[ CSE – 2019/2020 ] [Optional] HISTORY MAINS TEST SERIES


 

Click Here to Download the PDF

 


History test plan -20-20 (2)


Course and Fee Description:-

Start Date – 17th March,2019 (Sunday)
Program Fee:- 16000 (Exclusive of GST)


Topics for the MAINS Test Plan as per UPSC CSE Mains History Syllabus –

Paper – I

  1. Sources: Archaeological sources: Exploration, excavation, epigraphy, numismatics, monuments Literary sources: Indigenous: Primary and secondary; poetry, scientific literature, literature, literature in regional languages, religious literature. Foreign accounts: Greek, Chinese and Arab writers.
  2. Pre-history and Proto-history:Geographical factors; hunting and gathering (paleolithic and mesolithic); Beginning of agriculture (neolithic and chalcolithic).
  3. Indus Valley Civilization:Origin, date, extent, characteristics, decline, survival and significance, art and architecture.
  4. Megalithic Cultures:Distribution of pastoral and farming cultures outside the Indus, Development of community life, Settlements, Development of agriculture, Crafts, Pottery, and Iron industry.
  5. Aryans and Vedic Period:Expansions of Aryans in India. Vedic Period: Religious and philosophic literature; Transformation from Rig Vedic  period to the later Vedic period; Political, social and economical life; Significance of the Vedic Age; Evolution of Monarchy and Varna system.
  6. Period of Mahajanapadas:Formation of States (Mahajanapada): Republics and monarchies; Rise of urban centres; Trade routes; Economic growth; Introduction of coinage; Spread of Jainism and Buddhism; Rise of Magadha and Nandas. Iranian and Macedonian invasions and their impact.
  7. Mauryan Empire:Foundation of the Mauryan Empire, Chandragupta, Kautilya and Arthashastra; Ashoka; Concept of Dharma; Edicts; Polity, Administration; Economy; Art, architecture and sculpture; External contacts; Religion; Spread of religion; Literature.Disintegration of the empire; Sungas and Kanvas.
  8. Post – Mauryan Period (Indo-Greeks, Sakas, Kushanas, Western Kshatrapas):Contact with outside world; growth of urban centres, economy, coinage, development of religions, Mahayana, social conditions, art, architecture, culture, literature and science.
  9. Early State and Society in Eastern India, Deccan and South India:Kharavela, The Satavahanas, Tamil States of the Sangam Age; Administration, economy, land grants, coinage, trade guilds and urban centres; Buddhist centres; Sangam literature and culture; Art and architecture.
  10. Guptas, Vakatakas and Vardhanas:Polity and administration, Economic conditions, Coinage of the Guptas, Land grants, Decline of urban centres, Indian feudalism, Caste system, Position of women, Education and educational institutions; Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi, Literature, scientific literature, art and architecture.
  11. Regional States during Gupta Era:The Kadambas, Pallavas, Chalukyas of Badami; Polity and Administration, Trade guilds, Literature; growth of Vaishnava and Saiva religions. Tamil Bhakti movement, Shankaracharya; Vedanta; Institutions of temple and temple architecture; Palas, Senas, Rashtrakutas, Paramaras, Polity and administration; Cultural aspects. Arab conquest of Sind; Alberuni, The Chalukyas of Kalyana, Cholas, Hoysalas, Pandyas; Polity and Administration; local Government; Growth of art and architecture, religious sects, Institution of temple and Mathas, Agraharas, education and literature, economy and society.
  12. Themes in Early Indian Cultural History:Languages and texts, major stages in the evolution of art and architecture, major philosophical thinkers and schools,  ideas in Science and Mathematics.
  13. Early Medieval India, 750-1200:Polity: Major political developments in Northern India and the Peninsula, origin and the rise of Rajputs; The Cholas: administration, village economy and society; “Indian Feudalism”; Agrarian economy and urban settlements; Trade and commerce; Society: the status of the Brahman and the new social order; Condition of women; Indian science and technology
  14. Cultural Traditions in India, 750-1200:Philosophy: Skankaracharya and Vedanta, Ramanuja and Vishishtadvaita, Madhva and Brahma-Mimansa; Religion: Forms and features of religion, Tamil devotional cult, growth of Bhakti, Islam and its arrival in India, Sufism; Literature: Literature in Sanskrit, growth of Tamil literature, literature in the newly developing languages, Kalhan’s Rajtarangini, Alberuni’s India; Art and Architecture: Temple architecture, sculpture, painting
  15. The Thirteenth Century:Establishment of the Delhi Sultanate: The Ghurian invasions – factors behind Ghurian success; Economic, social and cultural consequences; Foundation of Delhi Sultanate and early Turkish Sultans; Consolidation: The rule of Iltutmish and Balban
  16. The Fourteenth Century:“The Khalji Revolution”; Alauddin Khalji: Conquests and territorial expansion, agrarian and economic measures; Muhammad Tughluq: Major projects, agrarian measures, bureaucracy of Muhammad Tughluq; Firuz Tughluq: Agrarian measures, achievements in civil engineering and public works, decline of the Sultanate, foreign contacts and Ibn Battuta’s account;
  17. Society, Culture and Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries: Society: composition of rural society, ruling classes, town dwellers, women, religious classes, caste and slavery under the Sultanate, Bhakti movement, Sufi movement; Culture: Persian literature, literature in the regional languages of North India, literature in the languages of South India, Sultanate architecture and new structural forms, painting, evolution of a composite culture; Economy: Agricultural production, rise of urban economy and non-agricultural production, trade and commerce
  18. The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century: Political Developments and Economy: Rise of Provincial Dynasties: Bengal, Kashmir (Zainul Abedin), Gujarat, Malwa, Bahmanids; The Vijayanagra Empire; Lodis; Mughal Empire, First phase: Babur and  Humayun; The Sur Empire: Sher Shah’s administration; Portuguese Colonial enterprise; Bhakti and Sufi Movements
  19. The Fifteenth and early Sixteenth Century – Society and Culture: Regional cultural specificities; Literary traditions; Provincial architecture; Society, culture, literature and the arts in Vijayanagara Empire.
  20. Akbar: Conquests and consolidation of the Empire; Establishment of Jagir and Mansab systems; Rajput policy; Evolution of religious and social outlook, theory of Sulh-i-kul and religious policy; Court patronage of art and technology
  21. Mughal Empire in the Seventeenth Century: Major administrative policies of Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb; The Empire and the Zamindars; Religious policies of Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb; Nature of the Mughal State; Late Seventeenth century crisis and the revolts; The Ahom Kingdom; Shivaji and the early Maratha Kingdom.
  22. Economy and Society in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: Population, agricultural production, craft production; Towns, commerce with Europe through Dutch, English and French companies : a trade revolution; Indian mercantile classes, banking, insurance and credit systems; Condition of peasants, condition of women; Evolution of the Sikh community and the Khalsa Panth
  23. Culture in the Mughal Empire: Persian histories and other literature; Hindi and other religious literature; Mughal architecture; Mughal painting; Provincial architecture and painting; Classical music; Science and technology
  24. The Eighteenth Century: Factors for the decline of the Mughal Empire; The regional principalities: Nizam’s Deccan, Bengal, Awadh; Maratha ascendancy under the Peshwas; The Maratha fiscal and financial system; Emergence of Afghan Power, Battle of Panipat: 1761; State of politics, culture and economy on the eve of the British conquest

Paper – II

  1. European Penetration into India: The Early European Settlements; The Portuguese and the Dutch; The English and the French East India Companies; Their struggle for supremacy; Carnatic Wars; Bengal -The conflict between the English and the Nawabs of Bengal; Siraj and the English; The Battle of Plassey; Significance of  Plassey.
  2. British Expansion in India:Bengal – Mir Jafar and Mir Kasim; The Battle of Buxar; Mysore; The Marathas; The three Anglo-Maratha Wars; The Punjab.
  3. Early Structure of the British Raj:The early administrative structure; From diarchy to direct control; The Regulating Act (1773); The Pitt’s India Act (1784); The Charter Act (1833); The voice of free trade and the changing character of British colonial rule; The English utilitarian and India.
  4. Economic Impact of British Colonial Rule:Land revenue settlements in British India; The Permanent Settlement; Ryotwari Settlement; Mahalwari Settlement; Economic impact of the revenue; arrangements; Commercialization of agriculture; Rise of landless agrarian labourers; Impoverishment of the rural society; Dislocation of traditional trade and commerce; De-industrialisation; Decline of traditional crafts; Drain of wealth; Economic transformation of India; Railroad and communication network including telegraph and postal services; Famine and poverty in the rural interior; European business enterprise and its limitations.
  5. Social and Cultural Developments:The state of indigenous education, its dislocation; Orientalist – Anglicist controversy, The introduction of western education in India; The rise of press, literature and public opinion; The rise of modern vernacular literature; Progress of science; Christian missionary activities in India.
  6. Social and Religious Reform movements in Bengal and Other Areas:Ram Mohan Roy, The Brahmo Movement; Devendranath Tagore; Iswarchandra Vidyasagar; The Young Bengal Movement; Dayanada Saraswati; The social reform movements in India including Sati, widow remarriage, child marriage etc.; The
    contribution of Indian renaissance to the growth of modern India; Islamic revivalism – the Feraizi and Wahabi Movements.
  7. Indian Response to British Rule:Peasant movements and tribal uprisings in the 18th and 19th centuries including the Rangpur Dhing (1783), the Kol Rebellion (1832), the Mopla Rebellion in Malabar (1841-1920), the Santal Hul (1855), Indigo Rebellion (1859-60), Deccan Uprising (1875) and the Munda Ulgulan (1899- 1900); The Great Revolt of 1857 – Origin, character, causes of failure, the consequences; The shift in the character of peasant uprisings in the post-1857 period; the peasant movements of the 1920s and 1930s.
  8. Factors leading to the birth of Indian Nationalism; Politics of Association; The Foundation of the Indian National Congress; The Safety-valve thesis relating to the birth of the Congress; Programme and objectives of Early Congress; the social composition of early Congress leadership; the Moderates and Extremists; The Partition of Bengal (1905); The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal; the economic and political aspects of Swadeshi Movement; The beginning of revolutionary extremism in India.
  9. Rise of Gandhi; Character of Gandhian nationalism; Gandhi’s popular appeal; Rowlatt Satyagraha; the Khilafat Movement; the Non-cooperation Movement; National politics from the end of the Non-cooperation movement to the beginning of the Civil Disobedience movement; the two phases of the Civil Disobedience Movement; Simon Commission; The Nehru Report; the Round Table Conferences; Nationalism and the Peasant Movements; Nationalism and Working class movements; Women and Indian youth and students in Indian politics (1885-1947); the election of 1937 and the formation of ministries; Cripps Mission; the Quit India Movement; the Wavell Plan; The Cabinet Mission.
  10. Constitutional Developments in the Colonial India between 1858 and 1935
  11. Other strands in the National Movement The Revolutionaries: Bengal, the Punjab, Maharashtra, U.P, the Madras Presidency, Outside India. The Left; The Left within the Congress: Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, the Congress Socialist Party; the Communist Party of India, other left parties.
  12. Politics of Separatism; the Muslim League; the Hindu Mahasabha; Communalism and the politics of partition; Transfer of power; Independence.
  13. Consolidation as a Nation; Nehru’s Foreign Policy; India and her neighbours (1947-1964); The linguistic reorganisation of States (1935-1947); Regionalism and regional inequality; Integration of Princely States; Princes in electoral politics; the Question of National Language.
  14. Caste and Ethnicity after 1947; Backward castes and tribes in postcolonial electoral politics; Dalit movements.
  15. Economic development and political change;Land reforms; the politics of planning and rural reconstruction; Ecology and environmental policy in post – colonial India; Progress of science.
  16. Enlightenment and Modern ideas:Major ideas of Enlightenment: Kant, Rousseau; Spread of Enlightenment in the colonies; Rise of socialist ideas (up to Marx); spread of Marxian Socialism
  17. Origins of Modern Politics: European States System; American Revolution and the Constitution; French revolution and aftermath, 1789- 1815; American Civil War with reference to Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery; British Democratic Politics, 1815- 1850; Parliamentary Reformers, Free Traders, Chartists.
  18. Industrialization: English Industrial Revolution: Causes and Impact on Society; Industrialization in other countries: USA, Germany, Russia, Japan; Industrialization and Globalization.
  19. Nation-State System: Rise of Nationalism in 19th century; Nationalism: state-building in Germany and Italy; Disintegration of Empires in the face of the emergence of nationalities across the world.
  20. Imperialism and Colonialism: South and South-East Asia; Latin America and South Africa; Australia; Imperialism and free trade: Rise of neo-imperialism.
  21. Revolution and Counter-Revolution: 19th Century European revolutions, The Russian Revolution of 1917- 1921, Fascist Counter-Revolution, Italy and Germany; The Chinese Revolution of 1949
  22. World Wars: 1st and 2nd World Wars as Total Wars: Societal implications; World War I: Causes and consequences; World War II: Causes and consequence
  23. The World after World War II: Emergence of two power blocs; Emergence of Third World and non-alignment; UNO and the global disputes.
  24. Liberation from Colonial Rule: Latin America-Bolivar; Arab World-Egypt; Africa-Apartheid to Democracy; South-East Asia-Vietnam
  25. Decolonization and Underdevelopment: Factors constraining development: Latin America, Africa
  26. Unification of Europe: Post War Foundations: NATO and European Community; Consolidation and Expansion of European Community; European Union.
  27. Disintegration of Soviet Union and the Rise of the Unipolar World: Factors leading to the collapse of Soviet communism and the Soviet Union, 1985-1991; Political Changes in Eastern Europe 1989-2001; End of the cold war and US ascendancy in the World as the lone superpower.

 

Essential Facts (Prelims): 19 January, 2019


Great Indian Bustards (GIB)

  • It is the country’s most critically endangered bird.
  • It is the State bird of Rajasthan.
  • The GIB’s last remnant wild population of about 50 in Jaisalmer district accounts for 95% of its total world population.
  • No progress has been made on the proposal for establishing a captive breeding centre in Kota district and a hatchery in Jaisalmer for conservation of the State bird of Rajasthan.

Young Scientist Scheme

  • It is ISRO’s project to reach out to students.
  • Under the YSP, three students, 8th standard pass, would be selected from each of the 29 States and seven Union Territories.
  • The students will spend one month at ISRO during which they will be given lectures, get access to research and development and will be given experience to build a satellite.

Saturn’s Rings

  • Saturn’s rings may be a relatively recent addition, according to data obtained from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
  • The findings challenge the notion favoured by some astronomers that the rings developed soon after Saturn formed about 4.5 billion years ago along with the other planets, including the earth.
  • Others felt the rings were much younger, but lacked crucial data like their mass to estimate their age reliably.
  • The ring mass turned out to be 45% lower than previous estimates based on 1980s data from NASA’s Voyager spacecraft. Lower mass indicates a younger age.
  • Scientists suspect the rings formed perhaps when a large icy comet or moon ventured too close to Saturn and was shattered by gravitational forces or moons collided in orbit.

Artificial Intelligence

  • India ranks third in the world in terms of high quality research publications in artificial intelligence (AI).
  • China stands first.

AWBI

  • Animal Welfare Board of India is a statutory advisory body on Animal Welfare Laws and promotes animal welfare in the country.
  • It was established in 1962 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • It ensures that animal welfare laws in the country are diligently followed, provide grants to Animal Welfare Organizations and advises the Government of India on animal welfare issues.
  • The Board consists of 28 Members. The term of office of Members is for a period of 3 years.

Essential Facts (Prelims): 18 January, 2019


Rupee pact with Iran

  • The Indian pharma industry now has an opportunity to increase exports to Iran, following a rupee payment mechanism agreed upon recently by India and the Persian Gulf nation.
  • Under the agreement, Indian refiners make payments in rupee for oil imports from Iran, to designated accounts maintained with UCO Bank.
  • A portion thus received is to be used by Iran to pay for imports from India, including pharmaceuticals.
  • The rupee payment agreement came within weeks of the sanctions to cover oil imports from Iran.
  • While imposing the sanctions again, the U.S. provided a time window of exemption under which India and a few other countries could continue to import oil for some time, but of relatively less quantity.
  • Constituting mostly APIs (bulk drugs), Indian pharma exports to Iran have been declining in recent years.

Young Scientists Programme

  • For the first time, ISRO has announced the ‘Young Scientists Programme’ to encourage the scientific talent and increase scientific pool in the country.
  • Under this programme 3 students from each state and UT will be selected for ISRO programme for one month during which they will visit ISRO centres, interact with senior scientists and will have access to Research and Development facilities.

Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY)

  • Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY), the flagship scheme of the Central Government for employment generation has crossed the milestone of one crore beneficiaries.
  • PMRPY was announced in 2016 and is being implemented by Ministry of Labour and Employment through the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO).
  • Under the scheme, Government is paying full employers’ contribution of 12% (towards Employees’ Provident Fund and Employees’ Pension Scheme both), for a period of 3 years in respect of new employees who have been registered with the EPFO on or after 1st April 2016, with salary up to Rs. 15,000 per month.
  • The entire system is online and AADHAR based with no human interface in the implementation of the scheme.

UNNATI

  • India to train experts from 45 countries India will train 45 countries in nano-satellite making through a new capacity building programme.
  • The programme is named Unispace Nanosatellite Assembly and Training(UNNATI).

Samvad

ISRO has initiated ‘Samvad with students’ programme where ISRO chairman meets the students during his outstation visits and address their queries and quench the scientific thrust.


Volkswagen

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed Volkswagen India to deposit ₹100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Essential Facts (Prelims): 16 and 17 January, 2019

Essential Facts for Prelims – CSE 2019. Daily Compilation of Important Factual Information from Relevant News Sources for Civil Services Prelims Exam (UPSC)


Bru

  • Around 35,000 Bru refugees living in relief camps in Tripura.
  • Thousands of Bru refugees from Mizoram had fled to Tripura during ethnic violence in 1997.

Police Chiefs

  • The Supreme Court rejected the pleas made by five States to implement their own local laws for selection and appointment of their State police chiefs.
  • .In July 2018, the Supreme Court restrained State governments from appointing DGPs without first consulting the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • The State government concerned has to send UPSC the names of the probables three months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
  • The UPSC will prepare a panel of three officers fit to be DGP and send it back.
  • The State shall “immediately” appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the UPSC.

NREGA

The National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREGA) scheme has been given an additional allocation of ₹6,084 crore to tide over the next three months. This lifts the total allocation to MGNREGA for 2018-19 to ₹61,084 crore, which is the highest ever allocation.


ECB

  • In a bid to improve ease of doing business, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to liberalise external commercial borrowing (ECB) norms, allowing all companies that are eligible for receiving foreign direct investment, to raise funds through the ECB route.
  • The RBI has decided to keep the minimum average maturity period at 3 years for all ECBs, irrespective of the amount of borrowing. Earlier, the minimum average maturity period was five years.
  • The ceiling for borrowing remains at $750 million.
  • RBI had capped funds raised via ECBs at 6.5% of GDP, at current market prices.

Exim Bank

  • The Cabinet o approved an infusion of ₹6,000 crore of capital in the Exim Bank of India.
  • The Cabinet also approved an increase in the authorised capital of Exim Bank from ₹10,000 crore to ₹20,000 crore.
  • The capital infusion would enable the bank to augment its capital adequacy and support Indian exports.

e commerce

  • The rules mandate that no entity in which an e-commerce company has stake can sell its wares on that e-commerce company’s portal.
  • Any vendor who receives 25% or more of its inputs from an e-commerce group company cannot sell on that e-commerce portal.

Gandhi Peace Prize

  • After a gap of four years, the Centre announced the awardees for the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize for 2015 to 2018.
  • The Gandhi Peace Prize, which is given to individuals and institutions for their contribution towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods, was last conferred upon the Indian Space Research Organisation in 2014.
  • This is the first time that the awardees of four years have been announced together ever since the award was instituted in 1995.
  • As per the code of procedure on the Ministry of Culture’s website, the award should ideally be announced on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, each year.
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs 1 crore, a citation and a handicraft item.
  • The International Gandhi Peace Prize was instituted by the government on the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and is open to people of all nationalities.

IIP Vs ASI

  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is a composite indicator that measures changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products over a period of time, with respect to a chosen base period.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by the CSO with a time lag of six weeks from the reference month.
  • The all-India IIP provides a single representative figure to measure the general level of industrial activity in the economy on a monthly basis.
  • On the whole, the new series had 809 items from the manufacturing sector as against 620 from the old 2004-05 series.
  • ASI is the main source of long term industrial statistics while the IIP is a monthly indicator based on items and factories selected from ASI.
  • IIP is based on a fixed set of items and factories chosen in the base period whereas the ASI is a record-based survey of establishments registered under the Factories Act, 1948 in which the sampling frame and the sampled establishments undergo significant changes.
  • ASI captures information of new items and factories whereas the IIP does not.
  • Also, the IIP is based on a much smaller sample of factories as compared to that of ASI.
  • Growth rates in IIP are based on volume of production whereas growth rates in ASI are derived on the basis of Value Added (Output – Input).
  • Further, establishments selected in IIP are generally larger in size whereas ASI establishments cover both large and smaller units. So, the growth rates in IIP are lower as the smaller units that have a thinner base and hence show higher growth

KALIA

  • The Odisha government has come up with a support scheme whose primary targets are small farmers, cultivators and landless agricultural labourers.
  • Called KALIA, the scheme involves payments to encourage cultivation and associated activities.

Cotton

  • A small green shoot is growing on the moon in an out-of-this-world first after cotton seed germinated on board a Chinese lunar lander.
  • This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface.

Saksham

‘Saksham’, an annual high intensity one-month long people-centric mega campaign of Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been launched.


Numaligarh

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister, has given its approval to the project for capacity expansion of Numaligarh Refinery in Assam from 3 MMTPA (Million Metric Tonne Per Annum) to 9 MMTPA.
  • It involves setting up of crude oil pipeline from Paradip to Numaligarh and product pipeline from Numaligarh to Siliguri.

 

Gist of Editorials: Alliances and Strategic Autonomy (Indian Express )|GS – II

India, which had refused to join the West in isolating communist China and sought to befriend it, ended up in a conflict with Beijing.

Relevance : GS Paper II 

   (International Relations and Internal Security)


Introduction

Is “non-alignment” a special attribute of Indian foreign policy? Given Delhi’s continuing preoccupation with the idea of non-alignment, most visible recently at last week’s Raisina Dialogue in Delhi, it seems it is.

The present situation of NAM

  • More than a hundred countries are members of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
  • They swear, at least formally, by the idea of non-alignment and show up at the triennial NAM summits.
  • But few of them think of non-alignment as the defining idea of their foreign policies.
  • Even fewer believe it is worth debating on a perennial basis.
  • India has certainly moved away from the straitjacket of non-alignment — in practice if not in theory.

Non-alignment belongs to the past, is “strategic autonomy” something unique to India?

  • All countries, big and small, try to maximise their freedom of action.
  • And the autonomy that a nation can exercise depends on its specific circumstances such as size, location, comprehensive national power, and the nature of the threats among many other things.

India’s trouble with alliances

  • Indian foreign policy community continues to be troubled by the question of alliances and autonomy when it comes to dealing with China and the US.
  • Delhi’s traditional fear of alliances is based on a profound misreading of what they might mean.

What do alliances actually mean?

  • Alliances are not a “permanent wedlock” or some kind of a “bondage”.
  • They are a political/military arrangement to cope with a common threat.
  • When the shared understanding of the threat breaks down, so does the alliance.
  • For example, to cope with the American threat Mao Zedong aligned with Soviet Russia in 1950. Two decades later, he moved closer to America to counter Russia. Now China is once again buddies with Russia in trying to limit American influence in Eurasia.

Present situation of international alliances

  • Not many countries in the world today are members of alliances.
  • The few alliances that have survived since the Second World War are undergoing stress on the supply as well as demand side.
  • In America, President Donald Trump is questioning the costs and benefits of these alliances.
  • Presidents Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Moon Jae-in of South Korea, both treaty allies of the US, hardly share American perceptions on the regional threat in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula respectively.

Conclusion

India is a large and globalised economy with big stakes in all parts of the world.  It should  focus on a pragmatic assessment of India’s interests and the best means to secure them — including partnerships and coalitions — against current and potential threats.


 

Gist of Editorials: Integrating The Island (Indian Express )|GS – II

The PM’s immediate political motivation may be seen as part of the BJP’s strategy to claim the non-Nehruvian legacy of the Indian National Congress.

Relevance : GS Paper II 

   (International Relations and Internal Security)


Recently, PM visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Historical significance of Andaman Islands

  • They were the site of contestation between European colonial powers.
  • Britain occupied the islands at the end of the 18th century.
  • After the Second World War, the Andamans became marginal to the new geopolitics.

Present geopolitical significance of Andaman Islands

Today as a rising China projects its power into the Indian Ocean, regional balance would necessarily involve the development of the Andamans.

 

  • Cooperation between India and its major strategic partners required over Andamans.
  • Promoting economic development, integration with the mainland, strengthening military infrastructure, regional connectivity of Andamans.
  • Preserving the pristine environment of the Andamans and protecting its vulnerable indigenous populations.

Editorial Simplified: Not A Zero-Sum Deal | GS – II

Relevance : GS Paper II (International Relations)


Theme of the article

India and China can work together, bilaterally and in multilateral groupings, to build a secure Afghanistan.


Why has this issue cropped up?

The likelihood of an American pull-out from Afghanistan raises the spectre of instability in Afghanistan, South and Central Asia. If this happens, security could hinge on efforts made by regional powers to stabilise Afghanistan.


Regional powers and Afghanistan

CHINA:

  • Sharing part of a border with Afghanistan, China has a great interest in its stability.
  • China would be adversely affected by war and chaos, which could spill over into north-western China, Pakistan, and Central Asia. As all these areas are vital in its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), peace in Afghanistan is critical.
  • Over the last decade, China has gained considerable economic and diplomatic influence in Afghanistan.
  • It has joined the U.S. and Russia in several peace talks with the Taliban and is part of the four-nation Quadrilateral Coordination Group (with Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S.).
  • It is giving military aid to Afghanistan, with the express intent of fighting terrorism and increasing security cooperation.
  • It has invested in projects such as mining, roads and railways, and health.
  • In 2012, it brought Afghanistan into the regional diplomatic processes by giving it observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

INDIA:

  • India supports China’s role in international negotiations on Afghanistan, the activation of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group and other mechanisms of dialogue and cooperation for restoration of peace and development in Afghanistan.
  • India has certainly contributed much ‘soft power’ ranging from telecommunications to education, Bollywood movies and pop music.
  • The building for the National Assembly was built with Indian assistance to support Afghanistan’s democracy.
  • Indian reconstruction largesse, amounting to some $3 billion, has earned it goodwill and popularity.
  • But India’s lengthy absence from regional diplomacy has resulted in its limited contribution to the negotiations that are necessary to stabilise Afghanistan.

India- China cooperation in Afghanistan

  • The Afghan government would like to see India-China economic cooperation in Afghanistan that could boost progress and enhance human security.
  • Last October, in a first, India and China started a joint training project for Afghan diplomats.
  • They could expand cooperation by facilitating Afghanistan’s full membership of the SCO.
  • China’s leadership role of the SCO could give it a vantage in crafting a regional solution on Afghanistan. That should not prevent India and China from working together, bilaterally and in the SCO, to build a secure Afghanistan.

 

Editorial Simplified: Let The Grassroots Breathe | GS – II

Relevance : GS Paper II (Polity and Governance)


Theme of the article

Local bodies must not be administrative vessels for implementing programs of the Central and State governments.


Why has this issue cropped up?

One of the first decisions of the newly elected government in Rajasthan has been to scrap the minimum educational qualification criteria for candidates contesting local body elections.


What were the educational criteria?

  • The previous government had introduced amendments which required candidates contesting the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections to have passed Class 10 and those contesting sarpanch elections to have passed Class 8.
  • Further, it disallowed those without functional toilets in their home to contest.

Supported by Supreme Court

The court held that prescription of educational qualification was justifiable for better administration and did not violate the right to equality enshrined in the Constitution.


The problems with educational criteria

  • RIGHTS: It unduly restricts a citizen’s right to contest elections and thereby challenges the basic premise of a republican democracy. Denying the right to contest effectively restricts the right of a citizen to vote for a candidate of her choice since more than half the population is restricted from contesting.
  • MARGINAL SECTIONS: Further, it disproportionately disenfranchises the more marginal sections of society: women, Dalits and poor. In a country like India with unequal access to education, it is cruel to blame citizens for the failure of the state to fulfill its constitutional obligations.
  • OTHER ELECTIONS: Such restrictions do not exist for those contesting parliamentary or Assembly elections.
  • ASSUMPTION: It is an ill-informed assumption that those with formal education will be better in running panchayats.
  • 73rd and 74th AMENDMENTS: This approach goes against the very objective of the 73rd and 74th Amendments that sought to make panchayats and municipalities representative institutions with adequate representation from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women.

Denying local democracy

  • The undermining of local governments as representative institutions does not take place solely through the introduction of restrictions for contesting elections.
  • ELECTIONS: Over the years, many State governments have sought to defang local governments by simply delaying elections on various grounds. The continual delay in elections goes against the purpose of the 73rd and 74th Amendments.
  • SEC : In most States, tasks like delimitation of seats are still done by the State government instead of the State Election Commission (SEC).

Conclusion

India prides itself as a robust democracy with regular elections and smooth transfer of power. However, delaying elections and adding restrictions to contest prevent local governments from becoming truly representative institutions.


 

Editorial Simplified: India’s Atlantic Challenge | GS – II

Relevance : GS Paper II
(International Relations and Foreign Policy)


Theme of the article

Trump’s ‘America First’ policy and the Brexit deal could pose more challenges to India.


The concern

While 2019 is a year of hope for India, a lingering concern is that the Atlantic Ocean may throw up many economic challenges that might rock India’s economic growth.


How US is creating a problem?

  • The Trump administration is attempting to replace the rules-based trade order with a bilateral trade agreements and sanctions network, a system that has distinct disadvantages for India.
  • Last year, when Mr. Trump gave the green light to start a trade war by escalating tariffs between U.S. and its three main trade partners – the EU, China and NAFTA – a relatively small yet strategically significant tariff spat broke out between Washington and New Delhi.
  • Both countries engaged in a tit-for-tat tariff policy, giving momentum to global trends towards trade protectionism. When India was denied an exemption by the U.S. from increased tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, it reciprocated by hiking import duties on 29 American export products, including pulses and iron and steel products..
  • A broader disadvantage for India of a spiralling trade war with the U.S. is that it could easily spin out of control and create rifts in other areas such as security and diplomacy. If that happens, it may be of considerable benefit to China.

The U.K. problem

  • If the U.K. has a ‘hard Brexit’, India may be looking at unexpected complications regarding trade adjustment, and a U.K.-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) may be out of the question.

Way forward for India

  • For India to secure its trade interests, it needs to renegotiate with both the EU and the U.K. for goods and services.
  • Also, the discussion on FTA with the EU must be resumed and a similar conversation must be launched with the U.K.
  • If these negotiations are managed carefully, Brexit may even emerge as an opportunity for India to recalibrate the legal terms of its trade with the U.K. and the EU, at the multilateral level, and through free trade agreements.