Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 27

Mains Marathon UPSC Answer writing

1.Seven exoplanets orbiting a dwarf star has been discovered. How are these different to our solar system? Why it is easier to detect them? (GS 3)

सात एक्षॉपलनेंट की खोज की गई है। ये कैसे हमारे सौर मंडल से अलग हैं? उन्हें पता लगाना क्यों आसान है?

Suggested Answer


How are these different to solar system?

  • Unlike earlier discoveries of exoplanets all seven planets could possibly have liquid water.Only Earth has liquid water in the solar system.
  • This is by far the largest collection of Earth-like planets in the habitable ‘Goldilocks’ zone of a star.
  • Unlike in the case of solar system, the planets have apparently formed far away from the star and gradually migrated towards it,they share a similar formation history with the Galilean moons, which migrated towards Jupiter after formation.
  • The tight packing of the seven planets around the star is unlike solar system.The closest planet in the TRAPPIST-1 system takes just 1.5 days to complete an orbit and the farthest one takes 20 days.
    • o When TRAPPIST-1f and TRAPPIST-1g are at their closest to one another, they’re just at three times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. So if one were to stand on TRAPPIST-1f, sometimes TRAPPIST-1g would look twice as big as the Moon in the sky. It’s remarkable that you could see another world right there.
  • The planets all orbit closer to TRAPPIST-1 than mercury orbits the sun.
  • The inner six planets seem to orbit somewhat in sync a phenomenon known as orbital resonance. For instance, when TRAPPIST-1g completes four orbits around the star, TRAPPIST-1f completes three orbits — a ratio of 4:3.
  • The star’s close proximity to its planets means these worlds receive substantially more radiation than Earth does.

Why is it easier to detect them?

  • Since the TRAPPIST-1 system is close by and the star is cool enough, it would be easier to decipher the various critical features of the planets.
  • These planets are close enough that scientists are actually going to be able to study themparticularly when the James Webb Space Telescope launches in 2018.
  • Also the closer the system is to solar system the more the star is like the Sun and the planet is like the Earth, the more likely scientists are to understand.
  • In the grand scheme of the Universe, 40 light-years is a relatively short distance, which makes observing this system a bit easier with telescopes.
  • Peering into the planets’ atmospheres is less challenging since these planets orbit around a star that’s much smaller and fainter than our yellow Sun.

2.What do understand by Air Quality? What steps can the government take to improve the air quality? (GS 1)

वायु गुणवत्ता से आप क्या समझते हैं? सरकार क्या कदम उठा सकती है हवा की गुणवत्ता में सुधार करने के लिए?

Suggested Answer

Air quality:-

  • It means the state of the air around people.
  • A recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) states that of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 13 are in India, with Delhi at the top.
  • A report from The Lancet, published on Sunday, estimated that two lives in India are lost every minute due to ambient air pollution
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) . Five key pollutant levels are reported: PM2.5, SO2, NO2, CO and O3.

Measures needed are:

  • International lessons:
  • China:
    • China has instituted a broad, regionally coordinated system of air pollution monitoring
    • Installed high-tech pollution abatement equipment on a majority of its power plants, as well as devised means to restrict car ownership in major cities.
    • It has also developed a network of 1,500 air quality-monitoring stations in over 900 cities (India has only 39 such stations covering 23 cities). Significantly, China has instituted regional air quality regulations to ensure that air pollution is addressed jointly across city and state boundaries.
    • More empowered and better-staffed pollution control boards are needed. India’s Central Pollution Control Board has 550 employees. In contrast, the environmental protection bureau of the city of Yantai in China’s Shandong province alone has 4,000 staff.
    • Need to develop more local-level environmental institutions to regulate and implement anti-pollution policies. India only has pollution control boards at the national and state levels. China has EPBs [Environmental Protection Bureaus] at national, provincial, prefectural, city or county, and district levels. It even has some EPBs at the multi-provincial level. Finally, it’s important to create a large network of monitoring stations in all major urban centers.
  • Setting deadlines for meeting national air quality standards, as well as five-year interim targets for reducing pollution at state and city levels, is one measure.
  • Regional action plans that cover entire air-sheds/regions and address all major sources of pollution, rather than focusing on just some, is another.
  • Expanding the scope and quality of public transport.
  • Stringent vehicular emissions norms and availability of high-grade fuel.
  • Congestion charges and higher parking fees are steps to consider.
  • Installing pollution abatement equipment on all power plants.
  • Reducing coal usage.  
  • The development of a large network of monitoring stations in all major urban centers.
  • Since the general power grid regularly fails in Delhi and other Indian cities, wealthy residents, hospitals and businesses use diesel-generators in the city centre. A focus on making the grid more reliable will therefore also help slash ambient pollution during the summer months.
  • Finally, given the high percentage of PM 10 that originates from road dust, paving more roads to reduce the amount of dust is a must.  
  • Citizens-
    • Carpooling, composting and consuming with care. Avoiding polluting behaviours like trash burning or bursting firecrackers.


  • Air pollutionin India is estimated to kill 1.5 million people every year; it is the fifth largest killer in India.
  • The air qualityin Delhi, the capital of India, according to a WHO survey of 1600 world cities, is the worst of any major city in the world.

3.What is Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)? What are the benefits of TFA pact? (GS 2)

व्यापार सुविधा समझौते (टीएफए) क्या है? टीएफए संधि के क्या फायदे हैं?

Suggested Answer


  • Recently WTO members concluded negotiations at the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conferenceon the landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which entered into force on 22 February 2017 following its ratification by two-thirds of the WTO membership.
  • Trade facilitation is the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes and has therefore emerged as an important issue for the world trading system.
  • The TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.
  • It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.
  • Developed countries have committed to apply the substantive portions of the TFA from the date it takes effect.
  • Developing countries and least-developed countries (LDCs), meanwhile, will only apply those substantive provisions of the TFA which they have indicated they are in a position to do so from the date of the TFA’s entry into force. LDCs were given an additional year to do so.


  • Trade:
    • Estimates show that the full implementation of the TFA will boost global trade by up to $1 trillion per year, with the biggest gains in the poorest countries.
    • TFA implementation has ramifications for the future trajectory of the global economy as well.International reports estimate that over the 2015-30 horizon, implementation of the TFA could add up to 2.7 per cent a year to world export growth, and more than half a percent a year to world GDP growth.
    • LDCs are likely to see an increase in their exports of 36 per cent, much more thandeveloped or developing economies.
  • Diversifying exports:
    • Furthermore, by implementing the TFA, developing countries will be able to diversify their exports, enteringnew markets and selling a wider array of products.
  • The TFA will reduce both delays and variability in delivery time, which should increase the opportunity for implementing developing countries to participate inglobal value chains.
    • Since the TFA will reduce delays at the border, it increases the opportunity for SMEs to become more integratedin international trade.
  • The TFA will help developing countries attract moreforeign direct investment (FDI).
    • Implementation of the TFA could be interpreted by foreign investors as a signal of improvement in the overall investment climate, which would induce inward FDI flows even in those sectors in the domestic economy that are not highly dependent ontrade.
  • The TFA is the first multilateral agreement successfully negotiated at the WTO since its foundation twodecades ago.
  • It will lead to effective functioning of ports and reduce transaction costs. Logistics will improve, goods will move faster. Besides, since all the ports will be connected electronically, there will be export and import data on a real time basis.
    • Reducing such trade costs will not only allow individual countries to align more closely into global production chains but also boost global trade as a whole and give a further impetus to growth.
    • In fact estimates made by the WTO show that full implementation of the TFA will cut import time by 47% of the current levels on the average and that of exports by about double the number. This will reduce global trade costs by around 14.3% with the biggest gains going to the poorest countries especially those in Africa.
  • For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement is directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) has been created to help ensure developing and least-developed countries obtain the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA.
  • Increased involvement of these countries in global value chains
  • Greater revenue collection and reduced incidence of corruption.
  • It provides greater legal certainty to the changes in measures.
  • It helps reforming governments to marshal support from domestic constituents.
  • Finally, it helps with the adoption of similar or compatible approaches to trade procedures and coordinates the provision of donorsupport for capacity-constrained developing countries.

The WTO, together with other international organizations and regional development banks, should invest more resources in the collection of data, particularly on implementation costs, improvement of existing indicators and analytic tools and development of new ones so as to bettermonitor and evaluate the implementation of the TFA.


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