Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 22, 2018

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Q.1) Although the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 (SC/ST Act) is a powerful and precise weapon on paper, in practice the Act has suffered from a near-complete failure in implementation. Critically examine the statement. GS – 2


  • In 1989, the Government of India enacted the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in order to prevent atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
  • The Act came into force with effect from 30.1.1990.
  • The Act is implemented by the respective State Governments and Union Territory Administrations, which are provided due central assistance under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act.
  • The Act extends to whole of India except Jammu & Kashmir.

Effectiveness of Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 (SC/ST Act):

  • The Act lists several criminal offences relating to various patterns of behavior inflicting for shattering the self-respect and esteem of the persons belonging to SCs & STs, denial of economic, democratic and social rights, discrimination, exploitation and abuse of the legal process etc.
  • To sum up, the law does three things:
  • It punishes crimes against people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes,
  • It gives special protections and rights to victims, and
  • It sets up courts for fast completion of cases.

Ineffectiveness of Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 (SC/ST Act):

Although the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is a powerful weapon on paper, it is not free from drawbacks.

  • The primary obstacles to implementation are intended to be the primary enforcers of the Act i.e. the police and bureaucracy that form the primary node of interaction between state and society in the rural areas.
  • Nearly a quarter of those government officials charged with enforcing the Act are unaware of its existence.
  • In most cases, unwillingness to file a First Information Report (FIR) under the Act comes from caste-bias.
  • Authorities in charge are reluctant to file cases against fellow caste-members because of the severity of the penalties imposed by the Act; most offenses are non-bailable and carry minimum punishments of five years imprisonment.
  • Judicial delay is another cause of this low conviction rate; the lapse between the case being registered and the trial means that witnesses who are often poor and face intimidation in the interim, turn hostile and the case becomes too weak for a conviction.
  • Besides these the other main deficiencies in the Act is Section 14(2), which merely requires the State governments to specify for each district a Sessions Court to be a special court to try atrocities, contradicting the very purpose “of providing for a speedy trial”.
  • Among the other major deficiencies in the Act are omission of social and economic boycott as a crime, non-provision of death penalty as in the Indian Penal Code, non-availability of protection for the victims by way of the externment of possible perpetrators, and the failure to cover converts to Christianity ( Dalit Christians).

Q.2) With a short note on European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), discuss the significance of India’s approval to join the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)? GS – 3


  • The London-headquartered EBRD is a multilateral development bank set up in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin wall to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in emerging Europe.
  • It invests in 38 emerging economies across three continents, according to a set of criteria that aim to make its countries more competitive, better governed, greener, more inclusive, more resilient and more integrated.
  • It remains committed to furthering the development of “market-oriented economies and the promotion of private and entrepreneurial initiative.”
  • Other members who receive investments include Mongolia, Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece and Lebanon, among a total of 38 member states.
  • Others including China, the U.S., U.K., and France are stakeholders, whose companies are able to invest in EBRD projects, but do not receive financing for domestic projects.
  • The EBRD’s largest shareholder is currently the U.S., while other G7 nations also hold significant stakes.
  • In 2017, the EBRD signed a pact with the International Solar Alliance, which was unveiled in 2015 in Paris.

Significance of India’s approval to join the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) :

  • India has got the “go-ahead” to join the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
  • The approval comes after shareholders of the London-based multilateral lender agreed to the country becoming its 69th member, enabling Indian companies to undertake joint investments in regions in which the EBRD operates.
  • This is an important step in the relationship between the EBRD and India.
  • It will allow the EBRD to build on already close ties with India.
  • The move will enable Indian companies to undertake joint investments in regions in which the EBRD operates.
  • The move will see India take up a small stake in the bank, would spur further investment by Indian firms in a range of sectors from solar to utilities, providing them access to fast growing markets.
  • It will also enable Indian citizens to work for the organisation.

Q.3) Write short notes on:

a) Child penalty in Economics GS- 3

b) Prasar Bharti Act GS – 2

Child penalty in Economics GS- 3

  • Child penalty is also known as the motherhood penalty.
  • It refers to the adverse impact that giving birth to children has on the wages earned by women.
  • Childbirth causes women to take time off work and make various other changes to their career choices, which in turn has a negative impact on their long-term income.
  • Thus childless women are generally found to earn more than women who have children.
  • The child penalty is considered by many to be the primary reason why women earn less than men in the labour market.

Prasar Bharti Act GS – 2

  • Prasar Bharati (Broadcast Corporation of India) Act of 1990 are crystallised in Section 12 of the law.
  • Section 12 (3)(a) mandates that Prasar Bharati ensure that “broadcasting is conducted as a public service.”
  • Again, Section 12 (3)(b) reinforces that the purpose of establishing the corporation is to gather news, not propaganda.
  • The Act came into existence after decades of post-independence struggle to free broadcasting from the stranglehold of the government.
  • The Prasar Bharati Corporation’s main objective is to provide autonomy to Doordarshan and Akashvani in order to “educate and entertain the public.”


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