Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 22, 2019

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Q.1) Oxfam International Inequality report Public Good or Private Wealth reflects the gap between the rich and poor, considering the findings of report discuss the various dimensions how public service and social protection reduce global inequality.

Answer:

Oxfam Inequality report “Public Good or Private Wealth” reflects the gap between the rich and poor in this world.

Findings of the report:

  1. The Indian billionaires’ wealth crossed $400 billion making the single largest increase since 2008 financial crisis.
  2. Wealth of top 1% increased by 39% whereas wealth of bottom 50% increased by just 3%.
  3. India’s top 10% of the population holds 77.4% of the total national wealth.

Impact of social security measures:

  1. They reduce the expenses of poor on basic services.
  2. UNESCO estimates that if all girls were to receive a secondary education, there would be a 64% reduction in early and forced child marriages
  3. Public schools, public hospitals, public housing and, public water supply. Universal benefits, for all mothers, for all children and older people. These actions by governments can have a powerful equalizing impact on society.
  4. They empower people and enable social mobility
  5. Public services and social protection can tackle inequality by providing freedom as held by Amartya Sen.

 

Q.2) As the influence of digital technology has increased by leaps and bounds, the debate around its impact on the children and youth has become significant. Discuss.

Answer:

According to the recently released, ‘The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World’, Youth in the age group 15–24 is the most connected. Worldwide, 71% are online compared with 48% of the total population.

Impact on children on youth:

  1. The use of digital technology has been associated with physical inactivity and obesity, sleep distortions thus increasing the risk of health problems in future.
  2. Overuse of digital technology has affected the psychological health for children and teens making them vulnerable to anxiety, depression, aggressive behaviour and other mental health issues.
  3. Digital technology has made it difficult for adolescents to form identity and are jeopardized in balancing between real selves and digital versions of themselves.
  4. excessive overuse of media and technology distracts and negatively impact learning outcomes.
  5. The excessive overuse of media and technology distracts and negatively impact learning outcomes.

 

Q.3)The performance of State PSUs is a cause of concern considering the mounting losses they have accumulated. Highlight the reasons behind their subdued performance and suggest measures

Answer:

Performance of State PSUs:

  1. 1,136 working SPSUs collectively incurred net loss of ₹84,000 crore during 2016-17 while they employ 17.3 lakh people.
  2. Only 531 earned total profit of ₹18,000 crore. As many as 292 SPSUs have negative net worth, and many of the 319 dysfunctional SPSUs had ceased operations for more than 25 years.

Reasons behind the performance:

  1. Large number of SPSUs have been established in the finance and welfare sectors but states lack expertise or resources to manage such a sweeping range of activities.
  2. They lack a business plan and there are no production or marketing policies, which are must for a commercial entity(CAG)
  3. They are manned by politicians who influence the commercial decisions of PSUs. The politicians usually lack the technical expertise and knowledge to man the organization.
  4. PSUs don’t have fixed and objective targets and even in case of under-performance the Board is not held accountable, whose member’s remunerations are fixed according to the government pay scales.

Measures to improve:

  1. Governments may institute a holding company for managing PSUs, which would reduce the political interference in PSU management.
  2. As per CAG, states may set up a cell to oversee the financial management of PSUs like clearance of arrears, setting financial plans and set targets for individual companies which would be monitored by the cell.
  3. The PSU Board must work independently without political control.
  4. States must withdraw from all unviable sectors, while revamping the structure and management of the remaining ones.
  5. Wherever feasible and where synergies exist, efficient Central PSUs may be persuaded to manage State PSUs.

 

Q.4) Ocean warming and Polar Ice melting are sign of human induced climate change. In this context discuss consequences of increase in sea level and global preparedness to tackle the same?  

Answer:

Consequences of increased sea level:

  1. Even a small increase can have devastating effects on coastal habitats.
  2. As seawater reaches farther inland, it can cause destructive erosion, wetland flooding, aquifer and agricultural soil contamination, and lost habitat for fish, birds, and plants.
  3. When large storms hit land, higher sea levels mean bigger, more powerful storm surges that can strip away everything in their path.
  4. Hundreds of millions of people live in areas that will become increasingly vulnerable to flooding. Higher sea levels would force them to abandon their homes and relocate.
  5. Low-lying islands could be submerged completely.

Need for global preparedness:

  1. Mitigation – by reducing the magnitude of human-induced climate change and sea-level rise at the global scale.
  2. Installing systematic drainage systems and building up seawalls.
  3. Adopting ecological solutions like growing mangroves along the coasts.
  4. Building climate resilient communities by developing alternative livelihoods.
  5. Limiting usage of fossil fuels to reduce overall GHG emissions.
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