Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – December 24, 2018

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Q.1) “Despite the temporary setback on the Assumption Island, India should continue to work with the Seychelles in building its capabilities”. In the light of statement, analyze the opportunities and challenges in building strong India-Seychelles relationship.

Answer:

Opportunities:

  1. Two islands – Agalega in the Mauritius and Assumption in the Seychelles – have been seen as strategically critical for India in the Indian Ocean region. India can effectively monitor the presence of foreign navies in the Indian Ocean region and at a time when the Indian Ocean waters are becoming more contested.
  2. Indo-French maritime cooperation is growing
  3. The two have shared a robust defense engagement after signing an MoU on defense cooperation in 2003. India has been steadily building maritime capability of the Seychelles by donating helicopters, maritime surveillance aircraft, and patrol boats.
  4. India articulated a policy of striving for better cooperation among Indian Ocean nations as part of its SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) initiative.

Threats:

  1. The China factor is certainly an important aspect of Indian outreach in the Indian Ocean region.
  2. Domestic political calculus in the Seychelles has sunk the Assumption project for the time being.
  3. India’s limited investment and financial capacity is a challenge in contesting the great power game in Indian ocean.

 

 

Q.2) Although 18th century India failed to make progress economically, socially or culturally, but life of Indian masses was, by and large better than it was after 100 years of British rule. Discuss.

Answer:

18th century India:

The socio-economic condition of the eighteenth century India was infected by political convulsions and instability. The society in general retained most of its tradition features but several changes were induced in the society.

  1. The institution of the castes was the striking feature of the Hindu society of the time.
  2. Women were given enough place of respect in home and society outside. The Hindu society was patriarchal. Hence the male head of the family were usually prevailed but the status of the women was not curbed. But these were only reserved for the women belonging to the upper stratum of the society. The women belonging to the lower class were denied of the right place in the society. Purdah System was highly practiced in both the Hindu and Muslim society.
  3. Slavery was one of the chief features of the Indian society in 18th century.
  4. Idea of Indian education was culture and not literacy. Vocational education according to one`s Varna or family tradition assured specialization.
  5. Due to the lack of the royal patronage the art and the literature ceased to flourish during this time

Through all this, the masses could still live despite the instability in the political leadership. But this was not the condition after the British rule which left India in a sea of poverty.

Economic conditions during British rule:

  1. Agriculture was destroyed with high land revenue rates, forced cultivation of commercial crops and zamindar dominance of lands.
  2. Traditional handicrafts were discouraged due to loss of patronage and fierce competition from the British industries.
  3. After the industrial revolution in cotton textile industry there had been massive growth of British imports in India and the domination of British cloth damaged the Indian industry.
  4. Tariff policy pursued by the British Government is a leading cause in the decay of handicrafts.
  5. At the same time, no industries were established to employ the farmers displaced from farms due to bad revenue policies.
  6. India was forced to supply raw materials for triggering industrial revolution in England. India was then forcibly transformed from being a country of combined agricultures and manufactures into an agricultural colony of British manufac­turing capitalism.
  7. Along with these, shortage of capital, lack of management experience and technical expertise, as well as the absence of a growing indigenous market and general poverty, caused slow expansion of Indian industries.

 

Q.3) What is Paris rulebook? Discuss the significance and issues with the rulebook?

Answer:

After concluding Paris agreement, countries are engaged in negotiations to make a deal on the rulebook of the Paris Agreement, which is the set of guidelines on implementing Paris agreement from 2020.

These include guidelines on how to articulate and track NDCs; how to meet a national target by helping other countries to reduce their emissions, or how to communicate national efforts to adapt to climate change. There will also be rules on how to report on finance for climate action and equip developing countries with technology to combat climate change.

Significance:

  1. These are the guidelines that will define how climate action is implemented, and accounted for, over the coming decades.
  2. will set out to standardise the format of NDCs. This will help to make the implementation of the Paris agreement more transparent over time, and foster countries’ trust in each other’s efforts.

Issues with the rulebook:

  1. Countries could show resistance to a stronger transparency regime.
  2. Many developing countries would rather invest in tangible climate action like wind farms or dams – than in data collection, storage and analysis.
  3. Developing countries will be expecting financial help from rich countries. In particular, poorer countries will be seeking out more clarity on the assistance available to them on the long-term.
  4. Many donor countries reluctant to give clear-long-term commitments.

 

Q.4) WTO which is supposed to do the important work of trade monitoring and contribute to the effective functioning of the multilateral trading system, is increasingly toothless and is succumbing to the pressure of the developed countries, especially the US. Comment.

Answer:

Challenges:

  1. WTO was losing its essential focus on negotiations and was becoming a litigation centred organisation.
  2. Trading arrangements between countries are increasingly bypassing the WTO and formulating their own agreements.
  3. US has begun to question this special treatment because countries like India and China are considered large Emerging Economies due to the giant size of their population and hence GDP.
  4. In agriculture, India and China have opposed the huge production related price distorting subsidies given by the developed countries like the US and the EU to their farmers which make their products cheaper as compared to produce from developing countries.
  5. Freeing of e-commerce and investment facilitation by a group of countries. China proposed freeing of e-commerce, but India rightly objected.

Relevance of WTO:

  1. Still, WTO remains the primary instrument governing a rules-based world trading system.
  2. Erstwhile sympathetic treatment towards developing countries like India, was replaced with special and differential treatment at the WTO which gave them more time and leeway to comply with the WTO rules.
  3. IT gave a huge fillip to trade and investment liberalisation in the world by insisting on tariff reductions that distort trade.
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