Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 1, 2019

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Q.1) Critically examine cause and consequences of child marriage in India. What are the steps taken by government to stop child marriage?

Answer:

Child Marriage is defined as a marriage of a girl or boy before the age of 18 and refers to both formal marriages and informal unions in which children under the age of 18 live with a partner as if married.

Causes of child marriage:

  1. In communities where the practice is prevalent, marrying a girl as a child is part of a cluster of social norms and attitudes that reflect the low value accorded to the human rights of girls.
  2. Insecurities of parents of girl children about the possible violence against them in the society.
  3. The economic cost of bringing up a girl child and marrying her off due to the poor social practices like dowry etc.,
  4. Lack of awareness on the opportunities that await an educated girl.

Consequences:

  1. Girls are deprived of their basic rights to education and pursue any employment of their choice. Their bargaining capacity within the family is also bound to reduce.
  2. Girls who marry earlier in life are less likely to be informed about reproductive issues and because of this, pregnancy-related deaths are known to be the leading cause of mortality among married girls between 15 and 19 years of age.
  3. Infants born to mothers under the age of 18 are 60% more likely to die in their first year than to mothers over the age of 19.
  4. Young girls in a child marriage are more likely to experience domestic violence in their marriages as opposed to older women.

Steps taken to stop:

  1. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme
  2. Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
  3. India is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  4. Sukanya Samriddhi scheme

 

Q.2) Critically examine the role of cooperatives in post Independent India?

Answer:

The Cooperatives play very important role in India because it is an organization for the poor, illiterate and unskilled people. The importance of Cooperative sector for India is given below:

  1. It provides agricultural credits and funds where state and private sectors have not been able to do very much.
  2. It provides strategic inputs for the agricultural-sector; consumer societies meet their consumption requirements at concessional rates.
  3. It helps to overcome the constraints of agricultural development.
  4. It helps in providing critical credit to rural sector; be it industries or entrepreneurship.

Challenges:

  1. Mired in corruption and bad credit practices
  2. Lack of skilled professional
  3. Failure to self sustain themselves financially
  4. Excessive dependence on funds from state governments
  5. Dominance of Commercial banks

 

Q.3) The existing yield levels of a majority of crops remains much lower than the world average. Discuss the reason for low yield. Also, suggest measures to improve productivity.

Answer:

In India, average yields of wheat is 39% below China and in case of rice 46% below that of China’s.

Reasons:

  1. Poor quality of seeds
  2. Fragmentation of land
  3. Lack of irrigation facilities
  4. Soil degradation due to poor usage of fertilisers and pesticides
  5. Disguised unemployment

Measures to improve:

  1. Introduction of better and efficient irrigation facilities like micro irrigation techniques
  2. Promotion of agricultural mechanization to increase yield without resorting to hired labour
  3. Introduction and upgrading of large scale irrigation across the country, particularly in unirrigated areas
  4. Improve promotion and transport of farm produce by strengthening rural infrastructure
  5. Remove problems in marketing of farm produce including addressing the issues around APMC act. e-NAM could be a good start
  6. Improving storage facility, tenant security, supply of better quality seeds.
  7. Promote multiple cropping

 

Q.4) How are drug price regulated in India? What are the major issues regarding drug price regulation?

Answer:

Drug price regulations in India:

  1. NLEM includes essential medicines that satisfy the priority health needs of the population.
  2. National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority controls and regulates the prices of drugs in India under the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO), 1995

Issues regarding drug price regulation:

  1. Cost-based pricing policy resulted in comparatively lower prices than the current market-based policy.
  2. Supreme Court in 2015 termed national pharmaceutical pricing policy 2015 and drug price control order 2013 as unreasonable and irrational.
  3. The DPCO follows a market-based pricing mechanism. The ceiling price is worked out on the basis of the simple average price of all brands having at least 1% market share of the total market turnover of that medicine. This mechanism is contested by pharma companies.
  4. Pharma manufacturing companies feel disincentive in the process
  5. The recent report of the Competition Commission of India reveals that retailers’ margins as a primary cause of high prices of medicines. Drug price control will have less control in such situations.
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