Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 3

1.Infrastructure is the backbone of National Economy. What measures has the government taken to boost infrastructure development in the recent budget? (GS 3)

इन्फ्रास्ट्रक्चर राष्ट्रीय अर्थव्यवस्था की रीढ़ है। सरकार द्वारा बजट में क्या कदम उठाए गए हैं विकास को बढ़ावा देने के लिए?

Suggested Answer:

Infrastructure development is critical to economic development. Creating infrastructure has numerous upstream and downstream multiplier effects on different sectors of the economy. It creates numerous employment opportunities, provides a framework for businesses to flourish, stimulates the economy, and results in productive capital formation which is the sign of a healthy, growing economy.

The government has taken the following measures to boost infrastructure development:

  1. Rural Infrastructure:
    1. 100% village electrification by 1st May 2018 under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana
    2. Faster pace of roads to be constructed under PM Gram Sadak Yojana.
    3. 1 crore houses under PM Awas Yojana to be completed by 2019.
    4. Sanitation coverage increased from 42% to 60%. Plan for universal coverage by 2019.
    5. 5 lakh farm ponds and 10 lakh compost pits to be constructed under MNREGA.
  2. Agricultural Infrastructure:
    1. New mini labs in Krishi Vigyan Kendras for testing soil samples.
    2. Corpus increased for long term Irrigation Fund.
    3. Setting up a dedicated micro irrigation fund to achieve “per drop more crop”.
    4. e-NAM will be extended further.
    5. Dairy processing and Infrastructure Development Fund would be setup in NABARD.

III. Education Infrastructure:
1. Innovation Fund for secondary education , including ICT enabled education.
2. Establishment of a National Testing Agency
3. PM Kaushal Kendras to be extended from 60 to 600 districts.
4. Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Programme (SANKALP).
5. Vocational training and apprenticeship via next phase of STRIVE.

  1. Health Infrastructure:
    1. Two new AIIMS to be set up in Gujarat and Jharkhand.
    2. Additional 5,000 PG seats in medical colleges.
    3. Aadhaar-based smart cards containing health details.
  2. Rail Infrastructure:
    1. Railway Sanrakshna Kosh for passenger safety
    2. Dedicated trains for pilgrimage and tourism.
    3. Unmanned railway crossings to be eliminated via Setu Bharatam project.
    4. 500 stations to have lifts and escalator for disabled friendly.
    5. Solar power in 7,000 stations.
    6. All coaches to have biotoilets by 2019, and pilot projects for waste disposal plants.
    7. New Metro Rail policy to be announced.
  3. Digital Infrastructure:
    1. Fillip to digital infrastructure, grievance redress, BharatNet project to connect 1.5 lakh gram panchayats.
    2. DigiGAWN initiative to provide tele-medicine and skills training.
    3. New schemes to promote BHIM and UPI and incentivize their adoption.

VII. Road Infrastructure:
1. Budget allocation ramped up to 64,000 crores for highways.
2. 2,000 kms of coastal connectivity roads to be constructed in sync with Sagarmala’s port-led development.
3. Multi-modal logistics parks with multi-modal transport facility.

VIII. Women-centric infrastructure:
1. Mahila Shakto Kendra to be set up in 14 lakh ICDS centres.
2. Stepped up allocation for women and child welfare schemes to Rs. 1.84 lakh cr.

  1. Energy Infrastructure:
    1. Setting up of new crude oil reserves via Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Pvt Ltd (ISPRL), to boost energy security.
    2. Proposed merging 6 oil PSUs into one, in order to make the resultant entity big enough to compete with international giants.

It is estimated that India needs more than $1 trillion infrastructure spending. Moreover, with private investment not picking up due to twin-balance sheet problem and global economic downturn, it was considered essential for the public sector to ramp up spending in capital assets so as to spur growth. This budget delivers on that front.


2.Indian Political class has a history of bending to sectarian and regional demands under populist pressure, even resorting to regressive measures, overturning Acts of Parliament and judicial pronouncements. Critically examine. (GS 2)

भारतीय राजनीतिक वर्ग का संसद और न्यायिक घोषणाओं के अधिनियम लोकलुभावन के दबाव में सांप्रदायिक और क्षेत्रीय मांग से झुकने का इतिहास है। गंभीर रूप से जांच करें।

Suggested Answer:

India is a democracy where elected representatives denote the will of the people. Political class has to garner votes, and votes are given on the basis of regional demands and local problems.

There have been several instances where the political class has bent to sectarian or regional demands:
1. Government overturned the Supreme Court verdict in the Shah Bano case after backlash from conservative groups.
2. Recently, Tamil Nadu government passed an ordinance allowing Jallikattu to be conducted despite a Supreme Court judgement banning the sport.
3. Government ceded to demands of West Bengal government and fell short of brokering a Teesta water deal with Bangladesh in 2013.
4. Despite the Supreme Court verdicts limiting reservation to 50% and disallowing reservations based on economic considerations, several states like Gujarat and Haryana have provided reservations exceeding 50% after bowing down to protests from certain sections.
5. India-Sri Lanka relations have been hampered since decades, because the Centre decided to play second fiddle to Tamil Nadu government in the matter of foreign policy decisions with SL.
6. State governments frequently disregard the judicial pronouncements and tribunal awards in cases of water disputes – Cauvery dispute, Sutlej-Yamuna link canal land issue etc.

These instances portend a bad precedent for democracy as:
1. They promote regionalism and instances of “Sons of the Soil”, hampering integrity of the nation.
2. Such instances disregard the constitutional values.
3. Development takes a back seat while populist issues occupy the front.
4. Real democracy is hindered as votes are manipulated by resorting to emotions of the voter.

However, they also lead to some good outcomes:
1. Regional issues get due attention.
2. Sometimes, there are genuine underlying concerns which need to be addressed, such as water scarcity in Karnataka or illegal immigrants issue in Assam.

Moreover, the political class has not always bent down to populist pressure. There have been instances such as in Ayodhya case when the government has acquiesced. Also, such overturning of pronouncements is common when the political class perceives judiciary as indulging in judicial overreach and impinging on the sovereign right of the Parliament to make laws.

In conclusion, there will always be regional and sectarian issues that demand attention in a country as vast and diverse as India. However, the onus lies on all the branches of the State, the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary, to ensure that they do not overstep the functions that they’ve been allotted in the constitution. National interest and protection of the integrity of the nation must be at the heart of all political decisions.

3.Is morality important to lead a happy life? Support your answer with examples. (GS 4)

क्या नैतिकता एक सुखी जीवन व्यतीत करने के लिए महत्वपूर्ण है? उदाहरण के साथ अपने जवाब का समर्थन करें।

Suggested Answer:

Morality refers to individual judgement on what is right or wrong. It relates to conscience, which is an individual’s moral compass. Peace of mind and conscience is essential to live a happy life, which makes morality important to lead a happy life.

Morality is incredibly subjective and varies from person to person. Ethics are social values that decide what interactions or behaviour is acceptable or unacceptable in a particular society. Thus, ethics and morality both depend on and influence each other.

Institutions such as family, education, religion etc play a crucial role in developing the moral outlook of an individual.

Speaking the truth constitutes a moral obligation to most people. It is a common saying that if you speak the truth; you don’t have to remember what you said. Lying would make such a person unhappy since it is immoral act for that person.

Polygamy and polyandry are acceptable in some cultures, but they are largely forbidden in most, which makes them immoral acts for most individuals.

Stealing something amounts to taking away something which legitimately belongs to someone else without their consent. Stealing would thus be immoral, and lead to unhappiness.

On the other hand, a robber may not find robbery immoral and his conscience may be at peace with this act. But, this is not ethical and is therefore sanctioned by both the law as well as the society.

Similarly, one may believe that revenge is the best option forward when s/he has been wronged, and they may resort to violence to achieve their ends. Violence is an immoral act in a civilized society, which is why it is frowned upon by both the law, as well as religion.

Due to the way in which morality is embedded in human thoughts and actions, doing an immoral act leads to guilt and mental anguish, which is not a happy state of mind. These actions trouble the conscience, which is why morality is important to live happily.


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