Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – June 15

ForumIAS announcing GS Foundation Program for UPSC CSE 2025-26 from 18th June. Click Here for more information.

1. The current Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling have old roots. The issue is being deployed in aid of an ongoing turf war. Examine. Also, do you think that the demand for a separate Gorkhaland is justified?(GS 2)

Live Mint

How is it an old issue?

  • In 1907, the Hillmen’s association had raised the issue of being separately administered from Bengal.
  • In 1929, the Hillsmen’s Association was joined by Gorkha Officer’s Association and Kurseong Gorkha Library in submitting a petition to the British demanding separation from the province of Bengal.
  • The issue surfaced once again in 1941 in the demand for Darjeeling to be excluded from the province of Bengal and made into a separate Chief Commissioner’s Province
  • The Indian state’s plan to quell the demand for Gorkhaland by giving the locals more autonomy brought only limited results.
    • The GTA, arguably still weaker than its counterparts in other states, was never satisfied with the powers it had been given and publicly accused the state government of betraying its trust.
  • The long-standing ethnic and linguistic factors that had driven the Gorkhaland movement for over a century didn’t go away overnight either.
  • Naturally then, when the West Bengal government announced that Bengali would be made compulsory in all schools in the state, the Nepali-speaking hill communities were not pleased. The perception is that it is this language imposition that served as the spark that lit the fire of unrest.
  • The current flare-up is the result of a political turf war

No it’s not justified :-

  • Geographical:
    • Darjeeling had been too small to be constituted as a state. According to official records Darjeeling district has a geographical area of about 3,149 sq km with three Assembly seats and only a part of a Lok Sabha seat.
  • Failure of Gorkha leadership:
    • There is a trust deficit about Gorkha leadership as well and its failure to guide the community in realising its dream.
    • The Gorkha people’s confidence eroded steadily as development funds were siphoned off, there was no visible improvements in basic amenities like education, health, water supply, sanitation and employment.
  • Geopolitical significance:
    • Often described as the ‘Chicken’s neck’ Darjeeling is hemmed in by four international borders – Nepal, China, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
    • Who is at the helm in such a sensitive location would have far-reaching consequences for the country’s unity, integrity and sovereignty.
    • Any disruptions here would cut off the entire Northeast from the rest of the country.
  • Historical:
    • If India really considers  the historicity of Darjeeling as a ground for formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland, then all the hard work done by its founding fathers of unifying those 565 motley princely states into a united Indian federal state might come apart.
  • Demand by the people:
    • The term ‘Gorkhaland’ itself is not a hold-all concept and ergo, does not do justice to the identities of the various other ethnic communities as residing in Darjeeling.
    • It is plainly wrong to assume that all the Nepali speaking people are ipso facto Gorkhas or want Gorkhaland. Most of the demanded areas have a predominant majority of the people other than the Nepali speaking population.
  • Not feasible:
    • Even some of the areas where the Nepali speaking people are in majority are mostly enclaves within another district or other community dominated areas.
    • Annexing these areas to the extant Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) or later to the demanded Gorkhaland state is administratively not a feasible proposition as also observed by the Justice Shyamal Sen Commission which was constituted to explore the feasibility of such inclusions.
  • Jeopardises unity character of India:
    • It not only jeopardizes the plural character of our society by artificially trying to make it monochromatic, but also opens the flood-gates for similar such demands from vested interests in different parts of the country.
    • Movements like “Greater Coochbehar,” comprising parts of Bengal and Assam would be revived
  • Statehood is not a solution:
    • If the statehood proponents believe that Darjeeling needs more development, then statehood is definitely no solution.
    • Jarkhand became a state against the same background of alleged underdevelopment, but even after a lapse of more than a decade’s time, it is still much far off from realization of the developmental goals .

Yes it’s justified :-

  • The demand for Gorkhaland is a demand to protect the identity, culture, history, traditions and the rich bond of people from Darjeeling region, which they share with their land.
  • They argue that Darjeeling geographically was never a part of West Bengal, that Darjeeling has been hugely exploited and underdeveloped by West Bengal and that Gorkhas being a different ethnic community, deserve a separate state of their own.

What can be done?

  • Gorkhaland proponents should actually aim at making the GTA work successfully, which came into being through a tripartite agreement between the Central Government.
  • Indian policy makers should really do some serious thinking to consider all such statehood demands dispassionately once and for all through the instrumentality of a second States Reorganization Commission or any other such mechanism as might be practically possible.

2. What do you mean by child labor? Discuss the role of International Labour Organisation in eradacting child labor.(GS 2)

The Hindu | ILO

Child labour :

  • The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
  • It refers to work that:
    • is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children
    • interferes with their schooling by
      • depriving them of the opportunity to attend school
      • obliging them to leave school prematurely
      • or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
    • Global number of children in child labour has declined by one third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million children.

Role of international Labour organisation in eradicating child labour :-

  • ILO has had longstanding collaboration with the Indian government to address child labour issues.
    • The Conventions provide a framework for the abolition of child labour so that each and every child has the opportunity to develop physically and mentally to their full potential by not doing work that jeopardizes their education and development.
    • ILO conventions 138 and 182 allow a distinction to be made as to what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable forms of work for children at different ages as well as stages of development.
  • The ILO has been setting standards for the world of work for almost one hundred years.
    • It provides assistance to our 187 member states to promote and implement minimum standards for all who work.
  • Two of ILO’s first conventions focussed on maximum hours of work and the minimum age for work.
    • The ILO’s Minimum Age Convention, No. 138 and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, No. 182 have now been ratified by 169 and 180 member States respectively.
  • The ILO, with its partners, launched Alliance 8.7, a global partnership to end child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking .
  • It fixes the basic minimum age for work which should not be below the age of15 years.
  • It defines hazardous work and fixes the age of doing it,and that is 18.
  • It also fixes the age of children to do light work, which does not threaten their health and hinder their education.
  • It is a global platform and played an important role to eliminate this menace globally.

3. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has started a Periodic Labor Force Survey, which will provide quarterly labor and employment data for urban India and annual data for rural India. Analyze the need for having such a survey. (GS 3)

The Hindu


  • The government started the periodic labour force survey in April 2017
  • This survey will supersede the earlier system where such data was available only every five years.
  • The most comprehensive existing employment survey conducted quinquennially by the National Sample Survey Office has not been done since 2011-12.
  • This survey would supply data not only about the formal sector, but also about the informal sector.
    • The data will be collected from large and small enterprises and so we will be able to measure informal sector activity as well.
  • It will also incorporate a Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) method, with field operators using tablets to enter the data. This would generate more accurate and timely information.
  • To track employment trends more swiftly, in order to generate quarterly reports on the urban labour market situation and annual dossiers on the overall employment scene.

However the government expects the results of the first Survey, awaiting approval for more than a year, to be released by December 2018.

Despite some concerns this is a positive step taken by the government for timely information and analysis of future.


Print Friendly and PDF