Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – November 23, 2018


Q.1) Discuss with examples the impact of human intervention on natural hazards.


Typically natural disasters are caused by nature; but humans influence both the frequency and intensity of these events.

How humans are responsible for disasters:

  1. Deforestation is responsible for disasters like landslides in hilly areas. Agriculture is said to be a major reason behind land degradation and deforestation.
  2. Deforestation not only leads to global warming and destroys animal habitats, but it also disrupts the water cycle. Without trees to absorb rainwater, rainfall easily causes flooding and soil erosion in these areas. Kerala floods are a direct outcome of massive environmental degradation in Western Ghats.
  3. Deforestation can also lead to severe droughts. Trees are an important part of the water cycle, bringing ground water back into the atmosphere. Less trees means less rainfall, increasing the risk for drought.
  4. Often, human error sets off massive forest fires.
  5. Massive air pollution is responsible for global warming due to the emissions of Greenhouse Gases. Global warming impacts weather patterns through a process known as climate change.
  6. Massive unplanned urbanisation and encroachment of land and water bodies is responsible for the severe urban floods witnessed in Indian cities.

Humans can also positively avert disasters through sustainable development practices, linking of disaster planning in development etc.,


Q.2) How does the 3D printing technology work? List out the advantages and disadvantages of the technology.


3D printing is any of various processes in which material is joined or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object.


  1. In many applications, a 3D printer is able to deliver a design quickly, with high accuracy from a functional material.
  2. One of the main advantages of additive manufacture is the speed at which parts can be produced compared to traditional manufacturing methods.
  3. Additive manufacturing machines complete a build in one step, with no interaction from the machine operator during the build phase.
  4. The ability to produce a part in one step greatly reduces the dependence on different manufacturing processes.
  5. Additive manufacturing at low volumes is very competitively costed compared to traditional manufacturing.
  6. Being able to verify a design by printing a production-ready prototype before investing in expensive manufacturing equipment eliminates the risk during the prototyping process.


  1. Expensive for economies like India to adopt.
  2. Decrease in Manufacturing Jobs – The decrease in manufacturing jobs will greatly affect the economy of countries that rely on a large number of low skill jobs.
  3. Limited size – The size of objects created with 3d printers is currently limited
  4. Limited Raw Materials – Traditional manufacturing of products has an enormous range of raw materials that can be used. Presently 3d printers can work up to approximately 100 different raw materials and creating products that uses more raw materials are still under development.
  5. Production of Dangerous Items – With 3d printers, plastic knives, guns and any other hazardous objects can be created. It makes easier for terrorists and criminals bring a weapon without being detected.


Q.3) What is collegiums system? What does the Constitution say regarding the appointments of judges? What are the criticisms of collegiums system in India?


The Collegium system is one where the Chief Justice of India and a four Senior- most Judges of the Supreme Court recommend appointments and transfers of other judges of Supreme Court and high Courts.

Constitution provides that judges to the Supreme Court would be appointed by the President in consultation with CJI and such other judges that he deems fit. But through a series of rulings, SC replaced the consultative method prescribed by the Constitution with one that gave the CJI and his four senior-most colleagues (the “Collegium”) primacy in selecting candidates.

Criticisms of collegium:

  1. Primacy enjoyed by the collegium in making appointments to the higher judiciary was declared a part of the Constitution’s basic structure and non questionable.
  2. The appointment process is often opaque and there have been complaints of favoritism from bar and other judges.
  3. It does not give any role to the executive, which represents the popular will.
  4. There is absolute lack of accountability to the appointments and also the conduct of judges after their appointment.
  5. Though the decisions are said to be taken on merit basis, definition of merit remains ambiguous.


Q.4) The government has recently launched the the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, or Saubhagya Scheme.  In this context,What are the major problems of power sector in India? What are the causes of these?


Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana –“Saubhagya” was launched to ensure electrification of all willing households in the country in rural as well as urban areas.


  1. High T&D losses.’
  2. Lack of last mile connectivity due to terrain challenges.
  3. Fuel Security Concerns: Thermal capacity addition is plagued by the growing fuel availability concerns faced by the Industry.
  4. Poor financial health of State DISCOMs.

Causes for the problems:

  1. Years of populist tariff schemes, mounting AT&C losses and operational inefficiencies have adversely affected the financial health of State Discoms which are currently plagued with humongous outstanding debts.
  2. Lack of technology upgradation.
  3. Lack of metering and net monitoring of bill payments.
  4. Under-procurement of Power by States: Increasing power generation costs due to limited fuel availability, poor financial health of State Discoms, high AT&C losses have contributed in suppressed demand projections by State Discoms.
  5. Inimical Financing Environment: Over the last 4-5 years, the leading rates have increased significantly from the time of project appraisal resulting in project cost overrun and hence higher end tariffs.
  6. Policy Paralysis: The micro level policies governing the fuel cost pass-through, mega power policy, competitive bidding guidelines are not in consonance with the macro framework like The Electricity Act 2003 and the National Electricity Policy.
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