Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 11, 2019

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Q.1) As per the information revealed by an RTI, total of 384 tigers have been killed by poachers across the country in the last ten years. Discuss the reasons which create hurdles in elimination of poaching and laws and mechanism available in India against it?

Answer:

Hurdles in eliminating poaching:

  1. Difficult terrain
  2. Support of local groups to organised criminal gangs due to poverty
  3. Lack of infrastructure
  4. weak law enforcement mechanism; lack of coordination between the administration and law enforcement
  5. Disasters in the protected areas
  6. ineffective and cumbersome intelligence-gathering mechanism
  7. lack of monetary resources and modern equipment
  8. absence of anti-trafficking and anti-poaching tools, manpower, vehicles, and skilled enforcers

Mechanisms available:

  1. Wildlife Protection Act has stipulated strict punishments which include prison terms and fines
  2. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)
  3. TRAFFIC India pioneered the training of the sniffer dogs for wildlife protection in India back in 2008
  4. India is member of organisations like CITES, CMS that arrest cross border trade of wildlife
  5. Protected areas in the country also provide a shield against wildlife trade

 

Q.2) Complexities of forest fires need to be understood, it is crucial part of some forest ecosystems. Comment.

Answer:

A group of scientists have submitted a paper that proves the importance of forest fires in protecting certain ecosystems. The benefits of forest fires are:

  1. fire helps revive dormant seeds of many species
  2. even young woody trees survive ground fires and have higher growth rates immediately post-fire, until they reach a certain height
  3. fires, along with seasonal droughts, are important drivers of dry deciduous tracts across Andhra Pradesh-Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
  4. fires even suppressing invasive species
  5. tribal communities use of small “litter fires” just before the dry season to control invasive species
  6. Controlled fires in areas that have huge fuel loads around December can help prevent as well as reduce the impact of large fires later in the season
  7. If an area is continuously protected from fire, it could catch fire once in four years or so because of the high accumulation of grass, wood and twigs

 

Q.3) 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.

 

Q.4) On the one hand social media is seen as a challenge in internal security of India and on the other hand it can be a solution for the same. Critically examine.

Answer:

Challenges posed by social media:

  1. Fake News generate panic and push law and order system to the brink. The examples of NE people mass exodus from Bangalore and the recent riots in Muzaffarnagar are examples.
  2. Cyber Crimes – Cyber crimes have become prominent on Social Networking Sites because of the simple fact that people reveal a lot about themselves on these sites.
  3. Harassment of the vulnerable – particularly women and children
  4. The recent revelations of role of Cambridge Analytica in the victory of Trump points to the negative role of social media sites in politics.
  5. Today terrorists select Social Media as a practical alternative to disturb the function of nations and other business activities because this technique has potential to cause huge damage.

How it benefits:

  1. Due to the massive reach, it will be easy for the administration to spread correct information to citizens.
  2. the notion of a community is being reconceptualized after the introduction of social networking sites, as these sites serve as platforms for political-social organization. They act as vital tools of communication and collaboration.
  3. It has a huge role to play in times of disasters by assisting the administration.
  4. With the help of technology companies, it becomes easy to curtail some of these negative effects. WhatsApp’s restrictions on groups, forwards are an example. Twitter can also develop similar filters to reduce sharing of outrageous content.
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