Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – July 17

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1. Do you think that India – Myanmar relationship is important for maintaining stability and peace in Northeast India? Discuss the challenges in India-Myanmar relations.(GS 2) The Diplomat | Link | Outlook Yes:-

  • A porous border with enhanced commercial ties and improved infrastructure will benefit the relatively less developed northeastern states of India and western region of Myanmar.
  • Encouraging the growth of such a connectivity corridor will lend itself to greater Act East regional goals.
  • Projects:
    • Some of the major projects taken up by India include the resurfacing and upgrading of the 160 km Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo road and the Kaladan project that will connect Kolkata Port with Sittwe Port in Myanmar (which is still in progress).
    • A bus service from Imphal to Mandalay.
    • India has also decided to upgrade the Kalewa-Yargyi road segment to highway standard, while Myanmar would develop the Yargyi-Monywa portion, and this would help to connect Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar. This in turn would improve India’s connectivity and relationship with both Myanmar and Thailand.
  • Some of the key reasons the northeast is unable to move from a largely subsistence agricultural economy to a production and manufacturing economy include the lack of scale economies, constraints in the supply chain of raw materials and the lack of access to a market, mainly emanating from poor infrastructure and restrictions across the border. The way out of this is to explore greater collaboration with Myanmar.
  • The weaving industries in northeast India or the food processing industries, both in Myanmar and northeast India, have not been able to grow in a limited market. The expansion of this can provide a wider consumer base that these industries desperately need to ensure profitability and sustainability..
  • Strong relations would appease the problem of drug trafficking and the golden triangle issue .
  • Many of the insurgents of North east take abode in Myanmar .This can be effectively tackled with strong relations.

Challenges in India Myanmar relations:-

  • Economic:
    • In the last fiscal year, India did not even rank among the top five countries by foreign investment in Myanmar.
  • Projects delayed:
    • A 1,400 kilometer long highway beginning from India’s Meghalaya and continuing through Myanmar and Thailand has been continuously delayed.
    • With an original completion date of 2014, officials now estimate that that the highway will be completed in 2020.
    • Similarly, the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP) in western Myanmar has experienced multiple setbacks. At the end of the first quarter of 2017 nearly ten years later the overland road still does not connect to Mizoram.
    • Meanwhile, India’s own plans to develop the Sittwe special economic zone located in the KMTTP have been mired in delays, characteristic of New Delhi’s efforts.
  • China’s role:
    • China’s growing presence casts a shadow on Indian-Myanmar relations. In many ways, India has played a distant secondary role to China’s outsized influence.
    • As of March 2017, China remained Myanmar’s largest foreign investor, with permitted enterprises valued at over $18.5 billion and India’s total investments of $2 billion.
    • Myanmar, however, supports the BRI, was a founding member of AIIB, and related initiatives have launched in the country, including an oil and gas pipeline allowing Mideast crude to be pumped through Myanmar to China’s Yunnan province and the development of a deep seaport special economic zone at Kyauk Phyu.
  • Border issues:
    • there are concerns related to border management and security. There is a border dispute that needs to be settled by the highest levels of both governments.
    • Even as goods move across the borders, so do drugs and arms. Human trafficking is another major issue.

What to do?

  • Identified areas of common ground within the BRI and Indian interests in Myanmar can boost trilateral ties and ultimate create a mutually-beneficial economic relationship for all three actors.
  • A secure and clearly defined border is a precursor to a peaceful and prosperous border region.
  • India should also not neglect to promote various forms of soft power connectivity.
  • Its inextricable cultural ties with Myanmar can be used to foster deeper civic bonds.


  • Do you think that unemployment is the biggest challenge that India is facing? Discuss the various measures taken by the government to minimize unemployment in India. Critically examine its success in reducing unemployment in India.(GS 3) Financial Express| PIB | Link Background:

    • The India Labour and Employment Report 2016 of the Institute for Human Development presents compelling evidence of how the employment situation has improved during the 21st century.
    • India has a core workforce of 433 million, of whom 22% are women.

    Present Employment situation :

    • Rural distress seems to be taking a toll on jobs with all religious groups registering an increase in unemployment, according to the latest edition of a biennial survey conducted by the Ministry of Statistics.
    • The report states that the unemployment rate is 1.7 per cent in rural and 3.4 per cent in urban areas.
    • In rural India, 22.3 per cent of males and 47.5 per cent of females are illiterate. In urban India, the number stands at 9.9 per cent for males and 22.6 per cent for females.
    • The Labour Force Participation (LFP) remains the poorest for Muslims in the country.
    • The unemployment rate in urban areas has declined even though it remains higher than in rural areas.
    • Christians are the worst-hit on access to jobs, with an unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent in rural and 5.9 per cent in urban areas.
    • All these show that unemployment is not just an economic issue but has multi dimensional consequences.

    Government initiatives:-

    • Government brought holistic and multi-dimensional policies such as ‘Skill India’, ‘Mudra Bank’, ‘Start-Up India’ and ‘Stand-up India’ in last two years and has been working towards eradication of unemployment.
    • under the Stand Up India scheme, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women entrepreneurs will get support such as free pre-loan training and facilitating loan and marketing. There will be a Rs.10,000 crore refinance window to the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), and the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company will create a corpus of Rs.5,000 crore
    • To lessen the dependency on farming, the Skill India, Stand Up India, Start up India schemes were launched.
    • All these schemes are directly related to the ‘Make In India’ initiative, which is being instrumental in eradicating unemployment.
    • The government has, in the past, taken initiatives to create employment by connecting job-seekers to potential employers through the ministry of labour and employment which launched the National Career Service portal. It is a common platform connecting job-seekers, employers, skill providers, placement organisations and counsellors.
    • The government also initiated the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) ,a skill development scheme for which the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship has been made the nodal point to help young people learn industry-relevant skills and enable them to secure skilled employment.

    Yes, employment has improved :

    • Employment in the organized sector has grown aggressively, faster than in the unorganized sector
    • Workers have moved to better-quality jobs: from informal to formal, casual to regular, and from the unorganized sector to the organized sector.
    • Real wages rose for virtually all categories of work.
    • Underemployment also decreased, hence income per worker rose even faster than real wages, lowering poverty incidence across the board.
    • Productivity also rose in all sectors, but faster in the unorganized sector than the organized sector.
    • Hence, the differences in productivity and real wages between the organized and unorganized sectors has declined.

    But there are some basic concerns still existing like :

    • the organized sector still accounts for only 17% of total employment, with regular formal employment in the organized sector, the best quality jobs, accounting for only 9%.
    • Self-employment, and casual wage employment, the bottom layers of the labour market, still account for 78% of total employment.
    • Low-productivity employment in agriculture still accounts for 43% of total employment, and the incidence of underemployment is still very high.
    • So is the incidence of poverty
    • around 13 million people in the workforce, available for work, who are at present unemployed, 30% of them women.
    • automation, artificial intelligence and stricter visa norms in markets such as the US, UK and Australia
    • Also, a large section of the labour force has little or no education, and cannot be employed in skilled jobs in the services sector. Nor can they be easily skilled, given their lack of basic education.
    • India is not yet equipped to transition to Digital India. At present, there isn’t enough spectrum or wired connectivity to support the initiative.
      • Through the project, the government had aimed to create home based jobs and encourage more entrepreneurs to start online businesses. However, due to poor digital infrastructure, it has failed to achieve its goals.
    • lack of innovation and lack of skilled labour resulted in the shutdown of many new startups. In the last two years, a total of 25 startups have shut down.
    • In particular, the main aim of smart cities was to invest in technology and train the youth to create more jobs. But post the identification of the smart cities, no further steps have been taken by the government.

    What should government do ?

    • An assessment of trends in employment-unemployment has to be deciphered from this changing structure of employment, along with trends in real wage rates.
    • India has to improve the quality of education at the primary level which compounds access to basic education, the essential foundation for skill development.
    • control the rising population of our country. Government should motivate people to have small families.
    • Government should encourage and develop the agriculture based industries in rural areas so that the rural candidates don’t migrate to the urban areas. More employment should be generated in rural areas for the seasonal unemployment people.
    • Government should allow more foreign companies to open their unit in India, so that more employment opportunities will be available.Recent FDI relaxation is a welcome step in this regard.
    • Promote self employment . Indian startup India is a step in this regard
    • Promotion of apparel sector:
      • The apparel (or garment) sector meets all these criteria, making it an excellent vehicle for an employment creation strategy
      • apparel generate large number of jobs for women, substantially more than in any other sector.
    • Implementation of government programmes:
      • The Ministry of Labour is finalising the scheme to offer to pay 8.33 per cent of the salary as contribution for a pension scheme for new employees getting formal sector jobs. The scheme will be applicable to those with salary up to Rs.15,000 per month.
      • Government should make its teaching and academic curricula more employable-driven.
      • Intenrational examples:
        • Singapore has launched certain programmes to establish partnerships between domestic and foreign universities to promote tertiary education. India could learn from such initiatives.
      • India also needs to reform its archaic labour laws which currently proliferate only contractual jobs instead of permanent employment.

    1. Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” Comment.(GS 4)

    Perseverence :-

    • Perseverance is surely one of the most important traits to possess as a human in this life, especially in this day and age. It is essential to achieving your goals, your dreams and everything else that is worth striving for.
    • Perseverance means strengthening of resolve. It is one of the vital principles of success. How you surmount your obstacle, with grit and power determines your character.
    • Importance of perseverence in personal life:-
      • When a person does hard work and fails ,the passion,criticism by others and motivation towards the goal fades away but this is when perseverence as it pushes the person.Perseverance is the struggle against any and all difficulties towards our ultimate goal.
      • Despite multiple health issues and challenges Serena Williams never stopped playing tennis and is one of the most respected tennis players of all time.This is perseverance.
      • Despite being supressed by the British ,the freedom fighters strived hard to get independence to India.
    • Professional life :-
      • In administration , there are multiple challenges when a government scheme is being implemented for instance to make open defecation free whole behavioural changes need to be made which is very difficult but some administrations in pune,Rajasthan attained success.
      • Ali Baba founder was rejected for so many jobs in his life but his motto was he never gave up and keep persevering and finally he succeeded.

    Therefore perseverance is to work on something with passion and not get tired of it.

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