+91 9004418746enquiry.aashah@gmail.com
+91 9004078746aashahs.ias@gmail.com

11 April 2017 Question Bank


11th APRIL 2017


 (4 Question)

Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.

Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.



1.     The recent incidents of violent attacks on Africans in India raise the allegation of racism on India. How far is this true and how can we respond to this issue?



Attacks on Africans in India:

  • The attack on a small group of Africans in Greater Noida, a suburb of the national capital located in Uttar Pradesh, has once again thrown a spotlight on a disturbing trend in the country: mob violence, andspecifically the targeting of persons of African originin many of these instances. What is particularly disturbing and shameful is that the attack took place in a busy shopping mall without a single bystander, shopkeeper or security guard intervening.
  • It is difficult to see this incident in isolation from other instances of discrimination against African nationals who have taken up residence in cities around the country.
  • As a challenge to the characterisation of the Greater Noida attacks as racist, Mr. Vijay is reported to have queried, "If we are racist, how is it that we live with South Indians [for they are "black" too]?"
  • His observation "we live with" implies that the group to which he belongs, presumably the people to the north of the Vindhyas, extend a favour to those who live to its south.


What's lacking:

  • This has, understandably, touched an anxious chord about their personal safety among the thousands of African nationals who live, work and study in and around Delhi.
  • Despite the attempts by the government to bring international students to India, the experience of foreign students here has not always been a happy one, this being particularly so for those from Africa, though there could be exceptions.
  • Part of the problem is that there are no mechanisms in our educational institutions to enable these students to settle down and flourish. What is worse is that university authorities appear to be unaware of the need for these.

Way ahead:

  • State governments must be instructed by the Centre to see that African students are assured of their safety
  • All educational institutions must with immediate effect double-up the attention they devote to their personal needs, which range from housing to food.
  • India's educational institutions need to create a sense of community.
  • Even as India makes abundant effort to deepen ties with the 54 countries of the African Union, this cannot be achieved without understanding and acting upon the aspirations of nationals of these countries.
  • In modern diplomacy, the quality of people-to-people contact is a factor in determining the overall strength of a bilateral relationship.
  • This is a reminder of the latent racism in India, of the terrible prejudices too many of us harbour, and of the need for a political and social effort to overcome it.





2.     France and India must do more together in the Indian Ocean, given our shared interests of maritime security. Comment.



  • Along with combating terrorism, maritime security has become a priority of our defence and security cooperation.
  • In fact, it greatly contributes to this cooperation given the threat of maritime terrorism.
  • India Australia maritime bilateral exercise is "Varuna".
  • In the meantime, India and France have held two high-level bilateral dialogues on maritime security in the Indian Ocean and signed their first White Shipping Agreement on January 18, 2017.
  • France has significant interests in the Indian Ocean due to its overseas territory, Reunion Island, which is home to over a million French citizens; its 2.8 million square kilometres of exclusive economic zone (i.e. more than 10% of the Indian Ocean's surface), and the volume of sea traffic in this zone.
  • We share, in particular, the same values of preserving the freedom of navigation and respecting the international law of the sea.
  • Therefore, it is both natural and necessary that France and India do more together in the Indian Ocean to serve our shared interests of security.



3.     Implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act will require a restructuring of health-care services. Elaborate.


Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016

  • The Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on March 27, 2017, has been hailed as a momentous reform.
  • According to the Bill, every person will have the right to access mental health care operated or funded by the government; good quality and affordable health care; equality of treatment and protection from inhuman practices; access to legal services; and right to complain against coercion and cruelty.
  • The Bill also empowers a mentally ill person to choose a treatment and her/his nominated representative, decriminalises attempted suicide, prohibits the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to mentally ill adults without the use of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia, and contains provisions for care, treatment and rehabilitation for those who have experienced severe stress and attempted suicide.
  • While these are laudable and ambitious objectives as they address major concerns of mental health care, there have been some critiques drawing attention to the lack of funds, trained personnel, and insufficient emphasis on community care.


Poor infrastructure, low funds

  • The Global Burden of Disease Study shows that in 2013, 50% of all disease burden in India was caused by non-communicable diseases, while mental disorders accounted for about 6% of the total disease burden. A third of this is due to depression, which also significantly contributes to suicide and ischaemic heart disease. Worse, suicide is a leading cause of death in people in India aged 15-29.
  • There are only 43 government-run mental hospitals across all of India to provide services to more than 70 million people living with mental disorders.
  • There are 0.30 psychiatrists, 0.17 nurses, and 0.05 psychologists per 1,00,000 mentally ill patients in the country.
  • At the macro level, the proposed health expenditure of 1.2% of GDP in the Budget for 2017-18 is among the lowest in the world. In real terms, public health expenditure has consistently declined since 2013-14. Of the total health budget, a mere 1-2% is spent on mental health.

Treatment gsap:

  • A pervasive perception is that those with mental illnesses are pathological or even criminal; hence they do not deserve the type of rehabilitation given to those with physical ailments.
  • Besides, the treatment gap (the difference between those suffering from mental illnesses and those seeking medical/psychiatric care) is widened because of the social stigma attached to such illnesses.
  • In fact, many poor people hide their illnesses and endanger their lives. Others argue that it is not so much stigma but ignorance and lack of knowledge, myths, and supernatural beliefs that impede treatment.
  • Women typically face larger treatment gaps as they are vulnerable to violence, sexual abuse and inhuman treatment.


Shift to community-based care

  • An emphatic case could be made for shifting from institutional care to community-based care for people suffering from mental disorders.
  • The Bill seeks to address major lacunae in mental health care and is thus an important step forward.
  • However, its implementation will require substantially larger public resources and, more importantly, restructuring of mental healthcare services with a key role for the community in their provision, rapid expansion of mental health literacy, effective monitoring and enforcement of the objectives envisioned in it.



4.     The Teesta treaty continues to dominate relations between India and Bangladesh. Comment.


  • Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India and the signing of 36 agreements of cooperation ranging from the economic, defence and power sectors to the peaceful use of nuclear energy shows that significant progress has been made in Indo-Bangla relations in the last eight years.
  • However, the stalled Teesta treaty continues to eclipse bilateral relations as water affects the lives of ordinary people across vast spaces of land.

India-Bangladesh Waters:

  • Bangladesh shares 54 of its 57 transboundary rivers with India. After the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Meghna (GBM) river system, Teesta is the fourth largest river shared between the two countries.
  • The Teesta river's floodplain covers an area of 2,750 sq km in Bangladesh, supporting roughly 10 million people.
  • An estimated one lakh hectares of land across five districts of Bangladesh are severely impacted and face acute shortages during dry seasons
  • Says Ainun Nishat, a prominent hydrology expert from Bangladesh, "India has completely dried out the river on our end during lean period by closing all the gates of the Gazaldoba barrage.


The History:

  • In 1983, an ad hoc water-sharing agreement allocated 39% of the water flow to India and 36% to Bangladesh and remaining 25% was left unallocated for a later decision.
  • In 2011, during the visit of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Dhaka, plans had been confirmed of an interim arrangement of 15 years, with India getting 42.5% and Bangladesh 37.5% of the river during dry seasons.
  • The arrangement also included the setting of a joint hydrological observation station to gather accurate data for the future.
  • The plans fell through when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee opted out of the delegation led by Dr. Singh to Dhaka, expressing strong reservations against giving Bangladesh a greater share of water.

Recent development:

  • During her recent face-to-face talks with Prime Minister Hasina in Delhi, the Chief Minister stated, "Your problem is water, not Teesta. I am willing to look at any alternate proposal to address your issues."
  • When the Chief Minister herself had appointed an expert committee headed by Kalyan Rudra in 2011 to study the Teesta issue, the report, though unpublished, was in favour of Bangladesh.


Back to Top