Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – November 21, 2018


Q.1) Volcanic and seismic events are major pieces of evidences towards proving that the plate tectonic theory is valid. Discuss    


Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth’s outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core.


  1. The driving force behind plate tectonics is convection in the mantle. Hot material near the Earth’s core rises, and colder mantle rock sinks.
  2. The convection drive plates tectonics through a combination of pushing and spreading apart at mid-ocean ridges and pulling and sinking downward at subduction zones, researchers think.
  3. At subduction zones, two tectonic plates meet and one slides beneath the other back into the mantle.
  4. At a divergent margin, two plates are spreading apart, as at seafloor-spreading ridges or continental rift zones.
  5. Transform margins mark slip-sliding plates.


  1. Volcanoes are associated with three types of tectonic structures: convergent plate boundaries, divergent plate boundaries and hot spots.
  2. Many spectacular volcanoes are found along subduction zones, such as the “Ring of Fire” that surrounds the Pacific Ocean.


Most volcanoes and earthquakes are located at the plate boundaries, with boundary zones some being particularly active. A good example are the boundaries of the Pacific Plate, where more volcanoes and earthquakes occur than in the rest of the world combined. Because of this, it is often called the “Ring of Fire”.


Q.2) Disaster and development has an interlinked and multifaceted relationship’ – Comment.


Disaster and development have an interlinked and multifaceted relationship. They can mutually have a negative effect on each other. Sustainable development can have a negative effect on each other.

How development impacts disasters:

  1. Sustainable development models reduce the impact of disasters and reduce disaster risk.
  2. In most of the developed countries, the impact of disaster is manageable compared to the developing countries.
  3. World Bank has estimated that in developing countries, the economic losses due to disasters, as percentages of gross domestic product (GDP), are 20 times higher than in industrialized countries.
  4. Improperly planned development programmes can increase an area’s susceptibility to disasters.
  5. Development programmes can be designed to decrease the susceptibility to disasters and their negative consequences.

How disasters impact development:

  1. Economic losses caused by a disaster of great magnitude often exceed the annual gross income of a country.
  2. Disasters have three types of economic repercussions: direct effects on property; indirect effects caused by losses in economic production and services; and secondary effects that are manifested after the disaster in a reduced national revenue, increased inflation, problems of foreign trade, increased public spending, the resulting fiscal deficit, and reduced monetary reserves.

There is thus a need for integrating and mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into economic development for a sustainable future.


Q.3) For India to shine, the transformation of its cities is necessary. Discuss the factors responsible for ailing conditions of urban areas in India. What measures in your opinion can solve this menace?


Urbanization is an integral part of the process of economic growth. India’s towns and cities make a major contribution to the country’s economy. With less than 1/3 of India’s people, its urban areas generate over 2/3 of the country’s GDP and account for 90% of government revenues.

Problems of urban areas:

  1. Poor local governance
  2. Weak finances
  3. Inappropriate planning that leads to high costs of housing  and office space; in some Indian cities these costs are among the highest in the world  
  4. Critical infrastructure shortages and major service deficiencies that include erratic water and power supply, and woefully inadequate transportation systems
  5. Rapidly deteriorating environment

Measures to solve the problem:

  1. Devolving more powers over the 3Fs – fund, functions and functionaries
  2. Integrated urban planning systems should be developed
  3. Planning of the demography based on technology to monitor people migrating in and securing their rights.
  4. Municipal bonds can be used to address the problem of weak finances.
  5. Integrated transport mechanisms to address traffic, pollution issues.


Q..4) For a large and varied geography like India, road connectivity is a major policy issue when it comes to the full utilization of its economic potential. Discuss


The Indian road network, comprising of National Highways, Expressways, State Highways, Major District Roads, Other District Roads and Village Roads, is globally the 2nd largest spanning 5.5 million kilometres.

Need for road connectivity:

  1. Roads provide better access to services, ease of transportation and freedom of movement to people.
  2. It provides a reliable and swift road network in the country and has a major role in influencing its economic development.
  3. It enables nearest drop and pickup due to the ease with which road network can span across country
  4. It is easy to connect roads with other modes of transport due to their last mile connectivity


  1. Challenging terrain in hilly areas and along rivers
  2. Poor financial management due to largely public ownership
  3. Poor technology practices in construction of roads leading to frequent maintenance and repair works
  4. Problems in land acquisition
  5. Lack of integrated planning of roads across the country leads to wastage of resources and delays in execution
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