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

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Q.1) The Directive Principles may not be legally enforceable in the court of justice but they are politically and morally enforceable in the court of people. Comment.

Answer:

DPSPs denote the ideals that the State should keep in mind while formulating policies and enacting laws. They are non-justiciable in nature. Therefore, the government cannot be compelled to implement them.

Though they are not legally enforceable, they are important because:

    1. They constitute a very comprehensive economic, social and political programme for a modern democratic State.
    2. They aim at realising the high ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution.
    3. They embody the concept of a ‘welfare state’.
    4. They seek to establish economic and social democracy in the country.
    5. Article 37 of the Constitution itself says that these principles are fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws.
  • help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law. The Supreme Court has ruled many a  times that in determining the constitutionality of any law, if a court finds that the law in question seeks to give effect to a Directive Principle, it may consider such law to be ‘reasonable’ in relation to Article 14 (equality before law) or Article 19 (six freedoms) and thus save such law from unconstitutionality.
  1. They help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law. SC has ruled that in determining the constitutionality of any law, if a court finds that the law in question seeks to give effect to a Directive Principle, it may consider such law to be ‘reasonable’ in relation to Article 14 (equality before law) or Article 19 (six freedoms).

As Dr B R Ambedkar said, a government which rests on popular vote can hardly ignore the Directive Principles while shaping its policy. If any government ignores them, it will certainly have to answer for that before the electorate at the election time.

 

Q.2) “Genetically engineered crops can reduce some environmental risks associated with conventional agriculture, but will also introduce new challenges that must be addressed”- Discuss

Answer:

GE crops reduce environmental risks in agriculture:

  1. GM crops can withstand adversities of weather like drought, heat, frost, acid or salty soil.
  2. Plants can be genetically modified to be tolerant to a specific weedkiller.
  3. Plants can be genetically modified to be resistant to bacterial, fungal or viral infestation.
  4. It addresses potential challenges to food security in the future arising from climate change and its impacts.

New challenges posed by it:

  1. Plants which carry Bt gene produce a toxin that kills insect pests that feed upon them, but is harmless to humans and other species which are not considered insect pests.
  2. Potential of the introduced genes to outcross to weedy relatives as well as the potential to create weedy species
  3. Direct effects on non-target organisms
  4. Development of insect resistance
  5. Pollution arising from the use of harmful chemicals may increase or decrease.

 

Q.3) “Crime by juveniles is a harsh reality in India” Discuss the major causes of juvenile delinquency.

Critically evaluate the decision to trial juveniles 16 years or older as adults for heinous offences like rape and murder.

Answer:

Causes of juvenile delinquency:

  1. Socio-cultural environment, both inside and outside of home, plays significant role in shaping one’s life and overall personality.
  2. Some of the most common causes which are associated with juvenile crimes are: Poverty; Drug Abuse; Anti-social Peer Group; Easy availability of firearms; Abusive parents; Single-parent child; Nuclear Family; Family Violence; Child sexual abuse and Role of Media.
  3. Effect of media, especially the social-media make juveniles more inclined towards criminal activities.
  4. Poverty is one of the biggest causes which force a child to get involved in criminal acts.

Trial of juveniles as adults:

The JJ Act, 2016 permits juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences.

Positives:

  1. Takes into consideration the reality of today’s technology driven society and the maturity levels of children.
  2. The act confines severe punishment only for heinous crimes.
  3. Children have been involved in several major crimes to avoid punishment under JJ law.

Negatives:

  1. It assumes that sending children to the adult criminal justice system would solve the problem of juvenile crime as well as women safety.
  2. Assessment of individual maturity and mental capacity is extremely difficult. The process may be arbitrary or may be influenced by biases & is likely to be erroneous.
  3. This deprives the chance to reform for a majority of children in conflict with the law.
  4. This is in direct violation of the provisions of right to equality under Article 14 and special protection for children under Article 15(3) of Constitution of India.
  5. Adolescence is a period where children are not fully capable of thinking through their actions.They are highly susceptible to negative influence, lack of foresight and inability to estimate risks which lead them to make poor decisions.
  6. According to NCRB data in 2013, the number of reported incidents of IPC offences by adults was reported at 3,523,577 whereas those by juveniles were reported at 38,765. Thus, the proportion of juvenile to adult crime is just 1.09%.

 

Q.4) The world’s cities occupy just 3% of the Earth’s land, but account for 60-80% of energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions. What are the threats faced by urban centres from climate change. Suggest strategies for sustainable development and adaptation to climate change in your answer. (GS- 3)

Answer:

Threats face by urban centers:

  1. Sea level rise – One of the alarming prospects of climate change will be its impact on the rise in sea level. Major cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are on the coast and are likely to suffer from flooding of lands particularly during high tide, salinization of water sources, destruction of ecosystems and natural resources that supply them.
  2. Changes in precipitation patterns and water cycle will increase the already existing problems of water supply and quality in urban areas, especially in big cities.
  3. Climate change is expected to increase environment-related diseases. Warmer and/or wetter period of breeding due to global warming will provide ideal conditions for expansion of mosquito-borne diseases as puddles, in which malaria carrying mosquitoes breed, are created either by excessive rainfall or by droughts in rivers.
  4. Lack of sanitation and potable water will increase contaminated water and food-borne diseases.
  5. Global warming will be felt more in cities because of the “urban heat island effect” that makes cities warmer than their surrounding.
  6. Storms, floods, cyclones, coastal flooding that are expected to be more frequent put infrastructure at great risk.

Strategies for sustainable development:

  1. Reducing carbon emissions through increasing public transport, better vehicle standards etc.,
  2. Climate adaptation strategies life afforestation and local water harvesting systems as solutions.
  3. Better urban planning to incorporate disasters in development process.
  4. Reducing various types of pollutions in a holistic manner to arrest deterioration of vital ecosystems.
  5. Coastal and marine conservation project to plant mangrove trees along the coast.
  6. Energy efficiency program for buildings.
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