Current Public Administration Magazine (JULY 2018)

Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine

1. Accountability and Control

::Has the Right to Information Act been weakened?::

The Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005 is being weakened absolutely and decisively. Let’s understand how. For over a decade, citizens of India have tenaciously protected and guarded this people’s legislation, preventing repeated attempts to dilute the Act through amendments. Interestingly, no government has bothered to propose amendments which would make the RTI Act more robust and effective.

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2. Indian Government and Politics

::The case for increasing the retirement age of judges::

The issue of increasing the age of retirement for judges featured in the Venkatachaliah Report (Report of the National Commission to review the working of the Constitution) as early as 2002. A half-hearted attempt was made in 2010 to bring in the Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill to raise the retirement age of High Court judges to 65 from 62 years. The amendment never came through. The idea of increasing the age of retirement, which has gained traction in recent times, has now been brought into sharp focus by Justice Kurian Joseph of the Supreme Court.

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3. Indian Administration

::Layers of Protection::

The amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, adopted recently by both Houses of Parliament, are a mixed bag. Moves to make changes in this law, aimed at combating corruption in government, were initiated during the UPA’s second term in office and largely centred on the misuse of one provision — Section 13 (1)d. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had criticised this section, under which public servants are culpable for securing a pecuniary advantage for another “without any public interest”, for ignoring a foundational principle of criminal law: mens rea . This resulted in many honest officials being prosecuted even when they gained nothing and merely exercised their power or discretion in favour of someone.

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4. Governance

::Government-mukt governance::

Many years ago, in a bid to evangelise the use of the Internet in India, a global technology giant decided to ‘seed’ some non-traditional locations in India with Internet access-enabled devices and free WiFi. These ‘non-traditional’ locations included schools in low-income areas, and slums.

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5. Current Topic

::India needs smart urbanisation::

Residents of Bhavanpur, a village about 15 km outside Ahmedabad, have been protesting against their inclusion in the city’s urban area by the local urban development authority. Similar protests have been observed in villages elsewhere in Gujarat. It’s a strange trend, the fruits of urban development seemingly rejected. Meanwhile, pollution in India’s urban areas seems to have sparked off a reverse migration.

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