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Indian Express

21- December-2023

1. A moral failure

Topic: GS2 – Polity- Parliament Functioning
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of functioning of Parliament
  • A recent example of the institutional disintegration that is occurring inside our political system is the suspension of many opposition members of parliament during the Winter Session.
  • Parliament has become a conflict zone where rules are conveniently ignored, instead of functioning as a venue for debate and deliberation.
  • The opposition uses disruption as a justifiable political tactic, while the ruling party uses House rules to erode legislative traditions.
Deeper Political Crisis:
  • Submerged behind the apparent dynamics of government versus opposition is a more profound political crisis that seriously jeopardises democratic norms and constitutional precepts.
  • This crisis has four distinct components:
1. Legislative Discourse Decline:
  • Because Members of Parliament frequently follow coalition or party lines legislative deliberations have lost political relevance.
  • Parliamentary discussions are becoming a collection of irrelevant speeches, interruptions, and sloganeering rather than a platform for good debates and mutual learning.
  • Parliament’s democratic capacity is weakened by the absence of significant contributions.
2. Professionalisation of Politics
  • Indian politics adopted the national movement’s emphasis on social service after independence.
  • Nonetheless, political rivalry forced politicians to exploit elements of regional identity, caste, and religion for their own political advantage.
  • Politicians now embrace language that guarantees more attention, even if it goes against past moral principles, as a means of obtaining power and advancing in their career.
3. Intellectual Bankruptcy
  • Political parties create electoral packages to entice voters in the political marketplace, seeing themselves as rival companies.
  • Parties in a post-ideological world are hesitant to question prevailing narratives, which adds to the political class’s intellectual bankruptcy.
  • Discussions over legislation worsen, and interruptions and suspensions start to happen frequently.
4. Decline of Political Morality
  • It is expected of legislators to respect political morality and act as a group.
  • On the other hand, given that parliamentary procedures are being cited without considering broader democratic values, recent occurrences suggest a major erosion in political morality.
  • Rules imposed without respect to the ideals of the constitution are considered politically incorrect and illogical.
Way Forward:
  • Surveys show that, in spite of these difficulties, the general Indian population still views Parliament as one of the most trustworthy public institutions.
  • Voters’ active involvement in the election confirms the perception that the public expects Parliament to uphold and defend democratic norms.
  • The political elite must take this public opinion seriously in order to stop the continued deterioration of democratic institutions.
PYQ: Individual Parliamentarian’s role as the national lawmaker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss. (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2019) (250 words/15 m)
Practice Question: Discuss the challenges faced by the Indian parliamentary system. How can these challenges be addressed to strengthen democratic values in the country?  (250 words/15 m)

2. Beyond App & Coaching Class

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice-Education 
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of challenges in India’s education sector.
  • The article examines the problems facing India’s education system, highlighting how the impoverished rely on elections to meet their basic requirements.
  • It criticises the widespread practice of giving out freebies and handouts during election seasons, contending that people put their immediate interests before of their demands for basic rights such as healthcare, high-quality education, and stable employment.
The Crisis in the Education Sector:
  • The article declares that the education industry is in a crisis and links it to irresponsible politicisation and commercialization.
  • The article argues that in order to protect the sector from limited political concerns, restoring it will need a planned, methodical strategy and national agreement.
Limitations of Technology in Education:
  • The article draws attention to the drawbacks of edutech startups, especially their inability to provide results without the help of qualified educators.
  • The article promotes wise educational investments while cautioning against market-driven technological fundamentalism.
Rise of the Tuition Industry:
  • Concerns are raised by the tuition industry’s explosive growth, which is estimated to be worth over Rs 58 billion and double by 2028.
  • The article notes that the devaluation of high school exams by government policies has led to the emergence of tuition centres.
  • It bemoans the trend of parents gravitating towards tuition centres and sees them as a danger to traditional education.
Quality of Teaching and the Widening Divide:
  • The article addresses the inadequate quality of instruction in various school settings, highlighting the growing divide between pupils with higher levels of education and those with lower levels.
  • It draws attention to the annual rise in students battling an inadequate system and exposes the government’s preference for material tweaks over creative fixes.
Solutions for Reform
  • The article advocates for societal involvement in education reform beyond government action and offers ideas for reform.
  • Among the ideas include encouraging volunteerism, civil society, and engaging senior citizens.
  • Proposed initiatives include greater accountability for teachers and conditional pay doles for women based on their children’s academic success.
  • The article’s conclusion emphasises how critical it is that political priorities for education be set, both in terms of funding and attention.
  • It calls for a commitment to raise the budget to at least 6% of GDP, as suggested by the Education 2030 Framework for Action, and criticises India’s insufficient spending on education.
  • The article provides a thorough summary of the issues facing India’s education system, emphasising the necessity of a coordinated and dedicated effort from all parties involved in order to bring about significant reform and progress.
What are the Features of National Education Policy 2020?
  • Making “India a global knowledge superpower” is the goal of NEP 2020. This is only the third significant revision to India’s educational framework since independence.
  • The two previous education laws were introduced in 1986 and 1968.
  • Through an open schooling system, it seeks to reintegrate 2 crore out-of-school youth.
  • With a new accrediting system and an independent body to oversee both public and private schools, school governance is about to change.
  • Using a 360-degree holistic progress card to track student progress towards learning outcomes, assessment reforms are implemented.
  • Beginning in Class 6, Vocational Education will include internships.
PYQ: Discuss the main objectives of Population Education and point out the measures to achieve them in India in detail. (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2021) (150 words/10 m)
Practice Question: Analyze the challenges in India’s education sector. (150 words/10 m)

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