In our Mains Answer Writing Initiative, we are daily posting 6 Questions i.e. 3 from static part and 3 from the current affairs part. On the next day, We provide answers to those questions.

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Q1.It is being said that PMO has become an over-grown, over-arching, all-powerful organization, which is a grave threat to the Parliamentary democracy and hence subverts. Comment  SYNOPSIS                                             Intro
  • Prime Minister’s Office [PMO] is a staffing agency assisting the Prime Minister in the efficient discharge of his role, functions, and responsibilities.
  • It acts as a link between the PM and his Ministers, President, Governors, Chief Ministers and also Foreign representatives.
  • PMO is an extra-constitutional bodythat has no mention in the Indian Constitution
Body Part Principal functions of the PMO The functions assigned to the PMO in the government of India allocation of business rules 1961 as amended in October 1970 principally concerns five key functions:
  • To deal with all references that have, under the rules of business, come to the Prime Minister.
  • To help the Prime Minister in respect of his/her overall responsibilities as head of Government. It includes liaison with the Union Ministries and the state Governments on matters in which the Prime Minister maybe interested.
  • To deal with the public relations side of the Prime Minister's office, that is, relations with the press, public.
  • To assist the Prime Minister in the examination of cases submitted to him for orders under prescribed rules.
Emerging Negative Trend in the Working of PMO
  • Growing tendency towards centralization in decision-making. Not only does a Prime Minister sometimes keep with himself an unduly large number of portfolios but also informally exerts his real influence beyond those formally held portfolios. Thus it intrudes into the domain of individual Ministries. For example, Defence Ministry protested against PMO undermining Rafale negotiations
  • Sometimes PMO acts as a parallel government. For example reshuffling of Cabinet has taken place many times based on the advice of the PMO
  • Instead of remaining within its envisaged role of providing secretarial assistance to the Prime Minister in the discharge of his functions, the PMO is increasingly having to say in the policy formulation. It is the role of Cabinet secretary to ensure that department of governments deliver on policies framed by government.
  • Increased control over personnel by the PMO. For example PMO seeks change in UPSC allocation.
  • The role of Departmental secretary is also marginalised and this is bound to effect the individual ministries.
Conclusion With increasing Complexity the scope of government have increased tremendously. Thus the requirement for a strong and technically efficient staff agency like PMO is needed. However, PMO should priorities its role by facilitating the work of the Prime Minister without undermining other constitutional posts so that he is able to fulfill his role as the leader of the government. Q2.Article 72 is “absolute and cannot be fettered by any statutory provisions” in light of this statement .Briefly explain the Pardoning power of president. SYNOPSIS                                         Intro Under Article 72 the President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence Body Part
  • The Central Information Commission (CIC) by an order in 2018 held that grant of remission is an exercise of a statutory power under CrPC.
  • Few years back, the Union Ministry of Law told the MHA that the President’s power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment under Article 72 was “absolute and cannot be fettered by any statutory provisions” under the Code of Criminal Procedure or prison rules.
  • However, the constitution under Article 72 has made abundantly clear that the President does not exercise the pardoning power on his own he has to act on the advice of the Council of Ministers.
Pardoning power of president The pardoning powers of the Indian President are elucidated in Art 72 of the Indian Constitution. There are five different types of pardoning which is mandated by law:
  • Pardon: Absolving the person of the crime and letting him go free.
  • Commutation: Changing the type of punishment given to into a less harsh one.
  • Reprieve: Delay allowed in the execution of a sentence, usually a death sentence, for a guilty person to allow him some time to for legal remedy to prove his innocence or successful rehabilitation.
  • Respite: Reducing the quantum or degree of the punishment to a criminal in view of some special circumstances like pregnancy, mental condition etc.
  • Remission: means changing the quantum of the punishment without changing its nature. For e.g. reducing 20-year rigorous imprisonment to 10 years imprisonment.
Conclusion The pardoning power of Executive is very significant as it corrects the errors of judiciary. It eliminates the effect of conviction without addressing the defendant’s guilt or innocence Q3.Why Cabinet Committees are formed? Briefly explain the role of Cabinet Committee on Security? SYNOPSIS                                                                        Intro The Cabinet makes use of the committee system to facilitate decision-making in specific areas. The Business Rules provide for the constitution of standing committees of the Cabinet to ensure speedy decisions on vital questions of political and economic significance and other matters of importance as also to ensure coordination in well-defined fields of administration. These committees change according to the requirements of the situation and occasionally ad hoc committees are appointed. Body Part Function and Role of Cabinet committees
  • The Cabinet Committees are instruments to organise coordination in clearly defined fields of administration and relieve the Cabinet of their burden of work.
  • The flexibility in membership of these committees enable interested Ministers to exchange views, and arrive at agreed solutions without involving the Cabinet, thus, reducing pressure of work upon the latter.
  • Lastly, there is considerable sharing of work, with the result that many matters which could otherwise travel up to the Cabinet for decision-making are settled at the level of Cabinet Committees. This ensures continuous coordination on vital economic and political issues, and speedy decision making when required.
Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)
  • Major decisions with respect to the significant appointments, issues of national security, defence expenditure of India, are taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in India.
  • The Prime Minister chairs the CCS which comprises the minister of external affairs, the home minister, finance minister, and the defence minister.
Functions of Cabinet Committee on Security
  • To deal with all defence related issues.
  • To deal with issues relating to law and order and internal security.
  • To deal with policy matters concerning foreign affairs that have internal or external security implications, including cases relating to agreements with other countries on security-related issues.
  • To deal with economic and political issues impinging on national security.
  • To review the manpower requirements relating to national security and setting up new structures to deal with security-related issues.
  • To consider all cases involving capital expenditure of more than rupees one thousand crore in respect of
  • Department of Defence Production
  • Department of Defence Research and Development
  • All matters relating to atomic energy.
  • To consider cases of increase in the firmed up cost estimates or revised cost estimates
Q4.What are e-cigarettes and how do they work? Why did the govt ban them?  SYNOPSIS                                    Intro An electronic cigarette is a battery-operated device that emits doses of vaporized nicotine, or non-nicotine solutions, for the user to inhale. It aims to provide a similar sensation to inhaling tobacco smoke, without the smoke Body Part How they work Most e-cigarettes have:
  1. a mouthpiece, or cartridge
  2. a heating element
  3. a rechargeable battery
  4. electronic circuits
Inside an electronic cigarette
  • As the user sucks on the mouthpiece, a sensor activates a heating element that vaporizes a flavored, liquid solution held in the mouthpiece.
  • The person then "vapes," or inhales, the aerosol solution.
  • The atomizer is a heating element that heats the liquid, causing it to vaporize. The solution can then be breathed in or inhaled.
  • The battery powers the heating element. This is normally a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery.
  • The sensor activates the heater when the user sucks on the device. An LED may show when it is activated.
  • The solution, also known as e-liquid or e-juice, is made by extracting nicotine from tobacco and mixing it with a base, usually propylene glycol, and flavoring. Propylene glycol is used in inhalers, for example, for asthma.
Reasons for government ban
  • As per a report prepared by WHO, Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) (also known as e-cigarettes) emits nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco products.
  • In addition to dependence, nicotine can have adverse effects on the development of the foetus during pregnancy and may contribute to cardiovascular disease.
  • The WHO report further says that although nicotine itself is not a carcinogen, it may function as a “tumor promoter” and seems to be involved in the biology of malignant disease, as well as of neuro-degeneration.
  • Foetal and adolescent nicotine exposure may have long-term consequences for brain development, potentially leading to learning and anxiety disorders.
  • The evidence is sufficient to warn children and adolescents, pregnant women, and women of reproductive age against ENDS use and nicotine.
Q5.What is meant by Indian Ocean dipole? Examine its effect on Indian monsoon.  SYNOPSIS                                         Intro The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is defined by the difference in sea surface temperature between two areas (or poles, hence a dipole)
  • A western pole in the Arabian Sea (western Indian Ocean) and
  • An eastern pole in the eastern Indian Ocean south of Indonesia.
The IOD affects the climate of countries that surround the Indian Ocean Basin and is a significant contributor to rainfall variability in this region.
  • In scientific terms, the IOD is a coupled ocean and atmosphere phenomenon, similar to ENSO but in the equatorial Indian Ocean.
Body Part Influence on Indian monsoon The IOD has three phases such as Neutral, Positive and Negative IOD Neutral Phase of IOD: During this phase Water flows from the Pacific between Indonesia‘s islands, keeping seas warm to the northwest of Australia. Air rises above this area and falls across the western half of the Indian Ocean basin, blowing westerly winds along the equator. Positive Phase of IOD: During this phase the Westerly winds weaken along the equator, allowing warm water to move to Africa. This creates a temperature difference across the tropical Indian Ocean with cooler than normal water in the east and warmer than normal water in the west Negative Phase of IOD:
  • During this phase westerly winds intensify along the equator, allowing the concentration of warmer waters near Australia. This creates a temperature difference across the tropical Indian Ocean, with warmer than normal water in the east and cooler than normal water in the west. This event obstructs the progression of monsoon over India.
  • This is in turn attributable to the persisting negative phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which causes the Indian Ocean just south to Bay of Bengal to warm up abnormally.
  • This has direct implications for the North-East monsoon, since the warmth builds up lower pressure over the Indian Ocean where most of the moisture gets directed
Q6.What are the salient features of the new consumer protection bill 2019? To what extent the consumer protection bill 2019 can safeguard the rights of the consumer? SYNOPSIS    Intro
  • The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 will be replaced by Consumer Protection Bill 2019.
  • The Bill provides for the settlement of consumer disputes and establishment of authorities for the timely and effective administration and seeks to strengthen the rights of consumers.
  • A mechanism is being provided by the Bill to solve the problems regarding defects in goods and deficiency in services.
Body Part Key features of the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019. The Bill defines a Consumer as a person who avails a service and buys any good for consideration. The bill does not consider a person as a consumer if he/she obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose. All modes of transactions including offline, online through electronic means and multi-level marketing, teleshopping or direct selling are covered under the Bill. Consumer’s Rights: The Bill defined six consumer rights, including the right to:
  • Right to be protected against services and the marketing of goods which are hazardous to property and life.
  • Right to seek redressal against restrictive or unfair trade practices.
  • Right to be informed of the price, quantity, quality, standard, potency, and purity of the goods or services.
  • Right to be assured of access to a variety of services or goods.
The bill provides for Central Consumer Protection Authority to set up by the central government to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers. Composition of CCPA: CCPA will have an investigation wing, headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into such violations and it will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements. Functions of CCPA including:
  • Imposing penalties
  • Investigating prosecution and inquiring into violations of consumer rights
  • To discontinue a false advertisement or modify it. CCPA can issue directions to the concerned advertiser/ publisher/trader/ manufacturer/ endorser.
  • To save the consumer from hazardous goods or services and for discontinuation of the unfair trade practices and reimbursement of the price paid, CCPA can pass orders to recall such goods or withdraw such types of services.
  • Against unsafe goods and services, CCPA can issue safety notices to consumers.
Penalties for misleading advertisement: A Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years may be imposed by the CCPA on a manufacturer or an endorser for a false or misleading advertisement.  The fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years in case of a subsequent offense. Product liability: The liability of a service provider or product manufacturer to compensate a consumer for any injury or harm caused by a deficient service or defective goods is known as Product liability. A consumer has to prove any one of the conditions for defect or deficiency as given in the Bill to claim compensation, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: For adjudicating consumer complaints, the setting up of Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has been proposed under the Bill. The Bill also proposes setting up of forums at the district, state, and national levels to solve the consumer complaints. The State CDRC will hear the appeals from a District CDRC. The National CDRC will hear the appeals from the State CDRC and the Supreme Court will hear the final appeal. CDRC’s Jurisdiction: The complaints where the value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore will be entertained by the District CDRC. The complaints where the value is more than Rs one crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the State CDRC. The complaints when the value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC. Some problems with consumer Protection Bill 2019 The definition of consumer rights is quite complex, every consumer will not be able to understand it or find it difficult to know what their entitlements are. The bill is more focused on mediator’s role rather than that of the regulator. The bill does not have any provision for consumer awareness about their rights. Conclusion: The bill will ensure eight Basic rights to Consumer. To check adulteration of products, misleading advertisements and to deter service providers from delivering defective goods or deficient services, Consumer Protection Bill 2019 provides for deterrent punishment and important provision including Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and product liability.