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13 April 2017 Question Bank


13th APRIL 2017 



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.      An international treaty to ban nuclear weapons cannot be delayed any further. Comment


International treaty to ban nuclear weapons

  • In March 2017, at the United Nations in New York, history was made as diplomats from about 130 countries started formal talks on an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
  • The goal is simple: declare it illegal for any country to produce, possess, stockpile, deploy, threaten to use, or use nuclear weapons.
  • It lays down a clear marker for what weapons the world thinks no state can seek,possess and use in wartime.
  • This is how other weapons have been banned, be they chemical weapons, biological weapons, landmines, or cluster munitions.
  • Not surprisingly, none of the nine nuclear weapon countries showed up, India and Pakistan included.

Earlier attempts:

  • The very first resolution at the UN, passed in 1946, called for a plan "for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons."
  • A November 1961 UN General Assembly resolution that declared: "Any state using nuclear and thermonuclear weapons is to be considered as violating the Charter of the United Nations, as acting contrary to the laws of humanity, and as committing a crime against mankind and civilisation."
  • The UN General Assembly asked the International Court of Justice to rule on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.
  • In July 1996, the court issued an advisory opinion, with two key conclusions.

1.      "The threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law."

2.      "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control."

  • In the 20 years since the court issued its judgment, countries with nuclear weapons have simply refused to comply.
  • Rather than starting "negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament", they have sought to block them, choosing to launch long-term costly programmes to maintain, modernise, and in some cases augment their nuclear arsenals.
  • At the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in 2014, officials from 158 countries showed up.
  • This process led to the adoption of a historic resolution at the UN in October 2016, "to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination".
  • India and Pakistan abstained from the UN vote. India's main argument was that nuclear disarmament talks should only happen at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
  • The reason was simple: the Conference on Disarmament works by consensus, which means any state can block progress.



2.India Nepal relations can be strengthened with mutually beneficial electricity trade. Elaborate.


  • Due to political uncertainty, the development of Nepal's hydro potential has been delayed. Out of an economically viable and technically feasible potential of 43.5 GW, only 0.8 GW had been developed by March 2016.
  • Bhutan has reaped the benefit of power export to India and its per capita income in purchasing power parity adjusted for international dollars increased from $475 in 1980 to $7,860 in 2015. India's was $5,730 in 2015.
  • In 2015, Nepal faced load-shedding of up to 16 hours a day during the dry season, when the available capacity of Nepal's hydropower decreases to a third of installed capacity.
  • Peak load outstripped domestic power generation capacity, causing serious power shortage, which was partly met with by import from India.
  • Nepal's electricity supply in 2015-16 was around 5,100 GWh, of which 3,300 GWh was domestic generation and remaining 1,758 GWh was import from India. Import has increased steadily from 746 GWh in 2011-12 to 1,758 GWh in 2015-16, an almost threefold increase.
  • Nepal also exports electricity to India in some periods, although in very small quantity. Per capita electricity consumption in Nepal is one of the world's lowest, at 119 kWh in 2012.
  • Nepal has an ambitious target of reaching 16,500 MW of hydro capacity by 2030, which includes the joint project with India at Pancheshwar.
  • In 2014, India and Nepal signed a Power Trade Agreement and the doors opened for Nepal developers/traders to access the Indian power market.
  • At first, Nepal was apprehensive that it would not get a fair deal trading with a large neighbour, but power is now traded in India on exchanges transparently and the price is known to all, thus assuaging some of Nepal's apprehensions.
  • Recently, the Indian government issued guidelines and draft notification on cross-border electricity trade (CBET) policy to enable Indian/Nepal producers/traders to seamlessly exchange power with neighbouring nations.
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