Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 7, 2019


Q.1) Recently, Global Slavery Index 2016 has estimated 1.8 crore Indians in modern slavery. In this context discuss the various reason prevailing in India for modern slavery and what are the constitutional safeguards dealing with it.


Recently WalkFree Foundation released its Global Slavery Index which highlights the problem of modern slavery in India.

Reasons behind slavery in India:

  1. Weaker sections’ inability to move out of their respective group makes them vulnerable to forced labour and human trafficking.
  2. About 94% of the workforce in India are employed under informal and unregulated sectors.
  3. Chronic underpayment of minimum wages in low-skilled and semi-skilled work.
  4. Members of the vulnerable groups lack good livelihood opportunities and access to credit and financial services
  5. Failure of authorities to effectively implement measures to address the issue is also a reason for the prevalence of forced labour in India.

Constitutional safeguards:

  1. Article 23 of the Constitution prohibits and criminalises human trafficking and forced labour.
  2. Art 21 of the constitution promises right to life and personal liberty. This also includes a dignified life and not just animal living.


Q.2) Enumerating the important features of Dam Safety Bill 2018, critically analyze its institutional framework and how could it ensure non-occurrence of disaster like Kerala flood?


The Bill provides for the surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of specified dams across the country.  The Bill also provides for the institutional mechanism to ensure the safety of such dams.

  1. Applicability of the Bill: The Bill applies to all specified dams in the country.  These are dams with: (i) height more than 15 metres, or (ii) height between 10 metres to 15 metres and subject to certain additional design and structural conditions.
  2. National Committee on Dam Safety: The Bill provides for the constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety.
  3. Functions of the Committee include: (i) formulating policies and regulations regarding dam safety standards and prevention of dam failures, and (ii) analysing causes of major dam failures and suggesting changes in dam safety practices.
  4. National Dam Safety Authority: The Bill provides for a National Dam Safety Authority. Functions of the Authority include: (i) implementing the policies formulated by the National Committee on Dam Safety, (ii) resolving issues between State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSOs), or between a SDSO and any dam owner in that state, (iii) specifying regulations for inspection and investigation of dams, and (iv) providing accreditation to agencies working on construction, design, and alteration of dams.
  5. State Dam Safety Organisation: The Bill provides for the establishment of State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSOs) by the state governments.
  6. Functions of the SDSOs include: (i) keeping perpetual surveillance, inspecting, and monitoring the operation and maintenance of dams, (ii) keeping a database of all dams, and (iii) recommending safety measures to owners of dams.
  7. State Committee on Dam Safety: Functions of the Committee include: (i) reviewing the work of the SDSO, (ii) ordering dam safety investigations, (iii) recommending dam safety measures and reviewing the progress on such measures, and (iv) assessing the potential impact on upstream and downstream states.
  8. Obligations of dam owners: The Bill requires the owners of specified dams to provide a dam safety unit in each dam.  This unit will inspect the dams: (i) before and after the monsoon season, and (ii) during and after every earthquake, flood, or any other calamity or sign of distress.  Dam owners will be required to prepare an emergency action plan, and carry out risk assessment studies for each dam at specified regular intervals. Dam owners will also be required to prepare a comprehensive dam safety evaluation of each dam, at regular intervals, through a panel of experts.  The evaluation will be mandatory in certain cases such as major modification of the original structure, or an extreme hydrological or seismic event.
  9. Offences and penalties: The Bill provides for two types of offences.  These are: (i) obstructing a person in the discharge of his functions, and (ii) refusing to comply with directions issued under the Bill.


  1. Help states and UTs in adopting uniform dam safety procedures
  2. Ensure safety of dams
  3. Safeguard benefits from dams
  4. Safeguard human life, livestock and property


  1. Availability of fund
  2. Prioritizing investment according to risk
  3. States have very limited technical capabilities for analyzing instrumentation data for investigation and detection of dam distress.
  4. Real time inflow forecasting systems are not in place even in important reservoirs.
  5. Siltation of reservoir is a serious issue, though in most cases the extent of siltation continues to remain unknown.Desiltation of reservoir is difficult in many a cases owing to environmental concerns related to sediment disposal
  6. Few states raised objections that the Bill does not recognize dams and reservoirs run by long-standing inter-state agreements.


Q.3) Open Defecation Free (ODF)++ is essential to sustain gains made under Open Defecation Free(ODF) mission. Enumerate the additional targets under ODF++ as compared to ODF and importance of Behavioral change Component for achieving ODF and ODF++?


SBM ODF+ protocol focuses on sustaining community/ public toilet usage by ensuring their functionality, cleanliness and maintenance. SBM ODF++ will focus on achieving sanitation sustainability by addressing complete sanitation value chain, including safe containment, processing and disposal of fecal sludge and septage.

Importance of behavior change:

  1. Many people continue to defecate in the open despite owning a toilet.
  2. Resources are spent on toilet construction and not on the usage aspects of it.
  3. People still continue to hold stigmas about toilet usage, its cleaning and aspects of purity and pollution.
  4. Without addressing attitudes, the problem of manual scavenging will continue to remain in the rural areas.


Q.4) WWF Living Planet Report says world lost about 60% of its wildlife population in last 4 decades. Discuss the factors responsible for such loss and impacts of reducing faunal biodiversity on ecosystem service?


Main drivers of biodiversity decline are:

  1. Climate change
  2. overexploitation of species
  3. Agriculture
  4. land conversion
  5. Invasive species
  6. Clearing for development as well as over-exploitation and aquaculture have contributed to a decline in the extent of mangroves by 30% to 50% over the past 50 years.
  7. Ongoing degradation has many impacts on species, the quality of habitats and the functioning of ecosystems.
  8. All the multidimensional gains from biodiversity, as mentioned below, will be diminished.

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