Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 7, 2019


Q.1) Reaching out to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is not only morally wrong but also politically futile. Discuss and also bring out significance of OIC for India.


Challenges in the relationship:

  1. India fundamentally is a secular nation, while OIC is an organisation formed to protect interest of muslims around the world, thus joining it would go against India’s fundamental principles.
  2. India, compared to Pakistan would not be valued there as Pakistan is very close to many member countries like Iran and Turkey with whom it shared membership of CENTO.
  3. Pakistan had great leverage with the conservative Arab monarchies for ideological reasons and because of the fact that its military was willing to provide the Arab monarchies with well-trained soldiers

Many events at the OIC went against the interest of India, such as:

  1. While OIC welcomed Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan to hand over the Indian pilot as a gesture of goodwill to de-escalate tensions in the region, it didn’t mention Pulwama terrorist attack.
  2. One of the most important setbacks was resolution by the OIC’s ministerial meeting in Abu Dhabi condemning state terrorism in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK).


Q.2) As per the reports Fifteen of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India. Discuss the reasons behind increasing pollution in India’s cities and steps needed to tackle this problem.


Increasing pollution in India:

  1. Lack of adherence to environmental norms by agriculture and industry
  2. Increasing vehicular emissions
  3. Poor law enforcement
  4. Pollution from households
  5. Lack of technological solutions to address air quality

Steps needed:

Important measurement include to control pollution related to

  1. Cutting down vehicular emissions
  2. Re-suspension of road dust and other fugitive emissions
  3. Bio-mass handling
  4. Avoiding municipal solid waste burning
  5. Strict curbs in Industrial pollution
  6. Moderating pollution from construction and demolition activities


Q.3) Highlight the problems faced by unorganised workers in India and measures taken by government to solve these problems.


Challenges of unorganised sector:

Unorganised sector constitute more than 90% of the labour workforce in India.

Problems of unorganised sector:

  1. It affects the wage premium and formal wage employment.
  2. Among self-employed persons, the share of those who found their work remunerative was below 50% and 60% in rural and urban areas respectively.
  3. No comprehensive social security
  4. No guaranteed minimum wages despite existing laws
  5. Bonded labour is reported as a problem by an ILO report last year
  6. Child Labour, as they are paid less and work for more hours
  7. Working Women face issues of harassment at workplace
  8. Lack of healthy and congenial environment at the workplace

Measures taken:

  1. PM Shram Yogi Mandhan Pension Yojana
  2. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana
  3. Atal Pension Yojana
  4. Aam Admi Bima Yojana
  5. Janani Suraksha Yojana
  6. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme
  7. The Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008 shall be eligible for registration; State Governments are to provide benefits of welfare schemes


Q.4) India must not underestimate the impact of the U.S. withdrawal of trade privileges, impacts would be much more than it estimates.


Established by the Trade Act of 1974, GSP promotes economic development by eliminating duties on thousands of products when imported from the designated beneficiary countries and territories.

Impact on India:

  1. It will impact the exports of a few domestic sectors such as processed food, leather, plastic, building material and tiles, engineering goods, and hand tools etc.,
  2. Removal of these duty concessions would make some products relatively uncompetitive in the US market compared to exports from other developing countries.
  3. India will lose a vital U.S. trade concession, under which it enjoys zero tariffs on $5.6 billion of exports to the United States.

What India can do:

  1. Diversifying export markets.
  2. Strengthening export competitiveness by focusing on India’s unique strengths.
  3. Incentivising exporters through Ease of Doing Business reforms, credit availability and market support.
  4. Earlier, India proposed tariffs of about $235 million on 29 American goods.
  5. India has also attempted to address the trade deficit, with purchase of American oil, energy and aircraft. A similar comprehensive trade “package” can be conceived.


Q.5) Discuss the hurdles facing permanent commissioning of women officers in armed forces. Also highlight the steps taken by government towards this aim.


Union Defence Ministry as announced that permanent commission will be granted for Women in all the 10 branches of Indian Army.

Challenges facing women into armed forces:

  1. This will not alter their position with respect to combat roles.
  2. Under permanent commission tenure, women could be exposed to hostile environments.
  3. The attendant hazard and trauma, possibility of being made a prisoner of war

Steps taken:

  1. Inducting them in the Indian Air Force’s fighter stream
  2. In the navy too, all non-seagoing branches/cadre have been opened for women officers through the SSC.
  3. Army has decided to induct women as soldiers or jawans, and they will be recruited for the Corps of Military Police.
  4. Currently women are serving as officers in the Army, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Navy.
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