Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – December 7


Q.1) Examine why sanitation programmes in India fails to achieve their purpose and discuss the substantial measures for the same. (GS-1)


  • Sanitation is intrinsically linked to health.
  • It is thus important to formulate and implement concrete plans in Wastewater and Faecal Sludge Management.

Reasons for failure of sanitation campaigns in India:

  • The implementation of was far from perfect, both in terms of the levels of coverage achieved and the levels of utilization.
  • Out of 63% increase in toilet coverage, only 38% of the households had a functional toilet.
  • Government’s rural sanitation programme, implemented by NGOs and community-based organisations, was unable to reduce exposure to faecal matter.
  • As a result, this sanitation programme had no impact on the reduction of diarrhoea and malnutrition cases.
  • Most of the campaigns are still struggling in bringing behavioral changes in rural population.
  • Most of the money is going towards latrine construction, and very little towards information, education, and communication.
  • The allocation of central government budgetary allocation for health sector out of the total budget remains stagnant at only 1.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • India has managed to connect only a little more than a third of its urban households, most of which are located in metropolitan cities, to sewerage systems.
  • Water and sanitation are taken as independent activities.
  • Therefore in the 12th Plan, a need has been identified for integration of housing, water and sanitation needs.

Measures to be taken:

  • The measure to be taken in the context of sanitation, are as follows:
  • Sanitation programmes need to increase both the coverage and use of toilets, as well as improved hygienic practices.
  • Political will and commitment is also 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.
  • There is a need 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.

Q.2) India has jumped up to rank 100 in Ease of Doing Business 2018 report in comparison to report of 2017. In this context, discuss the factors behind this achievement and the areas, where India need to improve. (GS-2)  


  • This year’s report from the World Bank ranks India at 100 among 190 countries. Last year, India was ranked 130.
  • India’s upward jump in ranking is based on the underlying improvement in the distance to frontier (DTF) score– an absolute measure of progress towards the best practice-in the report.
  • India recorded the fifth highest change in DTF score and found a place for the first time in the top ten economies improving the most in a given year, in the report which is into its 15th edition.
  • The ease of doing business ranking compares economies with one another; the DTF score benchmark economies with respect to regulatory best practice.
  • According to an output-outcome framework document prepared by the government, India is seeking to reach the 90th rank in 2017-18 and 30th by 2020.

Factors behind the achievement:

  • The introduction of the new insolvency and bankruptcy resolution process.
  • Simplifications in the payment of statutory dues such as provident fund contributions and corporate taxes.
  • There has been an easier access to credit.
  • Doing Business report measures aspects of regulation affecting 11 areas of the life of a business, and India made eight reforms across these areas last year, the highest number for the country in a single year.
  • India is one of the three countries last year that undertook reforms in as many as eight areas.

Loopholes in the ease of doing business in the context of India:

  • In India’s case, the business environment in only Delhi and Mumbai are used to compile the national ranking.
  • These rankings also focus a lot more on the laws and rules that are on the books and do not necessarily capture the daily experiences of businesses.
  • The World Bank said while there has been substantial progress, India still lags in areas such as starting a business (156), enforcing contracts (164) and dealing with construction permits (181).

Larger challenges

  • The enforcement of contracts now takes longer than it did 15 years ago.
  • The procedures to start a business or secure a construction permit remain cumbersome.
  • Mumbai and Delhi cannot host the kind of large factories that India needs to generate adequate employment.
  • It is critical to have procedural reforms reach the surroundings and a road map be drafted for the larger legislative changes needed in matters such as land acquisition.
  • While foreign investors are important, the importance of domestic businesses cannot be ignored.

Distance to Frontier

  • The distance to frontier score helps assess the absolute level of regulatory performance overtime.
  • It measures the distance of each economy to the “frontier”, which represents the best performance observed on each of the indicators across the economies in the Doing Business sample since 2005.
  • An economy’s distance t frontier is reflected on a scale from 0 to 100, where o represents the lowest performance and 100 represents the frontier.


  • The government initiated an online single window clearance system for faster approvals of building plans.This will presumably lead to obtaining building permits faster
  • The Government should not be obsessed about this Index although all other BRICS nations are ahead of India.
  • It should go ahead and keep on doing what it thinks is necessary for betterment of small and medium enterprises in coordination with the state governments.
  • However, setting a national target of attaining a certain rank has also helped in bringing consensus across other parties involved like state governments and judiciary to improve overall environment of India in doing business.
  • A lot of the parameters on which our rankings are poor are the ones where the processes are yet to be modernized.

Q.3) Present a brief account of the issue of ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalism. In your opinion, what would the consequences if demand for Nagalism is fulfilled by government? (GS-2)


  • It has been ages since the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) has been fighting for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalism.
  • It wants to extend Nagaland’s borders by including Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, to unite 1.2 million Nagas.
  • But the three states that have Naga populations have refused to part with even an inch of land.
  • In this context, the Centre is engaged in peace talks with NSCN (IM) for last the 22 years and in 2015, a ‘Framework Agreement’ was signed.
  • Most recently, the centre brought six other insurgent groups of Nagaland on board for the peace process in September, 2017 to find an all-inclusive lasting solution.
  • The Centre is likely to announce the peace agreement with NSCN (IM) and six other groups either before Christmas or assembly election due in February.

The map of ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim:

  • The map of Greater Nagalim comprising “all Naga-inhabited areas” shows a 1,20,000sq km sprawl across the Northeast and Myanmar.
  • It covers a sizeable portion of:
  • Assam’s Tinsukia, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, KarbiAnglong and Dima Hasao districts;
  • all of Longding, Tirap, Changlang, Lohit and Namsai districts in Arunachal; and
  • large parts of Manipur’s Ukhrul, Senapati, Chandel and Tamenglong districts.
  • The area of Nagaland state is only 16,527 sq km, a fraction of the NSCN(IM)’s “Greater Nagalim”.

Consequences of geographical integration:

  • This will bring many unwanted incidents and may result in communal clash in the State.
  • There will be hurdles in advancing many projects and schemes including the power sub-stations at ElangKhangpokpi and Chandel.
  • There will be loss of national unity and integrity.
  • The approval will encourage other states of the country to demand geographical integration.

Way ahead:

  • The country needs to be integrated culturally, emotionally and socially, which does not affect anybody.
  • Any solution to end the Naga insurgency should not be confined to Nagaland state only instead it should take into account the arguments put forward by the other states.

The Centre should not try to “settle” a particular community as the border state (Manipur) is inhabited by more than 30 different ethnic groups and is not a domain of one community.

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