The paper, titled “The Indian Administrative Service Meets Big Data” was published recently. It also highlights about the need for immediate reforms should be


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1.1. CIVIL SERVICE REFORMS

Why in news?

The paper, titled “The Indian Administrative Service Meets Big Data” was published recently. It also highlights about the need for immediate reforms should be brought about by the government.

Challenges

• Flailing state of IAS ✓ Apex civil service is not functioning anywhere close to its highest capacity. A new report by a political

consultancy rated that Indian bureaucracy as the most inefficient in Asia. ✓ There are perverse incentives for career advancement, a lack of specialized expertise, and a perception

of widespread corruption.

• Declining Human Capital ✓ The government is finding it hard to lure young talent away from increasingly attractive private-sector

opportunities. ✓ The combination of rising average age and lack of advanced academic qualifications implies that many candidates spend a majority of their twenties preparing for and taking entrance examinations for the elite civil services.

• Diminished Independence ✓ A deeply pervasive culture of political interference. ✓ Short average tenure in posts. For example it is as low as six months in Uttar Pradesh.

• Poor Incentives for Advancement ✓ Bias toward seniority in filling key posts reduces the ability of high-performing officers to swiftly obtain

promotions. Even poorly performing officers are given promotion.

• Lack of Specialization ✓ Some experts have questioned whether the IAS can continue to exist as a generalist service in a world

that is increasingly complex and where domain knowledge has become more valuable.

• Malfeasance ✓ Endemic political interference can lead to rent-seeking behavior even for honest officers, who might feel

forced to comply with questionable demands from superiors for fear of being punished. ✓ Furthermore, uncompetitive public-sector salaries encourage officers to make extra money while in

office.

• Status-quoist attitude: Stiff resistance from incumbent IAS officers on civil service reform.

A Reform Agenda for the Civil Service

• Transfers and Plum postings: It is imperative that the central and various state governments institute key safeguards to protect against arbitrary, politically motivated transfers and postings of civil servants.

• Data: The IAS should use data on civil servants’ abilities, education, and training when placing officers early in their careers. As officers gain experience, performance metrics can inform key decisions about promotion and allocation.

• Lateral Exit: The government should consider the proposal that officers deemed unfit for further service at certain career benchmarks be compulsorily retired through a transparent and uniform system of performance review.

• State cadre: State and central governments should discuss whether state cadres should be given greater latitude to experiment with increasing the proportion of local IAS officers and track their relative performance.

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1.2. CAUVERY WATER ISSUE

Why in news?

• In August this year, the Tamil Nadu government showed a deficit of 50.0052 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water released from Karnataka reservoirs, as directed by the CDWT.

• Tamil Nadu sought the apex court’s intervention saying its farmers needed the water to begin cultivating samba crops.

• On September 5, the Supreme Court ordered the Karnataka government to release 15,000 cusecs of water a day for 10 days, to Tamil Nadu. This led to widespread protests and bandhs in Karnataka.

• The Karnataka government’s stand was water could not be released due to drought conditions in South Karnataka.

• On September 22 two Houses of the Karnataka legislature, on Friday, unanimously passed a resolution stating that “it is imperative for the State government to ensure” that no water is drawn from the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin “except for drinking water requirements of villages and towns in the Cauvery basin and for the entire city of Bengaluru.”

Background

• As per 1924-agreement, Cauvery river water is distributed as 75% with Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, 23% to Karnataka and remaining to go to Kerala.

• In 1974, Karnataka (Mysore) asserted that the 1924 agreement entailed a discontinuation of the water supply to Tamil Nadu (Madras) after 50 years.

• Karnataka demanded that the river water should be divided according to international rules, i.e., in equal portions.

Cauvery waters tribunal

• Owing to Tamil Nadu government’s appeal to the Central government in 1986 to constitute a tribunal for solving the issue under Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956, the Cauvery Waters Tribunal was established on June, 2, 1990.

• In 2007, after sixteen years of hearing and an interim order later, the Tribunal announced its final order.

• It concluded that the water availability in Cauvery stood at 740 tmcft. (Divisions between states are shown in the infographic)

Issue

• Endless cycle of sporadic litigation and ad hoc adjudication: Both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu continue to avoid any mutual engagement to share the shortfall during distress years.

• The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, which gave its award in 2007, has asked the parties to share the deficiency on a pro rata basis.

• Weak implementation of award: Due to absence of a ‘Cauvery Management Board’ and a Regulatory Authority, which the Tribunal had wanted created to oversee implementation.

• Supervisory Committee: After notifying the final award in 2013, the Union government set up a Supervisory Committee (not independent Cauvery Management Board) comprising officials from the Union government

Geography

• Tribunal award has been criticized for ignoring the fact that ground water in the river basin is more in lower riparian state and less in the upper riparian state while assessing water availability.

• Deficiency in monsoon rainfall and less water due to el nino and 2yr drought is the main reason. Karnataka had 18 percent short of normal rainfall.

• Inefficient use of land: Karnataka is cultivating large-scale water-intense crops such as sugar cane, despite their soil’s dry- land-farming qualities.

Geographic location of Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu is present on the leeward side of western ghat for SW monsoon and receive majority of its rainfall via N-E Monsoonl.



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and the Central Water Commission and representatives of both States. The court has now asked Tamil Nadu to approach the committee, which will decide on further releases.

• Excessive complication of the matter is due to regional politics and delayed judicial proceedings.

• Separation of powers and KA defying SC:

What needs to be done?

• Ideally, any distress-sharing formula should come from a technical body and not courts.

• Set up the Cauvery Management Board and Regulatory Authority. ✓ Once the Board is set up, all the Cauvery reservoirs in Karnataka will come under the control of the

board and the state will lose its rights over the management of water. ✓ The Board will take decisions on water usage and distribution. ✓ The Board will also see to it that states ensure proper hydraulic structures at relevant sites. It will

determine the amount of water to be received by the states. ✓ During Bad Monsoons: The Board will ensure adequate storage by the end of May each year during

good years. This will help during delays in the onset of monsoons.

▪ In case of consecutive bad years, the Board will handle the issue appropriately by distributing water in a planned manner with minimum distress.

• Attempts to resolve dispute have focused mainly on resource sharing while ignoring equity and efficiency issues. ✓ In a world of depleting water resources, fewer crop seasons and lower acreages, a resort to less water-

intensive crops and better water management hold the key. ✓ In the longer term, experts will have to devise a sustainable agricultural solution for the Cauvery basin,

as the river does not seem to have the potential to meet the farming requirements of both sides. ✓ Different types of irrigation like drip irrigation, sprinkler systems etc. should be adopted widely. ✓ Re-Visiting MSP Policies esp. w.r.t. Water Intensive Food Crops ✓ Crops should be planted according to Agro-Climatic conditions.

• River basin planning: Stakeholder states should plan collectively for the whole river basin. ✓ The fact is the Cauvery basin is overdeveloped and legal instruments are insufficient to address the

recurring water crisis.

• Non-political initiatives, such as the ‘Cauvery Family’, a body formed a few years ago covering farmers of both States, could help co-operation between farmers.

• Data: Transmission of quick and accurate information — rainfall to reservoir storage — could help dispel the current mistrust among the different stake-holders. Way forward

One solution can be to bring water under concurrent list and according to Mihir shah report central water authority can be constituted to manage rivers.

• Centre can play the role of impartial arbitrator. This role cannot be done by courts as this is a political question with political consequences.

• A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources too has stated the need for bringing the subject in the Concurrent List.

• It also urged the Centre to initiate “earnest” efforts to build a national consensus for bringing water in the Concurrent List of Constitution so that a comprehensive plan can be prepared for water conservation.

1.3. POLICE REFORMS

Why in news? Supreme Court of India in Youth Bar Association of India v Union of India and others, made it mandatory for the police to upload within 48 hours a First Information Report (FIR) drawn up by it suo motu or on a complaint.

Legislations by states: e.g. Bombay Police Act of 1951, in Kerala by the Kerala Police Act of 1960, in Karnataka by the Karnataka Police Act of 1963, in Delhi by the Delhi Police Act of 1978 etc. But all of them were still patterned on the model of the old 1861 legislation and ignored the needs of ‘democratic policing’.



Background

• The Police System is a colonial legacy: Police Act of 1861 has a managerial philosophy, which was based on distrust of the lower ranks in the organization.

• Post-Independence: Police Act of 1861 continued to govern it.

• Police is an exclusive subject under the State List (List II, Schedule 7 of the Indian Constitution).

• But most of the states are following the archaic Indian Police Act 1861 with a few modifications.

• Police have become the ‘subjects’ of Parliamentarians and legislators – with a high degree of politicization and allegiance towards ruling party.

National Police Commission

During the period between 1979 and 1981, the NPC produced eight reports. Major recommendations were centered around the problem of insulating the police from illegitimate political and bureaucratic interference

Benefits Of recent SC directive

• Protecting the accused – now he/she knows that he figures in an FIR.

• He/ she will also know the allegations which formed the basis of his accusation.

• This order is also a shot in the arm for activists who want to protect citizens from State harassment on flimsy grounds.

• Makes it difficult for station house officers to ignore crime, a common practice adopted with a view to helping an offender

• Makes it difficult to dress police statistics up so that rise in crime is concealed.

• Two issues: the need to protect national security, as well as the privacy of a citizen; and the technical feasibility of implementing its directive that FIRs should be uploaded within 48 hours of their registration. According to the order, there will be exemption from the directive when the alleged offence is sensitive, such as sexual violence or one in which there is an angle of national security, insurgency or terrorism.

• Will solve the problem of corruption involved in getting an FIR filed.

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Seven directives given in Prakash Singh case



Significance of police reforms

• The three greatest problems confronting the country today are: ✓ The challenge of international terrorism, ✓ The spread of maoist influence over vast areas of central india ✓ The cancer of corruption.

• To tackle these problems we need a professional police force, well trained and equipped, highly motivated, and committed to upholding the law of the land and the constitution of the country.

• The police are the first responders in the event of any terrorist attack or Maoist violence, and they are also the backbone of our intelligence, investigation and anti-corruption agencies.

• Economic progress cannot be sustained if we are not able to generate a safe and secure environment.

• The democratic structure may also crumble if we do not arrest the trend of criminals gaining ascendancy in public life.

Problems

• Political interference

• Lack of internal and external accountability. (Thomas committee has shown that nearly all states have ignored Prakash Singh case directives.)

• Numbers: The global average ratio of police-population is 270 to 100,000, where it’s 120 in India. With far less police – ill trained, ill-equipped and most of them are posted to protect the politicians, people of India are the least secure (most vulnerable) people in the world.

• Criminal Investigation: ✓ The important, but badly neglected, aspect of policing is criminal investigation. Standards have declined

sharply in the last few years.

• Human right violations: ✓ Compensation amount comes from public money, putting no burden on the policeman in question. ✓ Convictions are few. In seven of the 10 years from 2006 to 2015, not a single policeman was convicted of

human rights violations.

• Collection and analysis of preventive intelligence: ✓ Especially pertaining to terrorists and insurgents who pose a constant challenge to internal security.

• Vacancies: ✓ Central investigation agencies like the CBI, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement

Directorate continue to have huge vacancies

• Outdated arms and equipments: as seen in 26/11 attacks.

• Lack of proper training.

Way forward

• Police are to give better security and protection to the people of the country, uphold their human rights and generally improve governance and attending to their grievances is dependent on the establishment of a police force, which is efficient, honest and professional to the core.

• Therefore the PM, at the Guwahati Conference of the Directors General of Police on November 30, 2014, enunciated the concept of SMART Police - a police which should be sensitive, mobile, alert, reliable and techno-savvy.

• Also the reforms package must include the establishment of statutory institutional arrangements,

• Insulating police force from outside illegitimate control and giving them functional autonomy.

• Once the police are given functional independence, they must be held accountable for the wrongs they do

The existing mechanisms of accountability must be strengthened and improved. In addition, new mechanisms, working independently to monitor the functioning of the police and to inquire into public complaints against the police, must be established.

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Internal Accountability Mechanisms: Police Act of 1861, the state governments’ Police Acts and in rules laid down in state Police Manuals.
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