Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – November 14, 2018


Q.1) The Supreme Court of India’s role to orchestrate environmental governance in the case relating to pollution in Delhi is seen as a problem. Examine why.


Supreme Court has ordered a series of steps ranging from constituting EPCA to ban on several pollution causing activities to address the problem of air pollution in Delhi.

Problems with Supreme Court’s role:

  1. Often it is seen as stepping into the executive domain of work
  2. The judgements lack scientific validity and are impractical to monitor and implement
  3. While the right to a pollution-free environment can be traced to Article 21, it is neither a problem unique to Delhi nor the exceptional responsibility of few sources of pollution. Supreme Court is failing to bring all stakeholders to book.
  4. When American Supreme Court tried to effectuate ground-level social change three constraints emerged – a lack of independence, limited text of constitutional rights and inability to conceptualise and enforce holistic reform.
  5. Playing such a core governance function means that people expect it to be accountable as government is, which courts fail to do often.
  6. It also violates the delicate separation of powers and balance of power within the system.


Q.2) With the completion of a maiden ‘deterrent patrol’ by INS Arihant, Nuclear triad is now fully operational and provides us with credible strategic deterrence. Examine with special reference to India’s planning for future wars and preparedness against nuclear threats.


Indian navy’s first home-built, nuclear-propelled, ballistic-missile armed submarine INS Arihant’s “deterrent patrol” recently completed India’s nuclear triad.

Importance of Nuclear triad:

  1. As a nation committed to “no first use” (NFU), it is of critical importance that an adversary contemplating a nuclear strike should never be in doubt about the credibility of India’s nuclear deterrent and the assurance of a swift, devastating response.
  2. The land-based legs of our nuclear triad remain exposed to enemy attack. The best way for India to provide invulnerability to its deterrent was to send it underwater.
  3. Once the submarine disappears underwater, it becomes virtually impossible to locate and can remain on patrol for months, with its ballistic missiles ready for launch.
  4. India has hostile neighbours who are also nuclear powers, along our western, northern and north-eastern borders.
  5. Furthermore in the Indian Ocean, Chinese submarines are present through the string of pearls strategy. It is believed that they have deployed seven to eight submarines, alternating between nuclear and conventional, under the guise of anti-piracy patrols since 2013.

Challenges remaining:

  1. Issue of missile ranges – Islamabad is 2,500 km, while Beijing and Shanghai are over 4,000 km. To target cities and nuclear forces deep inside China or Pakistan, India needs a submarine-launched ballistic missile of 6,000-8,000-km range. The missile, reportedly, carried by the Arihant is the K-15, whose range falls below 1,000 km.
  2. The nuclear-reactors of our SSBNs will need re-fuelling every few years. The process being a rather lengthy one, India would require an inventory of at least 3-4 SSBNs to maintain one on deterrent patrol off each seaboard.
  3. Framing the national security doctrine.


Q.3) India has been one of the biggest ‘improvers’ in the 2019 Ease of Doing Business Index. Discuss the India’s improvements and challenges in ease of doing business.


World Bank’s latest Doing Business Report, 2019 placed India at 77th rank among 190 countries.

India’s improvements:

India has improved its rank in 6 out of 10 indicators and has moved closer to international best practices.

  1. In grant of construction permits, India’s rank improved from 181 in 2017 to 52 in 2018, an improvement of 129 ranks in a single year.
  2. In ‘Trading across Borders’, India’s rank improved by 66 positions moving from 146 in 2017 to 80 in 2018. Upgrades in port infrastructure, a move to online documentation and facilities for exporters to seal their containers on their own, helped.
  3. For starting a Business, time reduced from 30 to 16 days in Delhi and 29.5 to 17 days in Mumbai. Its rank improved from 156 to 137.
  4. In access to credit, rank improved from 29 to 22.

Challenges in ease of doing business:

  1. Score remains dismal on registering property, where it ranks 166. While it takes 69 days to register a piece of property and costs about 8% of its value in India, the norm for OECD countries is just 20 days at half that cost.
  2. Despite the advent of GST, India remained back on this at a rank of 121. A typical Mumbai-based firm makes 13 tax payments a year, spends 278 hours on this and coughs up 52% of its profits.
  3. India also fares poorly, at rank 163, on enforcing contracts. While enforcing a claim through the courts in Mumbai takes 1,445 days and costs 31% of claim value, OECD nations manage this feat in 582 days at a cost of 21%.


Q.4) Evaluate industrial growth in India during 20th century? Also critically analyze the British Policy towards Indian Business.


Industrial growth in 20th century:

  1. During the first part of 20th century, Swadeshi movement stimulated the industrialisation process in India.
  2. The First World War raised huge demand for factory goods in India and also resulted in substantial fall in imports from England and other countries. This situation provided additional incentive to increasing the production of iron and steel, cotton and woollen textiles, jute, leather goods etc.
  3. Outbreak of Second World War increased the demand for manufactured goods substantially. This led to rapid expansion of the existing industries which utilised its existing capacity to the fullest extent. This led to increase in the industrial output by 20% during the period 1939-45.

British policy towards Indian business:

  1. In 1923, the then Government of India accepted the recommendation of First Fiscal Commission and offered protection to some selected Indian industries against foreign competition.
  2. During the period 1924-39, various major industries like iron and steel, cotton textiles, jute, matches, sugar, paper and pulp industry etc. were brought under protection scheme.
  3. Britishers tried to transform the Indian economy as the producer of industrial raw materials and tried to capture Indian market for their industrial finished goods.
  4. Later on, British capitalists gradually developed various industries like, jute, tea, coffee, cotton and textiles, paper and paper pulp, sugar etc. in India only due to geographical reasons and exploited Indian labourers extensively.
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