Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 15, 2018


Q.1) Statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau reveal that there has been a steady increase in sexual crimes against children. In the light of the above statement, critically analyze the POSCO act in dealing with these crimes. What are the reasons for low conviction rates of child sexual abuse in India?(GS-1)

Statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau reveal that there has been a steady increase in sexual crimes against children.. According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2007, over half of the children surveyed reported having faced some form of sexual abuse. Recently, the Supreme Court has ordered a nationwide inquiry into how many child sex abusers had actually been   punished.

Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act (POCSO):

The act came into effect in 2012. The Act provides a graded classification of sexual offences against children, prescribes higher mandatory minimum sentences for such crimes, mandates several processes and safeguards to ensure a child-friendly trial such as the designation of “special courts”, child-friendly process of recording victim testimony, provision of compensation, protection of the identity of the child, etc.

There are some criticisms involved in the POSCO act due to which child sexual abuse problem still not able address. Some of these loopholes in the act are given below:

  • The POCSO Act, 2012 does not recognize consensual sexual acts among children or between a child and an adult. And this is where the problem lies – especially in societies where legal literacy is poor.
  • Police is highly mistrusted which makes such legislation ineffective.
  • Police harassment continues diluting effective functioning of special efforts by government.
  • Act focuses more towards punishment and lies absent at reformation efforts toward convicts.
  • Lack of medical professionals in remote areas.
  • Many loopholes in the act like issue of consenting activities, unwillingness of victim to provide testimony etc.
  • No provision of police training to deal sensitive cases of children.
  • No counselling available for children to recover the post crime trauma.
  • It emcompasses the biological age of the child and silent on the mental age considerations so many victims of cerebral palsy are not taken care of.
  • Exclusion of people with mental age below 18, as only biological age is considered in the act.

Reasons for low conviction rates of child sexual abuse in India:

  • One of the reasons for low conviction rates is the vast majority of victims turning hostile.
  • Lack of child-friendly procedures.
  • Challenges related to age-determination.
  • Poor appreciation of the testimony of the child adversely affects the conviction rate.
  • Majority of child sexual abuse goes unreported.
  • Only a fraction of the incidences of sexual abuse against children enter the criminal justice system, amongst which only a minuscule fraction end in a conviction.
  • Only about a third of child sexual abuse incidents/cases are identified, and even fewer are reported.
  • Researchers estimate that 38% of child victims disclose the fact that they have been sexually abused.
  • Lack of adequate information.

Q.2)India recently announced an ambitious plan called the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) to provide government-sponsored insurance to nearly 40% of India’s population. In this context discuss the relevance of NHPS towards universal health coverage. What more should be done to build an effective public health care system in India? (GS 3)

India recently announced an ambitious plan called the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) to provide government-sponsored insurance to roughly 500 million people or nearly 40% of India’s population.

The NHPS is considered to be a significant move towards universal health coverage due to the following reasons:

  • This is world’s largest health care program under this each poor will get Rs 5 lac per year to  protect their health.
  • The move is considered significant because India under-invests in the healthcare of its citizens and this is affecting the health and financial well-being of Indians.
  • Out-of-pocket payments for healthcare services are very high in our country (about 70%, according to the National Sample Survey Office, 2014), which causes impoverishment to nearly 7% of our population. Health-financing policy directly affects the financial protection of people when direct payments that are made to obtain health services do not threaten their living standards.
  • The NHPS will have access to health information of 500 million people. This is an unprecedented amount of data and if curated well, it can have far-reaching applications. It can be used comparative effectiveness research and understanding which treatments work in the real world rather than just in clinical trials.
  • It will provide universal health coverage through health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families.
  • Providing insurance to the poor not only saves lives but is also “cost-effective”.
  • Through this scheme beneficiaries will be able to take treatments within the country in private as well as government hospitals and health care centres.

What need to be done further?

  • There is need to pay attention on both design of NHPS and its implementation.
  • The number of forms people face to enroll in NHPS must be minimized. For this, Aadhaar should be made readily available to demographics where it does not exist.
  • Once enrolled, access to care should be provided where people live.
  • Programme financed by public money needs to conserve resources. Government sponsored insurance should be provided only to those who cannot afford insurance on their own.
  • Besides targeting the poor, insurance should also target health conditions where disease burden is high and effective interventions are available but underused.
  • Contracting with private hospitals and clinics. Nearly 75% of out-patient department care and 55% of in-patient department care in India is exclusively from the private sector. Therefore, private hospitals and clinics need to be part of NHPS.
  • Quality should be measured not only by the infrastructure available at the hospital but also by actual patient outcomes achieved.
  • NHPS should institute prior authorization for expensive medical procedures and surgeries.
  • NHPS doctors should review the medical records of NHPS beneficiaries to make sure that the surgery in medically warranted and meets evidence-based guidelines.
  • This new NHPS will cover the flaws of existing Rashtriya Swasthiya Bima Yojana, which offers the health insurance coverage to the poor workers who are working in unorganized sector.


Not addressing health issue disproportionately affects the weaker and vulnerable sections of society including women and children. A well developed NHPS has the potential to become the cornerstone of India’s healthcare needs for several future generations.

Q3)Write  short note on the following:

A- 20:80 gold import schemes(GS 3)

B- The Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP)(GS 3)

20:80 gold import schemes:

  • The scheme was introduced in August 2013 to curb the import of gold.
  • During this period, the country’s macroeconomic indicators, especially the current account deficit (the excess of imports over exports), were weak.
  • While 80% of gold imports under the scheme (India is one of the biggest importers of gold globally) could be sold in the country, at least 20% of imports had to be exported before importers could bring in new consignments.
  • The policy aimed to discourage gold imports to rein in the widening current account deficit.
  • The scheme was designed to restrict the import of gold, conserve foreign exchange by imposing export obligations, and ensure that the premium from purchase and sale of gold resided in the hands of public agencies.
  • At the time of its implementation, the 20:80 scheme was open only to banks and to public sector companies such as the Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation and the State Trading Corporation of India.
  • In May 2014, the RBI in consultation with the government widened the scheme to also allow Premium Trading Houses (PTH) and Star Trading Houses (STH), both private sector entities, to import gold.

B)The Financial Sector Assessment Program:

  • The Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) is a joint program of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • Launched in 1999 in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, the program brings together Bank  The FSAP provides a comprehensive framework through which assessors and authorities in participating countries can identify financial system vulnerabilities and develop appropriate policy responses.

The FSAP follows a three-pronged approach when looking at the country’s financial sector:

  1. The soundness of a financial system versus its vulnerabilities and risks that increase the likelihood or potential severity of financial sector crises.
  2. A country’s developmental needs in terms of infrastructure, institutions and markets.
  3. A country’s compliance with the observance of selected financial sector standards and code


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