Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 18, 2019


Q.1) Discuss capability approach of Amartya Sen in the context of India?


The capability approach is a theoretical framework that entails two claims:

  1. the freedom to achieve well-being is of primary moral importance
  2. freedom to achieve well-being is to be understood in terms of people’s capabilities, that is, their real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value

Areas to address in Indian context:

  1. today when people talk of progress or development they are merely talking of “economic development” which simply means expansion of the economy in terms of GDP growth
  2. It provides dignity to human race because the economic model of development has reduced people to the status of producers and consumers
  3. Rather than talking of some theoretical equality of people or seeing them in terms of numbers, the capability approach explicitly recognizes the differences among individuals
  4. It also accepts that people’s abilities are affected by external factors coming from interaction with other people, social arrangements, access to infrastructure and public services, discriminations, opportunities to participate in social and political activities, freedom to speak and influence state policies, and so on


Q.2) What are the important changes brought about recently by the India Meteorological Department in the use of terminology to describe monsoon in India? Also, discuss the impact of La Nino on Indian monsoon.


IMD in its forecast has predicted that India is likely to have a ‘near normal’ monsoon this year. IMD usually does not use the category ‘near normal’. Under this category, the IMD has slotted rainfall between 96-104% of the long-period average, which is 890mm. However, the ‘normal’ category is also used for the same 96-104% category.

El Nino:

El Nino is a weather system which re-emerges after a gap of about two to five years in the Pacific Ocean and its effects last for about 12 months on an average. El Nino leads to warming of sea surface temperatures, which in turn affects wind patterns and triggers both floods and droughts in different parts of the world

  1. A strong El Nino can cause severe drought in Australia, Southeast Asia and India, while drenching other parts of the world such as the U.S. Midwest and Brazil in rains.
  2. The opposite of El Nino is La Nina when sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific drop to lower-than-normal levels.
  3. The El Nino events in 1965, 1972, 1982 and 1987 were bad for India but the 1997 El Nino, despite being the strongest in the century, did not affect monsoons. This led many experts to conclude that the link between monsoons and global weather event was wearing off. But the India Meteorological Department still takes into account El Nino for forecasts.


Q.3) Cultural diversity is one of the salient features of Indian society. Explain.


Cultural diversity in India exists on many fronts from regions, religions, languages, castes, cuisines etc.,

  1. India has people living with diverse religious practices like Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism and so on
  2. Within the religions, people and their cultures vary vastly according to the caste and region they belong to For example, the practices of Hindus in Kerala are vastly different from Hindus in Bengal
  3. India has varied art forms of dances, festivals, theatre and paintings that developed according to the local historical and geographical requirements
  4. While three fourth of India speaks Indo-Aryan Languages, Dravidian languages are spoken by one fourth of Indians. India has 122 major languages and 1599 dialects, thus making it one of the most linguistically diverse nations around the world.

These are just few examples of the vast cultural diversity of the country. Despite the diversity, people are unified by commonalities that makes relevant the saying of Unity in Diversity.


Q.4) Recent economic slowdown is a result of falling investment in India. Analyse the main causes of falling investment.


Reasons for falling investments:

  1. Global economic slowdown
  2. Poor fiscal performance of Indian economy : recent resetting of the fiscal deficit target
  3. Informational gaps: States need to enhance awareness of the steps being undertaken by them to the improve ease of doing business. There is very low awareness among enterprises about single window systems, instituted by states.
  4. Labor regulations: are a big constraint for labor intensive firms. 19% more likely to report that finding skilled work­ers is a major or very severe obstacle.
    Barriers to firm growth: large firms face more regulatory barriers than smaller firms.

To improve investments:

  1. Include essential business permissions under the Public Service Delivery Guarantee Acts of states.
  2. Devolution of powers : Wherever the rules and Acts allow devolution of power at the local level, the powers must be devolved to decentralise the system for faster decision-making. For each permission, the project proponent need not come to the authority at the Centre or State.
  3. Consolidation of rules : combining different regulations that serve the same purpose. One needs to have an integrated environment clearance/permission system.
  4. Risk-based exemptions : A mechanism must be formulated to ensure exemptions are given based on the risk involved.
  5. Third party certifications : A credible third-party mechanism should be introduced under each rule and Act to provide simpler compliance process for setting up and operating a business.
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