Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – August 31, 2018


Q.1) Discuss the Challenges being faced by BIMSTEC in providing an effective mechanism for cooperation to its members. What measures should be taken to deal with them?

Answer: The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven member States in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal. It constitutes seven member states of India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

Challenges faced by BIMSTEC:

  1. Bilateral conflict can derail BIMSTEC’s efforts to foster regional cooperation. Eg., Rohingya refugee crisis has complicated relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar.. Such bilateral tensions could affect multilateralism.
  2. In 2014, intraregional trade among BIMSTEC countries was less than 5% compared to 29% among ASEAN countries.
  3. Abysmal state of maritime connectivity and collapse of cross-border inland waterway links.
  4. Eradication of poverty is the greatest regional challenge in realising development objectives.
  5. The organization has only conducted three summits in the last 20 years.

Measures to be taken:

  1. BIMSTEC should be seen as one of many complementary platforms and coordinate with other initiatives like the BBIN, ASEAN and BRI of China.
  2. Need to implement the BIMSTEC poverty plan as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.
  3. Enhance deeper economic integration and collaboration among the members for development of the region.
  4. Foster people to people exchanges based on Buddhism, Bengali culture and history of connectivity. No other organization is better equipped than BIMSTEC to revive this sense of collective identity and belonging to the Bay of Bengal.
  5. Prioritize sustained physical connectivity and  infrastructure to help facilitate greater regional flows of goods, services, and people.


Q.2) Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If dissent is not allowed, democracy will burst under pressure’. Comment.

Answer:  Dissent is the safety valve of democracy:

  1. It is the symbol for freedom of thought, expression and action.
  2. It prevents the despotism of majority.
  3. It helps democracy grow by debating its inefficiencies. Eg., elections every 5 years will allow correction of inefficiencies by expressing dissent.
  4. NGOs provide a platform to civil society to dissent in an informed and reasoned manner. They provide a mechanism for the ruled to keep a check on the rulers.
  5. To allow for participation of all citizens in governance.

How dissent is allowed:

  1. Art 19 – All citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression;
  2. Art 25 – all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion
  3. Preamble – LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
  4. For ministers, there are institutional forums like cabinet meetings to express their views, while political parties devise ways for their MPs to share opinions and on-the-ground assessments.

How dissent is punished:

  1. IPC Section 153(A) relates to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place or birth, residence, language and committing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
  2. Sec 295A of IPC punishes Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs. Often, rational discussions on religion are punished under the garb of maintaining public order.
  3. Sec 124A of IPC: Sedition.—Whoever by words or other means brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt or excites disaffection towards the Government estab­lished by law shall be punished.
  4. Reasonable restrictions under various Fundamental Rights are often used to suppress dissent.
  5. Laws like the Preventive Detention Act, UAPA,


Q.3) There is no code of ethics for civil servant in our country unlike other countries, which needs to be incorporated. Comment

Answer:  Ethical codes are adopted by organizations to assist members in understanding the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and in applying that understanding to their decisions.

Ethical codes are often adopted not to promote a particular moral theory, but rather because they are seen as pragmatic necessities for running an organization in a complex society in which moral concepts play an important part.

Importance of code of ethics for civil servants:

  1. As the public administration is a profession that offers and unusually array of opportunities to make moral or immoral decisions, to make ethical or unethical choices, to do good or evil things to people.
  2. Ethics and values has key role in smooth functioning of public administration system.
  3. Ethics is one of the prime components that allow democracy to succeed in any country.
  4. Ethics in government is critical to realizing the promises of democracy.
  5. The effective operation of democratic government requires that public officials and employees be independent, impartial, and responsible to the people.
  6. They provide normative consensus about the rights, benefits and prerogatives to which citizens to be entitled.
  7. These are the principles upon which government and policies must be based.
  8. For bureaucracies, adherence to code of ethics can produce substantial public trust and assurance
  9. They provide an aide or benchmark against which decisions can be made and acted upon.
  10. In an environment of doubts, and which is subject to frequent structural and functional change, ethics offer a compass for guiding activities.
  11. Different stresses may be placed on different values according to the administrative and political priorities at a given time, but adherence to a set of broadly coherent and accepted values is vital for stability and consistency.

Nolan committee – The Seven Principles of Public Life:

  1. Selflessness – Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
  2. Integrity – Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.
  3. Objectivity – In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
  4. Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
  5. Openness – Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
  6. Honesty – Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
  7. Leadership – Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Q.4) Write short notes on the following: –

a) Impartiality and Non-partisanship

b) Objectivity

c) Empathy

d) Compassion



  1. It is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.
  2. Impartiality means that civil servants in carrying out their official work, including functions like procurement, recruitment, delivery of service etc, should take decisions based on merit alone.

Ex: An impartial evaluation of a job application is not to consider race.


  1. It is not being specifically owned or affiliated with any group, party or cause. It can be called political neutrality.
  2. The administrator is to do his task without any fear of, or favour to any political party.

Ex: The values of the administrator will flow from the constitution not from the ideology of any political party.

b) Objectivity

  1. In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Ex: A company could use its income statement to show that it is not doing well instead of the personal opinion of the chief executive

c) Empathy

  1. It is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.

Ex: Feeling the same amount of excitement as a friend, when they tell you they’re getting married.

d) Compassion

  1. If someone shows kindness, caring, and a willingness to help others, they’re showing compassion.

An example of compassionate is a caring nurse.

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