Q.1) The policy of “sons of the soil” is violative to the principle of equality enshrined in the Constitution of India. Critically comment. (15 marks - 250 words)
Why this question? - Recent decision of the Madhya Pradesh government to reserve all government jobs for “children of the state” has once again spurred the debate around domicile-based job quota.
Intro - Define what is “sons of the soil” policy and highlight the names of states adopting such policies.
- Impact of such policies - positive and negative
- Exceptions in the Constitution of India with respect to domicile as the basis of reservation.
Way ahead and Conclusion - Summarize based on above discussion.
Q.2) What is vaccine nationalism? Highlight its drawbacks and alternatives available. (10 marks - 150 words)
Why this question? - Several wealthier countries have entered into pre-purchase agreements with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers, even before the end of final stage human trials or regulatory approval, depicting a development known as “vaccine nationalism”.
Intro - When a country prioritises its own domestic markets, by managing to secure doses of vaccines for its own citizens or residents before they are made available in other countries it is known as ‘vaccine nationalism’.
- This is done through pre-purchase agreements between a government and a vaccine manufacturer.
Severity of the present situation:
- Dreaded disease - Covid: It must be noted that H1N1 was a milder disease and its impact was far lesser than Covid-19, which has already infected more than 22 million worldwide and killed 777,000.
- The US, UK have already secured deals worth millions. For example, recently, the European Union negotiated with AstraZeneca for the purchase of 300 million doses of the vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University.
- Shortage of supplies: According to a study, the worldwide supply may not reach 1 billion doses until the first quarter of 2022.
Drawbacks and alternative of vaccine nationalism:
- Countries with fewer resources and bargaining power at disadvantage: Thus, if countries with a large number of cases lag in obtaining the vaccine, the disease will continue to disrupt global supply chains and, as a result economies around the world.
Way ahead - To arrest vaccine nationalism is global collaboration, which is being done through the WHO-backed COVAX Facility mechanism.
- The countries who join the initiative are assured supply of vaccines whenever they become successful. So far, more than 170 countries have expressed interest with about 90 low- and middle-income countries.
Conclusion - Summarize based on above discussion.
Q.3) A Sino-Russian quasi-alliance has formed in recent years, and this has been possible due to the anti-Chinese rhetoric from Washington, collapse of oil prices and growing dependence of Russia on Chinese consumption. Critically analyse. Also provide a way forward for India’s foreign policy in this regard. (15M, 250 words)
Why this question?
- Xinping-Putin friendship has sparked intense discussion on whether Russia and China are moving in the direction of a formal alliance.
- Mention the shift in Sino-Russian bilateral relations -pre cold war and post cold war.
Body: Discuss the following points:
- Falling oil prices and fears of new sanctions on Russian gas supplies (Nord Stream 2) are hurting the core of Russian exports to Europe, thus moving them to depend on China.
- Significance of Russia-China bilateral relation: The three pillars on which the Sino-Russian partnership currently rests are a peaceful boundary, expanding trade and a shared distrust of American intentions.
- Significance for India: The Russia-China are India’s most consequential partners. Prime Minister Modi has held informal summits with only two leaders — Xi and Putin.
- Estimates say 60 to 70 per cent of India’s supplies are from Russia, and New Delhi needs a regular and reliable supply of spare parts from the Russian defence industry.
- India’s concerns: Russia is now politically agnostic, commercially motivated and no longer shares India’s concerns about China.
Conclusion: A strategic partnership with Russia based on the absence of fundamental conflicts of interest and a shared belief for a multipolar world is important for India, and this relationship deserves more attention from both sides.
Q.4) The proposal to set up the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) marks a paradigm shift in government recruitment. Comment (250 words)
Why this question?
The Union Cabinet recently approved the setting up of the National Recruitment Agency, an independent body to conduct examinations for government jobs.
Mention the current state of multiple examinations and problems in brief
- About NRA
- Exams to be conducted by the NRA:
- Pattern of exam
- Rules involved
- Medium of CET etc
- Advantages of NRA
- Advantages for students
- Advantages for institutions
- Problems associated
- Suggestions for proper implementation
Mention that NRA would be a specialist body bringing the state-of-the-art technology and best practices to the field of Central Government recruitment.
Q.5) Discuss the historical aspects of India’s national flag. Also, bring out the symbolism in the current Indian flag. (250 words)
Why this question?
Recently India’s 74th independence day was celebrated
Mention that when members of the Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall in Delhi, the first item on the agenda was reportedly about adopting a national flag for free India.
- The origins of the present-day flag
- Primarily attributed to Pingali Venkayya
- The original idea behind the design (to symbolize the two major communities, Hindus and Muslims)
- Suggestions by Gandhi
- Earlier flags
- First National flag
- First Indian flag to be hoisted in a foreign land.
- New flag as part of the Home Rule Movement.
- Adopting tricolor with no religions interpretation
- Meaning of different colors
- The Ashok Chakra with 24 spokes
Mention that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.