Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – November 29, 2018


Q.1) What is Gaganyaan mission? Examine the relevance of manned space mission for India?


Gaganyaan mission is the Indian manned space program planned for 2021.

Relevance of manned space mission:

  1. Re-entering the earth’s atmosphere develops the reusable launch vehicle technology which can cut down costs of space missions in the future
  2. GSLV Mk III engine used for the flight can lift heavier weight satellites for communication purpose too
  3. This acts as a launchpad for pursuing space science research and planetary exploration
  4. India’s first human spaceflight will be a baby step into the universe, with the flight getting into an orbit only around 400 km from the earth’s surface
  5. ISRO also began developing other technologies including the crew module as well as the flight suit
  6. Scientific aspect of Gaganyaan includes experiments around microgravity, space biology etc.,
  7. Gaganyaan alone is expected to open up at least 15,000 jobs, most of them in manufacturing the hardware, developing the scientific instruments, getting the crew ready, and organising their logistics for the week-long voyage
  8. Spin-off technologies which will have practical everyday applications will emerge. ISRO has recently transferred the technology it developed for lithium batteries to the private sector for use in automobiles and mobiles


Q.2) Globalization has not only benefited the economy and the society but also it has emerged as a challenge. Discuss


Globalisation describes a process by which national and regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through the global network of trade, communication, immigration and transportation.

Benefits of globalisation:

  1. Encourages producers and consumers to benefit from deeper division of labour and economies of scale
  2. Competitive markets reduce monopoly profits and incentivise businesses to seek cost-reducing innovations
  3. Enhanced growth has led to higher per capita incomes – and helped many of poorest countries to achieve faster economic growth and reduce extreme poverty
  4. Advantages from the freer movement of labour between countries
  5. Gains from the sharing of ideas / skills / technologies across national borders
  6. Opening up of capital markets allows developing countries to borrow money to overcome a domestic savings gap
  7. Increased awareness among consumers of challenges from climate change and wealth/income inequality
  8. Competitive pressures of globalisation may prompt improved governance and better labour protection

Challenges posed by globalisation:

  1. Inequality: Globalisation has been linked to rising inequalities in income and wealth. Growing rural–urban divide is an example.
  2. Inflation: Strong demand for food and energy has caused a steep rise in commodity prices.
  3. Vulnerability to external economic shocks: national economies are more connected and interdependent; an external event somewhere else in the world coming back to affect you has risen.
  4. Threats to the Global Commons: Irreversible damage to ecosystems, land degradation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and the fears of a permanent shortage of water affect millions of the world’s most vulnerable
  5. Race to the bottom: nations desperate to attract inward investment may be tempted to lower corporate taxes, allow lax health and safety laws and limit basic welfare safety nets with damaging social consequences
  6. Trade Imbalances: Some countries are running big trade surpluses and these imbalances are creating tensions and pressures to introduce protectionist policies such as new forms of import control.
  7. Unemployment: Concerns have been expressed by some that capital investment and jobs in advanced economies will drain away to developing countries as firms switch their production to countries with lower unit labour costs.
  8. Standardisation: Some critics of globalisation point to a loss of economic and cultural diversity as giant firms and global multinational brands dominate domestic markets in many countries.


Q.3) Critically evaluate the contribution of Raja Ram Mohan Roy to the reform movements of the 19th Century.


Popularly known as the “Maker of Modern India”, Raja Ram Mohan Roy contributed immensely in eradicating social evils prevalent in the society during the 18th century.

Social reforms:

  1. He was against traditional Hindu practices and echoed his voice against Sati system, polygamy, caste rigidity and child marriage. His biggest achievement was the prohibition of the “sati pratha.
  2. He established the Brahmo Samaj; it was a highly influential socio-religious reform movement which raised its voice against evils like caste system, dowry, ill-treatment of women, etc.
  3. To modernize the education system, Raja Ram Mohan Roy established many English schools. He revolutionized the education system in India by setting up Hindu College at Calcutta in 1817, which went on to become one of the best educational institutions in the country.
  4. Roy promoted and urged teaching of the scientific subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and even Botany. He promoted technology, western medicine and English to be taught at Indian schools.
  5. To politically educate people, Raja Ram Mohan Roy even published magazines in different languages including English, Hindi, Persian, and Bengali.


  1. He is criticised for his failure to check the oppressive middle class.
  2. He is also criticized as rendering a helping hand to the British to make India a colonial power.


Q.4) Electoral reforms are needed to maintain transparency and accountability in our democracy and the election process. Comment.


In India, elections are the most important and integral part of politics in the democratic system.

Need for electoral reforms:

  1. To provide level playing field which does not accrue any undue advantage to the party in power
  2. To curtail the power of money in politics
  3. Political parties are not transparent in auditing and sharing the audit details with election commission
  4. Approximately 75% of the fund collected by political parties is anonymous
  5. Anonymous funds Maybe from drugs and crimes
  6. Quid pro quo for the donations in crony capitalism
  7. It affects free and fair nature of the elections
  8. Now, even donations greater than 20,000 are not reported after the launch of electoral bonds

Way ahead:

  1. State funding of political parties by giving money proportional to the number of votes gained by those parties
  2. National election fund where people can contribute with tax benefits
  3. Conditional cash transfer for promoting internal democracy political parties
  4. Voter awareness drives
  5. Reform in the process of appointments of election commissioners
  6. All payments to parties should be mandatory made digital
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