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Q.1) Since the last three years, the LOC has been witnessing heightening tensions with repeated violation of ceasefire activities by Pakistani troops. Examine the statement. (GS-2)

Introduction:

  • The first month of 2018 has witnessed heightened tensions on the Line of Control (LOC) and international border in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with repeated incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops.
  • Indian figures are about 800 ceasefire violations whereas the Pakistani figure is about 2,000 ceasefire violations.
  • In one of the biggest attacks this year from across the border,Pakistani soldiers fired anti-tank guided missiles and heavy mortar shells of 120 mm calibre on Indian troops.

Reason behind such escalating ceasefire:

  • The firing along the line of control (LOC) invariably happens in areas from where the infiltration takes place.
  • What actually constitutes a ceasefire violation differs from place to place and organization to organization.
  • The more the Pakistanis come under pressure on the Western Front, the more they’ll try to heat up the Eastern Front.
  • This will help the Pakistanis partly to use it as a negotiating strategy with the world powers and partly to show to India that they are not under pressure on the eastern side.
  • Internally in Kashmir, while 2017 was relatively much quieter compared to 2016, there is a very serious fear that 2018 will be much worse than or as bad as 2016 in many ways.
  • Because 2017 was a year in which many of these terrorist groups have reorganize, recuperated and reenergize themselves.
  • India has not cleansed the administration of all the malcontents who have been recruited over the last 15 years.
  • Separatists and terrorists or people with links with militant organizations have been given government jobs.
  • India needs to establish the rule of law and order, governance must return and politics should take a back seat.

Q.2) Sources of fuel being one, what are the other string of differences between electric and hybrid vehicles? What can be the possible ramifications if India makes a paradigm shift to all-electric vehicles.

Introduction:

  • A vehicle is a hybrid if it utilizes more than one form of onboard energy to achieve propulsion.
  • An electric vehicle, also called an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion.

Differences between electric and hybrid vehicles:

  • Hybrid vehicles have two sources available to them, a battery that powers an electric motor and a fuel tank that powers a normal petrol engine.
  • An all-EV does not have this advantage.
  • EVs have the benefit of larger batteries since they do not have to share space with a petrol engine or fuel tank.
  • EVs can travel a much longer distance than a hybrid car running on its battery.

EVs are taxed at 12%, hybrid vehicles are taxed on par with the luxury vehicles at 28% plus 15% cess.

Benefits in shifting to all-electric vehicles:

Reduce India’s oil dependency:

  • The shift from petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles will reduce India’s dependence on oil and the cost of import.

Strengthen the rupee:

  • It will strengthen the rupee and the current account deficit would disappear.

Address the issues of climate change:

  • The air will be cleaner and will be an end-to-end solution to address the issues of climate change.

Job creation:

  • The Government will help establish charging stations to start with and later through franchisee model, create jobs for lakhs of entrepreneurs to establish charging stations across the country.

Cheaper in price:

  • The electric vehicles will be cheaper and the operating costs will also reduce, which will be an economic incentive for the public to buy the same.

Challenges in increasing the usage of e-vehicles:

Very few global carmakers:

  • A very few global carmakers
    have brought their electric variants into India.

Battery technology:

  • Battery technology is yet
    another aspect that needs to be looked into.

Capacity of battery cells has not changed:

  • While the cost of batteries has fallen over the years,  a
    Bank of America Merill Lynch report found the cost of battery cells fell 48%
    between 2011 and 2015 but their capacity has not changed as drastically.

Sheer shift is not efficient address the impact on the environment:

  • Simply shifting the fleet to electric will not address the impact on the environment.
  • This has to be accompanied with an even swifter change in the energy mix to renewable sources.

Q3) Write short notes on:

a) European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

b) ‘Wash trade’ in economics

European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Introduction:

  • The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most notable change in the data protection regime in the last two decades.
  • The GDPR reflects a paradigm shift in the understanding of the relationship individuals have with their personal data, granting the citizen substantial rights in his/her interaction with data controllers (those who determine why and how data is collected such as a government or private news website), and data processors (those who process the data on behalf of controllers, such as an Indian IT firm to which an E.U. firm has outsourced its data analytics).

Features:

  • Under the GDPR, a data controller will have to provide consent terms that are clearly distinguishable.
  • The GDPR requires those collecting data to provide information on the ‘who’ and ‘how.’
  • Individuals will also have the right to have personal data deleted under certain conditions.
  • The GDPR also makes reporting obligations and enforcement stronger.
  • Data breaches will normally have to be reported within 72 hours and failure to comply with the new laws could result in a fine up to 4% of global turnover or €20 million, the maximum amount of the fine.

‘Wash trade’

  • ‘Wash trade’ refers to a form of market manipulation wherein a trader simultaneously buys and sells a stock, or any other financial security, in the market.
  • A wash trading scheme helps to create the impression that a security is being actively traded in the market and is thus in strong demand among market participants in general.
  • This, in turn, can mislead other investors into buying the security and boosting its price.
  • Brokers might also cooperate with traders engaging in wash trades simply because they can earn huge commissions in the process.
  • Tax considerations at the end of a financial year may also push many regular investors to engage in wash trades.
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