12 March 2024 : The Hindu Editorial Notes PDF

The Hindu Editorial


1. Central transfers and the issue of shares of some States

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Devolution of power and finances
Critical for UPSC as it addresses the evolving dynamics of resource distribution among Indian states, focusing on Finance Commission’s criteria.
  • The article discusses the declining share of resources for southern Indian states in successive Finance Commissions, emphasizing the impact of income distance and suggesting measures for fair distribution


  • The Sixteenth Finance Commission faces a critical issue raised by southern Indian states regarding a decline in their share of resources transferred from the Centre.
  • This decline has been observed over successive Finance Commissions, prompting a need for examination and potential solutions.

Analysis of State Shares:

  • Data from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Finance Commission shows a consistent decrease in the share of southern states, dropping from 19.785% to 15.800%.
  • Northern and eastern states also experienced declines, while hilly, central, and western states, including Maharashtra, gained.
  • The income distance criterion, a key determinant, resulted in the loss of 8.055% points for southern states between the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Finance Commissions.

Role of Distance Criterion:

  • The distance criterion, weighted at 50% by the Eleventh Finance Commission, was reduced to 45% by the Fifteenth Finance Commission.
  • The income distance criterion significantly impacted the share of southern states, illustrating that states farther from the highest income state receive a higher share.
  • Despite the distance criterion contributing to gains for low-income states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, overall losses occurred due to other criteria.

Population Criterion Controversy:

  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission used 2011 population data, departing from the previous use of 1971 data, causing some controversy.
  • The introduction of the demographic change criterion aimed to mitigate the impact on states showing better fertility rate reduction performance.

Potential Steps Forward:

  • Despite the legitimacy of questions about the indefinite use of the income distance criterion, abandoning it entirely is not feasible.
  • The Sixteenth Finance Commission could consider reducing the weight of the income distance criterion by 5% to 10% points while increasing weights for other criteria.
  • Addressing the quantum of the divisible pool is crucial; the increase in cesses and surcharges by the Centre has reduced the size of the pool.
  • A proposal to limit the share of cesses and surcharges to 10% of the Centre’s gross tax revenues may help maintains a fair distribution.
  • The decline in the states’ share, despite the acceptance of the Fourteenth Finance Commission’s recommendation to raise it to 42%, underscores the need for attention and potential corrective measures.


  • In addressing the concerns raised by certain states regarding declining shares, the Sixteenth Finance Commission could consider recalibrating the weightage of the income distance criterion.
  • And also addressing the impact of cesses and surcharges on the divisible pool, ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources among states.
16th Finance Commission
  • Formed:  Established in December 2023, the 16th Finance Commission is tasked with determining financial distribution between the Indian central government and states.
  • Leadership:  Chaired by Dr. Arvind Panagariya, former Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog.
  • Objective: Recommend revenue sharing between the centre and states for the next five years starting April 1, 2026.

●     Scope:
1.     Deciding the distribution of central tax revenue with states.
2.     Allocating grants-in-aid to states from the central government.
3.     Suggesting measures to strengthen the financial resources of local bodies like Panchayats and municipalities.
●     Timeline:
1.     Terms of reference defined in December 2023.
2.     Expected to submit recommendations by October 31, 2025.

PYQ: How have the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission of India enabled the States to improve their fiscal position? (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2021)
Practice Question:  How can the Sixteenth Finance Commission strike a balance between income distance criteria and equitable resource distribution among Indian states. (150 Words /10 marks)

2. A tribe in the Western Ghats in need of a lifeline

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Vulnerable Sections

Significant for UPSC as it highlights challenges faced by tribal communities post-Forest Rights Act, emphasizing socio-economic complexities and governance gaps.
The Information mentioned in the article can be used as a case study in UPSC mains answers.

  • The article discusses the socio-economic conditions of the ‘Phani Yerava’ tribe in Karnataka’s Western Ghats, focusing on their forest land claims, changing livelihoods, and challenges related to alcohol abuse.


  • The article explores the socio-economic conditions of the ‘Phani Yerava’ tribe in Makuta village, Karnataka, focusing on their successful land claims under the Forest Rights Act in 2021.

Land Rights Success:

  • With local assistance, 19 Yerava households secured land rights through joint surveys by Forest, Revenue, and Social Welfare Departments.
  • The village is situated in the Talacauvery sub-cluster, a designated World Heritage Site in Karnataka, known for dense tropical evergreen forests.

Changing Livelihoods:

  • Despite acquiring forest rights, the Yeravas show reduced enthusiasm for forest-dependent livelihoods due to challenges in collecting minor forest produce.
  • The tribe has shifted to daily wage labour, primarily in Kasaragod, Kerala, emphasizing language comfort in Malayalam.
  • Minor forest produce like fuelwood, honey, incense, and shekakai (soap pod) are still collected but mostly for personal consumption, not commercial purposes.

Alcohol Abuse Concerns:

  • A significant concern is the rampant alcohol abuse observed in the community post-Forest Rights Act implementation.
  • The habit negatively impacts daily life, affecting children’s school attendance and overall community well-bei
  • Officials from the Department of Social Welfare express concern and initiate de-addiction drives, acknowledging the disheartening state of the habitants.

Impact on Documentation:

  • Alcohol abuse has led to a lack of awareness and engagement with external affairs, necessitating the safekeeping of essential documents with non-tribal members.

Broader Social Issues:

  • NGOs and officials highlight the insufficient attention given to such social issues in state policies, echoing concerns raised by local tribal communities like Hasalaru, Gowdalu, and Jenu Kurubas.
  • Leaders of these communities stress the need for government intervention to address addiction and other existential concerns among forest dwellers.

Call for Government Action:

  • The government should prioritize social issues affecting tribal communities, emphasizing that effective interventions are crucial for addressing challenges like addiction among forest dwellers.
PYQ: The persisting drives of the government for development of large industries in backward areas have resulted in isolating the tribal population and the farmers who face multiple displacements with Malkangiri and Naxalbari foci, discuss the corrective strategies needed to win the left wing extremism (LWE) doctrine affected citizens back into the mainstream of social and economic growth. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2015)
Practice Question:  How does the implementation of the Forest Rights Act impact the socio-economic dynamics and challenges of tribal communities? (250 Words /15 marks)

3. Time to prohibit judges from joining politics

  • The article discusses the resignation of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay from the Calcutta High Court, his subsequent affiliation with the BJP, and the need for judicial reforms regarding post-retirement conduct.


  • Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay resigned from the Calcutta High Court, joining the BJP, sparking debates on post-retirement judicial conduct and political affiliations.

Judicial Conduct Concerns:

  • Gangopadhyay faced controversies during his judgeship, including a TV interview criticizing the West Bengal government and defiance of a division bench order.
  • The Chief Minister questioned the credibility of his judgments, emphasizing the need for judicial accountability.

Cooling-off Period Debate:

  • Former Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s suggestion of a cooling-off period for judges post-retirement is Important in this context, with Gangopadhyay asserting no existing rule.

Constitutional Assembly’s Stance:

  • The Constituent Assembly rejected suggestions of legally barring judges from executive posts, prioritizing judicial independence over external regulations.
  • Judges of constitutional courts enjoy powers and privileges, with impeachment as the almost unworkable method of removal, highlighting their protected status.

Judicial Conduct Standards:

  • The Constitution and the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct identify six core values of the judiciary – Independence, Impartiality, Integrity, Propriety, Equality, Competence and Diligence, guiding judges’ behaviour in and out of court.
  • Specific clauses address the prohibition of comments affecting case outcomes and the requirement to disqualify oneself if impartiality is compromised.
  • The global acceptance of the Bangalore Declaration reinforces the need for judges to maintain public, legal, and litigant confidence in their impartiality.

Opportunity for Reform:

  • The current episode is seen as an opportunity for the Chief Justice of India and the Supreme Court to investigate and prevent similar judicial aberrations.
  • The Supreme Court should expressly prohibit judges from taking political roles post-resignation, considering it a breach of oath and judicial conduct norms.

Need for Judge-Made Law:

  • Advocacy for a judge-made law on judges’ post-retirement political involvement, given the unlikelihood of parliamentary action on the matter.


  • The recent episode can prove to be a potential catalyst for significant judicial reforms, urging the Supreme Court to address post-retirement political affiliations explicitly.

Judges joining politics after retirement

  • Conflict of Interest: Retired judges entering politics may compromise their impartiality, as their political affiliations may clash with their previous judicial roles.
  • Undermining Judiciary’s Independence: Political involvement of former judges can be perceived as a threat to the judiciary’s independence, potentially eroding public trust in the legal system.
  • Ethical Concerns: Transitioning from a neutral judicial position to a partisan political role raises ethical questions about the integrity of the legal profession.
  • Influence on Judicial Decisions: The fear of future political aspirations might affect a judge’s decisions while on the bench, leading to concerns about biased rulings.
  • Perception of Favouritism: Public perception may question the fairness of legal decisions made by judges who later enter politics, suspecting favouritism or bias.
  • Impact on Rule of Law: Former judges engaging in politics might impact the overall rule of law, as their actions could be seen as prioritising political interests over legal principles.

 Way Forward:

  • Establish Cooling-off Periods: Introduce mandatory cooling-off periods before retired judges can engage in politics, allowing time for detachment from their judicial roles.
  • Ethical Guidelines: Develop and enforce strict ethical guidelines for retired judges entering politics, ensuring their conduct aligns with the principles of impartiality and judicial integrity.
  • Public Disclosure: Require transparent disclosure of any political affiliations or intentions during a judge’s tenure and post-retirement to maintain public trust and awareness.
  • Judicial Standards Boards: Strengthen and empower judicial standards boards to monitor and address ethical concerns related to retired judges entering politics.
  • Encourage Non-political Roles: Promote alternative post-retirement roles for judges, such as academic positions, mediation, or legal consultancy, to minimize the impact on the perceived independence of the judiciary.
PYQ: Constitutionally guaranteed judicial independence is a prerequisite of democracy. Comment. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2023)
Practice Question:  How can the judiciary address challenges associated with post-retirement political affiliations to ensure ethical and impartial judicial conduct? (250 Words /15 marks)

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