Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 1, 2018


Q.1) What is Commonwealth? In your opinion, how do you think India can make the most of Commonwealth? (GS – 2)



  • The Commonwealth is an association of 53 independent countries that work together to pursue common goals which promote development, democracy and peace.
  • The Commonwealth was created in the early 1900s when nations that were formerly a part of the British Empire began to secede.

India and commonwealth:

  • India is one of the founding members of the modern Commonwealth.
  • In the past, the Commonwealth has evoked a mixed reaction within India.  
  • India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, played a key role in the creation of the modern Commonwealth in 1949, Indian policy-makers over the years have considered it as a relic of empire and steeped in colonial legacy.
  • In 1983, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi hosted CHOGM in New Delhi and until 2009, Indian prime ministers have enthusiastically attended the biennial CHOGM summits.

Membership today is based on free and equal voluntary cooperation.

Why India should connect to commonwealth?

  • India is the fastest-growing large economy in the world. After decades India now believes that a rejuvenated Commonwealth could lend greater depth to India’s global outreach.
  • In view of the shift in global economics and politics towards the East and the South, many Commonwealth states prefer to deal with emerging economies.
  • India has the largest economy in the Commonwealth after the UK, India is expected to overtake the UK as the fifth-largest economy in the world and the largest in the Commonwealth.
  • The Commonwealth can be a suitable platform for discussing the issues around visas and immigration, especially with countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia where such issues are stark.
  • India is also looking at sharing its experience in other areas such as solar energy, digitisation, and trade and investment, as part of its wider role in the Commonwealth to complement several development-oriented and capacity-building.
  • The Commonwealth provides a forum where India can raise critical issues of global concern.
  • With almost 53 nations in the forum, India can positively raise concern for discussing major international issues such as global terrorism and climate change, serving as an effective arena for India to build consensus.
  • A platform to connect with UK after Brexit.

Q.2) What is the extent of malnutrition in India? How Niti Aayogs’ National Nutrition Strategy (NNS) proposes to fight against malnutrition?


  • Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.
  • Malnutrition indicates that children are either too short for their age or too thin. Children whose height is below the average for their age are considered to be stunted.

Status of Malnutrition in India:

As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 (2015-16):

  • 7 per cent children below five years are underweight.
  • 4 per cent are stunted and 21 per cent are wasted in the country.
  • About 8% of children are stunted.
  • About 21% of children under the age of five are wasted according to the National Family Health Survey-4 data.
  • In the State of Madhya Pradesh 42.8 per cent children below five years are underweight, 42 per cent are stunted and 25.8 per cent are wasted.

According to UNICEF:

  • India is at the 10th spot among countries with the highest number of underweight children, and
  • India is on the 17th spot for the highest number of stunted children in the world.

Facts from National Family Health Survey 4 data for 2015-16:

  • Of the mothers who participated in the survey, more than 50% provided immunization to their children, across all categories based on caste and education.
  • Nutritional status varied across categories.
  • Stunted growth was seen in children of around 51% of the uneducated women compared with 31% of educated women’s children. About 47% of the uneducated women had underweight children.
  • Percentage of children who were underweight and had stunted growth was greater among Scheduled Tribes compared with other caste categories. Children of around 44% of the women from Scheduled Tribes showed stunted growth and about 45% were underweight.

Key strategies of National Nutrition Strategy are as follows:

  • Reduce all forms of malnutrition by 2030, with a focus on the most vulnerable and critical age groups.
  • Assist in achieving the targets identified as part of the Sustainable Development Goals related to nutrition and health.
  • Launch a National Nutrition Mission, similar to the National Health Mission.
    • This is to enable integration of nutrition-related interventions cutting across sectors like women and child development, health, food and public distribution, sanitation, drinking water, and rural development.
  • Promotion of a decentralised approach with greater flexibility and decision making at the state, district and local levels.
  • Strengthen the ownership of Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies over nutrition initiatives.  
    • This is to enable decentralised planning and local innovation along with accountability for nutrition outcomes.
  • Launch of interventions with a focus on improving healthcare and nutrition among children:
    • promotion of breastfeeding for the first six months after birth,
    • universal access to infant and young child care (including ICDS and crèches),
    • enhanced care, referrals and management of severely undernourished and sick children,
    • bi-annual vitamin A supplements for children in the age group of 9 months to 5 years, and
    • micro-nutrient supplements and bi-annual de-worming for children.
  • Measures to improve maternal care and nutrition include:
    • supplementary nutritional support during pregnancy and lactation,
    • health and nutrition counselling,
    • adequate consumption of iodised salt and screening of severe anaemia, and
    • institutional childbirth, lactation management and improved post-natal care.
  • Governance reforms envisaged in the Strategy include:
    • convergence of state and district implementation plans for ICDS, NHM and Swachh Bharat,
    • focus on the most vulnerable communities in districts with the highest levels of child malnutrition, and
    • service delivery models based on evidence of impact.

Q.3) Write short notes on:

A.Peace Mission

B.‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme

Peace Mission:

  • The SCO is a permanent intergovernmental organization concerning Central Asia and its surrounding regions aimed at cultivating multilateral cooperation in many areas, including trade, energy, education, tourism and others
  • The members of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation would participate in a multilateral joint military exercise to be held in the Ural mountains of Russian in 2018.
  • Peace Mission is a biennially-held counter-terrorism exercise involving  SCO members.
  • The main aim of the exercise, Peace Mission, will be to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries.
  • The previous Peace Mission was held in 2016 in Kyrgyzstan but India and Pakistan did not participate in it at they were not full time SCO members then.
  • It will be for the first time since Independence that India and Pakistan will both be part of a military exercise, though the Armies of the two nations have worked together in UN peacekeeping missions.

‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme:

  • “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan”, is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and State/UTs  Governments.
  • The project primarily focusses on providing basic amenities that includes cleanliness, public conveniences, drinking water, ease of access for differently abled and senior citizens, standardized signage, illumination and advanced amenities such as surveillance system, night viewing facilities, tourism facilitation center and an enhanced tourism experience that will result in more tourist footfalls, both domestic and foreign.

The priority areas of Programme are listed as under:

  • Developing basic tourism infrastructure;
  • Promoting cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions;
  • Enhancing the tourist attractiveness in a sustainable manner by developing world-class infrastructure at the heritage monument sites;
  • Creating employment through active involvement of local communities;
  • Harnessing tourism potential for its effects in employment generation and economic development;
  • Developing sustainable tourism infrastructure and ensuring proper Operations and Maintenance therein.
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