Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 8, 2019

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Q.1) There is no global regulatory regime to address the growing militarisation in space which compel India to develop deterrence for the security of its space-based assets. Critically examine

Answer:

There is no global regulatory regime to address the growing militarisation in space.

Challenges in space:

  1. Growing militarisation of space
  2. Increasing space debris
  3. More and more satellites are used for various development purposes of the countries
  4. Given the prohibitively expensive nature of space projects, India and other countries must utilise the space to legitimately advance the well-being of their people
  5. Countries like China, USA, Russia already possess the capability
  6. Hostile countries may use the space for forcing India to gain concessions

India must communicate its peaceful intentions just as it showcases its capabilities, so as to contribute to a better understanding among countries it hopes to deter.

 

Q.2) Model code of conduct is more of moral code of conduct in absence of statutory backing. Elucidate. Should model code of conduct be made legally binding. Give your opinion.

Answer:

The MCC is a set of norms for conduct and behavior of the political parties and candidates during elections. It aims to provide a level playing field for all political parties.

MCC does not a have a statutory backing and it is more a consensus driven code by political parties. Thus, we often see violations of MCC and no effective action against such deviations.

Need for statutory backing:

  1. since most of its provisions are enforceable, the remaining stipulations in the MCC should also be accorded statutory backing
  2. Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice recommended in its 2013 report that statutory status be accorded to the MCC
  3. absence of an immediate appeal mechanism against the decision of the returning officer to cancel the nomination of a candidate. The decision can only be challenged in the High Court after the announcements of election results
  4. The bar on the ruling party from the use of its position for electioneering to combine official work with campaign activity, the exercise of monopoly over public places and transport facilities are important non-statutory stipulations in the code

However, the Election Commission has argued against making the MCC legally binding. EC observe that elections must be completed within a relatively short time, and judicial proceedings typically take longer, therefore it is not feasible to make it enforceable by law.

 

Q.3) The success of Soil Health Card scheme depends on rationalisation of fertilizer subsidies. Discuss.

Answer:

SHC scheme is designed to assess the nutritional health of soil. Thus, it provides farmers the vital inputs regarding fertilizers to be applied.

Challenges wrt fertiliser subsidies :

  1. Due to fertiliser subsidies, use of the fertilizers has become indiscriminate. A study conducted by the Fertiliser Association of India says the NPK ratio in 2011-12 was 10:4:1, much higher than the required 4:2:1
  2. Fertiliser subsidies also have led to monoculture, which affects the fertility of soil and does not replenish necessary nutrients
  3. SHC scheme does not mean much to rainfed farming areas which are fertiliser dependent due to prevalent subsidy regime
  4. Overuse of fertilisers has led to land degradation, salinity of soils and pollution of underground water aquifers

 

Q.4) What do you mean by currency swap? What are the merits and demerits of currency swap for a country?

Answer:

A currency swap between two countries is an agreement or contract to exchange currencies (of the two countries or any hard currency) with predetermined terms and conditions.

Merits:

  1. avoid turbulence and other risks in the foreign exchange market and exchange rate
  2. ensure adequate foreign currency during the time of foreign currency scarcity
  3. depreciation of the domestic currency/currency crisis can be avoided
  4. promotion of bilateral trade
  5. maintaining the value of foreign exchange reserves with the central bank
  6. ensuring financial stability by protecting the health of the banking system

Demerits:

  1. It will hurt the economy if the other country’s currency is depreciated
  2. Have to uphold the agreement though economy is not ready
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