Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 24, 2019

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Q.1) Recently, there has been a rise in right-wing politics in several countries of the world. Discuss the factors responsible for this. Also, discuss its implication.

Answer:

Right-wing politics hold that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition. Mostly, they oppose any new changes in society or culture and want to continue with the status quo, however problematic it may be.

In several countries of the world, right wing parties won huge majorities. The debates on immigration, freedoms are witnessing a backward trend due to this.

Reasons for rise of right wing:

  1. Challenges faced by liberals after recession and economic downturn
  2. Growing impact of social media and fake news
  3. Increasing importance to fundamental identities like religion, race, caste etc.,
  4. Political strategies of certain fundamental groups to win elections

Impact:

  1. Rise of hate politics
  2. Unrest in traditional societies
  3. Development takes a back seat
  4. Constitutional freedoms of many sections of the society are deprived eg., minorities in India
  5. A sense of intolerance curtails freedom of speech

 

Q.2) There is a need to prepare a comprehensive road map with identified strategies for scientific and sustainable management of the available groundwater resources in the country. Examine

Answer:

India is a groundwater economy. At 260 cubic km per year, our country is the highest user of groundwater in the world—we use 25% of all groundwater extracted globally, ahead of the US and China.

Water is a common resource: Often this aspect is ignored in India and borewells became the norm for household consumption and also for agricultural lands.

Importance of groundwater:

  1. Lack of access to clean water.
  2. Lack of infrastructure to supply piped water to every home. People cannot rely on groundwater due to erratic rains.
  3. As cities and towns grow, the pressure on urban water resources is increasing.
  4. Pollution of available water resources – both surface and groundwater.
  5. Exploitative farming practices are depleting water resources at a rapid pace.
  6. Climate change is also a cause behind drying up of sources and erratic rainfall patterns.

Ways to address:

  1. Using technology solutions like Big Data to map consumption patterns and decide supply.
  2. Involving communities in conservation of local water bodies.
  3. Efficient agriculture practices life ZBNF, organic farming.
  4. Arresting groundwater pollution

 

Q.3) India has recently suspended cross LoC trade between Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir (PoK). Discuss the importance of cross LoC trade. Also, list reasons for such suspension?

Answer:

India has suspended cross LoC trade between Jammu & Kashmir and PoK.

Importance of LoC trade:

  1. Benefits to the local economies: It is estimated that since the barter trade commenced along two routes across the LoC in October 2008 the volume of trade over the decade has crossed ₹6,000 crore.
  2. Employment: Trade has acted as a source of employment for the local traders, for the unemployed and vulnerable youth of the border areas.
  3. Symbolic and political value of cross-LoC trade: Economic integration across the Line of Control remains central to the conflict resolution process. It is considered very important for generating interest from people on both the sides of LoC.
  4. Bottom-up approach to peace-building: Trade has attracted divided families and some former combatants and provided a non-violent and alternative vision for change and conflict transformation
  5. Spin effect: The LoC passes not only through the regions of Jammu and Kashmir but also the Ladakh region. The success of Cross LoC trade in Kashmir region will enable opening of Kargil-Skardu route.

Reason for suspension of cross-LoC trade:

  1. Used by terrorist and separatist: In few cases NIA found that a significant number of trading concerns engaged in LoC trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist organizations involved in fuelling terrorism/separatism.
  2. Used for drugs: Cross-LoC trade is also being used as a regular channel of funnelling of drugs such as cocaine, brown sugar and heroin into the Valley, adversely impacting the youth
  3. Under Invoicing and Infiltration of third-party goods: It is being argued that the zero-tariff barter arrangement is being violated through under-invoicing and the exchange of third-party items such as U.S.-origin California almonds.
  4. Illegal weapons and fake currency: Route are allegedly used for supply of arms and fake currency notes to the Valley.

 

Q.4) What is virtue ethics? What is Aristotle’s theory of virtue?

Answer:

Virtue ethics are normative ethical theories which emphasize virtues of mind and character. Virtue ethicists discuss the nature and definition of virtues and other related problems.

Aristotle’s theory:

Aristotle declared that a virtuous person is someone who has ideal character traits.

  1. These traits derive from natural internal tendencies, but need to be nurtured; however, once established, they will become stable. For example,  a virtuous person is someone who is kind across many situations over a lifetime because that is her character and not because she wants to maximize utility or gain favors or simply do her duty.
  2. According to Aristotle, virtues are habits and that the good life is a life of mindless routine.
  3. The golden mean or golden middle way is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency.
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