current-affairs-based-mains-drill-27-january-2021

 

Q.1)‘Green Taxes’ in India can be seen as an incentive to lessen environmental burden and preserve the environment. Discuss (15 Marks - 250 Words)

Why this question? - Recently, the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways has approved a proposal to levy a “Green Tax” on old vehicles which are polluting the environment. 

Key demand of the question - Discuss how green tax will act as an incentive to lessen environmental burden and preserve the environment. Also suggest some eco friendly alternatives that can replace pollution causing goods in the long term.

Directive - Discuss is an all-encompassing one. One has to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. 

Intro - Define what is a ‘Green Tax’

Body

  • Case of India - Products or resources on which it is levies
  • Need
  • Significance
  • Concerns

Way ahead - Finding eco friendly alternate as a long term solution

Conclusion - Summarize based on above question

 

Q.2) Discuss the significance of recent amendments related to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Analyse the merits and demerits of the same. (150 words)

Why this question?

  • The Corporate Affairs Ministry has amended the rules for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure.

Key demand of the question: The answer should analyse the amendments in the rules for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure.

Directive:

Discuss: One has to debate on the topic and enumerate its pros and cons.

Introduction: Briefly define CSR, key features of Companies Act, 2013 related to CSR

Body:

  • Importance of CSR
  • Explain the recent amendments done in CSR rule including amendments in Companies Act. 2013
  • Evaluate the merits and demerits
  • Provide your opinion on the significance of amendments

Conclusion: Summarize the discussion 

 

Q.3) Right to assemble peacefully without arms is an important component of fundamental rights. Highlight its significance in the wake of recent farmer protests.

Why this question:

This issue has been in the news in the wake of farmer protests due to the Farm laws passed by the government recently.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the reasons for the farmers’ protests and the solutions needed.

Introduction:

Write about the fundamental right to assemble peacefully and without arms under Article 19 (1) (b) under the Right to Freedom.

Body:

In the first part, give a brief introduction about the three farm laws and the causes of farmer protests and their concerns.

In the next part, write about the recent SC judgment where it said farmers have a constitutional right to continue with their “absolutely perfect” protest as long as their dissent against the three controversial agricultural laws did not slip into violence. However, all fundamental rights are subject to certain restrictions and so is the right to assemble peacefully and without arms. Discuss in detail the related nuances.

Conclusion:

Conclude with certain measures that should be adopted by the government to address the grievances of the protesting farmers.

Model Answer 

The Right to assemble peacefully and without arms is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India under the Right to Freedom in Article 19 (1) (b). This right includes the right to protest under it.

Recently, we have seen farmers from different parts of India protesting against the Farm laws. These include:

  • Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020
  • Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act,2020; and
  • Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

These laws aim to revamp the enormous agriculture sector of India. These aim to liberate the farmers from the tyranny of middlemen and facilitate contract farming and help farmers sell their produce directly to private buyers. 

However, the farmers have been protesting against the laws and have been demanding for their repeal. The Supreme Court in this regard, recently said that farmers have a constitutional right to continue their “absolutely perfect “ protest as long as their grievances are not met.

However, all the fundamental rights are subject to certain restrictions. The right of the protesters to protest has to be balanced with the right of the commuter. They have to coexist in mutual respect. This right should not hamper the regular public functioning. 

Right to Protest is one of the core principles on which a democracy survives. But when it disrupts the normal life, the very purpose of the protest is defeated. Hence, the government should make sure that the grievances of the farmers who are a major stakeholder of the farm laws, should be met and a consensus is reached soon.

 

Q.4) Illegal coal mining has affected both the environment as well as human lives. Critically analyze the reasons for legal mining activities and how they can be resolved.

Why this question:

Recently, there have been deaths in Meghalaya due to illegal coal mining.

Key demand of the question:

List the consequences of illegal coal mining on the health of human beings and environment and give steps to control it.

Directive:

Critically analyze- 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 a brief introduction about illegal coal mining.

Body:

In the first part, mention the issues related to illegal coal mining and categorically mention its consequences on health and environment and the ban by NGT on illegal/ rat- hole mining in 2014.

Highlight the recent disaster in Meghalaya and other similar instances that led to tragic loss of human lives.

In the next part, suggest steps to address the issue. Also mention about the National Mineral Policy and the role it can play in addressing the issues of equity and sustainable mining.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

Illegal coal mining is generally done in the form of rat hole mining. It is done by digging small holes into the ground, much like holes dug by rats. Minors break the rocks with axes and other hand held equipment and carry out the material in baskets or duckets.

This type of mining was declared illegal by the National Green Tribunal in 2014. But still the practice continues to be unabated especially in the areas such as North Eastern India, West Bengal, etc. The harmful effects of illegal mining are;

  1. On Environment 
  • Water of rivers and streams in the mining area become unfit for drinking and irrigation. 
  • It pollutes the land around the mining areas and adversely impacts the plants and animals 
  • It destroys the vegetation, causes extensive soil erosion and alters microbial communities. 
  1. On Human Lives
  • Health Issues- it causes various diseases like fibrosis, pneumoconiosis and silicosis in workers as well as locals. 
  • Child Labour and Trafficking- Majority of the workers involved in rat holes are children. It has also encouraged child trafficking to get work done easily and at least cost.

Recently, we have seen a case in Meghalaya where few workers died in a mishap in an illegal coal mine.

Way Forward 

  • Shutting down of illegal and unregulated mines.
  • Regular auditing of the practices in the licensed mines.
  • Investing in research and development of Green Mining Technology 

The National Mineral Policy of the government launched in 2019 is a key initiative that will lead to sustainable development of the mining sector while addressing the issues associated with it such as illegal coal mining. 

 

Q.5) India has recently been elected as a non-permanent member to the United Nations Security Council. Discuss how India can play a vital role in global affairs in this regard.

Why this question:

India’s election to the non- permanent seat of UNSC for 2021-22.

Key demand of the question:

The key issues that India should highlight at UNSC and reform the global affairs.

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:

Mention about the recent election of India and previous instances when India was elected to the UNSC.

Body:

In the first part, highlight the issues that India aspires to bring at the forefront with the help of the platform of UNSC- terrorism, institutional reforms of global institutions, advocacy of a multi polar world, etc. Highlight the Five s’ approach by the Prime Minister- Samman (respect), Samvad (dialogue), Sahyog (cooperation), and Shanti (peace) to create conditions of Universal Samriddhi (prosperity).

In the next part, discuss how the election presents an opportunity for India to assert its presence at the global stage and can be a key to India’s permanent membership to the UNSC. 

Conclusion:

Conclude with how a long term practical approach is what India currently needs.

Model Answer

In June 2020, India was elected to the non-permanent seat of the UNSC for the year 2021-22. This is the 8th time India has been elected at the UNSC. Previous elections were in the years 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and 2011-12.

Being elected to such an important platform gives India an opportunity to bring to the center stage certain issues that India wants to be dealt at the global level. Some of these are:

  • Reform of International Institutions such as the WHO, WTO, UNSC, etc. 
  • Advocate for a multipolar world order with no big superpowers hegemony over others.
  • Terrorism- India has been facing cross border terrorism from a long time and this is an opportunity to convince the international community to deal strictly with those promoting such activities.
  • Climate change- convince the countries to minimize their GHGs emission and take steps to reduce the impact of climate change
  • Achievement of N.O.R.M.S: a New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System.

India aims to follow a Five S approach for its working at the UNSC i.e. Samman (respect), Samvad (dialogue), Sahyog (cooperation), and Shanti (peace) to create conditions of Universal Samriddhi (prosperity).

The election to the non-permanent seat at the UNSC presents before India a lifetime opportunity to assert its presence at the global stage and can be a key to India’s permanent membership to the UNSC for which India has been aspiring for a long time.

There are enormous challenges for India on the road ahead. The UNSC is one of the most important international institutions where contours of the global geopolitics are often drawn. Hence, what India currently needs is a long term practical approach that is based on values and is not transactional.

 

Q.6) How can the Public-Private partnership model help improve India’s infrastructure?

Why this Question:

Public Private Partnership is an important part of GS- III.

Key demand of the Question:

Benefits of the Public Private Partnership giving instances of successful projects.

Introduction:

Give a definition of Public Private Partnership.

Body:

In the first part, write the benefits of the PPP model. Explain how it can help multi sectoral infrastructural growth across health, education, logistics, transport, etc. Give examples to substantiate the answer- Mumbai Metro, Airport Development, etc.

In the next part, write the challenges with the PPP model.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving measures for successful implementation of the PPP model.

Model Answer

According to the World Bank, public-private partnership (PPP) is a long-term contract between a private party and a government entity, for providing a public asset or service, in which the private party bears significant risk and management responsibility, and remuneration is linked to performance. 

Significance of PPP:

  • Infrastructure: PPP can help in better infrastructure development across sectors such as health, education, transport, services such as malls, etc.
  • Accountability and efficiency- with the government to keep a check on its activities it is easier to check their activities and hold them accountable. Also this helps in getting more efficiency
  • Time: projects under PPP are time bound and hence there are lesser risks of delays in project implementation.
  • Resources- private sector helps maintain the constant flow of human as well as financial resources.

Examples of successful PPP in India are- Mumbai Metro, Bangalore Kempegowda International Airport Expansion - Phase II, Mundra Ultra Mega Power Plant, etc

Issues with PPP

  • Crony Capitalism – there are chances that the government starts favouring certain private players over the others leading to their monopoly and unfair competition for others.
  • Excessive regulation by government- this leads to issues in land clearances and other clearances leading to delays in the project and loss of interest in companies.
  • No re-negotiation mechanism- sometimes due to flaws in design of the model, projects remain stalled for long periods. This cannot be solved as there is no re-negotiating table for the public and private players.

PPP as a model of growth has enormous potential to develop the infrastructure in India if regulated properly by the government.  A mature PPP framework, along with a robust enabling ecosystem shall enable the Government to accomplish, to a considerable extent, what our Prime Minister has said “The Government has no business to do business” and thereby promote private sector investments and participation towards nation building

 

Q.7) With the addition of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) to the EVM, “auditability” was added to the process of elections. Critically examine.

Why this question:

Recently, India celebrated the National Voters Day on 25th January.

Key demand of the Question: 

Benefits of the addition of VVPAT to the EVM in context of free and fair elections.

Directive:

Critically examine- Look in close detail and establish the key facts and important issues surrounding the topic. Try and offer reasons as to why the facts and issues identified are most important, as well as explain the different ways they could be construed.

Introduction:

Mention what is VVPAT and how it is used.

Body:

In the first part, mention the mechanism of VVPAT and its significance especially w.r.t. “Auditability” of elections, verifiability of vote, transparency. Also, mention why this was adopted by the ECI.

In the next part, mention the issues associated with VVPAT w.r.t. confidentiality of the vote. 

Conclusion:

Conclude with how a free and fair election is an essential aspect of democracy and how VVPAT promotes it.

Model Answer

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections in India saw the use of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail or VVPATs. VVPATs are a method of providing feedback to the voters using a ballot less voting system.

It is an independent printer system attached to the electronic voting machine (EVM)

It is an independent printer system attached to the electronic voting machine evm That allows the voters to verify their votes after they are cast. OEvery time a voter casts her vote, a paper slip is generated, recording the party to whom the vote was given. These slips are kept in a sealed cover.

VVPATs have become extremely significant in the recent times:

  • Auditability- VVPATs provide a mechanism for potential election frauds, and audit of votes in case of controversial voting. It serves as an additional barrier to manipulation of votes.
  • Malfunctioning of EVM- In case of malfunctioning of EVM, VVPATs provide a mechanism to detect such situations. 
  • Transparency – VVPATs provide a mechanism for transparency in the voting system. 
  • Voter Confidence- VVPATs help ensure voter confidence in the election system and the EVMs.

However, there have been issues regarding the secrecy and confidentiality of the votes cast by the voters. Free and fair elections are an integral part of a well-functioning democracy and VVPATs provide a mechanism for this. 

 

Q.8) Indo-Bangladesh relations have completed 50 years of bilateral ties. Discuss the importance of Indo-Bangladesh ties with respect to India’s “Neighbourhood First Policy”.

Why this Question:

Recently, Bangladesh completed 50 years of independence and on this occasion Bangladeshi Tri-Service contingent took part in India’s Republic day celebrations.

Key Demand of the Question:

Mention the importance of bilateral relations with Bangladesh.

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:

Briefly mention about the origin of Indo- Bangladesh Bilateral relations in 1971.

Body:

In the first part, mention that Bangladesh is an important part of the Neighbourhood First Policy and it has varied importance for India- economic, political, strategic and security interests.

In the next part, write about the recent strain in ties mainly due to the Rohingya crisis and the growing presence of China in Bangladesh and how it is detrimental to India’s interests.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward by giving measures that should be appointed by the Government to maintain the strong relations.

Model Answer

2021 marks the 50th year of independence of Bangladesh and also of bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh. It was in 1971 that India helped Bangladesh to gain its independence from Pakistan through the Operation Mukti Bahini.

Bilateral relations with Bangladesh extremely important for India:

  • Strategic Importance- Bangladesh forms an important link for contact between the mainland India and the north eastern states. 
  • Security importance- Bangladesh shares a long border with India and was formerly a part of Pakistan and hence chances of activities against India originating in the country increases. 
  • Economic Importance – Bangladesh is India’s largest trading partner in South Asia.
  • Defence Cooperation- Various Joint exercises of Army (Exercise Sampriti) and Navy (Exercise Milan) take place between the two countries.

However, recently there have been strain in ties between the two countries over issues such as Rohingya Refugee crisis, Citizenship Amendment Act, river water sharing dispute, etc. and there has been an increase in Chinese presence in Bangladesh. Currently, Bangladesh is an important part of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative. 

Bangladesh forms an important part of India’s Neighbourhood First Policy and is strategically located at a very crucial position w.r.t. India. Also, India and Bangladesh are members of important regional forums like BIMSTEC, BBIN, SAARC, etc. Hence, the government should take steps to maintain the relations for a friendly neighbour around us to maintain its presence in the region.