Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 23, 2018

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Q.1) Comment on the need for a new friendship treaty with Nepal in the light of it’s increased closeness with China. (GS – 2)


  • A Treaty of peace and friendship was signed between India and Nepal in the year 1950.
  • Considering the relationship between the two countries since ancient times and the landlocked nature of Nepal, the treat extended special provisions to the Himalayan country.
  • There has been demands to revisit the treaty in the light of changed circumstances of the 21st Century and the rise of China.

Changing dynamics of Nepal:

  • The Treaty of peace and friendship provides for an open border between India and Nepal, access to ports, allows Nepali nationals to apply for government jobs, allow Nepalis to work in India without a work permit, open bank accounts and buy property amongst others.
  • Nepal feels that the treaty compromises Nepal’s ability to pursue an independent defence and foreign policy.
  • Moreover, Nepal in 1950 was a ruled by a monarch.
  • Today it has its own constitution and has become a democracy.
  • Consequently, the aspirations of the civil society and leaders have changed.
  • They do not want to be constrained by the Treaty signed around 70 years back.
  • This is evident from the election manifesto of all the parties which promise to get the treaty revised once voted to power.

Nepal moving closer to China:

  • The communist party which is a part of the coalition ruling Nepal is perceived to be moving closer to China due to similar ideology.
  • Incidents like the blockade after the Constitution, Madhesi protests, over coverage of India’s humanitarian assistance after the earthquake etc has pushed Nepal away from India.
  • The public opinion has been turned against India for electoral gains.
  • Nepal also has a huge trade deficit with India which has created a negative public opinion.
  • Under these circumstances, China has been coming forward to help Nepal, to dilute the power of India in the subcontinent.

One Belt One Road initiative:

  • Nepal is  a vital link in its One Belt One Road initiative.
  • Many railway projects have been signed to let landlocked Nepal use its ports.
  • But, Nepal must realise that it is not profitable to use the ports of China for trade.
  • China can never be a substitute to India.


  • Nepal must not be looked upon as only a buffer state between India and China but must be respected as a sovereign nation.
  • India-Nepal bilateral relations must be remodelled into a strategic partnership that seeks to promote security, modernisation and prosperity.

Q.2) Discuss the strategies to be taken to reduce the spread of tropical diseases and contain the spread of antibiotic resistance. What are the steps the government has already taken to achieve this end. (GS – 3)


  • Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of an antibiotic.
  • Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections.
  • The bacteria survive and continue to multiply, causing more harm.

Prevention and control of the problem:

  • Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.
  • Never demand antibiotics if your doctor says you don’t need them.
  • Always follow your health worker’s advice when using antibiotics.
  • Ensure a robust national action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance is in place.
  • Improve surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Strengthen policies, programmes, and implementation of infection prevention and control measures.
  • Prevent infections by ensuring your hands, instruments, and environment is clean.
  • Only prescribe and dispense antibiotics when they are needed, according to current guidelines.
  • Report antibiotic-resistant infections to surveillance teams.
  • Talk to your patients about how to take antibiotics correctly, antibiotic resistance and the dangers of misuse.
  • Invest in research and development of new antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and other tools.
  • Only give antibiotics to animals under veterinary supervision.
  • Not use antibiotics for growth promotion or to prevent diseases.
  • Vaccinate animals to reduce the need for antibiotics and use alternatives to antibiotics when available.

Government steps to contain the spread of antibiotic resistance:

  • Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has set up a National Anti-Microbial Resistance Research and Surveillance Network (AMRRSN) to enable compilation of National Data of AMR at different levels of Health Care.
  • The Drugs and Cosmetic Rule, 1945 were amended in 2013 to incorporate a new Schedule H1 under the said rules containing 46 drugs which include III and IV generation antibiotics, anti TB drugs and certain habit forming drugs for  having strict control over the sale of these drugs.
  • Government of India has formulated a National policy for containment of antimicrobial resistance in 2011.
  • A National Programme for Containment of AMR has also been initiated in 12th Five Year Plan.

Q.3) Write short notes on:

a) Self-domestication in biology (GS – 3)

  • Self-domestication refers to the process by which a wild animal adapts itself to human beings without any deliberate intervention on behalf of people to domesticate it.
  • Scientists speculate that the prevalence of self-domestication could be attributed to the increased chances of survival enjoyed by organisms that are amiable to human beings.
  • For instance, wolves that are not aggressive towards human beings around them can have better access to food and other resources found in human colonies when compared to wolves that remain wild.
  • This can improve their chances of survival.

b) Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (GS – 2)

  • Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is a Hague-based intergovernmental body that works for the elimination of chemical weapons.
  • It was formed after the Chemical Weapons Convention, an arms control treaty that bans the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, entered into force in 1997.
  • The OPCW is the implementing body of the Convention. All its 192 member states are required to destroy their existing stockpiles of chemical weapons and stop large-scale production.
  • These actions are subject to verification by the OPCW.
  • According to the OPCW, over 96% of the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed.
  • The OPCW has the powers to inspect chemical production facilities. Israel has signed the agreement but is yet to ratify it.
  • The countries that have not signed it are Egypt, South Sudan and North Korea.
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