Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – November 19, 2018

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Q.1) How far do you think, Great Depression, was responsible for Second World War. Provide reasons in support of your answer.

Answer:

Great Depression -> World War:

  1. Great Depression wrecked Japan’s economy and gave radical elements within the Japanese military the chance to force the entire military into working towards the conquest of all of Asia.
  2. The onset of the Great Depression undermined attempts at creating a more open, cooperative and peaceful post-war world.
  3. The stock market crash of 1929 caused a cessation of loans provided to Germany under the Dawes Plan and also a complete recall of previous loans.
  4. Deteriorating economic conditions in Germany helped the Nazi party grow from being a relatively small fringe group to being the nation’s largest political party.

Other reasons for WWII:

  1. In violation of the Treaty of Versailles and the spirit of the Locarno Pact and the Stresa Front, Germany re-militarized the Rhineland.
  2. Mussolini attempted to expand the Italian Empire in Africa by invading the Ethiopian Empire.
  3. Between 1936 and 1939, Germany and Italy lent support to the Nationalists led by general Francisco Franco in Spain, while the Soviet Union supported the existing democratically elected government, the Spanish Republic.
  4. In 1931 Japan took advantage of China’s weakness in the Warlord Era and fabricated the Mukden Incident in 1931 to set up the puppet state of Manchukuo in Manchuria.
  5. In the Munich Agreement of 1938, British, French and Italian prime ministers appeased Hitler by giving him Sudetenland, hoping he would not want any more.

 

Q.2) Napoleon was both the child of the French Revolution and also the destroyer of French Revolution. Critically comment.

Answer:

Why Napoleon was called child of French Revolution:

The principles Napoleon tried to implement in his empire and the other countries he invaded, represent the spirit of the revolution.

  1. Abolition of class system – French Revolution abolished the class system and promoted equal opportunities for all. It gave Napoleon a chance to prove his potential and rise to prominence even being from a poor family.
  2. French Invasion of Egypt – Napoleon was not successful in his Egyptian campaign, but from this campaign his popularity increased in France.
  3. Triad of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity – The doctrine of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity became very popular during the French Revolution. Napoleon restored the same during his regime.
  4. Napoleonic code – To foster fraternity and ensure rights of every citizen Napoleon formulated criminal code, military code, & code of civil procedure and commercial code.

Why he was called destroyer of French Revolution:

  1. Napoleon’s constitution was contradictory to what the revolution supported. His coronation, taking the crown from the Pope and placing it on his own head was a message to all French people that sovereignty did not belong to them but to him.
  2. His Legion of Honour, and the awarding of titles and honours was a clearly a contradiction to equality as these could be bought and kept for life.
  3. Agricultural workers and peasants were unable to reach success, land was expensive for them to buy and reaching a successful carrier was virtually impossible. To get on in professions a good education and qualifications were necessary.
  4. Even taxation, which was a massive issue in the revolution, was not equal in Napoleon’s France. He increased indirect taxation in a large scale.
  5. Women lost practically all rights they gained and now were again properties of their husbands or fathers.
  6. The use of censorship, propaganda and of a secret police helped him maintain his rule at the expense of liberty.

 

Q.3) To address issue of farmer’s income and enhancing livelihood, a comprehensive policy has been the need of the hour. In this context critically examine Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan’ (PM-AASHA).

Answer:

The Scheme is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce. This Umbrella Scheme includes the mechanism of ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers and is comprised of:

  1. Price Support Scheme (PSS),
  2. Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS)
  3. Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPPS).

Benefits of the scheme:

  1. Income Security to farmers: the scheme is expected to help revive the rural economy by assuring better income to farmers and thus address farmers’ distress
  2. Stabilizing commodity markets: benefit the farmers by providing options to the state governments to compensate farmers when the market prices fall below MSP
  3. Better coverage of MSP: ensure better coverage of MSP and provision of crop-wise procurement is expected to benefit both farmers and states
  4. Reduce the need for physical procurement: reduce the need for the government to physically procure food crops as the difference between the support and market prices can instead simply be paid in cash to the farmer
  5. Reduce storage and wastage: reduce the consequent needs for transport and store them and then dispose of them under PDS. This would also reduce wastage of grains/crops

Challenges:

  1. Procurement Infrastructure: initiatives under PM-AASHA have not focused on improving the procurement infrastructure.
  2. Distribution System: distribution policy is still non-existent.
  3. Undue benefit to traders: rural trader has great clout in the present political set-up and can manipulate prices.
  4. Procurement by Private Players: process has not been smooth and the companies have taken years to get their expenses reimbursed by the government.
  5. Issues with price deficiency payment scheme: Reports on Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojna, has highlighted operational challenges of PDPS

 

Q.4)  How does money laundering impact economy and other sectors? Discuss some of the Indian and global initiatives taken to prevent money laundering.

Answer:

Money laundering is the process of making money earned from illicit activities appear to be from legal business activity.

How it impacts economy:

  1. It destabilizes economy of the country leading to financial crises
  2. Volatility in exchange rates and interest rates due to unanticipated transfers of funds
  3. It also leads to higher cost of doing business
  4. Discourages foreign investors
  5. Fall in asset price due to the disposition of laundered funds
  6. Increased unemployment as legitimate business companies fail to compete with operators operating through illegal money

Impact on other sectors:

  1. Failure in preventing money laundering leads to organised crime flourishing in the society
  2. Increases income inequality
  3. Affects the Government’s capability to spend on development schemes

Initiatives:

India:

  1. Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) – Act provides that whosoever directly or indirectly attempts or assists any process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property, shall be guilty of offences of money-laundering.
  2. The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 to specifically deal with the issue of black money stashed away abroad.
  3. Enactment of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 to enable confiscation of Benami property and provide for prosecution.
  4. Initiation of ‘Project Insight’ by IT Department for tax compliance and effective utilization of available information.
  5. Renegotiation of DTAAs to bring the Article on Exchange of Information to International Standards and expanding India’s treaty network by signing new DTAAs and TIEAs with many jurisdictions to facilitate the exchange of information and to bring transparency.

Global:

  1. Vienna convention – It laid down the groundwork for efforts to combat money laundering by obliging the member states to criminalize the laundering of money from drug trafficking.
  2. Financial Action Task Force – it is an intergovernmental body to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  3. United Nations Global Programme Against Money Laundering – it was established to increase effectiveness of international action against money laundering through technical cooperation services offered to governments.
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