Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 24, 2018


Q.1) Public Interest Litigation (PIL), a powerful instrument, is a legal action initiated in a court of law for the enforcement of public interest or general interest. With the help of examples analyse how PIL has impacted Indian Democracy. (GS – 2)


  • Public Interest Litigation (PIL), means a legal action initiated in a court of law for the enforcement of public interest or general interest in which the public or class of t
  • he community have pecuniary interest or some interest by which their legal rights or liabilities are affected.
  • PIL is a powerful instrument to preserve the rule of law and to ensure the accountability of and transparency within structures of governance.
  • An essential aspect of a genuine PIL petition is that the person who moves the court has no personal interest in the outcome of the proceedings, apart from a general standing as a citizen before the court.

Famous PILs filed which made a positive impact:

  • A Public Interest Litigation against Ganga water pollution led to the implementation of Ganga Action Plan.
  • Supreme Court held in the Public Interest Litigation to give medical aid to every injured citizen as soon as possible without waiting for any procedural formalities.
  • The court held that there cannot be any classification of convicts on the basis of their social status, education or habit of living .
  • The court declared Section 66A of the IT Act,2006, null and void thus protecting right to freedom of speech.
  • In Vishaka v State of Rajasthan a PIL was filed concerning sexual harassment of women at work place.

PILs are being misused to settle:

  • Personal vendetta,
  • Business scores, and
  • Political scores.

PILs which are dismissed by the Court are as follows:

  • PIL filed against the sale of a plot of land through public auction.
  • PIL for  increase in the price of onions
  • PIL on the dilapidated condition of railway stations
  • PIL to enquire the death of Justice Loya
  • When the government of India telecommunication policy was challenged by a PIL the court refused to interfere with the matter on the ground that it concerned a question of policy

Consequences of misuse of PILs are as follows:

  • The PIL had seriously reduced the efficiency of the judicial system by detracting from the ability of the court to devote its time and resources to cases which legitimately require attention,
  • Huge backlog of cases,
  • Delayed judgements, and
  • Right to speedy trial under Article 21 is affected.

Way forward:

  • Judiciary needs to do a reality check on the advent of PIL petitions which flooded the courts.
  • The court must be careful to see that the petitioner who approaches it is acting bona fide and not for personal gain, private profit or political or other oblique considerations.
  • Civil society needs to play a proactive role in condemning misuse of PILs.

Q.2) What is ‘soft power’? What are the reasons for which the uses of hard powers have been overcasted by soft powers? How India can utilize its soft power for India’s development? (GS – 3)


    • Soft power refers to the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion.
    • It helps in building favourable attitude and preferences over a period of time.

Examples of Soft Power:

  • China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is a soft power tool which aims to make smaller countries dependant on China in the name of development and hence support its policies and actions.
  • Non Resident Indians helped create a positive atmosphere which made USA sign the nuclear deal with India.

Hard power and its limitations:

  • With the spread of democracy, and growth of civil society, use of hard power has been frowned upon.
  • The limitations of hard power have also been exposed to the world.
  • For example, US’s War on Terrorism:
  • No concrete outcome;
  • Arab Spring and crisis in the middle east;
  • Ongoing crisis in Syria;
  • Rise of ISIS; and
  • Refugee Crisis.
  • Moreover, the invention of nuclear weapons has imposed serious limitations on the use of hard power.
  • The fear of Mutually Assured Destruction and spread of nuclear weapons to terrorists has further dettered the use of hard power.

Tools through which India implements soft power are as follows:

  • A Public Diplomacy Division was created within the Ministry of External Affairs;
  • Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was expanded worldwide;
  • The Ministry of Tourism’s ’Incredible India’ campaign;

Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas: 

  • Bollywood films and shows abroad;
  • Make in India campaign;
  • Intensive foreign visits by the Prime Minister;
  • Inviting world leaders-Prince William,Justin Trudeau(Canadian PM),Ivanka Trump etc. and
  • NRIs as cultural ambassadors.

Q.3) Write short notes on:

a)  ‘Trafficking error’ in economy (GS – 3)

b)   Program ‘LaQshya’ (GS – 2)

a) ‘Trafficking error’ in economy (GS – 3)

  • ‘Trafficking error’ refers to the difference between the returns on an investment portfolio and a benchmark that it is ideally supposed to imitate.
  • The presence of the tracking error is attributed to different factors, including the costs involved in the periodic buying and selling of securities in order to rebalance a portfolio.
  • Mutual funds that try to mimic the performance of an index, for instance, may have to sell or buy some stocks after a few quarters.
  • This is because the index itself is often reconstituted based on the market capitalisation of stocks.
  • Such shuffling of a portfolio involves costs like brokerage and taxes which in turn leads to the tracking error.

b)  Program ‘LaQshya’ (GS – 2)

Program ‘LaQshya’ aims to:

  • reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality,
  • improve quality of care during delivery and immediate post-partum period and
  • enhance satisfaction of beneficiaries and provide Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) to all pregnant women attending public health facilities.


  • The LaQshya program is being implemented at all Medical College Hospitals, District Hospitals and First Referral Unit (FRU), and Community Health Center (CHCs).

Salient features of program ‘LaQshya’ are as follows:

  • A multi-pronged strategy has been adopted such as improving infrastructure up-gradation, ensuring availability of essential equipment, providing adequate human resources, capacity building of health care workers and improving quality processes in the labour room;
  • Dedicated Obstetric ICUs at Medical College Hospital level and Obstetric HDUs at District Hospital are operationalized; and
  • The Quality Improvement in labour room and maternity OT will be assessed through NQAS (National Quality Assurance Standards) is the following manner:
  • Every facility achieving 70% score on NQAS will be certified as LaQshya certified facility.
  • Branding of LaQshya certified facilities will be done as per the NQAS score.
  • Facilities scoring more than 90%, 80% and 70% will be given Platinum, Gold and Silver badge accordingly.
  • Facilities achieving NQAS certification, defined quality indicators and 80% satisfied beneficiaries will be provided incentive of Rs 6 lakh, Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 lakh for Medical College Hospital, District Hospital and FRUs respectively.
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