Q.1)‘India needs to carefully assess the river activity in China affecting quality, ecological balance, and flood management rather than just focussing on the quantity issues’. Comment (250 words)

Why this question?

Being a country with drastic spatio-temporal unevenness of rainfall,issues of river water management holds utmost priority for India.


Reference to the recent study which highlights the impact of China’s dams on the Mekong river and resulting droughts can be made.


  • Elaborate on the study
  • Excessive dam building activities
  • Ecological impacts such as droughts
  • Brahmaputra river issue:No water sharing agreement,sharing of hydrological data,flood management etc 
  • Need of assessing parameters other than just quantity such as quality,environmental impacts etc


India needs more clarity and data regarding Chinese Hydro-electric projects. 


Q.2) The Special 301 Report of the U.S placed India once again under the Priority Watch List. What is Special 301 Report and Why is India placed under Priority Watch list. Is it justified to place India under this category. Discuss. 10 marks.

Why this question is asked:

Recently USTR (U.S Trade Representative) released the 2020 edition of Special 301 report and placed India under the Priority watch list.


Start with recent news that India placed under priority list of report just like last year.

Special 301 Report:

  • Annual report of the U.S Trade Representative  to check the lacunae of IPR laws which hinder trade.
  • 3 Categories -  Priority Foreign countries, Priority Watch list and Watch list.

Why India placed under Priority Watch List/ Justified to place India:

  • Innovators not being able to receive, maintain and enforce patents particularly in the pharmaceutical sector.
  • India continues to apply restrictive patentability criteria to reject pharmaceutical patents
  • Concerns over copyright laws not incentivising the creation and commercialisation of content.
  • Trademark counterfeiting levels are “problematic”and there were “excessive delays” in obtaining trademarks due to a lack of examination quality. 
  • Weak enforcement by courts and the police, lack of familiarity with investigative techniques and no centralised IP enforcement agency. 

Not Justified:

  • India is TRIPS complaint under WTO
  • U.S is asking for TRIPS plus measures like Data Localisation
  • We have a dedicated National IPR Policy and a dedicated cell -  Cell for Intellectual Property Rights Promotion and Management (CIPAM) that aims to simplify and streamline IP processes, increase IP awareness, promote commercialization, and enhance enforcement.
  • Some Safeguards necessary as India is a developing country with significant population below poverty line 
  • Safeguards in place to prevent evergreening not to impede innovation


U.S is India’s one of biggest trading partners whose concerns can’t be ignored. Hence bilateral communication coupled with prudent diplomacy can help in sustaining the trade between the two and help India avoid unnecessary sanction from the U.S or unnecessary litigation under WTO. 


Q.3) India’s resistance to publicly talking to the Taliban has made it an awkward interlocutor in the Afghanistan peace process. Its position that only an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled process can be allowed is a principled one, but has no takers. Critically analyse. (15 Marks)

Why is this question asked?

  • India has been sidelined from the United Nations Secretariat’s meeting of the “6+2+1” group on regional efforts to support peace in Afghanistan.


  • Background of peace talks.
  • USA-Taliban pact


  • Elaborate on India’s support for enduring and inclusive peace and reconciliation which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. 
  • India’s support for Ashraf Ghani govt. In Kabul
  • India’s engagements with Afghanistan
  • Concerns for India
    • Stronger Taliban: The U.S.-Taliban peace deal means that the Taliban will become more potent as the U.S. withdraws soldiers from the country, and will hold more sway in the inter-Afghan process.
    • Effects of supporting Ashraf Ghani: The Ashraf Ghani government does not lead, own or control the reconciliation process today.
      • India’s voice in the reconciliation process has been limited
      • It has weakened India’s position with other leaders of the deeply divided democratic setup in Kabul such as the former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah. 

Conclusion: Provide a way forward

  • Building Taliban’s opposition
  • Following up with the US
  • Pause in Indo-Pak conflict
  • Maintaining diplomatic presence
  • Talking with Taliban
  • Appoint special envoy


Q.4) India needs a  big-bang fiscal package to counter the adverse economic fallout of covid-19.Comment.

Why this question:The nationwide lockdown has more or less paralysed commercial activity.


Current Scenario:

  • Economy slowing down: exit path looks dreadfully long-winded, and the distress being seen right now could just be an early sign of what is to come. 
  • The suffering of citizens will likely expand once the shutdown’s second-order effects, which operate with a lag, begin to kick in.

Need of fiscal package

The constraints involved in providing fiscal stimulus: for Eg : Fiscal deficit target and inflation targeting.


Giving suggestions to fight with economic slowdown.for instance, amendment in FRBM, refinancing etc.