Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 28, 2019

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Q.1) Loan waivers announced by governments don’t address the structural problems facing Indian agriculture. Critically examine.

Answer:

At least 11 States have announced schemes to waive outstanding farm loans: Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam and Rajasthan

Problems:

  1. loan waivers have “reputational consequences”; they adversely affect the repayment discipline of farmers, leading to a rise in defaults in future
  2. earlier debt waiver schemes have not led to increases in investment or productivity in agriculture
  3. waivers lead to the shrinkage of a farmer’s future access to formal sector credit
  4. access to India’s rural banks is skewed in favour of large farmers – benefits of loan waivers accrue disproportionately to large farmers while only marginally benefiting the small and marginal farmers
  5. They put enormous strain on the fiscal capacity of the governments

 

Q.2) What do you understand by constitutional morality? Compare and contrast it with public morality.

Answer:

Constitutional morality refers to the instances where constitution acts as the sole basis for deciding the morality in a situation. It is adherence to the core principles and subtext of the Constitution. For example, though reservations are opposed, basing on the constitutional argument of equality, they are held moral.

Public morality refers to the general social norms prevailing in the societies. They hold as valid, ideas and actions which conform to traditional cultural moorings. For example, homosexuality is condemned because it is against a particular religion.

Need for constitutional morality:

  1. It is more rational and modern in its approach.
  2. It provides place for modern values such as equality, liberty etc.,
  3. It provides opportunity for all persons to excel in whichever domain they choose.
  4. Provides for everybody to enjoy all the rights provided in the constitution.

 

Q.3) what is scientific temper? Discuss the need for inculcating scientific temper among the masses.

Answer:

Scientific temper is a way of life which uses the scientific methods including questioning, observing physical reality, testing, hypothesizing, analysing, and communicating to understand and deal issues in everyday life.

Need for scientific temper:

  1. Leads to progress of society
  2. Liberates people from irrational beliefs, stigmas, prejudices and stereotypes
  3. Helps everyone enjoy the rights of the land
  4. Leaves little scope for harmful elements like godmen exploiting the people’s weaknesses

 

Q.4) Discuss the causes and impact of indoor air pollution? What steps have been taken in India to control indoor air pollution?

Answer:

OECD defines indoor air pollution as “chemical, biological and physical contamination of indoor air.”

Reasons for indoor pollution:

  1. Access to affordable, clean alternatives: Rural parts of the developing world, people rely on polluting energy sources for cooking and heating because they lack access to affordable, clean alternatives such as solar, electricity, and biogas
  2. Construction Guidelines: Faulty construction, complex building systems, deferred maintenance, guidelines enhance the chances of Indoor pollution
  3. No routine toxicity testing: Many of toxic compounds released from building materials, household furnishings, and a wide range of consumer products have not been subject to routine toxicity testing.
  4. Labelling regulations: The lack of strict labeling regulation for many constituents of household products also limits an individual’s options to control exposure through consumer choices.
  5. Environmental Degradation: Increased humidity and excessive precipitation will lead to dampness in indoor environments and may exacerbate problems with mold which is hard to control

Impact:

  1. Impact on Health

a) Household air pollution is one of the leading causes of disease and premature death in the developing world.

b) Exposure to smoke from cooking fires causes 3.8 million premature deaths each year, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

c) In India, Indoor air pollution from solid fuels accounted for 3.5 million deaths and 4.5% global daily-adjusted life year (DALY) in 2010; it also accounted for 16% particulate matter pollution

2. Impact on Environment:

a) In addition to the direct impacts on human health of indoor emissions from cooking and heating using solid fuels, these indoor emissions can add to ambient air pollution.

b) In India, for example, the contribution of indoor air pollution to ambient air pollution is estimated to vary between 22 and 52 per cent

3. Impact on Economy:

a) In 2013, it was estimated that exposure to ambient and indoor air pollution cost the world’s economy about US$ 5.11 trillion in welfare losses.

b) In South and East Asia this cost is equivalent to 7.4 and 7.5 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) respectively.

Various Initiatives taken to control Indoor Pollution:

  1. National cook stove programme of China – From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, several Chinese government agencies collaborated on the National Improved Stove Program (NISP) to bring cleaner stoves to 129 million households, covering approximately 65% of China’s population.
  2. National Programme for Improved Chulhas – India has also introduced several cook stove programmes to help the approximately 100 million (out of 240 million) households lacking access to modern cooking options
  3. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana -. India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched this initiative in 2016 and has facilitated access to 35 million liquid petroleum gas (LPG) connections for 100 million energy-poor households.
  4. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves – A Non-Profit Organization focuses on improving health and environment through the development of a clean cooking market. Its ambitious but achievable goal is to foster the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels in 100 million households by 2020

 

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