GS-2 Mains


 QUESTION: Explain the change in India’s diplomatic policy towards Asian countries.


  • Italian Marine Case


  • An international arbitration court has ruled that the Italian Marines accused of killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012 enjoy immunity and are outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts as they were acting on behalf of a state. 


  • In 2012, Indian police had detained two Italian marines posted on oil tanker Enrica Lexie who had shot at two Indian fishermen on an Indian vessel, apparently mistaking them for pirates operating near the Kerala Coast.
  • The tribunal’s ruling that the Marines have immunity comes seven years after the Supreme Court ordered the Centre to “proceed with the investigation and trial of the Marines” in a decision in 2013.
  • The apex court had ordered the Centre to set up a Special Court to try the case. Prior to the Supreme Court verdict, the Kerala High Court too had found that the Marines enjoyed no immunity.
  • In 2014, the Marines had successfully gained a stay order on the investigation by the National Investigation Agency.
  • A year later, the Supreme Court froze its own proceedings.

India’s response:

  • The Centre informed the Supreme Court that it has decided to “accept and abide” by an international tribunal’s ruling. India is bound by the award of the arbitral tribunal formed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • The award is “final and without appeal,” as India is a party to the U.N. Convention.
  • In tune with Article 51(c) and (d) of the Constitution: “The state needs to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations and encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.


Major bone of contention between India and Italy

  • India argued that it had jurisdiction over the case as the fishermen killed were Indian, and hence the case must be tried as per Indian laws.
  • Italy had argued that the shooting took place outside Indian territorial waters (a claim challenged by India) and its marines were on-board a ship with an Italian flag. Hence, Italy argued, it enjoys the jurisdiction.
  • The Italian contention was also that they were in international waters and acted to protect an Italian oil tanker as part of an anti-piracy mission.



  • PCA rejected a key argument by Italy that India, by leading the Italian vessel into its territory and arresting the marines, violated its obligation to cooperate with measures to suppress piracy under Article 100 of UNCLOS.
  • Acknowledging the breach of freedom of navigation, it said, “As a result of the breach, India is entitled to payment of compensation in connection with loss of life, physical harm, material damage to property and moral harm suffered by the captain and other crew members of the Indian fishing boat St. Anthony.”



  • The Arbitral Tribunal has agreed on the Italian position that the marines, being members of the Italian armed forces in the official exercise of their duties, cannot be tried by Indian courts.
  • The tribunal ruled that the Italian marines enjoyed diplomatic immunity as Italian state officials under the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea.
  • Taking note of the “commitment expressed by Italy” to resume its criminal investigation into the incident, the tribunal said India must cease to exercise its jurisdiction.



  • The classical languages, Sanskrit and Latin both belong to the Indo-European language family.
  • The Venetian merchant Marco Polo, during his travels to the east, also traveled to India in the 13th century and wrote about his experiences.
  • Indian troops, serving with the British Indian Army, were active in Italy during World War II.
  • Political relations between India and Italy were established in 1947.
  • Economic, Cultural and Scientific Cooperation :
  • India is Italy’s fifth largest trading partner in the European Union while Italy is the fifth largest investor in India.
  • The India-Italy trade stood at $10.5 billion in 2017-18, up from $8.8 billion in the 2016-17.
  • The agreement for cultural cooperation was signed in 1976. It includes the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) between Italy and India which entails the exchange of students in language programmes as well as other academic courses.
  • An Agreement on Science and Technolgy Co-operation exist since 1978. Some of the prime areas of joint research are Electronics, Biotechnology, Design Engineering Automotive Technologies, Energy etc.



  • Italy acknowledges both geopolitical and economic importance of India and is actively trying to step up its relations to a new high, based on good diplomatic relations and economic exchanges.
  • Italy has supported India’s membership to export control regimes like the Missile Technology Control Regime(MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.
  • Italy hosts the third largest Indian community in the European Union, with an estimated 1,80,000 people, after the UK and the Netherlands. Indian labor is particularly active in the agriculture and dairy industry.
  • Italy, being a part of the European Union, can prove to be an important partner for India in the post-Brexit Europe and can prove to a favorable base for India companies to operate in Europe


  • The PCA’s award, which is final and has been accepted by India, is a huge setback for the expectation that the two marines would face a criminal trial in India. In the end, Italy succeeded in taking the matter out of India’s hands.


  • The takeaway for India should be the lessons, in the legal and diplomatic domains that can be drawn from the experience.









GS-3 Mains

QUESTION: Discuss the role of women in transforming India’s economy and challenges before them in contemporary world.



  • Covid-19 and Women’s work


  • As India emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown, the labour market policy needs to reverse the pandemic’s gender-differentiated impact.


  • According to a survey by Azim Premji University among rural casual workers, 71% of women lost their jobs after the lockdown; the figure was 59% for men.


  • In areas of irrigated agriculture, there were harvest operations (such as for rabi wheat in northern India) however, these were largely mechanized.
  • In other harvest operations, such as for vegetables, there was a growing tendency to use more family labor and less hired labor on account of fears of COVID-19 infection.
  • There are also seasonal variations in work participation.Various studies show that almost all women came within the definition of “worker” in the harvest season.


  • The activities such as animal rearing, fisheries and floriculture were also adversely affected by the lockdown.
  • Various studies show that when households own animals, be it milch cattle or chickens or goats, women are inevitably part of the labor process.
  • During the COVID-19 lockdown, the demand for milk fell by at least 25% , and this was reflected in either lower quantities sold or in lower prices or both.
  • Also for women across the country, incomes from the sale of milk to dairy cooperatives shrank.
  • Among fishing communities, men could not go to sea, and women could not process or sell fish and fish products.


  • Non-agricultural jobs have suddenly come to halt as construction sites, brick kilns, petty stores and eateries, local factories and other enterprises shut down completely.
  • In the last few years, women have accounted for more than one-half of workers in public works, but no employment was available through the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) till late in April 2020.
  • The first month of lockdown thus saw a total collapse of non-agricultural employment for women. In May 2020 there was a big increase in demand for NREGS employment.


  • The government schemes have been a major source of women’s employment in the last few decades, especially in the health and education sectors, where women work as Anganwadi workers or mid-day meal cooks.
  • During the COVID-19, Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHAs, 90% of whom are women, have become frontline health workers, although they are not recognised as “workers” or paid a regular wage.


  • Crisis of regular employment : Younger and more educated women are often not seeking work because they aspire to skilled non-agricultural work, whereas older women are more willing to engage in manual labour.
  • Not providing equal pay :
  • Women’s wages are rarely equal to men’s wages, with a few exceptions.
  • The gap between female and male wages is highest for non-agricultural tasks — the new and growing source of employment.
  • Exceedingly long woman’s workday : Counting all forms of work — economic activity and care work or work in cooking, cleaning, child care, elderly care — a woman’s workday is exceedingly long and full of drudgery.
  • In the FAS time-use survey, the total hours worked by women (in economic activity and care) ranged upto a maximum of 91 hours (or 13 hours a day) in the peak season.
  • Effect of COVID-19 on health and nutrition of women : The COVID-19 lockdown reduced availability of employment for women to almost a standstill, the burden of care work mounted.
  • With all members of the family at home, and children out of school, the tasks of cooking, cleaning, child care and elderly care became more onerous.
  • There is no doubt that managing household tasks will have long-term effects on women’s physical and mental health.
  • The already high levels of malnutrition present among rural women are also likely to be exacerbated as households cope with reduced food intake.


  • Recognizing the contribution of women :
  • As we emerge from the lockdown, it is very important to begin, first, by redrawing our picture of the rural labor market by including the contribution of women.
  • Generate women-specific employment with proper conditions:
  • The immediate or short-run provision of employment of women can be through an expansion of the NREGS.
  • On the other hand, a medium and long term plan needs to generate women-specific employment in skilled occupations and in businesses and new enterprises.
  • In the proposed expansion of health infrastructure in the country, women, who already play a significant role in health care at the grass-root level, must be recognized as workers and paid a fair wage.
  • In the expansion of rural infrastructure announced by the Indian government recently specific attention must be paid to safe and easy transport for women from their homes to workplaces.
  • Reduce the drudgery of care work


  • COVID-19 infection spreads, given a higher likelihood of cases among men than women, the burden on women as earners and carers is likely to rise.
  • We need immediate measures to reduce the exhaustion of care work.
  • To illustrate, healthy meals for schoolchildren as well as the elderly and the sick can reduce the tasks of home cooking.
  • It is time for women to be seen as equal partners in the task of transforming the rural economy.



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