Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 22, 2019

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Q.1) Critically analyse India’s decision of withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation (MNF) status accorded to Pakistan.

Answer:

India’s decision to withdraw the MFN status to Pakistan means that India will not treat Pakistan on an equal footing in trade as is expected of fellow members of WTO.

Possible impact of the decision:

  1. It can only be a pressure tactic and do little unless stringent actions are taken to stop informal trade that has been going on between the two countries for long.
  2. Informal trade generally takes place due to restrictions on import of specific items on grounds of health and religious beliefs; ‘high tariff barriers or transportation costs, making it cost effective to smuggle goods in the country; imposition of non-tariff measures
  3. From 2011-12 to 2017-18, India’s formal trade with Pakistan increased from $1.94 billion to $2.41 billion.  After the Pulwama attack, the follow-up measure to raise tariff duty on imports to 200% can only be trivial.
  4. Imports from Pakistan grew at a lower rate (1.04%) compared to exports (1.32%) per annum from 2011-12 to 2017-18.
  5. Pakistan imposes a large number of Non Tariff Measures on Indian exports, the major ones being export related measures, technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

 

Q.2) Do you think Gandhi’s relevance is more today than it was during his lifetime. Discuss.

Answer

Relevance of Gandhian values:

  1. Truth: Today’s world is called post – truth due to the open disregard for truth in public discourse.
  2. Ideas on women: the need to ingrain the idea of gender justice and equality in every aspect of social, political and economic life.
  3. Non violence: a tendency to react violently towards problems ranging from road rage to difficulties in accepting diversity within the society calls for non violence
  4. Sustainable development: Gandhi advocated simplicity, less consumption of resources and self help. These are very important in today’s throwaway consumption culture and the background of climate change
  5. Swarajya: there is need to devolve more powers to the local level to ensure that people at the grassroots are empowered.
  6. His idea trusteeship talks about the rich being trustees of public wealth. This holds relevance to control rising inequalities in today’s world.

 

Q.3) Anti-defection law has failed to solve the problems of defections and opportunistic politics in India. Critically analyse

Answer:

The Anti-defection law sets the provisions for disqualification of elected members on the grounds of defection to another political party.

Problems with the law:

  1. It affects the independence of MPs/ MLAs as it critically curtails their freedom of speech.
  2. Constitution drafters didn’t intend to give the control of members to political parties.
  3. The power given to speaker to decide on defection is mostly misused as, often, the speaker works towards the ruling party interests.
  4. Government is formed by majority party in legislature. Due to Anti defection law majority legislators cannot speak against the actions of government. It thus directly affects the independence of legislature as it is controlled by executive.
  5. In a diverse country like India, members also represent their constituencies. Hence, every member needs to be given voice to give voice to all regions and sections of the population.
  6. The Chairman or the Speaker of a House has been empowered to make rules for giving effect to the provisions of the Tenth Schedule. This also leads to partisan behavior.

 

Q.4) India is described as a ‘Union of States’ rather than a ‘Federation of States’. Elucidate. Also, discuss how it affect the federal relation between center and states

Answer:

Article 1 in the Constitution states that India shall be a Union of States. Despite having certain federal features, Indian constitution tends to create a strong centre. The following are the features that create a strong centre.

  1. Strong Centre – The division of powers is in favour of the Centre and highly inequitable from the federal angle.
  2. States Not Indestructible – Unlike in other federations, the states in India have no right to territorial integrity.
  3. Single Constitution – No power with respect to having own constitution is given to the states.
  4. Flexibility of the Constitution – The process of constitutional amendment is less rigid than what is found in other  federations. The bulk of the Constitution can be amended by the unilateral action of the Parliament.
  5. Emergency Provisions – During an emergency, the Central government becomes all powerful and the states go into the total control of the Centre.
  6. Single Citizenship – In Spite of a dual polity, the Constitution of India, like that of Canada, adopted the system of single citizenship.
  7. Integrated Judiciary – The Indian Constitution has established an integrated judicial system with the SC at  the top and the state HCs below it.
  8. Parliament’s Authority Over State List – Parliament is empowered to legislate on any subject of the State List if Rajya Sabha passes a resolution to that effect in the national interest.
  9. Appointment of Governor – The governor, who is the head of the state, is appointed by the President. He holds office during the pleasure of the President.
  10. Veto Over State Bills – The governor is empowered to reserve certain types of bills passed by the state legislature for the consideration of the President.
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