30 May 2018
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.
GS II- GOVERNANCE
Q1. Discuss the various problems faced by India’s statistical infrastructure.
- Sample surveys, the bedrock of Indian statistical systems, must make explicit choices about who to ask various questions as well as what to ask and how to ask. In a statistical system developed by renowned statisticians and econometricians, it is not surprising that much attention has been directed towards identifying the universe of respondents and sample selection. However, this is only a small part of the challenge. Given the increasing need for statistics in diverse areas, it is important that scholars from many different disciplines be involved.
- How surveys are designed and questions are developed has evolved into a science that transcends the skill set usually employed by our statistical systems. We have little understanding of reliability and validity of these data, and yet they form the bedrock of our policy. Experiments designed by cognitive anthropologists, educational assessment experts and survey design specialists are needed to arrive at the correct questions. And even then, we will need some way of estimating uncertainty surrounding these results.
- The data collection is increasingly being done by contractual employees and for-profit organisations. Supervising them and ensuring their honesty remains challenging. While improved technology for monitoring fieldwork such as random segment audio recording of interviews and real-time checks for detecting frauds and errors may help increase honesty, there is no substitute for empathy and experience. The interviewers are expected to work under challenging circumstances and collect data with little training and support. A nimble survey management structure that understands the difficulties of on-the-ground data collectors and responds appropriately to find ways of ensuring quality and honesty must form the cornerstone of good data collection.
- Instead of creating a statistical data ecosystem that harnesses the energy of diverse institutions and disciplines in which innovative thinking on data collection and analysis could be undertaken, this tendency towards centralisation may well isolate official statistical systems. This is quite a departure from India’s illustrious history. Harness diverse energies
- If we are to revitalise India’s statistical infrastructure, it is vitally important to harness diverse energies from academic and research institutions such as the ISI, the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, National Council of Applied Economic Research, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, the International Institute for Population Sciences, the Delhi School of Economics, the Madras Institute of Development Studies and the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. Smaller, technology-savvy private sector organisations may also make important contributions in technology-driven data collection. Around the world, in diverse countries such as China, South Africa, Brazil, the U.K. and the U.S., statistical ecosystems consist of universities, research institutions and government agencies working synergistically.
Q2. Discuss the importance of India-Indonesia relations in field of maritime security and maintenance of regional order light of the recent developments.
- India and Indonesia share multiple common concerns, one of which is China’s growing maritime footprint in the eastern Indian Ocean. Indian Prime Minister visited Indonesia after the Indonesian government grant India access to its Sabang port for the development of the port and an economic zone. Located at the mouth of the strategically important Strait of Malacca, Sabang is only 100 nautical miles from the southern tip of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Sabang, with its naval base, naval air station, and maintenance and repair facilities, has the potential to serve as the focal point of a budding strategic partnership between the two countries.
- The strategically important Straits of Malacca, Lombok and Sunda fall under the Indian Navy’s primary area of interest, and access to Indonesian naval bases such as Sabang will significantly enhance the Indian Navy’s ability to maintain a forward presence and monitor movements in the Straits of Malacca.
- Indonesia too has started recognising the benefits of a closer strategic partnership with India. Like many other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Jakarta remains apprehensive of Chinese intentions in the wider maritime theatre. The territorial dispute between China and Indonesia in the Natuna Sea and astrategic alignment with India will help Jakarta balance some of the security concerns emanating from Beijing’s aggressive stance in the South China Sea.
- The comprehensive defence cooperation agreement that is expected to be signed between the countries can possibly be a multifaceted logistical agreement — on the lines of the deal which India signed with France earlier in the year. Mutual logistical support and reciprocal berthing rights will facilitate a more intimate maritime security partnership. This will allowIndia to gain access to naval bases in Lampung on the Sunda Strait, and Denpasar and Banyuwangi on the Lombok Strait, augmenting the Indian Navy’s operational breadth in the eastern Indian Ocean.
- Additional facets of this partnership can involve information sharing on white shipping, and enabling India to partner Indonesia in tracking commercial cargo ships at choke points such as Malacca which are getting increasingly congested.
- In the past, cooperation between India and Indonesia has been limited to anti-piracy patrols, search and rescue exercises and joint hydrographic exploration. It is important for the two countries to move to a more concerted and intensive engagement. India should leverage this opportunity and seek its inclusion in the Malacca Strait Patrols programme. India’s inclusion in the programme would augment India’s existing maritime domain awareness in the region, while the eyes-in-the-sky component will allow India to jointly patrol the region with its maritime surveillance aircraft. Chinese presence in these SLOCs is well known, and India’s ability to monitor Chinese naval movements in the locale will be a great boost to the Indian Navy’s security missions. Moreover, access to the Jayapura naval base in West Papua will expand the Indian Navy’s operating capacity in the Western Pacific, and complement Indian access to French naval bases in French Polynesia and New Caledonia in the Southern Pacific.
- The development of the port and economic zone in Sabang can serve as blueprint for a connectivity partnership between the two nations, and more importantly, provide an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The proposed cruise tourism circuit between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Sabang would further enhance such economic linkages. Additionally, a partnership that includes collaboration in defence industries and maritime training and education can ensure a dynamic maritime collaboration.
- At a time when countries are realigning themselves to accommodate the growing consensus around an Indo-Pacific strategic framework, India and Indonesia, as members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, need to complement each other’s vision of a regional order.