Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 1, 2019

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Q.1) Though secrecy is essential to avoid unnecessary delays and unwanted interruptions but transparency is paramount. In light of the statement examine whether Indian judiciary should come under RTI or not?

Answer:

Why judiciary should be brought under RTI:

  1. Offices of all constitutional functionaries should be made amenable to the RTI law to bring transparency and accountability in their functioning. Just as the legislature and administration are open to scrutiny, judiciary should throw itself open.
  2. The citizens’ right to know the true facts about the administration of a country is essential for a democratic State.
  3. The secrecy surrounding the appointment process will be reduced to some extent
  4. It will reduce scope for judicial corruption; as, often, there are allegations of bribery against judges
  5. At the same time, judicial independence should be fiercely protected and any information detrimental to the institution need not be revealed. This, however, need not act as a blanket ban against transparency.

 

Q.2) Discuss the major problems faced by the civil aviation industry in India at present. Also, suggest potential solutions to not only avoid Jet Airways like a crisis but also to promote efficient, cost-effective and orderly growth of air transport.

Answer:

Challenges faced by civil aviation industry:

  1. High prices of fuel
  2. Over capacity and predatory pricing techniques to capture markets
  3. Poor ground infrastructure that makes air travel costlier
  4. Challenges of full service air carriers
  5. Poor management by boards – like seen in the Jet airways crisis
  6. rupee’s depreciation is hitting carriers; About 25-30% of their costs, excluding fuel, are dollar denominated—from aircraft lease rents and maintenance costs to ground handling and parking charges abroad
  7. Need for heavy capex to keep up with market growth. Indian carriers are already operating at near capacity

Solutions:

To tap the demand:

  1. Catering to Tier-II and Tier-III towns which have huge demand.
  2. The airports which are existing and not operational can be utilised.
  3. Infrastructure bottlenecks can be addressed with increasing investment from the government.
  4. The business can be made consumer-centric so that services become more affordable. This can bring in more profits for the industry.

To address problems:

  1. Increase low cost airlines given the economy of our country. Around the world, low cost carriers based around financial modelling are hugely successful.
  2. A well balanced corporate strategy to balance out the needs of high-end, low-cost and cargo services’ customers.
  3. Diversifying business to possible subsidiary activities like hotels, cargo etc can increase the revenues.

 

Q.3) India shares the global aspiration to strengthen connectivity and it is an integral part of its economic and diplomatic initiatives. Do you think a flexible Indian posture on Belt and Road Initiative, would be in the interests of India today?

Answer:

Benefits of joining BRI:

  1. India gains connectivity to crucial markets across West, Central and East Asia, Arica along with European countries
  2. This helps in boosting investments in Indian infrastructure
  3. India gains markets in all the connected countries
  4. It could help to some extent in reducing the animosity with its neighbors

Challenges:

  1. Indian sovereignty is a big issue. With neighbors like Pakistan and China, India cannot risk its trade and national security to be decided by their benevolent behavior
  2. India cannot afford the huge flow of imports from China
  3. If India accedes to BRI, CPEC will be considered right thus allowing Chinese and Pakistani inroads near to Indian territory in Kashmir

 

Q.4) The price of Brent crude has been rising steadily in the last few months. Discuss the negative impact higher oil prices will have on India’s economy. What strategy should India deploy to secure its energy needs and interests in the ever-volatile global oil market?

Answer:

Reasons behind increasing crude prices:

  1. India is hugely dependent on the import of crude oil to meet its petrol and diesel demands. About 80% of the domestic requirement is met through crude oil imports. India also imports some amount of refined petrol and diesel.
  2. Hike in the international price of crude after continuous fall for last few years.
  3. Increasing tensions between the US and Venezuela
  4. US demanding an end to all imports of Iranian oil by early November
  5. Rupee’s performance as Asia’s worst performing currency of the year
  6. High excise duty levied on transportation fuel in the country
  7. oil prices also reduced amid concerns over the intensifying trade war between the United States and China

impact of price rise:

  1. Inflate the prices of all manufactured goods since the cost of production and transportation goes up which leads to undesirable levels of Inflation.
  2. Government’s directive to the OMCs to reduce petrol and diesel prices will have a negative impact on their profitability and credit metrics.
  3. Affect the value of Indian rupee vis-a-vis the US dollar. There will be pressure on the external account and the cost of imports go up, deficit increases.
  4. Higher inflation may eventually lead the RBI to consider increasing interest rates.

Way ahead:

  1. reducing import dependency of oils in the long term
  2. achieving robust export performance to strengthen Indian rupee
  3. Maintaining strategic reserves
  4. diversifying imports from various countries.
  5. rationalising taxes on petrol and diesel, by both centre and states.
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