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


Q.1) According to the recently published, UN World Water Development Report “dams in India have done more harm than good to the cause of water security.” Do you agree with the statement? Justify (GS – 3)


  • According to the recently published, UN World Water Development Report “dams in India have done more harm than good to the cause of water security.”
  • Currently, an estimated 3.6 billion people (nearly half the global population) live in areas that are potentially water-scarce at least one month per year.
  • This population could increase to some 4.8 to 5.7 billion by 2050.
  • Water scarcity can lead to civil unrest, mass migration, and even to conflicts within and between countries.

Reasons for which dams have done harm to the cause of  water security:

Yes, dams in India have done more harm than good to the cause of water security. The are as follows:

  • A century or more of large-scale water development had resulted in major social and ecological impacts, including substantial human displacement, soil erosion and widespread waterlogging.
  • With India being world’s largest extractor of ground water, even the water-rich high flood-prone regions like Gangetic basins are facing groundwater depletion.
  • Water withdrawals for irrigation purposes have been identified as the primary driver of groundwater depletion.
  • Even though large-scale groundwater recharge programmes have been operating in India for decades, the focus has been on water-scarce areas, with no real emphasis on flood risk management.
  • Also, two-thirds of forests and wetland lost globally, soil is eroding and deteriorating in quality.

Q.2) What do you mean by the term ‘predatory journals’?  Does it cost any significant harm in the field of  literature? Explain. (GS – 1)


  • Coined by Jeffrey Beall, a predatory journal is a publication that actively asks researchers for manuscripts.
  • They have no peer review system and no true editorial board and are often found to publish mediocre or even worthless papers.

Adverse effects of predatory journals in the field of  literature:

Predatory journals pose a number of ethical issues as well as conundrums for authors and academic institutions. Some of them are as follows:

  • Predatory journals misrepresent who they are and what services they offer, including not providing peer review, editing and indexing services.
  • Some manuscripts published in predatory journals have plagiarized content and are potentially fraudulent.
  • Predatory journals lack the standards and best practices established by the scholarly publishing community, which evaluate the research and improve the quality of the published work.
  • Predatory journals have no intent of following these best practices since the journal’s sole purpose is to make money.
  • Also, Since the journals are founded solely for financial reasons they are likely to cease publication when profits decline or investors turn their attention elsewhere.
  • Predatory journals spam potential authors in unrelated fields with solicitations promising fast publication, whereas legitimate journals selectively contact authors and never guarantee publication.
  • Authors may knowingly publish in predatory journals and list those publications on their CVs as if they were published in legitimate peer-reviewed journals and citing the articles as legitimate publications misrepresents authors’ scholarly effort.

Q3) Write short notes on:

a) Middle Palaeolithic (GS – 1)

b) ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy (GS-2)

Middle Palaeolithic:

  • The Middle Paleolithic (or Middle Palaeolithic) is the second subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia.
  • The Middle Paleolithic broadly spanned from 300,000 to 30,000 years ago.
  • The Middle Paleolithic was succeeded by the Upper Paleolithic subdivision which first began between 50,000 and 40,000 years ago.
  • Modern humans began migrating out of Africa during the Middle Stone Age/Middle Paleolithic around 100,000 or 70,000 years ago and began to replace earlier pre-existent Homo species such as the Neanderthals and Homo erectus.
  • However, recent discoveries of fossils originating from what is now Israel, indicate that our species (Homo sapians) lived outside of Africa 185,000 years ago; some 85,000 years earlier than previous evidence suggests.

b) ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy:

  • The “neighborhood first” policy is the striking feature of Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s diplomatic approach.
  • In his government’s strategic imagination, India’s relations with neighboring countries must receive topmost priority.
  • Prime Minister Modi selected Bhutan and Nepal for his first visits as part of his ‘Neighbours First’ foreign policy initiative.

Union budget allocation under ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy:

  • The External Affairs Ministry has been allocated a total Rs. 15,011 crore
  • For India’s development and diplomatic engagement under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the Budget has allocated Rs. 5545 crore.
  • Bhutan has been allocated Rs. 2,650 crore.
  • Nepal has received Rs. 650 crore.

Other allocations of the union budget under ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy:

  • For building infrastructure in Chabahar and the Seychelles have also been granted allocations of Rs 150 crore and Rs 350 crore respectively.
  • South Asia University, a major educational initiative for the South Asian region, has received Rs 375 crore and the Nalanda University got Rs 200 crore.
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