Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 27 February 2024

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Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 27 February 2024

1. It starts with the district

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors
In the context of comprehending the varied socio-economic and cultural landscape of India’s districts, this topic is pertinent for both Prelims and Mains.

– India’s districts, each of which represents a distinct socioeconomic and cultural environment, reflect the country’s diversity.
– In order to create effective policies that specifically address the needs and challenges of each district, policymakers must have a thorough understanding of this diversity.
– Using regional indices, like the District Development Index for Maharashtra, is one way to evaluate district development in its entirety.

District Development Index for Maharashtra: A Multidimensional Approach:

  • The District Development Index for Maharashtra takes into account both the present state of development and the potential for socio-economic development, providing policymakers with a comprehensive understanding of district-level progress.
  • This index offers a thorough overview of district performance, allowing decision-makers to pinpoint areas in need of development and capitalise on the unrealized potential found in a variety of state districts.

Population Dynamics: Governance Challenges and Opportunities:

  • District governance becomes extremely complex because the average district population is close to 1.86 million, which is more than the populations of entire nations like Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
  • However, improvements in socioeconomic metrics, like financial accessibility and education, show appreciable progress made at the district level and underscore the necessity of targeted policy interventions.

Inter-district Disparities: Insights from Data Analysis:

  • Research has illuminated differences in developmental outcomes between districts, presenting examples of both advancement and inequality between states.
  • For policymakers to guarantee equitable development throughout all districts and to pinpoint areas that need focused intervention, these kinds of analyses are essential.

Income Disparities and Urban-Rural Divide:

  • There are notable income differences between districts, as evidenced by reports such as the Competitiveness Roadmap for India, and urban areas contribute a disproportionate amount to economic activity.
  • A multifaceted strategy that takes into account bottom-up projects and top-down regulations suited to the unique requirements of each community is needed to address these discrepancies.

Policy Responses: Balancing Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches:

  • Achieving a balance between top-down initiatives that target wider socio-economic issues and bottom-up interventions that are customised for local settings is imperative for effective policy responses.
  • Projects such as the Aspirational Districts Programme serve as prime examples of how to close important gaps and encourage cooperation between stakeholders in order to tackle specific issues in agriculture, education, health, and other important areas.

Harnessing District-level Potential: Towards Clusters of Growth:

  • It is imperative to move past one-size-fits-all policies in order to unlock productivity and value creation at the district level.
  • Programmes like the One District One Product initiative seek to support district-level economic growth by utilising local resources and knowledge.
  • In addition, establishing interconnected institutions and industries within industrial clusters can stimulate the creation of value and promote long-term expansion.


  • India’s policymakers must take into account the diversity of its districts in order to customise their interventions in support of the country’s goals of inclusive and sustainable development.
  • Districts can become growth engines and contribute to the goal of a developed and equitable India by utilising localised data, encouraging cooperation, and putting targeted policies into place.

PYQ: Describe the main tactics used to transform India’s aspirational districts and the ways in which convergence, cooperation, and competition are necessary for success. (15 minutes, 250 words) (UPSC GS-1 2018 CSE (M))
Practice Question: Talk about how important it is to comprehend the diversity of Indian districts when developing policies and development programmes. In what ways can regional indices such as the District Development Index aid in the formulation of successful policies? (15 m/250 words)

2. Instead of electoral bonds

Topic: GS2 – Polity – Judiciary 
This subject is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains since it deals with how judicial rulings affect elections and governance.

– The adage “Murder will out” is applicable to the current discussion concerning the viability and consequences of the Election Bonds Scheme (EBS), especially in light of the most recent Supreme Court ruling.
– This decision may reveal the real story behind the transactions that the EBS facilitated, which have been declared unlawful.
– But questions remain, and it’s unclear if unanticipated challenges will prevent the Court’s ruling from bringing about justice.

Analysis of Supreme Court Verdict: Implications and Legal Context:

  • The ruling by the Supreme Court confirms the long-standing rules set forth in the Companies Act that regulate corporate funding of Indian politics.
  • The fundamentals of transparency were never compromised, even though corporations were allowed to contribute to political causes provided they met certain requirements, like making a profit and getting the necessary board resolutions.
  • Nevertheless, the contested law’s amendments warped these core ideas, sustaining inequality and eroding transparency.

Broader Implications of the Judgment: Towards Systemic Reform:

  • Beyond the complexities of the law, the ruling encourages a more thorough examination of the reasons behind legislative proposals and how well they align with their stated goals.
  • The EBS inadvertently promoted a culture of secrecy despite being ostensibly implemented to improve electoral funding transparency.
  • In his dissent, Justice Sanjiv Khanna stresses the significance of legislative intent and warns against hidden agendas like revenge or retaliation.

Institutional Integrity and Government Oversight:

  • Concerns concerning the credibility of organisations entrusted with defending the public interest are also raised by the ruling.
  • The need for independent examination and vigilance is highlighted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Election Commission’s contradictory positions.
  • The decision to not extend the EBS serves as a stark reminder of how governmental authorities are invading democratic values and undermining the right to information.

Challenges to Democratic Processes and Electoral Integrity:

  • The potential for the EBS to skew elections and deny voting rights to smaller political parties is a crucial point that the ruling emphasises.
  • Unregulated funds are flooding the market, stifling alternative voices and strengthening entrenched interests, endangering the very foundation of democracy.
  • The ruling should be carefully considered in light of its implications for the prevalence of cash-based funding and the influence of money on voter behaviour.

Future Prospects and Legislative Reforms:

  • In the long run, the EBS’s cancellation offers a chance for comprehensive reform of the political financing system.
  • But eliminating the plan alone might not be enough to create fair competition again.
  • It is essential that all parties involved work together to develop substitute systems that preserve democratic principles and guarantee openness in political funding.


  • The forthcoming disclosure of truth bears noteworthy ramifications for India’s democratic values and political system.
  • The Supreme Court’s decision emphasises how important it is for legislators to be held accountable and for democratic values to be upheld.
  • The new Parliament has the responsibility to pass laws that preserve India’s democratic framework and the spirit of judicial scrutiny while the country waits for more developments.

What are Electoral Bonds?
– Electoral bonds are a 2018 initiative that permits political parties to receive anonymous funding.
– Similar to promissory notes or bearer bonds, these bonds serve as financial instruments that are intended to be contributed to political parties.
– The 2017 Budget Session marked the initial announcement of the EBS. In order to facilitate the Electoral Bonds Scheme, it was subsequently notified in January 2018 that it was a source of political funding through amendments to the Finance Act of 2017, the Representation of the People Act of 1951, the Income Tax Act of 1961, and the Companies Act of 2013.
– The amendments eliminated the donation cap for corporations and the need to declare and keep a record of all contributions made through electoral bonds, allowing electoral bonds to circumvent many of the limitations on political party funding.

Donations Through Electoral Bonds:
– The State Bank of India (SBI) and its approved branches are the issuers of electoral bonds, which are available in multiple denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore.
– Donors can buy electoral bonds by using an account that complies with Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations, and then they can transfer the money to political parties.
– These bonds are available for purchase by individuals or corporations, and the donors’ identities are kept secret from the bank and the political parties that receive them.
– Under the scheme, donations made through electoral bonds were fully exempt from taxes.
– Notably, an individual or business is able to purchase an unlimited quantity of electoral bonds.

Eligibility to Receive Funds via Electoral Bonds:
– To be eligible to receive electoral bonds, political parties must be registered under Section 29A of the RPA, 1951, and must have received at least 1% of the votes cast in the most recent Lok Sabha or state legislative assembly elections.

PYQ: In 2016, the Election Commission of India proposed electoral reforms aimed at improving the quality of democracy in the country. What changes are recommended, and how important are they to ensuring the success of democracy? (15 minutes, 250 words) (CSE (M) GS-2, UPSSC 2017)
Practice Question: Examine critically how the recent ruling by the Supreme Court on the Electoral Bonds Scheme (EBS) will affect accountability and transparency in India’s electoral process. Talk about the judgment’s wider significance in preserving democratic values and constitutional principles. (15 m/250 words)

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