Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – November 5, 2018


Q.1) Discuss the impact of media on Indian society? How media could play a constructive role in bringing communal harmony?


Impact on Indian society:

Media is the reflection of our society and it depicts what and how society works. Media, either it is printed, electronic or the web is the only medium, which helps in making people informed.

  1. It stimulates the thoughts of the young generation and other sections of our society.
  2. It encourages debate and generates opinions against various issues.
  3. It has been acting as a chief opinion maker by presenting views than just news.
  4. It brings the modern values of the West and today’s democracy to each and every household of the country.

But most often, its role has been limited due to the following challenges:

  1. Paid nes and fake news
  2. Excessive focus on TRPs and breaking news
  3. Lack of ethics in presenting certain views on attitudes prevailing in society
  4. It acted as a catalyst to strengthen certain negative attitudes on gender and caste

How it could play a constructive role in communal harmony:

  1. Responsible reporting
  2. Promoting harmony than differences
  3. Presenting news of trouble zones with extra caution
  4. By presenting ground level views than boardroom views

Q.2) What are the basic tenets of secularism? Do you think secularism is a potential slogan than constitutional necessity, not only in India but in many other countries too? Critically Examine.


Indian Constitution embodies the positive concept of secularism whereby all religions in our country have the same status and support from the state.

Basic tenets of secularism can be found in the various Fundamental Rights granted by our constitution:

  1. Art 14 – The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws
  2. Art 15 – The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on the ground of religion
  3. Art 16 – Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters of public employment
  4. Art 25 – All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate any religion
  5. Art 26 – Every religious denomination or any of its section shall have the right to manage its religious affairs
  6. Art 27 – No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion of a particular religion
  7. Art 28 – No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution maintained by the State
  8. Art 29 – Any section of the citizens shall have the right to conserve its distinct language, script or culture
  9. Art 30 – All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice
  10. Art 44 – The State shall endeavour to secure for all the citizens a Uniform Civil Code

Need for secularism:

  1. Defends the rights of religious minority communities
  2. Protects the freedom of conscience of an individual
  3. In a highly diverse society like India, secularism grants everyone the freedom to pursue their own religion and its practices
  4. It is essential for unity and integrity of the nation

Q.3) What is CAATSA? Discuss the impact of CAATSA on India?

Answer: The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA, is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

Impact on India – Iran:

  1. US has set a target of November to cut down oil imports from Iran. Though this was now extended, the high dependence of India on Iranian oi is a problem.
  2. Quality of oil from Iran is good but India has to give up under pressure
  3. Refineries’ dependency on the oil from Iran can’t be altered immediately

India may reduce imports in due course if it chooses to

Impact on India – Russia:

  1. India needs the S-400 defence system for its security interest
  2. But as India promised, defence purchase from Russia is declining
  3. India promised that the technologies will not be used against American interests

CAATSA will dilute Vietnam’s engagement with Russia. Given the tensions in the South China Sea, there is sufficient scope to strengthen defence cooperation between India and Vietnam.

Q.4) What do you understand by the replacement fertility rate? When India is expected to achieve this as per latest statistical estimate? What are the major impediments in achieving this target?


“Replacement level fertility” is the total fertility rate; the average number of children born per woman at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration. This rate is roughly 2.1 children per woman.

The total fertility rate of India stands at 2.2 as of 2017.  India is likely to reach close to the replacement level fertility of 2.1 by 2019.


  1. High differences between states in the levels of TFR. Bihar reported the worst TFR among the bigger states in India at 3.3 while most of the south Indian states have reduced their fertility rates below replacement level.
  2. Recent economic survey reported the dismal prevalence of reversible contraception among Indian women.
  3. Lack of availability of health facilities in rural areas and prevalence of stigma on modern contraceptives. Many still rely on traditional methods of contraception, which means modern methods are out of their reach.
  4. Early marriage and lack of awareness leads to early childbearing and multiple births.
  5. Failure of family planning system to evolve into being a more community oriented welfare program.
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