Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 28

Following are the Suggested Answers for Mains Marathon, March 28:

1.Discuss some reasons for the delay in operationalization of Indo-US nuclear deal. What is the significance of the nuclear deal? (GS 2)

भारत-अमेरिका परमाणु समझौते के संचालन में देरी के कुछ कारणों पर चर्चा करें। इस परमाणु समझौते का क्या महत्व है?

The Hindu


  • The 123 agreement defines the terms and conditions for bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation between India and US.
  • The agreement will also help India meet its goal of adding 25,000 MW of nuclear powercapacity through imports of nuclear reactors and fuel by 2020.
  • However even now the agreement is not fully implemented.

Reasons for delay:-

  • Economic:
    • Westinghouse’s financial difficulties :
      • Westinghouse’s near-bankruptcy is part of a larger pattern of worldwide cost overruns and delivery delays across the nuclear energy industry.
  • The cost of importing reactors, relative to those based on indigenous design, is another concern
  • Skyrocketing construction costs, made worse by the post-Fukushima safety upgrades
  • Reliance on massive government subsidies is making nuclear power uncompetitive.
  • Legal:
    • Japan’s procedural issues in ratifying the deal
    • Land acquisition issues remain
    • Need for large water reservoirs for the reactors, which will only grow if the government goes ahead with its plans for 55 reactors of 63,000 MW in total by 2032.
    • India announced plans for a huge expansion of nuclear power at a time when this energy source was already in decline globally.
    • It stalled the implementation of the deal because the United States was not comfortable with India’s 2010 liability law, known as the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA).
    • Objection against right to recourse provision
  • Social:
    • Grassroots resistance in India to new nuclear power plants a fact that resulted in considerable delay in commissioning the Kudankulam plant and forced the shifting of Westinghouse’s first planned project from Gujarat to Andhra Pradesh.



  • Economic:
    • It would vastly improving US-India trade and defense cooperation.
    • According to the US Census Bureau, trade in goods between the United States and India grew from $32 billion in 2006 to about $67 billion in 2014 a growth of more than 100 percent since the deal was signed.
    • In addition, India had taken steps to open its economy to allow foreign investment and privatize previously state-owned enterprises.
    • US exports to India grew by a whopping 339 percent between 2003 and 2012, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative.
    • Reduce energy deficit impacting industrial growth
  • Political:
    • De factorecognition to India as a state with nuclear weapons.
    • Made India a strategic partner in US efforts to counter a rising China.
    • India had also reduced government red tape in an attempt to make it easier for foreign corporations to do business in India.
    • India obtained an exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Group. 
    • Since then, India has signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Canada, France, the UK, South Korea, and Japan, and secured uranium supplies from Canada and Australia.
    • Reduce energy deficit impacting industrial growth
  • Technological :-
    • And with the removal of the nuclear-related sanctions, India was no longer prohibited from importing many dual-use high-technology components and systems a prohibition that had previously constrained its space and defense programs, as well as its ability to manufacture electronic components and systems.
    • Access to latest technologies and entry to the groups like Wassenaar.


  • The accord has contributed to aggravated tensions betweenIndia and Pakistan and a nuclear arms race between the two neighbors.
  • By perpetuating the practice of nuclear double-standards, the agreement did long-lasting damage toward both the global non-proliferation norms and the efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.
  • The US-India partnership has done serious damage to the NPT, perpetuating double standards in regard to nuclear power and further weakening the possibility of universalizing the treaty.

Rather than seeing this treaty as a setback, the government and officials should use this as an opportunity to re-examine the country’s engagement with nuclear energy for future needs

2.Many political parties have alleged tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the recent assembly elections. Critically examine the validity of the allegations. (GS 2)

विधानसभा चुनावों में कई राजनीतिक दलों ने इलेक्ट्रॉनिक वोटिंग मशीनों (ईवीएम) के साथ छेड़छाड़ का आरोप लगाया है। गंभीर आरोपों की वैधता का परीक्षण करें।

TOI Financial Express | Indian Express


  • In the wake of the latest round of assembly elections, allegations are being made by some of the parties that ended up on the losing side that electronic voting machines or EVMs used for the polls were rigged

The allegations are not valid because of the following reasons:-

  • Political:
    • In past, courts have hailed the EVMs. In 2001, Madras High Court had rejected the allegations that the poll machine can be tampered with.
    • Such allegations have been made before and hitherto none of those making the allegations have been able to prove their charge.
    • Those making allegations of EVM tampering have previously won elections conducted through the voting machines.
  • Technicalities :-
    • Every EVM has an identity number attached to it, which is recorded in the Election Commission’s database.
      • This ID is cross-checked against the database when it is being transported to and from the election booth.
      • This process is done before the counting of votes begin. The machines are guarded by central forces between the period of voting and counting.
    • VVPAT system has also been started in a phased manner. It was done to ensure free and fair polls as it would aid in resolving disputes, if any
    • Technical security
      • The machine is both mechanically and electronically protected to prevent any tampering/manipulation.
      • The software used in these machines is burnt into a One Time programmable/Masked chip (Hardware) so that it cannot be altered or tampered with.
      • Further, these machines are not networked either by wire or by wireless to any other machine or system.
      • softwareof EVMs is developed in-house by  PSU’s independently’.
      • Certain additional features were introduced in 2006 in ECI-EVMs such as dynamic coding between Ballot Unit and Control Unit, installation of the real time clock, installation of full display system and date and time stamping of every key pressing in EVM’s Complete Procedural Security.
    • Administrative:
      • The vote can be recorded by an elector from the ballot unit only after the Presiding Officer enables the ballot on the Control Unit, the machine does not receive any signal from outside at any time.
      • Samples of EVMs from production batches are regularly checked for functionality by Quality Assurance Group, which is an independent unit within the manufacturing firms.
      • Commission has put in place an elaborate administrative system of measures and procedural checks-and-balances aimed at prevention of any possible misuse or procedural lapses.These safeguards are implemented transparently with the involvement of political parties, candidates and their representatives at every stage to build their confidence on efficacy and reliability of EVMs, so they are actually representatives of electors.
      • Before the elections EVMs are checked in front of political party representatives. Any malfunctioning EVM is kept separately and is not used in the election.
      • Candidates and their representatives are allowed to conduct mock polls on EVMs at the time of candidate setting and also before the actual poll on the poll day to satisfy themselves about the satisfactory functioning of EVMs being used.


  • Countries stopped propagating EVM’s around the world:-
    • Netherlands went back to the traditional paper ballot system. Germany and Ireland too have scrapped the use of these machines.
  • A 2010 report by a team of experts cited numerous vulnerabilities with the EVM machines, especially if a malicious user had access to the EVMs in advance.
  • Every electronic machine has a potential to be manipulated or go wrong. However, it may not be possible to manipulate thousands of EVMs to influence elections results in one particular way.

Therefore EC has taken ample precaution to make EVM’s hard to tamper but by universalising VVPAT in general elections of 2019 more accountability and transparency can be expected.

3.“India’s No First Use (NFU) policy should be open to change.” Critically examine. (GS 2)

“भारत का पहला उपयोग (एनएफयू) नीति बदलना चाहिए।” गंभीर रूप से जांच करें।

Link The Hindu | Link


  • No first use(NFU) refers to a pledge or a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons.
  • The document also maintains that India will not be the first to initiate a nuclear first strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail

India’s no first use policy needs change because:

  • Circumstances are conceivable in which India might find it useful to strike first, if India was certain that an adversary’s launch was imminent.
  • Pakistan’s adoption of short-range, low-yield tactical nuclear weapons  in the face of India’s conventional military superiority have pointed to the possibility where Pakistan uses a nuclear weapon against Indian conventional armed forces to stave off imminent military defeat.


  • The possibility that India might use nuclear weapons first directlycontradicts the key pillar of Indian nuclear thinking.
  • India’s nuclear doctrine has far greater flexibility than it gets credit for. In other words, India’s extant doctrine can absorb the consequences of future Pakistan-related contingencies without any major changes.
  • India is a responsible nuclear power with a public pledge to not use nuclear weapons first.
  • By explicitly laying down India’s nuclear red-lines coupled to its no first-use pledge, India effectively promises any adversary that it will cooperate  in terms of not using nuclear weapons first as long as the adversary too chooses to do the same by not crossing those redlines.
  • But the doctrine is also a statement of resolve in that it deliberately does not spell out what follows deterrence failure beyond a promise of some kind of massive retaliation.

Nuclear strikes are going to harm both the countries.So instead of focussing on this policy all countries should move towards maintaining peace and friendly relationships.



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