Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – October 31, 2018

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Q.1) In recent days, it is often warned that India is facing its worst ever water crisis. Why is it so? Which factors are responsible for this and how the problem of water crisis should be addressed? Discuss

Answer:

According to NITI Ayog, India is facing its worst-ever water crisis, with 600 million people facing acute water shortage. It further says that the crisis is “only going to get worse” in the years ahead.

Factors responsible:

  1. Lack of access to clean water.
  2. Lack of infrastructure to supply piped water to every home. People cannot rely on groundwater due to erratic rains.
  3. As cities and towns grow, the pressure on urban water resources is increasing.
  4. Pollution of available water resources – both surface and groundwater.
  5. Exploitative farming practices are depleting water resources at a rapid pace.
  6. Climate change is also a cause behind drying up of sources and erratic rainfall patterns.

Ways to address:

  1. Optimizing existing infrastructure, such as water production and treatment plants, water networks and reservoirs.
  2. Using technology solutions like Big Data to map consumption patterns and decide supply.
  3. Involving communities in conservation of local water bodies.
  4. Efficient agriculture practices life ZBNF, organic farming.
  5. Arresting water pollution through effluent treatment plants, strict implementation of Water Act etc.,

 

Q.2) In recent years, India is accorded a prominent position in Japan’s geo­strategic outlook. Critically analyse if growing proximity between India and Japan is an enduring one or if it’s just a short-term arrangement to address each other’s regional concerns.

Answer:

The 13th India-Japan annual summit was held recently and at least 32 pacts on issues like defence to economic, health to agriculture, and many on infrastructure development, were signed.

Convergence in the relation:

  1. Japan has been extending bilateral loan and grant assistance to India since 1958, and is its largest bilateral donor.

a) $90 billion has gone into the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

b) Japan is also backing the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail service.

  1. Both countries are wary of the aggressive growth propaganda of China.
  2. Both are members of the QUAD grouping initiated by the USA.
  3. They are participating in the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor to bring infrastructure to African countries.
  4. Japan has been one of the biggest sources of investment flows into India, accounting for $28.16 billion in FDI between April 2000 and June 2018
  5. The two countries signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2011 to facilitate growth in bilateral trade

Challenge areas:

  1. Bilateral trade has been below potential. Among countries that India exports to, Japan is at 18th position.
  2. Indian products are struggling to penetrate Japanese market due to language barriers, high quality and service standards.
  3. Negotiations to purchase amphibious US-2 planes are still going on.
  4. India’s delays in executing projects overseas remains a concern for Japan.
  5. China’s significant role in Asian economy and geostrategy does not allow both the nations to ignore its warnings.

 

Q.3) What were the objectives of various tribal uprisings in India during British rule? Evaluate their compatibility with freedom struggle.

Answer:

Tribal uprisings – objectives:

  1. To regain the traditional rights of community over forest produce and ownership.
  2. To reclaim the land which is lost to outsiders.
  3. Against the nexus of moneylenders, officers and outsiders who encroached into the tribal system and led to a debt ridden tribal society.
  4. Rejection of alien elements and attempts to restore their pristine culture and relig­ion are also considered as responsible for the rise of messianic movements among the tribals.
  5. Sufferings caused by wars and harassment by the disbanded soldiery are also responsible for dissatisfaction among the tribals.

Wrt Freedom struggle:

  1. Mostly the solidarity was within the tribal community and not for the rest of India, which is the objective of freedom struggle.
  2. They are isolated in nature and fought only for the local reasons of the tribe.
  3. They did not understand the larger picture of colonial exploitation.
  4. As most of the uprisings were dispersed across the country, there seems to be no unity and united front against the British rule.

 

Q.4) Despite the vital role of the Inland water sector, inland water transport systems have not yet reached their full potential in India. Discuss the major issues and challenges with IWT in India. suggest measures to boost IWT

Answer:

India has approximately 14500 km of navigable waterways. But at present Inland Waterway Transport forms an insignificant part of total transport system.

Challenges faced by IWT:

  1. Reduced navigability due to siltation, as in the Bhagirathi-Hooghly and in the Buckingham Canal.
  2. Reduced flow due to diversion of water for irrigation, for instance, in the Ganga which makes it difficult even for steamers to ply.
  3. There are problems in smooth navigation because of waterfalls and cataracts, as in Narmada and Tapti.
  4. Lack of inadequate depth of waterways for commercial movement of cargo is a major concern.Also quality of water flow is becoming poorer progressively.
  5. Rudimentary infrastructure coupled with non-availability of water round the year is an impediment for operation of waterways.
  6. There is lack of modal integration of and detailed mapping of waterways and industrial clusters and also lack of integration of hinterland coastal shipping with international maritime traffic.

Solutions:

  1. The Government with a view to promoting Inland Waterways Transport (IWT), has launched several schemes.

a) Vessel Building Subsidy of 30%

b) Viability Gap Funding

  1. Recent approval for implementation of Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) or the National Waterway-1 on Ganga River.
  2. Focus more and put some special efforts and funds on the development of     “commercially significant IWT.”
  3. The construction of dams, barrages, bridges should consider navigation as an important requirement and make provisions for the same.
  4. Need to provide effective railroad and coastal connections from the waterways for multi-modal logistics.
  5. Target specific cargo like Coal, Cement, Fertilizers, Food grains and all the users of these cargoes close to National Waterways
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