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State PCS

20 Solved Questions with Answers
  • Polity

    1. Discuss the essentials of the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act and anomalies, if any, that have led to recent reported conflicts between the elected representatives and institution of Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Delhi. Do you think that this will give rise to a new trend in the functioning of the Indian Federal Politics? (2016)

    Delhi has a peculiar federal architecture. Before the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1991, Delhi was a Union Territory. The amendment re-designated it as National Capital Territory of Delhi and designated the administrator of Delhi as the Lieutenant Governor (LG).

    Further, it created a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers for Delhi. The assembly can make laws on all matters of the State List except public order, land and police. The Council of Ministers (CoM) headed by the Chief Minister aid and advice the LG in exercise of his functions except in so far as he is required to act in his discretion.

    The recent cases of conflicts between the LG and the government have largely happened due to assertion of this discretion by the LG with regards to matters such as appointments, like that of Parliamentary Secretaries. The ambiguities with respect to the discretion of LG have resulted in a tussle between his office and the government. The government has accused the LG of acting on behalf of the centre to prevent proper functioning of the government. It claims that the LG should act on the aid and advice of CoM on matters except those stated in the amendment. Since Delhi is the seat of both the national capital territory as well as that of the central government, the centre is bound to have a say in the matters of the city. At the same time, the LG should not interfere in the day to day running of the government. The LG has a dual role to play as an administrative and constitutional head. A balance of jurisdictions needs to be determined so that the citizens don’t suffer as a result of the policy paralysis happening due to this turf war. The ultimate loser is governance and people of Delhi.

    This impasse is not new altogether. Since 1967, when the parties ruling at centre and state started varying, there has been trust deficit between the state/UT govts and the governors or administrators acting on behalf of centre. In Delhi also, successive governments have asked for more power and full statehood. It has just been magnified in current times due to presence of strong leadership at both central and state level. There is a need for harmonious functioning based on the spirit of co-operative federalism between the two.

  • Polity

    2. To what extent is Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, bearing marginal note “temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir”, temporary? Discuss the future prospects of this provision in the context of Indian polity. (2016)

    Article 370 of the Indian constitution is a temporary provision which grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. All the provisions of the constitution do not apply to it. Besides Article 1, other provisions of the constitution can be applied to the state with exceptions and modifications as specified by the president in consultation with the state government. The power of the Parliament to make laws for the state is limited to four subjects – external affairs, defence, communication and ancillary matters. On other matters listed in the Union and Government list, Parliament can make laws only with the consent of the state of J&K.

    However, the Article 370 itself clearly states that provisions with respect to the state of J&K are only temporary and not permanent. The president can declare that article 370 ceases to be operative or operates with exceptions and modifications. But this can be done by the President only on recommendation of constituent Assembly of the state. Thus, Article 370 cannot be revoked unilaterally by the centre and since the last Constituent Assembly was dissolved in 1957, a new Constituent Assembly of J&K would have to be convened.

    For this, the state legislature of J&K would have to agree and since the ruling party at centre is a part of the coalition at the state level also, perhaps now is the right time to broach the issue which is usually a victim of the trust deficit between the centre and state.

  • Polity

    3. The Indian party system is passing through a phase of transition which looks to be full of contradictions and paradoxes.” Discuss. (2016)

    The Indian party system, over more than six decades after Independence, provides a contrasting picture of partial success, serious shortcomings and huge challenges. The contradictions and paradoxes in the present phase of transition can be described as follows:

    • Personality Cult in Politics — Votes are sought in the name of the leader of a party rather than ideology of the party or pertinent issues. Eg. The last general elections of 2014 swept by the ‘Modi Wave’.
    • Increasing influence of dynastic politics in the absence of inner party democracy—This unlike other countries, say the US, where party members vote for candidates to run for presidency.
    • Sharp erosion in the ideological orientation of political parties - Party dynamics in India has resulted in emergence of valueless politics—with caste, religion, money and muscle power playing huge roles.
    • End of single-party dominance and increase in influence of regional parties – This resulted in nationalization of regional issues. Also, unprincipled alliances were formed between political parties that do not have common ideology, resulting in ‘politics of convenience’ to form coalition governments. Example- Current BJP-PDP alliance in J&K.
    • Multi-Party System — In contrast to other countries where there are two major parties, there are 7 recognised national parties in India, in addition to dozens of regional parties.

    The party system can be said to be moving from social cohesion to fragmentation and from a stable pattern to fluidity.

  • Polity

    4. Exercise of CAG’s powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and the States is derived from Article 149 of the Indian Constitution. Discuss whether audit of the Government’s policy implementation could amount to overstepping its own (CAG) jurisdiction. (2016)

    CAG of India has witnessed a transformation in the last few years, with the constitutionally mandated institution bringing to the fore new issues of accountability in governance. In a decisive shift in its mode of functioning, the country’s supreme audit institution has, in its performance audits, raised questions about the government’s adoption and manner of implementation of key economic policies, instead of being merely an auditor of public expenditure.

    The CAG’s proactive approach has not gone down well with successive governments. However, the CAG has argued that its mandate is to ensure that policy once formulated must also be most optimally implemented.

    Policy formulation is indeed the sole prerogative of the government and the CAG should not be part of policy formulation, process or question the policy. However, in checking efficacy or the efficiency of government schemes and project, it needs to conduct performance audit involving the implementation of the policy. This is imperative to decide whether the policy that has been approved by Parliament or the government meets its objective or not.

    The institution of CAG is no longer that of only auditors as it was probably 50 years back because models of the governance have changed, changing their role from static to dynamic. Hence, in the changing environment of governance, audit of government’s policy implementation becomes a part of the duties of the CAG. This was concurred in the 2013 Supreme Court judgment which held that the CAG's functions to carry out examination into economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which the Government has used its resources, was in-built in the Comptroller and Auditor General's (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971, thereby empowering the CAG to conduct performance audit.

  • Polity

    5. Discuss each adjective attached to the word ‘Republic’ in the ‘Preamble’. Are they defendable in the present circumstances? (2016)

    India as a republic has an elected head of the state with political sovereignty vesting with the people and public offices open to every citizen without discrimination. The preamble states that India is a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic.

    • Sovereign: This implies that India is an independent state and has the freedom to conduct its own affairs. Whether it be opting for a Non-alignment in its foreign affairs during the cold war or even domestically, India has the power to legislate on any subject without influence of any other state or external power.
    • Though recently, global considerations have played an important factor in decision making due to India’s membership of WTO, IMF and WB.
    • Socialist: India envisages to be a socialist state to end poverty, disease and inequality by pursuing democratic socialism i.e. co-existence of both public and private sectors.
    • Though there has been a roll back of the state with the opening of the economy, post-1991 economic reforms, the role of state has changed but has not entirely eroded as a regulator and facilitator in ensuring welfare of public.
    • Secular: This means that in India all religions are protected and supported equally by the state and the state does not uphold any religion as state religion. The Supreme Court of India has held it to be a part of the basic structure of the constitution and defended it on multiple occasions in its judgements.
    • Even in current times of intolerance, the faith, worship, ritual and secular activities of religious groups are protected under Fundamental Rights.
    • Democratic: The Preamble envisages India to be democratic not only politically but also socially and economically. India is a representative parliamentary democracy where people can exercise their sovereignty through legislature. The democratic character of India is evident through the periodic elections based on universal adult franchise, rule of law, independence of judiciary etc.

    Increasing role of money and muscle power in elections, has resulted in parliamentary inefficiency, but the democratic character of India has only weakened, not destroyed.

  • Polity

    6. What was held in the Coelho case? In this context, can you say that judicial review is of key importance amongst the basic features of the Constitution? (2016)

    Coelho case is one of the landmark judgments on the interpretation of the doctrine of basic structure of the constitution as laid down in Kesavananda Bharti case.

    • In this case, a nine member bench of Supreme Court held that ninth schedule items are not immune to judicial review as it is part of the constitution. Further, nothing in Ninth schedule can abrogate fundamental rights as they form basic features of the constitution.
    • The objective behind Article 31B of the Constitution is to remove difficulties and not to wipe out judicial review per se. Therefore every amendment to the constitution including amendment to the Ninth schedule has to be in accordance to the basic structure doctrine.

    The judicial review is of key importance among the basic structure of the constitution as

    • Judicial review is an effective means to protect the fundamental rights of citizens from legislative oversight.
    • It is used to protect the primacy of constitution against the breach of power by legislature and executive.
    • Judicial review attains primary importance as it subjects all legislations to close scrutiny adhering to the doctrine of basic structure which includes judicial review itself.
    • Without judicial review, basic structure would be rendered powerless and open to violation by arbitrary or draconian laws.
    • Judicial review is an effective tool for safeguarding the Constitution which becomes extremely necessary keeping in mind the bad experiences of Emergency.

    Therefore, judicial review is a crucial aspect and cornerstone to our constitutional setup. However necessary care should be taken to ensure that judicial review doesn’t lead to judicial overreach which is harmful for a democratic set up like India.

  • Polity

    7. Did the Government of India Act, 1935 lay down a federal constitution? Discuss. (2016)

    Yes, the Government of India Act, 1935 provided for a federal framework for government. Some of the federal features of the 1935 act are as follows:

    • It provided for the establishment of an All-India Federation consisting of provinces and princely states as units.
    • It divided the subjects between the Centre and units into:
      • Federal List — Subjects over which federal legislative had exclusive power of legislation. Eg: External Affairs, military, currency etc.
      • Provincial List — Subjects over which provinces had legislative power. Eg, Education etc.
      • Concurrent List — Subjects over which both could legislate.

    The residuary powers were given to the viceroy

    • It provided for the establishment of Federal Public Service Commission, Joint Public Service Commission and Provincial Public Service Commission.
    • It provided for a Federal Legislature, consisting of House of Assembly and Council of State at the centre.
    • It provided for the establishment of:
      • Federal Court
      • Federal Bank — The Reserve Bank of India

    However, the establishment of the all–India federation did not materialize because it was optional for the princely states who did not join. Further, the Federal Legislature was not a sovereign legislature since the Governor General had a veto over the bills passed by it. Hence, it was federal in letter but not in spirit.

  • Polity

    8. What is quasi judicial body? Explain with the help of concrete examples. (2016)

    An authority is described as quasi-judicial when it has some attributes of judicial provisions but not all. It has powers analogous to that of the law imposing bodies but it is not a court. Quasi-judicial bodies have powers of imposing laws on administrative agencies, instead of supervising over all types of disputes like courts. Their activity is restricted to the issues that concern the particular administrative agency. Their powers are usually limited to a particular area of expertise, such as financial markets (SEBI), human rights (NHRC), market practices (Competition Commission of India) etc. Their action may be appealed to a court of law. They act as an alternative justice system to lessen the burden of the courts.

    Taking the example of the Central Information Commission - its powers and functions, as defined under the Right to Information Act of 2005 sufficiently indicate that it has adjudicatory powers quite akin to the court system. The Commission may be called upon to decide how far the right to information is affected where information sought for, is denied or whether the information asked for is ‘exempted’ or impinges upon the ‘right to privacy’ or where it falls in the ‘no go area’ of applicability of the Act.

    Hence, the functions of these authorities are more aligned towards the judicial functions of the courts rather than mere administrative acts of the State authority.

  • Social Justice

    9. Professor Amartya Sen has advocated important reforms in the realms of primary education and primary health care. What are your suggestions to improve their status and performance? (2016)

    Education and health care are some of basic human right to which all human beings are entitled to. The Supreme Court has from time to time interpreted Article 21 of the Constitution and has brought ‘Right to health’ and ‘right to primary education’ (Article 21A) under fundamental rights. Therefore, both primary education and health care is an important aspect for a democratic set up.

    Prof. Amartya Sen have lamented about the primary education and health care situation in India and advocated for reforms. According to him:

    • Without developing social sectors like school education and basic health-care services, and without carrying outland reforms, it will not be possible for India to have a participatory and widely shared economic growth.
    • Education and health care are not only vital for quality of life, they have much to contribute to economic development and social change.
    • India needs to broaden its base in the spheres of education, healthcare and women’s equality to foster economic growth.
    • India ranks alongside Haiti and Sierra Leone when it comes to government spending on health as a share of the total health expenditure of the people.
    • He has made a strong case for a radical reform in primary school curriculum which would reduce the curriculum overload in primary education in the country, making home tasks redundant and private tuition unnecessary.
    • The government must prioritise expenditure on education and healthcare instead of ill-directed subsidies and tax exemptions.

    Suggestions for improvement in primary education and health care

    • Increasing the government expenditure on primary education and health care to atleast 5% of GDP. While the government spends only 1% of GDP on health, education spending in India has been lower than the world average.
    • There is a need for proper utilization of funds by plugging the loopholes arising from procedural and institutional bottlenecks.
    • Taking inspiration from the Yashpal Committee Report which seeks to make learning more meaningful and enjoyable by relating formal education to the living world of the children.
    • The mantra of availability, affordability, and assurance must be followed for improving status and performance of Health care in India.
    • Expanding the reach of health services to rural and remote areas is hindered by the limited availability of providers there. Therefore there is a need to improve the quality of Public Health Centres in those areas.
    • Cooperation and collaboration of both public and private sectors.

    India is the only country in the world which is aiming to become a global economic power with an uneducated and unhealthy labour force. Effective implementation of existing policies for skill development, fundamental education reforms, public private partnership and international collaborations can help the nation to become a global superpower.

  • Governance

    10. “In the Indian governance system, the role of non-state actors has been only marginal.” Critically examine this statement. (2016)

    Non-state actors refer to a wide range of development actors - other than government. In practice, it means that participation is open to all kind of actors, such as the private sector, community-based organisations, women's groups, human rights associations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), religious organisations, farmers' cooperatives, trade unions, universities and research institutes, the media, etc. Also included are informal groups such as grassroots organisations, informal private sector associations, etc.

    Non-state actors have come to play an important role in the process of governance in India. Today, non-state actors are actively engaged in community mobilisation, economic development and societal transformation. They play different roles like capacity building, asset creation, representation, lobbying, advocacy, service delivery etc. Essentially, they are instruments of people's action and the means of protecting and promoting vital rights of citizens. They aid the process of good governance in several ways such as:

    • Policy Formulation and Advocacy: Influencing the decisions of legislators, other elected representatives, and public administrators.
    • Watchdog role: Play a crucial role in evaluating the policies and actions of the Government
    • Welfare Service Delivery: Can provide the necessary institutional basis for service delivery
    • Reform and Social Change: Serve as an instrument for reform and social change.

    They have played an instrumental role in the enactment of crucial legislations like the Right to Information Act, the National Food Security Act, Right to Education, MNREGA etc.

    At the same time, their contribution to the governance domain is limited by lack of funds, inadequate trained personnel, lack of culture of volunteering etc. Multiplicity of laws and regulations add to their problems. This prevents the non-state actors from reaching their full potential in enforcing good governance. Considering that India has over 2 million registered NGOs, the scope and extent of their contribution has been below par.

  • Governance

    11. “Effectiveness of the government system at various levels and people’s participation in the governance system are inter-dependent” Discuss their relationship in the context of India. (2016)

    One of the components of good governance as stated by UNDP is participation of citizens in decision making. It is important to view them as active participants in governance since they have a legitimate role in influencing decision making processes that affect their lives, businesses and communities.

    Their participation in the development process can improve the effectiveness in the following ways:

    • Demanding accountability to make the government more responsive, efficient and effective.
    • Enabling the poor and marginalized to influence public policy and service delivery to improve their lives.
    • Making government programmes and services more effective and sustainable.

    Citizens participation in governance contributes to a healthy democracy. In India, this is facilitated at multiple levels through different mechanisms:

    • Empowering citizens for their interaction with government by making information available through RTI.
    • Listening to the voices of citizens and their suggestions through public hearings, writing to various Parliamentary Committees and commissions when policies are put in public domain, surveys etc.
    • Holding service provider and government agencies accountable through mechanisms like social audit.
    • Demanding better services through Citizen Charters (CC).
    • Participating actively in administration and decision making through panchayati raj institutions and urban local bodies mandates by the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts.

    With the help of the above measures, there has been a significant improvement in the governance system in India.

  • Governance

    12. In the integrity index of Transparency International, India stands very low. Discuss briefly the legal, political, social and cultural factors that have caused the decline of public morality in India. (2016)

    Corruption is a global phenomenon and it is omnipotent. It has progressively increased and is now rampant in our society. As the nation grows, the corrupt also grow to invent new methods of cheating the government and public. India was placed at 76th position out of 168 countries with a score of 38 out of 100 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2015. The causes of corruption are many and complex. Some of them are:

    Legal

    • Lack of enforcement capacity and regulatory complexity are deep causes of India’s institutions. Complex laws and procedures deter common people from seeking help from the Government.
    • Many laws and rules have become obsolete and breeds corruption, long delay in judicial proceedings and less severity of punishment, multiple investigative agencies with overlapping jurisdiction such as Lokpal, CVC, CAG etc.
    • Those in hierarchy vested with disciplinary powers shirk their duties and so unwillingness to use their powers against corrupt practices.

    Political

    • Emergence of political elite which believes in interest oriented rather than nation oriented programs and policies.
    • Inadequate regulation of political finance.
    • At the time of election, corruption reaches its peak. Big industrialists fund political parties to meet high cost of elections and ultimately seek personal favours. In order to get elected, politicians bribe poor, illiterate people.

    Economical

    • Artificial scarcity created by people with mal-intentions wrecks the fabric of the nation’s economy.
    • Vast size of population coupled with widespread illiteracy and poor economic infrastructure lead to increasing inequality that causes corruption in public life.
    • In a highly inflationary economy, low salaries of government officials compel them to resort to corruption.

    Socio-Cultural

    • Tolerance of people towards corruption, complete lack of intense public outcry against corruption and the absence of a strong public forum to oppose corruption allows corruption to rein in our society.
    • Lack of moral education, decreasing role of family in ethical values and teachings, sanskritization of corruption, social hierarchy, bribery etc. are some other socio-cultural factors.

  • Governance

    13. Has the Indian governmental system responded adequately to the demands of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization started in 1991? What can the government do to be responsive to this important change? (2016)

    The 1991 Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation reforms were a watershed moment in the history of the country. The reforms were calculated, deliberative and piece-meal instead of being knee-jerk. This allowed the progress of the reforms to be modified as per the needs of the economy. For example – the gradual opening up of the economy to FDI continues even till current financial year. This facilitated competition and at the same time allowed domestic industries to grow and mature.

    The reforms initially faced opposition and resistance cutting across party line. India therefore had to enforce these reforms within the contours of democracy by accommodating diverse interests. As a result the pace of the reforms was slow. This in contrast to China which being a communist country performed much better within the same span of time. But as and when there was favourable political mandate and support, the reforms were carried forward.

    At the same time, the reforms were criticized as being biased towards the rich, reducing employment opportunities in organized sector, benefitting only a few sectors, especially services and therefore resulting in skewed development. The manufacturing and agricultural sectors did not reap much benefit and this continues even till today.

    Hence, for the government to be responsive to this important change, it needs to focus on inclusive growth and development. This can be facilitated by carrying out second generation reforms which will be much deeper and all pervasive. The impediments to a speedy enforcement of GST tax reforms like Direct Tax Code and land reforms etc. should be removed at the earliest.

  • Governance

    14. “Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have hampered the process of socio-economic development in India.” Comment. (2016)

    Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture is primarily identified with the maintenance of law and order, collection of revenues and regulation of national life. In this sense, it is status-quoist and regulatory in nature.

    It is based on centralized decision-making. People are not given participation in administration and the decision-making process. It is known for its rigidity, centralization of power and procedure oriented consequently, the rules and regulations which were supposed to be the means to development have become an end in themselves, resulting in goal displacement. An example of this is the now dismantled Planning Commission which failed to keep pace with the changing socio-economic environment. Centralised state-led planning had been futile and redundant to address specific issues which never received adequate attention in the one-size-fits-all formula. Its replacement, the NITI Aayog is conceptualized to follow a bottoms-up approach supporting formulation. In the era of rolling-back of the state and globalization, there is a need for the bureaucracy to be downsized and confine itself to core functions that cannot be performed by market. There is a need for a result oriented bureaucracy which focuses on outcomes, is people-centric, participatory responsive and focused on effectiveness and equity rather than merely efficiency.

    With the opening up of the economy with the 1991 reforms, things have gradually shifted. Bureaucracy now playing the role of an enabler, rather than ‘doer’. Public administration now focuses on good governance. Also, steps such as the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts have been steps in the positive direction for more inclusive development.

  • Social Justice

    15. Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation. (2016)

    India is a young nation. According to Census 2011, children constitute 39 per cent of the country’s population. The Constitution of India provides that the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that children are protected from exploitation and moral and material abandonment.

    The National Policy for Children, 2013 aims to protect the rights of the children to survival, health and nutrition; education and development; protection and participation for focused attention. It adheres to the Constitutional mandate and guiding principles of United Nations and reflects a paradigm shift from a need based to a rights-based approach.

    The main provisions of National Child Policy are

    • The Policy recognizes every person below the age of eighteen years as a child and covers all children within the territory and jurisdiction of the country.
    • It ensure equitable access to comprehensive and essential preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative health care of the highest standard, for all children before, during and after birth, and throughout the period of their growth and development.
    • It secures the right of every child to learning, knowledge, education, and development opportunity, with due regard for special needs, through access, provision and promotion of required environment, information, infrastructure, services and supports, for the development of the child’s fullest potential.
    • The policy aims to create a caring, protective and safe environment for all children, to reduce their vulnerability in all situations and to keep them safe at all places, especially public spaces.
    • It enable children to be actively involved in their own development and in all matters concerning and affecting them.
    • It is the first policy document in India that specifically highlights ‘disability’ as a ground for discrimination that must be countered.

    Status of Implementation

    • The infant mortality rate remains as high as 40. As per the Global Hunger Index, India's hunger levels are ranked as "serious" with around 40% of children stunted. The nation ranks 20th among the countries with serious hunger situation. Malnutrition has been one of the huge crisis in India for many years. Though the levels of stunting have declined as per National Family Health Survey, the numbers are still appalling.
    • The RTE has ensured near 100% gross enrollment ratio and most of the children have access to education but the standard of education needs improvement.
    • Child labour and trafficking is still a stigma on Indian society and the rising incidents of crime by juveniles indicate the failure to guide them in the right direction.

    NPC 2013 has promised a lot for children’s survival, protection, education and health. However, after recognizing various gaps, the government has now come up with legislations like the Child Labour (amendment) Act, Juvenile Justice Bill etc. The recent Draft National Action Plan for Children 2016 aims to provide a roadmap that links the policy objectives to actionable strategies that will help realize the goals of Child welfare in India.

  • Governance

    16. “Demographic Dividend in India will remain only theoretical unless our manpower becomes more educated, aware, skilled and creative.” What measures have been taken by the government to enhance the capacity of our population to be more productive and employable? (2016)

    If India has to reap the benefits of ‘demographic dividend’ in the years ahead, it is imperative that investments in social infrastructure by way of education, skill development, training and provision of health care facilities are made to enhance productivity of workforce and welfare of the population. Some of the measures taken by the government to achieve this are as follows:

    • Setting up of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana to offer meaningful, industry-relevant, skill based training to the Indian youth as well as a government certification on successful completion of training to help them secure a job in future.
    • Along with the Right to Education Act, a number of Scholarship schemes are in operation to encourage enrolment and learning levels among different groups.
    • Initiated the National Literacy Mission to raise the literacy rate to 80 percent and reduce the gender gap to less than 10 percent.
    • The National Policy on Education, 1986 emphasises is on removal of disparity among different social classes by ensuring equality of educational opportunities.
    • To take full advantage of the demographic dividend, India not only needs an educated but also a healthy population. For this, India has started the National Health Mission (NHM) encompassing its two sub-missions. National Rural Health Mission and National Urban Health Mission, to achieve universal access to equitable, affordable and quality healthcare services.

    Though India has initiated all pertinent programmes and policies, to make the dream of demographic dividend a reality the key lies in their effective and efficient implementation.

  • International Relations

    17. “The broader aims and objectives of WTO are to manage and promote international trade in the era of globalization. But the Doha round of negotiations seem doomed due to differences between the developed and the developing countries.” Discuss in the Indian perspective. (2016)

    India has been trying to prevent attempts by rich nations to introduce 'new issues' like labour and environment. India wants the discussions on these non-trade and WTO-plus issues to take place only after outstanding matters related to the Doha Round negotiations have been resolved. India took this stand because the declaration brought out at the end of Ministerial Conference of WTO at Nairobi did not reaffirm the mandate of the Doha Round aimed at opening up global trade. India, along with other developing countries, had opposed the declaration.

    India feels that issues like environment and labour should be kept out of the purview of WTO and instead, should be dealt under concerned global bodies like UNFCCC and ILO. Since rich nations have superior standards on these issues, they can pose a challenge for developing nations by acting as non-tariff barriers, thereby adversely impacting their exports to rich nations. Further, outstanding issues, like the 'Special Safeguard Mechanism' for protecting the interests of poor farmer in developing countries and a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security, need to be resolved before discussing new non-trade issues.

    For this, India wants the countries pitching for introduction of the 'non-issues' to meet the following 2 criteria:

    • Establish the relevance of issues in context of trade.
    • Ensure consensus among all 162 WTO members for taking up the agenda.

    India can only be successful in this endeavour of putting an end to attempts to introduce new issues if it can establish a strong alliance of developing and poor countries and training a sufficient pool of trade law experts to represent them effectively at WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).

  • International Relations

    18. Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look East Policy in the context of the post Cold War international scenario. (2016)

    India started following the ‘Look East Policy’ in the early 1990s when at the end of the cold war it sensed a change in the locus of world economic power from ‘west’ to the ‘east’. It focused on strengthening ties between India and the ASEAN countries by increasing economic and commercial ties. Over the years, it also focused on strategic and security aspects in the East and South East Asia region. Eg: South China Sea.

    Under the strategic thrust of this policy, India firmed up strategic relations with the countries of ASEAN and East Asia through extensive consultations on regional and global security issues and consistent cooperation in defence sector. India’s strategic vision for the East extends to the whole of Asia-Pacific region as India has manifested both its willingness and capability to play a critical role in the emerging strategic dynamics and architecture for this region.

    The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between ASEAN and India has helped in deeper economic integration. ASEAN is India's fourth largest trading partner. Further, RCEP and FTA for Investments and Services will bolster economic engagements between the two. With the economies of India and the ASEAN growing and their energy needs going up, maritime security and enhanced cooperation in combating terrorism and piracy also become concern areas.

    India further bolstered its Look East Policy with the announcement of the ‘Act East Policy’ in 2014, through which it seeks to revive and reinvigorate its relationship with ASEAN and expand beyond the region to encompass Koreas, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh as well as countries in the Far East. Now, instead of merely ‘looking’, India is ‘engaging’ and ‘acting’ with East.

  • International Relations

    19. "Increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several member-states by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)." Explain with suitable examples. (2016)

    In the 31 years since the organization’s founding in 1985, SAARC’s efficacy in the region has been limited by tensions and disagreements between India and Pakistan. SAARC has largely been defunct for the last few years because of India-Pakistan friction and could soon become non-functional.

    This was highlighted in the aftermath of an attack by militants that crossed the Line of Control into India-administered Kashmir to strike at an Indian Army camp in Uri. Since the attack, the Indian government has strongly condemned Pakistan and looked to isolate Islamabad on the world stage. This was followed by India pulling out of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016. Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh also followed suit.

    By pulling out of the SAARC summit in Islamabad, India tried to achieve two ends: sending a tough message in the wake of the Uri attack but also that it is going ahead with its plan for ‘SAARC minus Pakistan’ instead. Some believe that SAARC minus one can better address South Asian challenges because the civil-military dissonance on Pakistan's policy towards India is making it difficult for Pakistan to relate to other states of the South Asian region. Also, Pakistan has been singularly stalling the process of economic integration through its policy of disallowing connectivity through its territory. Two most recent examples have been the talks on trade liberalisation and cross-border trade in energy during the last years where Islamabad pulled back just when the agreements were ready for signature. Pakistan also walked away from agreements on road connectivity which resulted in a ‘sub-regional cooperation’ called BBIN framework between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. Further, India is looking at the BIMSTEC (the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) as an alternative to SAARC as was witnessed with the BIMSTEC summit on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.

    All of the above limit the ability of SAARC to prosper as a regional organization. However, without effectively engaging Pakistan, the multiple challenges faced by SAARC countries on the economic and security fronts cannot be met satisfactorily. Much of the security challenges emanate from Pakistan because it uses terrorism as an instrument of its state policy. It stands between South Asia and Central Asia and holds the key to intra as well as inter-regional trade and commerce. Therefore, it is difficult to address the aforesaid challenges without roping in Pakistan into the SAARC framework for regional cooperation.

  • International Relations

    20. What are the aims and objectives of the McBride Commission of the UNESCO? What is India’s position on these? (2016)

    The McBride Commission Report was one of the most significant multilateral interventions in the history of international communication. The main aim of the report was to analyse communication problems in modern societies, particularly relating to mass media and news, consider the emergence of new technologies, and to suggest a kind of communication order to diminish these problems to further peace and human development. The report argued that Western cultural and financial dominance over the poorer nations through the media denied those countries growth and development. The committee was setup to suggest a kind of New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO). It discussed issues like media coverage of the developing world, unbalanced flows of media influence, concentration of media, commercialization of the media and unequal access of information and communication.

    The main political force behind NWICO was the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) representing the developing countries of the "South" or the "Third World". India particularly played a very significant role by facilitating various meetings in different generics, cultural and geographical backgrounds. This was supported by India’s diverse language culture and the need to preserve and share one’s language beyond the realms of culture was what made MacBride really unique back then. B.G. Varghese was the Indian who represented the nation in the committee which drafted the MacBride report.

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