In this blog, we have covered latest Group discussion or GD topics on current affairs for 2018.

  1. Digital payments are secure and India is ready to go 100% cashless.
  2. Chinese goods are a threat to Indian businessmen and economy.
  3. Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign is better than the old ‘Made in India’ campaign.
  4. Demonetization is a successful and effective move.
  5. Govt. can easily control rising petrol prices.
  6. India needs bullet trains!
  7. India should implement a uniform civil code.
  8. Superintelligence and Artificial Intelligence: Is it a boon or bane?
  9. Should national anthems be played in cinema halls?
  10. Is Sarahah promoting cyberbullying?
  11. Online games like Blue Whale and Slendarman are dangerous for the youth. Hence Whatsapp should be banned in India.
  12. Driverless car ban in India – is it a right move?
  13. Is victim shaming (as in the high-profile Chandigarh stalking case) justified?
  14. Women’s IPL is a welcome move. Yes or no?
  15. Minor’s abortion: should it be left to the mercy of the court?
  16. More and more mobile towers in residential areas are bad.
  17. Caste-based reservation must be replaced with economic status and education of parents.
  18. Air India should be privatized immediately.
  19. Is GST a ‘one nation’, ‘one tax’ reform?
  20. Will the Chinese project OBOR or ‘One Belt One Road’ benefit India?

You can also access the complete list of group discussion topics for 2018 here.

Digital payments are secure and India is ready to go 100% cashless.

For: Yes, digital payments in India are secured. To safeguard the details of users, systems are tokenising, encrypting and authenticating data before use. But users should carry out digital transactions carefully. They should only opt for more secured processes like transacting on TFA (Two-Factor Authentication) supporting gateways only.

Against: No! There have been many instances of online accounts being hacked. In a country with 98% cash in circulation, electronic payments replacing cash is not going to be easy. Especially after the severe cash crunch post demonetisation, we are scampering to carry out digital transactions. This is not right. Cyber analysts have already warned us about serious vulnerabilities in payment systems. The need of the hour is to have security features embedded in the hardware and software, as a part of the basic design (not as an add on feature), otherwise there will be more and more hacks.

Chinese goods are a threat to Indian businessmen and economy.

For: Yes, China itself is a threat to the economic development of India. We import more and we export less, due to cheap prices of Chinese goods.

Against: No! Global demand for Chinese goods is high. China is a leader in every field (manufacturing, smart phones, automobile etc). It seems unlikely that India would overtake the huge Chinese market in near future by simply banning their goods.

Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign is better than the old ‘Made in India’ campaign.

For: Yes. Make in India is an attractive destination for foreign investment. Generation of more jobs. Infrastructure development. Economic boost. India can become a manufacturing hub like China globally. On the other hand, ‘Made in India’ is a flop campaign as goods and services from this campaign are yet to become popular in the global market.

Against: No! India will pay for expensive technology under ‘Make in India’ which will cause a huge competitive disadvantage. Instead, ‘Made in India’ encourages entrepreneurs, facilitates indigenous R&D & will provide strategic benefits from a political standpoint.

Neutral: Completely different campaigns. Not comparable. Both are equally beneficial for India and should go hand in hand for the nation’s betterment.

Demonetization is a successful and effective move.

For: Yes. In left-wing extremism affected states, demonetization caused large scale naxal surrenders. Additionally, simple court marriages are growing popular. Also, record old dues have got covered in local revenue departments in the past few months.

Against: No! It has affected the common man badly. Serpentine bank queues visible even now! Banks & ATMs are getting vandalized. This is a huge failure in India, which has 98% cash circulation. Also, a parallel currency (comprising of the old notes) is still in circulation in Mumbai dance bars and illegal clubs. Religious places are still receiving crores of donation money in scrapped currencies.

Govt. can easily control rising petrol prices.

For: Yes, Govt. is ‘looting’ people. Taxes on diesel have grown by a whopping 386%, and on petrol by 127%, in past 3 years. Better roads, traffic handlig and public transport can actually save fuel and bring down prices. Also, alternative sources of energy should be seriously taken up.

Against: No! India lacks enough oil resources. This adds to the existing currency crisis. Depreciating rupee value is also a major concern, followed by corruption, imbalanced economy, fluctuating dollar value and our dependency on imports. Price of crude oil internationally is also growing and a rising population means more consumption. Commodities transported across India petrol/diesel vehicles. Ever increasing fiscal deficit. Trade deficit.

India needs bullet trains!

For: Yes! For speed, comfort, less pollution and no overcrowding. Eg. Shinkansen network of Japan has reported 0 fatalities since 1964. This solution is permanent and will cause no more deforestation, it will enhance faster connectivity leading to less crowd settlement in big cities, and eventually less pressure on growing urban India. Being a technologicaly advanced solution and a new project, it will be a new job creator as well.

Against: No! It is a costly project and tickets will be beyond the common man’s reach (upto Rs. 100 crore per km). E.g. – A Mumbai-Ahmadabad route ticket cost will be Rs 5,000! Being a time taking project, it will hamper traffic and has to overcome lot of land acquisition issues. It will also plague the already messed up power sector. India is not ready for this yet.

India should implement a uniform civil code.

For: Yes! All Indians must have equal rights in the eyes of law. Uniform Civil Code, envisaged by Article 44 of the Constitution should be taken up seriously. Living by the personal laws of religion should not be allowed. Hindu, Christian and Parsi laws have been codified and amended over time, but many Muslim personal laws still remain unlegislated. This needs to be changed.

Against: No! Uniform Civil Code is easier said than done. Nobody knows exactly how a common code should look like. Besides, India’s liberal multiculturalism strikes a balance like no other nation! So forcing a code here might cause major disruption. Will it be moulded as per the Hindu majority, leading to communal tensions over the years? We dont know. It is a delicate topic which is debatable but not ready for implemetation yet.

Superintelligence and Artificial Intelligence: Is it a boon or bane?

For: Yes. It is a boon. We already depend on Siri, Alexa, Face recognition and GPS. AI removes mundane tasks and frees valuable human hours for more creative tasks. Hence, IT service businesses are becoming more AI centric. Today, drones and robots are being tested to carry out life-risking tasks like mining, space travel etc. AI is error-free & has many benefits over unidimensional technology that cannot think or work on its own. The benefits of AI far exceeds human apprehensions

Against: No! It is a bane. Serious work is being done in every industry to get tasks done by software and remove human intervention altogether. But machines are not sentient yet. Ethical robots are impossible to create and AI will be misused by hackers. Crime is one grey area where AI’s role still remains unexplored.

Should national anthems be played in cinema halls?

For: Yes.  Its a good step by SC and Govt. of India to instill patriotism in our minds. Some countries like Colombia and Thailand have a law of the land that the anthem should be played without fail every morning on TV and radio. Besides it’s just a matter of standing up for 52 seconds, and its the least we can do for our motherland!

Against: No. National anthem should not be sung in a closed space. Besides, the seating in most cinema halls is cramped and people might sit through it, which is a sign of disrespect towards our mother land. Moreover, playing the anthem specially before an ‘A’ rated movie is a bad idea.

Is Sarahah promoting cyberbullying?

For: Yes. Child protection charities and online safety organisations are warning people about the Sarahah app which has been sweeping the globe. Comments on this app are anonymous, so it’s very easy to say mean and hurtful things without any repercussions. Several reviews on App Store show that Sarahah is being widely used as a cyberbullying tool.

Against: No. It is just an app to gather honest feedback from coworkers and friends. A great way to seek validation from anonymous sources. It is a ‘constructive feedback’ mechanism. Mostly used for complementing others especially in India.

Online games like Blue Whale and Slendarman are dangerous for the youth. Hence Whatsapp should be banned in India.

For: Yes. Indian rules state online services are permitted to use up to 40-bit encryption but WhatsApp offers 256-bit key for encryption of all chat messages, making it hard to procure/trace data. Decrypsion keys are poor, hence its impossible to trace back to the person who starts a dangerous game like ‘Blue Whale’. Also free calling is securely encrypted, making it easy for criminals to carry out dubious activities. Cybercrime cells are helpless in most of the cases linked with Blue Whale, Slendarman and Whatsapp.

Against: No. WhatsApp has more than a billion users in India. Its just a light hearted messaging app where people share files and can also call each other for free. It connects families and friends who stay far apart. If used judiciously, Whatsapp can pave way for better business deals, job opportunities and new friendships.

Driverless car ban in India – is it a right move?

For: Yes. Issue lies with the roads in India, and not the technology or the cars. It is tough to navigate through such diverse traffic on our chaotic Indian roads. Besides, the lack of road upkeep and proper signage adds to the issue. The chairman of Tata Elxsi recently said that even after training and feeding hundreds of photos, the R&D firm’s system fails to identify 15% of vehicles on the Indian roads.

Against: No. Tata Elxsi, the Tata Group’s design and technology firm, is already working on driverless cars for Indian roads. Anand Mahindra, the chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra said that he would be soon funding a driverless-tractor project. Besides Gadkare said that ‘We won’t allow any technology that takes away jobs’. Hence, safety is not a concern for driverless cars on Indian roads as of yet, but the unemployment problem is!

Is victim shaming (as in the high-profile Chandigarh stalking case) justified?

For: Yes. If the case is baseless and is false like the Rohtak sisters’ case, it is justified!

Against: No. This is the foremost reason why both women and men don’t come forward to report crimes in India.

Women’s IPL is a welcome move. Yes or no?

For: Yes. It will give the women’s format better opportunities to attract fresh funding from national bodies. Besides, if Australia has a league, so why not us? Difference in pay is a major problem which can be overcome quickly if an IPL is introduced, and an IPL will generate more spectator interest as well.

Against: No! The time is not ripe enough for Indian Women’s IPL yet. The team needs a regular supply line of women cricketers. Besides, the standard of domestic cricket must rise further in India. The focus should be on creating a strong base first, and not commercialising the format altogether.

Minor’s abortion: should it be left to the mercy of the court?

For: Yes. Recently the Supreme Court allowed a 13 year old minor to abort an unborn foetus in a landmark ruling. For more effective implementation, the court ruling also gave out an order instructing hospitals to establish a medical board for handling sensitive cases such as these, as fast as possible, without the involvement or need for legal hearings.

Against: No! Doctors in India have time and again been criticised for being too fearful while dealing with underage victims of rape. Doctors should make better and greater efforts to support victims of sexual assault, especially a minor, irrespective of India’s abortion laws. The supreme court also said in it’s recent landmark ruling that precious time gets lost and causes a lot of distress to a victim and her family when they are forced to bring the case to court.

More and more mobile towers in residential areas are bad.

For: Yes. 45% of these towers are illegally constructed. They give out electromagnetic radiations which cause cancer. Also cause sleep disorders, memory loss, fatigue, headache, depression, hearing issues, joint pains, skin diseases, and cardiovascular problems. Harmful for local fauna as navigation sensors of the birds get affected, as wild birds like sparrows are disappearing.

Against: No! The Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) Radiation norms set by the Indian government are far more stringent compared to other countries. Cancer happens due to high radiation exposure, not from the negligible effect of mobile towers. Periodic audits are carried out to ensure public safety. Also, heavy fines and punishments are being imposed on illegal constructions of mobile towers. So there’s not much to worry about.

Caste-based reservation must be replaced with economic status and education of parents.

For: Yes! Reservation should be given only to the economically backward irrespective of caste. Equality should prevail in all sections of the society. Nearly 50% seats in colleges are reserved, making it really difficult for general candidates to compete.

Against: No! Today India is a mix of Hindu, Muslim, SC, ST & OBCs alongside more groups like Christians, Kashmiris, Jats, Kashmiri Pandits, Tribals etc. The 93rd Constitutional Amendment made special provisions for “advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens”. This move led to opposition from non-reserved category students, as the proposal reduced seats for the General (non-reserved) category from the existing 77.5% to less than 50.5%.

Air India should be privatized immediately.

For: Yes. Air India is a chronic underperformer and has swallowed bucketloads of scarce capital and produced nothing that can be deemed good for the public till date. Taxpayers’ hard earned money is getting wasted on the holidays of politicians and beaurocrats who fly Air India. It offers poor quality of service, operational inefficiencies and has woeful productivity levels. Air India flies to 41 international destinations, and could not bank on this yet. Clearly, the Governent is unable to manage this perennially loss-making airline.

Against: No! Government still lacks clarity on dissolving its stake. Getting private investors in at this stage is risky. People still need a cheap, reliable, no-frills flying option and Government’s Air India is just that. This airlines has the economies of scale (fleet of 140 planes). Air India Express is another low-cost international subsidiary and is doing well. Falling oil prices, a good leader and a little patience will surely yield good results for this airline. Lets not privatize it yet.

Is GST a ‘one nation’, ‘one tax’ reform?

For: Yes. It is a transparent and corruption free tax reform. It has reduced several indirect taxes to a great extent. It is beneficial for consumers as the prices of food items have significantly reduced.

Against: No! Basic necessities like airfare, clothes, cars and homes have become more expensive after GST implementation. It is a bogus reform paving way for more corruption. We have no clue about where the SGST and CGST tax money is being utilized. Common man will think twice before going to the movies/restaurants/malls.

Will the Chinese project OBOR or ‘One Belt One Road’ benefit India?

For: Yes. It is an economically beneficial initiative involving 68 countries and will generate millions of jobs as well as facilitate currency trading. It will open doors to more business opportunities, neutralise friction between Middle-east and rest of the world as well as become a key factor to promote global peace.

Against: No! It is a China-Pakistan-Middle East economic corridor. It will pass through a disputed territory ‘PoK’ or Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. It will secure China’s exclusive control over Eurasia and the overall economics of Asia. No single nation should be allowed to exercise such high levels of control over a sensitive multi-country trade corridor.

Some crucial points that you should keep in mind before participating in GD topics on current affairs are as follows:

  • Assume, you are one of the members of a real group discussion.
  • Take the initiative to participate and contribute your thoughts.
  • Express your positive attitude towards providing the solution.
  • Post your answers in the comment section below.
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