Mains Q & A 27 December 2022
Q1. Indian local governments must promote openness and efficiency while advancing inclusive, informed governance. Discuss the steps that needed to be taken in this regard. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II Election related issues
The nation’s democratic decentralisation process entered a new phase with the passage of the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution. It’s been 25 years since these numerous autonomous village panchayats and grame sabhas were set up to manage local growth.
The amendment made it necessary to create both urban and rural local bodies (ULBs): All States and Union Territories are required by Article 243 B to have a three-tier Panchayati Raj system, with the exception of those with populations under 20 lakh, which may adopt a two-tier system. Similar to this, 243Q makes it possible to create municipalities in urban areas. These institutions need to be reexamined and revitalised in order to preserve effective governance because their functioning has not gone as expected.
Revitalising local government to promote inclusive, intelligent governance:
Cities with a population of more than a million people require metropolitan governing bodies. There is a strong case for establishing a two-tiered government structure where all local responsibilities are delegated to the ward committees while services for the entire city, such transportation, water supply, sewerage, etc., are under the control of the city council or regional authority.
Every city needs to be treated as a distinct economic unit. In larger areas, City Economic Councils can serve as a clearinghouse.
The national government has begun the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan. The campaign was started with the catchphrase “Sabka Sath, Sabka Gaon, Sabka Vikas.”
It aims to produce Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs) throughout the country and publish them online so that anybody may track the advancement of the several government flagship programmes.
Gram Panchayats have been tasked with developing GPDPs utilising the tools at their disposal to promote social justice and economic growth.
The E-Panchayat Mission Mode Project was created by the Indian government to increase the efficiency and transparency of all Panchayats.
Social Audit: Jan Sunwai in Rajasthan showed how useful social audit is. An open, independent Social Audit can assist the public hold the legislators accountable.
Ward committees and neighbourhood sabhas should use a technologically enabled “Open Cities Framework” and use digital tools for feedback and reporting.
Similar to the PESA Act, Gram Sabhas’ tasks and obligations must be clearly defined in order for them to function effectively.
IT’s function Municipal revenues, like property taxes, and services for people, such grievance redress, must be accessible online. This might make governance simpler.
public-private collaborations are encouraged Effective PPP programmes must be developed at the state and local levels to finance city growth. It should be the state’s responsibility to create an atmosphere that supports more and more extensive private sector infrastructure investment.
The primary objective of local government organisations, whether in urban or rural areas, is to guarantee that the public has access to the required infrastructure and services. People in various parts of India lead difficult lives with poor quality of life. To address this issue, the Indian government must begin a number of reforms to strengthen local governance.
Q2. An India-United Kingdom Free Commercial Agreement (FTA) can expand economic possibilities and unite people, organisations, and concepts with a common history. Examine. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II International Relations
On November 1, formal negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and the UK would begin. An interim “early harvest” deal would follow, and it would be completed by March 2022. The interim trade deal would offer early tariff or market access reductions on a select number of crucial, high-priority commodities and services.
India-UK commercial relations:
As one of India’s most important commercial partners today, the U.K. and India have a long history of friendship.
Behind Singapore and Mauritius, which are ranked first and second, respectively, it is India’s third-largest FDI investor.
The UK is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and one of India’s vital partners. The UK would be requested to help on international issues such as the standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh area and its desire for a permanent place on the UN Security Council by forging tighter ties.
The UK has been lobbying India for a bilateral trade agreement ever since it voted to exit the European Union (EU) in June 2016 and actually left in January 2020.
India made the decision to leave the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership pact in November 2019. The US, EU, and UK are significant markets for Indian exporters who wish to diversify their sourcing, thus there is a renewed emphasis on trade agreements with them.
Opportunities provided by the free trade agreement between India and the UK:
Current estimates place annual commerce between India and the UK at over $33 billion, with $15 billion going to goods and the rest $21 billion to services.
exploiting India’s trade surplus India is the sixth-largest non-EU commercial partner of the UK and one of the top ten exporting nations to the UK.
The United Kingdom is one of the few significant economies with whom India has a trade surplus.
Export advantage: India’s major exports to the UK include textiles, pharmaceuticals, refined oil, and metal production.
Complementarity in trade Non-ferrous metals, electrical goods, general industrial machinery, and metal ores are among the primary exports of the UK to India. The two countries’ overall trading patterns exhibit a high degree of complementarity, with India’s export basket having a high match with the UK’s import basket and vice versa.
FDI inflow: Since 2000, the UK has steadily expanded its FDI inflows, ranking as India’s sixth-largest FDI source.
Untapped potential: The two countries want to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers to increase trade between their economies. The Indian products with the highest export potential are, according to the International Trade Centre (ITC), pharmaceuticals, jewellery made of precious metals, and diamonds. The UK’s turbojets, whiskies, and helicopter and aeroplane parts are the most export-friendly products.
Conclusion: India has the opportunity to establish itself as a rival trading nation to China in a post-covid world. Furthermore, it helps India to demonstrate its commitment to more open trade without having to worry about creating big trade deficits.
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