Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 5, 2019

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Q.1) Teen age girls in India face some peculiar social and development related problems in India. Suggest some policy related measures for development of teen age girls in India.

Answer:

Teen Age Girls (TAG) Report 2018, was released by ‘Nanhi Kali’, a project by the Naandi Foundation, which works with adolescent girls. As per report there are about 80 million teenage girls in India.

Problems:

  1. National Family Health Survey1 (NFHS-4) shows that only 41% women have freedom of mobility in India, the Economic Survey highlighted the ‘meta preference’ for sons.
  2. Low weight and anemia in teen age girls is a result of inadequate nutrition.
  3. Teen age is a phase of rapid transition of mental and physical growth. Menstruation, for example, often strikes as a phase of trauma for girls who experience intense pain and in some cases hormonal imbalance during this phase.
  4. Indian society does not promote open deliberations and counseling between parents and girl child on issues like menstruation, feelings of depression and emotional turmoil which characterize teen age.
  5. Teen age girls face sexual abuse within homes which leads to severe mental trauma and helplessness.

Policy measures:

  1. Give girls a strong foundation through early childhood development (ECD) programs to remove early childhood disadvantages.
  2. Income related hindrances to girl education could be reduced through conditional cash transfers.
  3. Providing girls with job-relevant skills that employers actually demand, or that they can use in launching their own business.
  4. Government efforts must be directed at parent education and their role in providing the scaffold that a child needs during teen age.
  5. During adolescence girls need access to information and services related to nutrition, reproductive health, family planning, and general health through avenues like schools, workplaces, marriage registration systems, and youth-oriented health programs.

 

Q.2) Although the application of the doctrine of basic structure by constitutional courts has been criticised by executive governments from time to time but the doctrine serves as a guiding light in adjudication of complex cases. Examine.

Answer:

Parliament under Article 368 can amend any part of the Constitution including the Fundamental Rights but without affecting the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.

Criticism of the BS:

  1. Doctrine finds no mention anywhere in the Constitution.
  2. It accords the judiciary a power to impose its philosophy over a democratically formed government
  3. Ever since the Constitution was first amended in 1951, the true extent of Parliament’s power to amend the document has been acutely contested.

Benefits of the doctrine:

  1. It prevents governments from bypassing the constitutionally laid down principles.
  2. Schedule 9 of the constitution could be bypassed with the powers from Basic Structure doctrine.
  3. It can be used to defend judicial autonomy from encroachment by executive.
  4. It prevents the tyranny of the majority when a government wins absolute majority in the lok sabha.
  5. It preserves democracy and various ideals it espouses.

 

Q.3) 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 become irrelevant in recent times. Comment.

Answer:

Challenges to WTO:

  1. Rising protectionism – rise in trade tensions between the U.S. and its major trading partners such as China, the European Union, Canada questions the multilateral trade rules set by WTO.
  2. Rules compliance – Domestic companies are generally able to lobby their governments to adopt trade practices favourable to them.
  3. Dispute Settlement – in case of failure of dispute settlement mechanism, WTO recommends member country to impose sanctions. It is almost impossible for a developing or least developed nation to do it. U.S. refuses to implement some DSB decisions.
  4. Doha Development Agenda – After a decade of talks, it still remains to be concluded. Today, major powers cherry-pick trade issues.
  5. Free Trade Agreements – As more FTAs have been concluded, the role of WTO in liberalizing trade has been called into question.
  6. WTO has played a very limited role in helping address other global issues related to trade, such as food security, climate change and global trade imbalances.
  7. It is argued that WTO is reinforcing trade barriers by discouraging competition between governments.
  8. Rules on patents and IPRs under TRIPS are difficult to comply for developing nations as they increase the cost of public health provision.

 

Q.4) What are the threats to tiger population in India? Discuss the significance and challenges associated with Project Tiger.

Answer:

Threats to Tiger Population in India:

  1. Habitat loss: Large-scale habitat destruction due to road networks, hydel projects, expansion of agriculture and livestock is a major long term threat to dwindling tiger population in India.
  2. Loss of Prey Species: Loss of forest quality in terms of prey biomass is a major issue affecting survival of tigers in India.
  3. Loss of reproduction: Loss of reproduction owing to disturbance on account of heavily used infrastructure like highways, etc. is a major concern.
  4. Human-animal Conflict: As tigers continue to lose their habitat and prey species, they are increasingly coming into conflict with humans as they attack domestic animals. They are often killed in retaliation by villagers.
  5. Poaching and illegal trade: Poaching is the largest immediate threat to tiger population in India. According to government sources, between 2014 and 2016, there was a 63 per cent rise in cases of poaching and confiscation of tiger parts in India.

Significance of Project Tiger:

  1. Limit factors that leads to reduction of tiger habitats and to mitigate them by suitable management.
  2. To ensure a viable population of tigers for economic, scientific, cultural, aesthetic and ecological values.

Challenges:

  1. A major issue with Project Tiger has been funding- Funds received by a majority of parks are usually inadequate and delayed. As a result, maintenance works, protection and habitat management operations are often compromised.
  2. Project Tiger National Parks also suffer from serious staff problems. Most of these problems are associated with inadequate number of Forest Guards.
  3. Forest Guards and Range Officers often lack wireless equipment, jeeps, arms and ammunition and other anti-poaching equipments.
  4. Tiger conservation outside protected areas is a major concern as when a tiger leaves the reserve, it does not have nearly the same protection from poachers.
  5. Relocation of families from the core area of the tiger reserve and minimising human domination in buffer zones is of paramount importance. However, relocation has been strongly opposed by locals despite re-location schemes.
  6. A University of Oxford research paper has disputed the methodology of tiger census in India. According to it, the method is flawed as it involves the use of camera trapping over a small area for collection of data, and then extrapolates the data over a larger area using evidence like paw-marks.
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