Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 18, 2019

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Q.1) There is a demographic divergence between regions in India and this should be seen not as a problem but as an opportunity for overall socio-economic development in the country. Do you agree? Substantiate.


The southern states are showing faster decline in the population growth rate as compared to the northern states. India’s fertility rate is now 2.6 but the rate in the southern states has fallen below two i.e. below the replacement level of 2.1


  1. South-western region will require workers for keeping institutions running, taking care of the elderly and maintaining the economic productivity while the north-central region will have high and possibly surplus young working age population.
  2. There is a need to gain deeper understanding of migration flows, so that estimations and projections can be made regarding changing needs for housing and infrastructure, healthcare and utilities, education and skills.
  3. States need to work together to provide portability of identity proof and entitlements, as well as build support systems for families left behind.
  4. Focus should be on addressing harmful practices such as child marriage, access to quality sexual and reproductive health services and family planning services to all, and provisioning of health, education, life and vocational skills to all the young people especially in northern states to reap benefits of demographic dividend
  5. UNFPA advocates a differential approach in forward-looking policymaking and programme planning to harness the demographic dividend opportunity in those states where the windows for opportunity is closing soon


Q.2) Equal political representation of women is the most essential step in addressing the concerns of women in India. Examine.


Benefits of equal representation:

  1. The concerns of women will be effectively presented. Poor representation of women leads to marginalisation of issues significant for women.
  2. Establishes a means of achieving political and social equality
  3. Empowers many women to come out of the limitations imposed by socio cultural factors
  4. Women representatives act as role models and inspire other women


Q.3) PM-Kisan must be complimented large scale reforms in agri-marketing and trade policies. Elucidate.


PM KISAN scheme provides income support to small and marginal farmers in the country. But income support on its own is limited in arresting farm distress if it is not complemented by other reforms.

Features of PM KISAN:

  1. vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year
  2. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers in three equal instalments of Rs. 2,000 each

Other reforms needed:

The recommendations of National Commission on Farmers (NCF) by Swaminathan should be implemented for reviving agriculture sector:

  1. MSP for grains
  2. Protection of small farmers and addressal of risks in overtaking agriculture as a profession.
  3. Farmers need to have access over resources such as land, water, bio-resources, credit and insurance, technology and markets.
  4. Agriculture needs to be shifted to the concurrent list instead of the state list.
  5. A broad-based, holistic policy looking at the agrarian crisis through the farmers’ lens can help in solving the issue.
  6. Need to train farmers for climate-smart farming.
  7. From farm to fork, farming sector should be looked at in an integrated and holistic fashion.
  8. Need for land use planning well in advance of every crop cycle to wean farmers away from the traps of excess production that lead to crash in prices, resulting in lower realisations that create distress


Q.4) Discuss the role of ULBs along with civil society organizations in the safe mobility of people in urban areas.


Key concerns currently limiting urban mobility are supporting infrastructure, lack of principles for regulating the ride-sharing industry, dynamic pricing, inequity in access and safety for women.

Role of ULBs and CSOs:

  1. Ensuring that remote areas of the cities are connected. This can only be communicated if the requirements at grassroots are known
  2. Most often the service providers are from private sector. Some amount of regulation is needed to align them with needs of people
  3. The State Government may prescribe fares temporarily to arrest instances of anti-competitive practices
  4. Use dynamic pricing to charge for parking on streets and in parking lots to discourage people from using personal transportation
  5. Encouraging people to use alternate means of transport through awareness generation
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