1. The islands of India are reservoirs of many important resources. Can you identify these resources along with the places where they are found? Also discuss their significance for the economy.
Write a brief intro about the islands.
Andaman and Nicobar islands:
Minerals: Iron, Cobalt, Sulphur, Chromite is found.
Agriculture: cash crops such as Cashew nuts, Coconut and Arecanut are grown in Plantations.
Forest resources: Lush evergreen forests provide huge potential for timber and wood based products, apart from this large no of plants with medicinal values are found.
Oil and gas: Andaman and Nicobar islands have been identified as potential sites for oil and natural gas exploration, as it is an extension of Burma, which has huge reserves.
Fishing: this area has huge reserves of marine organisms, including many exotic fishes.
Mineral deposits: phosphate deposits (guano) are found on the islands, Calcium carbonate is found in the lagoons.
Algae: out of 10 types of algae found in lakshadweep,9 are of food variety which have great economic value.
Fisheries: huge potential for the fisheries industry.
In other islands:
Oil reserves are found in Gulf of Kutch off the coast of Gujarat,
Tourism: the islands are famous for its tourist destinations, which can bring economic prosperity to the islands as well as Forex to the country: Coral reefs of Lakshadweep, Portuguese churches and cathedral of Diu and Daman islands. Andaman and Nicobar has huge tourism potential because of its geography and culture( numerous tribes) and watersports.
Industry: Fisheries industry has not developed to it’s true potential in the islands, public and private investments can make them hub of Fish processing industries of the country.
Timber and food processing industry needs boost, as the availability of land is not an issue in these islands.
Shipping: these islands can be developed into shipping towns, to encourage them to become entrepôts as they lie in the one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Ship building industry as well as Ports needs to be developed to ease the pressure off the mainland.
Oil ad gas: These islands have shown huge potential for oil and natural gas reserves, ifproperly explored and commercially extracted, it can not only reduce India’s energy dependence, but also indirectly boost growth.
Handicrafts: coral and ornamental shells, and wooden handicrafts of these islands can be marketed in the mainland and abroad to generate income.
Write a brief conclusion.
Best answer: SVSR
India has numerous islands under its territory. They have diversified number of resources and are playing a significant role in India’s growth story. Some of the islands along with their resources are listed below.
1) A&N Islands – tropical rain forests, rich biodiversity with numerous endemic species, forest produce – timber, herbs and plants with medicinal value, mineral nodules (Manganese, chromite etc.,) in the EEZ, habitat to aboriginal tribes like Jarawas, Ongos, coral reefs and bounty fishing zones.
> Economically this region has good potential for tourism, fisheries industry, and source of raw material other forest allied industries. Moreover, India’s cultural diversity is a kind of soft power in international arena.
2) Lakshadweep Islands – Basically, it is of coral origin and have less or no mineral resources. But it is famous for coconut plantations, fisheries, wide varieties of flora and fauna.
> Comparatively, Lashadweep Islands have better connectivity with mainland and inter-island connectivity. It bolsters economies of Kerala and Goa with diverse economic activities like coir industry, tourism and fisheries industry.
3) Riverine Islands of Ganga, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri and Penna, and islands near Gulf of Kutch – High environmental diversity, alluvial soils, oil and natural gas reserves (KG Basin) etc.
> These resources are boon for our economy as it reduces import dependency on crude oil, and enhances agricultural productivity of the region.
In fact, India houses many endemic floral and faunal species in these regions. Since, ancient times, Indian medicinal systems are developed by processing these resources. Under Nagoya protocol, India can reap immense benefits with due participation and coordination with other countries
2. In your opinion, what is the best way to engage with the littorals of the Indian Ocean? Examine the strategy being followed by India in this direction. Also discuss the recent initiatives which have been taken by the new government.
31 littoral states inhabited by 40% of world’s population, 40% of world’s offshore petroleum production, 50% of international trade route, heavy mineral deposits, abundance of resources, all are nested in the IOR and thus India needs to carefully tread the complex maze of relationship with these nations.
Cultural exchange: As a birthplace of major religions India should moot cultural engagement with ASEAN as well as Islamic countries of Africa & West Asia. Tourism exchange is currently much below the potential.
Education & Training: India can offer scholarship facilities to various LDC like Somalia, Madagascar, East Timor etc. It can also provide training in governance, military & professional areas.
Trade & investment opportunities with littoral countries are enormous owing to physical proximity and large population base. India can seek investment and technical expertise of rich countries of Gulf & Australia, New Zealand.
Maritime Security: Engagement with these countries will help India secure from piracy threats from Strait of Hormuz to Strait of Malacca which is vital for India’s economic and energy security.
Develop civilian maritime infrastructure.
India’s Look East & Look West policy can be seen as part of India’s ambition to reach to the littoral nations on either sides.
India’s initiative in formation of IOR-ARC(Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation – 20 countries), IONS(Indian Ocean Naval Symposium – 50 countries) or active participation in ReCAAP(Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy & Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia) shows India’s importance to maritime security in IO Region.
India provides training to bureaucrats & army personnel of countries like Maldives.
Since the new government formation in 2014, it has taken the role of “net security provider” in the IOR and has taken several initiatives in this regard:
–Joint naval exercises (bilateral and multilateral) with various countries including US, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Australia.
Sagarmala – to encourage port led development.
Project Mausam – aimed at mooting cultural exchange with littoral countries of Indian Ocean.
India donated ingenuously made patrol ships to Mauritius.
Indo-Seychelles: First warship INS Barracuda to be exported to Seychelles to deepen strategic relations.
Vigor in West Asia Policy: Engagement with countries like U.A.E, Saudi Arabia and uplifting relations to strategic levels.
Dornier aircrafts provided for maritime monitoring
7. Radar surveillance in Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.
8. Formation of joint working group on blue economy.
Recently, India has changed its outlook towards these states and has started treating them as equal sovereigns. Though India has maintained that democracy should be strengthened it has started dialogue in the current state itself. This has been a pragmatic move.
The Indian Ocean region gives India strategic advantage to India on the world stage. It cannot be lax in maintaining and improving on it.
Best answer: Swathi
The Indian Ocean littoral states include Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka all have an interest in the Indian Ocean for political, security, economic and maritime resources. The Indian Ocean’s rich resources- fisheries, offshore oil and gas, and undersea minerals have both economic and strategic importance.
Challenges to be addressed in the best possible way are – 1. Illegal weapon transport, terrorism acts and incidents of piracy by terrorist and militant groups -security issues
2. Illegal fishing, marine pollution and coastal degradation
3. Impacts of global warming and natural disasters
4, Increasing maritime rivalry and spillover effects from maritime tensions
Strategy followed by India – Regional cooperation such as ACT EAST policy, collective actions to address economic issues through IORA and BIMSTEC , Joint Naval exercises in the region and charting maritime security cooperation mechanism with littoral states.
India’s recent initiatives – 1. Project Mausam – to re-establish communication and focus on cultural values – India’s answer to China’s Maritime Silk Route
2. Indian Ocean Naval Syposium – to increase maritime cooperation among navies
3. Sagarmala project – modernizing Indian ports to facilitate transportation in the coastal and inland waterways -towards blue revolution
4. Coastal surveillance radar project with Sychelles – to build a maritime domain awareness network
The expansion in the India’s foreign policy in the Indian Ocean region could be achieved through bilateral and multilateral cooperation’s failing which the challenges cannot be addressed timely. The responsibility for securing the Indian Ocean and promoting regional mechanisms for collective security and economic integration rests with the littoral states.
3. How would you assess the functioning of the National Human Rights Commission in recent years? Do you have any suggestions for the body? Discuss.
National Human Rights Commissions (NHRCs) have become prominent actors in the national, regional and international human rights arena. NHRC India was the first National Human Rights Institution to be established in the South Asian Region.
NHRC has helped in holding government accountable by making government conscious of the fact that it is the primary duty bearer. NHRCs have established a culture of accountability as they are charged with monitoring the state’s performance constantly.
NHRC India has also been relatively effective in protecting human rights (includes economic, social and cultural rights), given the widely accepted and acknowledged appreciation of its role in promoting awareness of human rights, despite the relative weakness of its formal powers.
Some recent interventions of NHRC include: (Cite any 3 examples)
NHRC has made effort to rescue and rehabilitate bonded children, criticized new Juvenile Justice Bill.
Looking up for the sterilization tragedy of Chattisgarh among various other rights violation of women.
Campaigning against discrimination of HIV patients.
It has taken the plight of undertrials in jails who are staying for several years even in petty cases due lack of financial security provision to secure bail bonds and affording lawyers etc. The horrible conditions of inmates and crimes inside prison by authorities and inmates are given attention.
The NHRC has also worked against the discrimination of the LGBT community in India.
It has asked all state governments to report the cases of custodial deaths or rapes within 24 hour.
It has conducted many public hearing on complaints of medical negligence and awarded compensations.
The above interventions reflect that NHRC has been highly effective in dealing with issues relating to application of human rights and has established its reputation for independence and integrity. While doing so it should keep balance. It has to be proactive without being confrontational, so that public interest does not suffer because of unnecessary and unproductive competitiveness between it and other governmental bodies. It has to take initiative rather than having a prescriptive view.
NHRC can only make recommendations, without the power to enforce decisions. This lack of authority to ensure compliance can lead to outright rejection of its decision too. If human rights commissions are to truly protect rights in India, it needs a revamp. (Choose any 3 suggestions)
The efficacy of commissions will be greatly enhanced if their decisions are made enforceable by the government.
If commissions are to play a meaningful role in society, they must include civil society human rights activists as members.
NHRC powers should be extended for protection against atrocities by police & armed forces.
Inclusion of eminent persons. Only judges are entitled in the panel. It has to spread to include people who have worked in international levels too.
Instrument like PIL can be adopted – this will make non party benevolent citizen to bring justice to others
Leverage ICT to reach out to the youth of the nation in these digital times.
NHRC should not be understaffed – this will ensure smooth functioning of NHRC
NHRC should also promote lack of human Right activism in India, by advertisements, citizen-centric attitude, easy accessibility & pro-active involvement in various affairs.
Despite its weak foundation, the NHRC India is effective and demonstrates that human rights protection does not have to rely entirely on courts and gradually how NHRC has become locus of human rights awareness at national level.
Best answer: Harmony
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is a statutory body established to protect and promote citizenship rights in a country where inequality of class, caste, gender and social status inhibit access to justice.
The appointments to the NHRC are done by a broad based committee which insulates it from political interference. This is a laudable practice and can be emulated for other bodies like the National Commission for women.
Secondly the NHRC has its own secretariat which means it can better exercise its functions. It does not have to rely on administrative support from other government departments.
Perhaps NHRC’s greatest accomplishment has been creating awareness about rights and entitlements in a country struggling with mass poverty and illiteracy. Its efforts have led us towards ‘rights based regime’ whereby citizens are empowered to demand justice. NHRC has been seminal in including lessons on human rights in schools and colleges.
By intervening on behalf of child laboures, victims of communal riots and marginalized women it has become voice of the voiceless. By framing guidelines on custodial deaths/rapes it has attempted to enforce accountability.
The NHRC has also forged links with civil society to better perform its functions. In 2014 NHRC along with the PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties) filed a PIL which led the Supreme Court to frame elaborate guidelines on encounter killings.
Though the yearly NHRC reports are placed in front of the Parliament, its recommendations not being binding on the government undermine its ability to bring real change. The recommendations are not often taken seriously by the government departments.
Secondly the NHRC has limited power with regard to the armed forces.
Also in India we have a multiplicity of institutions like the National Commission on Minorities, National Commission on Women etc and the NHRC has failed to build ties so that more pressure could be built to enforce accountability.
The NHRC must leverage ICT to reach out to the youth of the nation in these digital times.
Secondly it must create more public debate on its recommendations, especially the ones not being accepted by the government.
It must bargain for more teeth so that the various guidelines are followed in practice.