Question and Answer :: SRIRAM'S IAS

 Q. 121. What is net neutrality? How neutral should Net be? What arguments are being advanced to regulate it? Evaluate the same.
Net Neutrality means an Internet that enables and protects free speech and expression  It means that Internet service providers should provide us with open networks — and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content. Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the Internet into fast and slow lanes. An ISP could slow down its competitors' content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment — relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service. This would destroy the open Internet.
In India there is an opinion that the profitability of the ISPs requires them to treat some sites preferentially. They will pay the ISP but the consumers are provided free digital services to access these sites. Thus, the ISPs can raise money and built infrastructure to continue to supply quality services. It can partly break down the digital divide. The counter opinion is that such discrimination works against those sites- usually the start ups- that do t pay. They will be slowed down. Access to such applications will be chargeable. They can not come up commercially as a result. Such regulation can also have undemocratic effects.
 Q. 120. Ministry of External Affairs seeks to recruit laterally. What will be the impact? Suggest more such reforms.
The Ministry of External Affairs has decided to take academics and private sector candidates in its Policy Planning and Research. It represents a significant movement towards a more interactive, open-minded approach on augmenting capacity and innovation within the Ministry of External Affairs. It is good that boundaries between the MEA and the world outside are made less rigid so as to permit innovative thinking in various areas, political, economic, developmental and cultural.

Over the last few years, particularly since 2010, the MEA has inducted into its offices at headquarters, deputationists from other central services of government.

A carefully calibrated expansion in the scope of lateral entry would be an appropriate strategy to infuse fresh talent into the country’s bureaucratic system.

It is suggested that some young officers should be permitted to work outside government – in corporates and nonprofits – for short periods enabling important exposure to new ideas and innovative management techniques and providing more energy, talent and dynamism in the functioning of the ministry. Even more importantly, there should be a much more active interchange of officers between the Ministries of External Affairs, Defence, Home Affairs, Finance and Commerce given the critical and interlinked nature of the areas of policy they deal with.

The MEA could also  take from state governments as the role of such governments in the execution and determination of foreign policy is becoming more substantive and important.
 Q. 119. Describe the unprecedented migrant crisis that the European countries faced. What are the political consequences of the crisis?
Ans. The European migrant crisis arose through the rising number of migrant arrivals in 2015 – a combination of economic migrants and refugees – to the European Union (EU) coming across the Mediterranean Sea and Southeast Europe from areas such as Africa, and the Middle East. Around 270,000 illegal migrants have reached Europe’s shores so far this year, more than in the whole of 2014, itself a record year.

Italy, and, in particular, its southern island of Lampedusa, receives enormous numbers of Africans and Middle-Easterns transported by traffickers operating along the ungoverned coast of the failed state of Libya.

In Poland; 70% oppose taking in asylum-seekers from Africa or the Middle East.

Slovakia wants Christian refugees only. Ban-the-burqa debates have sprung up in the three Baltic states.

As the European Union struggles with migration, northern and eastern members are becoming increasingly wary of issues regarding migration, with politicians increasingly expressing comments seen as racist. Populist parties with anti-immigrant ideology are on the rise: Sweden Democrats, a nationalist party with neo-Nazi roots, topped a poll in Sweden. Some Finnish MPs called on their countrymen to “defeat this nightmare called multiculturalism.” Those countries in the EU that resent common immigration policy may leave the Union.

Brexit is  also cited as an outcome of the fears.
 Q. 118. What is "blue economy"? How is it important for India? How is Prime Minister Narendra Modi pursuing it?
India realizes the importance of oceans, more particularly the Indian ocean. While security in the region remains a major concern, another way to integration is cooperation in the development of a blue economy.
PM Modi, in his recent visit to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, urged for cooperation in blue economy, which is a multi-disciplinary approach for the exploitation of hydrocarbons and other marine resources; deep-sea fishing, preservation of marine ecology, mitigating climate change by addressing environmental issues and disaster management.
With its advancement in science and technology, India is in a position to lend expertise in deep sea bed activities, hydrographic surveys and weather predictions. India has a long record of hydrographic surveys of Seychelles and Mauritius.
Mauritius and Seychelles made a strong case for blue economy for their national development strategy. They want sustainable exploitation of living and non-living marine resources and deep seabed minerals to enhance food and energy security. However, these countries are constrained by a number of technological and investment and look towards India for support.
PM Modi, in his recent visit   signed agreements on hydrographic survey with Seychelles. He signed MoU on ocean economy with Mauritius. With  Sri Lanka, setting up of a joint task force on ocean economy was decided. During his address at the Bangbandhu Convention Centre of Dhaka University on the last day of his two-day official visit on in June to Bangladesh, PM Modi stressed the need for the two countries to work on 'Blue Economy.'
Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and  Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) need to play active role too.
India, being a major littoral state in the Indian Ocean, needs to take additional initiative.
 Q. 117. What is VoLTE?
VoLTE (Voice over LTE) is the next evolution in wireless calling. The VoLTE technology platform allows users with a compatible phone to place and receive calls over the LTE network instead of the traditional voice network. Before VoLTE, only data was transmitted over the LTE network, and voice calls were carried over the HSPA network. In May 2014, Singtel introduced the world's first commercial "full-featured" VoLTE service in Singapore. Reliance Jio announced commercial launch of 100% VoLTE service without 2G/3G based services in India on 5th Sep 2016.

Difference Between 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE and VoLTE1G, 2G, 3G and 4G are simply increasing ‘generations’ (that’s what the G stands for) of technology used in mobile devices. The first generation (1G) was analog whereas 2G began the trend for digital transmission. 3G was an evolution over 2G mostly because data bandwidth was improved and users could then enjoy faster streaming and browsing. Voice calls could’ve been potentially better too, but not like what we will now see with 4G.

The VoLTE tech provided by Jio is completely IP based, meaning even voice calls connect over data network.
 Q. 116. Preamble to the Constitution of India promises dignity of citizens. What does it mean and what has been done in this direction by the State?
Ans. Ethical and political discussions use the concept of dignity to express the idea that everyone has an innate right to be valued, respected, and to receive ethical treatment. In politics it is used in the context of the treatment of oppressed and vulnerable groups and peoples. Supreme Court held that right to life guaranteed under Art.21 of our Constitution means life with dignity. Fundamental Duties under Article 51A exhort Indian citizens “to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women”. Abolition of untouchability (Art.17), abolition of child labour (Art.24) are also examples of enabling dignity to the lives of the oppressed and the vulnerable. In  2011, hearing a petition on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, the Supreme Court ruled “passive euthanasia” may be allowed in specific cases  so that some people can “die with dignity”.

Preamble to the Constitution, FRs and DPSPs assert human dignity and in its pursuit promise justice- social, political and economic.

Many Supreme Court verdicts support human dignity, the latest being making the unwed mother legal guardian of the child. The rights that were drawn from Art.21- right to life- are all meant to enhance human dignity- for example, right to elementary education.
 Q. 115. When can national emergency be imposed under the Indian Constitution? Do you think Art.352 can be invoked in the present day world?
National emergency can be declared when there is a threat to national security due to external aggression or war or armed rebellion. It was declared thrice so far- 1962, 1971 and 1975. National Emergency can be declared again if a threat occurs to national security. It may happen from external sources or from inside the country. However, according to many, the invocation of Art.352 (National Emergency) in 1975 was avoidable. Its enforcement also left many democrats disappointed as democratic freedoms were unnecessarily suspended.
Following reasons make repetition of such miscarriage difficult:
  • Constitution has been comprehensively amended to prevent misuse of powers by the 44th Amendment Act
  • Judicial review powers have been strengthened by making it mandatory that the Union Cabinet in writing should recommend the imposition
  • President of India also may assert his power  under Art.74
  • Parliament is given special powers in terms of majority required to ratify the imposition- special majority
  • Lok Sabha may initiate its revocation
  • Civil society is strong
  • Global pressures may mount unlike last occasion when India was not globalized
  • Social media and public opinion are very effective in enforcing  responsive governance
  • Lessons have been learnt from the past experience
 Q. 114. Compare and contrast the veto of the President of India with that of his counterpart in the United States of America.
Ans. President of India is a ceremonial institution while the American President has real powers. The veto powers of the Indian President are absolute (rejection), suspensive (returning the Bill for repassage after which it is binding on the President to assent to it) and pocket veto which is not giving a decision as there is no time limit for giving the decision. There is a consensus of opinion in India that Presidential veto is exercisable only on the advice of the Council of Ministers (Art.74) as ours is a British type of Westminster system of parliamentary democracy.

After the Congress passes a bill, the President may take no action on the bill for ten days. It then becomes law. Congress must be in session for a bill to become law in this way. A bill dies after ten days if the President ignores it while Congress is not in session. It is called pocket veto. Congress cannot override a pocket veto.  Thus, it is an absolute veto.
Second, the president can issue a regular veto, sending a message to Congress that the bill is unacceptable. Congress can override a presidential veto when at least two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and Senate vote to do so. The bill becomes law after a Congressional override.
 Q. 113. On what important issue was the 262nd Law Commission report issued? What were the recommendations and grounds for the same?
Ans. The 262nd report of the Law Commission recommended that the death penalty be abolished for all crimes except for terrorism related offences and waging war. The commission came to this conclusion based on the following reasons:
  • Death Penalty as a Deterrent is a Myth.
  • Arbitrariness in sentencing in Capital Offences leading to a high number of rejections (more than 95%) of trial court decisions in higher courts.
  • Geographical Variations in imposition of death penalty: NCRB data points to geographical variations. Compared to the rest of the country, a murder convict in Kerala is about twice as likely to get the death sentence; in Jharkhand is 2.4 times. This number for Gujarat is 2.5 times, for West Bengal 3 times, for Karnataka 3.2 times, for Delhi 6 times.
  • Existence of social and economic bias.
  • Recent Political Developments like Tripura Assembly’s resolution and demand from various political parties for the abolition of Death Penalty.
  • International Developments: At the end of 2014, 98 countries abolished death penalty for all crimes. 7 countries have abolished it for ordinary crimes and 35 countries have abolished it in practice or de facto (executions did not take place). 58 countries have retained the death penalty including India. 
 The Commission in the 262nd report recommended various provisions for police reforms, witness protection scheme and victim compensation scheme.
 Q. 112. Why is the land reclamation program of China in the South China Sea controversial? How do you account for the protests of some countries in the region? What is India’s stand?
Ans. In 2014, China drew increased international attention due to its dredging activities within the Spratlys, amidst speculation it is planning to further develop its military presence in the area. In April 2015 satellite imagery revealed that China was rapidly constructing an airfield on Fiery Cross Reef within the Spratlys. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims on Spratlys islands.

China says the outposts will help with maritime search and rescue, disaster relief and navigation that other countries can use.
Coming in the wake of China declaring an air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, over the East China Sea recently and territorial claims, the island building activity is worrisome.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion ship-borne trade passes annually.
Reasons for land reclamation
  • unexploited minerals and oil and gas and fisheries
  • increasing the country’s  security by dominating the maritime approaches to its long coast
  • securing sea lanes to the open Pacific
  • answer to US rebalancing
India shares the concerns expressed by our ASEAN colleagues. Freedom of navigation in international waters including in the South China Sea, the right of passage and overflight, unimpeded commerce and access to resources in accordance   with the principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, are issues of concern to us all. India hopes that all parties to the disputes in the SCS region will abide by the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and work together. PCA in 2016 July declared the Chinese claims- nine dash line- illegal.   ( Read Current Affairs Notes 2016 November)
 Q. 111. Centrally sponsored schemes should be so structured and financed that it mixes the goals of efficiency and autonomy well. What do you understand by it?
Ans. Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are schemes that are implemented by State governments of India but are largely funded by the Central Government with a defined State Government share. Some examples of such schemes are Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. These schemes are meant to bring about national standards in conception and implementation of developmental schemes. However, there are many issues of concern:  proliferation of CSS, top down approach, provision of flexibility to States to mould schemes according to local requirements, flow of funds, accountability, involvement of PRIs etc. Restructuring of the CCSs need to address these issues.
  • Untied funds must be transferred to States wherever feasible without losing sight of uniform national development.
  • The number of centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) should be reduced to 30 from 72.
  • Increase the share of flexi funds to 25 per cent from the current 10 per cent-funds that can be used according to local priorities.
  • Union Government should undertake Zero Based Budgeting exercise at least once every five years in consultation with the States.
  • PRIs must be involved.
  • Social audit must be made compulsory.
 Q. 110. Recent developments in Ukraine are a defining moment in the post-cold war era. Give reasons for the assertion.
Since the beginning of 2014, Ukraine was engulfed in disturbances followed by pro-Russian unrest in some south-eastern regions, a standoff with Russia regarding the annexation of Crimea  and a war between the government and Russia-backed separatists in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine. Russian take over of Crimea led to western retaliation in the form of sanctions that weakened Russian economy. Military tensions also escalated as there were fears that Russia would break Ukraine and may even occupy some former soviet satellites. Western hostility drive Russia closer to China that is threatening to polarize global politics. Nato became activated. There was a threat to Russian cooperation in global hotspots like Afghanistan, Iran and Syria.
Russian response by way of counter sanctions is part of the reason for the recession in the EU.
A section of experts believes that Cold War 2.0  has begun. While in general it is true as the tensions are unprecedented, in a technical sense, it is not as the world is closely integrated now and ideology is absent unlike in cold war after the second world war between USA and ex-USSR.  It is a multipolar world now characterized by globalization without any iron curtain.
 Q. 109. How is NITI Aayog expected to promote federalism?
Ans. NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog is a Government of India policy think-tank that replaced the Planning Commission. NITI Aayog seeks to foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by state governments of India, a "bottom-up" approach in contrast to the Planning Commission's tradition of "top-down" decision-making. It is a body meant to streamline economic growth in the reforms-era.
Its federal efforts can be understood from the following:
1. Centralization of planning was in vogue when Planning Commission undertook socio economic planning.  Its replacement by a much leaner body with less functions augurs well for federalism.
2. Niti Aayog does not recommend transfer of plan funds to states. It is largely being done by the Constitutional body of Finance Commission. States have welcomed it
3. NITI, is expected to be federal in character as it has a Governing Council consisting of the VCMs of States and UTs and administrators of UTs.
4.  There will be regional bodies for a group of states in every region. Regional Councils will be formed to address specific issues impacting more than one state or a region. These will be formed for a specified tenure. The Regional Councils will be convened by the Prime Minister and will comprise of the Chief Ministers of States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories in the region. These will be chaired by the Chairperson of the NITI Aayog or his nominee.
 Q. 108. Taking trade and energy sectors, show how Central Asia is crucial for India. Why is the relationship subdued? What is being done?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to five Central Asian countries- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan- reinvigorated India's traditional ties with the region. Strong relation in energy, trade, culture and security sectors with the five nations is in mutual interest.
The economic development of Central Asia, specially in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, has sparked a construction boom and development of sectors like IT, pharmaceuticals and tourism. India has expertise in these sectors and deeper cooperation will give a fresh impetus to trade relations with these countries. India's trade ties with Central Asia have been performing well below their true potential. Pakistan refused to give India rights to overland trade with Afghanistan that hit our trade with Central Asia.
Poor connectivity has contributed to the below-par trade between India and Central Asia. But India has found a way to solve the problem. Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan recently inaugurated a railway line connecting the two countries with Iran. India has invested in Iran's Chabahar port and that will allow Indian products to reach Iran and then to Central Asia through the rail link. India seeks to re-energise the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) The INSTC was initiated by Russia, India and Iran in 2000 to establish transportation networks among the member states and to enhance connectivity with the land locked region of Central Asia. The successful nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers will also make it easier for Delhi to do business with Tehran.
Central Asian countries want to diversify their foreign relations away from Russia and China and believe that India's presence will help them achieve their aim.
Central Asia is  known for resources like hydrocarbon, mineral deposits, hydroelectric power potential and gold.India has a deal with Kazakhstan for uranium. India's state-run oil firm ONGC Videsh Limited has a minor stake in Kazakhstan's Satpayev oil blocks. In Turkmenistan, TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline was discussed.
 Q. 107. Do you think that the mechanism provided by the Constitutional (99th) Amendment Act is restrictive of judicial independence
National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and Constitutional (99th) Amendment Act were recently   nullified by the apex court. The new NJAC limits the primacy of the judiciary and increases the government's power in appointments of judges to the higher judiciary. The NJAC is to be comprised of the chief justice of India and two senior-most Supreme Court judges, the union law minister and two "eminent people," one of whom would be drawn from the scheduled castes, tribes, minorities and other backward classes or women.

Some have argued that the NJAC violates judicial independence by creating a system in which the Collegium would no longer have primacy as the judiciary would not have majority in the NJAC. Also, NJAC would override the convention that Chief Justices are selected on the basis of seniority. Furthermore, NJAC grants Parliament the power to alter judicial selection criteria and procedures, which is a violation of judicial independence, separation of powers, and the rule of law. Further, NJAC allows the Union Law Minister, a major litigant before the court, to play a role in appointments and finally. NJAC violates separation of powers under Article 50.

Votaries, however argue that it is a broad based system. It has built in checks and balances. Rules of appointment are rigorously to be laid down. Collegium system did not do well.
 Q. 106. What we are witnessing is the Act East Policy of India and it has distinct content. Justify the statement.
Under the new leadership in Delhi, India’s Look East policy has become upgraded to Act East policy, which envisages accelerated across-the-board engagement East Asia. India-ASEAN relations are improving in both economic and strategic arenas. FTA in services is being signed. The strategic content of the relationship, the backbone of the Act east policy,  is deepening as the two sides step up their collaboration across a range of strategic issues, including trans-national terrorism, maritime piracy and nuclear proliferation.
Against the backdrop of the churn in the South China Sea, India has consistently argued for freedom of navigation and has pressed for the resolution of all maritime territorial disputes in accordance with the UN Law of the Seas. Besides, "Act East" policy  is drawing India closer to not only Japan and Australia in the Pacific but also to smaller Southeast Asian nations most of who have contending territorial claims with China like Vietnam. In 2014, India and Vietnam vowed to strengthen their defence cooperation.
There is a greater convergence  in US-India interests particularly in US rebalance to Asia and India's Act East policy as was stated in the India-US Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region released when President Obama visited India in January 2015.  Thus, Act East policy can be said to acquire strategic importance more than earlier. It includes reinvigorated relations with Australia South Korea and Japan as well.
 Q. 105. Analyse the social effects of migration from rural to urban areas.
Ans. Migration affects bot the area of origin and the area of desintation. The social effects of migration are the following:
  • When more of the same generation migrates, it has a detrimental effect on social structure
  • There is a disproportionate number of females left behind
  • The non-return of migrants causes an imbalance in the population pyramid
  • Returning retired migrants may impose a social cost on the community if support mechanisms are not in place to cater for them
The above may be called the costs. Given below are the benefits:
  • The population density is reduced and the birth rate decreases , as t is the younger adults who migrate
  • Remittances sent home by economic migrants can finance improved education and health facilities
  • caste rigidities  decrease and dalits will benefit
  • women empowerment may take place as urban women are more likely to be educated and work
 Q. 104. What are the social roots of farmers suicides? Suggest social interventions that can alleviate the crisis.
Ans. Indian India, farmers’ suicides have been reported for the last many years from many states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, AP, Telangana etc. They did not drop after Government relief packages. While economic reasons can not be belittled, social reasons are also substantial. Social support systems are crumbling. Social stress is alleviated due to relatives, friends etc. when they give courage and support. The intensity of the stress becomes less. But traditional social support systems are breaking down and due to globalization, commercialization and individualism are coming it.
While farming has always been a hard and uncertain work, suicides are taking place on a sizeable scale now. Reasons have to be contemporary. Commercial relations are replacing social relations. Traditional social relations are being eroded in favour of political relations. Rural divides are emerging on a more sharper scale. Traditional occupations have given way to new ones like commercial cropping etc for more profits. Individualism is replacing traditional family ties. Nuclear family is replacing joint family and this the traditional social support and safety is breaking down. Marriages are becoming expensive. Socio-cultural factors such as old age, illness, family tension, etc., further add their urge to take their own lives.

Remedies are in the form of social work. Social worker can do intervention at the micro level individual, family, group and rural community. It can identify and asses the farmers families in stress and crisis in rural community. It can recreate folk songs, dance and such other phenomena that can create relief. New social support systems like self-help groups (SHG) can also be useful.
 Q. 103. It is said that ISIS is far more dangerous than al-Qaeda. Do you agree? Give reasons.
Ans. ISIS has been in international news since mid-2014 as a terrorist group.  It is more dangerous than al-Qaeda for the following reasons:
1.   ISIS is the richest terrorist group in history. It controls oil fields in Syria and Iraq that generate income and it has millions of dollars in ransoms for hostages ISIS has money in billions of dollars. ISIS’ territorial control allows for consistent stream of funding, and they‘ve developed an extensive extortion racket, as well as selling electricity and exporting oil and gas.
2.   ISIS controls  large territory in Syria and Iraq.
3.   ISIS has evolved into a proto-state, with its own army, civil administration, judiciary and a sophisticated propaganda operation.
4.   ISIS is the most heavily-armed Islamist extremist group in history, having captured huge amounts of military weapons and equipment in Iraq and Syria.
5.   ISIS is out-recruiting Al-Qaeda.
6.   The leader of ISIS, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, is a charismatic leader who claims descent from the Prophet Mohammed. This will help recruit young, impressionable Muslims.

In summary, ISIS is an army, not just a terror group. ISIS is the biggest terror group ever. ISIS is actually established as a state, a caliphate at that, and it’s richer than al-Qaeda. It holds more territory than al-Qaeda, it’s drawing more recruits than al-Qaeda, and it’s more brutal than al-Qaeda.
 Q. 102. How will India-USA space cooperation be useful to India? What is the most important event in this field?
Ans. Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will launch nine micro satellites (each weighing around 100 kg) using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), over a year.
It is the first time for India to launch American satellites from an Indian spaceport. ISRO and NASA already set up a joint working group for Mars exploration.
India’s Moon and Mars missions brought global acknowledgement of ISRO’s ability to develop and deploy cost-effective technologies.
In 2008, the ‘foreign’ payload on board India’s Chandrayaan-1 Moon mission included two American instruments: The Mini Synthetic Aperture Radar and the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (which helped determine the existence of water ice under the lunar surface).
And in 2013, by a coincidence, the US spacecraft Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN) entered the Martian orbit just two days before India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) did. NASA’s deep space network provided space navigation and tracking support to MOM, and now ISRO and NASA routinely share data and imagery from these spacecraft.
The two countries are working out a plan for cooperation over deep space exploration…on missions beyond Mars. Potential areas of cooperation include manned spaceflight.
The US played a key role in the early Sixties in establishing the sounding rocket programme. In subsequent years, NASA helped ISRO in satellite broadcasting and remote sensing
Benefits for India are the money such launches earn. It helps us technologically and militarily. India and the US could cooperate in areas like space situational awareness (SSA) - crucial for spaceflight safety and for preventing collisions in space.
Stronger India-US space ties bode well for multilateral cooperation, too.
It could see India play a major role in the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).