Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 12, 2018


Q.1) Instead of a slew of schemes, it is the quality of the schemes which makes a difference. In this context Integrated Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan-2 project serves as a good example. Elaborate the statement. (GS – 2)


  • The Union Cabinet has approved a slew of reforms for school education in the country, in what could be considered as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan-2 project.
  • The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya MadhyamikShiksha Abhiyan and teacher training would be integrated into a single scheme from Classes 1 to 12.
  • The integrated scheme will be in place from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2020, with an estimated allocation of Rs. 75,000 crore over the period, a 20% increase over the current allocation.

Salient features of the scheme are:

  • Universalizing access to school education: It aims to support the States in universalising access to school education from pre-nursery to Class 12 across the country
  • Focus on educationally backward: The government would focus on educationally backward districts, disabled students and women.
  • Digital Blackboards in the classroom: There would be a shift to digital blackboards from Class 9 to college education in the next five years
  • Learning based outcome incentive: The government will provide a 20% incentive to the States for a learning-outcome based education.
  • Early introduction of skill courses: Now functional from Class 9 to Class 12 — would begin from Class 6 in future. This was aimed at enhancing the employability of students.
  • Interest free education loans: The Centre has also approved an increase in the outlay for making educational loans interest-free for students with modest financial means for studying in universities and colleges charging high fees.


  • Thus, the Integrated Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan-2 project sounds promising enough to upload the

Q.2) Behind most success stories of transgender person there is a contentious history. Do you think that beside Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, the community is still devoid of adequate social security and justice measures? Justify by giving examples. (GS -2)


  • Shanavi Ponnusamy, a transwoman from Tamil Nadu, wrote to the President alleging that Air India had denied her a cabin crew job despite her clearing the written exam.
  • In this regard, the Ministry of Social Justice sent a Bill on transgender rights to the Cabinet, with amendments as suggested by a Standing Committee.
  • These include bringing public establishments under Chapter V of the Bill, which prohibits discrimination in “any matter relating to employment, including, but not limited to, recruitment, promotion and other related issues.”
  • For K. Prithika Yashini, the first transwoman Sub-Inspector of Police in India, it took an order from the Madras High Court for the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board to appoint her.
  • Thus, for every headline celebrating a transgender person’s recruitment in a mainstream profession, there is a contentious history.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016:

  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, is a result of the 2014 Supreme Court judgment recognising transgenders as the third gender and safeguarding their rights under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Apart from welfare schemes for the community, the Bill also lists obligations of establishments as well as recognisable offences against the community.
  • Harassment of a transgender employee is an offence that carries with it a punishment of not less than six months imprisonment.

The measures to be taken are as follows:

  • Enabling environment: An enabling environment needs to be created, be it in education institutes or workplaces.
  • Sensitizing workforce: In protecting the rights and dignity of the community.
  • Implementation of the laws: While laws to safeguard these rights are the first step, more important is to ensure their implementation.
  • Formation of National Council for Transgender Persons: The Bill recommends the formation of a National Council for Transgender Persons that is tasked with monitoring and evaluating policies formulated for transgender persons.
  • Representation in Rajya Sabha: This may pave the way for fulfilling the community’s long-standing demand for representation in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Need of Vocational programs in creative fields: Leading voices from the community have called for vocational programmes in creative fields, a recommendation made by the Standing Committee too.

Q.3) Write short notes on:

KELT-9b (GS -3)


  • KELT-9b is the hottest gas giant exoplanet known.


  • KELT-9b was detected using the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope and the results of its unusual nature were published in 2017.
  • Its dayside temperature is between 4,050 and 4,600 K, which makes it hotter than M-type stars, and many K-type stars.
  • It orbits HD 195689 (or KELT-9), a late B-type main sequence star about 620 light-years (190 parsecs) from Earth.
  • The host star has a temperature of 10,170 K, which is remarkable, as transiting planets are not usually detected in hot stars.
  • As a reference, only six A-type stars were known to have planets prior to KELT-9b discovery.

India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI) (GS -2)


  • The India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI) is a collaborative project of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), State Governments, World Health Organization (WHO), and Resolve to Save Lives initiative of Vital Strategies.


  • IHMI aims to reduce disability and death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • This will be achieved by  improving the control of high blood pressure (hypertension), reducing salt consumption and eliminating artificial trans-fats, leading risk factors for CVD.


  • The IHMI is focused on five essential components of scalable treatment of hypertension:
    • Support the adoption of standardized simplified treatment plans for managing high blood pressure,
    • ensure the regular and uninterrupted supply of quality-assured medications,
    • task sharing so health workers who are accessible to patients can distribute medications already prescribed by the medical officer, and
    • patient-centered services that reduce the barriers to treatment adherence.
  • Data on hypertension will be improved through streamlined monitoring systems, and the lessons learned and practice-based evidence will inform further interventions to improve cardiovascular care.
  • IHMI will be progressively rolled out in 25 districts across districts selected by the Health Ministry for expansion of active screening and intensification of treatment activities for hypertension.
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