Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – December 25, 2018

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Q.1) “Indian policymakers have stressed the role and relevance of natural gas in India’s overall energy mix in the 21st century”. Discuss the major advantages of a gas-based economy. What are challenges faced by India on its road to a gas-based economy.


Advantages of natural gas based economy:

  1. A local source of natural gas can act as a catalyst to other industries such as chemicals, driving wider economic growth
  2. Wider job creation in the industry itself from upstream exploration & production (“E&P”) companies, midstream processing and pipeline transportation companies, downstream local distribution companies
  3. Natural gas can be easily found and is abundant as it is available from nature.
  4. Natural gas is highly flammable due to high level of methane.
  5. Natural gas is colourless, tasteless, and odourless.
  6. Natural Gas is Environmentally Clean: Among many burning fossil fuels available on planet earth, natural gas is the most cleanest. It is considered clean because unlike other gases, natural gas emits very less byproducts into the atmosphere as pollutants. This keeps the air we breathe cleaner.
  7. It is Economical: Natural gas is not as expensive as other burning fuels.

Challenges faced by India:

  1. Uncompetitive pricing model
  2. Lack of sufficient exploration of potential gas based reserves
  3. Insufficient investments due to continued competition from coal and oil based energy
  4. Leakage: Even though it is lighter than air and can disperse easily, a big danger with natural gas is that since it is colorless, odorless and tasteless, should it start leaking, detection of the leak is very hard.
  5. Storage: Even though natural gas is easier to store and transport, it has one big disadvantage. Its volume happens to be four times that of petrol which makes it more expensive to store since more needs to be spent on additional storage.


Q 2) What are aerosols? What are the sources of atmospheric aerosols? Do they have any impact on Indian Monsoon?


Aerosols are minute particles suspended in the atmosphere. When these particles are sufficiently large, we notice their presence as they scatter and absorb sunlight. Their scattering of sunlight can reduce visibility (haze) and redden sunrises and sunsets.

Sources of aerosols:

  1. volcanic aerosol layer which forms in the stratosphere after major volcanic eruptions
  2. desert dust – weather satellites often reveal dust veils streaming out over the Atlantic Ocean from the deserts of North Africa.
  3. aerosol coming from human activities – While a large fraction of human-made aerosols come in the form of smoke from burning tropical forests, the major component comes in the form of sulfate aerosols created by the burning of coal and oil

Impact on Indian monsoon:

  1. Monsoon is weakening over the last 50 years. A report says that a mix of GHGs, aerosols and changes in forest and agricultural cover was affecting the strength of the monsoon.
  2. Their computer simulations suggest that aerosols may be a far more important factor than GHGs and it is the major cause of weakening of the monsoon.
  3. A good monsoon is produced by the difference in temperature between land and sea. But, the dust clouds shield the earth from the sun’s rays, depressing land and sea temperatures and reducing the variation between the two.
  4. Because of this, the Indian monsoon is getting weakened by aerosol accumulation.


Q.3) Though India’s relations with Maldives have seen many ups and downs in recent years but it is the most opportune moment now for the political leadership in both countries to take forward the synergy between the two. Discuss.


Possible benefits for India after the elections:

  1. India first policy may be renewed
  2. The last few years, it was felt that Maldives is being sold out. this election may reverse certain Chinese projects in the country


  1. Chinese can’t be pushed out so easily as seen in Sri Lanka after the Rajapaksa government lost and also in Nepal where China got back the hydropower projects
  2. Incoming government inherit certain signed agreements from past governments
  3. China has already invested around $2 billion in Maldives via certain crucial projects

Way forward for India:

  1. India should have its own red lines for each nation it should be based on very clear neighbourhood policy
  2. Almost 80% of external debt of Maldives is wits China. India has to get Maldives convinced on this and extend finance for development projects
  3. Improve defence cooperation between the two countries
  4. Strengthen regional groupings to reduce Chinese insurance


Q.4) What is tribunalisation of justice? Do you think tribunalisation of justice poses more problems than the solutions it offers?


Tribunalisation of justice means over reliance on tribunals to resolve disputes that may follow the letter but not the spirit of rendering justice to the people.

Tribunalisation of justice is criticised for the following reasons:

  1. Under the Doctrine of Separation of Powers, the Judiciary is given the role of rule adjudication and functions independent of the executive and legislature. Since a tribunal is not a court of law it does not form part of judiciary.
  2. The Constitution protects the independence of the judiciary in terms of qualifications, mode of appointment, tenure and mode of removal, which is not available to members of tribunals.
  3. Since the decisions of some of the tribunals, like National Green Tribunal (NGT) can be taken on appeal only before the Supreme Court, tribunalisation of justice may adversely affect the role of the High Courts
  4. Due to direct appeal clause, the tribunals increase the pendency of cases before the Supreme Court.
  5. Though the tribunals provide speedy justice and can handle technical issues, the benefits of establishing tribunals can be extended to the nation if the Parliament makes use of Article 247 that provides for establishing additional courts for better administration of justice.
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