Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – October 25, 2018


Q.1) In  the backdrop of inhuman conditions in Prison the Supreme Court has constituted a committee on prison reforms recently. In the view of this critically analyse the mandate prevailing in our society and what can be done to bring an effective prison reforms in India.


Supreme Court has constituted a committee on prison reforms in the backdrop of inhuman conditions prevailing across 1,382 prisons in India.

The society believes that a gruesome crime needs to be dealt with severely. This has led to a failure to reform the prisoners.

State of prisons in India:

  1. Overcrowding – Prison Statistics India brought out by NCRB shows that there were nearly 4.2 lakh inmates in 1,401 facilities, with an average occupancy rate of 114% in most in 2015.
  2. Human rights of prisoners are deprived through practices life custodial violence.
  3. Case of under trials – About 67% of total inmates are under trials.
  4. Problems of women prisoners
  5. Several states had not yet appointed the board of visitors who regularly inspect prisons to ensure that they are being run in accordance with the rules.​​
  6. According to the NCRB 1.2% of the prisoners have mental illness and they are being ill treated and discriminated and deprived of their right of good health.

Way ahead:

  1. The idea of Open Prisons have to be followed across the country.
  2. Efficient judicial system to speed up justice delivery mechanisms.
  3. The draft National Policy on Prison Reforms and Correctional Administration provides alternatives to prisons such as community service, forfeiture of property, payment of compensation to victims, public censure etc.,
  4. Justice Mulla committee recommended that those convicted for non-violent socio-political economic agitations for public cause shall not be confined in prisons along with other prisoners.


Q.2) Volcanic and seismic events are major pieces of evidences towards proving that the plate tectonic theory is valid. Discuss.


Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth’s outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core.


  1. The driving force behind plate tectonics is convection in the mantle. Hot material near the Earth’s core rises, and colder mantle rock sinks.
  2. The convection drive plates tectonics through a combination of pushing and spreading apart at mid-ocean ridges and pulling and sinking downward at subduction zones, researchers think.
  3. At subduction zones, two tectonic plates meet and one slides beneath the other back into the mantle.
  4. At a divergent margin, two plates are spreading apart, as at seafloor-spreading ridges or continental rift zones.
  5. Transform margins mark slip-sliding plates.


  1. Volcanoes are associated with three types of tectonic structures: convergent plate boundaries, divergent plate boundaries and hot spots.
  2. Many spectacular volcanoes are found along subduction zones, such as the “Ring of Fire” that surrounds the Pacific Ocean.


Most volcanoes and earthquakes are located at the plate boundaries, with boundary zones some being particularly active. A good example are the boundaries of the Pacific Plate, where more volcanoes and earthquakes occur than in the rest of the world combined. Because of this, it is often called the “Ring of Fire”.


Q.3) Stampede is a recurrent phenomenon in places of mass gatherings in India. Discuss the various factors which trigger a stampede. In view of stampedes, what are the recommendations of the NDMA?


From religious shrines to railway stations- frequent incidents of human stampedes are an unfortunate reality of Indian life.

Factors triggering stampedes:

  1. Human stampedes result from the forces generated by panicked persons pushing each other in a large crowd.
  2. Since their movement is uncoordinated, they get injured or fall off each other, and become obstacles to the movement of others.
  3. NDMA identified following triggers/ factors leading to stampedes:

a) Structural: collapse of the temporary structure, steep stairs, narrow exists because of illegal constructions, parking and hawkers etc.

b) Fire / electric: usually from the makeshift kitchens in the ‘pandal’, inappropriate use of firecrackers / electrical wiring during the event.

c) Human: Underestimating the size of crowd, overselling of the tickets; lack of coordination with authorities, panicking by rumors, rush to get freebie / celebrity autograph etc.

Recommendations of NDMA:

Disaster Preparedness: Before Stampede

  1. Following Factors must be considered while planning for large events:

a) Type and duration of event.

b) Size of the expected crowd, gender and age profile of attendees.

c) Location characteristics.

Accordingly, the event organizers do planning, rehearsal and safety drills with the help of police, fire, health, forest, revenue, PwD departments.

  1. Volunteers, Paramedics & Security personnel

1. Training on crowd management, how to frisk visitors, how to operate metal detectors, how identify troublemakers and suicide bombers.

2. There should be disaster protocol and standard operating procedure for all nearby by hospitals.

  1. Central control room equipped with CCTVs to monitor and spot crowd build up areas.
  2. Prevent Traffic Congestion as it hampers retaliation, rescue and relief operations during stampede / terror attacks.
  3. Entry-Exit, Barricades & Puctuality –

1. Doors must not be suddenly opened or suddenly closed.

2. Provide multiple exits. Routes of ingress and egress must be separate.

3. Entry and exit points must have strong but non-permanent barricades.

  1. Electricity and Fire hazards

1. Kitchen and cooking facilities should be away from the main event.

2. Electrical wires should be underground or overhead and always away from the walking paths- to minimize tripping hazards.

3. Ensure fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, sand buckets, water tanks and first aid kits are available throughout the venue.

Disaster Management: After Stampede

  1. Event volunteers and paramedics must commence rapid first aid treatment.
  2. Distribute patients to area hospitals in a coordinated manner, so that relatives can easily find them.
  3. A control room and helpdesk to handle all the inquiries.
  4. Psycho-social support and mental health services for the survivors, and the persons who lost their loved ones.


Q.4) Discuss the viability metro rail system in India with regard to the economic viability and the transportation needs of cities.


Metro railway system and service are currently operational in many cities across India; eg., Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Hyderabad.

Economic viability:

  1. These are among the most expensive forms of mass rapid transit systems, and involve extensive land use changes for their implementation.
  2. Metro projects also require significant leveraging of financial and administrative resources for their execution.
  3. Implementation of metro systems across various Indian cities point towards a hasty approach towards urban planning that lacks assessment and consideration of public transportation.
  4. The effective utilisation of metro systems depends on the spatial attributes of cities such as concentration of business districts and population size and density. Delhi metro, has not fully incorporated related measures of inter-transport integration and this has led to underutilisation of its capacity — at least 20% less than its available capacity. Chennai metro, which run way below their carrying capacity, to an extent that certain stations are almost deserted.
  5. In terms of economic viability, due to high investments, all over the world metro systems generally receive subsidies from the state. Revenues have also been leveraged through loans from international donor agencies. To both Bengaluru and Kochi metro systems, government has contributed through equities and loans, and additional financial assistance has been sought from agencies like Japanese International Cooperation Agency.

Transportation needs:

  1. The mass of urban poor in India cannot afford to travel by metros. Even amongst the middle-class users of private vehicles in the country, the use of metro systems is not very encouraging.
  2. The construction of metro projects in developing countries tends to drive out investments from other cheaper modes of public transport such as bus systems, which cater to the majority of lower middle and urban poor segments.
Print Friendly and PDF