GS PAPER 1: SOCIOLOGY
Q.1) While Regionalism is a major problem in Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and almost all of India’s neighbours, India has been able to maintain relative peace regarding regional violence, except Kashmir. Discuss why?
- When the interests of a region or state are asserted against the interests of the country as a whole or some other region or state and a conflict is promoted on the basis of alleged interests, it is termed as regionalism.
Why regionalism major problem in our Neighbouring countries?
Each country has specific reasons for it.
- In Pakistan regionalism has been major problem after independence due to imposition of Culture of West Pakistan on Bengalis residing in east Pakistan. Urdu was imposed on Bengalis while there language Bengali was ignored. Even in armed forces, administration and judiciary the claims of Bengalis were ignored. There was also economic imperialism with east Bengal,as most of the revenue earned from that region was spended in developing west Pakistan.
- After 1971 the Punjabis dominated the military,civil service and politics of Pakistan. While Regions like Balochistan are rich in resources, however there resources are used in developing Punjab which had alienated people from Baluchistan that had led to rise of regionalism .Other ethnic groups like Sindhis, Mohajirs, Pashtun also resist Punjabi domination of Administration.
- In Sri Lanka Lack of federalism ,Sinhalese Chauvinism,Discriminatory conditions imposed on Tamils ,lack of autonomy provided to Tamil provinces led to the birth of Tamil and later Sinhalese Regionalism.
- In the same way in Nepal Also domination by KHAS hill elites on politico-administrative structure ,lack of federalism,lack of recognition of the language and rights of the minorities which included Madhesis and other Janjatis has led to birth of Madhesi regionalism which has become a potent force in recent years.
Why Regionalism never been a major Problem in India?
- Even though India is most diverse among all its neighbors and we have faced problems related to regionalism in last 60 years, it has never been as potent as compared to our neighbors,There are several reasons for it.
(a) Linguistic reorganization of states
- Unlike Our neighbors, India recognized early that Language is the basic grudge behind increasing feeling of regionalism in several regions of India, therefore it has opted for linguistic reorganization of the states in 1956.And by 1966 all major language speakers have states of their own, this led to regionalism problem getting subdued in India.
(b) The economically most backward are politically most powerful
- India has a peculiar situation because unlike our neighbors, The most backward states in India are politically most powerful and important. Thus UP is one of the most backward state in India however it’s share in central government has always been above it’s population .Thus out of 14 Prime Minister 9 are from UP.Even Bihar which is other backward state has always had greater share of representation in central government than it’s population. Thus backward states could not complain of apathy and discrimination of central government (which is generally one of the most potent factor for birth of regionalism) for it’s backward condition.
(c) Realization among intellectuals in backward states
- Generally intellectuals of backward region raise their voice against discrimination perpetuated against a region by federal government, which ultimately gives birth to regionalism, However The intellectuals in backward states have realized that there condition is due to the failure of governance which is due to their own political elite rather than any discrimination.
Thus due to all the above factors regionalism in India has never been as threatening force as in our neighboring countries and though India has faced regional issues like Kashmir problem, Punjab issue, Assam issue but there were several other historical factors behind
GS PAPER 2: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
As close neighbours, India and Nepal share a unique relationship of friendship and cooperation characterized by open borders and resource sharing. However, there has been an unwanted crack in the relationship wall of India – Nepal in recent years.
The reasons for the same are as follows:
- TOO MUCH INTERFERENCE?
Countries however small they may be wishes for independence and non interference from bigger countries. India’s involvement in Nepal’s politics and economy has always been that of a helping hand or a caring brother but being over sensitive and over interference has made Nepal feel insecure and victimised.
- CONFLICTING ISSUES: India wants to preserve the rights of minorities like Madhesis in Nepal, whereas Nepal finds it as a violation of its sovereignty. People living in Terai region of Nepal are considered to be indigenous Indians. However, they had been in Nepal for a long time but still the Indian government continues to treat them as local Indians.
- CHINA FACTOR: China being a diplomatically smart country that it is has increased its investment in Nepal manifold. This has further sweetened the relationship between Nepal and China.
- Demonetization ( many Nepalis holding Indian currency faced issues), GST implementation etc has caused certain problems in Nepal.
- Adding to all this, there is a lot of stereotyping that Nepalis are made to face here in India. They are often harassed as to being security guards only and called by names. This might not be a national level issue but it does make Nepalis think negative about India.
- SAARC hegemony by India: As no prior concern is taken by India while the meeting is cancelled and India has cancelled the meeting for most number of times.
- Delay in executing the development project and hence which has brought Chinese investment in Nepal. Meanwhile the Chinese investment increased in Nepal that increased their dependency on them, and the distance between ‘Deli Darbar’ increased further.
- The recent cases of Madhesi issue, trade blockade, Demonetisation (people in Nepal couldn’t deposit INR that they had), GST impact on our trade etc. have further aggravated the issue and not helped in confidence building measures.
However, owing to our shared interest the bridge isn’t burned and there is possibilities of course correction, if,
• At diplomatic level, we should start treating them with equality and engage in dialogues.
• At political level, we should address their concerns of non-interference into internal matters etc. And take them in confidence.
• At economy’s level, we should engage with them more, this will be mutually beneficial and reduce their Chinese dependence. There is great scope in Hydro-electric and tourism projects.
• At cultural level, the old age ‘Roti- Beti’ relationship should be re-established via various programs and tourism sector.
• And lastly while helping Nepal we should follow Gujral doctrine, help in generous manner and not for chest thumping. SAARC satellite help is right help in the direction.
Both India and Nepal has too much to gain mutually by trade and commerce and cultural relationships. The ‘Chinese wall’ in our relationship should be overcome for our better future relationships.
GS PAPER 3: INDIAN ECONOMY
Q.3) As a think tank of the Union government, NITI Aayog is best positioned to do energy planning in terms of its mandate and coordinating role. The recent draft NEP is a further step in this direction. But is it an actionable policy? Critically Comment.
NITI Aayog has been tasked to produce a National Energy Policy (NEP). Almost all projections for future energy needs are very dynamic and assumption-driven. As a think tank of the Union government, NITI Aayog is best positioned to do energy planning in terms of its mandate and coordinating role.
However, the energy planning undertaken by NITI Aayog can be termed actionable due to following reasons:
- Call for action: The transition to clean and green energy, emphasized in NEP, has also been prioritized by global community due to climate changes Eg: International Solar Alliance
- Pre-existing Support: The NEP targets can be easily acted upon as it is supported by existing infrastructure projects for example TAPI gas pipeline
- Supply Side Strengthening: The framework for issues of the supply side, including energy security, access, affordability and sustainability are covered well in the NEP, with numerous fresh perspectives.
- Coverage of key issues: The issues like electricity pricing, load management (including demand response), and growth of electric vehicles (EVs) are areas with great potential
Despite these reasons, National Energy Policy is not actionable when one considers following:
- National Energy Policy does not take into account the demands of individual sectors and instead focuses only on supply side constraints
- National Energy Policy does not assess priorities and preparedness for each targets
- It touches upon new areas without detailing on trade-offs and impacts, thus creating uncertainty E.g. Electric Vehicles targets, if achieved, could drastically reduce the Government’s revenue from petroleum cess and taxes
- Probably the biggest challenge is the issue of multiple stakeholders in a federal structure.
More than targets, we need better energy frameworks, for example, those that value electricity at the right time and place. A realistic energy policy cannot be purely top-down or ‘national’ but must also incorporate multiple smaller policies Assessing strategies, priorities in next version of NEP, inclusion of multiple smaller policies for each targets should be the imperative going forward.
GS PAPER 4: ETHICS & INTEGRITY
Q.4) You are head of an ambitious road project and have been authorized by the government to make an 8 lane high way from the existing 4 lane. The widening of road includes acquiring small holdings of the poor people and cutting thousands of existing trees. Government justifies the project because of its utility, economic growth and overall development of the area.
There are thousands of poor people and environmentalist who are opposing the project on account of the environmental harm it will cause. Besides, the government has also been facing protests from them. Ponder over the situation and answer the following questions. (25 marks)
(a) What actions justification you have to address the concerns of those who oppose the project? (100 words)
(b) What are the ethical/moral issues involved in your decision/action, and how you would justify your decision. (100 words)
(c) What is the alternative course of action with merits and demerits which one can take so as to prevent the land acquisition and cutting of trees. (100 words)
(a) For poor people, suitable compensation could be thought out apart the fact that eight lane road will bring many benefits to them, like direct employment in the project. One can think to allot some shops on the road side on concessional rate. For addressing concerns of the environmentalists, one can think of transplanting 20 trees if one tree is cut. New technology has come through which even a full-grown tree could be transplanted with the help of powerful cranes which could prove effective.
(b) Both Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill have justified that those actions/decisions are morally correct which bring maximum benefits and minimum pain. In the instant case by having an eight lane road, the project will benefit lacks of people, whereas it is bringing little pain/ disadvantage to small number of people. Even steps are being proposed to keep this pain to bare minimum. It is the duty of the state to fulfill its moral obligation by taking affirmative action for majority of people.
(c) The project could go vertical or underground. This methodology will not require cutting of standing trees and acquisition of land and hence will be appreciated by people. However this alternative course of action has following merits and demerits:
Merits – Will not require dislocation of trees and people. It will also be environmental friendly because neither there will be air pollution nor noise pollution.
Demerits – The project will require huge capital and thereby cost of the project might go 10 times.
For completion of project, more time will be required. Technological problems will also come in the way.