Mains Marathon

Answered Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 5

1.Women’s undernourishment during pregnancy contributes significantly to India’s unacceptably high rates of child stunting. In this context, discuss how maternal undernourishment is a potent contributor to child stunting in India. (GS 1)

गर्भावस्था के दौरान महिलाओं की कुपोषण की अवस्था भारत में बच्चों की कमज़ोरी के लिए एक महत्वपूर्ण कारण है। इस संदर्भ में, चर्चा करें की कैसे मातृ कुपोषण भारत में बच्चों की कमज़ोरी के लिए एक महत्वपूर्ण कारण है।

Suggested Answer:

Child malnourishment has been one of the major health problems that has plagued India for generations and which still persists today. As per an estimate, the number of underweight children in India is twice that of Sub Saharan nations. One of the major reasons for underweight/stunted children is poor nutrition received by the mother during pregnancy.

  • Weight of the newborn has a direct correlation to the weight of the mother during pregnancy. Hence, undernourishment of the mother results in low weight at birth
  • The initial years are very important for a child’s mental and physical growth. In these years, the child is totally dependent on his mother for nourishment. Hence it’s important that the mother receives proper nutrition.
  • A newborn receives all its antibodies from the mother’s milk. So an undernourished mother wouldn’t be able to provide sufficient antibodies to her child. This would result in frequent infections to the baby which in turn would hamper the child’s development.

There are many reasons for poor nourishment of pregnant women, including poverty, lack of financial independence, lack of decision making power in the house, patriarchal mindset etc. To counter these, a number of steps need to be taken-

  • It is very important to counter the deep rooted bias in the society. For this, awareness programs should be organized which should target not just the adults but also the children.
  • There is a need to educate the newlywed couples along with their family members about the impact of a mother’s health on a child. Counseling sessions for the targeted audience should be organized in every block and village.
  • For working mothers, the organizations need to provide day care centres for the pregnant women.
  • Finally, there’s a need for effective implementation of govt schemes like ICDS and Matrutva Sahyog Yojana, which target pregnant mothers and newborn children.Children are a nation’s future and it is imperative that we keep our children healthy so as to ensure a healthy future for our country.


2.Critically examine the implications of Anti-defection law on separation of powers between the legislature and executive in India. (GS 2)

विधायी और कार्यपालिका के बीच भारत में शक्तियों के विभाजन पर दलबदल विरोधी कानून के प्रभाव की गंभीर रूप से जांच करें।

Suggested Answer:

Anti defection law, as enshrined in the 10th schedule of the constitution, was passed in 1985. It lays down the process for disqualification of legislators on the ground of defection. Although the objective of the law was noble, but its working has raised many questions over the years-

  • Infringement of Fundamental rights:
    The law has been challenged by legislators as being violative of their right to free speech. But SC has always rejected this contention.
  • Defection vs Dissent:
    The law has also been criticized that it throttles genuine dissent among the legislators of a party. It prevents legislators from voting based on their principles and also from effectively representing their constituencies.
  • Deciding authority:
    There has been a debate on whether the deciding authority should be the speaker (as given in the law) or the President/Governor (who is responsible for deciding disqualification on grounds other than defection).

But most importantly, the law has had a deep impact on the principle of separation of power between the legislature and executive. The law impinges on the principle as-

  • The executive (current government) has a majority in the House. So a majority of the legislators cannot oppose the policies of the executive thereby reducing the effective control of the legislature.
  • The deciding authority under the law is the speaker, who is selected from the ruling party/coalition. Although he/she gives up the party membership but as has been recently observed, the speaker still retains his/her loyalty. This could potentially jeopardize his/her objectivity in deciding cases.

However, the law has also helped tremendously in maintaining this separation, as:

  • The law has been very effective in preventing defections. The disqualification helps to counter the lure any of the opposition members might have of getting a ministerial berth if they defect to the ruling side.
  • It helps in presenting a united opposition front to the government (executive).
  • Under the law, if 2/3rd of the legislators agree, the party can merge with another party. This provides for a check as the ruling coalition might lose its majority if it makes policies against the wishes of the legislators.

There are still many grey areas in the law (for example, what should be the status of members expelled by their parties?) which would require the intervention of judiciary so as to ensure the law’s effective working. Nevertheless, the law has stood the test of time and has brought stability to the successive governments, which in turn has strengthened the democratic setup of our country.

3.What is Personal Genome Project? How can it help fight existing diseases and find novel treatment for new diseases? (GS 3)

व्यक्तिगत जीनोम परियोजना क्या है? इससे कैसे मौजूदा रोगों और नई बीमारियों से लड़ने में मदद मिलेगी?

Suggested Answer:

Personal genomics is the field where individuals get their genomes sequenced in order to get various information – like genetic makeup, propensity for a disease, whether they are carriers of genetic disorders etc- about themselves. Personal Genome Project is a long-term study looking to sequence and analyse the genomes of over 100,000 people across the world. The Project also provides public access to the results.

The Project has many benefits, like-

  • It would help examine in-depth the relationship between our phenotype, our genes and our environment. It will also help the scientists determine how these interact with each other to cause various diseases.
  • The open access provided by the project would help pharmaceutical companies, research labs and governments in accessing genetic information, health and physical features of an individual. This would give a boost to scientific research.
  • The mapping of genomes would help not only in determining which diseases the individual is more likely to get (in future) but also towards which drugs he or she would be responsive. This would help in getting a “personalized treatment”.
  • This would benefit not just the individuals who would get their genomes sequenced but also others who have similar genome sequences as they would be more likely to respond to diseases and medicines in the same way.

We have come a long way since the Human genome project started in 1990. The advances in science have helped us in not just identifying diseases effectively but also in treating them in a personalized manner. The Personal Genome Project would help us in exploring our inner world. It will provide an insight into our past, present and future.

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