current-affairs-based-mains-drill-5-february-2021

 

Q.1)Electric vehicles are a path towards sustainable development in India. Critically analyze the policies formed by the government in this context.

Why this Question:

Government policies are part of paper II.

Key demand of the question:

Significance of electric vehicles, the policies undertaken in India and the challenges in its development.

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:

Briefly introduce electric vehicles and their needs in India.

Body:

In the first part of the question, mention the benefits of electric vehicles and the role it can play in achieving sustainable development.

In the next part, mention the policies that have been taken by the government to promote electric vehicles- FAME and NEMMP and briefly describe them. Also mention the challenges associated with the development of electric vehicles in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

An electric vehicle uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. Electric vehicles may be powered through self-contained batteries, solar panels or an electric generator to convert fuel to electricity.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

  1. Environment Friendly -NITI Aayog points out that India can cut 64% of road based mobility related energy demand and 37% of carbon emissions by pursuing shared, electric mobility future.
  2. It would create positive externalities like positive impact on public health, creation of employment opportunities and development of domestic industry.
  3. It will spur demand for electricity and help in resolving the stress in the power sector.
  4. They have low maintenance and average running costs.
  5. It will reduce the dependence on crude oil and thus reduce the import dependence for India.

Measures adopted by the government to promote EVs in India:

  1. NEMMP: It was launched in 2013 with an aim to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country. There is an ambitious target to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards.
  2. FAME- Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles was launched in 2015 with the objective to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and manufacturing ecosystem. The scheme has 4 focus areas i.e. Technology Development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure.
  3. The government aims to see 6 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads by 2020 under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020.
  4. The GST reduction for electric vehicles from 12% to 5%.
  5. The Union power ministry categorized charging of batteries as a service, which will help charging stations operate without licenses.

However, for electric vehicles to become a norm in India we need to first overcome challenges like lack of technology for developing electric cars and their batteries, basic requirement of electricity, infrastructural requirements, will among people to shift from traditional vehicles to electric vehicles, lack of proper policy for the manufacture of electric vehicles, high infrastructure costs, etc. These key challenges have to be addressed through policy intervention and behavioural change. A successful implementation of electric vehicles will help India achieve its SDG targets sooner.

 

Q.2)“India can act as an enabler to create a positive environment in the IOR.” Critically examine the measures taken by India to strengthen the security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Why this Question:

An important part of GS paper II.

Key demand of the question:

Examining the importance of IOR for India, the policies it has taken towards this and the measures to strengthen it

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:

Briefly introduce the Indian Ocean Region.

Body:

In the first part, highlight the importance of IOR for India and mention how security in the region matters most to India.

In the next part, mention the policies taken by India to strengthen the security in the IOR- SAGAR, IORA, IFC-IOR, Project Mausam, etc. and briefly describe them. Mention the challenges India faces in the IOR and suggest measures to overcome them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the need of India to hold strong in IOR and the impact it will have globally.

Model Answer

The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has become the hub of intense global activity over the decades for various reasons. The most important trade routes of the world pass through this region. The Indian Ocean provides the predominant outlet for oil from the Persian Gulf to various destinations all over the world. The region has 51 coastal and landlocked states, namely 26 Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) states, five Red Sea states, four Persian Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, France, Britain and 13 landlocked states. A secure IOR is important for India’s national interests.

Significance of IOR for India:

  1. India is geographically located at the Ocean’s center, and has over 7,500 kilometers of coastline.
  2. 95 percent of India’s trade by volume and 68 percent of trade by value come via the Indian Ocean. Also, nearly 80 percent of India’s crude oil requirement—is imported by sea via the Indian Ocean.
  3. India is heavily dependent on the resources of the Indian Ocean. Fisheries and aquaculture industries are also a major source of exports.
  4. In 1987, India got exclusive rights to explore the Central Indian Ocean and has since explored four million square miles and established two mining sites.
  5. Terrorists can use the Indian Ocean as a means to reach India like that in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
  6. India is developing Chabahar port in Iran; hence stability in the Indian Ocean region is important for India. India also has infrastructure development rights for two islands in the region – Agalega from Mauritius and Assumption from Seychelles.

Initiatives taken by India in the IOR include:

  1. SAGAR- Security and Growth for All in the Region- Its objective is to seek a climate of trust and transparency, respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries, sensitivity to each other’s interests, peaceful resolution of maritime issues and increase in maritime cooperation.
  2. IORA- Indian Ocean Rim Association is a dynamic inter-governmental organization aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region through its 22 Member States and 10 Dialogue Partners. India is a member of IORA.
  3. India has included the Vanilla islands as part of the IOR (Indian Ocean Region) desk along with Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Mauritius, and Seychelles.
  4. India has started a series of exercises with regional navies and extra regional navies in the region. For example: AUSINDEX – India and Australia, Varuna – India and France, etc.

The Indian Ocean is an ocean of opportunities for India. But the security threats posed by state and non-state actors like sea piracy, smuggling, militarization of the region, etc. India must continue to strengthen its existing ties in the region and also build new connections in the region. India should focus on strengthening its presence in the region by focusing on the initiatives and ensuring their implementation.

 

Q.3)The Government of India recognizes that maternal health is a key in achieving the goal of ‘Health for All’ and has taken necessary initiatives in this context. Discuss.

Why this question:

An important part of GS paper II.

Key Demand of the question:

Various policies for strengthening maternal health in India and the benefits it has.

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 introduce maternal health in India with the help of maternal health indicators like MMR.

Body:

In the first part, mention the importance of maternal health and the benefits associated with it.

In the next part mention various initiatives taken by the government in this area like PM Matru Vandana Yojana, PM Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, LaQshya, Poshan Abhiyan, Janani Suraksha Yojana, etc. and briefly write their benefits.

Mention the achievements that India has made in this context and how strengthening maternal health will help India in achieving the SDG 3. Also highlight the necessary steps that still need to be taken.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

Maternal health refers to the health of pregnant and lactating women. A key indicator of maternal health is the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR). According to WHO, the maternal mortality ratio is defined as the number of maternal deaths during a given time period of 100,000 live births during the same period. It is a measure of reproductive health of women in any area.

Situation of maternal health in India

  • MMR has declined to 113 in 2016-18 from 122 in 2015-17 and 130 in 2014-2016.
  • The decline is important for India as 11 States have achieved the National Health Policy target of MMR 100 per lakh live births well ahead of 2020. 
  • This has been made possible through institutional deliveries and focused approach towards aspirational districts with benefits reaching the most marginalised and vulnerable mothers.

Initiatives taken for maternal health in India

  1. Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan Initiative (SUMAN) - focuses on zero preventable maternal and newborn deaths.
  2. “LaQshya” (Labour room Quality Improvement Initiative)-  improve the quality of care in the labour room and maternity operation theatres in public health facilities. Its aim is to reduce preventable maternal and newborn mortality, morbidity and stillbirths associated with the care around delivery in the Labour Room and Maternity Operation Theatre (OT) and ensure respectful maternity care.
  3. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)- On fulfilling certain conditions, like a first born child, the beneficiaries receive Rs 5,000 in 3 instalments.
  4. Janani Suraksha Yojana under the National Health Mission to link cash assistance to institutional deliveries.
  5. The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) provides a fixed day for assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care free of cost to pregnant women on 9th of every month.
  6. Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK)- provide completely free and cashless services to pregnant women including normal deliveries and caesarean operations and sick newborn (up to 30 days after birth) in Government health institutions in both rural & urban areas.

The government is well aware that maternal health affects the health of the newborns and the future health of the women and the initiatives taken reflect this. These are in line with the SDG 3 that includes an ambitious target: “reducing the global MMR to less than 70 per 100 000 births, with no country having a maternal mortality rate of more than twice the global average”. Early intensive efforts to improve family planning, control fertility choices, provide safe abortion and integrated maternal health services are important interventions to reduce pregnancy related mortality.

 

Q.4)A stable neighbourhood is crucial for the socioeconomic development of any country. Discuss in the light of present situations in Myanmar.

Why this Question:

There has been a situation of unrest in Myanmar for a long time.

Key demand of the question:

Significance of a stable neighbourhood for India and special focus on the importance of Myanmar

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 describe the neighbourhood policy of India and how Myanmar is an important part of it.

Body:

In the first part, briefly highlight the importance of a peaceful and stable neighbourhood for India. 

In the next part, categorically mention the importance of Myanmar for India and how unstability in the region would affect India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a way for India to deal with the situation strategically.

Model Answer

A nation’s destiny is linked to its neighbourhood- this specifies the need of a peaceful and integrated neighbourhood. India’s foreign policy actively focuses on improving ties with India's immediate neighbours and this is termed as the Neighbourhood first policy.

One of the important neighbours for India is Myanmar. India and Myanmar share a long land border of over 1600 km and a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. The two countries have shared cultural roots and historical relations, apart from the strategic, economic, social and political ties.

Importance of stable Myanmar for India:

  1. Strategic Significance- India - Myanmar border is highly porous, poorly guarded and located along a remote, underdeveloped, insurgency-prone region and proximate to opium producing area. And hence bilateral relations play a key role in preventing worse situations at the border.
  2. Trade and Economy- India is the fifth largest trading partner of Myanmar. Bilateral trade has grown to $2.18 billion in 2016-17. Some of the Indian companies such as Essar, GAIL, and ONGC Videsh Ltd. have invested in Myanmar’s energy sector.
  3. Connectivity- India is building the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport, a road-river-port cargo transport project, to link Kolkata to Sittwe in Myanmar and then from Myanmar’s Kaladan river to India’s north-east and also other projects to link to the South East Asian countries.
  4. Cultural Significance- India and Myanmar share cultural ties in terms of Buddhist heritage and shared history of colonialism.
  5. Indian Community- There are varying estimates of 1.5-2 million people of Indian origin living and working in various parts of Myanmar.

Myanmar is the only ASEAN country bordering India which provides a gateway to South East Asia. It stands at the confluence of India’s Neighbourhood First and Act East Policy and India-Myanmar partnership is at the heart of India’s vision to create a connected and cooperative neighbourhood. The current situations in Myanmar that are signs of destruction of its democracy raise concerns for India. India in such situations should try to take measures to restore the democracy in the country and prevent it from going through a military coup.

 

Q.5)Virtual courts were established with the idea of making justice delivery fast and citizen friendly. Critically evaluate.

Why this question:

Virtual courts have been in frequent use during the pandemic.

Key demand of the question:

Merits of the virtual courts and the challenges it faces.

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:

Write how the pandemic has highlighted the significance of virtual courts.

Body:

In the first part of the question, highlight the significance of virtual courts in India and the merits it has.

In the next part, mention the challenges that undermine the objective of virtual courts.

Suggest measures to overcome them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the importance of faster justice delivery.

Model Answer

Virtual Court is a concept aimed at eliminating the presence of litigant or lawyer in the court and adjudication of the case online. An e-court or Electronic Court means a location in which matters of law are adjudicated upon, in the presence of qualified Judge(s) and which has a well-developed technical infrastructure.

In the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Supreme Court passed directions for all courts across the country to extensively use video-conferencing for judicial proceedings.

Merits of virtual courts:

  1. It ensures easy access to justice at affordable courts to all sections of society.
  2. The experience of an e-court will be much more personalised and private as opposed to theatrics involving public-speech based systems.
  3. The proliferation of e-courts will make litigation faster, given that required logistics are provided.
  4. The judiciary system in India with the help of e-courts can overcome the challenges and make the service delivery mechanism transparent and cost-efficient.
  5. The e-courts will also benefit the judicial system and will provide flexible retrieval of stored information.
  6. It would help in the computerization of workflow management in courts. Thus, it would help to create a better court and case management.

Parliamentary Panel on Law and Justice has submitted its report “Functioning of the Virtual Courts/ Courts Proceedings through Video-Conferencing” in 2020 and recommends for virtual courts to continue even post the pandemic.

However, there are certain challenges that first need to be overcome and these include – infrastructure supporting virtual courts, proper knowledge of information and communication technology, good internet connection, maintenance of the decorum of a courtroom even in virtual hearings and most importantly maintaining the privacy of data and confidentiality of individuals. The recommendations of the Parliamentary Panel on Law and Justice can play a key role in this regard.