Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 13

1.“An essential condition to eradicate poverty is to liberate the poor from deprivation.” Substantiate this statement with suitable examples. (GS 1)
“ गरीबी उन्मूलन की एक अनिवार्य शर्त गरीबों को वंचितता के प्रक्रम से विमुक्त कर देना है |” उपयुक्त उदाहरण प्रस्तुत करते हुए इस कथन को पुष्ट कीजिए |

Suggested Answer:

Poverty is a multi-dimensional concept that encompasses not only economic deprivation, but also deprivation of opportunities as well as deprivation of basic needs such as health, education, housing etc.

Liberating the poor from this deprivation is essential to eradicate poverty as:

  1. Holistic healthcare facilities will decrease mortality and morbidity >> lead to more productive workforce >> higher productivity and growth >> prosperity.
    Healthy mothers >> healthy children >> better learning outcomes and avenues to flourish.

Several developed and developing economies (such as UK and Cuba respectively) have state-sponsored universal healthcare.

  1. Healthcare is intricately linked to nutrition. Food security and awareness about healthy eating and balanced diet ensures that the people get enough macro and micronutrients that lead to proper overall development of body and mind, creating spill-over effects in other dimensions such as education.
  2. Provision of education opens up new opportunities for the people and enables them to get gainful employment in various fields. Skilling and vocational training is an essential component of education. India has the Right to Education as a Fundamental Right under Article 21A of its constitution.
  3. Skilling and education cannot alone eradicate poverty without the presence of formal sector jobs in all the sectors of the economy. Formal sector jobs have provisions for proper wages and social security nets, which provide the people with the economic means necessary to live life with a decent standard of living.
  4. Liberating the poor from deprivation of knowledge – by increasing awareness about common diseases, political awareness, and engendering behavioural change in matters such as sanitation, savings and exercising regularly – will lead to better social indicators, eradication of poverty and a conscientious citizenry.
    “Nudge units”
    are being established by various governments in order to devise methods to bring about behavioural change.
  5. A major component of poverty eradication is economic growth. Reduction of inequality and redistribution of the fruits of growth is the work of the State and proper mechanisms for the same ensure that the poor get a share of the newly created wealth. The trickle-down effect ensures liberation from deprivation and gives adequate choices in all aspects to the poor.

Goal 1 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is “Ending poverty in all forms, everywhere”. However, this is not a standalone goal, since poverty is a result of deprivation, and can be eradicated only by removing that deprivation.


2.“Terrorism is emerging as a competitive industry over the last few decades.” Analyse the above statement. (GS 3)
“पिछले कुछ दशकों से आतंकवाद एक प्रतिस्पर्धात्मक उधोग के रूप में उभर रहा है |” उपर्युक्त कथन का विश्लेषण कीजिए |

Suggested Answer:

Terrorism refers to the unlawful use of violence in order to further the social, political or religious ideology of a group of people, referred to as terrorists.
The use of terror to achieve aims in modern world dates back to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which led to the outbreak of World War I.

The global outlook for terrorism since the last few decades shows that it has several characteristics of a competitive industry as:

  1. Proliferation of numerous terror outfits spreading terror, akin to numerous industries producing the same goods.
  2. Control over factors of production such as:

(i) land – IS and Taliban occupy substantial land in Iraq-Syria and Afghanistan respectively.
(ii) labour – by recruiting people.
(iii) capital – by state-sponsored funding (Hezbollah and Houthis by Iran, Syrian rebels by US and Saudi Arabia etc.) or by selling goods such as oil from the land controlled by them.
(iv) entrepreneurship – emergence of leaders which set up new terror outfits, akin to employees leaving the industries to start their own ventures.

  1. Competition for the market share and diversification of portfolio to include newer products (attacks) – from IEDs to vehicular bombs to suicide bombers and fidayeen-type attacks.
  2. Offices in different continents and franchising terror – Al Qaeda have its branches in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) as well as Africa (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). Boko Haram, a Nigerian terror outfit, has pledged it’s allegiance to Islamic State (IS).
  3. Leveraging social media for marketing their ideologies and recruiting new employees (fighters) from social media by training professional recruiters.
  4. Industry provides wages, accommodation and becomes a part of life for the worker. Terror outfits also provide these facilities and promote themselves as a new way of life.
  5. Disruptive innovation that affects the system disproportionally, such as brainwashing and the sudden rise of “lone-wolf” attacks, which are very hard to foresee or prevent.

However, the biggest difference between terrorist outfits and industries is that while traditional industry seeks to produce goods and services that are beneficial or entertaining to the mankind and make human work easier. However, terrorism only spreads fear, hate, and uncertainty.

There is a need for the world to join hands and take concrete multilateral initiatives to ensure that terror groups are dealt with a heavy hand. Accepting and ratifying the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) proposed by India would be good first step.


3.The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa were led by the new elite of Western-educated Africans. Examine. (GS 1)
पश्चिमी अफ्रीका में उपनिवेश-विरोधी संघर्षों को पाश्चात्य सिक्षित अफ़्रीकियों के नव संभ्रांत वर्ग के द्वारा नेत्रत्व प्रदान किया गया था | परीक्षण करिए |

Suggested Answer:

Anti-colonial upsurge in West Africa was a part of the larger rush of decolonization after the massive wanton destruction of the World War II. Just as Indian freedom movement, in the 20th century, found a leader in M. K. Gandhi, a western-educated lawyer, freedom struggles in several West African countries were also led by such western-educated Africans:

1. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, educated in London and US, led Gold Coast to freedom in 1957, and rechristened the country Ghana.

2. Nnamdi Azikiwe, educated in US, led Nigeria to a successful anti-colonial struggle, leading to its independence in 1960.

3. Amilcar Cabral, educated in Portugal, led Guinea-Bissau to freedom from Portugal. He was assassinated before the official independence declaration of the country, but served as an inspiration for other revolutionary leaders elsewhere, such as Fidel Castro.

4. Tovalou Houenou, defended the equality of race, opposed Eurocentricism and founded the Negritude movement, the writings of which gave a fillip to anti-colonial struggles in West Africa.

5. Leopold Sedar Senghol and Felix Houphouet- Boigny were western educated individuals who respectively led Senegal and Ivory Coast to independence.

Some of these struggles were peaceful and constitutional while some had the blueprint of non-cooperation and civil disobedience. Some struggles were outright violent revolutions.

Nations of West Africa, however, have seldom witnessed stability and peace after independence. The countries have been marred by civil wars, brutal dictatorships and military coups.



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