Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 26, 2018

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Q.1) What do you mean the e-commerce? Explain the string of challenges faced by e-commerce in India. Also enumerate the reasons for which India rejected the efforts to negotiate new global e-commerce rules under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO). (GS–3)

Introduction:

  • Electronic commerce or e-commerce is a type of business model, or segment of a larger business model, that enables a firm or individual to conduct business over an electronic network, mainly from the internet.
  • Electronic commerce operates in all four of the major market segments: business to business, business to consumer, consumer to consumer and consumer to business.
  • E-Commerce processes are conducted using applications, such as email, fax, online catalogues and shopping carts, electronic data interchange (EDI), file transfer protocol and web services and e-newsletters to subscribers.

String of challenges faced by e-commerce in India:

The issues and problems which affect the development of Internet, e-commerce and e-business applications are discussed below:

  • There is no guarantee of product quality.
  • Mechanical failures can cause unpredictable effects on the total processes.
  • As there is minimum chance of direct customer to company interactions, customer loyalty is always on a check.
  • There are many hackers who look for opportunities, and thus an e-commerce site, service, payment gateways; all are always prone to attack.
  • E-commerce is lack of human interaction for customers, especially who prefer face-to-face consumption
  • Since the Internet is an open system, details of its underlying technologies are freely available to anybody.

Reasons for which India rejected the efforts to negotiate new global e-commerce rules under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO):

The reasons for which India rejected the efforts to negotiate new global e-commerce rules under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are as follows:

  • India fears that new rules could provide unfair market access to foreign companies, hurting the rapidly growing domestic e-commerce platforms.
  • According to (India), negotiations on rules and disciplines in e-commerce would be highly premature at this stage and like a leap in the dark, especially given the highly asymmetrical nature of the existing e-commerce space.
  • Thus, India wants to continue with the current work programme of 1998 because it remains “exploratory and non-negotiating.
  • More importantly, India has linked the extension of moratorium on e-commerce transactions till 2019 to “a similar renewal of moratorium on TRIPS non-violation and situation complaints”.

Q.2) Controversies such as restriction of temple entry of women on the basis of an irrational and obsolete notion of “purity” offends the equality clauses in the Constitution. Do you agree with the statement? Justify your answer with the aid of various articles in the Indian Constitution guaranteeing religious and gender equality. (GS–1)

Introduction:

  • Preventing women’s entry temples with an irrational and obsolete notion of “purity” offends the equality clauses in the Constitution.
  • It denotes a patriarchal and partisan approach.
  • The entry prohibition takes away the woman’s right against discrimination guaranteed under Article 15(1) of the Constitution.
  • It further curtails the religious freedom assured by Article 25(1).
  • Prohibition of women’s entry to the shrine is done on the basis of womanhood and the biological features associated with womanhood, which Article 51A (e) aims to renounce.

What are the various Articles guaranteeing religious and gender equality?

The various Articles guaranteeing religious and gender equality are as follows:

Article 15 of the Indian Constitution:

  • Article 15 of Indian Constitution prohibits any discrimination done on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • It is important to note that Article 15 of the Indian constitution states that no person shall be discriminated on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • Every person shall have equal access to public places like public parks, museums, wells, bathing ghats and temples etc.

Article 25 of the Indian Constitution:

  • Articles 25 to 28 states make India a secular state.
  • 42nd Amendment inserting the word “secular” make the assertion firmer.
  • The Article 25 states that every individual is “equally entitled to freedom of conscience” and has the right “to profess, practice and propagate religion” of one’s choice.

Violation of Article 25:

  • This constitutional provision does not give individuals the right to conduct animal sacrifice and perform religious rituals on a busy street or public place that causes inconvenience to others.
  • Though the right to perform rituals is protected under this Article, yet the state retains the power to formulate laws to regulate “economic, financial, political.

Q.3) In India, the power sector has enormous potential. What are the roadblocks in unleashing the full potential of India’s power sector? In your view, are the features of Draft National Energy Policy promising enough to overcome the same? (GS–3)

Introduction:

  • Over the past thirty years, the country’s energy demand has grown at an average of 3.6 per cent per annum.

Roadblocks in unleashing the full potential of India’s power sector:

There are many roadblocks in unleashing the full potential of India’s power sector. Some of them are as follows:

  • Fuel availability is one of the concern faced by the industry.
  • There are other concerns such as land acquisition which has made purchase of land for power projects very expensive.
  • Capital crunch in the energy sector is the biggest challenge before the country.
  • India is currently facing energy crisis with its major dependency on coal, crude oil imports to meet sharply.
  • The current power infrastructure in India is not capable of providing sufficient and reliable power supply growing energy needs of the country.

Features of Draft National Energy Policy:

The features of Draft National Energy Policy are as follows:

  • It aims to create independence in the energy sector and to provide 24×7 hours power to all.
  • It Focus on energy independence through rationalisation of costs, subsidy & boost to renewable sector.
  • It aims to produce 175 GW energy from the renewable sector till 2022.
  • Emphasis on transition from the coal to clean energy for domestic use.
  • Focus on the infrastructure development ie. The projects like TAPI to development the gas pipelines.
  • The overarching policy recommendations are based on India’s energy ambitions for the year 2040.
  • The NEP anticipates major transformations on the energy demand and supply sides arising out of fast evolving technology, consumer behaviour and air quality consideration.
  • It provides for a flexible energy system which would quickly respond to the market cut.
  • The broad objectives of the policy are: enhanced energy independence, increased access at affordable prices, greater sustainability and higher economic growth.
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