Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – October 23


Q.1) In the light of the recent Doklam standoff, what measures should India adopt in border management to address future security issues? Examine. (GS-2)


The recent India-China stand-off over Doklam plateau, disputed between China and Bhutan, has ended peacefully. The issue which ended just before the BRICS summit in China has multiple ramifications: The following are the measures India should adopt in border management to address future security issues:

  • Differing perception on LAC: is the major reason for recurrent transgression and disputes. Thus, India needs to expeditiously need to resolve major border issues. Both countries should return to spirit of Border Defense Cooperation Agreement 2013, which provided specific guidelines on tackling future development on 3500 km boundary.
  • Boosting border infrastructure: such as road, rail connectivity. Use of state of the art technology for effective border surveillance.
  • Diplomacy should be prevail: considering adverse consequences of war for all parties. Maintaining good economic and political relations with neighboring countries to ensure resolution of disputes diplomatically.
  • Expand Confidence building measures: more border personnel meeting, DGMO-level hotline, more visits and tactical-level exchanges.
  • An urgent need to restrengthen if not reconcile relationship with Nepal and strengthen with Bhutan as these areas are adjoining to the vulnerable areas of India.
  • India and China cannot afford to waste resources, time and money in such stand-offs as they have multiple trade and infrastructural priorities. They should engage in more dialogues so that the air remains clear.

Q.2)The government is increasingly relying on imposition of price controls on medicines and devices to check rising health-care costs.  In the context, discuss the reasons for rising health care costs. Highlight the key  objectives of New National Health Policy in this regard? (GS-3)


The government is increasingly relying on imposition of price controls on medicines and devices to check rising health-care costs.

  • Last month, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority capped the prices of 37 more medicines raising their number to 821.
  • It has already capped the prices of coronary stents and orthopaedic implants.
  • Presently around 20% of medicines by volume are subject to price controls. More medicines and devices are likely to come under it.
  • The policy also seeks to raise import duties on active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) to encourage the indigenous industry.

Reasons for rising health care costs:

  • Profiteering by private hospitals.
  • Low per capital availability of medical practitioners.
  • Doctor’s consultation fees, cost of operation procedures, diagnostic tests and hospital bed rentals are the factors responsible for rising health care costs.
  • Increasing supply of cheaper medical seats in government medical colleges will make doctors less vulnerable to unethical profiteering by private hospitals.

New National Health Policy 2017:

  • The government has approved the National Health Policy, 2017 (NHP, 2017).  
  • The Policy seeks to reach everyone in a comprehensive integrated way to move towards wellness.

Key objectives of  New National Health Policy:

  • It aims at achieving universal health coverage and delivering quality health care services to all at affordable cost.
  • It focus on Preventive and Promotive Health Care and Universal access to good quality health care services
  • This Policy looks at problems and solutions holistically with private sector as strategic partners.
  • It seeks to promote quality of care; focus is on emerging diseases and investment in promotive and preventive healthcare. The policy is patient centric and quality driven. It addresses health security and make in India for drugs and devices.
  • The main objective is to achieve the highest possible level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and to achieve universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.
  • The policy advocates extensive deployment of digital tools for improving the efficiency and outcome of the healthcare system and proposes establishment of National Digital Health Authority (NDHA) to regulate, develop and deploy digital health across the continuum of care.

Q.3) What is bottom trawling? What are the various issues of disagreement between India and Sri Lanka?  What is the way ahead? (GS-2)

What is bottom trawling?

  • Bottom trawling is an ecologically destructive practice.
  • The practice involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea-floor, causing great depletion of aquatic resources.
  • Bottom trawling captures juvenile fish, thus exhausting the ocean’s resources and affecting marine conservation efforts.

What are the disputes between India and Sri Lanka?

  • The maritime boundary agreements of 1974 and 1976 were concluded by the two governments did not reflect realities on the ground.
  • The ongoing dispute has escalated tensions between those fishermen using traditional methods and those using mechanized methods leading to increase in the infringement of territorial boundaries.
  • The issue of fishermen straying in each other’s territorial waters has come as a potential irritant in the bilateral relations between the neighboring states.
  • There is no well-defined boundary line between the two nations.
  • Overuse of mechanized trawlers in the Palk Bay has further Fueled the dispute over Kachchatheevu.

What is the way ahead?

  • The solution lies in transition from trawling to deep-sea fishing in India.
  • Making the use of trawling technique an offence by the Indian government is another solution.
  • Permitting licensed Indian fishermen to fish within a designated area of Sri Lankan waters and vice versa.
  • There is an evident need for institutionalization of fisherman in Indian waters by the government of India so that alternative means of livelihood are provided.
  • Government needs to mark up a comprehensive plan to reduce the necessity of Indian fishermen on catch from Palk Bay.
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