Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 26, 2019


Q.1) Describe the reasons behind the Cuban missile crisis and what were its major consequences?


When Fidel Castro asked for help from USSR, it agreed for plotting its missiles in Cuba which was its nearest station to USA. USA also strengthened its stations nearby USSR. In 1962, the situation came to the brink with the possibility of nuclear attack when both the blocs signed treaty and Cuba remained out of influence of USA.


  1. Cold war rivalry between USA and USSR

a) Creation of NATO

  1. Bay of Pigs invasion
  2. Cuba under Castro made deals with the USSR and posed a threat to it

a) Castro shut down all American businesses, America retaliated by refusing to buy Cuba’s supplies

b) Castro favours Communism


  1. This caused US to stop all trade between them and Cuba
  2. Caused US and Russia to try and beat each other at space. They also started the nuclear race
  3. In order to prevent future crises, a Moscow-Washington hotline was set up in the White House to facilitate direct communication between the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States
  4. In August 1963, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain signed a treaty banning atmospheric and underwater nuclear testing.


Q.2) Coastal security is a complex task due to India’s vast coastline and multiplicity of agencies dealing with it. Discuss the challenges and strategies for effective coastal security.


Threats to Coastal Security:

  1. Maritime Terrorism – terrorist acts and activities within the maritime environment, using or against vessels or fixed platforms at sea or in port.
  2. Piracy and Armed Robbery – shallow waters of the Sundarbans have been witnessing ‘acts of violence and detention’ by gangs of criminals that are akin to piracy. The gangs attack fishermen, hijack their boats, hold them hostage for ransom.
  3. Smuggling and Trafficking – Indian coasts have been susceptible to smuggling. Gold, electronic goods, narcotics, and arms have been smuggled through the sea for a longtime.
  4. Infiltration, Illegal Migration and the Refugee Influx – India’s land boundaries have always been porous to infiltration by terrorists/militants and large scale illegal migration.
  5. Straying of Fishermen beyond the Maritime Boundary – The frequent straying of fishermen into neighboring country waters has not only jeopardized the safety of the fishermen but has also raised national security concerns.


  1. Surveillance and interagency coordination – India needs better surveillance coverage. Beyond expediting the installation of coastal radar chains and National Automatic Identification System AIS stations and ensuring broad access to information, the authorities must ensure the mandatory fitment of AIS on power-driven vessels with a length more than 10m.
  2. Stronger involvement of coastal police – Instead of setting up a coastal border security force with no legal powers, the authorities must move to strengthen and better integrate the coastal police into the littoral security architecture.
  3. National commercial maritime security policy document – It must also promulgate a National Strategy for Commercial Maritime Security for efficient, coordinated, and effective action for protection of the port and shipping infrastructure
  4. Training Marine Police – MHA to concentrate on training of marine police with recruitment of talented local fishermen and provision of incentives such as sea duty allowance.
  5. Creation of a joint technical cadre along with logistics infrastructure for maintenance of boats used for patrolling so as to address the issues related to operational availability of these assets.


Q.3)Discuss Amartya Sen’s capability approach of distributive justice in the Indian context.


The capability approach is a theoretical framework that entails two claims:

  1. the freedom to achieve well-being is of primary moral importance
  2. freedom to achieve well-being is to be understood in terms of people’s capabilities, that is, their real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value

Areas to address in Indian context:

  1. today when people talk of progress or development they are merely talking of “economic development” which simply means expansion of the economy in terms of GDP growth
  2. It provides dignity to human race because the economic model of development has reduced people to the status of producers and consumers
  3. Rather than talking of some theoretical equality of people or seeing them in terms of numbers, the capability approach explicitly recognizes the differences among individuals
  4. It also accepts that people’s abilities are affected by external factors coming from interaction with other people, social arrangements, access to infrastructure and public services, discriminations, opportunities to participate in social and political activities, freedom to speak and influence state policies, and so on


Q.4) What is unregulated deposit scheme? Why there is a need to ban unregulated deposit scheme? What are the features of Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill?


A deposit-taking scheme is defined as unregulated if it is not registered with the regulators.


  1. Popular deposit schemes such as chit funds and gold schemes usually do not come under the purview of government regulators.  These schemes exploit existing regulatory gaps and lack of strict administrative measures.
  2. The worst victims of these schemes are the poor and the financially illiterate, and the operations of such schemes are often spread over many States. The Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal is just one example of such a heinous financial crime against depositors.
  3. A Ponzi scheme is “an investment fraud that involves payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors

Provisions of the Bill:

  1. Define deposits and Deposit takers
    • Deposits: The Bill defines a deposit as an amount of money received through an advance, a loan, or in any other form, with a promise to be returned with or without interest. Such deposit may be returned either in cash or as a service, and the time of return may or may not be specified.
    • Deposit taker: The Bill defines deposit takers as an individual, a group of individuals, or a company who asks for (solicits), or receives deposits. Banks and entities incorporated under any other law are not included as deposit takers.
  2. Compensation: A compensation to be offered to victims through the liquidation of the assets of those offering illegal deposit schemes.
  3. Competent Authority and Designated court: A ‘Competent Authority’ will be appointed which has the powers similar to a civil court, including powers to attach properties of the deposit takers. It also empowers police to search and seize any property believed to be connected with an offence under the Bill, with or without a warrant. The Bill also approves creating designated courts to tackle such cases
  4. Time Bound: Clear-cut timelines have been provided for attachment of property and restitution to depositors
  5. Central database: The Bill create an online central database for collection and sharing of information on deposit-taking activities in the country.
  6. Offences: The Bill define three types of offences.
    • Running (advertising, promoting, operating or accepting money for) unregulated deposit schemes.
    • Fraudulently defaulting on regulated deposit schemes
    • Wrongfully inducing depositors to invest in unregulated deposit schemes by willingly falsifying facts.
  7. Penalties: Penalties to different offences ranging from 2 to 10 years along with a fine ranging from 3 to 5 crore rupees which act as deterrence.
  8. Adopts best practices from State laws: Being a comprehensive Union Law, the Bill adopts best practices from State laws, while entrusting the primary responsibility of implementing the provisions of the legislation to the State Governments.
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