Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 6

1.Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development? (GS 3)
अन्तरिक्ष विज्ञान और प्रौधौगिकी के क्षेत्र में भारत की उपलब्धियों की चर्चा कीजिये | इस प्रौधौगिकी का प्रयोग भारत के सामाजिक-आर्थिक विकास में किस प्रकार सहायक हुआ है?

Source: UPSC Mains Previous Year Papers

Suggested Answer:

India’s achievements in space science and technology:

  • Recently PSLV launched 104 satellites in to space in one launch..This is the first for any space agency.
  • Mangalyaan, 2014:
    • India joined an exclusive global club when it successfully launched the Mars Orbiter Mission on a shoestring budget that was at least 10 times lower than a similar project by the US.
  • Chandrayaan, 2008:
    • India’s first unmanned lunar probe was launched almost a decade ago and was a landmark in India’s space mission.
  • Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, 2016:
    • The seven-satellite system created India’s very own satellite navigation system e terrestrial and will provide services in marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, and navigation aide for drivers.
  • Reusable Launch Vehicle, 2016:
    • In May 2016, India successfully tested the Reusable Launch Vehicle.
  • Successful launch of GSLV with Indigenous Cryogenic Stage
  • Development of Next Generation Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III
  • GAGAN (GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation):
  • It is primarily being used in aviation sector for precise position information services. With this, India becomes the Third country in the world, after USA and European Union, to offer Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) based precision approach services to civil aviation sector.

Application of space technology in socio-economic development :-


  • Agriculture:-
    • Remote sensing satellites provide key data for monitoring soil,snow cover,drought and crop development.
    • Rainfall assessments from satellites,for example, help farmers plan the timing and amount of irrigation they will need for their crops.
    • Accurate information and analysis can also help predict a region’s agricultural output well in advance and can be critical in anticipating and mitigating the effects of food shortages and famines.
    • Acreage and production estimates for the principal crops such as wheat, rice, sorghum, cotton, mustard, and groundnut using Forecasting Agriculture Output using Space Agrometeorology and land based observations (FASAL).
    • Precision farming using IRNSS.
    • Precision Precision farming using IRNSS
    • Identification of diseases of crops through hyper spectral method.
    • Wasteland mapping, watershed development and monitoring as well as help in fisheries sector for augmentation of income.
    • Agro Metrological (AGROMET) Towers to measure soil temperature, soil moisture, soil heat and net radiation, wind speed, wind direction, pressure and humidity; Flux Tower for multi-level micrometeorological observation as well as subsurface observations on soil temperature and moisture over the vegetative surfaces.
  • A number of academic and research institutions as well as industries participate in the Indian space Programme.Several Indian industries have the expertise to undertake sophisticated jobs required for space systems.
  • Resources:
  • The other major application of space technology is the use of earth observation satellites for resources survey.
  • Investment:
    • Space science always puts high demands on technology and these technologies could be n important investment for sophisticating future application missions to bring increased benefits to society.
    • The successful conduct of planetary missions like Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan puts India in an exclusive club and this in turn gives the right credentials for international collaboration and cooperation on an equal partnership basis.This will develop both scientific and space manufacturing industry in India
    • Foreign Exchange source through revenue.
    • Commercialization of space launching technologies by ANTRIX has resulted into economic gain.
  • The data is used for several applications covering agriculture, water resources, urban development , mineral prospecting, environment, forestry, drought and flood forecasting, ocean resources and disaster management.


  • Disaster management:
    • It plays a vital role in delivering cyclone warnings and is used in search and rescue operations
    • Use of INSAT for e-governance and developmental communication applications is also fast expanding.
    • Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) to monitor severe weather events such as cyclone and heavy rainfall.
  • Satellite communication:
    • Another application of satellite communication is Satellite Aided Search and Rescue (SAS&R), as a part of India’s commitment to the International COSPAS- SARSAT programme for providing alerts and position location services for aircraft and ships in distress.
  • Scientific Temper :
    • ISRO through it’s achievements can attract millions of young minds towards science and further ISRO can ignite these young minds through collaborations with various colleges, schools and universities like NASA.
  • Finding prospective groundwater zones to provide drinking water in villages, providing land and water resources development plans at watershed level using IRS.
  • Tele-fishery:
    • VRCs located at coastal tracts are being provided with near real time information on satellite derived Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ). Information pertaining to inland fisheries, aquaculture, etc., is also provided through VRCs as relevant.
  • Telemedicine:
    • Introducing telemedicine via satellite for making speciality treatment accessible to people in remote areas of India.Places around Bangalore,Kolkata and Tripura are networked with a hub using VSAT terminals.
  • Biodiversity information system:

Use of space technological tools for characterization of biodiversity at a landscape level.

2.Discuss the role of land reforms in agricultural development. Identify the factors that were responsible for the success of land reforms in India. (GS 3)
कृषि विकास में भूमि सुधारों की विवेचना कीजिए | भारत में भूमि सुधारों की सफलता के लिए उत्तरदायी कारकों को चिन्हित कीजिए |

Source: UPSC Mains Previous Year Papers

Suggested Answer:


  • Land reform usually refers to redistribution of land from the rich to the poor. More broadly,it includes regulation of ownership, operation, leasing, sales, and inheritance of land.
  • In an agrarian economy such as India, with great scarcity and an unequal distribution of land,coupled with a large mass of the rural population below the poverty line, there are compelling economic and political arguments for land reform.

Land reforms and agricultural development:


  • Tenancy reform:
    • It may lead to changes in landlord-tenant relationships such that tenurial security is increased and may enable tenants to gain security against eviction.
    • So the bargaining power and  the stake in land utilization of the tenant are increased.
    • This may lead to increased investment by the tenants in modern agricultural technology.
    • To protect tenants from ejectment and to grant them permanent rights on lands, laws have been enacted in most of the states.
    • Land can be resumed by the landlord only on the ground of personal cultivation. But the land-lord can resume the land only up to a maximum limit.
  • Abolition of intermediaries:
    • Land reforms put an end to the middlemen culture benefitting the sharecroppers and the landless farmers.
  • Consolidation of disparate landholdings:
    • Due to consolidation of landholdings agricultural productivity increased along with the increase of landholding
  • Reduction in land rent allowed farmer to retain more profits for agriculture investment.


  • Land reform adopted since Independence have failed to bring about the required changes in the agrarian structure.’
  • Tenancy reform has actually increased inequality in operational land holdings in India.
  • It has led to large-scale eviction. Large-scale eviction, in turn, has given rise to several problems social, economic, administrative and legal.
  • Instead of the abolition of the official land-lords, absentee land-lords as a class have emerged.
  • It lead to fragmentation of land, thus increasing the number of small and marginal farmers with unviable land holding.

Factors that led to success of Land reforms:-

  • Constitution and laws:
    • Since Independence, land reform legislation in the 1950s mandated implementation of land ceilings, vesting of surplus lands and distribution to landless and marginal landowners.
    • Constitutional mandate in the form of Article 39 of DPSP
    • Safeguarded by the Ninth schedule in the constitution.
    • Computerisation of land reforms and laws like LARR.
  • Political will :
    • During left-wing administration in Kerala and West Bengal,
      implementation of land reforms was done more actively that might have a direct effect on productivity.
    • Agricultural development was at the forefront of most of the five year plans and adequate funding was done to boost the agricultural output.
  • Civil society :
    • It has played a significant role as seen in past “Bhoodan movement “
  • Green revolution 
  • Awareness of the people for their land rights .


Land reforms is a continuous process. Recent efforts by government like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Krishi Sinchayi Yojana promising doubling of farmers income  by 2022 also show that land reforms is headed towards a fruitful future.

3.South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance in the present context. Comment. (GS 1)
वर्तमान संदर्भ में दक्षिणी चीन सागर का भू-राजनीतिक महत्त्व बहुत बढ़ गया है | टिप्पणी कीजिए |

Source: UPSC Mains Previous Year Papers

Suggested Answer:


  • In 2016, the arbitral tribunal backed the Philippines that there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources, hence there was “no legal basis for China to claim historic rights” over the nine-dash line.This brought the South China Sea to the forefront again.

Geo-political Significance:

  • Economic:
    • Trade:
      • It carries $ 5 trillion worth of trade.
      • It is also an important international waterway for the trade of other nations like Japan, South Korea and India.
        • Reports from India say that some 55 percent of the country’s trade goes through the South China Sea.
      • It is the second most used sea lane in the world, while in terms of world annual merchant fleet tonnage, over 50% passes through the Strait of Malacca, the Sunda Strait, and the Lombok Strait.
      • More than half of the world’s annual merchant fleet tonnage passes through these choke points, and a third of all maritime traffic worldwide.
      • The oil transported through the Malacca Strait from the Indian Ocean, en route to East Asia through the South China Sea, is triple the amount that passes through the Suez Canal .
    • International and military:
      • China:
        • The increased desire of rising China to prevent the US Navy from operating close to its shores and exercise influence in a region proximate to its borders.
        • This South China sea dispute also shows China as a rising global power.
      • Territorial disputes:
        • It is the territorial disputes surrounding these waters between the neighbours of China like Vietnam, Philippines etc.
        • The concept of exclusive economic zone could be another point of contention among neighbours in the South China sea.
      • US:
        • US has several joint military bases in this area.US has more than 60 military bases in Japan
      • Geographical:
        • Resources:
          • Estimates suggest that the sea holds up to 11 billion barrels of oil, in addition to vast reserves of natural gas.
          • These energy reserves could serve a vital part in the development of Southeast Asia, and whoever controls the energy resources will have more power within the region.
          • Some Chinese observers have called the South China Sea “the second Persian Gulf.
          • Roughly two thirds of South Korea’s energy supplies, nearly 60 per cent of Japan’s and Taiwan’s energy supplies, and 80 per cent of China’s crude oil imports come through the South China Sea.
        • This sea is home to more than two hundred small islands, rocks, and coral reefs, only about three dozen of which are permanently above water.
        • Fishing:
          • The global fish supply is also a contested part of the territory.It has rich seafood and covers 12% of global fish products.
          • With its rich and vibrant fishing history, and a plethora of consumable fish, the South China Sea dispute is also a story of fishery regulation and enforcement.
        • Connectivity:
          • It is the one third trade passage of global maritime passage.It is the link between Pacific ocean and Indian Ocean.It is the mass of connective economic tissue where global sea routes coalesce.


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