Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – August 23, 2018


Q1. RCEP ( Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) is not just beneficial for its member countries, but also for the whole of Asia. Analyze. Also, discuss India’s concerns with RCEP.

Answer:  RCEP was built upon existing ASEAN+1 FTAs to strengthen economic linkages and enhance trade and investment.

Beneficial for members:

  1. RCEP will provide a framework aimed at lowering trade barriers and securing improved market access for goods and services for businesses.
  2. Asean businesses would follow one set of procedures instead of having to navigate through five different sets of rules when trading with its RCEP partners. Thus it strengthens trade relations with FTA partners.
  3. It recognises the ASEAN Centrality in emerging regional economic architecture.
  4. Enhances transparency in trade and investment relations between participating countries.
  5. Facilitation of SMEs’ engagements in global and regional supply chains by enabling SMEs to cope with challenges arising from globalisation and trade liberalisation.
  6. Greater ease of doing business in the region and increase Asean’s attractiveness as a trade and investment destination.

Beneficial for Asia:

  1. Strengthen global production networks and make Asia the world’s factory.
  2. Trade barriers in Asia will come down and the new rules will be consistent with WTO agreements.
  3. In the area of investment rules, where no WTO agreement exists, the RCEP will promote easier FDI flows and technology transfers by multinational corporations.

India’s concerns:

  1. NITI Aayog said that India should rethink joining RCEP as it will be disastrous to provide more market access to China.
  2. India’s inability to negotiate a good services deal.
  3. India already has bilateral FTAs with Asean, Korea and Japan and negotiations are underway with Australia and New Zealand.
  4. It imposes TRIPS-plus conditions on IPRs.
  5. Strategically, this may convey a shift towards China and raise concerns with our partner, US.


Q.2) Malnutrition has emerged as a major challenge in India’s growth story. Discuss the challenges in eradicating the problem, enumerating the governmental interventions in this regard.

Answer: Malnutrition involves a dietary deficiency. According to WHO, malnutrition is the gravest single threat to global public health.

Malnutrition challenge to India’s growth:

  1. It leads to wasting and stunting in children. This affects their health and thus their educational outcomes.
  2. Large numbers of Indian women are anaemic. This results in deaths at the time of child birth. Also, malnourished mothers are more likely to have underweight children, who will in turn have a higher risk of physical and cognitive impairment.
  3. It wastes precious human resources who eventually contribute to economic growth of the country. This is due to low-level skilled workforce.
  4. Overweight and obesity increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and other lifestyle diseases and burdening the economy with health costs.
  5. Malnourished adults are less able to work, contribute to local economies, and provide care for their families.
  6. Latest figures:

a) 38% of children under 5 are affected by stunting.

b) About 21% of children under 5 are defined as ’wasted’ or ‘severely wasted.

c) 51% of women of reproductive age suffer from anaemia.

d) More than 22% of adult women are overweight.

Challenges in eliminating it:

  1. Poverty and lack of proper food availability. Rising costs of food due to poor management of agriculture policies.
  2. Limitations of schemes life PDS in providing quality nutrition.
  3. Lack of awareness on micronutrient deficiencies.  Low awareness regarding nutrition and use of local nutritious food including sources of nutrients.
  4. Changing lifestyles leading to bad food choices and obesity. Food patterns shifted towards cereal-centric diets.
  5. Inadequate access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities.
  6. Inappropriate and sub-optimal infant and young child feeding and caring practices.

Governmental interventions:

  1. Mid Day Meal scheme
  2. ICDS – Integrated Child Development Service Programme is a programme under which a package of integrated services consisting of supplementary nutrition, immunization, health check up are provided to the most vulnerable groups within children and women
  3. POSHAN Abhiyaan targets to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  4. Mothers Absolute Affection (MAA) – It is an attempt to bring undiluted focus on promotion of breastfeeding.
  5. National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control Program (NIDDCP)
  6. Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) – ‘SABLA’
  7. ‘Kishori Shakti Yojana’ (KSY) is a special intervention devised for adolescent girls using the ICDS infrastructure.
  8. Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) Program
  9. National Food Security Mission (NFSM) targeted additional production of 25 million tonnes of food grains.


Q.3) Do you think adultery law in India is in contravention to the Constitutional Provisions under Art 14 and 15. Critically analyze, with special emphasis on various governmental reports and committees’ views on the issue.

Answer:  Adultery  refers to extra-marital voluntary sexual intercourse. Provisions in Section 497 of IPC mandates a punishment of 5 years in prison for the man who had consensual sexual intercourse with a married woman. But it does not punish the woman who had consensual sexual intercourse with a married man.

Contravention to Art 14 and 15:

  1. As it considers that women could not be punished as they were vulnerable.
  2. By punishing only a man for adultery, the law is discriminating against citizens based on “sex”, covered under Article 15.
  3. Section 198 (1) of CrPC says only “aggrieved party” can bring forth a complaint on cases of adultery. Section 198 (2) clarifies that only the husband can be the “aggrieved party”.
  4. It is discriminatory against men as it presumes the morality of man and judges his behavior. It is in violation of Article 14 and 15 which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, caste, sex.


  1. The 42nd Law Commission of India Report and the Malimath Committee on Criminal Law Reforms suggested that the section be amended to ensure both the erring wife and the husband be held equally liable for adultery.
  2. Law Commission rendered liable only the male offender considering the condition of women in this country and law’s duty to protect it.
  3. SC in Yusuf Abdul Aziz v. The State of Bombay (1954) case held that Section 497 did not violate the right to equality in Articles 14 and 15 of Constitution. Constitution itself provides for special provisions with regard to women and children.
  4. Fifth Law Commission made suggestions as to changes in the provision, including making the law gender-neutral.


Q.4) Examine the issue of man-animal conflict in India. Also, evaluate the government’s strategy to resolve the problem.

Answer: Data shows that about one person has been killed every day for the past three years by roaming tigers or rampaging elephants.

Reasons for the issue:

  1. Road Kills –  traffic density is growing  and some of this road network is being expanded through protected areas.
  2. Livestock grazing – in forests leads to human-wildlife conflict as carnivores are attracted towards the easy prey and become direct enemies of livestock graziers.
  3. The increasing human population led to expansion in urban and rural parts and in peripheries of protected areas.
  4. Humans encroach on clear large areas of protected forest patches for development of agricultural and horticultural lands.
  5. Fragmentation of large habitats and shrinking sizes of forest patches makes landscape unviable for wild animals as their needs are not fulfilled.

Government’s strategy:

  1. Adequate habitat to wild animals
  2. Maintenance of physical barriers to wild animals
  3. Active guarding of crops
  4. Stopping of degradation of habitat quality
  5. Providing adequate and immediate compensation to affected families.
  6. India has national parks, sanctuaries, biosphere reserves, protected forests and conservation areas where hunting of animals is prohibited. Most of these protected areas in India are too small for territorial animals such as the tiger to roam about.
  7. Though there has been an increase in wildlife sanctuaries in India, their overall area has considerably reduced. Maharashtra got five additional sanctuaries between 2006 and 2014. But there is a 50 % reduction in the total area.

Most of the solutions show a knee jerk approach in handling a complex developmental problem. The solutions can include:

  1. improvement of habitat to augment food and water availability and to minimize the animal movement from the forests to the habitations.
  2. essential to train the police offices and local people.
  3. sensitize the people about the Do‘s and Don‘ts to minimize conflicts
  4. Providing technical and financial support for development of necessary infrastructure and support facilities
  5. eco-development activities in villages around Protected Areas to elicit cooperation of local community in management of the Protected Areas.
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