Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – July 27, 2018

Upcoming Current Affairs & Essay Test Series


Q.1) For India to shine, the transformation of its cities is necessary. Discuss the factors responsible for ailing conditions of urban areas in India. What measures in your opinion can solve this menace? (GS-1)

Answer: It is believed that by 2030, 50% of India’s population would reside in urban areas. This would affect the standards of living of people and also the quality of administration if not dealt with.

Importance of cities for India:

  1. The contribution of urban areas to the country’s GDP has already exceeded 50%. They are estimated to contribute over 70% to the GDP by 2030.
  2. The country’s economy, based on industrialisation is predominantly based on urban areas. Investments are largely done in urban areas.
  3. Large skilled population is in urban areas, which needs to be tapped to reap the demographic dividend.

Factors responsible for poor state of cities:

  1. Poor urban planning
  2. Lack of infrastructure – housing(shortage of over 10 million affordable houses), sewage, drainage, drinking water; India spends about $17 per capita annually on urban infrastructure projects, against a global benchmark of $100 and China’s $116.
  3. Pollution – due to large scale emissions from growing no of vehicles
  4. Poor standards of living – due to urban poverty
  5. Distress migration
  6. Disasters due to climate change are aggravated by poorly planned cities; the Chennai and Mumbai floods are a glaring example
  7. Lack of financial resources due to dependence on devolution and poor capacity to raise revenues; Jaipur and Bangalore collect only 5-20% of their potential property tax

Solutions to resolve:

  1. Smart cities mission – to improve financing to urban areas and thereby improve infrastructure and overall standards of living
  2. Rurban mission – to address the challenge of migration arising from poor infrastructure in rural areas
  3. Municipal bonds and effective financial devolution by states and centre will redress the economic grievances
  4. Dealing migration – there needs to be a systemic policy to deal with urban migration; policies and programmes in place to facilitate the integration of migrants into the local urban fabric, and building city plans with a regular migration forecast assumed.
  5. Enabling transfer of welfare benefits across the country. This will not deprive the migrants of support in a different state.
  6. Planned urbanisation


Q.2) Both India and China are pursuing to build a strong relationship with african countries, but with different approaches. Discuss. What approach should India follow to compete with China on African continent? (GS-2)

Answer: India has increased its presence in most of the African nations through diplomatic outreach and increased investments. The recent first China-Africa Defence and Security Forum highlights Chinese interest in Africa.

The increased relations are aimed to tap the huge economic potential of the developing African countries and gain strategic and security advantage in the region.

However, the two countries differ in their approach towards relations:

  1. While Indian engagement lays emphasis on the long term like enhancing Africa’s productive capacities, diversifying skills and knowledge, and investing in small- and medium-sized enterprises, China’s approach is more traditional — resource-extraction, infrastructure development and elite-level wealth creation.
  2. The Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) is for the growth of Asia and Africa and is a consultative initiative between India, Japan and Africa. But the BRI is more of a top-down, unilateral approach to secure Chinese interests.
  3. India’s security and defence cooperation with Africa is mainly limited to maritime cooperation in the form of anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia, deployment of Indian forces to UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, regular shipping visits, and joint-naval patrolling in the Western Indian Ocean Region. China supports Africa’s military transformation by providing equipment, advanced technology, and independent capacity-building in security.
  4. The allegation that Chinese BRI is pulling countries into debt-trap has to be addressed by China. India’s lending and funding support is still confined to soft power, in fields like culture, education and people-people relations.

What approach should India follow to beat China:

  1. Increasing investments and timely completion of projects
  2. Cooperation with countries on infrastructure projects, through AAGR
  3. Pursuing India’s soft power – better people to people relations, culture diplomacy etc
  4. Conveying the intentions of China through soft diplomacy
  5. Participating in regional forums of Africa
  6. Aim to be the net security provider for the continent through better military relations


Q.3) Soon after Non Cooperation Movement was called up, though pro-changers and the no-changers engaged in a fierce controversy, but a lot of common ground between the two was present. Discuss (GS-1)

Answer: After the Chaura Chauri incident and subsequent calling off of NCM, there was large scale disintegration, disorganization and demoralization in the nationalist ranks.

Different ways were proposed to break the impasse.

Pro-changers – leaders like Motilal Nehru and C R Das proposed the program of council entry. To keep up the spirit of resistance to colonial rule, they suggested that the nationalists should end the boycott of the legislative councils, enter them, expose them as ‘sham parliaments’ obstruct ‘every work of the council.’ This is not giving up non-cooperation but continuing it in a more effective form by extending it to the councils.

No-Changers – those still advocating boycott of the councils are ‘nochangers.’ This idea is led by leaders like Vallabhbhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad and C. Rajagopalachari. They advocated for the continuation of the full programme of boycott and non-cooperation, effective working of the constructive programme and quiet preparations for the resumption of the suspended civil disobedience.

Primarily, they differed on the action plan in the inactive phase of mass movement.

Where they had common ground, and avoided a 1907-type split

  1. Both agreed that civil disobedience was not possible immediately and that no mass movement could be carried on indefinitely or for a prolonged period.
  2. accepted that there was need to rest and to reinvigorate the anti-imperialist forces and widen political participation and mobilization
  3. need for unity was felt very strongly by all the Congressmen.
  4. They realized that however useful parliamentary work might be, the real sanctions which would compel the Government to accept national demands would be forged only by a  mass movement outside the legislatures which needs unity
  5. both groups of leaders fully accepted the essentiality of Gandhi ji’s leadership.

Finally, congress suspended all propaganda against council entry and permitted Congressmen to stand as candidates and exercise their franchise in forthcoming elections.


Q.4) The temple entry campaign used all the techniques developed by the Indian people in the course of the nationalist struggle.Explain and Discuss the importance of Vaikom satyagraha in the temple entry movement. (GS-1)

Answer: Congress decided to take active steps towards the eradication of untouchability. Along with a massive propaganda campaign against untouchability, it was decided to launch an immediate movement to open Hindu temples and all public roads to the avarnas or Harijans.

This is formally called the Temple Entry movement.

What techniques they used:

  1. Satyagraha -at Vaikom by defying the rulers by leading a procession of savarnas (caste Hindus) and avarnas on the temple roads
  2. Organisations – Many savarna organizations supported the Satyagraha. Yogakshema Sabha, the leading organization of the Namboodins (highest Brahmins by caste), passed a resolution favouring the opening of temples to avarnas.
  3. Participation of youth and people from all walks of life
  4. Fast unto death by Kelappan
  5. Organisers could impart mass education, and mobilize the people on a very wide scale on the question of untouchability.

In 1936, the Maharaja of Travancore issued a proclamation throwing open all Government controlled temples to all Hindus irrespective of caste. Other provinces under Congress rule also took similar steps.

Importance of Vaikom satyagraha in Temple entry Movement:

Vaikom is a village in Travancore where the temple roads around the walls could not be used by avarnas like Ezhavas and Pulayas.

  1. They decided to use Satyagraha to fight untouchability.
  2. It demonstrated the pan-India reach of the movement as jathas from as far as Punjab and MAdurai have come to Kerala
  3. It arouse the conscience of savarnas(upper castes) and mobilized their active support.
  4. It could mobilise large people and build unity on the issue of untouchability
  5. The support of upper castes show the massive awareness levels the movement has been able to generate.


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