Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 3

  1. Enumerate the applications of ‘South Asia Satellite’ built by India. How can it help the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations?(GS 2)

The Hindu


  • The South Asia Satellite, also known as GSAT-9, is a geostationary communication  and meteorology satellite operated by the ISRO for the SAARC region

Applications and How can it help SAARC nations:-

  • The satellite will provide communication service to SAARC member Nations except Pakistan who boycotted in early 2016.
  • Diplomatically, the South Asia satellite is significant for some reasons like:-
    • The satellite has been launched without any specific quid pro quo shows that India is willing to use its technological capabilities as a tool of diplomacy.
    • It reveals both India’s ambition and capability to create what can be termed “technological commons”. By “gifting” this satellite to its neighbours, India has created an open access resource that can be leveraged by the latter to address some of their critical domestic concerns. Building such commons is essential not only to address immediate problems but also spur research, innovation and economic growth in the region.
  • South Asia satellite will boost the regional co-operation among the member countries
  • It will reinforce the Indian policy of “Neighbourhood First” and help in increasing India’s influence on face of aggressive China.
  • It will open new avenues of engagement between India and member countries thus deepening the economic ties. Also helpful in promoting “Make in India”.
  • It is also equipped with remote sensing state of the art technology which enables collection of real-time weather data and helps in observations of the geology of the South Asian nations
  • It will go a long way in addressing South Asia’s economic and developmental priorities
  • Since these countries are situated in disaster prone areas like Nepal and Bhutan in earthquake zone, Bangladesh in flood prone area, Services of this satellite in communication and disaster management will be of immense help.
  • The satellite will assist in the fields of natural resources mapping, telemedicine, education, IT connectivity and fostering people to people contact. This is an appropriate example of our commitment to South Asia

The South Asia satellite is emblematic of a more confident and assertive India. India must make a concerted effort to expand the range of technologies it can use as part of its diplomatic arsenal.

  1. Do you think that Drip-Irrigation is beneficial than conventional systems? Discuss the important features of the proposed Ramthal (Marol) Lift Irrigation Scheme.(GS 1)

The Hindu


  • Drip irrigationis a form of irrigation that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of many different plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves,pipes,tubing and emitters.

Yes,drip irrigation is better:-

  • The drip put in place ensures that water just sufficient to the particular variety sown is given.
  • It is chosen instead of surface irrigation for various reasons, often including concern about minimizing evaporation.
  • Fertilizer and nutrient loss is minimized due to localized application and reduced leaching.
  • Water application efficiency is high if managed correctly
  • Field levelling is not necessary.
  • Fields with irregular shapes are easily accommodated.
  • Recycled non-potable water can be safely used.
  • Moisture within the root zone can be maintained at field capacity.
  • Soil type plays less important role in frequency of irrigation.
  • Soil erosion is lessened.
  • Weed growth is lessened.
  • Water distribution is highly uniform, controlled by output of each nozzle.
  • Labour cost is less than other irrigation methods.
  • Variation in supply can be regulated by regulating the valves and drippers.
  • Foliage remains dry, reducing the risk of disease.
  • Usually operated at lower pressure than other types of pressurised irrigation, reducing energy costs.


  • Initial cost can be more than overhead systems.
  • The sun can affect the tubes used for drip irrigation, shortening their usable life.
  • If the water is not properly filtered and the equipment not properly maintained, it can result in clogging .
  • For subsurface drip the irrigator cannot see the water that is applied. This may lead to the farmer either applying too much water (low efficiency) or an insufficient amount of water.
  • Drip tape causes extra cleanup costs after harvest.
  • Waste of water, time and harvest, if not installed properly.

The Ramthal (Marol) Lift Irrigation Scheme :-

  • The Ramthal (Marol) Lift Irrigation Scheme – touted as the largest micro-irrigation project in Asia is slated to be launched in June.
  • Over 15,000 farmers are expected to benefit.
  • Test run in September: A joint venture of Netafim India Private Limited and Jain Irrigation, it is being run on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) model.
  • The two companies, tasked with the project’s implementation, will oversee the project for five years before it is transferred to Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited (KBJNL). It will hand over the day-to-day affairs to the 35 water users’ associations (WUA) active in the region.

Important features of Ramthal lift irrigation scheme:-

  • The scheme is being seen as a boon for farmers in the arid region, who depend almost exclusively on scanty rainfall for cultivation during the rabi season.
  • While the first stage of the scheme covered an area of 11,000 hectares, the project’s second stage will bring a further 24,000 hectares of agricultural land under its ambit, making it the world’s largest single drip irrigation project.
  • Around 15,000 small and marginal farmers in 30 villages of the taluk will benefit from the scheme.
  • It would help double food production in the following years.
  • It aims at irrigating about 60,000 acres of land in backward regions of Hungund taluk in Bagalkot district in one year.
  • Though the system is expensive, the government opted for it considering the long-term benefits, including water conservation.
  • It has many advantages such as savings in electricity (as it works mostly on gravitation), increased productivity, reduction in labour cost and expenditure on fertilizers, equitable distribution of water, prevention of water-logging and without the need for land acquisition.

  1. Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act is now in effect. Discuss its key provisions.(GS 3)

The Hindu 

Key provisions:-

  • The act regulates transactions between buyers and promoters of residential real estate projects.  It establishes state level regulatory authorities called Real Estate Regulatory Authorities (RERAs).
  • Residential real estate projects, with some exceptions, need to be registered with RERAs.  Promoters cannot book or offer these projects for sale without registering them.  Real estate agents dealing in these projects also need to register with RERAs.
  • On registration, the promoter must upload details of the project on the website of the RERA.  These include the site and layout plan, and schedule for completion of the real estate project.
  • 70% of the amount collected from buyers for a project must be maintained in a separate bank account and must only be used for construction of that project.  The state government can alter this amount to less than 70%.
  • The act establishes state level tribunals called Real Estate Appellate Tribunals.  Decisions of RERAs can be appealed in these tribunals.
  • It is to primarily protect the interests of consumers and bring in efficiency and transparency in the sale/purchase of real estate. RERA and the Appellate Tribunal are expected to decide on complaints within an ambitious period of 60 days
  • The Act seeks to assist developers by giving the regulator powers to make recommendations to State governments to create a single window clearance for approvals in a time-bound manner.
  • The Act again ambitiously stipulates an electronic system, maintained on the website of RERA, where developers are expected to update on a quarterly basis the status of their projects, and submit regular audits and architectural reports.
  • Importantly, it requires developers to maintain separate escrow accounts in relation to each project and deposit 70% of the collections in such an account to ensure that funds collected are utilised only for the specific project. The Act also requires real estate brokers and agents to register themselves with the regulator.


  • Since land is a State subject under the Constitution, even after the Centre enacts the legislation, State governments will have to ratify them. States will have to set up the Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s (RERA) and the Real Estate Appellate Tribunals and have only a maximum of a year from the coming into effect of the Act to do so.
  • Some states have enacted laws to regulate real estate projects.  The act differs from these state laws on several grounds.  It will override the provisions of these state laws in case of any inconsistencies.
  • The act mandates that 70% of the amount collected from buyers of a project be used only for construction of that project.  In certain cases, the cost of construction could be less than 70% and the cost of land more than 30% of the total amount collected.  This implies that part of the funds collected could remain unutilized, necessitating some financing from other sources.  This could raise the project cost.
  • The real estate sector has some other issues such as a lengthy process for project approvals, lack of clear land titles, and prevalence of black money.  Some of these fall under the State List.
  • While consumer interests have been protected, developers find provisions of the Act to be exceptionally burdensome on a sector already ailing from a paucity of funds and multiple regulatory challenges.
  • It does not deal with the concerns of developers regarding force majeure (acts of god outside their control) which result in a shortage of labour or issues on account of there not being a central repository of land titles/deeds.

Finally, the new legislation is a welcome enactment. It will go a long way in assisting upstanding developers. More importantly, it will ease the burden on innocent home buyers who put their life’s savings into a real estate investment in the hope of having a roof over their head but often find their dreams come tumbling down.


Print Friendly