Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 30, 2019


Q.1) Discuss the different components of Bharatmala pariyojana. What significance does the programme hold?


Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella program for the highways sector that focuses on optimizing efficiency of freight and passenger movement across India.

The various components under the scheme are:

  1. Economic corridors development
  2. Inter-corridor & feeder roads
  3. National Corridors Efficiency improvements
  4. Border & International connectivity roads
  5. Coastal & port connectivity roads
  6. Expressways

Significance of the programme:

  1. Increased Connectivity: The programme will enable to connect 550 Districts in the country through NH linkages.
  2. Improvement in Passenger Movement: The network would improve passenger movement on NHs.
  3. Improvement in average speeds of vehicles: The development of economic corridors and the associated inter corridor and feeder routes will enable improvement in average speeds of vehicles by about 20-25%
  4. Upgradation of 24, 800 km of NH network in the first phase is expected to generate roughly 10 crore man- days of employment during the construction phase
  5. Border and International connectivity roads is expected to boost Export-Import (EXIM) trade with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.


Q.2) The manning of Central Armed Police Forces by the Indian Police Service officials has led to  demoralisation of CAPF cadre officers as well as ignorance of their merit. Do you think the leadership of CAPF should rest with career experienced paramilitary cadre officers?


A Rajya Sabha committee has recommended that leadership positions currently reserved for the IPS in the CAPFs may be abolished outright, or at least severely curtailed.

Why IPS should not head the CAPFs:

  1. Availability of specialized guidance: CAPFs have a large specialised cadre of in-house officers, who have sufficient experience and maturity to man supervisory and policy-level posts.
  2. Lack of company and battalion level experience: IPS officers have no experience of cutting-edge leadership in CAPF organisations at the company and battalion level
  3. Civil Vs military role: CAPF organisations have a primarily military character and, therefore, a civil service like the IPS has no useful role to play in them.
  4. Reluctance of IPS: IPS officers usually don’t prefer to work at the operational levels and positions where life is difficult and because they lack the role specific experience.
  5. Against constitutional spirit: Continued deputation of IPS at CAPF top posts is violative of constitutional principles as it denies the cadre officers the right to be considered in spite of their obvious merit and experience in performing specialised tasks.


Q.3) Discuss the terms of US and Taliban peace agreement framework and challenges in reaching consensus over peace agreement?


American and Taliban officials have agreed to the framework of a peace deal in which the insurgents guarantee to prevent Afghanistan from being used by terrorists. This could lead to a full pull-out of U.S. troops in return for a ceasefire and Taliban talks with the Afghan government.

Challenges in reaching consensus:

  1. Taliban’s violence continues across Afghanistan.
  2. The efforts could be resisted by Iran and Afghanistan which hold huge stakes in Afghanistan’s peace.
  3. Need for a more complete peace deal to restore democracy and rights may be resisted by Afghanistan.
  4. Without support of Pakistan, any efforts by the US may be limited.
  5. Taliban is opposed to hold talks with Afghan govt and this may bring discussions to a stand still.
  6. The taliban must be fully assured of troop withdrawal, which may bring immediate security challenges for Afghanistan.


Q.4) Discuss the benefits of Direct Income Transfer scheme as compared to Loan Waiver scheme? Provide possible solutions to huge financial cost resulting from Direct Income Transfer scheme?


Problems of loan waiver scheme:

  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

Benefits of direct income transfer:

  1. Help rise productivity of agriculture by increasing investments
  2. The impact of public investment on both the yield of land and rural poverty is far greater than that of fertilizer, electricity, irrigation and interest rate subsidy.
  3. Gives autonomy to farmers in spending decisions.
  4. Frees farmers from the clutches of informal money lenders

Way to finance:

  1. Financing small and medium farmers in the immediate term
  2. Linking cash transfers to productivity
  3. Telangana’s scheme of cash transfer to farmers stands as a best practice
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