Q.1) What are major outcomes of BIMSTEC summit recently held in Kathmandu, Nepal? How will it help in strengthening regional cooperation among the group? Discuss.
Answer: Outcomes of BIMSTEC summit:
- Recognized that eradication of poverty is the greatest regional challenge in realization of development objectives and expressed commitment to work together for the implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
- Acknowledged that enhanced inter-linkages and interdependence within the economies and societies in the BIMSTEC Member States provide greater opportunity to advance regional cooperation;
- Acknowledged that terrorism and transnational organized crimes continue to pose a great threat to international peace and security. They called for sustained efforts and cooperation among Member States.
- Renewed commitment to expedite Free Trade Area and revitalise activities of Business and Economic Forums.
- Explored possibility of setting up BIMSTEC development fund with voluntary contributions from member states.
- MOU on establishment of ‘BIMSTEC Grid interconnection’ to bolster energy cooperation for optimal utilisation of energy resources of members.
- Decided to draft a charter for BIMSTEC, which has functioned so far on the basis of the Bangkok Declaration of 1997, and outcomes of the past three summits and the Leaders’ Retreat in 2016.
- A Permanent Working Committee will be set up to provide direction during the period between two summits and also to prepare the Rules of Procedure.
- Secretariat has been promised additional financial and human resources and enhancement of its role to coordinate, monitor and facilitate the grouping activities.
- BIMSTEC governments will make an endeavour to review, restructure and rationalise various sectors, identifying a few core areas.
How it helps:
- So far, BIMSTEC has been handicapped due to lack of financial resources. Without strengthening itself financially, BIMSTEC cannot shed the tag of being a mere talk shop.
- They recognised that 16 areas of cooperation represent too wide a spectrum to focus all energies on any one outcome.
- Reprioritized the significance of economic integration and connectivity in the background of rapid connectivity projects led by China. The leaders renewed their “commitment to an early conclusion” of FTA negotiations.
- Recognised advantages and potential of connectivity – this may give boost to the long pending connectivity projects like Motor Vehicle Agreement and the Coastal Shipping Agreement.
- Plans to revitalise the Business Forum and the Economic Forum are welcome as they help in fully engaging business and industry.
Q.2 Though Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has been heralded as a measure to reduce road accidents, there is no concrete regulatory mechanism to prevent accidents in India. Comment.
Answer: India saw 1.5 lakh deaths from road accidents, according to ‘Road Accidents in India, 2016’ report by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Provisions of the MV Bill:
- Removal of intermediaries – the Bill seeks to redress time lags by taking the process online. Tests for driving licences will be automated, and learner’s licences will be issued online.
- State governments oversee RTOs right now. The government has not yet created clear guidelines on how States will have to adopt this new Bill.
- New fines – The existing fines for breaking road rules have been increased in this Bill.
- Driving licences – previously, a driving licence is valid for 20 years until a person turns 50, and for five-year periods after the age of 50. Not more categories have been created.
- Aggregators – The Bill defines aggregators as “a digital intermediary or market place for a passenger to connect with a driver for the purpose of transportation.” It places the regulation of aggregators with states.
- Third-party insurance – The Bill removes any cap on payments to be made under third-party insurance.
- Vehicle recall – The Bill provides for the recall of vehicles if the defective vehicle is a danger to the environment, the driver or other road users.
Lack of regulatory mechanism:
- Other than provisions for higher penalty for drivers and operators and there is no mention of any other measures to prevent accidents.
- Factors such as traffic discipline, over-congestion, growing number of vehicles beyond the capacity of roads have not been been addressed.
- Section 135 of the Bill states that Central government will formulate a scheme to provide amenities to study and analyse the reasons for accidents. Before completing such a study, an Act to solve the problem of accidents has been presented to Parliament.
- According to a study, only 10% of the accidents occur due to the drivers’ fault. Long duty hours, stress and strain on the drivers are also contributory factors. These facts were not considered while formulating this Bill.
- The underlying theme to regulate and privatise the regulatory mechanism will make the existing State-based regulatory and disciplinary mechanism redundant.
- State Transport Undertakings (STUs) record the lowest accident rates in the country. But this Bill is going to badly hit these STUs. What was needed was to expand and strengthen the STUs to reduce accidents.
Q.3 “Though against the British policy, peasant movement and tribal movement were different in their approach”Critically examine the above statements.
Answer: Both the movements opposed British policy:
- Peasants opposed the land revenue policies and commercialisation of agriculture.
- The tribals opposed new forest laws, entry of money lenders and destruction of traditional forest economy of tribals.
- While tribals resented loss of autonomy, peasants resented foreign rule in later peasant struggles.
Differences in approach:
- Tribal movements were more localised in their efforts whereas later peasant movements became more organised under Kisan Sabhas and other leadership.
- While tribal movements were confrontational, peasant movements were rarely violent. They adopted legal and unarmed conflict methods.
- The aims of tribal movements were to establish their autonomy and recover their land while peasant struggles aimed to fight the revenue policies.
Q.4 Explain the significance of Left Movement in Indian freedom struggle. Critically analyse the impact of left movement on urban youth in the context of rising urban naxalism.
Answer: Significance of Left in freedom struggle:
- They shifted the ideological position of the movement to peasants and working class. Thus the Indian mass base expanded against the British.
- Leaders life Nehru played a crucial role in integrating the working class in freedom struggle through Workers and Peasant Parties.
- They played an important role in bringing the Kisan Manifesto at Faizpur session.
- The inspiration from other countries was drawn through the study of Marx, Lenin and other communist ideologues.
- In the elections, congress enunciated a socio-economic programme under the influence of Leftists.
Impact of left movement on urban youth:
- The maoist movement decided to shift its centre to urban India.
- The “vulnerable groups” of minorities, women, Dalits, labourers and students are targeted.
- Rising inflation and economic uncertainties after adoption of new economic policy are used to attract people to leftist ideology.
- Industrial proletariat and students are used as vanguards who can play a direct role in revolution.
- As the city is also the money source, shelter for cadre as transit points, source of weaponry and legal protection, medical aid, media attention and intelligentsia network, it assumes importance.
- The majority of the people have little to do with Maoism at the ideological level. They are only alienated and angry people with a sense of injustice, oppression and indignity. Maoists exploit this sentiment to their advantage.
- The legal organisations are the most dangerous for national security, as they try to subvert constitutional authority surreptitiously by building mass support through subtle manipulation of grievances against the state. Though government can ban the other two types of organisations, it is almost impossible to ban these legal organisations as civil society, human rights and other vigilante groups rush forth and create a hue and cry that the rights of the common man are being denied.