Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 8, 2018


Q1) The mandatory use of digital identities requires clearly establishing a legitimate state interest and enacting a proportional and just law. Elaborate (GS – 3)


  • Databases linked by unique identities can possibly create an infrastructure for totalitarian observation of citizens’ activities across different domains
  • The mere existence of such infrastructure, if unrestricted, can potentially disturb the balance of power between the citizens and the state, stifle dissent and be a threat to civil liberty and democracy
  • Not only can personal information leach out and be used by unpredictable entities in unpredictable ways, but one can also be mis-profiled, wrongly assessed or even influenced using out-of-context data, without being able to control such actions or sometimes even being aware of them
  • Exclusions and denials because of poorly thought out use cases, like perhaps because fingerprints do not match, are more direct violations.

What India needs to do?

  • We should have stricter provisions than the sector-specific standards in the US
  • India should ideally have a more innovation-friendly setup than what the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can offer, which perhaps is unduly restrictive but is unlikely to be commensurately effective
  • Our designs need to be especially sensitive to our large under-privileged population, which may not have the necessary cultural capital to deal with overly complex digital setups
  • Not only do the data regulators require independent authority, but they also need to actively participate in the data protection architecture
  • Apart from determining the fairness of algorithms and use cases, they need to play two other main roles
  • The first should be to determine, and explicitly list out, authorisations for data access for various data processing functions based on a rights-based principle in addition to consent
  • Purpose limitation needs to be built into such authorisations, and all-purpose extension requirements must be explicitly considered
  • The second role should be to ensure that data can be accessed only through audited, pre-approved and digitally signed computer programs after online authentication and verification of the authorisations presented
  • Both the data regulator and the data controller should maintain non-repudiable logs of all data accesses, and neither should be able to access the data independent of the other.  

Q2) What do you mean by the term In-Flight-Connectivity? How is it made available and issues involved in the same?


  • Inflight connectivity consists of internet and mobile connectivity in the airspace.
  • As the aircraft is out of reach of the mobile towers on the ground, an inflight service provider provides a link between the electronic devices on the aircraft and the towers on the ground.
  • With the proliferation of mobile phones and internet, there has been a strong demand for mobile and data connectivity on flights, especially in long haul flights where the passengers are cut off from the ground for long periods of time., for example 15 hours.

In-flight internet services are made available through geostationary satellites, widely used for TV signals and weather forecast. The technologies used are as follows:

Technology 1:

  • An onboard antenna picks up signals from the nearest tower on the ground, just like, say, a moving car.
  • Unless the aircraft passes over a big water body with no towers, the connection will remain seamless up to a certain altitude.

Technology 2:

  • Satellites can be used to connect to ground stations, similar to the way satellite TV signals are transmitted.
  • The data is transmitted to a personal electronic device through an onboard router, which connects to the plane’s antenna. The antenna transmits the signals, through satellites, to a ground station, which redirects the traffic to a billing server that calculates the data consumption. It is then relayed to the intercepting servers, and to the World Wide Web.


  • Cost of installation: The cost of installation would be huge. It would be easier to have the equipment installed on new aircrafts rather than taking planes out of service for retrofitting.It might also lead to disruption in services.
  • Noise in aircrafts: Service will help travellers immensely, although noise levels within aircraft may rise.
  • Cost of making calls:These are satellite calls. The prices will be equal to roaming rates. Might not be preferred by all passengers.
  • Rise in ticket prices:Depending on airlines’ commercial decisions, the additional cost could find a way into ticket prices, which are already under pressure from rising fuel prices. The charges may not be recoverable from passengers in short-haul flights.
  • Extra fuel cost:  Apart from the equipment cost, airlines will have to bear additional fuel costs, given the extra weight and drag aircraft will face due to the antenna.
  • Speed issues:  WiFi on a plane is much slower than on the ground.

Q3) Write short notes on:

a) Hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction.

  • The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another.
  • The Hague Convention protects children and their families against the risks of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared adoptions abroad.
  • The Hague Convention does not allow private adoptions in the child’s home country.
  • Adoption is a handled by the provinces and territories, and they all have and follow laws implementing the Hague Convention. They can explain the rules you need to follow under the Hague Convention and for adoptions from a country that is not a party to the Convention.
  • India has not yet ratified the convention and has formed an expert panel to look into it.

b) China Pakistan economic corridor

  • The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China’s ambitious project for increasing connectivity and economic cooperation within Eurasia.
  • China Pakistan economic corridor is a part of China’s BRI.
  • It passes through a disputed region between India and Pakistan.
  • CPEC is intended to rapidly modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
  • On 13 November 2016, CPEC became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar Port for onward maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia, while some major power projects were commissioned by late 2017.
  • India’s not joined China’s BRI mainly due to CPEC which directly affects the sovereignty of India.
Print Friendly and PDF