Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 12, 2019


Q.1) What is rare disease? Should government allocate fund for rare disease? Give your opinion


A rare disease is a health condition which has a low prevalence and affects a small number of people. Rare diseases include genetic diseases, rare cancers, infectious tropical diseases and degenerative diseases.

Why governments need to allocate funds:

  1. They are chronic, debilitating, life threatening and often result in some form of handicap.
  2. As health is a state subject, state governments have a critical role to play in providing and organizing whatever support these patients require.
  3. The most common rare diseases reported in India include hemophilia, thalassemia, sickle-cell anemia and primary immune deficiency in children, autoimmune diseases, lysosomal storage disorders such as pompe disease, Hirsch sprung disease, gaucher’s disease, cystic fibrosis, hemangiomas and certain forms of muscular dystrophies.
  4. Lack of scientific knowledge: The field of rare diseases is complex and heterogeneous and suffers from a deficit of medical and scientific knowledge. Apart from a few rare diseases, where significant progress has been made, the field is still at a nascent stage.
  5. High cost of treatment: Given that the market is small, the field of rare diseases has not been considered profitable for drug developers and manufacturers globally. This makes the available treatments prohibitively expensive. Additionally, treatment cost is not being covered by insurance companies which makes the situation worse.
  6. Challenges in research and development: Rare diseases are difficult to research upon as the patient pool is very small and it often results in inadequate clinical experience.

National Policy on Rare Diseases was introduced in 2017 provided for corpus fund of 100 Crores at Central and State Level for part funding treatment of rare diseases.


Q.2) Jallianwala Bagh’s importance lies not in the numbers killed but in what preceded it and in what followed. Elucidate


On 13th April, 1919 people gathered at Jallianwala Bagh to protest against the arrest of the two nationalist leaders, Satya Pal and Dr Saifuddin Kitchlew. Suddenly, the British military officer, General Dyer, ordered his troops to fire at the unarmed crowd without even giving a warning to the people.

What went before:

Rowlatt Act was passed and it led to massive protests across the country. This act authorised the British government to arrest anybody suspected of terrorist activities. It also authorised the government to detain such people arrested for up to 2 years without trial.

Even Gandhi organised Rowlatt Satyagraha to protest against the unilateral powers, the act confers on British administration.

What followed:

  1. This massacre exposed the inhuman approach of the British when the British troop cold-bloodedly open fire into an unarmed crowd.
  2. The massacre aroused the fury of the Indian people and the government replied with further brutalities. People in Punjab were made to crawl on the streets. They were put in open cages and flogged. Newspapers were banned and their editors put behind the bars or deported.
  3. Rabindranath Tagore, who had been knighted by the British, renounced his knighthood.
  4. Mahatma Gandhi felt the need to launch a broad based movement so as to avenge the wrong done in Punjab.
  5. Hunter commission was established on this massacre but it was just an eye wash for the Indians as House of Lords appraised the act of General Dyer and Morning post allowed to collect a reward of 30000 dollars on his behalf


Q.3) Discuss the features of Sufism which makes it distinct from other sects of Islam. Comment on its relevance in the contemporary world.


Features of sufism:

  1. They impute god with the qualities of effulgence, love, mercy, generosity and immanence.
  2. Instead of fear of god, they work for securing union with Him by pursuing the path of perfect love.
  3. They feel that it is His glory that is reflected in every object in the universe. They recommend love and kindness to all created beings.
  4. Removing ignorance and impurity of heart, they contemplate on God with a feeling of sincerity and purity.
  5. They recognize the value of repletion of God’s name and resort to music of a loving devotional character as an aid to concentration.
  6. Music often led to heightening of emotion which ended in ecstatic dancing.
  7. Their goal is union with God.
  8. Sufis fought against un islamic practices that crept into the religion such as racial prejudice,domination of conservative ulema,vulgar display of wealth and court traditions like sizda, paibosa and nauroz.

Relevance in contemporary world:

  1. Spread love
  2. Their belief in god did not result in hatred towards other religions
  3. They propagated purity and sincerity in worship
  4. Religion became a healthy moral authority under Sufism


Q.4) What is low earth orbit. Discuss the application of the satellites placed in this orbit.


Objects in low-Earth orbit are at an altitude of between 160 to 2,000 km (99 to 1200 mi) above the Earth’s surface. They are used mainly for data communication such as email, video conferencing and paging. They move at extremely high speeds and are not fixed in space in relation to the earth.

Application of satellites:

  1. Vast majority of human missions have been to Low Earth Orbit. The International Space Station also orbits in LEO
  2. Within LEO, communications and navigation satellites, as well as space missions, experience high bandwidth and low communication time lag
  3. LEO is low enough to get a good look at the surface of Earth and resolve large objects and weather patterns on the surface.
  4. The altitude allows for rapid orbital periods which allows them to be able to view the same region on the surface multiple times in a single day.
  5. Most communication applications use LEO satellites because it takes less less energy to place the satellites into LEO. Moreover, they need less powerful amplifiers for successful transmission.
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