Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – December 14


Q.1) Rising cases of mental health disorders in India needs a more proactive approach from the government. What are the major reasons and issues concerning the rise? (GS-1)


  • Almost 7.5% of Indians suffer from major or minor mental disorders that require expert intervention.

What are the rising factors that affect the mental illness?

The rising factors that affect the mental illness are as follows:

Depressive disorders:

  • Depressive disorders are characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration.

Anxiety disorders:

  • Anxiety disorders refer to a group of mental disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear.

Other rising reasons of mental illness are:

  • a fast-paced lifestyles,    
  • high stress  because of complexities of living,
  • a breakdown of support systems, and
  • challenges of economic instability.

Major issues with mental health disorders in India:

The major issues concerning mental health are as follows:

  • Due to the social stigma associated with mental disorders, nearly 80 per cent of those with mental disorders had not received any treatment.
  • There is a scarcity of mental health services in the public health services.
  • Poor utilization of available services by the patients in the rural areas is a common phenomenon.
  • There is a limited and poor understanding of psychological distress.
  • Limited acceptance of modern medical care for mental disorders among the general population is.

How should the mental health care in India be strengthened?

The measures to be taken in the country are as follows:

  • Patients should be able to access health care without humiliation of proving their financial status or bitterness of social stigma.
  • Within families and across social groups, a mutual sense of responsibility and affiliation towards each other must be reinforced, through rituals and culture, social training or self-learning.
  • There is a need to constitute a national commission on mental health comprising professionals from mental health, public health, social sciences and the judiciary to oversee, facilitate support and monitor and review mental health policies.
  • Targeted social interventions such as the disability allowance, mandated by the Mental Health Care Act and the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, must adopt an integrated single window health and social care system that will minimize cumbersome bureaucracy.

Q.2) “In spite of adverse environmental impact, use of pesticides is still a common practice in India. Instead, sustainable agriculture is the alternative key. ” Discuss.  (GS-3)


  • The production of pesticides started in India in 1952.
  • The pattern of pesticide usage in India is different from that for the world in general.
  • In India, 76% of the pesticide used is insecticide, as against 44% globally.
  • The main use of pesticides in India is for cotton crops, followed by paddy and wheat.

What are the alternatives to pesticides?

There are alternatives to using pesticides. These are generally known as sustainable agriculture or alternative agriculture. Some of the alternative methods are as follows:

  • Organic farming:  It relies on fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting.
  • Crop rotation: Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar or different types of crops in the same area in sequenced seasons.
  • It helps in reducing soil erosion and increases soil fertility and crop yield.
  • Polyculture: Polyculture is agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, providing crop diversity in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture.
  • Trap crops: A trap crop is a plant that attracts agricultural pests, usually insects, away from nearby crops.
  • This form of companion planting can save the main crop from decimation by pests without the use of pesticides.
  • Organic farming is an alternative agricultural system which originated early in the 20th century in reaction to rapidly changing farming practices.
  • It relies on fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting.

What are the harmful effects of pesticides?

The adverse impacts of pesticides are as follows:

  • Accidents in pesticide manufacturing units cause  great loss of human life.
  • The high risk groups exposed to pesticides include production workers, formulators, sprayers, mixers, loaders and agricultural farm workers.
  • Harmful chemicals may seep into and contaminate ground water. ( which can further lead to Bio-accumulation and bio-magnification)
  • Repeated use of pesticides on cotton, fruits, vegetables, tobacco and other crops causes harm to beneficial organisms like biocontrol agents, soil, wild and aquatic life.
  • Pesticides may kill grain- and plant-feeding birds.

Q.3)In the recent times, India saw a massive decline of sawfish. In this regard,  can it be said that these marine species appear to be more threatened than tigers and elephants? Give reasons for your answer. (GS-3)


  • Today, the sawfish is seen to have a population of less than 10 times in over a decade.
  • Scientists are also worried about the possible disappearance of other species from the region even before they were known to science.

The scenario of the marine extinction in details:

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group reviewed the extinction risk and conservation status of all chondrichthyans naturally reproducing  in the region.
  • The assessment revealed that 27 species were near threatened and 19 others were of least conservation concerns.
  • It was also known that less was known about 29 to evaluate their risk of extinction.
  • The assessors were of the view that the increasing decline in the extent and quality of habitat is due to coastal development and other anthropogenic disturbances.
  • Particularly for those critical habitats that many species depend on coral reefs, mangroves, sea grasses pose a serious threat to the survival of many species.

What are the reasons for extinction?

Scientists have narrowed down several of the most likely causes of mass extinction. Some of them are as follows:

  • For many years, killing by human was a major factor of extinction. Humans kill other species for many reasons including food, recreation, and to protect themselves and their properties.
  • For example, exploitation is responsible for 55% of the main extinction threat to North American marine fishes.
  • Biological, physical and chemical factors in most ecosystems are tightly intertwined. Hence changes in one of these factors can result in changes of others.
  • Exploitation of habitat can therefore profoundly influence many components of a system.
  • More recently, climate change such as global warming has increased local water temperatures beyond the suitable range of many species.
  • Such changes have made exceptionally productive areas, such as up welling regions, become less productive due to changes in the food web.

What are the necessary measures to be taken?

The necessary measures to be taken:

  • There is a need of a concrete research work and protection offered to these endangered species.
  • The government machinery, including the fisheries department and coastal police, should find out how these fishes are caught.
  • If any illegal practice is followed, then it should take appropriate action because it is an endangered species.
  • Circulars are to provided to fishermen’s cooperatives to release such species if caught by accident


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