current-affairs-based-mains-drill-23-february-2021

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Q.1) The soft power of science and technology has the potential to address a myriad of new world problems. Discuss.

Why this Question:

Important part of GS Paper II.

Key Demand of the Question:

The power of collaboration in science and technology in solving global problems.

Directive:

Discuss- back up the answer by carefully selected evidence to make a case for and against an argument, or point out the advantages and disadvantages of the given context and finally arrive at a conclusion.

Introduction:

Give a brief introduction about use of S&T in diplomacy.

Body:

In the first part, highlight the challenges of the 21st century that can be solved with the help of collaborations in science and technology- climate change, cross border terrorism, pandemics, etc.

In the next part, highlight the measures that should be adopted by the countries.

Conclusion:

Conclude with how Science diplomacy can help in achieving inclusive growth around the world. 

Model Answer

The 21st century has seen the emergence of a variety of challenges that need a comprehensive global approach. Some of these include climate change, cross border terrorism, pandemics, cyber security, etc. No nation on its own has the capacity, infrastructure and human resources to address these massive challenges. Science and technology has the capability to address these problems in a holistic manner that can benefit the whole mankind. Use of scientific collaborations among nations to address common problems is referred to as Science Diplomacy.

Global Problems that can be addressed by Science Diplomacy

  1. Climate Change- Eg- International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched in 2015 with France as the main partner. It is a global platform that seeks to bring together and mobilize technology and finance to implement solar energy projects in member states.
  2. Disaster Management- Eg- Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)- is an international partnership piloted by India in consultation with 35 countries. It will support developed and developing nations in their efforts to build climate and disaster-resilient infrastructure. It will provide member countries with technical support and capacity development, research and knowledge management, and advocacy and partnerships.
  3. Cross Border Terrorism- it is a problem that has affected almost every country around the world. Science and technology specific to countering terrorism includes the means of ensuring premature detonation of explosives or of inhibiting the triggering of explosives. Countries can come together with their resources to develop such tools.
  4. Pandemics- the recent Covid19 has exposed the vulnerabilities of even the developed countries. India has been able to use its science and technology prowess to address the global challenge brought out by the pandemic. It has been sending medicines to over 150 countries including the U.S. The current campaign ‘Vaccine Maitri’ is also aimed at supplying of Covid vaccines to countries in need.
  5. Cyber Security- Scientific knowledge from different countries can improve the existing products and lead to groundbreaking innovation and applications in cyber security that can benefit the whole world.
  6. Sustainable Development- the UN has set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which all countries have undertaken to achieve by 2030. To support this effort the UN and member states have established a Technology Facilitation Mechanism(TFM intends to enable developing countries to access the technology which is required to achieve the SDGs.

Way forward

  1. Detailed negotiations between countries on large scale international projects in science and technology.
  2. Collaboration of diplomats and scientists in this process.
  3. Young scientists and technologists to be made more aware of the country’s foreign policy objectives.

India has been exhibiting increasing alignment to international science and technology cooperation. The Ministry of External Affairs has set up the New Emerging & Strategic Technologies Division to manage science and technology issues in the nation’s diplomatic matrix. The global crisis created by the Covid19 pandemic has made the condition ripe for countries to come forward and collaborate in science and technology to counter any such problem in the future and achieve inclusive growth of developed as well as developing countries.

 

Q.2) Though India-China bilateral agreements to promote peace and tranquility and promote confidence building measures (CBMs) along border areas, have drawn inspiration from the China-Russia agreements, the success of the two have been quite opposite. Critically analyse.

Why this Question:

India China LAC disengagement process along Pangong Tso is going on.

Key Demand of the Question:

Differences between the agreements to promote peace and tranquility and promote confidence building measures (CBMs) along border areas of India-China and China-Russia.

Directive:

Critically analyse - The key to tackling this question is providing ample evidence to support the claims. Ensure that the analysis is balanced by shedding light on, and presenting a critique of, and alternative perspectives. Present extensive evidence taken from a varying range of sources.

Introduction:

Give an introduction about India China border issues.

Body:

In the first part, explain about the demands of the modern world that largely depend on the constant supply of energy resources.

In the next part, highlight the impact that non-renewable sources like fossil fuels have and the need to develop renewable sources to achieve sustainable as well as inclusive growth.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward. 

Model Answer

The formal relations between India and China began in 1950 when India was among the first countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China or the modern day China. The tone of the relations between the two countries has varied over time; the two nations have sought economic cooperation with each other, while frequent border disputes and economic nationalism in both countries are a major point of contention. 

Since 1993, India and China have arrived at a number of agreements to maintain peace and tranquility and promote confidence building measures (CBMs) in the border areas. These include:

  1. Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control in the India -China Border Areas(1993); 
  2. Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on CBMs in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India­ China Border Areas (1996); 
  3. Protocol between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Modalities for the Implementation of CBMs in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India­ China Border Areas (2005); 
  4. Agreement between The Government of the Republic of India and The Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Establishment of a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India China Border Affairs (2012); 
  5. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Border Defence Cooperation (2013)

These agreements have drawn inspiration from the example set by first the Soviet Union and then Russia in concluding such understandings on CBMs with China. But the agreements between India and China have not been successful in achieving their intended objectives as have the agreements between Russia and China been. This is mainly because:

  1. They were not nurtured in an environment of a steady enhancement of mutual trust and political commitment for building a strong infrastructure of bilateral relations between India and China that promoted both bilateral and regional understanding and cooperative endeavour.
  2. No final boundary settlement accompanied these CBMs to sustain and strengthen their operation. 
  3. China as the bigger power like Russia has never signaled willingness to make asymmetric or unilateral concessions to India or act in a manner, especially in our neighbourhood, that enhances India’s trust or confidence.

This highlights the major lags in the cooperation between the two countries that include lack of mutual trust and political commitment. Escalation of tensions at the border like the one recently in Galwan valley is detrimental to both the countries’ national interests. Hence, both need to change the approach towards the border issue and reach an agreement on it.

 

Q.3) What is the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)? Critically evaluate its role in combating money laundering and terror financing.

Why this question:

Pakistan actions are to be reviewed at FATF plenary.

Key demand of the question:

Role of FATF in combating money laundering and terror financing and its effectiveness in that.

Directive:

Critically evaluate - Give your verdict as to what extent a statement or findings within a piece of research are true, or to what extent you agree with them. Provide evidence taken from a wide range of sources which both agree with and contradict an argument. Come to a final conclusion, basing your decision on what you judge to be the most important factors and justify how you have made your choice.

Introduction:

Briefly give an overview of the FATF and its objectives.

Body:

In the first part, categorically explain the role of FATF in combating money laundering and terror financing.

In the next part, examine the effectiveness of FATF in performing its role. Highlight both the positive and negative aspects.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the role that can be played by India at FATF.

Model Answer

The Financial Action Task Force or FATF is an inter- governmental body that was established in  1980 to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. 

Role of FATF 

  1. To protect the integrity of the financial system, and enhance its transparency, which contribute towards global security.
  2. To set the global standards for combating terrorist funding, money laundering and financial for proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
  3. Conduct and publish expert operational and strategic studies on risks, trends, and methods.
  4. Develop and set global policies, standards, best practice, and guidance.
  5. Evaluation of the member countries and close cooperation with FATF like regional bodies.
  6. Monitor the progress of member states in measures to combat terrorist funding, money laundering and counter measures. 
  7. Identify national level vulnerabilities in collaboration with international stakeholders to protect the international financial system from misuse.

Effectiveness of FATF

  1. Over the years, the FATF has succeeded in not only increasing awareness about the challenges faced by the global financial system but also on human security issues like terrorism. 
  2. It has been at the forefront of global efforts to combat terrorism funding and money laundering. These efforts have been in consonance with UNSC resolutions.
  3. It has gained significant influence over the regulatory framework dealing with financial transactions to make it less prone to misuse by profiteers and terrorists.
  4. Terrorist financing investigation and prosecution ensures that terrorist financing offences and activities are investigated and persons doing so are prosecuted and subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
  5. It has become a major factor for countries like Pakistan being pressured to take adequate actions against terrorists operating from its soil.
  6. Its naming and shaming policy has a corrective underlying principle. A country can be placed on a list and then removed thereafter on receipt of assurance from the highest political authority, along with a judgment on the progress made to implement the guidelines. This has ensured an improvement in the overall CFT standards.

Challenges before FATF

  1. Difficulty in domestic coordination. 
  2. Capacity and resource constraints of the member countries. 
  3. Inadequate operational resources. 
  4. Assessment complexities in the implementation of FATF standards. 

Nonetheless, the FATF has played a larger role in dealing with terrorist financing and money laundering. The member countries including India can push for some basic reforms that will further enhance the effectiveness of the organisation.

 

Q.4) As an allied industry of agriculture, the animal husbandry and dairy sector collectively employs more than 100 million people. In this context, discuss the significance of developing the animal husbandry and dairy sector in India.

 Why this question:

Recently, the Finance Commission has presented its report for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26.

Key demand of the question:

Give a detailed analysis of the recommendations of the Finance Commission XV, the positive and the negative side of it.

Directive:

Discuss- back up the answer by carefully selected evidence to make a case for and against an argument, or point out the advantages and disadvantages of the given context and finally arrive at a conclusion.

Introduction:

Give an overview of the animal husbandry and dairy sector in India

Body:

In the first part, highlight the importance of developing the animal husbandry and dairy sector and the impact it will have.

In the next part, highlight the measures that should be taken by the government to address the underlying problems in these sectors.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

The animal husbandry and the dairy sector are allied sectors of agriculture that employ more than 100 million people. Hence it becomes important to develop the sector as part of the whole economy. The government announced Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) as a part of the measures to cushion the Indian economy under the Atmanirbhar Bharat stimulus package. 

Significance of Developing the Animal Husbandry and Dairy sector 

  1. It will help strengthen the dairy value chain which is currently facing an infrastructural deficit. There is an infrastructure gap of about 120-130 MMT in terms of chilling infrastructure at collection and an infrastructural deficit even in terms of milk processing.
  2. It will help increase the productivity of cattle, especially by enhancing the quality of animal feed. 
  3. It could also spur innovations in domestic startups for development of new varieties of green fodder and enriched animal feed. 
  4. It will enhance the nutritional benefits by boosting the poultry and dairy sector’s output, efficiency and quality. 
  5. It can help in mitigating the rampant malnutrition in the country given that chicken meat provides the cheapest source of protein per unit.
  6. The AHIDF has the potential of creating about 30 lakh jobs, as it helps to overhaul domestic infrastructure towards giving greater prominence to India’s dairy and livestock products in the global value chain.
  7. Since, most of this sector is based in rural India, it will help in socio economic and inclusive development of the nation. 
  8. Macro benefits regarding climate change are linked to this sector. Enhanced infrastructure can make processing units more energy-efficient and help mitigate their carbon footprint.

There are many recommendations about the animal husbandry and the dairy sector to enhance their performance. If implied with utmost priority, these can boost the production, attract the landless and small farmers to take advantage of this sector for sustaining their livelihood and make India competent in the global market.

 

Q.5) As India takes an integrated view of its security cooperation in the south western Indian Ocean, Mauritius is the natural node for it. Comment.

Why this Question:

India and Mauritius signed a $100 million Defence Line of Credit agreement.

Key Demand of the Question:

Importance of developing bilateral relations with Maldives for pursuing India’s interests in the Indian Ocean and measures to do so.

Directive:

Comment- Pick out the main points on a subject and give your opinion, reinforcing your point of view using logic and reference to relevant evidence, including any wider reading you have done.

Introduction:

Give an overview of evolution of Indo- Mauritian ties.

Body:

In the first part, highlight the importance of Mauritius for India- Strategic, Economic, Diaspora, etc.

In the next part, highlight the challenges in the relations between the two countries. 

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

The bilateral relations between India and Mauritius date back to the 1730s. The formal diplomatic relations between the two were established in 1968 and since then the ties have been progressing on different fronts.

Significance of Mauritius for India

  1. Geo Strategic- the location of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean makes it immensely important for India. It is a part of India’s security grid including Coastal Surveillance Radar (CSR) station of Indian Navy’s National Command Control Communication Intelligence network.
  2. Security- In 2015, India and Mauritius signed an agreement that allows India to develop infrastructure in terms of establishing military bases on the Mauritian islands. It also includes shared efforts in anti piracy operations and surveillance of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) to prevent intrusions. 
  3. Economic- Mauritius is the second largest source of FDI to India. India is also the largest trading partner of Mauritius. As a “central geographic point” it holds importance for commerce and connectivity in the Indian Ocean.
  4. Keeping check on China- as a part of its String of Pearls policy, China has been engaging with a lot of island nations and building its presence in the Indian Ocean region. Therefore, India should help Indian Ocean littoral states like Mauritius, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Seychelles as part of capacity and capability enhancement in strengthening their maritime domain awareness capabilities.
  5. Diaspora- Around 68 percent of Mauritius's total population of over 1.2 million are people of Indian origin. 
  6. Since Mauritius is a member of the African Union, Indian Ocean Rim Association and Indian Ocean Commission, it can be a stepping stone for India to multiple geographies especially Africa. 
  7. New investments pour into Africa and a lot of it gets serviced in Mauritius. Hence it can be the fulcrum for India’s own African economic outreach.

Challenges 

  1. There is a deep rooted perception that Mauritius is simply an extension of India.
  2. The increasing presence of China in the Indian Ocean. 
  3. India is often accused of being self centric while dealing with smaller neighbours like Mauritius. 

Way Forward 

  1. India can assist in the development of Mauritius through grants and aids.
  2. A Comprehensive Economic Partnership between the two countries. 
  3. Leveraging the Indian diaspora in the region.

The close and multifaceted relations between India and Mauritius have steadily developed over the years, based on the secure foundations of kinship and family ties, and of shared values of democracy, tolerance, peace and development. It is time that both the countries take this forward with mutual cooperation.