1. Discuss the factors that led to World War II. In what ways, WWII was different from WWI? Examine.
It was again a direct question and most of you have covered all the points. In such questions chronology of the points also become important. So you need to jot down more important points first and then the points of relatively lesser importance.
Some of the factors which lead to the WW – II are:
Treaty of Versailles: it was not a treaty but an enforced agreement with Germany which put all the blame on Germany for WW – I and put harsh sanctions on it. It sowed the seed for WW – II.
Expansionist policies of Italy, Germany and Japan because of Jingoistic Nationalism. In this point you can mention about fascism and Nazism.
Weak League of Nations and its inability to maintain or enforce peace in the world. USA was not a part of it which made LoN quite a weak organization.
Appeasement policy of Britain and France which made Germany stronger.
Strong rift between Capitalist and Communist ideologies.
Great Depression – caused economic difficulties in Europe and made people fall for heroic claims of Nationalist to improve the situation.
Role of Media – Creating panic situation and encouraging arms race between European countries.
Final trigger was the invasion of Poland by Germany. It is also believed that it was miscalculated step by Germany as it was not expecting an all out war.
(Note: you need to explain these points in the answer.)
Differences between WW – I and WW – II:
Causes: WW I to gain more territory and colonial might. WW II to assert the different ideologies.
Method: War was fought in the battle field and trenches during WW I, it was taken into the cities in WW II and many civilians died. Modern methods of warfare were used including weapons of mass destruction. And for the first time Nuclear weapon was used in war.
Area: WW I covered only Europe but WW II covered a much larger arena including Europe, Asia, North America and parts of Africa.
Outcome: Lead to the formation of League of Nations and sowed the seeds of WW II. WW II lead to the formation of UN and sowed the seed for the cold war.
After WW II, the world got divided between two power blocks headed by USA and other capitalist countries and USSR and other communist countries.
Much more participation of women in WW II than in WW I. WW II indirectly lead to women empowerment.
2.The efforts towards post war reconstruction had certain elements that led to Cold War. Do you agree? Critically examine.
The end of World War 2, was also the beginning of mutual distrust and animosity between the two Super Powers of the Post war period which finally led to the world becoming unipolar.
Europe, after being hit by the biggest war in history, was devastated. Its economies were bankrupt, food supplies were at an all-time low and there was a severe lack of industrial output, due to the destruction of factories by heavy bombing during the war. The Communist parties in Western Europe were gaining popularity and it seemed likely that the people would elect them if living conditions didn’t improve soon.
USA was desperate to guard their sphere of influence against the increasing threat of communism. With this end in mind it proposed the Marshall plan, under this it would provide economic aid and equipment to help the economies of Europe recover and rebuild themselves.
This move was seen by the Soviet as the economic counterpart of the Political Truman Doctrine.
The origin of the tussle can be traced to Potsdam Conference where the allies refused to open a second war front against Germany which made Soviet Union suspicious of the intentions of Allies.
USA initiated many Military Blocs such as NATO, CENTO etc and the Soviet Union initiated the Warsaw Pact to support its allies militarily, Countries which obtained financial aid from USA joined NATO and those which got aid from USSR joined the Warsaw pact.
The Cold War was the geopolitical, ideological, and economic struggle between two world superpowers, the USA and the USSR, that started in 1947 at the end of the Second World War and lasted until the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991.
During the war, there had been growing tensions:
For a long time, Stalin refused to join the United Nations;
Stalin was angry that Britain and America kept delaying D-Day, believing it was a plot to allow Germany to weaken the Soviet Union;
At the Tehran Conference (1943) Stalin and the rest clashed over the selection of the polish government. Stalin wanted the Pro communist government while US and Britain wanted the polish to self determine their government. This made Stalin believe in the anti communist tendencies of the western world.
In Hiroshima the devastating use of nuclear power shocked the world and Russia in a bid to save itself from US dominance started an arms race during the cold war. The mistrust between US and USSR was further fueled by the Truman Doctrine where President Harry S. Truman pledged American assistance to any nation in the world threatened by Communism, officially establishing the worldwide containment of Communism as a vital American national security interest.
America during and after the war made sure to support the third world countries to form governments based on self determination and democratic values. This was seen as a ploy against communism by USSR. The soviet union responded by trying to influence these countries to join the communist blocks. This led to a general distrust among these nations which lay the foundation of Cold war.
These incidents during the war had shaped the foundation of the cold war era. Cold war was a war not of military victories, but rather a race for supremacy over the world which for once changed the entire world politics and its repercussions are still to be felt.
3.The African experience of decolonization stands in sharp contrast from their Asian counterparts. Discuss.
Decolonization is defined as the act of getting rid of colonization, or freeing a country from being dependent on another country.
The decolonization process in Asia led to complete independence of the former colonies they became sovereign democracies, but in Africa it only meant change from direct physical control to indirect imperial control.
Leadership of the independent struggle in Asian countries was westernized earlier and they had achieved the experience in running the government, whereas the African leaders were Western educated minority who lacked the where whittles.
Independence struggles in Asia were largely mass movements that were non-violent and sustained, whereas the African freedom movements includes violence and local militias.
External states had considerable influence in the affairs of Africa which led to many dictatorships and military coups but the Asian countries remained largely democratic.
Post-colonial Africa was constantly in a state of flux because of civil wars, ethnic clashes, and turf wars to control the mines, the Asian countries however successfully transformed their agriculture and industries.
Write a brief conclusion.
Best answer: Vivek
Decolonisation in Africa and Asia witnessed sharp contrasts in regard to the following aspects:
Liberation Vs Neo-Colonialism: Most of the Asian countries established sovereign independent Governments while in Africa, the interference and control of imperialist nations through supporting formation of liberal Governments continued. Thus exploitation of Africa continued even after decolonisation.
Approach: Asia witnessed a gradual and peaceful liberation through Constitutional means. In Africa, imperialist powers were interested in delaying transfer of power which often lead to armed rebellion and revolutionary struggles.
State of masses: Mass movements and deep rooted politicization in Asia helped in spread of education and modern ideas, which helped in formation of powerful nations on modern ideologies of democracy and communism. Whereas in Africa, nationalist struggle were carried out by educated elites who constituted a tiny minority, this lead to power struggle and civil wars after independence. The tribal population was not ready to welcome modern ideologies.
Conflict of Interests: As Africa was divided among many imperialist powers according to their interests, re-grouping this divisions as different nations resulted in widespread border conflicts. The anger and hatred among different tribes further aggregated the situation.
Therefore even though decolonisation in Africa and Asia meant over throwing of foreign imperialist control, there existed sharp contrasts.
4. What is fiscal autonomy? Why is it important for local governance? Discuss the recent steps taken by the government towards this cause.
Provide definition of Fiscal autonomy.
Fiscal autonomy is the freedom of managing one’s financial affairs of its own i.e the source of revenue and expenditure, without interference of others.
Lack of independence of the local governments is as a result of lack of fiscal autonomy which in turn explains the duplicity of decentralization and inter-governmental relations.
Without devolution of taxes, local governments will be heavily dependent on higher authorities for development funds. Thus the bottom to top approach will not be efficient and hampers functional autonomy.
Strengthens democratic federalism at grassroot level – improves capacity, efficiency and accountability of local governance, supports local competitive federalism.
Opens opportunity to design and implement policies at local level: Better way to address actual grievances and devise practical solutions; increases their ability to deliver public services to citizens.
Discuss some of the below initiatives –
14th Finance Commission mandated increase in fiscal devolution from 35% to 42%.
Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.
Performance based grant system for local bodies: Panchayat- 90% basic+10% performance, Municipality – 80% basic + 20% performance.
Fiscal autonomy refers financial, political and administrative autonomy on matters of revenue generation and spending.
It is important for self governance because:
To ensure functional autonomy of local governance institutions: Without fiscal autonomy, local institutions always remain within the clutches of higher governments, which dilutes the purpose of local institutions like panchayats and municipalities.
Strengthens democratic federalism at grassroot level: Improves capacity, efficiency and accountability of local governance, supports local competitive federalism.
Opens opportunity to design and implement policies at local level: Better way to address actual grievances and devise practical solutions.
Steps taken by Government towards this:
14th Financial Commission doubled local body grants: Fixed at 2.87 lakh crores in a period between 2015-20.
Performance based grant system for local bodies: Panchayat- 90% basic+10% performance, Municipality – 80% basic + 20% performance.
Direct Central schemes for local bodies
Promotion of municipal bonds
5. India desperately needs to have a national water pricing mechanism. Do you agree? Discuss.
While India has adequate freshwater, its spatial and temporal distribution is very skewed, and usage inefficient and wasteful. The recent drought cases in several parts of the country raises questions regarding how the management of the country’s water resources could be improved.
Provide points about the current realities of water scarcity and misuse of water and why there is desperate need for pricing mechanism.
India—a country ranking high on water scarcity—spends water profligately
Irrigation being one of the key inputs for food production with agricultural sector being a major consumer of water, pricing of this input is one of the basic steps and an integral component in the process of rationalizing the totality of the price structure and raising the efficiency of water use.
Inefficient agricultural usage of water and exports of water-intensive crops make India a large virtual exporter of water —not a proud performance for a water-stressed country. Especially not when the domestic scarcity of water has not been priced into the exports.
There is no regulation of groundwater extraction and no coordination among competing uses. Inadequate and sub-optimal pricing of power and water has promoted misuse of groundwater.
The declining per capita availability of water for diverse uses has attracted serious concern for regulating the use of this finite but vital natural resource.
Inter State Water Disputes which has the potential to damage Indian federal structure in the present and future are keeping on increasing and water pricing mechanism is essential to avoid such water conflicts and promote water security.
(You can provide other relevant points too)
Conservation of water and its sustainable use are increasingly critical factors in managing a scarce resource. Governments and civil society need to see water as an economic good.
It shall be the duty of the state at all levels, the citizens, and all category of water users to protect, preserve and conserve water sources, and pass them on to the next generation
There is an urgent need to move to a situation where groundwater can be treated as a common property resource. Water pricing is the only long-term, sustainable solution to promote efficient and equitable use of this precious natural resource.