Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 18, 2018


Q.1) Highlight the provisions of the new Draft National Forest policy, 2018. Does the new policy solve the lacunae of the former ones? Examine critically.


  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released a draft National Forest Policy, 2018.
  • Once finalized, the policy will guide the forest management of the country for the next 25-30 years.

Provisions of the National Forest Policy (NFP), 2018 are:

  1. Target of 33% of India’s geographical area under forest and tree cover and in the hills and mountainous regions.
  2. Maintain two-thirds of the area under forest and tree cover.
  3. Restrict schemes and projects which interfere with forests,
  4. Stabilize ecologically sensitive catchment areas with suitable soil and water conservation measures, and also by planting suitable trees and grass like bamboo.
  5. Compensatory Afforestation Fund will be a major source of funds for taking up afforestation and rehabilitation works.
  6. Funds from other national sectors like rural development, tribal affairs, national highways, railways, coal, mines, power, etc., will be taken for appropriate implementation of linking greening with infrastructure and other development activities.
  7. Setting up of two national-level bodies, National Community Forest Management (CFM) Mission and National Board of Forestry (NBF)
  8. It is to be headed by the central minister in charge of forests.
  9. Establish State boards of forestry for ensuring inter-sectoral convergence, simplification of procedures, conflict resolution, among other things
  10. It is to be headed by state ministers in charge of forests.
  11. Threats to Forests due to encroachments, illegal tree fellings, forests fires, invasive weeds, grazing, etc. will be addressed within the framework of the approved Working Plan/Management Plan and also by ensuring community participation in forest management.
  12. Development of Public-private participation models for undertaking afforestation and reforestation activities in degraded forest areas and forest areas available with forest development corporations and outside forests.
  13. Achieve harmonization between policies and laws like Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006.
  14. Establish National Community Forest Management (CFM) Mission.
  15. This mission will have a legal basis and an enabling operational framework.
  16. The national, state and local level development programmes shall be converged.
  17. All efforts to ensure synergy between gram sabha & JFMC (Joint Forest Management Committee) will be taken for ensuring successful community participation in forest management.
  18. Promotion of trees outside forests and urban greens taken up in “mission mode”.
  19. Safeguard ecosystems from forest fires, map the vulnerable areas and develop and strengthen early warning systems and methods to control fire, based on remote sensing technology and community participation.
  20. Climate change concerns will be factored in all the forest and wildlife areas working/management plans and Community Ecosystem Management Plans.
  21. Identify and protection of wildlife rich areas and corridors outside protected areas for ensuring ecological and genetic continuity.
  22. Short-term and long-term actions to tackle rising human-wildlife conflict.

Short-term actions:

  • Quick response, dedicated teams of well equipped and trained personnel, mobility, strong interface with health and veterinary services, rescue centres, objective and speedy assessment of damage and quick payment of relief to the victims.

Long term actions:

  • Monitoring and management of population of wildlife.

Concerns raised against the provisions of Draft National Forest Policy (NFP), 2018 are as follows:

  • Identifies threats to forests but does not provide systems for community involvement.
  • Talks about increasing forests, including for commercial purposes, through public-private partnerships, it does not create a mechanism for including those who live around forests.
  • Also fragmentation of forests due to the ill-planned intrusion of developmental projects is being left unattended.
  • People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs) and Biodiversity Management Committees are not integrated which in turn will fail in setting up a system of efficient natural area monitoring.
  • In the context of ground-truth, an area that looks green, such as tea estates and commercial plantations, have been counted as forests.
  • Even if forest cover is being increased, it is also simultaneously being lost, and new forest may also be subsequently lost.


  • Thus, even though the new forest policy has some loopholes, it does proves to be promising enough to keep a check on climate change mitigation through sustainable forest management.

Q.2) “Achieving equality for women is not restricted to a laudable goal or a human right it is also good economics.” Elaborate.


  • Indian women’s labour force participation, at just 27 per cent, is ranked 170 out of the world’s 188 economies.
  • Not only is Indian women’s labour-force participation among the lowest in the world, research suggests it may be declining.
  • This is despite rising education levels and declining fertility.
  • Women cannot contribute to India’s economic growth if they are not fully participating in the workforce.
  • The reason for low women’s labour force participation is gender inequality in India.

Measures to be taken to improve gender inequality are:

  • Need for policy initiatives to empower women as gender disparities in India persist even against the backdrop of economic growth.
  • Improvements in labour market prospects also have the potential to empower women. This will also lead to increase in marriage age and school enrolment of younger girls.
  • Feminism could be a powerful tool that lets children shed stereotypes that they may hold and question those of others.
  • A world free of prejudice and generalisation would be amenable to progress in the truest sense.
  • The need of the hour is to introduce feminism in schools, both in terms of curriculum and practice.
  • Sessions on principles of mutual respect and equality must be made a regular affair in schools.
  • Inculcating gender equality in children could go a long way towards ridding society of regressive mindsets, attitudes, and behaviours.
  • Educating Indian children from an early age about the importance of gender equality could be a meaningful start in that direction.


  • Thus it is rightly said that achieving equality for women is not restricted to a laudable goal or a human right it is also good economics.

Q.3) Write short notes on:

a) Monetary neutrality in economics (GS – 3)

b) Galaxy Cluster in Science and Technology (GS – 3)  

a) Monetary neutrality in economics (GS – 3)

  • Monetary neutrality is a theory which states that money has no real effect on how resources are allocated in an economy.
  • So, for instance, a doubling of the stock of money supply caused by central bank policy should have no other effect on the economy except the doubling of the nominal prices of all goods.
  • The concept of monetary neutrality has been criticised for assuming that when the supply of money is increased, the new money percolates into the economy and affects prices evenly.
  • Others have argued that the new money enters the economy at different points and affects prices unevenly, thus distorting resource allocation.

b) Galaxy Cluster in Science and Technology (GS – 3)

  • Galaxies are like the building blocks of the universe, they contain a huge number of stars, something like 100 billion at a count.
  • Galaxy groups can have three to 20 galaxies, the richest systems are called clusters (like the Virgo cluster) which can have several hundred galaxies.
  • Superclusters are clusters of clusters.
  • They can have as few as two clusters, and superclusters with two to four clusters are common.
  • Within superclusters, clusters are connected by filaments and sheets of dark matter with galaxies embedded in them.
  • It is supposed that the galaxies are born in the filaments and then migrate towards the intersection of the filaments where they are assimilated into clusters.
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