Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 4, 2018

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Q.1 What are the reasons for which India is experiencing an escalation in heat waves? Also examine the various strategies followed by states to address the consequences of heat waves. (GS-3)


  • When the temperature rises 3°C to 4°C above normal it is termed as a ‘heat wave’.

Escalation in heat waves in India:

India experiences an escalation in heat waves because:

  • There is sudden increase in the atmospheric pressure,
  • There is no cloud formation,
  • There is delayed monsoons,  
  • El Nino effect occurs periodically,
  • Rapid and unplanned urbanisation , and
  • Rapid encroachment of lakes and deforestation.

Strategies followed by states to address the consequences of heat waves:

Initiatives to deal with heat waves have mostly come from state governments.

  • Following the devastating heat wave of 1998, which claimed over 2,000 lives in Odisha, the state put in place district-level disaster management centres.
  • Similarly, after the 2010 heat wave that caused 1,344 deaths in Ahmedabad, a City Heat Action Plan was launched in 2013 to improve public awareness and promote inter-agency coordination.
  • City-specific data from IMD will immensely help in generating warnings and predicting heat waves because it allows better use of vital local factors such as humidity.
  • Nagpur and Bhubaneshwar has also launched their own city-level plans.
  • Andhra Pradesh announced a compensation of R1 lakh to the kin of those who had died in the heat wave last year.

Q.2   Why do the prices of diesel and petrol increase in India frequently? What are the strategies adopted by India in controlling this increase in rate of fuel? (GS -3)


  • Recently, diesel prices reached Rs64.69 per litre in Delhi, a record high for the fuel. Petrol prices rose to Rs73.83 per litre, the highest since they were raised to Rs76.06 per litre on 14 September 2013.

Reason behind the price increase:

  • Price of fuel in India depends upon the global crude oil prices and fluctuations in the same are expected to reflect in the amount of money paid at the petrol pump.
  • As the supply cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and Russia led to a rally in global oil prices, the cost of the Indian basket of crude, which averaged $47.56 a barrel in 2016-2017, rose to touch $63.80 (average price) in March 2018.
  • Various Indian states are also responsible for increasing VAT (Value Added Tax) on Petrol and Diesel.

Strategies adopted by India in controlling this increase in rate of fuel:

  • India has been seeking reasonable rates as its energy demand grows.
  • India is also reworking its import strategy by stepping up the share of short-term contracts whenever the market is favourable and exploring long-term supply deals at discounted prices.
  • The new energy architecture also involves acquiring hydrocarbon assets abroad.
  • It aslo diversifies  India’s supply sources from geographies such as the US and adding renewable energy sources to its energy mix to tackle possible price shocks.

Q.3   Write short notes on:

(a)  SC and ST Act, 1989 (GS-2)

  • The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is popularly known as POA, the SC/ST Act, the Prevention of Atrocities Act, or simply the Atrocities Act.
  • The SC/ST Act was enacted on September 9, 1989 and rules for the Act were notified on March 31, 1995.
  • The SC/ST Act lists 22 offences relating to various patterns or behaviours inflicting criminal offences and breaking the self-respect and esteem of the scheduled castes and tribes community. This includes denial of economic, democratic and social rights, discrimination, exploitation and abuse of the legal process.
  • According to the SC/ST Act, the protection is provided from social disabilities such as denial of access to certain places and to use customary passage, personal atrocities like forceful drinking or eating of inedible food sexual exploitation, injury etc, atrocities affecting properties, malicious prosecution, political disabilities and economic exploitation.
  • For speedy trial, Section 14 of the SC/ST Act provides for a Court of Session to be a Special Court to try offences under this Act in each district.
  • The prime objective of the SC/ST Act is to deliver justice to marginalised through proactive efforts, giving them a life of dignity, self-esteem and a life without fear, violence or suppression from the dominant castes.

(b) Alma Ata Declaration (GS -2)

  • The Declaration of Alma-Ata was adopted at the International Conference on Primary Health Care (PHC), Almaty (formerly Alma-Ata), Kazakhstan (formerly Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic), 6–12 September 1978.
  • It expressed the need for urgent action by all governments, all health and development workers, and the world community to protect and promote the health of all people.
  • It was the first international declaration underlining the importance of primary health care.
  • The primary health care approach has since then been accepted by member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the key to achieving the goal of “Health For All” but only in developing countries at first.
  • This applied to all other countries five years later.
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