Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 15 February 2024

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Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 15 February 2024

1. The updated echo system

Topic: GS4 – Public/Civil service values in Ethics & Public administration –Accountability and ethical governance
In light of the facts regarding the function of governmental institutions in advancing social justice and defending the rights of citizens, this topic is pertinent to Mains.

– Two unsettling stories about recent events in an Indian city surface, pointing to alarming patterns in the institutional and societal structure.
– These stories highlight the deterioration of democratic principles and the incursion of authoritarian inclinations.

Attack on Students and Suppression of Dissent:

  • The first story describes a horrifying incident in which performing arts students are attacked during an exam.
  • Rather than guaranteeing justice, the university’s response only serves to deepen the bleak situation.
  • Police action leads to the arrest of the complainant and other victims after the department head is persuaded to file a complaint.
  • This series of events illustrates how the police and institutional systems have failed to protect citizens’ rights and bring criminal charges against those who violate them.

Threats and Suppression of Opposition:

  • The second story presents a terrifying scenario in which intimidation is used to disrupt a public meeting that is critical of the ruling party.
  • Threats are openly made by ruling party officials, but rather than enforcing the law, the police force the speaker to miss the meeting.
  • The speaker’s car is then attacked with impunity for the people making the threats.
  • This story reveals the connection between the ruling party and law enforcement, undermining the democratic space for free speech and dissent.

The Complicit Role of Law Enforcement:

  • These accounts highlight the law enforcement agencies’ complicity, as they support the ruling party’s interests rather than maintaining the law impartially.
  • The distinction between partisan politics and law enforcement is blurred when police tactics, such as silencing opposition voices and suppressing dissent, coincide with the political agenda of the ruling party.

Implications for Democracy:

  • These stories have consequences that go beyond isolated incidents and expose deeper cracks in the democratic system.
  • Democracy is fundamentally misunderstood when liberal values like freedom of expression are confused with democratic principles.
  • Democratic norms and institutions are seriously threatened by the rise of majoritarianism, public opinion manipulation, and electoral meddling.

Challenges Ahead:

  • These stories bring up important issues regarding the legitimacy of democratic processes as India gets ready for another national election.
  • Are we going to see the rise of a kind of democracy that looks like a democracy but actually represses dissent?
  • Will fictitious majorities control the rules of governance while real democratic values are marginalized?


  • These stories act as a wake-up call, challenging society to face the impending transformation of democracy.
  • The fundamental foundation of democracy is in danger due to the deterioration of democratic principles and the emergence of authoritarian tendencies.
  • These trends have the potential to lead to a dystopian future where disagreements, conflicts, and criticism are suppressed in the name of majority rule if they are not addressed immediately.

Practice Question: Evaluate the attacks on students and threats against public gatherings that criticize the ruling party that have occurred recently. Talk about how these developments affect India’s democratic governance and make recommendations for how to protect citizens’ rights and encourage law enforcement accountability. (15 m/250 words)

2. Farmers’ protest, lessons unlearnt

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies.
In light of the demands of the protesting farmers, which include social justice-related matters like the Minimum Support Price (MSP), farm loan waivers, and compensation for victims of previous incidents, this topic is pertinent to Mains.

– The political landscape in India is characterized by a tapestry of conflicting narratives and shifting perceptions as the country prepares for the parliamentary elections of 2024.
– Focus has shifted in the run-up to the elections, with opinions ranging from the emerging INDIA alliance’s demands for a caste census to the BJP’s perceived advantages after the opening of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
– The attempt by the Punjabi farmers to march towards Delhi adds another level of complexity to these dynamics and creates the conditions for more political scheming.

Distinct Characteristics of Current Protests:

  • The farmers’ current protests bear similarities to the agitation of 2020, but they also differ significantly in terms of leadership, demands, and regional participation.
  • In contrast to the earlier demonstrations, which featured a more regionally inclusive focus, the current protests, spearheaded by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and led by new figures like Jagjit Singh Dhallewal and Sarwan Singh Pandher, are centered on Punjab.

Fragmentation within Farmer Unions:

  • In contrast to the cohesive front that was displayed during the earlier protests, the current unrest is characterized by the fragmentation of farmer unions competing with one another for prominence.
  • This disarray makes it more difficult to negotiate with the government and makes it more difficult to put together a coherent protest plan.

Structured Demands and Government Response:

  • The farmers’ demands, which include legal guarantees of the Minimum Support Price (MSP), exiting the World Trade Organization, and providing justice to those harmed in previous incidents, reveal a more organized agenda.
  • But the government’s approach is still regressive, marked by aggressive border blockades, internet outages, and a lack of willingness to properly resolve the farmers’ complaints.

Lessons from Past Protests:

  • Lessons from the 2020 farmers’ agitation are emphasized by the current protests, which highlight the significance of political will, long-term solutions, and stakeholder consultations in resolving agrarian crises.
  • Farmers’ dissatisfaction is exacerbated by the government’s slow response to their promises and their impression of political opportunism. This emphasizes the importance of proactive governance and addressing grassroots issues.

Addressing Agricultural Challenges:

  • The underlying agricultural crisis demands comprehensive solutions that address food sovereignty, security, and farmer livelihoods in addition to the current protests.
  • Moving past immediate electoral concerns, political will and coordinated efforts are needed to address systemic problems and offer the farming community long-term support.


  • In order to successfully navigate the complex pre-election dynamics in India, which include political posturing and farmer protests, proactive governance and inclusive dialogue become essential.
  • To address the issues of agrarian distress and socioeconomic inequality, political leadership must demonstrate a sincere commitment to developing comprehensive strategies that promote sustainable development and tackle the underlying causes of dissatisfaction among farmers.

PYQ: By Minimum Support Price (MSP), what do you mean? How will MSP help farmers escape the poverty trap? (150 words, 10 seconds) (CSE (M) GS-3, UPSSC 2018)
Practice Question: Analyze the problems caused by agrarian distress and suggest solutions to the fundamental problems in order to guarantee social justice and sustainable growth in India’s agriculture industry. (10 m / 150 words)

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