Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 27, 2019


Q.1) India’s entry to SCO opens up opportunities to ‘Look North’. Critically analyse.


India joined SCO as a full member.

Benefits of membership:

  1. SCO will strengthen India’s relations with Central Asian republics and provide a new opportunity to pursue the “Connect Central Asian Policy”.
  2. SCO would also be a new channel to enhance bilateral ties with China and Russia. India’s inclusion may even bring down Beijing’s overarching influence over the SCO.
  3. India is likely to get greater access to major gas and oil exploration projects in Central Asia. Currently, India is one of the largest energy consuming countries in the world.
  4. Helps in India’s pursuit of counter-terrorism cooperation
  5. The Central Asian region is richly endowed with natural resources and vital minerals.  The region is landlocked, and Uzbekistan is even doubly landlocked, which makes it difficult to access these resources for other countries. The SCO is expected to open India’s door for these resources which would of immense help for fulfilling India’s energy demands.


Q.2) India has never made full use of its rights and letting much more water flow to Pakistan that has been committed under the Indus Water Treaty. Comment. Also, argue whether there is a need to review this treaty.


India utilises 95% of the 33 MAF (million acre feet) allotted to it under the norms of the Indus Waters Treaty. Of the total 168 million acre-feet, India’s share of water from the three allotted rivers is 33 million acre-feet, which constitutes nearly 20 per cent. The rest of the water remains unutilised and goes to Pakistan.

The treaty is increasingly faced with challenges it wasn’t designed to deal with, thus there is a need to review due to the following reasons:

  1. India recently fast-tracked approval for several major dams along the Chenab, a 900km-long tributary of the Indus that was originally allotted to Pakistan under the IWT. This follows several other contentious dams already being built on shared rivers including Kishanganga, on the Jhelum River, which was also allotted to Pakistan.
  2. Under the IWT, India has a right to “limited hydropower generation” upstream on the western tributaries allotted to Pakistan, including the Chenab and the Jhelum. However, many in Pakistan worry that even though these proposed dams may individually abide by the technical letter of the treaty, their effects will add up downstream.
  3. Because the treaty does not provide a definitive solution, the two countries have frequently sought time-consuming and expensive international arbitration. From time to time, Pakistan has raised concerns and asked for intervention on the storage capacity of Indian dams planned on shared rivers allotted to Pakistan under the IWT.
  4. Basin countries have also not been forthcoming in sharing data and announcing planned hydropower projects ahead of time.
  5. Islamabad strongly feels that the allocation of river water and India’s construction of dams do not follow the criteria specified in the IWT and diversion of water would disturb the flow of western rivers into Pakistan.


Q.3) What is the advantage and disadvantage of e-pharmacy? What are the challenges in the regulation of e-pharmacies?


“e-pharmacy” means business of distribution or sale, stock, exhibit or offer for sale of drugs through web portal or any other electronic mode.

Advantages of e-Pharmacy :

  1. Time saving and Money saving
  2. Enhance competition: Trade unions in India create artificial restrictions in certain regions which could be removed through competition
  3. Delivery of medicines at desired place at desired time possible
  4. Increased availability and accessibility of medicines. Convenient for some patients and old age people who can’t leave their home.
  5. Easy comparison of medicines in terms of cost
  6. Increased consumer information and information exchange
  7. Privacy

Disadvantages of e-Pharmacy :

  1. Supply of fake and illegal drugs
  2. abuse on account of fake or forged or no prescriptions;
  3. lack of verification of the ultimate user;
  4. unhealthy competition;
  5. abuse of critical health data generated online and
  6. mishandling during transport
  7. Indiscriminate availability and reckless usage lead to resistance to medicines


Q.4) Examine the causes of the rise of the nationalist movement in the early 19th century in India.


The latter half of the 19th century witnessed the rise and growth of Indian Nationalism and from then onwards an organised national movement started in India.

The following are some of the significant causes behind this wave of nationalism in India:

  1. Political Unity: For the first time, most of the regions in India were united politically and administratively under a single power (the British rule). It introduced a uniform system of law and government.
  2. Development of Communication and Transport: The introduction of railways, telegraphs and postal services and the construction of roads and canals facilitated communication among the people. All these brought Indians nearer to each other and provided the facility to organise the national movement on an all India basis.
  3. English Language and Western Education: The English language played an important role in the growth of nationalism in the country. The English educated Indians, who led the national movement, developed Indian nationalism and organised it. Western education facilitated the spread of the concepts of liberty, equality, freedom and nationalism and sowed the seeds of nationalism.
  4. The Role of the Press: The Indian Press, both English and vernacular, had also aroused the national consciousness.
  5. Social and Religious Movements of the Nineteenth Century: The leaders of various organisations like the Brahmo Samaj, Ramakrishna Mission, Arya Samaj, and Theosophical Society generated a feeling of regard for and pride in the motherland.
  6. Economic Exploitation by the British: A good deal of anti-British feeling was created by the economic policy pursued by the British government in India. The English systematically ruined the Indian trade and native industries. Therefore, economic exploitation by the British was one of the most important causes for the rise of Indian nationalism.
  7. Racial Discrimination: The Revolt of 1857 created a kind of permanent bitterness and suspicion between the British and the Indians. The English feeling of racial superiority grew. India as a nation and Indians as individuals were subjected to insults, humiliation and contemptuous treatment.
  8. Administration of Lytton: Lord Lytton arranged the Delhi Durbar at a time when the larger part of India was in the grip of famine. He passed the Vernacular Press Act which curbed the liberty of the Indian Press. His Arms Act was a means to prevent the Indians from keeping arms. All these measures created widespread discontent among the Indians.
  9. The Ilbert Bill controversy: The Ilbert Bill was presented in the Central Legislature during the Viceroyalty of Lord Ripon. The Bill tried to remove racial inequality between Indian and European judges in courts. This Bill was opposed by the British residents in India. Ultimately the Bill was modified.
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