Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – October 10, 2018

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Q.1) ‘International trade is an engine for inclusive economic growth’. Comment.

Answer: How it helps in inclusive growth:

  1. It helps the small and weak countries economies’ through trade with large and powerful countries.
  2. Equal market access to all members nations through systems life WTO create big and powerful markets for countries.
  3. The success of Asian giants in running exports-led economies show the importance of trade.
  4. It would enhance economic welfare and reduce political tensions.
  5. Trade gains valuable forex for the countries which can be spent on imports for technology upgradation.
  6. Trade is a key driver to achieve economic growth, prosperity and sustainable development for all – inclusive growth.
  7. A joint publication by the WTO, IMF and the World Bank provides empirical evidence of how trade has created jobs, growth and development in both developing and developed countries 

Opponents of free trade doubt trade as an engine for inclusive growth and view it as a threat to domestic jobs and firm productive capacity, and income growth. There are some downside effects brought by trade such as dislocation of firms and workers.

 

Q.2) Elaborate on the Make in India initiative. What are the achievements of this initiative? What are the challenges India is facing in increasing investment in the country and making the country manufacturing hub?

Answer: Make In India commits to achieve a manufacturing sector growth of 12-14 % per annum over the medium term, increase the share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022 and create 100mn additional jobs by 2022 in the manufacturing sector alone.

Achievements:

  1. Foreign Direct Investment – The total FDI inflow was $160.79 billion between April 2014 and March 2017 – representing 33% of the cumulative FDI in India since April 2000.
  2. Ease of Doing Business – Steps taken to improve ease of doing business include simplification and rationalisation of existing rules.  As a result of the measures taken to improve the country’s investment climate, India jumped a massive 30 places to 100th in World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings as per World Bank Group’s ‘Doing Business 2018.
  3. Startup India which comes under MII is hugely successful in mobilising several startups and huge investments into the startup domain.
  4. Skill Development program is also part of MII and is progressively setting new targets to upgrade skills of current workforce.
  5. India has been ranked at 30th position on a global manufacturing index by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  6. WEF said the country’s manufacturing sector has grown by over 7% per year on average in the past three decades and accounts for 16-20% of India’s GDP.

Challenges:

  1. Human capital and sustainable resources – country needs to continue to raise the capabilities of its relatively young and fast-growing labor force.
  2. Lack of upgraded education curricula and vocational training programmes and improving digital skills. A report by consulting firm Ernst & Young said in 2012 that India lags far behind other nations in imparting skills training to its workers.
  3. Energy sources need to be diversified and reduced emissions as its manufacturing sector continues to expand.
  4. India needs funds to build industries, which in turn need infrastructure, which is in itself in short supply and requires more finance.
  5. India’s public sector companies of the 1950s were cocooned in protectionist policies.
  6. Long-term competitiveness now required in an open global environment needs huge investments in research and development. While India is home to R&D facilities for many global companies, Indian companies have been slow to embrace R&D.

 

Q.3) Discuss the various factors leading to increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India. Mention the important steps taken by the government in combating NCDs.

Answer: Acc to data released by WHO, over 61%  of total deaths in India were attributed to lifestyle or non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Reasons for increasing NCDs:

  1. Changing lifestyles which are more sedentary due to the changing occupational profile of the country.
  2. Dietary habits have changed profoundly and are more cereal based and less diversified.
  3. Pollution and toxic residues in food and water sources remains a concern. NCDs include many environmental diseases covering a broad category of avoidable and unavoidable human health conditions caused by external factors, such as sunlight, nutrition, pollution, and lifestyle choices.
  4. Behaviors such as smoking, drinking coupled with physical inactivity can lead to hypertension and obesity.
  5. Also, the person’s economic and social conditions determine his health.

Steps taken by government to combat NCDs:

  1. India is the first country to develop specific national targets and indicators aimed at reducing the number of global premature deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025.
  2. A National Multisectoral Action Plan that outlines actions by various sectors in addition to the health sector, to reduce the burden of NCDs and their risk factors.
  3. India has implemented WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control aimed at reducing the demand for tobacco products.
  4. India’s National Monitoring Framework for Prevention and Control of NCDs calls for a 50% relative reduction in household use of solid fuel and a 30% relative reduction in prevalence of current tobacco use by 2025.
  5. PM Ujjwala Yojana targets indoor pollution due to unclean cooking fuels.

 

Q.4) What do you understand by green mobility. Mention the benefits of green vehicles for India and steps taken by government to promote them. Also briefly mention the challenges in adopting green vehicles in India.

Answer: Green mobility is sustainable transportation that allows the basic access needs of individuals and societies to be met. safely and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem health.

Benefits of green vehicles:

  1. Oil imports – In 2015, India imported more than 80% of its oil at a cost of Rs 4.2 lakh crore.
  2. Climate – the shift to zero emission vehicles will help improve the air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Mobility-oriented development and accessible public transportation lead to lower pollution and congestion in cities. These changes make urban environments more walkable and bike-friendly.
  4. Electricity – India aims to achieve about 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030.

Steps taken to promote:

  1. The Government of India encourages foreign investment in the automobile sector and allows 100% FDI under the automatic route.
  2. Ministry of Heavy Industries has shortlisted 11 cities in the country for introduction of electric vehicles in their public transport systems under the FAME scheme.
  3. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is planning to procure 10,000 e-vehicles via demand aggregation.
  4. NATRIP – under this, Government of India, State Governments and Indian Automotive Industry came together to create state-of-the-art testing and R&D facilities, so that core competencies in automotive technology in India can be created to facilitate seamless integration of the Indian Automotive Industry with the world.
  5. NEMMP-2020 : target to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards.

Challenges in adopting:

  1. Differences between the standards of new and replacement parts can cause major issues in safety, emissions, and performance of the vehicle.
  2. Poor domestic capability for producing components used in green vehicles will be a major bottleneck for shifting to cleaner vehicles.
  3. Absence of a long-term industry roadmap leads to uncertainty on the future requirement of technologies, testing and skills.
  4. Shortage of skilled manpower. The automotive industry in India is in continuous need of skilled manpower, given the limited training capacity and employability of the trained workforce.
  5. Inadequate development of logistics and supply chain infrastructure in India leads to inefficiencies, delays and high costs.
  6. Resistance of people in shifting to new mobility solutions like bicycles.
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