Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – November 9, 2018


Q.1) Explain how ocean currents help in establishing global heat balance. Also explain the relationship between ocean currents and habitability of the coastal areas.


Ocean currents are movements of surface water. Like atmospheric circulation, ocean currents help to redistribute energy across the earth.

How they bring heat balance:

  1. As they cover 67% of the earth’s surface, oceans receive 67% of the sun’s energy that reaches earth. The ocean holds on to this heat for longer than the land does and the ocean currents move this heat around, from the tropics to higher latitudes. In total, ocean currents transfer about 25% of the global heat budget.

Relation with habitability:

  1. Desert formation – Cold ocean currents have a direct effect on desert formation in west coast regions of the tropical and subtropical continents. There is fog and most of the areas are arid due to desiccating effect (loss of moisture).
  2. Rains – Warm ocean currents bring rain to coastal areas and even interiors. Example: Summer Rainfall in British Type climate. Warm currents flow parallel to the east coasts of the continents in tropical and subtropical latitudes. This results in warm and rainy climates. These areas lie in the western margins of the subtropical anticyclones.
  3. Moderating effect – They are responsible for moderate temperatures at coasts. [North Atlantic Drift brings warmness to England. Canary cold current brings cooling effect to Spain, Portugal etc.]
  4. Fishing – Mixing of cold and warm ocean currents bear richest fishing grounds in the world. Example: Grand Banks around Newfoundland, Canada and North-Eastern Coast of Japan. The mixing of warm and cold currents help to replenish the oxygen and favor the growth of planktons, the primary food for fish population. The best fishing grounds of the world exist mainly in these mixing zones.
  5. Drizzle – Mixing of cold and warm ocean currents create foggy weather where precipitation occurs in the form of drizzle [Newfoundland].
  6. Tropical cyclones – They pile up warm waters in tropics and this warm water is the major force behind tropical cyclones.


Q.2)   Discuss the problems related to civic amenities in Indian urban areas. Will the concept of Smart Cities be able to handle the crisis?


Services such as water supply and sanitation, roads and drains, street-lights, collection and disposal of solid waste, maintenance of public places, burial grounds and crematoria, cattle pounds, registration of births and deaths, maintenance of markets can be broadly referred to as civic amenities.

Problems with civic amenities in urban areas:

  1. Water crisis is increasingly growing in several cities due to climate change and growing urban population.
  2. Urban roads are congested and traffic explosion is leading to poor air quality and long travel times.
  3. Municipal solid waste disposal remains a challenge due to lack of collection, recycling and growing consumerism.
  4. Slums are increasingly becoming the host for migrant and low income populations.

How smart cities handle the crisis:

A smart city is characterised by an urban region having modern technological infrastructure, access to smart energy, smart mobility, smart public utility services and ultra fast communication network.

With the use of technology and allotment of large funds for focussed development, smart cities address most of these problems.


Q.3) What is eNAM? What are the benefits and challenges associated with e NAM?


e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) is Internet based marketplace for farmers and buyers. It is  aimed at integrating ‘mandis’ to help both farmers and buyers by providing them data of produce available, its quality and the price being offered at the bidding markets.


  1. It helps in achieving doubling income of the farmers by 2022.
  2. It gives choice to farmers to sell their produce both in physical mandis or online platform.
  3. The easy access to sell online trade is likely to boost their incomes and improve availability, moderating price rise.
  4. Bulk buyers, processors, exporters etc. benefit from being able to participate directly in trading at the local mandi / market level through the NAM platform, thereby reducing their intermediation costs.
  5. The gradual integration of all the major mandis in the States into NAM will ensure common procedures for issue of licences, levy of fee and movement of produce.


  1. The rules which were framed few decades back to protect farmers are now hindrance in development and growth of farmers in this digital age.
  2. Since agriculture is a state subject, state governments enacted separate APMC Acts. APMCs levy multiple fees of substantial magnitude that are non-transparent and hence a source of political power.
  3. Poor quality of infrastructure and low use of technology.
  4. Fruits and vegetables are kept outside the purview of NAM
  5. Barriers hampering interstate transfer of agricultural commodities also have to be removed.


Q.4) Why the museums are Important? What are the challenges faced by Museums in India? Also suggest some measures to improve the condition of Museum in India


Importance of museums:

  1. The traditional role of museums is to collect objects and materials of cultural, religious and historical importance, preserve them, research into them and present them to the public for the purpose of education and enjoyment.
  2. Creates a sense of understanding about the past and the rich cultural diversity of the country.
  3. Promotes unity and integrity in the nation. It also promotes values like secularism, tolerance and democracy.
  4. They act as valuable sources of revenue by attracting tourists within the country and all over the world.

Challenges faced by museums:

  1. Lack of staff with a vision to transform the museums according to national goals. Most staff in museums here do not have the capacity to be part of the museum.
  2. In India all museums always report to the government. Museums around the world have a degree of autonomy. It gives a certain degree of freedom in how they operate.
  3. Lack of a collection development strategy.
  4. The issue of intangible cultures- dances, stories etc. Museums need to bring the intangible aspects to the fold. It will drive more audience.

Measures to improve:

  1. Digitisation of museums
  2. Increased budgetary allocation
  3. Developing theme based museums
  4. Focus on the quality of the visitor experience.
  5. Museums must collaborate with communities whose collections they house.
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