Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 7

1.What do you mean by data-storage devices? Why is DNA an excellent storage medium? (GS 3)

आप डाटा डिवाइस स्टोरेज देविसेस से  समझते हैं? डीएनए  क्यों एक एच स्टोरेज माध्यम है?

Suggested Answer-


  • Globally,there is a shift in data storage location from personal computer (PC) to non-PC storage.By 2020, that predominance will dramatically shift to non-PC storage (69 per cent) to 907 exabytes.
  • Recently scientists have successfully stored a computer operating system, a short movie along with other data in DNA.
  • Post demonetization, demand shot up for storage devices in India,according to global data storage devices maker Seagate.
  • All these have brought data storage devices to the forefront again.

Data storage devices :-

  • data storage device is a device for storing information.
  • Recording can be done using virtually any form of energy, spanning from manual muscle power in handwriting, to acoustic vibrations in phonographic recording, to electromagnetic energy modulating magnetic tape and optical discs.
  • Except for bar codes, optical character recognition (OCR),and magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) data, electronic data storage is easier to revise and may be more cost effective than alternative methods due to smaller physical space requirements.

DNA is an excellent storage medium because of the following reasons:-

  • DNA is an ideal storage medium because it is ultra-compact and can last hundreds of thousands of years if kept in a cool, dry plac
  • The researchers showed that their coding strategy packs 215 petabytes of data on a single gram of DNA, which according them was the highest-density data-storage device ever created.
  • According to scientists technology is extremely reliable.
  • It can help in reducing e-waste caused due to discarding of conventional storage devices.
  • DNA stores data in the form of A , T , C, G having two more variable than binary  to deal with so it is more secure
  • DNA copying devices can copy data exponentially and it can be easily propagated

However in the current scenario there are some disadvantages of DNA storage for practical use like its slow encoding speed and high cost. Rectifying these can make this technology commercially viable in the long run. Further research in this field can be a watershed moment in the digital age.

2.Discuss the challenges faced under Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-20 in increasing e-commerce exports. (GS 2)

ई-कॉमर्स बढ़ाने के निर्यात में विदेश व्यापार नीति (एफटीपी) 2015-20 के तहत चुनौतियों का सामना करने पर चर्चा करें।

Suggested Answer-


  • Recently the Centre decided to provide incentives in the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-20 to promote exports of goods. This is a huge boost to the e-commerce exports.
  • FTP 2015-20 introduces two new schemes, namely “Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)” for export of specified goods to specified markets and “Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS)” for increasing exports of notified services, in place of a plethora of schemes earlier.However exporters have claimes there are some challenges with the current policy.

Challenges faced under foreign trade policy in increasing e-commerce exports:

  • Lack of incentives:
    • Incentives for e-commerce exports are only for low-value goods falling in the category of handloom products, books and periodicals, leather footwear, toys and customised fashion garments, having free-on-board value up to Rs.25,000 per consignment.
  • There is intense competition in the e-commerce exports space
  • India’s e-commerce retail exporters are also facing major competition from their counterparts in China and South Asia
    • For instance, the U.K. government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) has an ‘E-Exporting Programme’ to help U.K. companies sell their products or services overseas through e-commerce.
  • Bureaucratic Red tape in manual processing,high application fees and delays.
  • Problems with Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS):
    • If the value of exports using e-commerce platform is more than Rs.25,000 per consignment, then MEIS reward would be limited to free-on-board value of Rs.25,000 only
    • Clearance process under the MEIS scheme is currently manual and not EDI-enabled.
    • Application fee was too high for e-commerce exports to avail benefits under MEIS.
  • Currently, when a buyer sends an item back to an e-commerce exporter, import duty is charged. However, in the case of exports other than through the e-commerce route, customs duties are exempted on return of exported goods.
  • There is no provision for ‘commercial shipment’ in the forms provided by Customs in Foreign Post Office of India Post.Most customs authorities are reluctant to allow e-commerce exports under the ‘others’-category.
    • Difficulty being faced by e-commerce exporters is that such exports through India Post or via the commercial courier mode are ticked as “samples” or “gifts” and not as ‘Commercial Shipment’.
    • This leads to a situation where VAT and service tax are not refunded in such cases of e-commerce exports as there are no Custom-stamped documents in such cases to prove ‘Commercial Shipment’, thereby reducing the competitiveness of Indian products.
    • Other concerns are presently, the Courier Shipping Bill (CSB-II) did not support commercial small-value, single-item shipment. The Bill only supports gifts or samples, and has no provision for ‘commercial shipments’.
      • Besides, the CSB–II is highly cumbersome as it has multiple fields and requires lots of information to be furnished even for low-value shipments.
    • An irritant is the requirement of multiple copies of invoice, making the export clearance process for a seller via the e-commerce export route difficult, expensive, paper-centric and time-consuming especially in a technology-enabled environment.
    • Such goods can be exported in manual mode through Foreign Post Offices at New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.


  • According to the World Trade Organisation, in 2015, e-commerce in goods and services was worth about $22 trillion globally, and has grown the fastest in emerging economies.

Way forward:

  • List of items for incentives should be expanded to include jewellery, which is among the biggest finished product exports from India, as well as health & beauty items, auto spare parts and musical instruments.
  • In order to promote exports from the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises through e-commerce, the value limit for availing MEIS benefits should be enhanced up to Rs.5 lakh from the current level of Rs.25,000 per consignment.
  • Marketing & Promotion to be done by traders with GOI/ MEA. Existing models like Bunkar Haat, Mahila Haat to be included on the platform.
  • It is necessary to open EDI-based clearance for e-commerce export categories including leather, apparel, home-décor, ayurveda, organic food, sports goods and fashion jewellery.

The FTP must be lauded for its effort to digitally integrate Indian exports with foreign trade and the issues must be thoroughly raised and debated to arrive at solutions that can incentivise Indian e-commerce market and promote exports.

3.The government aims to increase the share of the manufacturing sector in gross domestic product (GDP) to 25% from its current level of 15%. What steps can the government take to achieve this target? (GS 3)

सरकार ने 15% की अपनी मौजूदा स्तर से 25% करने के लिए सकल घरेलू उत्पाद में विनिर्माण क्षेत्र (जीडीपी) की हिस्सेदारी बढ़ाने का फैसला लिया है। सरकार इस लक्ष्य को प्राप्त करने के लिए क्या कदम ले सकती है?

Suggested Answer-


  • Manufacturing in India accounts for around 16 percent of GDP, a level that has remained largely unchanged in the last two decades and is relatively low when compared to the 20-percent plus share in countries like Brazil, China, Indonesia, Korea and Malaysia, even after controlling for differences in per capita incomes.  .
  • Despite government efforts with programmes like “Make in India” manufacturing sector is still languishing behind


Steps that can be taken to boost manufacturing sector are:-


  • Bridge the Skill Gap as soon as Possible:-
    • According to the 6thEconomic Census, the manufacturing sector was the largest employer providing employment to 30.3 million (23.1 percent) persons.
    • Recently, the Government of India underlined the important of skill development in the Union Budget 2017-18.
    • It talked about SANKALP scheme to provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth.
    • STRIVE scheme to improve the quality and market relevance of vocational training. Such skill development initiatives will give essential support for the Make in India.
    • National Skill Development programs should run programs in collaboration with industry to not only make people employable but employed in industry.
  • Achieve manufacturing excellence:
    • In order to improve productivity, companies should inculcate quality practices since the beginning.
    • These are Total Quality Management (TQM),Total Productive Maintenance (TPM),5S and Kaizen. 
    • With the adoption of these standard quality practices, companies will get tangible as well as intangible business benefits.


  • Measures such as a national Goods and Services Tax (GST), accompanied by a dismantling of inter-state check posts, can be transformational and significantly improve the domestic and international competitiveness of Indian manufacturing firms.
    • Goods and Services tax (GST):
      • Implementation of this indirect tax reform by 2016 will improve competitiveness of India‟s manufacturing and help India grow faster.
    • Simplification of regulatory laws is going to help the MSMEs in a big way:
      • One of them is Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.This step is reported as a vital reform that will make it much easier to do business in India.
    • Innovation, Research & Development (R&D):-
      • In India also various government initiatives like National Innovation foundation, National innovation Council have tried to promote innovation in the country.
      • Government should increase
        spending on research from present level of 1 % of GDP to at least 2% of GDP.
        Moreover a Government academia & industry nexus must be developed to foster innovation in country


  • Ease of doing Business:
    • With government’ vision of “minimum government, maximum governance”, India can climb up the ladder fairly quickly.
    • In its recent rankings, even the World Bank admits that the next quarter  rankings of India will be better on account of a slew of measures taken by the new government.
  • Labour law reform:
    • With the launch of make in India Government has recently announced
      measures to end Inspector Raj with a system that is expected to sharply curb the element of discretion with labour inspectors and a single window compliance process for companies on labour-related issues.
  • Logistics:
    • Government should come up with National integrated logistic policy (NLIP) which can comprehensively address the logistic issues emerging out of road, rail, waterways and air transport comprehensively covering Rail dedicated freight corridors, Coastal freight corridors,multi modal logistic parks, better warehousing and logistic skill development.
  • 3Es:
    • Efficiency, Effectiveness and Excellence are imperative. Productive business environment encompasses financial market development, efficient labour markets, training, market size, technological readiness and goods market efficiency.
    • A reasonably well-developed corporate bond market is very much required in any economy to supplement banking credit and the equity market.
  • Up scaling Small scale industry:
    • SSIs have for long received government‟s attention but effort  to build global scales is not apparent.
    • China’s Town & Village Enterprises have succeeded on the back of significant support in terms of fiscal incentives. In India geographical specializations can be developed into large scale industries.
  • Knowledge management:
    • Government should direct educational institutes to come up with courses specifically designed to cater to requirement of manufacturing sector.
    • Courses like PGPEX-VLM jointly run by IIM Calcutta, IIT Kanpur and IIT Madras are dedicated to develop leaders in manufacturing sector.
  • Supporting Public Sector Units:
    • Government should focus on augmenting the strengths of the strong public sector units for efficient execution and create large entities based on the models of Temasek in Singapore and Khazanah Nasional in Malaysia, whereby both of these countries hold SOEs with significant international presence.
  • Given the need for a strong Intellectual Property (IP) regime also mandated by WTO, following steps need to be taken from a long-term point of view of Improving IP enforcement mechanisms
    • Accelerate the process of Patent Examination and according patents 
    • Encouraging joint IP filings by industry / academia / research institutes. This will strengthen joint working amongst Industry, Academia and R&D institutes
    • Encouraging MSME sectors for filing IPs.


India’s expanding economy offers equal investment opportunities to domestic

entrepreneurs and international players. It is India’s responsibility to leverage emerging

opportunities and work towards shaping this „manufacturing vision. Indian Manufacturing is slowly but surely sweeping back in the national economic space.


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