IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd July 2020
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Police Brutality and Accountability in India
Part of: GS Mains II and IV – Governance issues; Police Reforms; Policy/Rights issues; Ethics
- We have dealt with many articles dealing with Police brutality – Custodial deaths, Fake encounters; Torturing and harassing innocent people or vulnerable people.
- Another example where the protectors turned perpetrators – 1985 murder of Raja Man Singh.
- A court in Mathura recently convicted 11 policemen for the murder of Raja Man Singh, the then titular head of the erstwhile princely state of Bharatpur in Rajasthan, in 1985.
- Policemen fired indiscriminately at Raja Man Singh as part of a well-planned conspiracy.
Values like – honesty, compassion, yearning for truth and justice, commitment to the law and the Constitution – should always be constant and should hold the first spot in civil servant’s decision and final action.
Social security numbers for Migrants
Part of: GS Mains II – Social/Welfare issues; Labour issues
- Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour has recommended that the government introduce a social security number for migrant workers (especially those in unorganised sectors who are beyond the purview of labour laws).
- Government should set up a website to register migrant workers.
- Social security numbers can avert difficult situations which the Migrants faced during the lockdown.
- A social security number will help in mapping the number of migrant workers and their migration patterns.
Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM)
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Social/Welfare issue; Role of international organizations and initiatives
- Sex workers and people living with AIDS wrote to Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) and sought assistance to meet survival needs.
- They raised concerns that they were being ignored by government and multilateral agencies in COVID19related emergency relief efforts.
GFATM had approved a $20million COVID response fund for India that has no direct support for at least 1.5 million [persons from these vulnerable groups], despite repeated, evidence-based demands by civil society.
- GFTAM is an international financing and partnership organization that aims to “attract, leverage and invest additional resources to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to support attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations”.
- Global Fund was created in 2002 to pool the world’s resources & invest them strategically in programs to end Tuberculosis (TB), Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and Malaria as epidemics.
- The G8 formally endorsed the call for the creation of the Global Fund at its summit in July 2001.
- The Global Fund is the world’s largest financier of AIDS, TB, and malaria prevention, treatment, and care programs. As of June 2019, the organization had disbursed more than US$41.6 billion to support these programs.
Outcome of India Ideas Summit
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and US relations; International Relations
- Both countries reiterated for longer term plan and work towards a comprehensive trade deal.
- As an intermediate step between the imminent limited deal and the comprehensive deal (Free Trade Agreement), India proposed a preferential trade agreement that would cover 50 to 100 goods and services.
- India wants US to restore its access to the U.S. preferential trading system or Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and increase market access for some categories of Indian agricultural products among others.
- U.S. concerns include – market access for American dairy and agricultural products, medical devices and a cut in information and communication technology (ICT) import tariffs.
- The U.S. also has concerns with India’s digital trade policies (for instance FDI in commerce, and data localisation).
About Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
- It is a preferential tariff system extended by developed countries (also known as preference giving countries or donor countries) to developing countries (also known as preference receiving countries or beneficiary countries).
- It involves reduced MFN Tariffs or duty-free entry of eligible products exported by beneficiary countries to the markets of donor countries.
- It helps in making the goods of beneficiary country competitive in donor country.
Ministry cautions against use of N95 valved mask
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science – Health and Medicine
- Health Ministry cautioned against the use of N95 valved respirator/masks, stating that it does not offer the desired protection against the spread of COVID19.
- The use of valved respirator N95 masks is detrimental to the measures adopted for preventing the spread of coronavirus as they do not prevent the virus from escaping out of the mask.
Pic: N95 Mask
EU leaders strike deal to rebuild economy
- EU leaders agreed on a €750 billion rescue package to pull the bloc out of deep recession.
‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana’
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Govt schemes and initiatives; Poverty and Welfare schemes
- Delhi Government announced the ‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana’ which will allow beneficiaries to avail doorstep delivery of ration.
- The scheme entitles residents who currently collect ration from PDS shops to get the same ration delivered to their homes. (to ensure that the poor “get ration with respect”)
INTERNATIONAL / SECURITY
Topic: General Studies 2 and 3
- India and its neighborhood- relations.
- Security challenges and their management in border areas
The main planks in a Counter-China policy
Context: The situation along the China-India border in Ladakh region has been tense since April 2020. Former National Security Advisor M.K.Narayanana gives suggestions for future.
Wasn’t there a disengagement process during first week of July?
- Yes, there was but the disengagement process is proving difficult.
- No Progress: The latest meeting of the Corps Commanders on July 14 has not resulted in any demonstrable progress regarding troop disengagement/de-escalation.
- India’s Stand: It is standing firm on both sides ensuring complete disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC),
- China’s Insistence: However, China is laying emphasis on strengthening Confidence Building Measures in the border areas, and proper handling of border issues in a timely manner to “avoid differences becoming disputes”.
What is the major consequences of border tension and delay in de-escalations?
- Weakens Peace Agreements: The untimely border tensions had the effect of shredding the painstakingly devised Border Agreements of 1993, 1996, 2005 and 2013
- Negatively impact Asian Century Vision: The 21st Century was once heralded as the Asian Century, with China and India in the vanguard. However, the two Asian giants have been more at loggerheads than anything else with such clashes
What are China’s Objectives?
1. Realignment of LAC:
- China is intent on managing the ground situation to its advantage, and bring about a realignment of the LAC.
- With the idea of ‘buffer zones’ having been accepted — which apparently are to be located on Indian territory — it would appear that China is well on its way to achieving its objective.
- If China does succeed, it could be for the first time that China has a foothold on the west side of the Kongka Pass.
2. To emerge as Global Superpower
- China is intent on shaking off its image as a ‘status quo power’ and dominating the geostrategic space in its neighbourhood and across Asia, before embarking on its ambition to displace the USA as the Global Numero Uno.
- China has been intent on transforming the Asian region in its own image, and, simultaneously, seeking to become a continental and a maritime power.
Is China preparing for a conflict over territory?
- India should not be taken in by Western propaganda about China’s territorial ambitions
- This is because China is well aware that it cannot be certain whether it will emerge a victor from an all-out conflict with India.
- With two key dates in mind (2025 and 2035 — Made in China 2025 and China Standards 2035), China cannot afford to jeopardise its future for the present.
- Lesson for India: Strategic thinkers and planners in India must keep this in mind, while drawing up plans to checkmate China’s predatory actions in the mountainous border regions
What should be India’s action in future?
1. Military Options
- It is important to maintain a strong military but it is even more important to know when or how to use it.
- India urgently needs to implement the plans of setting up the Mountain Strike Corps divisions which has been inexplicably shelved. This is bound to deter China here far more than the stockpiling of state-of-the-art weapons.
2. Non-Military tools:
- Exploiting the current widespread opposition to China, India must embark on a diplomatic offensive to create international opinion in its support regarding border violations.
- India must embark on a diplomatic offensive to create international opinion in its support regarding border violations.
- The Dalai Lama is an enduring symbol of hope for many millions of people across the globe, apart from Tibetans. Restoring the Dalai Lama to the same level of eminence in India’s official thinking, should be an important plank in India’s anti-China policy.
3. Revitalizing Non-Alignment Movement (NAM)
- India should also revitalise another instrument of power that it had employed in the past, viz., cultivation of foreign leaders with a view to draw their specific attention to China’s aggressive policies
- Revitalizing NAM can help India buy influence of world
- India previously also had a programme of helping countries across Asia and Africa through a well-designed technical aid programme, which now needs to be upgraded
- Such programmes help contrast India’s ‘untied aid’ with that of countries such as China whose aims are political and economic subjugation.
4. Overhauling India’s messaging capacity
- To compete effectively in today’s world (and to counter China’s offensive across the world), India must also overhaul its ‘messaging’ capacity. I
- It should make greater use of technology (Ex: Social Media) to send across its message and ideas across the globe, highlighting its peaceful intentions in stark contrast to China’s aggressive policies and tactics.
- India would do well to take pole position in propagating ‘Himalayan Buddhism’ which China has been seeking to subvert to achieve its end
5. Good Neighbourhood relations
- India is being more intent on strengthening relations with the West, especially the U.S., and bodies such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad).
- However, it needs to strengthen its relation with smaller countries in the subcontinent. This is because they constantly face China’s aggressive interference in their internal affairs and have not received much support from India.
India’s credentials here far outweigh that of China’s and should produce excellent dividends. It needs to become a key plank in India’s ‘forward policy’.
Connecting the dots
- Doklam Issue of 2017
- South China Sea Dispute
Topic: General Studies 2 and 3:
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
- Government Budgeting.
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
The COVID-19 fiscal response and India’s standing
Context: Before the announcement of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package, India lagged significantly behind comparable developing countries in providing COVID-19 relief package.
Challenges with the relief package
- Discerning Fiscal Response: Given the blurring of the distinction between fiscal and monetary components, ensuring comparable and accurate figures for fiscal responses is a challenge.
- Differing numbers: Domestically the total Atmanirbhar package is billed at 10% of GDP. The headline number for India’s fiscal response in international databases is around 4% of GDP.
- Inadequate Demand-Side Intervention:
- The one significant demand-side intervention in the Atmanirbhar Bharat package was ₹40,000 crore of additional outlay for MGNREGA
- Most other demand-side measures involve the frontloading, consolidation, or rerouting of existing funds.
- For example, the recently announced ₹50,000 crore Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan, which consolidates projects of 12 ministries/departments.
- Given the strict containment measures, the package is inadequate:
- The extent of relief measures does not seem to be commensurate with the economic disruption and dislocation caused by the severity of the lockdown.
- Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Egypt, all while averaging less stringent measures than those in India, have announced stimulus measures that are as large or more substantial, as a share of GDP
What lessons India can learn from other countries of world while enhancing relief?
1. Cash Transfers
- Cash transfers constitute the largest category of support by other developing countries. Of the World Bank’s list of 621 measures across 173 countries, half were cash-based
- The World Bank reports that, on average, such transfers amount to 30% of monthly GDP per capita, reaching 46% for lower-middle-income countries, for an average of three months.
- Bangladesh and Indonesia have increased the number of cash transfer beneficiaries by 163% and 111%, respectively.
- Indonesia’s cash schemes now cover more than 158 million people (or 60% of the population).
- India could take these actions into account in decisions about expanding existing transfer programmes (like PM-Kisan scheme) or even creating new ones.
2. Enhance MGNREGA
- India has been a leader in employment guarantee policies with its flagship MGNREGA programme.
- Mexico announced an enlargement of its rural permanent employment scheme to 200,000 farmers and beneficiaries.
- Indonesia has allocated more than $1 billion (more than ₹7,000 crore) to fund public works schemes that will benefit at least 600,000 workers
- Additionally, the Indonesia central government has directed village authorities to focus their budgets on a cash-for-work programme for day labourers and the unemployed.
- It is the right time to expand entitlements in MGNREGA programme as well as introduce an urban version of it.
3. Financing through monetary routes
- Countries are experimenting with purchases of public and private bonds in the secondary market (quantitative easing) or directly purchasing government bonds on the primary market (monetising the deficit).
- Indonesia and Brazil have both amended laws to allow their central banks to buy government bonds
- Philippine central bank has also bought $6bn (₹42,250 crore) worth of government bonds under a three-month repurchase agreement that is extendable after three month
- Additional fiscal outlay — in the form of cash and in-kind transfers and expanded public works schemes — would save lives and jobs today and might prevent a protracted slowdown.
Connecting the dots
- N.K.Singh committee recommendations
- Need for Fiscal Council
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
- Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.
Q.1) Which of the following statements about Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is incorrect?
- It is a kind of preferential tariff system.
- It operates between two developed countries.
- It involves duty-free entry of eligible products exported by beneficiary countries to the markets of donor countries.
- It helps in making the goods of beneficiary country competitive in donor country.
Q.2) ‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana’ is an initiative by which among the following state government?
Select the correct statements
Q.3) Which one of the following is not a principle of “Panchsheel“?
- Peaceful Co-existence
- Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
- Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs
ANSWERS FOR 21st July 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
About race to find COVID-19 vaccine
About why re-purposed medicines are expensive
About QUAD and why India must formally revive it