Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 23, 2018


Q.1)The recent visit of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s to India opens up new possibilities and opportunities that can be seized. What are the major takeaways from the visit? Do you think Israel can prove to be one of the strongest supports for India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative? (GS-2)


  • The recent visit of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s to India is a long-anticipated moment in the journey of friendship between India and Israel.
  • It is to be noted that visit comes days after India voted against Israel at the UN on the Jerusalem issue.

What are the major takeaways from Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India?

  • Both the Prime ministers reviewed the progress relations and renewed conversation on the possibilities and the opportunities that can be seized. The major takeaways from the conversation are as follows:

Strengthen existing cooperation:

  • The two countries will strengthen the existing pillars of cooperation in areas that touch the lives of our peoples.
  • These are agriculture, science and technology, and security.

Launch of ‘India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (i4F)’:

  • The maiden call for joint R&D projects under the ‘India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (i4F)’ was launched.
  • This Fund is to be utilized over a period of 5 years, in pursuit of path-breaking technological solutions that can be commercially exploited.

Scaling up Centers of Excellence:

  • Views were exchanged on scaling up the Centers of Excellence that have been a main-stay of agricultural cooperation by bringing in advanced Israeli practices and technology.

Venture of FDI regime:

  • In defence, India has invited Israeli companies to take advantage of the liberalized FDI regime to make more in Indian companies.

Venture of less explored areas of cooperation:

  • The two countries are venturing into less explored areas of cooperation, such as oil& gas, cyber security, films, and start-ups.
  • This can be reflected in the agreements that were exchanged, several of these areas are indicative of the desire to diversify and broad-base engagement.

Facilitate flow of people and ideas:

  • The two countries committed to facilitating the flow of people and ideas between the geographies.
  • It requires policy facilitation, infrastructure and connectivity links and fostering constituencies of support beyond Government.
  • India is working with Israel to make it easier for people of to work and visit each other’s countries, including for longer work durations.

Can Israel prove to be one of the strongest supports for India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative?

  • Yes, Israel is universally known as the Start-up nation with a unique eco-system for innovation and incubation.
  • Whether it is Water Tech, or Agri-Tech, or it is food production, or processing or conservation, Israel has been a shining example with new breakthrough and advances.
  • Whether it is physical or virtual security; whether it is on land, water or space; Israel technology has won admiration.
  • The India-Israel Innovation Bridge will act as a link between the Start-ups of the two sides.
  • Indian Industries, start-ups and the academic institutions must collaborate with their Israeli counterparts to access the huge reservoir of knowledge.

Progress so far:

  • Several Israeli companies have joined hands with Indian companies for making in India.
  • Many others, especially those with advanced water technologies and agri techniques, defence and security systems, and pharma knowledge have a foot-hold in India.
  • Similarly, Indian companies have significant presence in several sectors in Israel like IT, Irrigation and Pharma.
  • Diamond remains a strong link in trade between the two countries.


  • The significant visit of the Israeli Prime Minister is certainly the dawn of a new era in friendship between India and Israel.

Q.2) In the context of racism faced by Africans in India, what should be the measures taken by Indian government to address this disturbing trend?(GS-1)


  • India is extremely diverse ethnically, with more than 2,000 different ethnic groups.
  • Furthermore, within India, there is also significant diversity within regions, and almost every province has its own distinct mixture of ethnicities, traditions, and culture.
  • Thus, throughout the history of India, ethnic relations have been both constructive and destructive.

Example of destructive relations are as follows:

Attacks on Africans:

  • Over the years India, an attractive destination for Africans for higher studies and medical tourism, has been wooing Africa for business opportunities.
  • But the recent attacks on Africans have raised concerns about the safety of foreigners in India and an alarming trend of hate crimes and racism in the country which will affect bilateral ties adversely.
  • It will damage recent Indian initiatives to promote people-to-people contact under India-Africa forum summit initiatives.

Suggestions: the need for a strict anti-discriminatory law:

  • In the absence of an anti-discrimination code, there is no comprehensive statutory definition of discrimination that takes into account different manifestations of discrimination and its impact.
  • India’s external affairs and home ministries need to make concerted efforts to sensitise the police and the public at large about how racism contradicts the nation’s past and present ideals.
  • In addition, the external affairs ministry should have a department dedicated to addressing human rights violations against foreigners in the country.
  • They can lead community awareness programmes against racism and push for adequate legislation, drawing on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (2001).
  • As most Africans in India are students, the human resources ministry needs to hold anti-racism campaigns on university campuses.
  • Educational institutions in India should be told about the importance of scholarship programmes for Africans.
  • Efforts should also be made to educate Indian students about African countries.
  • Anti-racism sentiments should be discussed at the commencement of every India-Africa summit and should be formalised in treaties.
  • Societies do not change on their own, we need to create conditions for this change, which includes identifying groups and areas that are perpetrating these kind of hate attacks.

Q.3) What are designer babies? Discuss the ethical issues involved in opting for designer babies in future. (GS–3)


  • A designer baby is a human embryo that has been genetically modified, usually following guidelines set by the parent or scientist, to produce desirable traits.
  • This is done using various methods, such as gene therapy or Pre implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

Importance of designer babies:

  • The PGD procedures allow scientist to identify damaged or mutated genes associated with diseases in the oocytes or embryos by using in-situ hybridization (ISH).
  • The ISH technique labels specific nucleic acid sequences on a gene that can help detect genetic abnormalities
  • To sum up, this technique can also help select for desirable traits by avoiding implanting embryos with genes that have serious diseases or disabilities. For examples:
  • Desirable traits that could be selected would be increased muscle mass, voice pitch, or high intelligence.

Ethical issues involved in opting for designer babies in future:

  • The practice of modifying humans to something “smart” is a direct question on the individuality of the baby.
  • The main ethical issue with these types of treatments is that it will produce a change that can be passed down to future generations and therefore any error, known or unknown will also be passed down and will affect the offspring.
  • Thus, new diseases may be introduced accidentally.
  • Since experimentation of the germline occurs directly on embryos, there is a major ethical deliberation on experimenting with fertilized eggs and embryos and killing the flawed ones.
  • In many countries, editing embryos and germline modification for reproductive use is illegal.


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