Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – June 6


1. Do you think that Aadhar has been effective in ending corruption? Discuss critically. (GS 2)

Yes:

  • It will help to reduce corruption since this will digitalize the whole process, so enables the Government.  to transfer money related to social benefit schemes directly to beneficiary’s account. Thus, bypassing the middle men.
  • This will solve the problem of ghost claimants in the system and thus reduce leakage/corruption from the system.
    • About 14 crore ghost people were eliminated after introducing aadhar based DBT in LPG subsidy.
  • Poor/rural people in India who did not have any proof of identification can now get unique Aadhar number and demand all fundamental facilities they are entitled to.

No:

  • Thousands of complaints that ration dealers are still corrupt and forcing people to give their fingerprints or not giving receipts or saying that the biometrics aren’t getting authenticated still exist.
  • Most important glitch that cannot be addressed by the new system is the lack of timely creditsin beneficiary’s bank accounts. The new system is intended to transfer benefits efficiently without leakages. It is outside the scope of the Aadhaar system to ensure that the government transfers funds on a timely basis.
  • The aadhar doesn’t eliminate the bureaucratic red tape in allocating benefits.
  • Aadhar is not an invincible anti-corruption tool:
    • it can only prevent ‘identity fraud’
    • it cannot prevent ‘quantity fraud’ – PDS shops may sell lower quantities
  • Public-savings
    • No firm evidence yet that aadhar has reduced wasteful leakages/public expenditure.
  • Examples from states:
    • In Jharkhand, after the Aadhaar-based point of sale system was made compulsory, in July 2016, ration cardholders in Ranchi district received less than halfof their foodgrain entitlements through that system
    • Rajasthan highlighted the corruption in Aadhaar-based biometric authentication (ABBA) leading to siphoning off of the rations far more easily on count of Aadhaar.
  • CAG report No 25 of 2016:
    • The auditor observed in this report that multiple LPG connections having the same Aadhaar number or same Bank account in the consumer database maintained by the OMCs.
    • This highlighted that the use of Aadhaar did not eliminate multiple connections. It highlighted that beneficiaries also had access to multiple Aadhaar numbers.
    • The CAG also found consumers with multiple connections who received subsidy on more than 12 cylinders as well as an advance payment on registration.
  • Cobrapost and CNN Network 18 have exposed that for a cost between Rs 500 to Rs 2500, “Aadhaar officers” agreed to make Aadhar Cards for applicants without any proof of identification or proof of address. .

Therefore to make aadhar efficient the implemention process needs to be strengthened as it is at the grassroots the misuse takes place and is not accounted to.With increased digitization,government efforts to make Indian economy a cashless economy and making everything accounted to these kind of instances can be taken care of.


2. Discuss the objectives of Foreign Trade Policy(or EXIM Policy). Mention some of the highlights of the present Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020. (GS 3)

Introduction:

  • India’s Foreign Trade Policy also known as Export Import Policy (EXIM) in general, aims at developing export potential, improving export performance, encouraging foreign trade and creating favorable balance of payments position.

Objectives of EXIM policy:

  • To accelerate the economy from low level of economic activities to high level of economic activities by making it a globally oriented vibrant economy and to derive maximum benefits from expanding global market opportunities.
  • To stimulate sustained economic growth by providing access to essential raw materials, intermediates, components,’ consumables and capital goods required for augmenting production.
  • To enhance the techno local strength and efficiency of Indian agriculture, industry and services, thereby, improving their competitiveness.
  • To generate employment opportunities and encourage the attainment of internationally accepted standards of quality.
  • To provide quality consumer products at reasonable prices.

 Highlights of present foreign trade policy:

  • India to be made a significant participant in world trade by 2020
  • FTP 2015-20 introduces two new schemes, namely “Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)” and “Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS)”.
    • These schemes (MEIS and SEIS) replace multiple schemes earlier in place.
    • For services, all schemes have been replaced by a ‘Services Export from India Scheme'(SEIS), which will benefit all services exporters in India.
    • FTP benefits from both MEIS & SEIS will be extended to units located in SEZs
  • FTP would reduce export obligations by 25% and give boost to domestic manufacturing
  • E-Commerce of handicrafts, handlooms, books etc., eligible for benefits of MEIS. E-Commerce exports up to Rs.25000 per consignment will get SFIS benefits.
  • Agricultural and village industry products to be supported across the globe at rates of 3% and 5% under MEIS. Higher level of support to be provided to processed and packaged agricultural and food items under MEIS.
  • Industrial products to be supported in major markets at rates ranging from 2% to 3%.
  • Branding campaigns planned to promote exports in sectors where India has traditional Strength.
  • Business services, hotel and restaurants to get rewards scrips under SEIS at 3% and other specified services at 5%.
  • Duty credit scrips to be freely transferable and usable for payment of customs duty, excise duty and service tax.
  • Debits against scrips would be eligible for CENVAT credit or drawback also.
  • A new position called ‘Status Holder’ have been formulated, which will recognize and reward those entrepreneurs who have helped India to become a major export player.
  • Manufacturers who are also status holders will be enabled to self-certify their manufactured goods as originating from India.
    • Tax and duty on Indian manufacturers have been reduced, to boost Make in India vision
  • Reduced Export Obligation (EO) (75%) for domestic procurement under EPCG scheme.
  • Validity period of SCOMET export authorisation extended from present 12 months to 24 months.

Concerns with the policy are:-

  • Policy focus on only low value goods (Value< Rs 25000) is a constraint on the business model and profit making capacity.
  • Exclusion of chief Indian exports like high value textiles and jewellery due to value capping
  • Policy restrictions on designate courier services and other processes
  • Bureaucratic Red tape in manual processing,high application fees and delays
  • Infrastructure shortfall of courier service to fulfill commercial shipment at affordable prices. Currently India Post does not recognizes Commercial Shipment.

3. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Discuss critically. (GS 4)

Introduction:

  • Thoreau in this quote points out the difference between the senses and perception. Input from our senses provides data and facts but does not truly allow us to perceive or experience the item our eyes view.
  • For instance  one might “look” at a painting and view a canvas with paint and brush strokes. But what one “sees” is again a mastery of beauty, passion or story that touches my mind and my heart.
  • There is just too much to see and process, so people minds delete that which it believes to be unnecessary.
  • When one faces the most challenging situations ones perspective at what they want to perceive from that situation is their choice.The situation might be bleak but you can still have a positive outlook .
    • It’s especially important to do this in your most challenging moments, when conditions look particularly bleak.
  • The gift of conscious perception can be an astounding event that happens whenever we realize that it is we, and we alone, who assign meaning to whatever our eyes fall upon every moment of every day. people don’t see just with their eyes; people see with our mind and heart.
  • For a civil servant this statement makes all the more sense as sometimes his perception and the conscience can tell him to do the right wrong when he/she sees something and is faced with a ethical dilemma.

 

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