Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – December 6, 2018


Q.1) Critically analyse the efforts taken by India to accomplish its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).


Salient features of India’s INDCs:

  1. To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level.
  2. To achieve about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030, with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance, including from Green Climate Fund.
  3. To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

Efforts made by India:

  1. India has engaged constructively at the multilateral level under UNFCCC and is now working towards developing guidelines for effective implementation of Paris Agreement on climate change.
  2. International Solar Alliance – it is a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps in their energy requirements through a common approach.
  3. National Action Plan on Climate Change includes eight national missions covering solar, energy efficiency, agriculture, water, sustainable habitat, forestry, Himalayan ecosystem and knowledge.
  4. As part of the mission on strategic knowledge on climate change, India has established 8 Global Technology Watch Groups in the areas of Renewable Energy Technology, Advance Coal Technology, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Green Forest, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustainable Agriculture and Manufacturing.
  5. 32 States and Union Territories have put in place the State Action Plans on Climate Change to mainstream climate change concerns in their planning process.
  6. Climate Change Action Programme was launched in 2014 with an objective of building and supporting capacity at central & state levels, strengthening scientific & analytical capacity for climate change assessment, establishing appropriate institutional framework and implementing climate related actions.
  7. National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change established in 2015 to support concrete adaptation activities which are not covered under ongoing activities through the schemes of State and Central Government


Q.2) Examine the major reasons behind farmer’s distress in India. What policy interventions should be attempted to make farming more remunerative and sustainable.


Causes of the current agrarian crisis include :

1. Small and marginal landholdings that do not support mechanisation as well as lack of cooperative farming on a large scale
2. Over-dependence and over-exploitation on unsustainable irrigation practices like groundwater irrigation and their subsequent failure
3. Lack of sufficient institutional agricultural credit leading to exploitation by moneylenders
4. Failure of agricultural insurance
5. Lack of on-the-ground technical knowledge about cropping patterns, fertilizers and pesticides
6. Lack of proper farm-to-market connectivity
7. Failure of APMC system and the supply chain to the final consumer and huge wastage
8. Lack of development of river / canal irrigation (eg. in MR) and focussing more on water-rich cash crops (sugar-cane) vs others like pulses due to higher profit margins

To make farming remunerative:

  1. Associating with rural industry life food processing
  2. Liberalising norms on procurement
  3. Strengthening marketplace for the produce
  4. Financing mechanisation
  5. Credit availability to the last mile
  6. Rationalising subsidies


Q.3) Discuss some of the applications of drones in India and associated challenges.


Recognising the huge potential offered by drones, the government recently released the drone policy.

Some applications of drones:

  1. Drones offer low-cost, safe and quick aerial surveys for data collection. This is useful for industries such as power, mining, realty, oil and gas exploration, railways and highways.
  2. With big data and tools such as 3D modelling, businesses can simulate and analyse varied situations.
  3. Drones can inspect tall structures and offshore rigs.
  4. Relief, rescue work and policing can become more effective by using them.
  5. They can be used for delivery of fertilizers in fields and to ship goods, a use e-commerce firms may be interested in.


  1. Large-scale use of drones could give rise to concerns relating to privacy and security.
  2. As the government regulation does not allow drones that require registration to be operated out of sight, their adoption for commercial use may be initially limited.
  3. Drone technologies have been evolving very rapidly.
  4. The regulations don’t make it easy for people to indulge in leisurely or recreational drone flying.


Q.4) What were the major causes of 1857 revolt. Highlight the administrative and political changes it effected thereafter.


The 1857 revolt is a watershed event in the British policy towards India.

Major causes of the revolt:

  1. Economic Causes: The most important cause of popular discontent was the British policy of economically exploiting India.
    1. The peasants suffered due to high revenue demands and the strict revenue collection policy.
    2. Artisans and craftsmen were ruined by the large-scale influx of cheap British manufactured goods into India.
  2. Political Causes: The British policy of territorial annexations led to the displacement of a large number of rulers and chiefs.
  3. Social Causes: The social reforms introduced by the British were looked upon with suspicion by the conservative sections of the Indian society.
  4. Religious Causes: A major cause of the outbreak of the revolt was the fear among the people that the British government was determined to destroy their religion and convert Indians to Christianity.
  5. Military Causes: The Indian sepoys were looked upon as inferior beings and treated with contempt by their British officers. They were paid much less than the British soldiers. All avenues of the promotion were closed to them as all the higher army posts were reserved for the British.

Administrative changes:

  1. An Act of Parliament in 1858 transferred the power to govern from the East India Company to the British Crown.
  2. The Indian Councils Act of 1861 enlarged the Governor-General’s Council for the purpose of making laws, in which capacity it was known as the Imperial Legislative Council.
  3. The first step in the direction of separating central and provincial finances was taken in 1870 by Lord Mayo.
  4. The Indian army was carefully reorganized after 1858, most of all to prevent the recurrence of another revolt.
  5. The maximum age for entry into the Civil Service was gradually reduced from twenty-three in 1859 to nineteen in 1878.

Political changes:

  1. British attitude towards India and, consequently, their policies in the subcontinent changed for the worse after the Revolt of 1857. While before 1857 they had tried, however half-heartedly and hesitatingly, to modernize India, they now consciously began to follow reactionary policies.
  2. After 1858 they continued to follow this policy of divide and rule by turning the princes against the people, province against province, caste against caste, group against group and, above all, Hindus against Muslims.
  3. While social services like education, sanitation and public health, water supply, and rural roads made rapid progress in Europe during the nineteenth century, in India they remained at an extremely backward level.

The Revolt of 1857 and the atrocities committed by both sides had further widened the gulf between the Indians and the British who now began to openly assert the doctrine of racial supremacy and practice racial arrogance.

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