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

Upcoming Current Affairs & Essay Test Series


Q.1) With reference to Indian national movement, why did Mahatma Gandhi choose “Salt” as weapon during Dandi march 1930 to fight Britishers?


  • The salt tax has had a long history. With the establishment of the rule of the East India Company in India, it was considered to be a good source of income.
  • The Salt Tax was born out of British greed: first, out of the individual greed of the servants of the East India Company; later, out of the greed of the Company itself, and its shareholders.

Why Mahatma Gandhi choose salt?

  • Though India is surrounded on three sides by sea, Indians could not manufacture salt because British government had taken salt trade in their hands. Instead government had imposed heavy tax on salt.
  • Salt was one of the most common thing used by both rich and poor alike, imposition of salt tax meant burden on every section of society.
  • Monopoly over salt trade also meant depriving the villagers of a source of valuable livelihood.
  • Issue of salt trade cut across the caste, religion, creed, this issue had power to unify people of country.
  • Gandhi ji’s Salt Campaign was also the symbol of revolt and insurgence of the Indian people.
  • Gandhi ji therefore, appealed to the people to join the Satyagraha campaign and defy the unjust Salt Act.
  • The very simplicity of the issue ensured the support of the vast millions as a focus of effective political action.
  • The world economic depression, which had caused a catastrophic fall in the prices of agricultural produce and in employment, was another factor that contributed to the salt Satyagraha campaign.
  • Salt satyagraha sent a strong message to British at home and garnered media attention at large.


  • Gandhi did more than anyone else in advancing the development of a non-violent struggle in the 20th century. He and the movement, contributed to a worldwide recognition of the existence of the potential of nonviolence as a means of solving conflicts.


Q.2.Failure of Radical Leadership to politically and ideologically oppose the young revolutionaries against the individualistic conception of revolutionary violence proved to be a grievous error. Discuss. And also highlight the reasons behind the rise of revolutionary nationalism.

Answer: Revolutionary Terrorism, based on the concept of individual heroism and violence evolved as a method of struggle in our freedom movement. The newspaper Yugantar, Savarkar’sAbhinav Bharat, AnushilanSamiti are attempts at this kind of struggle.

Failure of leadership:

  1. Extremists’ failure to give a positive lead to the people. The Extremists had made a sharp and effective critique of the Moderates. They had emphasized the role of the masses and the need to go beyond propaganda and agitation. They had advocated persistent opposition to the Government and put forward a militant programme of passive resistance and boycott. They had demanded self- sacrifice from the youth. They had talked and written about direct action.
  2. But they had failed to find forms through which all these ideas could find practical expression. They could neither create a viable organization to lead the movement nor could they really define the movement in a way that differed from that of the Moderates.
  3. Their critique of British rule was couched in stronger language, they were willing to make greater sacrifices and undergo greater suffering, but they did not know how to go beyond more vigorous agitation. They were not able to put before people new forms of political struggle or mass movements.
  4. It also failed to oppose the notion that to be a revolutionary meant to be a believer in violent action. In fact, AurobindoGhose encouraged this notion.

All these and other factors led to the rise of revolutionary terrorism. These are listed below.

Reasons for rise of Revolutionary Terrorism:

  1. Failure of moderate methods to impress the youth
  2. Failure of extremist leaders to show them a vent for aroused energies after Surat Split
  3. The disappointment with Council Reforms, 1909, especially the communal electorate.
  4. difficulty to organise a mass movement
  5. Inspiration from Irish nationalists and Russian nihilists


Q.3) The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) evolved over the years by a gradual but steady constriction of fundamental rights. Examine and provide suggestions to make UAPA more citizen’s right friendly without compromising on anti-terrorism activities.

Answer: Unlawful Activities (Prevention) is aimed to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.

Evolution of UAPA and how it constricted FRs:The evolution of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) has to be seen in the background of this gradual but steady constriction of Article 19, which guarantees the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association.

  1. The UAPA, 1967 – UAPA gave powers to the central government to impose all-India bans on associations. The process of banning associations could simply be done by the government announcing them as ‘unlawful’ and hence banned (Section 3).

2.The 2004 amendment – changes to the definition of ‘unlawful activity’, included the definition of ‘terrorist act’ and ‘terrorist organisation’ from the repealed POTA, and also introduced the concept of a ‘terrorist gang’.

  1. The 2008 amendments –after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, more provisions similar to POTA and TADA regarding maximum period in police custody, incarceration without a charge sheet and restrictions on bail were incorporated into the UAPA.
  2. 2012 amendments –expanded the already vague definition of “terrorist act” to include offences that threaten the country’s economic security.
  3. ideology – Like the TADA and POTA, UAPA also criminalises ideology and association. By virtue of declaring an organisation ‘unlawful’ or ‘terrorist’ and banning it, these Acts have de facto criminalised their ideologies.
  4. association –mere possession of any literature of such an organisation or even upholding an ideology common to that organisation in the absence of any violent act is construed as an offence. On the other hand, mere membership or association with such an organisation too becomes an offence.
  5. vague definition –The Act introduces a vague definition of terrorism to encompass a wide range of non-violent political activity, including political protest. It empowers the government to declare an organisation as ‘terrorist’ and ban it.
  6. detention –it allows detention without a charge sheet for up to 180 days and police custody can be up to 30 days. It also creates a strong presumption against bail and anticipatory bail is out of the question. It creates a presumption of guilt for terrorism offences merely based on the evidence allegedly seized.
  7. courts –the Act authorises the creation of special courts, with wide discretion to hold in-camera proceedings and use secret witnesses but contains no sunset clause and provisions for mandatory periodic review.

The low conviction rate under the act and The for instigating the riots at Bhima-Koregaon under UAPA point to the abuse of the provisions of the law for stifling Fundamental Rights.

To make it more citizen friendly

  1. sunset clause – which sets a deadline when the law will be repealed after peace arrives
  2. mandatory periodic review
  3. Supreme court – In 2011, the Supreme Court attempted to narrow the scope of these provisions, holding that “membership” was limited to cases where an individual engaged in active incitement to violence.
  4. change in the legal culture – with the courts following the example of the Bombay High Court in the first Kabir Kala Manch case, and granting bail unless the state can produce some cogent proof of criminality.
  5. accountability mechanisms – for officers investigating terror cases
  6. anti-torture law- will prevent use of torture as a technique of investigation.


Q.4) US announcement for creation of a space force will not only have global implication but also consequences for India. Discuss and provide an account of international mechanisms available to prevent weaponization of space.

Answer:US has recently announced the creation of a “space force” or a sixth branch of the American armed forces to see that the U.S. establishes and maintains dominance in space.

What global implications it has

  1. global space corps race – will increase military budgets and further rise tensions between US on one hand and China and Russia on the other hand. Already there is a competition over exponential growth in China’s space military capabilities.
  2. weaponisation of space – is dangerous for humanity. It takes away the primary purpose of space to better serve human needs.
  3. space debris –physical environment of space is not conducive to the conduct of military operations without incurring serious losses in the form of spacecraft and debris.
  4. fuel – despite efforts to make spacecraft more fuel efficient, the energy requirements are enormous.

Consequences for India

  1. space command –India is yet to establish a credible space command of its own.its inter-services rivalries will have to be resolved about the command and control.
  2. Chinese threat – China possesses a space military programme that far exceeds current Indian capabilities.
  3. defence budget – it may shoot up defence budgets for a developing country like India.

International mechanisations to prevent weaponization of space

  1. The UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) identified areas for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space
  2. banning weapons of mass destruction –  Partial Test Ban Treaty bans Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water. Outer Space Treaty governs the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space. Many such treaties deal only with WMD but no other types of weapons in space.
  3. Conference on Disarmament (CD) – to prevent an arms race in outer space
  4. Proposed Prevention of an Arms Race in Space (PAROS) treaty – to complement and reaffirm the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which aims to preserve space for peaceful uses by prohibiting the use of space weapons, the development of space-weapon technology, and technology related to “missile defense.” The treaty would prevent any nation from gaining a military advantage in outer space.
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