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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 10


Following are the Suggested Answers for Mains Marathon, April 10:


  1. Why is maintaining a good relationship between India and Bangladesh beneficial for both? Also, discuss the role of India in the liberation war of Bangladesh.(GS 2)

The Hindu | Link


Background

  • In today’s globalised world, it is difficult to do something in isolation. Rather, collaboration and cooperation can make many things easier. That is why there is always need to put emphasis on regional cooperation and improved connectivity.
  • The India-Bangladesh relationship does carry strong historical and cultural overtones,and both sides also realize the immense benefits of a strong relationship.

Benefits to India :-

  • Apart from the SAARC region, Bangladesh is an important conduit for India’s Act East Policy. Bangladesh plays a key role in its sub-regional connectivity plans which include Nepal and Bhutan.
  • Power:
    • It is estimated that India’s northeastern states have the potential to generate 70,000 MW of hydropower. But without Bangladesh, supplying most of that power to other regions would be impossible.
  • Since 2009, Dhaka has been helping India crack down on northeastern militant groups. Bangladesh has also raised its concerns about certain groups using Indian territory against it.
  • Providing Raw materials for example Jute for Indian jute industry.

Benefits to Bangladesh :-

  • Bangladesh is also home to an aspirational middle classthat would like to reap the dividends of a better relationship with India.
  • Market Accessto Bangladeshi markets for Indian goods and services especially IT.
  • Access to line of credit extended by India

Common benefits to both :-

  • Connectivity:
    • Both countries are keen to enhance connectivitynot just between them, but also with other countries in South Asia. The BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Bhutan) corridor is an example.
    • There have even been some proposals of a strong trilateral between India-Bangladesh and Myanmar, such as a gas pipeline.
  • Both countriesare also part of a number of groupings that seek to expand South Asia’s connectivity with Southeast Asia and China; these include the Mekong Ganga Cooperation Initiative, BIMSTEC, and the BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) economic corridor project.
  • Cultural ties:-
    • Northeast India and Bangladesh built not only strong economic links, but also greater cultural and educational ties.
    • Apart from more border haats, something border states  have already called for, the two sides should explore the possibility of sister city arrangements to promote more people-to-people interactions.
  • Building on the momentum in ties will help foster better security ties between the two sides and control drug trafficking and narcotics
  • With the two countries sharing the waters of 54 rivers, reassurance on water-sharing is necessary.
  • Check China’s rise in South Asia.
  • Internal security especially check insurgency in north east for example ULFA
  • Cooperation in maritime security

Role of India in Bangladesh liberation war:-

  • Humanitarian:
    • India stood beside the oppressed humanity.
    • They gave food and shelter to nearly 10 million refugees of Bangladesh.
  • Global support:
    • They extended all-out cooperation in great liberation war and played an important role in creating global opinion in favour of Bangladesh. This helped Bangladesh  to earn victory and the country was freed from enemy occupation.
  • Important role even in getting Bangabandhu released from the Pakistani prison.
  • Military:
    • Three Indian corps were involved in the liberation of East Pakistan. They were supported by nearly three brigades of MuktiBahini fighting alongside them, and many more fighting irregularly.
    • Indian Air Force carried out several strikes against Pakistan, and within a week, IAF aircraft controlled the skies of East Pakistan.
    • Indian Navy Almost destroyed most of the Pakistan navy ships and tankers in the west.
  • Economical :
    • India not only spent seven thousand crores of rupees for the liberation war of Bangladesh  but also sacrificed the lives of 3630 officers and Jawans of her Army.

India extended all possible help to Bangladesh refugees and freedom fighters providing them food, humanitarian relief, medical facilities, military training, access to global media, generation of public opinion and mobilisation of financial assistance which is still remembered by Bangladesh very well.


  1. India’s first rail regulator – Rail Development Authority (RDA) is to be set up soon. Discuss its functions and drawbacks.(GS 3)

The Hindu | Business Standard


Introduction:-

  • The Cabinet recently initiated a major reform by approving the setting up of a regulator called the Rail Development Authority (RDA).
  • The concept of a regulator was first mooted in the railways in 2001 by    an experts group under Rakesh Mohan  .This was later reiterated by the National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC) in 2014 and a panel under BibekDebroy in 2015

Functions:-

  • The regulator will decide on tariffs:
    • The RDA will help the government take appropriate decisions on important policy and operational issues, including pricing of services commensurate with costs, suggest measures for enhancement of non-fare revenue.
    • The regulator will frame principles, recommend tariffs, principles for classification of commodities, frame principles for social service obligation and guidelines for track access charges on dedicated freight corridors.
  • Ensure fair play and a level playing field for stakeholder investment in the railways:
    • Ensure protection of consumer interests, promote competition, encourage market development
  • Set up efficiency and performance standards and disseminate information by creating positive environment for investment and promote efficient resource allocation.
  • It will also benchmark service standards, suggest measures for absorption of new technologies and human resource development and provide a framework for non-discriminatory open access to the dedicated freight corridor infrastructure.
  • RDA would provide transparency to passenger and freight tariff determination and protect consumer interest by ensuring quality of service and cost optimisation.
  • It would also monitor policies on public-private partnerships.
  • Setting performance standards for rail operations and creating level playing policy for private sector participation through an executive order.
  • Ensuring fair play: 
    • The regulatory body will ensure level-playing field for all stakeholders.
    • It will help propose modifications and send suggestions or advisory notes on investment in railways by the Indian Railways, make suggestions regarding policies for private investment to ensure reasonable safeguards to PPP investors and to resolve disputes regarding future concession agreements.

Drawbacks:-

  • This means, it can only recommend changes to passenger and goods fares to the Railway Ministry which will taken a final call on fixing tariff.
  • Lacks autonomy :-
    • The regulator may lack autonomy if it’s formed through an executive order.
  • Mere recommendatory powers to the RDA would not result in effective measures at the grounds.
  • Low Budget :
    • Only 50 crores are allotted to it and they are asked to employ the latest technology and recruits best talents from the private sector which is not possible with the current budget.

Therefore It is a good step to depoliticize the railways but it should be made statutory in the future and more powers should be delegated to it so that it can fulfill the aim for which it is formed.


  1. Critically examine the role of India’s freedom struggle in determining India’s current foreign policy.(GS 1)

Link-1 | Link-2


Background:-

  • The foreign policy of independent India was strongly influenced by Pre-independence stance of Indian  leaders, which was based on four basic principles:
    • Opposition to imperialism and colonial rule
    • Active sympathy and support to the people fighting for independence
    • Opposition to militarism, war and devotion to peace
    • Avoiding foreign entanglements for India.
  • In those resolutions, the cause of democracy was advocated and imperialism and colonialism were denounced.
  • Guided by these ideals, India later became founder member of the Non-aligned Movement and torchbearer of Third World radicalism also.
    • India played an active role in strengthening the Movement and making it an effective voice in representing the collective aspirations and interests of the developing countries on such vital issues as development, peace and stability.
  • Further, it was focussed against menaces fascism, apartheid, imperialism, racism etc. The foreign policy of the country strived for world peace, arms race reduction, diplomatic resolution of conflicts, disarmament etc.
  • A belief in friendly relations with neighbours and all countries of the world was imbibed in the foreign policy.
  • The resolution of conflicts by peaceful means
  • The sovereign equality of all states
  • Independence of thought and action as manifested in the principles of Non-alignment
  • Equity in the conduct of international relations.
  • Improvement of bilateral relations and strengthening of regional co-operation
  • Strong advocacy of general and complete disarmament:
    • India’s formidable stance towards unversal disarmament and resistance to treaties like NPT and CTBT was also guided by ideals of peace.
  • Firmly committed to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
  • Further, Gandhian ideals of truth, nonviolence, tolerance and Idealism mixed with notion of VasudhaivaKutumbkam; Nehruvian rhetoric of socialist development at democratic front and policy of non-alignment became the cornerstones of India’s foreign policy

However some aspects of the foreign policy are not dependent on the freedom struggle like:-

  • India going for Pokharan-I and Pokharan-II towards safeguarding its vital national security interests.
  • India’s intervention in Bangledesh’s Liberation War
  • Recent surgical strike done by Indian military shows that India is ready to take hard stance at the event of threat to its security
  • Also India has signed the LEMOA agreement under which it will provide backend support and refuel to US military equipment this shows that India is ready to abandon Non Alignment
  • Development of Nuclear weapons to ensure india’s interest in opposition to disarmament values of freedom fighters.

Thus, 1991 market led reforms and India’s  quest to be a serious and major player in world and ensuring its national interest against nuclear armed neighbours has lead to little deviation from ideas of freedom fighters. However, it was essential to ensure safe and continued existence of the nation in changed global geo-political scenario.


 

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