Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – October 5


Q.1 Recently, the NITI Aayog released the Action Agenda for the government, a roadmap for reforming various sectors of the economy including agriculture. What are the major challenges that Indian agriculture is facing?  What are the reasons for not achieving the desired results in this sector?What measures were suggested by Niti Aayog? (GS 3).


Recently, the NITI Aayog released the Action Agenda for the government, a roadmap for reforming various sectors of the economy including agriculture.   NITI Aayog’s Action Agenda forms a part of larger Vision Document which spans a seven year strategy and a 15 years vision till fiscal year 2031-32.

Reasons for not achieving the desired results:

  • The policy of minimum support prices (MSP) has not improved profitability of cultivation in the last few years.
  • Farmers’ returns have done down in the case of most crops.
  • The situation is worse for producers of basic vegetables like potatoes, onions and tomatoes.
  • Prices of these crops during the harvest time plunged to about Rs 2 per kg in the last season while the consumers were still paying Rs 15 to Rs 20 per kg.
  • Attempts to reform the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) markets on the lines of the model act of 2003, and now through the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act, 2017, have not achieved much success.
  • The e-NAM scheme, which is supposed to create an all India market, in order to ensure better prices to farmers, has not succeeded in its endeavour so far.
  •  Inter-mandi and inter-state transactions are very rare

The Action plan set the following objectives to be achieved:

  • The  Action agenda set the  Target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.  It will address the problems of increasing suicides & distress of the farmers
  • Increasing productivity of land and water
  • Reforming agri-markets on the lines of e-NAM
  • Reforming tenancy laws
  • Relief measures during natural disasters
  • Shift to high value commodities: horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries.

Q2 What is the impact of Surgical strikes on India-Pakistan relations? Have the surgical strikes helped the country’s overall national security environment? Discuss. GS 2


It has been one year since the special forces of the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes to destroy terror Launchpad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The surgical strike from India was a point that the Line of Control is not a line that cannot be breached.

Impact on India-Pakistan relations after the strikes:

  • It is important to take stock at this point on how India-Pakistan bilateral relations and the regional security situation have evolved over the past year since the strikes.
  • The future direction of the foremost regional forum, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), remains unclear after India dropped out of the 2016 Islamabad summit in the wake of the Uri terror attack.
  • The regional security situation remains, because of confused American policies in South Asia, continuing turmoil in Afghanistan, heightening India-China rivalry, and the India-Pakistan hostility.
  • From a regional stability point of view, the surgical strikes do not seem to have had much of an adverse impact.
  • The fact that Pakistan neither acknowledged the attacks nor responded in kind shows that the general deterrence between the South Asian nuclear rivals remains intact.
  • It is easy to talk about nuclear use and threaten nuclear retaliation, as Pakistan has been doing for long. It is, however, not easy to translate such talk into action. In that sense, the surgical strikes have called Pakistan’s nuclear bluff. And that certainly is good news for regional stability.
  • But such higher-level stability seems to have come with heightened lower-level instability and that is the bad news.

Have the surgical strikes helped the country’s overall national security environment?

  • There are two reasons why the strategy of punishment may not have worked. For one, a strategy of punishment requires consistency and commitment.
  • The momentum achieved by the surgical strikes was not followed up (despite several attacks thereafter), nor was the government committed to its declared determination to respond firmly to terror strikes, thereby lacking in both consistency and commitment.
  • Second, and more importantly, Pakistan’s responses thereafter of supporting insurgency in Kashmir, aiding infiltration across the border, and allegedly supporting attacks on the Indian army convoys and bases continued without much reaction from New Delhi.
  • This has led to a visible lack of credibility on New Delhi’s part which makes one wonder whether, bereft of domestic political use, there was any strategic planning behind the September operation.
  • Surgical strikes may have been a tactical victory for New Delhi, but its strategic value is far from settled.

Q.3 What is cyber security? Why do we need to regulate cyberspace?Why is the need of “domestic procurement “being emphasized? GS 3



Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. In a computing context, security includes both cybersecurity and physical security.

Currently, almost 70 categories of cybersecurity products have been identified. These include products used for data loss prevention, security analytics, big data analytics, web security, antivirus, mobile payments, mobile data protection, cloud security, spam free email solutions, among others

Need to regulate cyberspace:

  • There has been a rapid increase in the use of the online environment where millions of users have access to internet resources and are providing contents on a daily basis.
  • The use of internet particularly for the distribution of obscene, indecent and pornographic content. The use of internet for child pornography and child sexual abuse and the relative ease with which the same may be accessed calls for strict regulation.
  • The increasing business transaction from tangible assets to intangible assets like Intellectual Property has converted Cyberspace from being a mere info space into important commercial space. The attempt to extend and then protect intellectual property rights online will drive much of the regulatory agenda and produce many technical methods of enforcement.
  • The major area of concern where some sort of regulation is desirable is data protection and data privacy so that industry, public administrators, netizens, and academics can have confidence as on-line user.
  • Internet has emerged as the ‘media of the people’ as the internet spreads fast there were changes in the press environment that was centered on mass media. Unlike as in the established press, there is no editor in the Internet. People themselves produce and circulate what they want to say and this direct way of communication on internet has caused many social debates. Therefore the future of Cyberspace content demands the reconciliation of the two views of freedom of expression and concern for community standards.
  • Another concern is that, money laundering, be ‘serious crime’ becomes much simpler through the use of net. The person may use a name and an electronic address, but there are no mechanisms to
  • prove the association of a person with an identity so that a person can be restricted to a single identity or identity can be restricted to a single person. Therefore Cyberspace needs to be regulated to curb this phenomenon.


  • With a view to promoting domestic technology and preventing data theft by foreign entities, the government will soon announce a policy that accords preference in official procurement to ‘Made in India’ antivirus and cybersecurity solutions.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued a draft notification which states “preference shall be provided by all procuring entities to domestically manufactured/ produced cybersecurity products.”
  • The possibility of foreign vendors retaining some backdoor access and the risk of a third party gaining access was a key factor spurring the policy, said an official, who did not wish to be named. “So, you have to have your own solutions.”
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