Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – December 23

1.Recent Legion hack attack has strengthened the need for a strong cyber security policy. What steps has the government taken to tackle the cyber threats to India? Why these steps have not been successful? (GS-3)

हाल ही में हुए लीजन हैक ने एक मजबूत साइबर सुरक्षा नीति की ज़रूरत को मजबूत किया है। सरकार भारत ने साइबर खतरों से निपटने के लिए ले क्या किया है? ये कदम क्यों सफल नहीं हुए?

Suggested Answer:In the last couple of decades India has carved a niche for itself in IT. Many establishments ranging from government departments to banking industry and financial institutions have embraced IT to its full optimization. However, cyber security of these establishments has become a concern with more and more cyber attacks are being directed toward political, economic and financial institutions.
To strengthen the security of India’s cyber space, the government has taken many measures-

  • Establishment of Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In)-
    CERT-In is the nodal agency responsible for cyber security in India. It is a functional organisation of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Its mission is to enhance the security of India’s Communication and Information infrastructure through proactive action and active collaboration.
  • Establishing agencies like NATGRID, National Technical Research Organisation and National Information Board-
    These agencies primarily deal with tasks like providing technical intelligence to other agencies on internal and external security, hi-tech surveillance jobs, connecting databases of core security agencies of the Government of India etc.
  • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) –
    It was created and placed under the technical intelligence agency, the National Technical Research Organisation, to roll out counter-measures in cooperation with other security agencies and private corporate entities that man these critical sectors.
  • National Cyber security policy 2013 and IT Act 2000 (and its amendments)-
    The purpose of such policy/legislation is to ensure a secure and resilient cyberspace for citizens, businesses and the government.
  • Setting up infrastructure at local level and capacity building-
    Establishment of cyber cells and cyber forensic investigation labs across states and union territories for reporting and investigation of cyber crimes as well as training of personnel.
  • Apart from the above measures, armed forces have their own teams/cells for thwarting cyber attacks.

It can be seen that the government has taken a multitude of steps to strengthen security setup and counter cyber attacks. However, these steps have failed to produce the desired results due to reasons like-

  • Lack of coordination among the various civilian and military agencies.
  • Lack of coordination among the various multinational government and non government agencies.
  • Most of the norms of IT Act provide no stringent measures but are more preventive in nature.
  • Most of the resources are used for protection of military infrastructure, leaving the other important institutions to fend for themselves.
  • Shortage of workforce (cyber experts) to effectively deal with threats.
  • Proposed agencies like National Cyber Coordination Centre are yet to become functional.
  • The roles of various agencies overlap and there is no clear hierarchy between them. Also, there is no one central agency tasked with the job of looking after the cyber space and coordinating between agencies.
  • Lack of digital literacy not just among the government functionaries but also among the citizens.

Way forward-

  • Formulation of a consolidated law/policy for dealing with cyber security is very necessary. There should be a widespread discussion involving the various stakeholders for formulating such a policy.
  • Establishment of a permanent central agency responsible for cyber security. All the other agencies should either be abolished or brought under the control of a central agency. The asymmetric character of digital warfare requires a multi-agency organisation that is not just technically equipped, but also bases its decision on sound strategy and regular policy inputs.
  • Training the government staff to deal with cyber threats and hiring permanent/contractual staff for the agency responsible for securing cyber space. It is also important to educate the citizens about the threats of the cyber world.
  • The government doesn’t have the wherewithal or the scope to protect all the critical sectors. It needs to work closely with the private sector manning these sectors to establish a foolproof defence system.
  • Efforts should also be made at the international level to form a global organization (with the cyber security agencies of various governments as its members) to make cyber space more secure.

With the advent of digital age, more and more critical information is being put online. Securing the cyber space has become important not just for the success and survival of government programs like Digital India, but also for a secure future of the country.

2.Comment on the attitude shift of western countries towards anti-immigration. What would be it’s implications on India? (GS-1)

आप्रवास विरोध के प्रति पश्चिमी देशों के रवैये में बदलाव पर टिप्पणी करें। इसका भारत पर क्या प्रभाव हो सकता है?

Suggested Answer:

The Anti-Globalization movement, which began as a social movement against corporate capitalism and undue influence on governance by MNC lobbies, has been captured by demagogues in the West as an ever popular drive to ‘change the system.’ This movement is gaining ground in the Western world, as evident by the rise of Right-wing protectionist policies across Europe, Euro skeptic movements in various countries, ‘Brexit’, victory of Republicans in USA’s Presidential elections etc. Various reasons behind this are-

  • Economic reasons-
    Immigrants are usually willing to work on lower salaries as compared to the citizens of western nations. Also, companies shift their production lines to countries with low wages so as to reduce their costs. These factors result in lesser jobs for the local people. Increasing unemployment, economic slowdown and limited job opportunities result in conflict between the local population and the immigrants with the citizens blaming immigrants for loss of jobs.
  • Socio-cultural reasons-
    • o Immigrants are usually protective of their cultures and the local people want them to assimilate/adopt the local culture. This results in a “Clash of Civilisations” and the local population start seeing the different cultures as a threat to their own culture.
    • o With the influx of immigrants/refugees, social welfare sector needs to cover more people. This coupled with a reduced spending on social welfare leads to strain on the sector.
    • o Involvement of refugees/immigrants in criminal activities also leads to an increased support to anti immigration policies.
  • Terrorism, racism and “Islamophobia”-
    • o Increasing number of terrorist attacks in the western nations stokes fear and hatred among the local population.
    • o An increase in terrorist attacks has led to a fear of a particular religion – Islam, with many linking the religion to terrorism. And since majority of the refugees are from Muslim majority nations, citizens support an anti immigrant stand of the government.
    • o The prevalent racism and other discrimination adds to the anti immigration stand.
  • Failure of centre and left of centre policies-

Failure of the prevalent centre and left of centre policies to deal with the problems like unemployment, terrorism etc has led to an increase in support for the right-wing and consequently has resulted in an attitude shift towards immigrants.


This attitude shift has many implications for India-

  • Negative Implications-
    • o Our transnational businesses, IT and other services and labour market that fetch remittances in foreign currency will be affected negatively.
    • o There will be pressure on government to safeguard the interests of Indian immigrants abroad who may face unjust discrimination due to sudden change in policies by the West.
    • o Indian MNC’s with significant presence in western markets can face economic losses.
    • o Rising unemployment might even lead to an anti India stance among western nations.
  • Positive implications-
    • o India needs the expertise of the foreign workers, for example in sectors like higher education and high end defence manufacturing. So, if India can position itself as the new hub for skilled immigrants, it stands to benefit immensely.
    • o An increase in protectionism would help India in focusing and developing local markets so as to reduce dependence on foreign markets.

There is an anti immigration wave in the west which is only expected to strengthen further in coming years. There is a need for a concerted action from all the nations in the world to stop this wave and bridge the chasm between the citizens of this world.

3.“The India-Indonesia relationship has been one of potential rather than realization”.Explain. (GS-2)

‘भारत-इंडोनेशिया के रिश्ते में प्राप्ति की तुलना में क्षमता है “। समझाएँ।

Suggested Answer:

India and Indonesia have shared a bond since ancient times. The ties between the two nations are built not just on religious values and trade but also on shared values of democracy, non-alignment, respect for diversity and pluralism. However, even today, the potential from this relationship has not been much realized, as can be seen from-

  • India and Indonesia have a complex history, which has led to several false starts in their relationship. After the initial success of Non-Aligned Movement and the Asian-African Summit in 1950s, from the 1960s India’s role in Southeast Asia withered as Asian solidarity perished while the regional security architecture fractured along the Cold War divide.
  • The relations deteriorated with Indonesia’s Friendship Treaty in 1961 with China (at the time when Sino-Indian tensions were peaking). The relations plummeted further with Indonesia’s support to Pakistan in 1965 war with India and India’s support to Malaysia during conflict between Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • It is only in the last decade that trade between the two nations has picked up with bilateral trade touching 20 billion USD in 2015. It has come down to 16 billion USD currently.
  • There is still not a direct air link between India and Indonesia even though the Andaman and Nicobar islands are only 70 nautical miles from Sumatra and Indonesia.

This can be attributed to many factors-

  • Cold war was one of the major reasons for decline in relationship. While India continued to be non aligned, Indonesia took a strict anti communist stand within the country.
  • Both the countries supported countries that had a conflict with them. For example, Indonesia supported Pakistan and India supported Malaysia
  • Indifference of the successive governments towards building a strong relationship. Only recently have we started focusing on South East Asia with our Look East and Act East policies.
  • Trade between the two nations has always been low. And with Indonesia becoming a part of ASEAN, it didn’t focus on boosting trade with India.
  • Indonesia as a nation faces major infrastructure challenges due to its island geography, mountainous regions and large population. Due to poor presence of India in global Manufacturing Sector, Indonesia has never been a major hub of Indian investments.

In current times, India and Indonesia can help in each other in many ways like-

  • Economic aspect-
    Indonesia is the second largest trading partner in ASEAN as well as major source of palm oil and coal for India. It is expected that bilateral trade between the two may grow to $60 billion over the next decade. India can also get significant benefits through ASEAN Free trade agreement and RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership).
  • Strategic/Security aspect-
    The two countries can help play a stabilizing role in Asia-Pacific region, especially at a time when China is involved in border and maritime disputes with its neighbour and is looking for expanding its influence in Indian Ocean. And with the US becoming non committal towards its role in this region, it will be helpful to build stronger ties so as to reduce their dependence on powers outside Asia.
    The two nations can also play an important role in combating terrorism, especially when international groups like ISIS are seeking to expand their influence.
  • Tourism-
    There is also a lot of scope for boosting tourism and people-to-people ties in both the countries as we share a common heritage.
  • Other aspects-
    Security of Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific communication lines, UNSC reform and piracy are some of the major issues where Indonesia can play major role and help in furthering India’s Act east policy.

Despite being neighbours with shared cultural and historical links, the two nations have remained distant for too long. It is time to let bygones be bygones and renew our age old ties.

4.“More judges, more courts, more computers alone may not do much to improve the efficiency of courts or access to justice.” Discuss. (GS-2)

“अधिक न्यायाधीश, अधिक अदालत और अधिक कंप्यूटर अदालतों की दक्षता या उपयोग में सुधार नहीं कर सकते हैं। चर्चा करें।

Suggested Answer:

According to a Court News, 2014 report there are more than 44 lakh cases pending in the country’s high courts. This figure touches three crore if we take into account all the courts of India. At a recent public forum, the Chief Justice of India pointed out as to how a lack of funds to the judiciary is one of the main reasons for the huge number of pending cases.

Funding to judiciary has become an issue because-

  • India currently spends about 0.01% of the gross domestic product (GDP) on judiciary per year. Most of these funds are allocated by the state governments.
  • Lower funding results in lesser number of judges and lesser number of benches, thereby adding to the pendency of cases.

However, low funding is just a part of the problem. There are other factors responsible as well, like-

  • There are too many lacunas and gaps in Indian laws and acts resulting in filing of several frivolous cases, thus, increasing the number of litigations. For example, the property rights and the related tenancy rights in India are so ill-defined that there are large numbers of litigations surrounding property disputes.
  • Complicated and ill defined legal proceedings add to the delays. Adjournments, absenteeism of lawyers and judges etc are other reasons for the delay.
  • Delayed appointment of judges.
  • High cost of legal proceedings and legal fees act as an impediment for getting access to justice.
  • Corruption and unprofessional behaviour not just among judges/lawyers but also in investigating agencies like the police, results in prolonged proceedings.
  • Lack of application of technology to ease procedures and bring transparency in proceedings.

Way forward-
All the three branches of State- Executive, Legislature and Judiciary- are responsible for the current rot. Possible solutions to deal with this problem are-

  • Simplification of not just the laws but also legal procedures of courts.
  • Strengthening the Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanisms.
  • Levying heavy penalties for unprofessional and unethical behaviour on not just the police but also lawyers and judges.
  • Increasing funding to judiciary- This would help in developing infrastructure and hiring more judges.
  • Hiring more staff and formation of All India Judicial Service.
  • Formulating policies/laws against frivolous litigations.
  • Supreme Court should focus more on Constitutional cases and cases of national interest.
  • Capacity building- For staff and investigating agencies.

Justice delayed is justice denied. And denying justice to a victim is patently violative of his basic human rights. It is the need of the hour to tackle this menace so as to prevent the common man from losing confidence in our judiciary.


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