Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – August 28, 2018


Q.1) State the advantages and disadvantages of using Coal bed methane as a fuel in India. What is the present scenario of CBM resources in India? GS 3 GS 3

Advantages of CBM as a fuel

  • CBM is an environmentally safe gas: Methane has been labelled as a Green House Gas (GHG) by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • Using CBM as a fuel will halt methane emission into environment and thus reducing emission of greenhouse gas from coal mining.
  • Extraction of CBM prior to coal mining activities makes mining activities safer by degassing the coal seams.
  • Extraction of CBM would help in increasing the domestic gas production. Currently, contribution of CBM to domestic natural gas production is 1.6%.

Disadvantages related to Coalbed Methane

  • Despite the huge reserves, a mismatch exists between estimated resources and gas in-place.
  • The following are some of the issues with respect to the simultaneous operations of Coal Bed Methane and coal mining by multiple owners:
  • There is a possibility of damage of gas wells resulting in explosive atmosphere in coal mines during simultaneous extraction of coal and CBM in the same vertical boundary by two different owners.
  • Multiple ownership for simultaneous exploitation may not be desirable for the life, health and safety of the workers employed in such mines.
  • Simultaneous operation over the same leasehold area requires the development of Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) for each operation based on assessments of risks

Present scenario of CBM resources in India

  • The government has identified 26,000 square km of area for CBM operation with total estimated CBM Resources of 2,600 billion cubic meters (91.8 TCF).
  • India has fourth largest proven coal reserves in the world.
  • It has significant prospects for exploiting CBM.
  • The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in consultation with Ministry of Coal has identified around 26,000 area for the operation of CBM.


Q2. Is morality important to lead a happy life? Support your answer with examples. GS 4

Morality can be defined as principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. In our day to day lives we often face situations where we have to choose between options and moral character of a person plays big part in it.

Morality is definitely a very important value to lead a happy life. A person with high integrity and moral character will choose the right and we know that the path of truth will lead to happiness in the long term even at the cost of short term sufferings.

In his childhood. Gandhi Ji once stole some money from his father’s pocket. He knew that his father would never come to know about it. However, showing high moral character, he confessed his mistake. The rest is history and we know Mohan Das became father of the nations.

There are numerous examples in our daily life where a moral life can lead to happiness. Some of them are explained below:

  1. Corrupt vs. Honest Officers – Former CAG Mr. Vinod Rai unearthed big scams and was at the receiving end of the then government. However, now he is respected by all. At the same time, a dishonest officer can accumulate huge wealth but will always live in fear
  2. Tax Evasion – People who pay taxes honestly are living happily without any fear versus tax evading people are always in fear of raid or penal action
  3. Every day scenarios such as jumping red light, bribing traffic police, cheating in exams test out morality and people who are at the right side are always happy in the long term

There are many other ethical values in addition to morality such as honestly, integrity, truthfulness which are required to lead a happy and satisfying life. It is the responsibility of a society to teach them to our childrens so that overall we became a happy world.


Q.3)How did the early peasant rebellions differ from the later peasant rebellions in India’s Struggle for freedom? Examine. GS 1

Early Peasant rebellions:

  • After 1857’s revolt, The British had crushed down native princes and zamindars. Hence farmers themselves became main force of agitations.
  • Target was sometimes government, sometimes moneylender, sometimes landlord/ zamindar
  • Territorial reach was limited and was not organized on mass-scale.
  • The localised nature of these revolts were seen in Moplah uprising was due to hike in revenue demands and reduction of field sizes
  • Often spontaneous with limited coordination
  • lacked continuity or long term struggle.
  • Never threatened British supremacy
  • Farmers didn’t mind paying rent, revenue, interest on debt but only agitated when they were raised to an abnormal level.
  • Lacked understanding of colonial economic system or divide and rule policy of the British. Farmers’ agitations were based within framework of old social order, hence often failed because government could woo a faction by granting them concession and hence movement would collapse.
  • Government issued a notification that the Indian farmers cannot be compelled to grow indigo and that it would ensure that all disputes were settled by legal means. By the end of 1860, Indigo planters should down their factories and cultivation of indigo was virtually wiped out from Bengal.
  • In the deccan riots Initially government resorted to use of police force and arrest. but later appointed a commission, passed Agriculturists Relief Act in 1879 and on the operation of Civil Procedure Code.Now the peasants could not be arrested and sent to jail if they failed to pay their debts

Later peasant rebellions:

  • Earlier kisan movements usually didn’t demand abolition of Zamindari. They merely wanted a fair system of land revenue and land tenancy. But these new movements strongly demanded for abolition of Zamindari.
  • Even when they were unsuccessful, they created a climate which necessitated the post-independence land reforms and abolition of Zamindari.
  • Earlier movements were by and large non-violent. But now they turned militant e.g. Telangana movement in Hyderabad state and the Tebhaga movement in Bengal. Similarly All India Kisan Sabha openly preached militancy, violence against Zamindars.
  • Peasant leaders anticipated freedom and new social order. Hence new movements started with renewed vigour especially after WWII.
  • The circumstances and the awareness of the nationalists and the people has led to the goals of peasant revolts being different in the 19th and the 20th century.


Q.4) What is GST? What are the challenges in its implementation? What are the possible solutions? GS 3

  • GST is an indirect tax reform which aims to remove the tax barriers between states and create a single market.
  • It is a single tax on the supply of goods and services, right from the manufacturer to the consumer.
  • The Government had introduced the 122nd Amendment Bill, 2014, in the Parliament to facilitate the introduction of GST in the country.
  • The Bill was finally passed by both the Houses in 2016
  • It is a consumption based tax/levy. It is based on the “Destination principle.”
  • GST is applied on goods and services at the place where final/actual consumption happens.
  • It came into force from 1 July, 2017.
  • It is levied at multiple rates ranging from 0% to 28%.

There are three components of GST:-

Central GST (CGST) – it will be Levied by Centre

State GST (SGST) – It will be levied by State

Integrated GST (IGST) – It will be levied and collected by Central Government on supply of goods and services

What are the various challenges in implementation of GST?

  • Financial challenges: GST is expected to cause a downfall in state revenue and the bill ensuring compensation from the union government has still not been passed.
  • Federal system: The states would lose their autonomy to levy indirect taxes and will be totally dependent on the centre government.
  • Administrative challenges: some states are demanding control over taxing all businesses. It is contentious issue as the central government also needs funds for its policies and for compensating the states.
  • GST Council: With one-third voting share in the hands of Union government, may states feel the share of the states should be more.
  • No parliamentary approval is needed for GST rates. The Central GST Bill, 2017 allows the central government to notify CGST rates, subject to a cap. This implies that the government may change rates subject to a cap of 20%, without requiring the approval of Parliament.
  • Lack of skilled manpower to effectively migrate from older system to GST
  • The requirement of e-way bills for inter-State movements has also been a cause of concern.

Effects on States

  • According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), even as the fiscal position at the Centre remains stable (Central budget deficit for 2017-18 pegged at 3.2% of gross domestic product), there has been a marked deterioration in the gross fiscal deficit of states.
  • The figure for 2016-17 is not finalized yet but could be as high as a deficit of 3.4%.
  • Revenue expenditure of the states has risen sharply in recent years with greater financial devolution and increased expenditure.
  • In aggregate, the states spend about 30% more than the Centre. This gap will further increase with GST.
  • The GST is a destination-based tax, and as such is viewed as being to the advantage of the consuming States and to the detriment of the producing States.
  • However the formula for compensating to states for such loss has been devised in GST.

What are the suggestions?

  • It may be worth reconsidering these rates and bringing them down to the 5 per cent slab for stronger linkages between farmers and the food processing industry and creating jobs in rural areas.
  • Since the raw material could be sourced directly from farmers instead of being entirely depending on middlemen in mandis, e-NAM provides this opportunity to graduate to a real pan-India market for agricultural products.
  • GST would ensure that farmers in India, who contribute the most to GDP, will be able to sell their produce for the best available price.
  • A smooth GST regime can break inter-state barriers on movement and facilitate direct linkages between processors and farmers. This can transform the operations of mandis too if other necessary reforms to free up agricultural markets are undertaken.


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