Current Public Administration Magazine (JUNE 2021)

Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine

1. Accountability and Responsibility

  • SC check on governments’ power to withdraw cases against MPs-MLAs is welcome

In August last year, the Karnataka government decided to drop charges in 61 criminal cases, several of which involved elected representatives and ministers, including the state’s law minister. Four months later, the state high court restrained the state government from acting on that order. “Courts are duty bound to assess whether prima facie a case is made or not,” it observed. The HC’s insistence on due process being followed in criminal cases involving members of the political class was salutary. It now has the Supreme Court’s imprimatur. “No prosecution against a sitting or former MP/MLA shall be withdrawn without the leave of the high court,” a three-judge bench headed by CJI N V Ramana ruled on Tuesday. “While determining whether the withdrawal of the prosecution subserves the administration of justice, the court would be justified in scrutinising the nature and gravity of the offence”, it said. This assertion of the primacy of public interest, often jettisoned by governments to favour members of ruling parties or alliances, is very welcome.

2. Indian Government and Politics

  • Reservation delayed, justice denied

On July 29, the Centre announced that 27 per cent OBC and 10 per cent EWS candidates will get reservation in NEET’s all-India quota (AIQ) in undergraduate (UG) and post-graduate (PG) medical seats of state medical and dental colleges from the current 2021-2022 academic year.

Indeed, SC (15 per cent) and ST (7.5 per cent) applicants got this reservation in 2007, and OBCs were similarly entitled from 2008 onwards, and more so after Saloni Kumari petitioned the Supreme Court in 2015 for PG seats in Uttar Pradesh. However, things moved only after the DMK approached the Madras High Court, and got favourable order for Tamil Naidu. Undoubtedly, there were years of avoidable delay. Thus, while rejoicing, one must not forget the thousands who were left out due to the inordinate dawdling by the Centre in making this decision. This is only one instance of delayed justice amongst hundreds of policies meant to empower SCs/STs/OBCs across the country. If this is how the rights of educated OBCs are being treated, imagine the plight of ordinary folk. Hence, one must reflect on the systemic malice plaguing the delivery of social justice affecting these communities.

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3. Social Administration

  • How e-RUPI can transform government’s welfare schemes

Recently launched by the Prime Minister, e-RUPI is a digital prepaid, purpose- and person-specific payment utility. It brings the ease and simplicity of UPI to the social security platform of DBT, two pioneering fintech offerings of India.

As a one-to-many payments facilitator, it will help the government sharpen targeted welfare programmes. The private sector will find it helpful to disburse non-cash benefits to employees and support focussed CSR programmes. Later, individuals could use it for gifting.

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4. Current Topic

  • Who’s afraid of a caste census?

The now-familiar fuss around the question of counting caste in the national Census highlights something that the world is beginning to notice. The global pandemic of authoritarianism — more virulent though less widespread than the other pandemic we have struggled with — has overturned the popular maxim of the information age. Today, power is information, not the other way around; and the absence of information, too, is an effect of power. Gigantic data-gathering exercises like the Indian Census have always been controlled by those who count rather than those who are counted or those who do the counting.

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5.  Indian Administration

  • Criminalization of politics must be curbed

On August 10, the Supreme Court made a new move in its bid to call into question the rising tide of criminalisation in Indian politics. The judgment came in response to a plea of contempt filed by advocate Brajesh Singh against political parties flouting its orders regarding disclosing criminal antecedents of candidates in the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections. “The nation continues to wait and is losing patience,” the apex court has gone on record to say.

The court has imposed fines of Rs 1 lakh on the BJP, the Congress and the JD(U), among others, for failing to comply with its orders regarding complete disclosure of their candidates’ criminal history. The CPI(M) and the Nationalist Congress Party were fined Rs 5 lakh for complete failure to comply with any of its mandates.

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