Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – November 2, 2018


Q.1) What do you understand by Fourth Industrial revolution. Also mention the opportunity and challenges India would face with fourth Industrial Revolution.


4th IR or the major revolution since the industrial revolution involves fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres, collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems.

Opportunities to India:

  1. With more than 50% of population under the age of 27, India can become the knowledge economy of the world by supplying skilled workers that help in transition.
  2. It can help India leapfrog traditional phases of development and accelerate its transition to a developed nation.
  3. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used effectively to reduce poverty by improving policy making and implementation.
  4. Improve the lives of farmers by effective use of technology for precision and climate smart agriculture.
  5. Blockchain has potential applications to a wide range of issues – from cross-border data flows to the future provision of government services and natural resource management.
  6. Unmanned aircraft systems, commonly referred to as drones, have the ability to increase crop yields, make dangerous jobs safe, and act as a lifeline for remote populations.

Challenges faced by India:

  1. As it is technology intensive, the capital costs involved in making the transition are challenging to a developing nation like India.
  2. As the technology rapidly changes with advances in science, there is a need to build flexible and dynamic models to respond to the changes and optimize their impact.
  3. Challenges in skilling the workforce with rapidly evolving skills.
  4. It may result in substantial job losses.
  5. The country can’t lead the industrial revolution and drive the change towards the advancement of fourth industrial revolution without the penetration of electricity and internet.
  6. India needs to strengthen the manufacturing sector by using the latest technology and material such as 3D printing, nanotechnology, precision mechanical device, integrated circuits, medical imaging devices.


Q.2) What are the reasons for deteriorating air quality of north India? What steps are taken by government to tackle air pollution? Also suggest some measures.


Reasons for poor air quality:

  1. Motor vehicle emissions
  2. Fires on agricultural land/ stubble burning in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
  3. Exhaust from diesel generators
  4. Dust from construction sites
  5. Burning garbage
  6. Geography – stagnant wind speeds prevent PM from being flushed out of the region
  7. Hub for waste recycling lead to the pollutants from improper disposal practices feeding into poor air quality.

Steps taken to tackle pollution:

  1. Supreme Court-constituted Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, or EPCA.
  2. The Delhi High Court issued directions to the States of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to check air pollution arising out of crop burning.
  3. Burning of agriculture waste in the open fields can be punished under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981.
  4. Centre is partnering with Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to provide farmers with a range of mechanised implements to clear their fields of paddy crop residue to prepare for sowing wheat. There is a 50% subsidy to farmers, and a 75% waiver to cooperative societies, agencies that rent out equipment, farmers’ interest groups or gram panchayats to buy such machines.

Alternative measures:

  1. Converting the stubble into fuel at the local sites.
  2. Supplying technology to make easy the removal of stubble.
  3. Government can subsidise private participants in the process of procurement and conversion of the waste to manure or fuel.
  4. There are machines which can harvest crop residue and convert it into bundles mechanically for onward transportation and sale to thermal plants to produce electricity.
  5. Other set of machines can cut crop residue and mix it into soil through tractor-operated machines.


Q.3) Examine the key features of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and analyse key issues related to this Bill.


Features of the bill:

  1. The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
  2. Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years.  The Bill relaxes this 11 year requirement to 6 years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.


  1. States like Assam consider the Bill to work against the cultural and linguistic identity of the indigenous people of the State.
  2. There is an opposition to the idea of granting citizenship to an individual on the basis of religion.
  3. Bill is designed to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees persecuted in neighbouring countries. NRC does not distinguish migrants on the basis of religion. If the Bill becomes an Act, the non-Muslims need not go through any such process, thus it will clearly be discriminating against Muslims identified as undocumented immigrants.
  4. States sharing borders with Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan are likely to be affected.


Q.4) Who could be the non-state actors in the virtual world and how would they be different from the ones who operate in the real world? Also discuss the threats India faces from cyber non-state actors.


The growing importance of cyberspace to modern society, and its increasing use as an arena for dispute, is becoming a national security concern for governments and armed forces globally.

Non-state actors in cyber world could include government paid hacking groups, cyber armies, hackers and terrorist organisations etc.,

Different from real world:

  1. While nation states are motivated by geopolitics and deterring other states, non-state actors have typically been motivated by financial gains and ideology.
  2. Intrude into the systems of state security unlike external attacks by physical actors.
  3. The state actors go steal intellectual property and trade information that helps them to become more economically competitive. Non-state actors utilize similar practices to serve their ideological beliefs, to air grievances, or gain publicity behind their causes.

Examples – Radicalisation of youth: Propaganda information to recruit for terror groups like AQIS, LeT on telegram have been intercepted by NIA. Financial Security Breach: Recently, details of 32 lakhs Debit cards were compromised by use of sophisticated hacks.

Threats India faces:

  1. More enterprises in India aiming for digital transformation amid a growing economy and this makes the country vulnerable to imminent cyber threats from rogue nation-state actors.
  2. A lot of users of internet in India are illiterate technology wise. Youth and non-English Internet users in rural areas are highly vulnerable to cyber threats.
  3. Lack of efficient response mechanisms and cyber security systems.
  4. If India is making a transition towards 4th Industrial Revolution, there is a bigger threat looming.
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