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

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Q 1) Women self-help groups can bring about economic gains via joint liability and mobilization of small-scale savings. Discuss.

Answer:  SHGs are economically homogeneous groups of rural poor. They consist of 10-15 members and act as safety nets to achieve economic security and social well-being. Members periodically save a small amount of money and agree to make a contribution to the common pool.

They can bring economic gains:

  1. They help in achieving the goal of financial inclusion by making women’s access to the banking system easier and hassle-free.
  2. They help mobilize small-scale savings.
  3. It financially empowers women.
  4. Due to the power of peer pressure and social capital, it has the potential to push forward economic growth.
  5. Women in SHGs are seen to be having more formal loans, save more regularly and scoring better on empowerment index.
  6. They can act as financial intermediaries.
  7. The scope of NPAs is reduced because of social pressure to repay the loans.
  8. Businesses can be more successful because of their awareness of local terrain and business prospects.


Q.2) Innovative, multimodal integration is vital for changing patterns of private and public transport usage. Examine the statement in the light of growing vehicular traffic in India.

Answer: State of traffic in India:

  1. India’s cities are growing at an overwhelming rate.
  2. India has about 18% of the world’s population and only 2.5% of its land area, but accommodates a fleet of 210 million motor vehicles as of now.
  3. A car that can carry four to five people, carries an average of 1.5 persons portraying suboptimal use of transportation leading to road congestion.


  1. Connected, well-networked public transport.
  2. Cities need to increase the number of public transport vehicles significantly.
  3. Bus aggregator systems using technology to allow passengers to book seats in buses can pull people out of their private vehicles.
  4. Lead transport authorities could be set up to coordinate planning and financing of public transport modes in an integrated manner.
  5. Transit Oriented Development is an innovative way to reduce transit times and improve quality of life in cities.
  6. International models like the Transport for London, the Land Transport Authority of Singapore and Translink in Vancouver, are worth replicating with local adaptations.
  7. Operators should also be mandated to allow commuters access to data to plan trips


Q.3)  Policymakers and implementers should leverage responsible digital finance to enable small businesses to realize their aspirations. Discuss

Answer: How digital finance helps small businesses:

  1. Digital payments are the bedrock of deeper financial integration for micro enterprises.
  2. Financial services such as credit, insurance and wealth management can be cost-effectively provided in digitized and personalized formats.
  3. Access to affordable finance can translate to financial stability and growth for business owners.
  4. Digital finance solutions also make managing and monitoring of business easy for the owners.
  5. It reduces others costs involved with physical banking.

Ways to promote digital finance:

  1. Targeting businesses that have payment collection challenges.
  2. Removing or reducing upfront installation costs could be more effective.
  3. Awareness generation on the benefits of digital finance. Digital Literacy on ways to effectively use technology for business.
  4. Digitizing merchants through their supply chains.
  5. Influencing consumers to use digital money for household purchases.


Q.4) Discuss the classification of World Islands with suitable examples.

Answer: The different types of islands are:

  1. Volcanic island – At the time of eruption of volcano, lava come out and starts accumulating. In course of time, the upper portion of accumulated lava comes out of water surface and forms island.

Eg., The Hawaiian Island of the Pacific Ocean is one of the classic examples. This type of island is called Volcanic Island.

  1. Continental island – Due to the action of certain natural forces, some parts in the coastal region of the continents may assume positive or negative movements. In course of time, some parts of the continents may detach from the mainland and the detached land portions are called Continental Island.

Eg., Malagasy and Newfoundland are examples of Continental Islands.

  1. Oceanic island – these are the islands formed due to orogenic movement. Some folded mountains are found to be originated in the ocean floor due to the tectonic movement at the interior of the earth. When the peak of the folded mountain comes out of the water, it is called oceanic island.

Eg., Commander Island and Aleutian Island are of this type.

  1. Coral island – Coral islands are formed by the dead skeletons of Protoplasm called coral. Jointed skeletons transform into rocks and gradually their heights increase up to the water surface. This type of coral rock is generally known as reef. In course of time the reefs are filled with sand, mud and other oceanic sediments and transform into island.

Eg., The Great Barrier Reef, atolls in Indian and Pacific oceans

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