Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 29, 2019


Q.1) India has entered an elite space club with Mission Shakti- Anti-Satellite Missile Test. What is Anti-Satellite Missile Test? Critically examine Mission shakti and its benefits for India?


It is the technological capability to hit and destroy satellites in space through missiles launched from the ground. Anti-satellite (A-Sat) weapons that attempt to directly strike or detonate near a satellite or other targets are called kinetic physical weapons.

Significance for India:

  1. India among Elite Group – Anti-satellite technology has so far been in the hands of very few countries: United States, Russia and China. The acquisition and demonstration of this technology make India a member of an elite group of countries.
  2. Indigenous Efforts – Indigenously developed technology adds to India’s credentials, given that for many decades India was kept away from acquiring key technologies, forcing the country to develop its own space and nuclear capabilities.
  3. Capability to destroy enemy satellites – Anti-satellite weapons provide the capability to shoot down enemy satellites in orbit thereby disrupting critical communications and surveillance capabilities. It can cripple enemy infrastructure without causing any threat to human lives.
  4. Space deterrence – Anti-Satellite missile test provides credible deterrence against threats to our growing space-based assets from long range missiles, and proliferation in the types and numbers of missiles.
  5. Spin off effect – The acquisition of this technology is expected to have spin-offs that India can exploit for commercial use, both domestic and globally.
  6. Drafting of International law: India expects to play a role in the future in the drafting of international law on prevention of an arms race in outer space including inter alia on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space in its capacity as a major space faring nation with proven space technology. India was not considered a nuclear weapons state during Non-proliferation treaty because it did not test before January 1968.


Q.2) Universal ban on liquor can solve many social evils and improve the status of women and children. Critically Examine


Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) found that prohibition is making people of Bihar spend more on good clothes and food.

Arguments in favour of prohibition:

  1. To reduce crime and corruption. ADRI report on prohibition in Bihar noted there was a 66.6% dip in cases of kidnapping for ransom, followed by 28.3% dip in murder cases and 2.3% in dacoity.
  2. To reduce the state’s expenditure otherwise spend on public health and law & order.
  3. To improve health and hygiene.
  4. ADRI report finds an impressive rise in sale of honey (380%), cheese (200%), buttermilk (40%), flavoured milk (28.4%) and lassi (19.7%)
  5. To bring positive impact on women and families. ADRI report observed that 58% women feel they were given more respect and played a better role in making household decisions
  6. Prohibition helps money to get directed towards health and education in family. It paves way for development.
  7. In India, the common mass is generally occasional drinker. Curtailing alcohol supply will in hand curtail their drinking behavior.
  8. According to NCRB data, 15 people die every day – or one every 96 minutes – from the effects of drinking alcohol. Many accidents are fuelled by alcohol.  Many a times it leads to sexual harassment of women and robberies.


Q.3) What is glacial harvesting? What are the mechanisms and means of glacial harvesting and problems of implementation?


Glacial Harvesting refers to construction of artificial glaciers in a system where melt-water is diverted to a shady areas through iron pipes in winter, and trapped by an embankment.


  1. Diverting meltwater to a shady area through iron pipes in the winter, and reducing its velocity by putting up an embankment.
  2. Passing through the iron pipes, the water freezes naturally to form glaciers that can hold about 10 lakh cubic feet of ice.
  3. By early March, the temperature starts to rise, thereby melting the ‘glaciers’. This water trickles into the reservoir and can be channeled to the fields for irrigation or supply clean water to the villages below.


  1. These glaciers need regular maintenance, since boulders can fall into distribution channels and block the flow of water in summer.
  2. The embankments can also be damaged and destroyed in floods and snowstorms.


Q.4) Discuss the steps taken by Government to safeguard India maritime zone and key challenges to the coastal security arrangement in Indian Ocean.


Threats to Coastal Security:

  1. Maritime Terrorism – terrorist acts and activities within the maritime environment, using or against vessels or fixed platforms at sea or in port.
  2. Piracy and Armed Robbery – shallow waters of the Sundarbans have been witnessing ‘acts of violence and detention’ by gangs of criminals that are akin to piracy. The gangs attack fishermen, hijack their boats, hold them hostage for ransom.
  3. Smuggling and Trafficking – Indian coasts have been susceptible to smuggling. Gold, electronic goods, narcotics, and arms have been smuggled through the sea for a longtime.
  4. Infiltration, Illegal Migration and the Refugee Influx – India’s land boundaries have always been porous to infiltration by terrorists/militants and large scale illegal migration.
  5. Straying of Fishermen beyond the Maritime Boundary – The frequent straying of fishermen into neighboring country waters has not only jeopardized the safety of the fishermen but has also raised national security concerns.


  1. Surveillance and interagency coordination – India needs better surveillance coverage. Beyond expediting the installation of coastal radar chains and National Automatic Identification System AIS stations and ensuring broad access to information, the authorities must ensure the mandatory fitment of AIS on power-driven vessels with a length more than 10m.
  2. Stronger involvement of coastal police – Instead of setting up a coastal border security force with no legal powers, the authorities must move to strengthen and better integrate the coastal police into the littoral security architecture.
  3. National commercial maritime security policy document – It must also promulgate a National Strategy for Commercial Maritime Security for efficient, coordinated, and effective action for protection of the port and shipping infrastructure
  4. Training Marine Police – MHA to concentrate on training of marine police with recruitment of talented local fishermen and provision of incentives such as sea duty allowance.
  5. Creation of a joint technical cadre along with logistics infrastructure for maintenance of boats used for patrolling so as to address the issues related to operational availability of these assets.
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