Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 20, 2018


Q.1)“There are huge opportunities that await both India and ASEAN to strengthen the relations which are going to be beneficial for the world in terms of security, stability and prosperity.” Do you agree? With reference to the ASEAN-INDIA Summit, 2017 excavate the potential strengths and weaknesses of  India-Asean relation. (GS–2)


  • India is celebrating 25 years of Indo-ASEAN ties and to mark the occasion Indiahosted the two day India-ASEAN commemorative summit in the capital.
  • The summit comes in the backdrop of increasing Chinese economic and military assertiveness in the region.

The major takeaways from ASEAN-INDIA Summit:

  • Leaders of India and ASEAN discussed ways to boost maritime security connectivity and trade.
  • Prime MinisterNarendra Modi asserted that India sharesthe ASEAN vision for rule-basedsocieties and pitched for freedom of navigation in the region.
  • Prime Minister Modi underscored the ever-evolving ASEAN India partnership terming the summit asthe grand finale of the joint year-longcommemorative activities organized among the nations.
  • Prime Minister Modi furthertouched on the religious ties that bind all the nations.
  • Speaking on the diplomatic tiesthe Prime Minister stressed that ASEANis at the center of India’s act East policy.
  • The prime minister also expressedIndia’s commitment to work with theASEAN nations to enhance collaboration in the maritime domain.
  • Cooperation in regional security, counter-terrorism measures and trade topsthe agenda at the summit.

Potential strength and weakness of India and ASEAN:

Yes, there are huge opportunities that await both India and ASEAN to strengthen the relations. Some of the core areas are as follows:

  • Potential is huge if India take areas whetherit is trade and economic cooperation collaboration, whether it is strategic issues in terms of providing maritime security and cooperation or it is in the area of fighting counterterrorism, there are a large number of areaswhere both ASEAN and India can cooperateand collaborate.
  • One aspectthat the Prime Minister Modi made very clear is that Indiamaintain the centrality ofASEAN in all the negotiations.
  • Whether itis in terms of ASEAN Regional Forum, itis ASEAN defense ministers meeting or whatever might be the format for India, ASEAN is the central pillar India’s act East policyand all our engagements inthat region.
  • As India celebrates this relationship with ten leaders on our Republic Day from the ASEAN, one should not forget how India got here and that is what will provide the key to the future.
  • Going back to 1992, India had to fight atevery stage to get into this relationship with the ASEAN.
  • It was after a great effort that India becamea full dialogue partner with the ASEAN to get into the air.

Major challenges India and ASEAN nations are facing:

  • Increasing infrastructure and connectivity is the major challenge facing India and ASEAN member countries.
  • Problems in the implementation of India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway and Kaladan Multimodal Transit and Transport Project.
  • China’s territorial claims in the oil and gas-rich South China Sea, which is also a major international maritime trade route.
  • Following the uncertain behaviour of China, Indian Ocean has become unpredictable and it might become the next battle ground.

Q.2) Bring out the significance of the recent initiative by the parliament of repealing obsolete and archive laws? How far this will bring reform in the legal system? (GS–2)


  • The Parliament has passes two Bills to repeal 245 obsolete and archive laws including 158 year
  • old Calcutta Pilots Act Of 1859.
  • 2 member panel setup to look into archaic laws.
  • After consolation with various stake holders it has identified 1824 bills that need to be repealed.

Significance of the recent initiative by the parliament of repealing obsolete and archive laws:

The recent initiative by the parliament of repealing obsolete and archive laws will have a far reaching impact in the legal system. Its significance are as follows:

Change in socio-economic structure:  

  • With change in time, the country has undergone major changes in value system and value in commercial litigation.  
  • Thus, these changes in socio-economy make the laws unproductive.
  • For example: Ganges passage Act.
  • It required passengers to pay passage fee to some parts along river Ganga.

Old laws replaced by new ones:

  • The laws which are replaced by new laws are to be repealed.
  • For it may be confusion for the public and the administration.

Supreme Court judgments:

  • The old laws are not in tune with the Supreme Court judgments.
  • Moreover, the judgments might be in serious contradiction with the old laws.

Laws not in tune with international treaties:  

  • There might be existence of Laws which are not in tune with international treaties or conventions signed or ratified by India.  
  • Cost of the law outweighs the benefits of having the law.

Effect on judiciary and administration:  

  • No future litigation can start on these repealed laws.
  • Minimized laws decrease burden on judiciary.
  • Less number of laws means less number of loopholes.

Effect on public:  

  • Can understand better if less number of laws.
  • They can’t be invoked suddenly against unsuspecting and otherwise law abiding citizens.

Q.3)What is electronic-Human Resource Management System? Do you think that automation of processes of government offices would prove to be effective against corruption?


  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh launched the electronic-Human Resource Management System (e-HRMS).
  • This is a step in the direction of fully automated Human Resource Management System.
  • It sets a target to bring all employees of Government of India on employee portal so that all processes of personnel management from hiring to retiring will be on digital platform and manual system of handling personnel management will be dispensed with.

Salient features of electronic-Human Resource Management System (e-HRMS):

Yes, automation of processes of government offices would prove to be effective against corruption. Its salient features are:

  • Single platform: With launch of e-HRMS, employees will be able to not only see all their details w.r.t service book, leave, GPF, Salary etc., but also apply for different kind of claims/reimbursements, loan/advances, leave, leave encashment, LTC advances, Tour etc. on a single platform.
  • No dependency: Employees shall not be dependant for data updating on administration, but they may themselves update the data with their login subject to verification by concerned administration.
  • Track status easily: They will be able to track status and match details instantly.
  • The system is designed in a way to obtain all management related inputs/reports through its Dashboard.
  • Online data updating: All pendency of data updating as well as claims will be seen online by senior authorities that will instill more responsibility and accountability among all government servants.
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