Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 29, 2019

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Q.1) Indo-Pacific Quad was formed in 2007 by India, US, Japan and Australia but it lay dormant since withdrawal of Australia in 2008. What are the reasons which triggered its revival in 2017 and also explain its relevance for India specifically?

Answer:

Importance of QUAD:

  1. The quadrilateral comes in the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. It has also raised concerns regarding freedom of trade and navigation through the waters of the south and East China seas.
  2. It will increase connectivity in the Indonesian Pacific region and provide economic opportunity.
  3. It will provide safety to international maritime trade routes like Malacca strait.

Significance for India:

  1. India has taken a significant turn in its policy for the subcontinent by joining quad grouping.
  2. It provides New Delhi a powerful platform to advance its interests in East Asia.
  3. It will deepen India’s ties with US, Australia and Japan with benefits in diplomatic leverage and sharing of burden in defense.
  4. It will also provide India significant chance in shaping US policies in Afghanistan-Pakistan to the benefit of India.
  5. It will provide a powerful platform to advance Indian interest in region and strengthen Act East policy.
  6. Foster economic growth with better market adaptation, so it will lead to more employment opportunity in India.
  7. It helps India and other three Nations to counter China’s OBOR. As India is refused to join OBOR it helps India to connect with other markets like Central Asian and South East Asian markets.

 

Q.2) Though India has made significant improvements in malaria prevention and control, challenges remain in eradicating the disease. Discuss

Answer:

According to the World Malaria Report, 2018, India recorded a 24% decrease in malaria cases in 2017 compared to 2016.

Challenges in Malaria Control in India

  1. Porous borders and migrant movement – The North-eastern states share their border with neighbouring countries such as Myanmar and Bangladesh where malaria is still prevalent and there is a persistent threat of influx of malaria cases from these countries.
  2. Insecticide Resistance: Due to extensive use of insecticides, particularly DDT, certain vectors of malaria have developed resistance to DDT posing threat to vector control across regions.
  3. Antimalarial drug resistance: There are concerns about antimalarial drugs becoming ineffective due to drug resistance. Chloroquine has already become ineffective for treatment of falciparum malaria due to development of resistance by the parasite
  4. Lack of skilled human resource and infrastructure: Malaria control Programmes in India have been affected by insufficient number of health workers and Entomologists.
  5. Urban Malaria: Increased population pressure, insufficient capacity of the civic bodies to deal with water supply and sewage and solid waste disposal have led to increased transmission of malaria in urban areas.
  6. High endemic malaria pockets in remote areas and in tribal population: Prevention and control of malaria in remote areas and in tribal locations is a significant challenge due to poor transport infrastructure and lack of healthcare facilities.
  7. Climate Change: Climate change is expected to worsen the malaria situation in India by encouraging faster rate of development of mosquitoes with rising temperatures.

 

Q.3) The IBC was hailed as a game changer for corporate insolvency climate in India. But its 3 year operation has highlighted some challenges which continue to mar its effectiveness. Discuss.

Answer:

Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of the code saying the law sends a clear message that India is no longer “the defaulter’s paradise”.

Challenges:

  1. Issue of operational creditors : In the payment waterfall under Section 53 of the IBC, in the event of liquidation of the company or its sale to another entity, their dues rank below those of financial creditors, workmen and employees; operational creditors wanted equal treatment with financial creditors in the waterfall mechanism
  2. Low capacity of institutions: As per IBBI data, of the 1,198 companies admitted under the Corporate Insolvency and Resolution Process (CIRP) until September 2018, only 52 had seen approval of resolution plan.
  3. Increased cost of litigation for banks: Undue delay in the resolution of cases increases litigation costs of banks which are already reeling with stressed assets.
  4. Skeptical role of NCLT: NCLT has been used as a platform by dissenting creditors to delay the resolution and some experts point out that once a resolution plan is approved by the CoC, as per the requisite majority, no such objection should be entertained at NCLT, as it defeats the purpose of COC.
  5. Statutory deadlines missed: IBC allows a maximum of 270 days for lenders to clear a rescue plan, failing which the defaulting company will go into liquidation. But some cases like Essar Steel or Bhushan Power and Steel cases have been under the IBC process for over 500 days and in over 30% of cases the 270-day timeline has been breached.
  6. Low recovery rate: IBC has failed to secure the due share of banks as the amount realized by banks in cases is falling too low, in some cases amount realized is less than even one-third of bank’s claim value.
  7. Issue of proxy owners: Despite 29A in place (which restricts original promoters to bid), some promoters have managed to arrange proxy buyers of the asset and continue to manage the asset, from behind a veil.

 

Q.4) Farm distress is majorly a result of low farm prices and low agricultural productivity. Suggest some measures which could help in realising the goal of doubling farmers incomes by 2022.

Answer:

The rising demand for farm loan waivers across states show the extent of agriculture distress. This agrarian distress demands urgent policy attention on the following lines:

  1. raise productivity
  2. reduce costs of cultivation by providing quality inputs at subsidised rates
  3. provide remunerative prices following the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission
  4. ensure assured procurement of output
  5. expand access to institutional credit
  6. enhance public investment for infrastructural development
  7. institute effective crop insurance systems
  8. establish affordable scientific storage facilities and agro-processing industries for value addition
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