Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 25, 2019


Q.1) Recently Supreme Court directed states to evict Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Traditional Forest Dweller whose claims over forest land have been rejected. Critically analyse.


The Act recognized and vested forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded.

Issues with judgement:

  1. Forced eviction: Judgment led to forced eviction of over one million people belonging to the Scheduled Tribes and other forest communities.
  2. Against the FRA: Forest Rights Act contains no clause for eviction of rejected claimants and, in fact, section 4(5) specifically prohibits eviction until the process of implementation of the law is fully complete in an area.
  3. Against the fundamental right: Article 19(5) in the Fundamental Rights chapter of the Constitution specifically enjoins the state to make laws “for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe”. Many columnists argue that SC order is against this very right.
  4. Weaken the FRA: It may weaken the FRA, which exist to protect tribal rights and ensure the socioeconomic development of these communities. This could further alienate tribal communities from the mainstream.
  5. Contrary to earlier Samata judgement of SC: In Samata judgement supreme court upheld the constitutional right of tribal people and forbid government from any eviction of tribal population.
  6. Procedural flaws in processing claims: The petitioners declare that every single claimant whose claim has been rejected under this law is a bogus claimant. Report of the High-Level Xaxa Committee found deep procedural flaws in processing claims under the FRA. The Xaxa Committee observed that claims are being rejected without assigning reasons, or based on wrong interpretation of the ‘OTFD’ definition and lack of evidence.


Q.2) Over the past few years, the course of India’s relations with West Asia suggests that India appears to be moving away from its traditional “balancing” approach. Elucidate


India is developing a holistic engagement strategy with West Asia that seeks both to strengthen economic ties and to institutionalize long-term security cooperation.

India has been a gradual push over the last few decades towards deepening bilateral ties with West Asian countries, without getting trapped in regional rivalries. Indian diplomacy is now used for an independent relation towards a nation irrespective of if such policy may offend another country or state.

  1. De-hyphenated policy of India towards Israel and Palestine. India has strong defence and security partnership with Israel which is useful to its security and military modernisation drive.
  2. Strengthening Iran relations irrespective of US policy
  3. Investment ability of Saudi Arabia and UAE is Huge
  4. West Asian countries are India’s largest trade partner. The economic ties between India and the GCC countries are moving at a faster pace increasing the mutual interdependence
  5. Protection of the large Indian expatriate community in the context of persistent conflict and violence across the region. These Indians living in Gulf region remit more than one-third of the annual $69 billion remittances to India
  6. Ensuring the stability and security of the Persian Gulf region and Gulf of Aden


Q.3) Agricultural issues in India can be solved to an extent with the use of technology. Analyse the statement in the context of GM crops in India.


Genetically modified crops are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering methods.

Benefits of GM crops:

  1. Insect / pest resistance
  2. Disease resistance – Plants can be genetically modified to be resistant to bacterial, fungal or viral infestation.
  3. Crops that can withstand environmental stresses – (e.g. drought, heat, frost, acid or salty soil)
  4. Herbicide tolerance – Plants can be genetically modified to be tolerant to a specific weedkiller.
  5. Improved nutritional value – Crops can be genetically modified to contain additional nutrients that are lacking from the diets of many people in developing countries.
  6. Biopharmaceuticals – Plants could be genetically modified to produce vaccines or other medicines.

Thus they help in solving the following problems facing Indian agriculture:

  1. Non remunerative prices
  2. Climate change threats
  3. Poor yields
  4. Lack of alternative income


Q.4) “Character is not possessed rather cultivated.” Discuss with a relevant example.


One is not born with character, but creates it. Character is a culmination of the experiences one faces, people one meets and the insights one gains.

Mahatma Gandhi did not by birth have all the values he prophesied. His mother taught him the importance of nonviolence. He learnt the importance of truthfulness through various experiments in life. He tested satyagraha in South Africa and believed in its ability before applying it to India.

It needs an individual to be aware of things happening around him. He should experiment with his value conflicts and build his personality over time. Family and educational institutions should help an individual in shaping his personality by inculcating values. In this process, any negative traits learnt through various social influences can be discarded.

Such self made personality gives an individual the strength to stand in tough times. This can be seen in the lives of many successful people like Abdul Kalam, Nelson Mandela etc.,

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