Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – October 30, 2018


Q.1) The Indo-Pacific region positions itself as one of the world’s most significant geo-strategic and economic zone, replacing the emphasis erstwhile enjoyed by the Atlantic-Pacific region. Comment.


Indo-Pacific is the geographical connotation of the area which covers the Eastern Coast of Africa through Indian Ocean and Western Pacific Ocean.

Importance of Indo – Pacific:

Geo strategic:

a) US’ Rebalance to Asia highlights the importance of the “Indo-Pacific” concept.

b) The region consists of many of the world’s vital choke points for global commerce, including the Straits of Malacca which is very critical for the growth of world economy.

c) The boom in port construction has heightened the strategic significance of the Indo-Pacific and is likely to generate greater commercial traffic and greater strategic competition.

d) Rising China is a key factor in the Indo-Pacific. Its issues with almost all the neighbouring nations points to the aggressive nature of its growth.

e) The security environment is complicated by maritime boundary disputes in the SCS, disagreement over territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal and the emergence of non-traditional security challenges such as piracy, drug and human trafficking, terrorism and climate change.


a) The global economic power shift from the West to East (Asia).

b) It is rich in natural resources, especially hydrocarbons which fuel the industrial engines of the world’s economies.

c) It has emerged as a centre of international trade and investments. It embodies a large market defined by nearly half of the world’s population.

d) The region’s growing economy and trade has created greater scope for regional economic integration.


Q.2) Examine the constitutional relation between the president and Prime Minister of India.


Constitution of India provided for a parliamentary form of government. So President has been made only a nominal executive; real executive being CoM headed by PM. President has to exercise his powers and functions with the aid and advise of CoM headed by PM.

Articles 53, 74 and 75 explain the constitutional power of president:

  1. Executive power of Union shall be vested in President and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with this Constitution (Art 53).
  2. There shall be CoM with PM at the head to aid and advise President who ‘shall’ in the exercise of his functions act in accordance with such advice (Article 74).
  3. CoM shall be collectively responsible to LS(Article 75).

42nd Constitutional Amendment made President bound by the advice of CoM headed by PM. He ‘shall’ act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.

Relation between PM and President:

  1. PM is the principal channel of communication between CoM and president
  • Conveys information about decisions of CoM on legislation, administration.
  • Info on administration and legislation as president asks for
  • Submit for consideration of CoM, any issue on which a minister took a decision but not considered by the council.
  1. Advises president wrt appointments of CAG, AG, Ecs, FC members, UPSC members

Q.3) Describe the emergence of Basic Structure concept in Indian Constitution.


The basic structure doctrine is an Indian judicial principle that the Constitution of India has certain basic features that cannot be altered or destroyed through amendments by the parliament.

  1. The question whether Fundamental Rights can be amended by the Parliament under Article 368 came for consideration of the Supreme Court.
  2. Shankari Prasad case – constitutional validity of the First  Amendment Act (1951), which curtailed the right to property, was challenged. SC ruled that the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution under Article 368 also includes the  power to amend Fundamental Rights. The word ‘law’ in Article 13 includes only ordinary laws and not the constitutional amendment acts.
  3. Golak Nath case – SC ruled that the FRs are given a ‘transcendental and immutable’ position and Parliament cannot abridge or take away any of these rights. A constitutional amendment act is also a law within the meaning of Article 13.
  4. The Parliament enacted the 24th Amendment Act (1971) which amended Articles 13 and 368. Parliament has the power to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights under Article  368 and it will not be considered a law under Article 13.
  5. Kesavananda Bharati case – upheld the validity of the 24th Amendment Act and stated that Parliament is empowered to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights. It  also laid down ‘basic structure’ doctrine. It said that the constituent power of Parliament under Article 368 does not enable it to alter the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.
  6. 42nd Amendment Act – amended Article 368 and declared that there is no limitation on the constituent power of Parliament and no amendment can be questioned in any court on any ground including contravention of Fundamental Rights.
  7. Minerva Mills case – invalidated this provision as it excluded judicial review which is a ‘basic feature’ of the Constitution.


Q.4) What is zero budget natural farming? What are the benefits and challenges associated with zero budget natural farming


Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is a farming practice that believes in natural growth of crops without adding any fertilizers and pesticides or any other foreign elements.

Four important non-negotiable guidelines:


  1. A ZBNF practicing farmer has lower cost of inputs and thus has better capacity to increase the incomes.
  2. ZBNF crops helps in retaining soil fertility and are climate change resilient.
  3. Z.B.N.F principles are in sync with the principles of Agroecology.
  4. It is based on the latest scientific discoveries in Agriculture, and, at the same time it is rooted in Indian tradition.
  5. Helps increase farm incomes by allowing multi-crop harvests.
  6. Least possible consumption of water and electricity.
  7. Most of the nutrients are taken from the air, water and solar energy. Rest 1.5% are taken from the soil.
  8. GHG emissions are negligible to almost zero.


  1. Harvesting may be a challenge while managing the crop yields. Harvesting machinery and technology constraints.
  2. May temporarily increase the cost while switching over from chemical based farming processes.
  3. Low productivity challenges initially.
  4. Lack of systematic R&D methods.
  5. Water scarcity in many parts of India remains an area of concern.
Print Friendly and PDF