Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 5, 2018


Q.1) In the recent times, Bitcoins have become a topic of debate which sets hopes as well as some dangers.  Discuss.(GS-3)

Bitcoin is a digital currency that is not backed by any country’s central bank or government. Bitcoins can be traded for goods or services with vendors who accept Bitcoins as payment.  Bitcoin is a piece of digital code which is also used by people as currency. It was started in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, whose real identity is still shrouded in mystery. In the recent times, Bitcoins have become a topic of debate which sets hopes as well as some dangers.  

Advantages of bitcoins:

Bitcoin has numerous benefits and advantages over using localized currency.

Freedom in Payment

  • With Bitcoin it is very possible to be able to send and get money anywhere in the world at any given time.

Control and Security

  • Allowing users to be in control of their transactions help keep Bitcoin safe for the network.
  • Merchants cannot charge extra fees on anything without being noticed. They must talk with the consumer before adding any charges.
  • Payments in Bitcoin can be made and finalized without one’s personal information being tied to the transactions.

Information is Transparent

  • With the block chain, all finalized transactions are available for everyone to see, however personal information is hidden.

Very Low Fees

  • Currently there are either no fees, or very low fees within Bitcoin payments.

Fewer Risks for Merchants

  • Due to the fact that Bitcoin transactions cannot be reversed, do not carry with them personal information, and are secure, merchants are protected from potential losses that might occur from fraud.

Dangers or disadvantages:

  • Very less acceptability: Only a miniscule number of goods and service providers accept payment in Bitcoins currently.
  • Highly fluctuating value of bitcoins.
  • Less cognizability: Even illiterate people can recognize and differentiate between different currency notes based on their colour, dimension, etc.
  • Owing to the above limitations of bitcoin, it is a less reliable “medium of exchange” as compared to fiat money.
  • Potential adverse effects of its use on the economy and security of a nation and world in general
  • Black markets: Bitcoins are accepted by people selling illegal goods and services like drugs, arms or by online gambling websites.
  • Money laundering
  • Some regulators and law enforcement agencies have raised apprehensions of bitcoins being used for money laundering.
  • Unauthorized mining:In 2011, cases of botnets engaged in covert mining of bitcoins were detected. E-Sports Entertainment in USA was accused of hijacking 14000 computers to mine bitcoins.
  • Jobs in bitcoin mining companies and bitcoin exchanges
  • Extreme volatility: Investing in cryptocurrencies involves very high risk, as prices have been extremely volatile.
  • An unregulated space: Unlike other investment avenues, cryptocurrencies are not regulated by government entities or banks.

Q.2) What are the reasons for which freedom of speech and expression is both restricted and protected in India? (GS-2)


  • Freedom of speech and expression is broadly understood as the notion that every person has the natural right to freely express themselves through any media and without outside interference, such as censorship, and without fear of reprisal, such as threats and persecutions.
  • Freedom of expression is a complex right as freedom of expression is not absolute.
  • It carries with it special duties and responsibilities therefore it may be subject to certain restrictions provided by law.  

Protection Freedom of Speech and Expression:

There are four important justifications for freedom of speech :

Transparency: If restrictions on speech are tolerated, society tends to keep silent about accurate facts and valuable opinion.

Personality and its growth: Freedom of speech is an integral aspect of each individual’s right to self-development and self-fulfillment, restrictions on which will hamper personality and its growth.

One’s belief and show political attitudes: Freedom of speech provides opportunity to express one’s belief and show political attitudes which ultimately results in the welfare of the society and state.

Democracy: Freedom of speech is important to understand political issues and participate in smooth working of democracy and decision-making.

Restriction of Freedom of Speech and Expression:  

  • For a positive and healthy environment the right requires certain restrictions. Some of the major reasons are as follows:
  • Security of State: Under Article 19(2) reasonable restrictions can be imposed on freedom of speech and expression in the interest of security of State.
  • The term “security of state” refers only to serious and aggravated forms of public order e.g. rebellion, waging war against the State, insurrection and not ordinary breaches of public order and public safety, e.g. unlawful assembly, riot, affray.
  • Friendly relations with foreign states: Unrestrained malicious propaganda against a foreign friendly state needs to be restricted at some level because something which has potential to affect such relationship should be checked by government.
  • Public Order: ‘Public order’ is synonymous with public peace, safety and tranquility. Anything that disturbs public tranquility or public peace disturbs public order.
  • Thus, a law punishing utterances made with the deliberate intention to hurt the religious feelings of any class of persons is valid for such speech or writing has the tendency to create public disorder even if in some case those activities may not actually lead to a breach of peace.
  • Decency or morality: The way to express something or to say something should be decent one. It should not affect the morality of the society adversely.
  • Sections 292 to 294 of the Indian Penal Code provide instances of restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression in the interest of decency or morality.

Way forward:

  • To remain vigilante: Even though Freedom of speech and Expression is a boon for the citizens, but the government and media needs to remain vigilante for its proper usage.

  • To stay legit: Freedom of speech and Expression should not infringe upon the sovereignty, unity, integrity and security of the country. That applies to media/social media as well.

Q.3) Give an account of the benefits of using DNA in investigating crime. What are the problems in implementing DNA based investigations in India? (GS-3)


  • DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms.
  • Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DN

Benefits in implementing DNA based investigations:

  • It is an easy and painless method for the subject being tested.
  • It is an affordable and reliable technique.
  • Anyone at any age can be tested with this method without any major concerns.
  • There is a large variety of uses such as in legal claims, missing persons cases, identification for the military, and paternity and prenatal testing

Problems in implementing DNA based investigations:

  • The sample of DNA can easily be ruined during the process, causing the sample to become completely useless for testing
  • The process itself is complex and tedious.
  • It can give results that may be hard to interpret.
  • Privacy issues could occur if the information isn’t kept secure at the lab.

In the context of India:  

  • The state police forces are yet to be trained in conducting such scientific investigations.
  • There is also a serious scarcity of capacity for DNA fingerprinting in the country.
  • Advanced practices in the technology are limited to the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in Hyderabad.
  • There are also several private labs that offer DNA testing, but all work under an unregulated environment.
  • Though DNA testing is done in criminal cases in India, the instances were very low compared to other countries.
  • It breaches the Right to Privacy, personal information if leaked, could potentially complicate insurance processes, health care and job prospects for an individual.

Way ahead:

  • Government and police should increase the use of DNA testing in solving crimes.
  • There should be adequate and high-level training sessions for DNA investigation.
  • They should set up a board which will lay down procedures and standards.
  • There are recommendations for amendments in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Indian Evidence Act, 1872, to include scientific investigation in crimes.


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