arbitrariness and the unfair advantage that the powerful enjoy.
  • Two, the courts should focus on efiling.
  • The e-Committee made detailed SOPs on how petitions and affidavits can be filed and payment of fees can be done electronically without lawyers or litigants having to travel to the courts or use paper.
  • This should be implemented in all seriousness and would also save about three lakh trees annually.
  • Three, it focused on virtual hearings. COVID-19 prompted the courts to adopt virtual hearings.
  • However, virtual hearings were held only in some cases while physical hearings were held in most.
  • All the courts in the country must switch to a hybrid virtual mode immediately and start disposing cases.
  • Even after the COVID-19 crisis ends, it would be beneficial to continue hybrid virtual courts.
  • These would require no changes in laws.