Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – September 7


1. What is the significance of BRICS in India’s context? Can the present India-China issues negatively impact the BRICS agenda?(GS 2)

The HIndu 

Introduction about BRICS:

  • It began as an acronym coined by investment bankers at Goldman Sachs in 2001to symbolise the engines of economic growth in the twenty first century.
  • BRICS has evolved into something much bigger –a representation of the changing geo-political and geo-economic world order.

Significance to India:

  • It attaches high importance to the BRICS forum for promoting global economic growth, peace and stability.
  • International:
    • Being part of this grouping is the first for India to become a global power.
    • Sheer clout and hegemony expressed by these countries will show a strong voice in international relations and foreign policy issues.
    • Through G4 (Brazil, Germany, India and Japan) and through BRICS it can ask strongly for UNSC reforms to make India as a Permanent Member.
  • Economical:
    • Through BRICS, the countries can have multilateral relations in their local currencies. Thus, weakening the “US Dollar”. This helps all of them directly as the forex is not depleted and their own currencies are strengthened.
    • BRICS Banks will help in infrastructure development of all countries unlike IMF or World Bank.
    • India has also played an important role in the setting up of New Development Bank.
    • India is in utmost need of Investment in Industrial and Agricultural sectors.Indians see BRICS and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which was created under its umbrella, as a source for new opportunities.
  • Cooperation:
    • They promote South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue.
    • India sees BRICS as a platform to build multilateral relations with Latin American, African and Asian countries.
    • India has over the years, developed closed strategic relationship with the other member countries.
  • Resolve issues:
    • India has also tried to use BRIC as a forum to resolve the age-old mistrust and complicated relationship with China.
    • Also for India, co-operation with the BRICs is very important in terms of addressing its food and energy security issues, and combating terrorism.
    • It will also help its member countries in fulfilling Sustainable development goals.

Yes, India China issues would affect:-

  • The duration of Doklam standoff betrays trust deficit between India and China – two biggest economies of the BRICS.
  • Their rivalry for global influence and fears of containment by the other threaten to overshadow those aspirations.
  • Indian fears of Chinese encroachment in the Indian Ocean.
    • Recently China announced it had carried out military drills in the western Indian Ocean, advertising its growing presence there.
  • China is also cooperating with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other coastal nations on port access, including for its navy which is a concern for India
  • Indian wariness about the motives behind Beijing’s flagship “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure initiative.
    • That adds to Indian frustration over lopsided trade that saw China record a trade surplus of about $40 billion with India last year.
  • China has thwarted attempts by India to gain permanent membership on the UN Security Council and join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, or to label Pakistani militant Masood Azhar a terrorist.
  • India’s refusal to be a part of the BRI over sovereignty issues, coupled with its broader objections to the transparency and agenda of the project, was a cause for tensions.
  • Beijing resents India’s providing a base for the Dalai Lama, and complained bitterly when the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was permitted to visit an Indian region claimed by China earlier this year.
  • A major challenge for India is likely to arise from China’s plan for a “BRICS-Plus” or “Friends of BRICS” groupingto include Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Mexico to an expanded version of BRICS.
  • Beijing fears what it sees as a U.S.-led encirclement of China by Washington’s allies and neighbors, including India and Japan.
  • All these insecurities show that BRICS is loomed with the issues of these countries

No it will not affect because:-

  • India and China lie at the helm of this new order and they realise the importance of it.
  • BRICS grouping holds considerable allure for both countries, underscoring their support for regular meetings over the past decade to discuss economic concerns and issues such as climate change.
  • Some observers see a multilateral arena like BRICS as being one of the few places where the world’s two most populous countries can work together despite tensions
  • Both countries cannot hold the other three, as in South Africa, Russia and Brazil, hostage to our narrow nationalistic rivalries.
  • The summit is a great opportunity to communicate face-to-face and exchange views on the two countries problems and contradictions and the solutions to them.
  • The fact that India and China released statements indicating disengagement at Doklam just a few days before the BRICS summit shows a realisation on both sides that the opportunities in cooperation for a greater say on the world stage far outweigh individual territorial ambitionsthat either of them might have.
  • lack of coherence among BRICS nations, especially India and China, has often been over emphasized in western media outlets.

Way ahead:

  • Indiaon the other hand must continue to advocate for an increased joint collaboration with China in multi-lateral institutions,


  • Russia, Brazil and South Africa will surely count on India and China to speak in one voice in the upcoming summit and showcase the points of convergences among the BRICS nations to the world. In line with the theme of the summit, which is “Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”, India and China must use BRICS to build a house

2.What do you understand by tribal Panchsheel. How far has it has led to successful integration of tribals in the mainstream population? (GS 1)

Link-1 | Link-2

Tribal panchsheel:

  • It was born out of the idea that the uplift of tribal people had to take place through a slow process of their “modernisation” even while their culture had to be preserved
  • Nehru gave his five fundamental principles for tribal development:
    • Non-imposition:-
      • People should develop along the lines of their own genius, and the imposition of alien values should be avoided.
    • TribaI rights in land and forest should be respected.
    • Teams of tribals should be trained in the work of administration and development. introducing too many outsiders into tribal territory should be avoided.
    • TribaI areas should not be overadministered or overwhelmed with a multiplicity of schemes.
    • Results should be judged not by statistics or the amount of money spent, but by the human character that is evolved.


  • Indian constitution has some provisions for the Adivasis regions as 5th and 6th schedules.
  • National Commission of ST is an advisory body working for tribal interests.
  • Autonomy in administration of tribal areas like autonomous tribal district councils etc.
  • Cultural safegaurds like promotion of tribal heritage and their traditions etc.
  • Ministry of tribal affairs looks for their welfare.
  • Special focus on north eastern states like developmental plans, packages, youth skill development.
  • Reservation in legislature, governemnt jobs and educational institutions for their welfare and promotion.
  • Special rights under Forest Act to reside inside the forest and collect minor forest produce. No outsider allowed to reside inside forest.
  • Fundamental Rights to protect their culture, language, dialects, freedom to worship
  • Provision made by Government that no land belonging to ST can be purchased by non-ST to solve the issue of land grabbing from STs.


  • According to experts whenever the Adivasis protest against unjust policies of the state, they are given some rights on paper to keep them silent.
  • Their livelihood resources were snatched in the name of national interest and no support was provided to them .
  • Adivasis’ indigenous method of development was never counted by people of the mainstream of the society and the corporate development model was imposed on them instead.
  • In the last 6 decades, many policies were made, which displaced, dispossessed and deprived the Adivasis from their livelihood resources but rehabilitation was never a concern for the Indian government
  • Respect for tribal customs:-
    • Adivasi tradition, culture and customs were never accepted wholeheartedly.
    • The tradition, culture and ethos, which are based on community living, equality for all and need based economy were always neglected, depicted as the worst and destroyed in many ways.
    • Similarly, the religion of Adivasis was not recognized by the Indian constitution .As a result, thousands of the Adivasis accepted other religions, religious enmity was created among them and thousands of their sacred groves were destroyed in the name of ‘development’.
    • Another problem is that the half-hearted and shoddy implementation of Forest Acts ,thus denying livelihood to many Tribals families, who have been traditionally dependent on Forests
    • Most of the old tribal social and cultural institutions, viz., Parha system, Manki-Munda system, Akhra, Dhumkuria, et al, have either been destroyed or are in their last stage
  • Development of tribal youth:
    • Adivasi leadership is not acceptable to the so-called people of the mainstream of the Indian society.
  • Simplicity of Administration: 
    • The rulers of modern India did not accept the Adivasis’ Traditional self governance.
    • voluntary agencies were preferred for carrying out the development works in the Adivasi regions.
    • They imposed numbers of legislations – forest Acts, Laws in the name of the protection of wild life, Land related laws, mining Acts and civil as well as criminal laws. Finally, they captured the natural resources of these regions.
    • A good portion of the land in tribal areas has been legally transferred to non-tribals.
    • Tribal government programmes have not significantly helped the tribals in raising their economic status.
    • Banking facilities in the tribal areas are so inadequate that the tribals have to depend mainly on moneylenders.
    • About 90 per cent of the tribals are engaged in cultivation and most of them are landless and practise shifting cultivation.
  • Emphasis on human growth:-
    • Always portrayed as uncivilized, sub-human, demons, forest-dwellers and mindless people.
    • The Adivasis are always racially discriminated, exploited and dispossessed.
  • The Adivasis regions lack education, health facilities, drinking water, sanitation and shelter even today.
  • The state of the tribal people in the city is even worse.Such neglect gave the reason for uprisings such as Naxalism


  • 10 percent of the nation’s total population (about 835.80 lakh), according to the 2001 census, is what constitutes the tribal population of India.

Conclusion and way ahead:

  • There is need of political will to address tribals’ problems through proper training to governemnt officials dealing with tribal regions to inculcate a sense of compassion towards tribals and awareness among masses and all politicians so that they can give positive heed to tribal prevailing conditions in India.

3. Highlight the differences in the approach of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom.(GS 1)

Link-1 | Link-2

Bose approach:-

  • His demand for political independence by virtue of complete severance from the British.
  • While in India, he pushed Congress to launch mass movements demanding complete independence, and from outside India he led the Indian National Army to liberate India through war.
  • He wanted to develop free India as a modern, industrialised nation with focus on advances in science, livelihood, and education for the masses.
  • He has also been unambiguous that he would seek political emancipation through the most efficacious means which could involve armed conflict or even a total war. 
  • Netaji believed that non-violence could be an ideology but not a creed. The national movement should be free from violence but, if need be, people could resort to arms.

Gandhi’s approach:-

  • Identified Spiritual Swaraj, which would cure Indian civilisation from evils such as doctors, lawyers, railways, mill made cloth, heavy machinery etc as his goal early on.
  • He subsequently verbally demanded Dominion Status with membership in the British Commonwealth most of the time, without, however, revoking his articulation of spiritual Swaraj.
  • In 1942, however, expecting that the British would lose the second world war, he sought complete severance from them, but reverted to demanding Dominion Status as soon as the tides of the war turned.
  • Nonetheless, other than the Quit India movement of 1942, none of the mass movements launched by Gandhi demanded even Dominion status – they were mostly centered around social agenda, specific grievances, extra-territorial Muslim Caliphate, and financial reforms (the last incorporated the demands of his industrialist sponsors).

Similarities: (extra)

  • Gandhi and Bose did not differ on their choices between communism and capitalism.
    • Both were socialists, as per their stated positions, and disassociated themselves from Communism


  • Bose sought complete severance from the British empire, while Gandhi’s goal posts vacillated between “Spiritual Swaraj”, Dominion Status and complete severance.
  • Bose espoused an uncompromising, unrelenting, militant, if not violent, all out struggle against British colonialism as opposed to the path of entreaties, compromises and deals Gandhi championed.
  • Bose believed that freedom is never given, it is taken, while Gandhi on the other hand sought to attain his Swaraj through loyalty to the empire and a “change of heart” on their part .
  • Subhash Chandra Bose adopted a violent means for liberating India hence gave a call for violent Revolution against Colonialists & led Indian National Army (INA). Gandhi on other hand relied on gradual evolution of freedom via non-violent mass movement.
  • Bose adopted radical leftist in ideology.Gandhi followed a socialist pattern which could held different sections of society together against powerful colonial masters.
  • Bose was more international in his outlook & for attaining freedom he approached Russia, Germany & Japan even if it meant participating in World War 2 against Britain. Gandhi relied more on indigenous forces like swadeshi & satyagragha.


Despite their divergent approaches both strived hard to get India and  it’s people independence from the British.




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