Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – December 25


Q.1) Highlight the key areas that require attention in order to accelerate the success rate of Swachh Bharat Mission.  (GS-1)


  • The Government of India has launched “Swachh Bharat Mission” on 2nd October, 2014 and  targets to achieve Swachh Bharat by 2019.
  • It aims to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation.

Key areas that require attention:

  • Swachh Bharat Mission needs to increase both the coverage and use of toilets, as well as improved hygienic practices.
  • Political will and commitment is required urgently to tackle the crisis of sanitation.
  • Unless faecal waste is treated properly and disposed of safely, it will find its way back into our bodies.
  • Urban local bodies and State governments could ensure that the larger containment systems such as community toilets and public toilets are properly constructed and managed.
  • Permission could be granted to new buildings, especially large apartment complexes only when the applicants show proper septage construction designs.
  • The safety of sanitary workers who clean tanks and pits must be ensured by enforcing occupational safety precautions.
  • It is to ensure inclusion, recognising the importance of safe and accessible toilets specific to the needs of the differently-abled, the elderly, the poorest, as well as women and adolescent girls.
  • Various awareness campaigns should be initiated at all levels to create awareness and people’s participation in the Mission.
  • Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) also play a strategic role in creating awareness and imparting hygiene education among the local population.


  • Cleanliness begins at home, thus as the citizens of India, each one of us needs to observe cleanliness at our grass root levels.

Q.2) “When women are the backbone of the development of rural and national economies, the existence of embedded gender discrimination in the Indian farming sector is a curse.” Elaborate. (GS-1)


  • In rural India, the percentage of women who depend on agriculture for their livelihood is as high as 84%.

What is the alarming gender discrimination in Indian agricultural system about?

  • Firstly, while men get a lot of share in governmental publicity material and within the banking sectors, millions of women farmers have no spokesperson from their ranks.
  • Secondly, women remain outside the formal definition of “worker” because they are usually not listed as primary earners and owners of land assets within their families.
  • Thus, there exists embedded gender discrimination in the Indian farming sector.

Gender based problems faced by women farmers in India:

  • In India, the typical work of the female agricultural laborer or cultivator is limited to less skilled jobs, such as sowing, transplanting, weeding and harvesting, that often fit well within the framework of domestic life and child-rearing
  • In all agricultural activities there is an average gender wage disparity, with women earning only 70 percent of men’s wage.
  • Additionally many women also participate in agricultural work as unpaid subsistence labor
  • Unlike male farmers and cultivators, their female counterparts remained doubly burdened as their reproductive role is seen as fundamental to their gender.
  • Women seldom enjoy property ownership rights directly in their names and also they have little control over decisions made in reference to land.
  • Even with land in their names, they may not have actual decision-making power in terms of cropping patterns, sale, mortgage and the purchase of land.
  • For women, access to credit is difficult, since they lack many of the prerequisites for lending such as assets or ownership of property.


When women are empowered and can claim their rights and access to land, leadership, opportunities and choices, economies grow, food security is enhanced and prospects are improved for current and future generations.

Q.3) What reasons are being assigned to the recent decision of scrapping the no-detention policy from the Right to Education Act. Explain critically. (GS-1)


  • Since the introduction of the RTE, the learning outcomes of children have come down dramatically.
  • As per the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), in 2010, 53.7 percent of standard V students in rural India could read standard II level text and by 2016, this had fallen to 47.8 percent.
  • The fall was greater in case of government schools where in 2010, it had stood at 50.7 percent and by 2016 this had fallen to 41.6 percent.

Supporters of No Detention Policy claim that:

  • Supporters of the No Detention Policy are of the opinion that a child need not be failed just because of non-performance on a narrowly defined and rigid set of indicators.
  • The objective of the policy was to keep students in school and prevent dropouts and in that, it has succeeded.
  • There is no research evidence to suggest that the repeating a year helps children perform better rather it leads to more dropouts from the system.
  • Also, repeating has adverse academic and social effects on the child.
  • There is a common misconception that no-detention means no assessment.

Argument in favour of scrapping the no-detention policy:

  • Right to Education’s biggest drawback is its heavy focus on inputs while effectively ignoring outputs.
  • NDP has erased the fear of studying well absolutely from the minds of students as they may take promotion for granted.
  • RTE activists believe the system has failed in championing equal education.
  • The implementation seems to be focused only on Section 19, which mandates free and fair education up to class 8, and ignores other important sections dealing with provisions that schools need to have.
  • While the education department prides itself on this number, it shows the inefficiency of government schools, which has resulted in parents depending on admission to private schools.


  • To deliver better learning outcomes what is needed is a radical reorientation of the way things are taught in schools across this country.


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