Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 2, 2019


Q.1) There is a sudden jump in forest fires across India resulting in massive damage to flora and fauna. What factors are contributing to these forest fires? What measures are taken to prevent them?



Forest fires are generally caused by both natural and man made reasons.

  1. Natural causes such as lightning set trees on fire. High temperatures and low humidity are favourable circumstance for a fire to start.
  2. Man-made causes like flame, cigarette, electric spark or any source of ignition will also cause forest fires.
  3. This disaster is aggravated with rising human and cattle population and the increase in demand for grazing, shifting cultivation and forest products by individuals and communities.
  4. High temperature, wind speed and direction, level of moisture in soil and atmosphere and duration of dry spells can intensify the forest fires.

Measures taken:

  1. MoEFCC guidelines: call for:

a) identification and mapping of all fire prone areas

b) compilation and analysis of database on forest fire damages

c) development and installation of Fire Damage Rating System and Fire Forecasting system

2. National Master Plan for Forest Fire Control:

a) To strengthen the organizations responsible for forest fire management

b) To coordinate international transfer of technology and training in the field of forest fire management

c) Creation of a strong database for: number of fires, area burnt, damage to flora and fauna, effect of fire on land and soil and measures taken

d) Assessment of ecological, social, and economic impact of fires

e) Strong national extension strategy for people’s awareness and their participation in forest fire management through Joint Forest Management and NGOs

3. Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme:

a) Minimise forest fire incidences and help in restoring productivity of forests in affected areas

b) Encourage partnership with forest fringe communities for forest protection

c) Prepare fire danger rating system and devise forest fire forecasting system

d) Forest Survey of India has developed Pre Warning Alert System.

e) It gives alerts to state forest departments based on parameters like forest cover, forest types, climatic variables (temperature, rainfall) and recent fire incidents over the area


Q.2) How artificial intelligence is different from deep learning and machine learning? What are the concerns related to Artificial Intelligence?


AI is the intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals.

Machine learning is the scientific study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use to effectively perform a specific task without using explicit instructions, relying on patterns and inference instead.

Deep Learning is a subfield of machine learning concerned with algorithms inspired by the structure and function of the brain called artificial neural networks

Concerns related to AI:

  1. The AI is programmed to do something devastating: Autonomous weapons are artificial intelligence systems that are programmed to kill. In the hands of the wrong person, these weapons could easily cause mass casualties. Moreover, an AI arms race could inadvertently lead to an AI war that also results in mass casualties.
  2. The AI is programmed to do something beneficial, but it develops a destructive method for achieving its goal: This can happen whenever we fail to fully align the AI’s goals with ours, which is strikingly difficult. If a superintelligent system is tasked with a ambitious geoengineering project, it might wreak havoc with our ecosystem as a side effect, and view human attempts to stop it as a threat to be met.
  3. There is potential loss of jobs in several labor intensive industries
  4. AI may carry the inherent biases and stereotypes perpetuated by its creators. For eg, a machine asked to filter profiles for managerial post may select more men because of the observed patterns based on previous data


Q.3) Is morality important to lead a happy life? Support your answer with examples.


One can only be happy if he does good. For example, even for telling a small lie, one will suffer extreme pressure to cover it up and also feels conscience crisis.

Even externally, one will be punished for the crime he does, thus depriving his happiness. Vijay Mallya cannot live a life with dignity after the huge financial fraud he has done.

But people often justify wrong actions saying that gives them happiness. Someone who corrupts thinks that he can enjoy all material gains with the money. But it is not the case. Once he corrupts, he starts on a slippery slope of greed and continues taking bribes. He has to hide his income, can’t display his wealth and lives in a fear of being caught.

Thus, people should realise the true meaning of happiness. Once it’s realised, they will naturally live moral lives.


Q.4) Examine the major reasons behind the decline in Current Account Deficit of India? Do you think the present decline is sustainable? Give reasons in support of your view


Reasons for declining CAD:

  1. falling oil prices
  2. Forex reserves with RBI
  3. Increasing FDI inflows
  4. Fall in gold imports

The fall in CAD is not sustainable unless it is backed by strong performance on trade. Indian exports still don’t enjoy a strong global market due to slowing global growth, issues of protectionism along with the internal problems like poor quality, lack of diversification etc.,

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