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


Q.1) Health and Wellness Centre and National Health Protection Scheme, the two major initiatives in health sector under Ayushman Bharat programme, seek to build a New India 2022. In the light of the recent budget, discuss the significance of these initiatives. (GS-2)


  • The Ayushman Bharat programme addresses health holistically, in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems.
  • It covers both prevention and health promotion.
  • Two flagship programmes under Ayushman Bharat programme are Health and Wellness Centre and National Health Protection Scheme.

Health and Wellness Centre:

  • The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system.


  • Under this 1.5 lakh health care centres will be established.


  • The Budget has allocated Rs.1200 crore for this flagship programme.

Key features of Health and Wellness Centre:

Comprehensive health care:

  • These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.

Free health services:

  • These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services.

Contribution of private sector:

  • Contribution of private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.

National Health Protection Scheme:

  • The second flagship programme under Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme.


  • It will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.


  • The government has not yet made any allocations for the scheme.

Key features National Health Protection Scheme:

World’s largest government funded health programme:

  • This will be the world’s largest government funded health care programme.

Awareness of health insurance:

  • The scheme would create tremendous awareness of health insurance, the same way Jan Dhan did for bank accounts.

Enhance productivity:

  • It will also ensure enhanced productivity, well being and avert wage loss and impoverishment.

Generate jobs:

  • Thes scheme will also generate lakhs of jobs, particularly for women.

Goal of Universal Health Coverage:

  • The Government is steadily but surely progressing towards the goal of Universal Health Coverage.

Higher life expectancy:

  • A higher health insurance cover means a higher life expectancy.

Q.2) What reasons can you assign to income inequality in India?  What are its implications on society and how do you think India should address the issue ?(GS-3)


  • Income inequality is the unequal distribution of household or individual income across the different participants in the economy.

What are the causes of rising income inequality in India?

Though poverty declined but inequality increased in the post-reform period. The major reasons are:

  • Top Tax rates reduced: Tax progressivity was reduced progressively reduced. Top tax rates, which were very high in the 1970s (up to 98%), decreased to 30% in the 1980s and after.
  • Increasing wage inequality: Post-reform, privatization removed government set pay-scales which were less unequal.
  • As a result, the wage inequality dispersion increased in many sectors.

Lower growth rates for low income group: Growth at the bottom of the distribution was significantly lower than average growth rates since the 1980s.

Failure on labour rights: On labour rights India performs poorly because majority of the labour force works in the agricultural and informal sectors which lack union organization.

Inadequate spending on public services: The government’s spending on health, education and social protection is very low.

What are the major consequences of rising inequality?

The major implications of income inequality on society are as follows:

  • High levels of inequality may cause redistributive pressures and lead to an unstable growth path.
  • Negative inequality leads to creation of underclass/underclasses that are met with inhuman treatment for times to come.
  • It causes systematic exclusion of lower placed classes from availing fruits of development and progress.
  • Improper distribution of resources leads to a consequent poverty; and thus eventually, backlash from the discriminated section , leading to social tension and mistrust.
  • These implications spill over in the form of revolution(often violent), damaging social fabric of peace and harmony.

What steps should be taken to reduce income inequality?

The measures to be taken to curb income inequality are:

  • More tax progressivity to limit rising income inequality at the top,
  • creating productive employment and providing quality education,
  • fiscal instruments like public investment in physical and social infrastructure can be used to reduce inequality,
  • more diversified agriculture for raising the income of farmers,
  • also , employment has to be created in manufacturing and service,
  • ensuring equal opportunities in education, health, employment and entrepreneurship irrespective of caste, class and gender,
  • efficient delivery systems of public services,
  • a major institutional challenge is the accountability of service providers, particularly the public sector, and
  • eradication of corruption is required for reduction in inequalities.

Q.3) What do you mean by inclusive growth? Discuss the role of inclusive growth in eradicating poverty of a country. How the size of informal economy influences inclusive growth? (GS-3)


  • Inclusive growth infers an impartial allocation of resources with benefits incurred to every section of the society.
  • It lessens the fast growth rate of poverty in a country and upsurges the participation of people into the development of the country.
  • Rapid growth is necessary to reduce poverty but for this growth to be sustainable in the long run, it should be broad-based across sectors, and inclusive of the large part of the country’s labor force.

Why is inclusive growth important for India?

Advancing inclusive growth is important in India today. The reasons are as follows:

  • At the most basic level, economic growth results from labour force growth and productivity growth of workers.
  • With 80% of the labour force stuck in low-productivity activities in informal employment, it is not surprising that the Indian economy is performing far below its true potential.
  • For the Indian economy to reach its growth potential, ways and means must be found to move workers from informal to formal employment.
  • Ultimately, the economy can reach its full potential only when the hundreds of millions of Indian workers can escape the trap of low productivity.

How the size of the informal economy is important for inclusive growth?

Reducing the size of the informal economy is pivotal to inclusive growth.

  • It allows India to reach its growth potential and deliver broadly shared prosperity for the vast majority.
  • Sustaining a real GDP growth rate of 7% each year until 2040 will quintuple per capita GDP to $28,000 on a purchasing power parity basis.
  • By 2040, India will also reach its maximum share of the working-age population.
  • This is a glittering prize, endowing its youth bulge with meaningful, well-compensated and rewarding formal employment in a society where prosperity is broadly shared and absolute poverty has become a thing of the past.


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