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MAINS Q/A 07-06-2018

Q1. America’s threat to cut aid to Pakistan will have little effect on cross border terrorism emanating from India’s neighbours. Comment.

  • Recently the United States President made a statement that US has given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years but acted as a safe haven to the terrorists US hunt in Afghanistan.
  • This statement brings India and cross border terrorism affecting it to the forefront.

The American threat has little effect because :-

  • The proposed cut for 2018 is $350 million. The withheld amount stays in an escrow account, but Pakistan can technically claim the money within two years.
  • Also this is not the first time that US would cut funding. Cutting of aid has not translated into strict sanctions like the one imposed on North Korea
  • Pakistan’s case:-
    • Pakistan security and military establishments have attempted to establish operational links with drug syndicates and fundamentalist groups in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    • Pakistan-based Islamist fundamentalist organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are inextricably linked with international jihadist groups like Taliban and Al Qaida.
    • There are strong evidences of state sponsored terrorism from Pakistan
    • Pakistan has refused to designate terrorists and organisations recognised by the UN.
    • The US power is diminishing in the world and there is rise of China clout which is very visible in Pakistan-China relations .China is cooperating with Pakistan at multiple levels .
    • Even terror groups in Pakistan are self sustaining
  • There is also ISIS issue which is not originating from Pakistan per se but still an issue of cross border terrorism for India.
  • Bangladesh:-
    • After the assassination of Mujibur Rehman, subsequent governments in Bangladesh have allowed ISI activities directed against India to flourish.
    • The extremely porous Indo-Bangladesh border is prone to illegal immigration and has often been used by the ISI to push in its agents.
    • Threat from Bangladesh assumes serious dimensions since it became a base for northeast insurgent groups like ULFA and Naga factions. Of late, it has also been serving as a conduit for ISI sponsored infiltration of terrorists along India and Bangladesh’s porous border.
  • Similarly, due to the open borders between India and Nepal the latter country serves as the easiest entry route

 

Despite such cuts in financial aid there would have impact on Pakistan economy and it is just a short term solution .

 

Q2. Write a brief note on the origin and contribution of the Indian Science Congress to development of science in India.

Origin:-

  • The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) owes its origin to the foresight and initiative of two British Chemists, namely, Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P.S. MacMahon.
  • It occurred to them that scientific research in India might be stimulated if an annual meeting of research workers somewhat on the lines of the British Association for the Advancement of Science could be arranged.
  • The first meeting of the Congress was held from January 15-17, 1914 at the premises of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta.
  • Post-Independence, Nehru made it a practice to inaugurate the event, every January 3. The tradition has been carried on by successive PMs for the last 70 years.

Contribution:-

  • It’s a record that the Science Congress has been held without a break so far.
  • In its initial years, the Congress would discuss the latest scientific developments, but it moved on to the Prime Minister of the day making policy statements on science and technology.
  • From the modest beginning with hundred and five members and thirty five papers communicated for reading at the first session, ISCA has grown into a strong fraternity with more than ten thousand members till to date. The number of papers communicated for reading has risen to nearly one thousand.
  • Indian Science Congress Association introduced the programme for Young Scientists from the 68th session of the Indian Science Congress in 1981.
  • The programme enables Young Scientists to present their research work with opportunities to exchange ideas in the relevant scientific problems with their counterparts and specialist
  • ISC has become a platform as members from different disciplines and from different walks of life come and discuss together.

Effectiveness today

  • ISC remains the only platform for science popularisation and an exercise in public engagement of science. It brings together leaders in science, including Nobel laureates, policy makers, scientists, science students and school kids.
  • It’s a great opportunity for young people to learn about science and the latest developments in India.
  • Many technologies have been discussed which have impact on current problems like reducing carbon footprint, cleaning Ganga, antibiotic resistance etc

Failure:-

  • Pomp and ceremony take precedence over substance. Few practising scientists of note consider the Congress as an important event.
  • The Indian Science Congress has struggled to attract enough contemporary scientists to take it seriously and speak persuasively about their work.
  • Over the past decades, sections of the scientific community have expressed unhappiness with the affairs at ISCA.
  • Some others felt the entry of governments into the affairs had diluted its strengths.
  • Politics seems to have trumped science in the unusual decision to defer India’s biggest scientific meet.
  • In the last few years the India International Science Festival (IISF) almost replicates the Science Congress in many ways and has tacit support from the present dispensation at the Centre.

Suggestions:-

  • It can become aprestigious forum to inspire young science students into meeting leading scientists and learning to find joy and meaning in their careers.
  • In the interest of Science,urgent steps are required to restructure the Congress and get the President elect known for their scientific accomplishments to restore some meaning to the event
  • International example:
    • British Scientific Association has a number of scientific events spread over a year unlike ISCA sticking to annual event. India can follow it.
  • Given the limited resources, changed times with digital space dominating restructuring the Science Congress is a must to give it a meaning.
  • Scientific departments and national laboratories could use the platform of ISC to display their achievements in a way people can understand and also crowd source new ideas.
  • Science congress would also be theperfect platform to attract the youth to careers in science.

 

Q3. What are the issues plaguing the manufacturing sector of India?

  • Electronics manufacturingin India is expected to touch USD 104 billion by 2020 and domestic manufacturers will benefit from GSTimplementation as cost will significantly come down

Electronic manufacturing in india:-

  • Growing middle class, rising disposable incomes, declining prices of electronics and a number of government initiatives have led to a fast-growing market for electronics and hardware products.
  • However, India’s weak manufacturing base has not been able to respond to this increasing demand, leading to a growing trade deficit.

Concerns:-

  • Inverted tax structure for electronic goods. Due to a limited base of local component suppliers, manufacturers aredependent on importing parts.
  • Thepositive custom duties on the components used in electronic products make it expensive for domestic manufacturers to compete with foreign competitors who can access the components at lower prices.
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) in electronics is less than 1% of the total FDI inflow because ofonerous labour laws, delays in land-acquisition and the uncertain tax regime
  • The numerous forms, fees, inspections and the associated time discourage domestic producers from exporting and keep them out of the international supply chain.
  • The United States, home to General Electric and Westinghouse, imposed penal anti-dumping duties on Chinese power plant equipment.Yet, the Indian government could not take action as BHEL lost 30 per cent market share by 2014
  • Poor innovation and also the raw materials are not largely available in India.

Remedies:-

  • Increase the country’s general competitiveness in the export market instead of pursuing sectoral policies. India’s share in the global electronics market was a minuscule 1.6% of the market in 2015 that is currently valued over $1.75 trillion.
  • Bring the duties on components down to the level of the product. Some parts might be used for multiple products that may have different duties, but it’s important to rule in favour of simple rules and apply the rate-cut regardless of use.
  • Laws need to be liberal and predictable.
    • In the case of taxation, it is important to clearly establish the tax liabilities under different circumstances in full detail.
    • A possible experiment could be special economic zones like the Dubai International Financial Centre. Dubai’s normal civil and commercial laws do not apply in this area and a British chief justice ensures the practice of British common law.
  • Targeted initiatives launched by the government have provided much needed impetus to local manufacturing but to make it self sustainable more support must be provided.

 

Q4. The draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens is said to be a first step towards addressing Assam’s immigration problem, but it opens up concerns and faces many challenges. Discuss these concerns and challenges.

National register of citizens:-

  • The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is the register containing names of Indian citizens.
  • It is a part of a much-awaited list that aims to separate the genuine residents of border state Assam and illegal Bangladeshi immigrants
  • Nearly 32 years after the Assam Accord was signed, the first draft of an updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) for the State listed 1.90 crore names out of the 3.29 crore applicants.
  • Assam is the only State in the country that prepared an NRC in 1951 following the census of that year and has become the first State to get the first draft of its own updated NRC.
  • The NRC, 1951, is updated in Assam with the names of applicants whose names appear in NRC, 1951, or any electoral rolls of the State up to midnight of March 24, 1971, and their descendants and all Indian citizens, including their children and descendants who have moved to Assam post March 24, 1971.

Concerns and Challenges:-

  • The initial publication of the register has caused confusion asmany legal residents of Assam have found their names missing.
  • Thesudden appearance of a separate category of “original inhabitants” in the list.  It is governed by the Citizenship Rules of 2003, which does not define “original inhabitants”. Even though the category has reportedly been withdrawn, it is not clear what criteria had been used in the first place.
  • Thepossible disqualification of lakhs of applicants who had submitted panchayat documents as proof of identity. The Guwahati High Court said they had no statutory sanctity. This left about 48 lakh people who had submitted such documents in the lurch.
  • There is a renewed conviction that the exercise of counting Assam’s citizens is a political one, and the new register will be adocument of exclusion, not inclusion.
  • The issue has become much larger than a cut-and-dried question of who is an Indian citizen and who is not.There are important humanitarian concerns at play, concerns that go beyond identification and numbers.
    • Nearly five decades have elapsed since the cut-off date of March 25, 1971, and individuals who have sneaked in illegally have children and grandchildren by now.
  • Muslim fears:
    • Compounded older fears of discrimination that haunt Muslims in the state, which has never quite recovered from the Nellie massacres of 1983.
    • The concerns of the Bengali speaking Muslims have peaked due to the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955. The amendment would allow illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
  • It embodies the paranoias of a volatile state.
  • Paper issues:
    • The process depended on countless fragile, fading documents, where entire family histories may be wiped out by a spelling mistake, a name misheard by surveying officials decades ago, a page missing from an old electoral roll.
    • The bureaucratic ledgers are permeated by memory and hearsay, the document flickers between the official and the personal. It may have been this subjectivity in the counting process that laid it open to charges of political manipulation.
    • In all least 10 districts the records are incomplete or unavailable.
  • The concern for many in India is that anumber of people may be deprived of citizenship through this process.
  • Forged documents:
    • Authorities detected a sizeable number of cases of persons trying to use forged documents to establish their Indian citizenship. Most of the persons who submitted forged documents are suspected to be illegal migrants
  • Delay in process:-
    • Most of the documents sent to authorities outside Assam are taking a lot of time. For instance around 65000 documents were sent to different authorities in West Bengal, only 30 have been sent back after verification so far.

Despite concerns the initiative is praised by many experts as a necessity to reduce the migrant issue in Assam.

 

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