Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 30, 2018


Q.1) Do you think that re-implementation of Rashtriya UchchatarShiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) can bring about major reforms in the educational sector of India? Justify your answer with relevant examples (GS – 1)


  • Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan is a holistic scheme of development for higher education in India initiated in 2013 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

Potentials of Rashtriya UchchatarShiksha Abhiyan (RUSA):

The potentials of Rashtriya UchchatarShiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) are as follows:

Findings of the performance review:

  • Funding linked to reforms has had a visible impact on higher education.
  • Before: When RUSA began, the gross enrolment ratio (GER) was 19.4%, faculty vacancies were at a high level of 60%, and a large number of universities were bloated with a teacher-student ratio of 1:24
  • Now: GER is 25.2%, faculty vacancies are down to 35%, the ban on faculty recruitment by States has been lifted, and and the teacher-student ratio is now 1:20

Reforms in universities:

  • Several universities in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been right-sized.

Visible governance reforms:

  • Critical governance reforms such as the formation of the SHEC and merit-based appointments of vice-chancellors in Odisha, Goa, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu are visible.

Improvement in accredited institutions:

  • There has been an improvement in the number of institutions accredited and their scores.
  • In 2012, 106 State universities and 4,684 colleges were accredited. By 2017, an additional 145 State universities and 5,445 Colleges were accredited.

Release of funds linked to reforms:

  • The scheme is largely based on the conditional release of funds linked to reforms in the key areas of governance, learning-teaching outcomes, reaching out to the unreached and infrastructure support

Process driven scheme:

  • RUSA is a process-driven scheme.
  • Its design and conceptualisation were finalised through extensive consultations with all key stakeholders, especially State governments.

Preparatory grants:

  • Grants were released to States to have the required systems, processes, and the technical support in place.


  • Thus, re-implementation of Rashtriya UchchatarShiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) can bring about major reforms in the educational sector of India.

Q.2)  What proactive policies should India take  to refresh its domestic engagement with the the Tibetian community without escalating the tensions with China? Elaborate. (GS-2)


  • While Indian strategists have handed down the idea of a Tibet card for decades, it is time to revise this policy with a thorough evaluation of the ground, from New Delhi to Beijing and Lhasa to Dharamshala.

What India proactive policies should India take  to refresh its domestic engagement with the the Tibetian community?

The proactive policies should India take  to refresh its domestic engagement with the the Tibetian community are as follows:

  • There is an urgent need for community outreach, surveys and a referendum, if necessary, to map what the Tibetan community in India wants in its future.
  • For those who want to make India a permanent home, especially those in the new generation, India must reconsider its citizenship laws.
  • Above all, the Indian foreign policy establishment needs to stop seeing the Tibetan population in India as a strategic tool.

Why using the Tibetan card is not a correct strategy?

Using the Tibetan card is not a correct strategy because of the following reasons:

Tibet had no role in deteriorating relations with China:

  • Ties between New Delhi and Beijing have deteriorated over the past few years for a number of reasons unconnected to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan population in India

Changing ground realities in Tibet:

  • Development of Tibetan cities: The landscape of Tibet, now crisscrossed with railway lines, super-speed highways, tunnels and airports, has changed drastically in the past two decades e.g. Beijing-Lhasa railway line, the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) now sees many more such engineering marvels (albeit at the cost of its environment), and downtown Lhasa has all the trappings of a modern city
  • Demographic shift in Tibet (Increasing Chinese influence): With Beijing populating areas with majority ‘Han’ Chinese workers, encouraging mixed marriages, and mainstreaming Chinese culture into the region
  • Decreasing outflow of Tibetan refugees to India: The outflow of refugees from Tibet has been curtailed by the Chinese authorities over the last decade, mainly by convincing Nepal to close a popular route and the once bustling informal trade route between India and Tibet has also dried up

New Generations born in India unaware of situation in Tibet:

  • New generations of Tibetans born in India are brought up as exiles, without a real sense of what Tibet may actually be like, should they ever return
  • Weak relations with India: The government’s attitude towards giving them citizenship has been stern, although it lost its case in the Delhi High Court (Namgyal Dolkar v. Government of India) and must give citizenship to all Tibetan refugees born between 1950 and 1987, the cut-off year.

Uncertain future of Tibetan leadership:

  • During his lifetime, the Dalai Lama has been a unifying force, guiding the community through their struggle in a peaceful manner, while accepting an autonomous Tibet as a part of China but after him, the direction the community takes will be of vital interest to India as well


  • India’s “Tibet card” is out of step with all the shifts on the ground, and the government needs a proactive policy that takes into account these new realities.

Q3) Write short notes on:

Bt Cotton (GS-3)

  • Bt cotton is a genetically modified organism (GMO) cotton variety, which produces an insecticide to bollworm.
  • Bt stands for Bacillus thuringiensis – a soil bacterium which contains a toxic gene called Bt gene.


  • The aim is to make the cotton crop resistant to bollworm.
  • Hence through genetic engineering the gene is inserted into the cotton seed.
  • Due to this the toxin will no more be harmful to the plant because bt gene now becomes a part of it just like other genes.
  • Along with this, a gene responsible for high yield is chosen from another cotton variety and fused into the same seed.
  • Finally a seed is produced which is pest resistant and high yielding.

GSAT 6A (GS -3)

  • GSAT-6A is a communications satellite operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation.
  • Around 17 minutes after lifting off, the three stage GSLV Mk.ll rocket flying on GSLV F08 mission successfully injected the satellite into a Geosynchronous Transfer orbit.
  • In the coming days, the scientists will fire the thrusters on board the satellite to manoeuvre it to a geostationary orbit at an altitude of 36,000km from earth.


  • GSAT-6A features a 6-metre (20 ft) unfurlable S-band antenna similar to the one used on GSAT-6
  • The new GSLV is different from previous ones as ISRO has accompanied the new Vikas engine that gives 6% more thrust and 50% increased payload carrying capabilities.
  • The next generation engine, which powered the rocket’s second stage, has increased the payload capacity by 2.5 tonnes.


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