Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – August 1, 2018

Upcoming Current Affairs & Essay Test Series


Q.1) Provide an account of the evolution of Draft National Register of Citizens and discuss the controversies and challenges surrounding it?

Answer:  National Register of Citizens: The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is the list of Indian citizens of Assam. The stated aim of the updating exercise is to identify “illegal immigrants” in the state.

Evolution of NRC:

  1. It was prepared in 1951, following the census of 1951.
  2. The first pilot project for updating the National Register of Citizens was launched in 2010 after protests against illegal migrants in electoral rolls in 1997 elections.  
  3. The process of NRC update was taken up in Assam as per a Supreme Court order in 2013 in order to wean out cases of illegal migration from Bangladesh and other adjoining areas. It was carried out under The Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord.

Controversies surrounding it:

  1. Bengali Muslims are the community most often branded as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. They felt that they were put under greater scrutiny than other groups.
  2. The sudden appearance of an “original inhabitants” category and they being subjected to less rigorous scrutiny is another issue.
  3. The whole process is accused of arousing communal tensions along Hindu-Muslim lines.
  4. Also this may strain relationships with Bangladesh as the people identified as illegal immigrants need to be deported.
  5. This may not in any way help in bringing peace to this region already troubled by conflicts around ethnicities.
  6. Neither the state nor the Centre has clarified what happens to those who lose their cases in the Foreigners’ Tribunals, whether they will be detained, deported or allowed to stay on without the rights and privileges of citizenship.
  7. Foreigners’ Tribunals – they have challenges in ensuring justice due to the brief window of time given by the border police to produce proof of citizenship to the lack of legal aid.
  8. Detention centers – Those deemed to be foreigners are transferred to detention centres. They have languished here for years in a legal limbo. Though declared as foreigners foreigners, there is no repatriation treaty under which they can be deported to Bangladesh.


Q.2) Discuss the factors behind India’s ailing indigenous defense manufacturing. How new Strategic Partnership guidelines would be able to transform defense manufacturing in India?

Answer: India continues to remain in the strategically-vulnerable position of being the world’s largest arms importer, accounting for 12% of the global imports from 2013-2017.

Factors behind poor indigenous industry

  1. Ordinance Factories : Dependence only on the government owned defence public sector units (PSUs) and ordnance factories which failed to produce cutting edge technologies.
  2. R&D: Researching and developing new military systems is the job of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The DRDO consumes 20% of the Indian government’s total R&D funding. Its inherent problems and contradictions led to the gross failure of indigenous production.
  3. Rama Rao Committee on DRDO says that it requires passionate and inspiring leadership. IT points to poor HR management with only 3% of its scientists have PhDs in engineering-related subjects. It warns that DRDO’s “biggest challenge” is to attract, nurture and retain talent.
  4. Bias against private sector participation – Kelkar committee had suggested nominating more than a dozen Indian private sector companies Raksha Udyog Ratnas, with a status equivalent to that of the defence.


Strategic Partnership guidelines – Recently the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the implementation of Strategic Partnership guidelines.

  1. 4 segments – The model has four segments — submarines, single engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks. These would be specifically opened up for the private sector.
  2. Global Equipment Manufacturers – One Indian private company would be selected in each segment which would tie-up with shortlisted global equipment manufacturers to manufacture the platforms in India under technology transfer.
  3. Procurement – All procurements would be executed by specially constituted Empowered Project Committees for timely execution.

How they can help:

  1. The model aims to revitalise defence industrial ecosystem and build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon systems.
  2. They lay emphasis on incentivisation of transfer of niche technology and higher indigenous content.
  3. This creates scope for innovation transfer from foreign companies.
  4. Private sector participation can attract more investments into the sector.


Q.3) Enumerate the land-use categories as maintained in the Land Revenue Records and highlight the patterns of land use changes that have taken place in last few decades in India.  


Land use categories mentioned :

The land-use categories as maintained in the Land Revenue Records are as follows :

  1. Forests : Area under actual forest cover is different from area classified as forest. There may be an increase in this category without any increase in the actual forest cover.
  2. Barren and Wastelands : The land which may be classified as a wasteland such as barren hilly terrains, desert lands, ravines, etc. normally cannot be brought under cultivation with the available technology.
  3. Land put to Non-agricultural Uses : Land under urban and rural settlements, infrastructure, industries etc., are included in this category.
  4. Area under Permanent Pastures and Grazing Lands : Most of this type land is owned by the village ‘Panchayat’ or the Government. Only a small proportion of this land is privately owned.
  5. Area under Miscellaneous Tree Crops and Groves : The land under orchards and fruit trees are included in this category.
  6. Culturable Wasteland :Any land which is not cultivated for more than five years is included in this category.
  7. Current Fallow : it is the land which is left without cultivation for one or less than one agricultural year.
  8. Fallow other than Current Fallow : This is also a cultivable land which is left uncultivated for more than a year but less than five years.
  9. Net Area Sown: The physical extent of land on which crops are sown and harvested is known as net sown area

Broad patterns of land use changes:

  1. The rate of increase is the highest in case of area under non-agricultural uses. This is due to the changing structure of Indian economy, which is increasingly depending on the contribution from industrial and services sectors
  2. The increase in the share under forest could be by increase in the demarcated area under forest rather than an actual increase in the forest cover
  3. The increase in net area sown is a recent phenomenon due to use of culturable waste land for agricultural purpose.
  4. As the pressure on land increased from agricultural and nonagricultural sectors, the wastelands and culturable wastelands have witnessed decline over time.
  5. The decline in land under pastures and grazing lands can be explained by pressure from agricultural land.


Q.4) Wind energy is India’s biggest source of renewable electricity by far, what are the factors contributing to this achievement? Discuss the hurdles that wind energy sector is facing in faster development of energy generation?

Answer: Wind power accounts for nearly 10% of India’s total installed power generation capacity.  India’s total wind energy capacity now stands at 34,042 MW. The wind power potential of the country has been assessed to be 302 GW

Factors for success of wind energy in India:

  1. Geographical terrain of India – with mountains, valleys and coasts favors windmills
  2. Offshore wind power generation ability due to long coastline
  3. Cost competitiveness, mature wind energy value chain and technology-edge
  4. Government is playing an active role in promoting the adoption of renewable energy resources by offering various incentives, such as generation-based incentives (GBIs), capital and interest subsidies.

Hurdles faced by wind energy sector:

  1. Grid connectivity remains a challenge as wind power is generated in hilly and remote areas.
  2. Falling tariffs and renegotiation of agreements with state governments
  3. Solar energy is given more priority these days
  4. Challenges of environmental damage in biodiversity rich areas life Western Ghats and Himalayas
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