Q.1) Illuminate on the role of FCI (Food Corporation of India) amidst the COVID 19 pandemic. What measures the institution can adopt for improving its role ? Explain. 250 words
Why in News:
Role of FCI and its distribution network is significant in warding off a looming crisis of hunger and starvation amidst the Covid 19 pandemic as per numerous experts.
Start by Defining FCI and its mandate ( Procurement and Distribution of foodgrains so that farmers receive rationale prices and poor get the food)
Role amidst lockdown:
- It holds the key to warding off a looming crisis of hunger and starvation, especially in regions where lakhs of migrant workers have returned with little in hand by way of money or food.
- The FCI had already moved 3 million tonnes (post-lockdown), to States where demand outstrips within State procurement and/or stocks.
- The FCI has also enabled purchases by States and non-governmental organisations directly from FCI depots, doing away with e-auctions typically conducted for the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS).
- Given the extended lockdown, the FCI is uniquely positioned to move grain across State borders where private sector players continue to face formidable challenges as it has a huge decentralised network of godowns and is backed with governmental support.
- Yet, there is a widespread sense that the FCI is simply not moving fast enough and could do much more. (This Connecting line will create a link between this and next heading)
Improving its Role:
- Revamping Transportation policy - Currently dominant is rail, switch to road amidst the lockdown
- Relaxing the principle of FIFO (First in first out) so as to improve the distribution
- Deploying Pre Positioning Strategy - Under this grains are pre positioned to insecure hotspot regions
- Strengthening the supply chain - Taking support from NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd.) along with Farmer producer organisations
- Support from Central Government - Central government should release stocks over and above existing allocations, but at its own expenses rather than by transferring the fiscal burden to the States.
Prudent role can be played by FCI if above recommendations are followed but pressing impediments like cost of distribution, Storage infrastructure and corruption needs to be tackled first.
Q.2) The External Affairs Ministry is turning the Coronavirus adversity into an opportunity by conducting a lot of routine diplomatic engagement online. Discuss.
Why is the question asked?
- Recently India has launched some online diplomatic initiatives like SAARC video conference in wake of travel ban due to Coronavirus crisis.
Introduction of the answer:
- Define diplomacy: Diplomacy can be defined as a process between actors (diplomats, usually representing a state) who exist within a system (international relations) and engage in private and public dialogue (diplomacy) to pursue their objectives in a peaceful manner.
- Online diplomacy: There is an impact of information and communication technologies on the conduct of modern diplomacy. Traditional methods of diplomacy are being substituted by new ones, greatly influenced by the Internet.
- Give a brief background of impact of lockdown on the global diplomacy. Cite some examples of online diplomacy like the virtual UNSC meeting.Mention about India’s recent online diplomacy initiatives like SAARC virtual conference.
- Benefits of online diplomacy: Much of MEA’s energy goes into organising visits, but the follow-up has always been hard. Virtual diplomacy makes high-level engagement less burdensome.
Challenges for online diplomacy
- Diplomacy is another profession that requires facetime for both formal and seemingly informal work.Negotiations or consultations of any kind required sitting across a table in a chancellery.
- Diplomats also work in less formal settings. And it is easier to discuss complicated issues in a pleasant setting.
- Diplomats resist virtual meetings.
Way forward: Involving the whole government should make the implementation of summit-level decisions a bit easier. An India that reboots after the lockdown could do with all the diplomatic efficiencies it can generate.
Q.3) India is known to reform during crises. Discuss the statement in the light government’s decision to suspend MPLADS for two years. (15 marks - 250 words)
Why this question? - The government’s recent move to suspend the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for two years, has been criticized by all opposition parties unanimously.
Intro - Govt’s motive behind suspending MPLADS for 2 years amid COVID-19 - to channelize funds towards financial stimulus.
Body - About MPLADS, its objectives and features(in brief). Issues in the implementation of the scheme(CAG Report).
Way forward - Reforms required - setting accountability of legislators, leveraging technology etc.
Conclusion - Tell the suspension period has given the government an opportunity to plug the loopholes in MPLADS.
Q.4) Non alignment does not mean neutrality of state. In the light of this statement critically examine the relevance of NAM in the current multipolar world.
Why this question:Prime Minister participated in the online Summit of Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group held on the evening of May 4, 2020 to discuss response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Define NAM or mention current event related to NAM
Achievements of NAM
Issues with NAM
Relevance of NAM
State what should be done to make NAM relevant for the 21st century.
Q.5) COVID-19 has battered the whole of the economy, but MSMEs are hit the most. In the light of the statement, discuss the issues plaguing the MSME sector. Also propose solutions in this regard.
Intro -State of MSME: Jobs, Export, Manufacturing
COVID-19 and its impact on MSMEs - supply chain, demand evaporation
Issues plaguing MSMEs -Technology, Credit, Skill, Labour Laws, Taxation etc.
Solution - Short term , Long term
Government schemes such as ASPIRE, Zero Defect Zero Effect, etc..
Q.6) Even after 2 years of formation the Cauvery Water Management Authority(CWMA) is yet to reach its true potential. Comment(150 words)
Why this question?
The Central government’s recent notification regarding Cauvery Water Management Authority has been criticised by few political parties.
- Importance of Cauvery river can be highlighted
- As third largest river after Godavari and Krishna in South India
- Lifeline of south India
- Origin of the river dispute issue
- Mention the origin,composition,tenure of the authority
- Significance of the authority
- Problems in functioning
- No full-fledged chairman
- Impacts associated
- Making the CWMA fully operational
- Futility of politicisation of the issue