Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 24

  1. Use of Internet and social media by non-state actors for subversive activities is a major concern. How have these have misused in the recent past? Suggest effective guidelines to curb the above threat.(GS 3)
    UPSC Mains Previous Year Paper


  • In the 21st century , the internet and social media have empowered non-state actors so much that superpowers can no longer install stable regimes at will.

How have these been used in the recent past:-


  • The internet and social media can now create and mobilize radical ideologues across the world, and create homegrown fanatics in every country . There is no military defence against these new developments.
  • The ability to spread subversive ideas, once the hallmark of liberation movements, is now the hallmark of radical Islam.
  • High technology could pulverise conventional armed forces but could not control low-tech rural areas, or stop the Taliban’s spread of ideas and arms, or even stop the Taliban raising funds through local taxes, smuggling and the opium trade.
  • Even if ISIS gives up most of its erritory , it will retain the power to persuade and mobilize hrough social media and the internet, inspiring an unending succession of alienated Muslims in many countries to become suicide killers.
  • New forms of communication have enabled non-state actors to spread their tentacles, and to mobilize money and arms, on a scale that even strong states cannot foil. Somali pirates have shown that even commercial hoodlums, seeking millions without a shred of ideology , can defy the greatest naval superpowers.
  • Hacking and other 21st century tools enable radicals to undercut the most powerful states.
  • Cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and other forms of cyber terrorism.
  • Brainwashing by manipulating religious doctrines
  • Glorifying acts of terrorism by uploading videos of killings & attacks

How to curb it?

  • Ideally , by creating a sense of universal brotherhood.
  • India should be active in demand for equitable internet governance globally.
  • Cyber security laws and bodies like CERT-IN should be upgraded with latest technologies.
  • Digital literacy must be increased via school & college education with emphasis on our secular & democratic ethos.
  • International co-operation must be sought for preventing and control of cyber-crimes

  1. Give an account of the current status and the targets to be achieved pertaining to renewable energy sources in the country. Discuss in brief the importance of National Programme on Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).(GS 3)

UPSC Mains Previous Year Paper

Current status and targets:-

In tune with increasing energy demands and as per India’s INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution) provided to UNFCCC as part of Paris climate pact, India intends to build 175 Giga Watts (GW) of renewable energy by 2022.
It includes:
• Solar Power: Target – 100 GW (current installed capacity 3GW)
• Wind Energy: Target – 60 GW (current installed capacity 22GW)
• Biomass: Target – 10 GW (current installed capacity 4000MW)
• Small Hydro: Target – 05 GW (current installed capacity 4000MW)
Apart from electricity generation in a environmentally friendly manner, in order to focus on efficient use of energy

Importance of national programme on LED:-

  • Launched as the Prakash Path (Way to Light), a National Programme for LED-based Home and Street Lighting. Under this scheme, the government is planning to replace  77 crore conventional bulbs and 3.5 crore conventional streetlights with the LED range.
  • As per the Economic Survey 2015-16, this change will see a savings of Rs 45,500 crore by reducing 21,500 MW electricity demand.
  • For this, the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) along with Discoms, will be distributing LED bulbs to consumers at Rs 10 per unit. This is against the market price of Rs 350-400.
  • Energy conservation:
    • LEDs havelonger life (50,000 hours) and increased efficiency due to photo sensitive semiconductor technology. Estimated savings of 100 b KWh (domestic) and 9 b KWh (street lighting)
  • Mitigate climate change:
    • It helps in mitigating the climate change by reducing the CO2 emission by 85 million tonnes annually.
  • Environment friendly:
    • They have no mercury they have zero negative environmental impact.
  • Reduces power load:
    • It is estimated to reduce reduce peak load by 20000 MW (domestic)and 1500 MW (street lighting).
  • Rural electrification:
    • Reduced peak load and supply of LED would not help in rural electrification but also for rural development.
  • Economical:
    • There availability at low prices and their usage is also economical to the nation as it reduces energy import bill
  • Industry:
    • It gives a boost to Make in India, startup and stand up India it would give thrust to LED manufacturing, especially for the MSMEs. It would also promote employment.
  • Thus National Programme for LED -based home and street lighting not only helps facilitate India’s commitment of reducing its emission intensity per unit of GDP by 33-35% by 2030 under its INDC but also step towards bringing positive behavioural change in society by shifting to less energy consumption mode.

  1. Women empowerment in India needs gender budgeting. What are the requirements and status of gender budgeting in the Indian context?(GS 3)

UPSC Mains Previous Year Paper


  • Gender budgeting (GB) is a practice that accounts budgetary measures to support gender commitments.
  • India formally adopted gender budgeting in 2005.Every Indian budget since 2005 has a statement that lists out schemes meant specifically for women.Sixteen states have also embraced gender budgeting over the past decade.


  • Greater gender equality with respect to enrollment in schools:
    • More girls are enrolling with increase in awareness.
  • Spending on infrastructurehas also increased for instance women in BPL categories are given free LPG for better health prospects.
  • Providing women with safe toilets in school especially in villages, giving free cycles for easy commutation(for eg. in Bihar), providing them with drinking water facilities are some steps in this direction.
  • Village panchayats controlled by women tend to spend more on public goods such as drinking water which are closer to the concerns of women
  • The gender budgeting has helped improve women's economic equality.
  • Government efforts :-
    • Many government schemes like beti bacho beti padhao for bettering sex ratio and education , sukanya samridhi yojana for enhancing their economic status are launched.
    • Recently government has increased the Paid leave of women to 26 Weeks from 12 Weeks under maternity benefit act this will ensure the retention of Women in the work force.


  • Gender budgeting alone is unlikely to solve the massive problem of gender inequality that not only prevents women from living a full life but also hurts economic growth.
  • For example, India has the lowest level of female participation in the labour force when compared to most other regional economies. Indian women enter the labour force only when there is economic distress while they retreat back into their homes once the situation improves a rare case of employment going down when the economy improves.
  • Social norms do prevent women from exercising these freedoms.
  • The lack of certain core public goods such as safe streets or lack of clean drinking water are more likely to hurt the economic prospects of women more than men.
    • The lack of clean drinking water on tap in effect means that women in many parts of the country spend several hours every day walking in search of water.
  • According to the Mcckinsey Global report on Gender parity, India has a score of 0.48 which compares poorly with 0.71 for Western Europe and 0.74 for North America and Oceania.It also goes onto say that investment in gender parity can result in 1.4% per year increase in GDP.


Requirements of gender budgeting :-

  • GB requires Government budgets to establish its gender specific impacts and to ensure that gender commitments are translated into budgetary commitments.
  • Gender specific grant allocations in various schemes. For example schemes like Start Up India and Stand up India allocations must be specifically earmarked for women entrepreneurs.
  • Provisions specially to attract women in the mainstream economy and targeting the section of women that hesitates to participate actively by leveraging benefits.
  • Institutionalizing GB at state govt. level must be done to increase the share and commitment on state subjects.

A gender sensitive budget helps in translating gender-specific commitments into budgetary commitments. Since women comprise approx 48% of the population of India, it becomes important for their voices to be heard.



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