Q.1) Implementing recommendations of the Shekatkar Committee is going to be even more crucial for preparedness of the armed forces and defence ecosystem in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and its aftermath. Comment. (15marks - 250word)
Why this question? - Government has accepted and implemented three important recommendations of the Committee of Experts (CoE) under the Chairmanship of Lt General D B Shekatkar (Retd) relating to border Infrastructure.
Intro - One can start with the structural reforms announced by the GoI under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan amid COVID-19 outbreak, to make India’s defence sector self-reliant.
Body - One can briefly highlight the reforms announced. Then, mention that these reforms are in line to the recommendations of the Shekatkar Committee. Highlight the recommendations of the committee. Mention their relevance in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. Then, highlight the concerns.
Q.2) According to a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms, As much as 67% of donations to national parties in 2018-19 came from “unknown sources,”.In the light of this report, highlight the issues involved in electoral funding in India and suggest a way ahead.
Why this question:
- The ADR analysed the income tax returns and donation statements submitted to the Election Commission by the BJP, the Congress, the Trinamool, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Nationalist Congress Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Intro: Introduce the answer with a recent fact or incident which raised questions on electoral fundings. Example: The Election Commission (EC) filed its reply in writing to a batch of cases pending before the Madras High Court, seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the 2017 R.K. Nagar bypoll bribery case
Issues with electoral funding and electoral bonds: Black money , unknown sources, opaque funding Reforms made to curb corruption in electoral funding: Legal provisions of RPA.
Conclusion: suggest way ahead for example state funding of elections etc
Q.3) Tropical Cyclones are the most devastating disasters, formed only when some peculiar conditions are there. Comment. 10 marks (150 words)
Why this question:
Super Cyclonic Storm ‘AMPHAN’ is going to hit India’s Eastern Coast.
They are formed between the tropic of cancer and tropic of capricorn.
- Reoccurs every 2-3 years and kills hundreds to thousand people
- Causes destruction over a very large area
- Leads to Flooding
- Destroys Crops
- Impacts transportation and communication lines etc..
Conditions for formation:
- Warm surface temperature of about 27 degree celsius
- Presence of Coriolis Force
- High Relative humidity
- Atmospheric instability
Link with Sendai Framework or Role of National and State Disaster management forces in preventing and mitigating disasters.
Q.4) The amendments to the Electricity Bill may burden States and erode the concurrent status given to electricity. Analyze.
Why this question?
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s proposal for reform of power tariff policy was announced as part of the stimulus package following the pandemic.
Briefly tell about the proposed amendment to the Electricity Act 2003.
DISCOM troubles: These proposals have to be seen in the context of a continuing centralisation of control over the sector whose main impact in the last 25 years has been to drive up the cost of power purchase to 80% of the total costs of State DISCOMs.
- The amendment proposes even greater concessions to renewable power developers, with its cascading impact on idling fixed charges, impacting the viability of DISCOMs even more.
Factor of renewable energy: Backing down thermal generation to accommodate all available green power, entailing further idle fixed costs payable on account of two-part tariff PPAs.
Federalism: State regulators will henceforth be appointed by a central selection committee, the composition of which inspires little confidence in its objectivity, jeopardising not only regulatory autonomy and independence but also the concurrent status of the electricity sector.
Suggest a way forward for revival of the electricity sector.E.g reforms in fuel supply, infrastructure shortages in transmission, and broke state utilities.
Q.5) The appointment of India’s nominee as chairperson of the WHO’s executive board is at crucial timing. Elucidate(250 words)
Why this question?
India will move into a leadership role at the World Health Organisation (WHO) headquarters after the 73rd annual meeting of the global health body
Unprecedented threat of COVID-19 and importance of role of WHO
- About World health assembly and its role
- Key issues currently at WHO
- Criticism regarding its way of handling the pandemic
- Taiwan proposed to be awarded observer status
- Resolution to evaluate possible food and animal-related sources that could have led to the spread of the deadly pandemic.
- Funding crunch
- Priority areas for India
- Increase the obligations of states and the powers of the WHO
- Attention towards a few but important topics
- Attention towards funding problem
- Bringing cooperation between various members
Suggest a way forward for solving the existing issues in WHO.