03 Dec 2017 | Target Mains | 15th Weekly Test with Official Answers

Q.1) What do you understood by Quad arrangement? Discuss its motive. What are the major issues Quad arrangement is facing?

Source: https://www.civilsdaily.com/op-ed-snap-quad-confusion/

Explain about Quad Arrangement as a security dialogue between four nations. Explain about its prime motives and general perception about its initiations. Talk about the major problems associated with member countries which will halt the progress of Quad. Finally add conclusion.


  • The quad arrangement also known as Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) is the informal grouping of four nations USA, Australia, Japan and India aiming towards trade, economic and security tie which is centered and revolves around South and South-East Asia along with other Asia Pacific countries.
  • The dialogue was initiated in the year 2007 by the representatives of four countries which were paralleled by Joint Military Exercises of an unprecedented scale titled Exercise Malabar. Following the withdrawal of Australia apparently not to provoke China, the dialogue was ceased and started again in 2010 with the regime change in Australia.
  • However, the process of dialogue was in loop and recently, the representatives of these countries again initiated the process by holding first of its official meeting in Manila on the sideline of ASEAN Summit.

Motives of Quad Arrangement:

  • The prime motive of quad arrangement is to expand membership by endorsing and following international laws on water, freedom of navigation, hassle free trade, parity in trade partnership, anti-piracy & anti-trafficking, help in any unprecedented disaster and to invest and financially support the targeted countries in the region.
  • The ulterior motive behind this is seen by many to form a strategic partnership deal against China’s rise in the region. As China has often been accused of unilaterally trying to alter the power axis in the region (especially the Indian Ocean region) and change the international rule based order in its own manner, hence the arrangement is seen to counter China’s assertiveness in the region.

Major issues Quad Arrangement is facing:

  • The official motive of this Quad Arrangement is still in illusion and is yet to be firmly decided: whether, maritime security, connectivity, countering China’s moves in the Indo-Pacific and on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or a combination of all three. This brings a confusing situation as some members favouring free and open Indo-Pacific region while some taking back steps on maritime security.
  • All the countries of the Quadrilateral have major interests in China economically (being their major trade partner) and yet have major security concerns about China. So, there is a need to keep a balance between controlling Chinese rising aggression and, keeping trade relations with China in parallel diplomatically.
  • Stability Concern of USA and its policy towards Asia which is fluctuating and has no surety of concrete future at present. In the case of Australia, there are concerns about the continued calls for accommodation with China.
  • Caution about India’s reliability stems from its emphasis on strategic autonomy and lingering hesitation about cooperating with the United States and its allies.
  • Rivalry with China will also expose India to criticisms from other neighboring countries for seeking external help and involving third parties in the matter. With the political deficit that is persisting in the Indian subcontinent, there is a need to build up healthy partnership with China for its development.
  • Worries about Japan stepping up can be traced to the question of whether its leadership can overcome public preference for a pacifist policy. 
  • With regard to the United States, the others are uncertain about the Trump administration’s approach to the region, and remain concerned about a potential China-U.S. G-2. Finally, there continue to be differences within governments about the value of the quadrilateral.


  • Quadrilateral dialogue not only has a security purpose but also focuses on achieving political and economic objectives. However, the involvement of India in this and also the involvement of two external powers may appear to give a negative impression on other parties. It is necessary for these parties to tread carefully before concluding any dialogue and cooperation not aggression is the true word for the Quad initiative.

Q.2) It is said that article 239AA gives responsibility without power to the Delhi Government? Do you agree with the view? What should be done to remove this anamoly.

Source: https://www.civilsdaily.com/op-ed-snap-responsibility-without-power/


  • The 69th constitutional amendment created Article 239AA and called for the formation of an assembly and a council of ministers in the Union Territory of Delhi. Powers were transferred and the assembly was conferred with executive and legislative powers on all state subjects barring three – law and order, police and land.
  • Article 239 AA states that the members of legislative assembly shall be elected by the people through direct election from territorial constituencies in the National Capital Territory. However, in a democracy, the directly elected government has the responsibility towards people to address all their grievances.
  • Moreover, the provision of Article 239AA does not empower the state government to function independently and gives hands to the centre in matters of appointment of higher administrative officials. This, in simple words, mean that the appointment, transfer and posting of any officer working in the national capital territory of Delhi rests with the central government and is delegated to the LG. Further, LG could disagree with many decisions of elected government and refer them to the president, which means the central government.
  • As per Article 239 AB (a), the council of ministers is responsible for Delhi’s administration and if it fails in its function, it will be removed by the president.
  • Further, in order to frame any law by Delhi Legislative Assembly except entries related to public order, police and land in schedule VII will have to take prior permission from LG. This undermines the executive powers of elected government and democracy.
  • For example, the LG has appointed Chief Secretary without any consultation from council of ministers. This goes against the set principles of democracy and elected executives. As per the SC rulings, the appointment and removal of officers should have to be in conformity with executives as they are the lynchpin in the administration. There should be rapport and complete understandings between officers and office of Chief Minister.
  • Democracy is for the people, by the people and of the people, hence, in order to justify the democratic principles of elected government, the Delhi Government should be given the power to legislate in independent manner under the mandate of constitution and also should be given the complete statehood by bringing necessary amendment to the constitution. This will justify the responsibility of elected government as well as to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution.

Q.3) While it is expected that electoral bonds will usher a new era of transparency in India’s electoral politics, however many sceptics believe that it would endanger democracy. Discuss

Source:  https://www.civilsdaily.com/op-ed-snap-the-danger-of-electoral-bonds/


  • Electoral Bond is a financial instrument for making donations to political parties. These are issued by Scheduled Commercial banks upon authorisation from the Central Government to intending donors, but only against cheque and digital payments (it cannot be purchased by paying cash).
  • These bonds shall be redeemable in the designated account of a registered political party within the prescribed time limit from issuance of bond.

How it will usher a new era of transparency?

  • It is expected that the bond will bring more transparency on who the donor and the donee is, and is in line of cleansing political funding. There are many bogus political parties which have been registered with the Election Commission and accept donations but never contest election.
  • These parties had become avenues of dumping ill-gotten money and a check on their financial transactions will definitely help the government achieve its goal of eliminating corruption and black money from the system.
  • Further, the provision limits the amount of cash donations that political parties can receive is stipulated at Rs. 2000 from one person. However, the political parties are entitled to receive donations by cheques or digital mode from their donors and will have to file prescribed Income-tax.
  • Currently, political parties are required to report any donation of over Rs. 20,000 to the IT department. But there has been a trend of more donations flowing by way of hard cash in smaller amounts. To fix this, the Budget has reduced the disclosure limit to Rs. 2,000 and insists that any amount over this must be paid through cheque or the digital mode. The idea is that electoral bonds will prompt donors to take the banking route to donate, with their identity captured by the issuing authority.

How it will endanger democracy?

  • There are loopholes to electoral bonds too. While the identity of the donor is captured, it is not revealed to the party or public. So transparency is not enhanced for the voter.
  • The most pernicious feature of electoral bonds is their potential to load the dice heavily in favour of the ruling party.
  • Banks receiving donation amounts on behalf of political parties as well as companies report to the RBI which in turn is subject to the central government’s will to know.
  • So, only the ruling party and no one else can ascertain which companies donated to the opposition parties.
  • It is then free to use the organs of the state to gently dissuade (or retaliate against) these misguided donors. Only the government is in a position to harass, or alternately protect donors from harassment by non-state harassers.

Way forward:

  • There is a need to have complete transparency in funding system of political parties as 69% of the income of political parties is from unknown sources which gives opaque picture of political parties’ income.
  • Former Chief-Election Commissioner S Y Quraisi has suggested an alternative worth exploring. He suggested creating a National Electoral Fund to which all donors can contribute. The funds would be allocated to political parties in proportion to the votes they get. Not only would this protect the identity of donors, it would also weed out black money from political funding.

Q.4) What are the concerns faced by India with respect to China Pakistan economic corridor? What steps should India take to provide an effective counter narrative?



  • The multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which is being called a game changer in Pakistan has raised apprehensions in neighbouring India.
  • The ambitious project – part of China’s “One Belt and One Road” or new Silk Road project – is a series of roads, railways, pipelines, hydropower plants and other development projects, being built from the restive Xinjiang province in China to Gwadar in southwestern Pakistan.
  • The corridor passes through Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan administered Kashmir – a territory claimed by India.

Concerns faced by India:

  • The fact that the route passes through the disputed Kashmir region seems to have worried India as China is using Indian land area illegally occupied by Pakistan. The reconstruction of Karakoram highway which is a part of the corridor is passing through the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (Gilgit-Baltistan). India is never hostile regarding CPEC except this because it is an annoyance for India. India has raised obligations for the same.
  • Pakistan has surrendered several rights to China regarding the Gwadar port, so the access of Gwadar Port by Chinese encircles the India and it would put pressures from Arabian Sea. In case of any crisis with India, China can quickly mobilize defense support to Pakistan.
  • India is in the process of strengthening the relationship with Afghanistan and Iran. Through CPEC, China wants to connect Beijing with Iran and Afghanistan. So India is not in a good state of presence with the CPEC deals.
  • The 1,300-km corridor is an alternative economic road link for the Kashmir Valley lying on the Indian side of the border. There have been calls by local business and political leaders to declare Kashmir on both sides of the LoC as Special Economic zone if CPEC proves a success, will further consolidate the region’s perception as internationally recognised Pakistani territory, diminishing India’s claim over the 73,000 sqkm piece of land which home to more than 1.8 million people.

What should India do?

  • India has raised a serious concern about the raising of this project. Indian opposition has taken attention of those who remain suspicious of Chinese motives behind OBOR in Pakistan as well as in the rest of the world. The west is now more vocal in its concerns and voices in Pakistan are demanding a reappraisal of the project.
  • But, India needs to do more than just articulate its opposition. It need t provide a new template for the world on global connectivity projects.
  • India has taken several initiatives to counter China’s encircling policies. Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), Structured to connect East Asia, South East Asia and South Asia with Africa and Oceania which provides a normative alternative to China’s initiatives. Further, other projects like Project Sagarmala, India’s strategic and diplomatic engagement with the nations of Middle East etc. can prove productive in countering China.
  • These moves by India are a welcome first step but, given the challenges that CPEC is facing, India will need to do much more to provide an effective counter narrative.

Q.5) What do you understand by medical poverty trap? Discuss its prevalence in India. How can we free Indian’s from the medical poverty trap.



    • Medical Poverty Trap is a term used to denote certain section of people who are unable to afford treatment, medicine and find it burdensome or even catastrophic due to the costly affairs of treatment.


  • The problem is more acute among the urban poor mostly residing in slums. Uncertain nature of job, low wage, deplorable lack of basic necessities and dearth of fallback options add to the burden and make them certain candidates for the medical poverty trap.


Prevalence of Medical Poverty Trap in India:

  • India is the largest supplier of generic drugs in the world, and Indian pharmaceutical companies have famously succeeded in pushing down the cost of medication in many countries across the world. Yet, too many Indian citizens do not get access to medicines owing to high costs.
  • The problem in India starts with the thin insurance cover that leads to most patients paying for medical expenses out of their pockets after they have been diagnosed with an ailment.
  • The latest National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) survey on healthcare, in 2014, shows that 86% of the rural population and 82% of the urban population were not covered under any scheme of health expenditure support, and that medicines are a major component of total health expenses—72% in rural areas and 68% in urban areas. 
  • Healthcare costs pushed 60 million Indians below the poverty line in 2011. A major reason for India’s health care crisis is that it spends only about 1.3 per cent of its GDP on health when the global average is 6 per cent.

Ways to free Indian’s from the medical poverty trap:

  • Easy availability of medical facilities with cheap medicines at affordable costs is the ways which can be effective in freeing Indians’ from medical poverty trap. The government has taken several steps in this regard like fixing the prices of essential medicines for some time and even medical devices such as stents and knee replacement caps etc.
  • The government of India should promote Generic medicines which are cost effective and affordable versions of the drug and are equally effective on treatment. The practice of generic substitution is strongly supported by health authorities in many developed countries where bioequivalence tests are mandatory.
  • There is a need to speed up and improve the process of regulation which is required for bioequivalence testing. In India, the law has already been changed which require bioequivalence tests for some classes of generic medicines, but its coverage is not universal and enforcement is yet to be evaluated.
  • These requirements might increase the price of generic medicines slightly, but they will drive poor-quality manufacturers out of the market and allow generics to compete with branded generics.

Q.6) Ratifying the UN Convention on torture and following it up with a domestic law against torture will not only be in the national interest of India but will also have positive implications for the protection of human rights. Discuss



As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 591 people died in police custody between 2010 and 2015. In this regard, Law Commission in its recent 273rd report has recommended ratification of UN Convention on Torture and framed draft law “The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017”.

Need for Ratification and separate law:

1.In India’s National Interest:

  • Refused Extradition of offenders from other countries. Eg.recent UK court refusal to send two persons citing no effective system of protection from torture.
  • Limitations in provisions of Indian penal code(IPC):

              a)Fail to cover torture other than physical injuries.

              b)Doesn’t distinguish between public servant and others.

  • To ensure accountability of law enforcement agencies, which is in line with envisaged SMART policing.
  • Incentivises scientific investigation instead of police torture to extract false statements. Eg. recent Gurugram school case where conductor was tortured.
  • Checks judicial delays: where witnesses change their statements given under police torture.
  • Economic: Improved foreign confidence in rule of law also aids ease of doing business and foreign tourist arrival.

2.Positive Implications for protection of Human Rights:

  • Upholds Article 5 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights (UDHR), 1948 : “No one shall be subjected to torture, or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
  • Strengthens fundamental right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the constitution.
  • Increase in India’s standing as protector of Human rights in the world.
  • Aims to improve upon SC observation that custodial violence is the “instrument of human degradation used by the state”. 
  • NHRC(National Human Right Commission) too has urged to recognise torture as separate crime and codify the punishment in separate law.


  • SC has noted that in custodial crimes, producing evidence against the police is very difficult because of police investigating against fellow policemen.


As per Seventh Schedule, police and public order are state subjects. Thus, the new law for prevention of torture, should form part of wider police reforms of autonomy and capacity building needed to be undertaken by states. This will ensure effective implementation and upheld principle of justice enshrined in the constitution.

Q.7) It is commented that existing direct tax law in India is riddled with problems.  discuss how a single unified direct tax code will improve the situation?



Government has appointed a committee under Arbind Modi to draft a new tax law to replace the Income Tax act, 1961.

1.Issues with existing direct tax law:

  • Extremely complicated
  • High cost of compliance : hurts those with lower income
  • Exemptions distort allocation of resources in the economy
  • Source of Corruption as provides administrative discretion
  • Creates excess of litigation due to ambiguities present.
  • Outdated: belongs to era of closed economy and doesn’t incorporate digital changes and use of technologies.
  • Patchwork : due to amendments in last few decades

To tackle these, single unified direct tax code was proposed in 2009. Single Unified direct tax code means all direct taxes(income tax, corporate tax, dividend distribution tax, fringe benefit tax and wealth tax) are to be brought under single code with unified compliance procedures.

2.Advantages of single unified direct tax code

For Tax Payers

  • Minimises Ambiguities:  uses Simple language and every sub section is a short sentence to convey single point
  • Provides Flexibility: Only general tax principles in law while details in rules.
  • Increases Certainty : by stipulating tax rates in the code itself which can be amended by Parliament.
  • Lowers tax burden on poor: by increasing ratio of direct tax to total taxes. (Direct taxes made up for 36.31% of the total taxes in 2000-01 and the ratio has risen to 51% in 2015-16.)

For Government

  • Expanded Tax base: Economic Survey – only 7 out of 100 voters pay taxes.
  • Easier achievement of Fiscal Consolidation targets: recommended by NK Singh committee
  • More Revenue: for expenditure in social infrastructure sector: health, education etc.

For Economy

  • Aids Ease of Doing Business: Crucial to bring India’s ranking in top 50 in Ease of Doing business Index.
  • More Competitive Economy: through tax stability, minimal exemptions and focus on allocative efficiency. 


Success of Direct Tax Code will need well established tax infrastructure in place and gradual implementation to avoid GST like disruptions. It would be better to go with Direct Tax Code after GST gets stabilised.

Q.8) What do you understand by GI tags? Discuss its importance? What are the short-comings of Indian GI act and steps needed to rectify the short-comings?



GI status is an indication that identifies goods as produced from a particular area, which has special quality or reputation attributable to its geographical origin.  This gives legal protection to the products and prevents unauthorised use of a GI by others

Some of the examples of GI includes Darjeeling Tea, Mysore Silk, Mysore Agarbathi, Kancheepuram Silk, Orissa Ikat etc.

1.Importance of GI Tags

  • Support local production
  • Important economic tool for uplift of rural and tribal communities
  • Different from the IPR: Unlike other Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) which guarantee the protection of individual interest, GI is a collective right.
  • Support for Developing Countries against brand usurpation by MNCs.

India, as a member of the World Trade Organisation-Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (WTO-TRIPS), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

2.Shortcomings of Indian GI act

  • Mandatory historical proof of origin in the form of documentary evidences. TRIPS doesn’t mandate such a provision. Becomes stumbling block for getting GIs related to tribals which have oral history. Eg Judima rice wine of Assam.
  • Ambiguity is the definition of Producer. Traders, retailers misusing the benefits.
  • Lack of enforcement : Eg. sari designs by Varanasi weavers copied by Surat exporters through whatsapp
  • Under TRIPS: preference to wines and spirits over other goods.

3.Steps Needed  

  • Do away with requirement of written documentary proof. Etymology can be considered in establishing proof of origin.
  • Need to provide GIs to actual producers and traders, retailers can use only with their permission
  • Appropriate identification of products. EU has strict monitoring at each stage of supply chain. Market monitoring needed to ensure legal compliance.


Along with resolving shortcomings of GI act, greater support to local communities is needed to utilise the benefits of Geographical Indication as collective right.

Q.9) According to the World Economic Forum’s “Global Gender Gap Report 2017”, India’s ranking has fallen by 21 places from last year. Discuss the reasons behind this drastic fall and also suggest the steps required to improve the situation.



India was ranked 108 out of 144 countries in Global Gender Gap report, 2017. It fell 21 places from last year. Gender Gap report measures the parity between men and women in 4 area: health, education, economic opportunities and political participation.

1.Reasons of Drastic fall:

Health and Survival

  • due to poor sex ratio at birth because of son preference.
  • Issues of reproductive health care facilities like lack of institutional deliveries which widen the gap between man and women.

Political Empowerment

  • Lack of new generation female leadership in politics
  • Issues like “panchayat pati” in PRIs

Economic Participation

  • disproportionate amount of unpaid work like childcare done by women:  66% of women’s work in India is unpaid, compared to 12% of men’s“.
  • women not counted as farmers: though form 65% of agricultural workforce and 75% of rural workforce.
  • Studies have shown Negative effect of in laws, children – decrease in labour force participation
  • Negative effect of husband education – labour force participation decreases with increasing education of husband. 
  • Income effect : risen husband earnings
  • Lack of labour intensive industries in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
  • Workplace factors: lack of safety, lack of equal opportunities.

Other Factors

  • Improved performance by other countries like Bangladesh due to increase in labour intensive employment opportunities like in Textile sector.

2.Steps Required:{many steps can be written, but recommendation of some report will add value to answer}

As per NITI aayog 3 year plan:

  •  Composite Gender Based Index for states: to reflect status of women on the form of report card


  • Give opportunity to ASHA to become Auxiliary nurse midwife.
  • National Health Policy: achieve Maternal mortality rate(MMR )100 in 1 lakh by 2020


  • Adequate toilet facilities in schools to carry on remarkable progress made on bridging gender gap in primary and secondary school
  • Promotion of role models in STEM fields, to increase female enrolment.


  • Integrate Gender Budgets with Outcome budgets and generate gender disaggregated data.
  • Female customised financial literacy programmes.
  • Move skill development programmes beyond traditional skills for women like taxi driving, masonry, mechanical, electric, electronic trades.
  • Large scale job creation in formal sector: with sustained reforms in labour laws and skilling ecosystems

Political Empowerment

  • Need for parties to push more women in political arena
  • Need to impart idea to voters to vote for parties which give fair share of tickets to women
  • New generation of female political leadership


Governmental steps carry huge importance but still have limitations in long term. To achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 of Gender Equality, Education and public discourse on gender issues must become the key agents of bridging the gender gap.

Q.10) Delhi’s air pollution is both a challenge and an opportunity and Success in tackling Delhi’s air pollution could provide a template for making other cities liveable. Discuss


Air Quality Index has remained in severe category for Delhi in early November. Year round, Delhi’s average air quality remains 3 times worse than the national average.


  • Impact:  a.children will develop asthmatic problems much earlier than normal b.Pregnant women more likely to deliver low birth weight babies c.Senior citizens are also at risk.
  • Climatic Causes: Dust Storm from middle east. 40% contribution according to SAFAR(system of air quality and weather forecasting report) report
  • Other States Contribution: stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. 25%  contribution as per SAFAR report
  • Urbanisation rate: increasing the number of vehicles and construction activities. By 2030, 50% of Indian population expected to reside in urban areas.
  • Economic Impact: on ease of doing business, foreign tourist arrival and city as cultural centre.


  • To urbanise in sustainable manner as per SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
  • Promote social equity through environmental friendly measures like Public Transport.
  • Template for other urbanisation in other cities.

3.Template for other cities

  • As per WHO, eleven of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India.
  • Cities like Agra, Kanpur face similar issues like Delhi and thus measures succeeding in Delhi can be taken up in these cities.

4.Steps Needed {Many Steps can be written, citing some report will add value}

As per EPCA(Environmental Pollution Control Authority) multi-dimensional Action Plan

Road Dust

  1. Road dust contributes about 38% of the pollution.
  2. Implement street design guidelines for footpaths and cycle tracks with adequate vegetative buffers and paving of roads.
  3. Sprinkling of recycled water (without compromising other uses); introduce water fountains at major traffic intersections, wherever feasible.

Vehicular Emission

  1. Vehicle emissions account for 20% of the pollution.
  2. Increase the taxation of cars by introducing an annual or biannual licence fee.
  3. Introduce higher parking charges in the areas of the city that are congested.
  4. Discouragement of cars needs to be accompanied by a parallel effort to expand bus and Metro services.

Industrial Pollution:

  1. Urgent ban on furnace oil, pet coke, which are dirty industrial fuels with high Sulphur and heavy metals
  2. Progressively close the older and more polluting thermal power plants in NCR and to move to cleaner natural gas

Residue Burning:

  1. Rs 1,800 crore expenditure needed for purchasing happy seeder and Super SMS(straw management system)
  2. Strict enforcement of ban on residue burning
  3. Public information campaigns and intensification of extension efforts to promote these technologies.


Tackling pollution in Delhi by implementation of  EPCA multi-dimensional action plan is crucial as India aims to have sustainable cities acting as engines of growth.

Q.11) You are heading a disaster relief volunteer team in a district which has witnessed flood on a large level. The floods have caused huge losses. It has been five days since your team is working since day and night. Your team, at this point of time is exhausted tired. Why do such operations loose energy and enthusiasm after some period? Which qualities of the person heading the operation are tested?  How will you motivate the team to work in such a situation? Discuss the various options.


Q.12) You are living with one of your friend who is known to you since childhood. Your friend is actively involved in political debates, while you don’t have that much interest in politics. One day, he starts discussing with you on some topic but you continue to do your work without taking any interest in the discussion. He gets angry and starts telling you that youth being silent on important issues is the biggest worry for nation. He accuses you of being unpatriotic and anti-national. What is your opinion on your friend’s view? Critically comment. Do you think nationalism should be judged on objective factors like taking part in debates and speaking for national issues?


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