Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 29

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1. Discuss the key elements of Asia Africa Growth Corridor.(GS 2)

The Hindu


  • Recently Indian and Japanese prime ministers have put forward the idea of Asia Africa growth corridor and they have unvielded the vision document.

Asia Africa corridor:-

  • The objective is to pursue joint initiatives in various sectors such as health, infrastructure, manufacturing, and connectivity, in keeping with the development priorities of Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The AAGC is an important component of the India-Japan Vision 2025 for Indo-Pacific Region.
  • It further converges with Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure (EPQI) and India’s development cooperation with Africa and Act East Policy.

Key elements:-

  • There are four key elements there are:-
    • Enhancing capacity and skills
    • building quality infrastructure and connecting institutions
    • development and cooperation projects in health, farming, manufacturing and disaster management
    • people-to-peoplepartnerships.


  • The Asia Africa Growth Corridor is conceived as a more open and inclusive programme that will be based on more consultations and keep people as the centre piece rather than just trade and economic ties
  • will facilitate greater trilateral or triangular cooperation among Japan, India and Africa .
  • It will AAGC aims to advance sustainable development and interconnectedness between and within the two growth poles of Asia and Africa to encourage a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • Besides the economic rationale, Japan also aims to garner African nations’ support for its ambitions at the UN Security Council.
  • However, translating the idea into deliverables will require India and Japan to conceive of joint projects aiding capacity building, infrastructure, and connectivity; synergize their resources and capabilities; and most importantly ensure the efficient implementation of these projects to demonstrate bilateral commitment to African partners.
  • Founded on a consultative and inclusive approach, the idea of AAGC is aimed at cultivating value chains, integrating and developing a competitive economic bloc, thereby accelerating Africa and Asia’s development trajectory.

2. Political optics have overpowered economic logic in the framing of the GST structure. Critically comment.(GS 3)

Live Mint


  • GST was meant to sweep the slate clean and put in place a simpler, leaner tax levy that would ensure uniformity of indirect taxation across the country. Unfortunately, in a country where indirect tax revenues exceed direct tax revenues, such tinkering assumes great political significance.

Yes political considerations have overpowered economic logic:-

  • It is being rolled out in a political economy context characterized by skyrocketing economic disparity both between and within major states.It may put pressure on the federal nature of India’s polity.
  • The centralization of economic policy, as epitomized by GST, is occurring in a political economy context in which regional parties are more important than ever.
  • GST aims to forge an economic union of India at a time when the economic disparity among the various states of India is at its peak.Such economic disparity combined with India’s unique political diversity renders the GST regime vulnerable to fractious demands.
  • It is then evident that the policy priorities and taxation structure need to be different for these two states, in line with their economic and demographic differences.
  • GST can potentially exacerbate regional inequality. What complicates this further in the Indian context is its unique nature of political diversity.
  • The biggest challenge that GST faces is fiscal federalism. Robbing the states of their rights to determine their own taxes is akin to robbing them of political authority.
  • The result is a three-tiered GST system which hinges on a complicated logic of intra-state (CGST and SGST) and inter-state (IGST, to be divided between states and Centre) “supplies”. This is the first level of convolution; ideally there should be only IGST which can be divided among the states and the Centre
  • The problem is that these dominant political economy concerns have led to a complicated tax structure with multiple rates, exemptions and even cesses—a far cry from the clean goods and services tax that had been proposed initially more than a decade ago.
  • The sheer complexity of the GST structure will result in tax disputes, lobbying and corruption in the future
  • The GST council, with its focus on achieving political balance, is busy placating conflicting lobbies.

No it’s the other way round where economic considerations have taken precedence:-

  • Multiple registrations, a three-tiered tax structure based on a confounding place of supply rule and baggage from the past like multiple-tax rates and cess mean that very little will actually change for industries.
  • The implication is that uniform tax rates across all states of India will serve as a unifying force of efficiency.
  • Replacing several hundreds of different tax rates across the 29 states of India with just five tax slabs for all goods and services will reduce friction in the movement of goods and services across state borders.
  • This can boost economic activity and contribute substantially to gross domestic product (GDP) growth. For these reasons, the GST initiative has been justifiably acclaimed as a milestone economic reform in independent India.
  • Poorer states with get benefitted because of uniform taxation .
  • increase in revenue of all states especially poor ones like Bihar, UP that have highest corruption and lack state capacity
  • Tax base: Poor state have huge population ie demand especially for FMCG goods, thus they would collect higher taxes in destination based system.
  • Overall national economy would improve due to ease of doing business and higher foreign investments.
  • Tax evasion will decrease

3. “Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.” Discuss. (GS 4)

  • Reverence for life affords people fundamental principal of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting and enhancing life, and that to destroy, to harm or to hinder life is evil.
  • All living things have a moral status and on account of that should not be killed or harmed without good reason.
  • “Reverence for Life says that the only thing humans are really sure of is that they live and want to go on living. So humans are brothers and sisters to all living things, and owe to all of them the same care and respect, that we wish for ourselves.
  • To some extent this is taking place as is evidenced by the growth of the environmental movement.
  • Starting from its principle, founded on world and life denial, of abstention from action, ancient Indian thought and this is a period when in other respects ethics have not progressed very far reaches the tremendous discovery that ethics know no bounds. So far as we know, this is for the first time clearly expressed by Jainism.
  • Schweitzer would say, that all life is sacred. This sacredness leads to a sense of responsibility which characterizes a genuine ethical attitude.Ethics of reverence for life is universal insofar as it applies to all living beings.
    • The ethics of reverence for life is natural in the sense that sympathy is natural.
    • Schweitzer argues that this sympathy, which lies at the bottom of reverence for life, is part of human psychological makeup.
  • Gandhi, Schweitzer insists that human decision concerning when it is necessary to harm or kill another life depends not only on the universal sanctity of life, nor only on the context and its pragmatic and utilitarian considerations, but also on the level of our ethical maturity. The more people develop sense of reverence for life, the more responsive and caring they will be toward other living beings.

However in many cases humans get greedy for commercial success and have been threatening the life of multiple species around the world:-

  • Despite proclaiming that all life is sacred, “life can exist only at the cost of another life.” people kill in order to get food and to protect themselves from dangerous diseases. Thus, the greatest challenge for both teaching and practice of the ethics of reverence for life is this: How can we respect life if we need to destroy it?
  • People should not go beyond what is necessary. Killing of animals for the sake of pleasure can be avoidable (in the form of hunting and fishing).
  • Similarly with violence and terrorism on the rise the respect of life of other human being is lost.
  • The same case can be seen when climate change and global warming is roaring its impact on human kind as countries go back on their environmental agreements and targets to achieve economic success.

But untill there is respect for life the ethical character of a person which is respected in all societies is negligible and of no use.


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