Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 8


1.What do you understand by Trade facilitation of WTO? What is the view of developing countries on trade facilitation? (GS 2)

विश्व व्यापार संगठन के व्यापार सुविधा से आप क्या समझते हैं? विकासशील देशों की इसपर क्या राय है?

Suggestion Answer:

Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) was proposed at the 9th WTO ministerial conference at Bali, Indonesia in 2013. It aims to reduce red tape and bureaucratic hassles in customs clearances of member states. It will come into force one 2/3rd of the members have completed their domestic ratification process.

Under TFA, all member states have to:
1. Minimize the documents required for customs clearances.
2. Provide for electronic payment of fees, duties and taxes.
3. Setup single window mechanisms to enable easier submission of documents by traders.
4. Publish a detailed list of procedures for import-export, fees, inspection rules, penalties etc.
5. Immediate notification to traders if goods are detained at customs.
6. Faster clearances to perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables, flowers etc.
7. Provide for advance ruling as and when applicable.
8. Setup a committee on trade facilitation which will coordinate with an international committee on trade facilitation setup at the WTO.

Least developed countries and developing countries will get financial and technical help to comply with the above rules.

The view of developing countries on trade facilitation:
1. They fear a rise in imports relative to export benefits accrued, which would widen their current account deficits and be detrimental to local industry.
2. They believe the offer for technical and financial assistance will remain illusory, just like climate finance has been more words than substance.
3. They are optimistic that the TFA will boost global trade in general, at the time of global economic downturn.
4. India refused to sign the TFA since it wanted a permanent solution to the public stockholding issue under the Agreement on Agriculture. It wanted to use TFA as a bargaining chip. However, India agreed to sign the TFA in 2015.
5. TFA will increase global GDP by at least $1 trillion and create 21 million jobs, most of the latter in developing countries, which is good for them.

Thus, TFA promises to be a gateway towards a more integrated, globalized world if all the agreements and promises are adhered to in letter and spirit. This is particularly important in the present times which have seen a penchant for protectionism and a backlash against globalization.

2.Do you think that parliament needs more funds for research, infrastructure and digital outreach? Also, discuss the benefits of Increased budgetary support for Parliament. (GS 3)

आपको क्या लगता है कि संसद को क्या अनुसंधान, बुनियादी ढांचा और डिजिटल आउटरीच की जरूरत है? इसके अलावा, संसद के बजटीय सहायता बढ़ाने के लाभों पर चर्चा करें।

Suggestion Answer:

India spends 0.049% of its total budget on the Parliament. Average spending by other countries is 0.49% of their budgets, meaning that India spends one-tenth of what other countries do on their Parliaments.

In recent times many reports have been critical of the working of the parliament and low output per session. This can be partially handled by increasing the funding on parliamentary research, infrastructure and digital outreach.

Increased budgetary support for research to the Parliament will lead to:
1. Well informed parliamentarians who can debate on issues with greater depth and thus lead to better legislation.
2. Better functioning of parliamentary committees on the lines of global best practices.
3. Better monitoring of the Executive’s actions in order to hold them accountable to a greater extent.
4. Use of big data to gauge public perception for different legislations and the functioning of the Parliament.

Increased budgetary support for infrastructure to Parliament will lead to:
1. Bringing Parliament in sync with Digital India and lead to a paperless Parliament.
2. Digitization of records that will enhance retrievability and better access to archives.

Increased funding for digital outreach will lead to:
1. Greater public-parliamentarian connect and bridge the divide.
2. Make parliamentary documents readily available in all languages in the public domain, including committee reports as well as parliamentary debates.
3. Make the parliamentarians aware about the fact that a greater voting age population is watching their behaviour in the Parliament, thus leading to better behaviour instead of raucous sessions punctuated by diatribes.
4. Lead to innovative ways of reaching out to the public such as social media etc, and conducting competitions and quizzes to engage the burgeoning demographic.

Increased budgetary support to Parliament can be used to increase the staff strength of its Library and Reference, Research, Documentation and Information Service (LARRDIS), enable professional development of its researchers and allow MPs to employ professional research staff. The Congressional Research Service housed in the Library of the US Congress employs 600 people out of whom 400 are policy analysts, attorneys and information professionals.

India desperately needs such a service, or tie ups with think tanks such as PRS India, who specialize in legislative functioning and can assist the Parliament to better serve the needs of the world’s largest democracy. LAMP fellowship (Legislative Assistant to Member of Parliament) is one such initiative which can be used as a lamp for other brighter reforms.

3.“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” Discuss. (GS 4)

अच्छी तरह से काम करने का इनाम अधिक काम करने के लिए एक अवसर है। चर्चा करें।

Suggestion Answer:

The above quote, by Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine, tells us the importance of doing one’s work diligently with the sole intention of giving our best in it.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing better.” This quote sums up the purpose of work. At the job, doing good work creates a favourable impression in front of superiors as well as generates inspiration to the subordinates. The accolades motivate the person to do more such good work and open up newer vistas.

Not only at the job but in other aspects of life as well, doing the act properly provides an opportunity to do more. Efficiently managing office work gives more opportunity to spend time with the family.

Moreover, it’s not only about accolades from others. Self-satisfaction is the biggest motivator. Self-satisfaction leads us to do more of the same work, in a better manner.
For example, an SDM who helps the poor by building proper houses for them under a government scheme will always be motivated to do more of that work simply because of the satisfaction that s/he, as a civil servant, gets from public service. Monetary compensation is not as much an important part of the reward as this self-satisfaction.

Doing good work also opens up newer opportunities for a person. The civil servants contribution in implementing a scheme properly will be acknowledged and he may be allotted some other scheme which is facing troubles with implementation. Hard-working people are always needed and there is no dearth of opportunities. All that is needed is integrity and commitment towards the task at hand, and the zeal to do more. 


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