Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – September 10, 2018


Q.1) The cycle of Hunger cannot be broken without channelizing the wasted food to help the needy.- Comment.

Answer: India has a “serious” hunger problem and ranks 100th out of 119 countries on the global hunger index. It is estimated by the UN that nearly 40% of the food produced in India is wasted or lost. And this cost India one lakh crore rupees every year.

Reasons for food wastage:

  1. Food wastage in India is happening at every level; from harvesting, transporting, processing, packaging and consuming.
  2. Weddings, events, restaurants, hostels and houses are a major source for food wastage of cooked food.

Channelising wasted food:

  1. There is need for capacity building at different levels of value chain. Investment is needed in large storage facilities and other related infrastructure such as roads and electricity to ensure reduction in food loss and waste.
  2. Government must also focus on food processing technologies that are both advanced and affordable so that food preservation practices can be encouraged thereby saving food from wastage.
  3. The focus should be on identifying possible solutions for both — through better farming practices, use of technology, better information, change in consumer behaviour, etc.
  4. India can draw lessons from the following countries. France has passed unanimous legislation requiring supermarkets to either give unsold food to charity or send it to farmers for use as feed and fertilizer. Similarly, institutions in Canada are recovering unused and unspoiled food from retailers, manufacturers, restaurants and caterers and sending them to charities. The UK has a food waste supermarket which sells food discarded by supermarkets and food businesses, on a pay-as-you-feel basis.
  5. Step taken by FAO, to collaborate with other partners and donors to develop and implement programmes on food loss and waste reduction. It uses a case study methodology to collect primary and empirical data on the causes of food loss in developing countries in selected food supply chains.


Q.2) Providing health services without guaranteeing a minimum level of quality is ineffective, wasteful, and unethical – Comment

Answer: Researchers highlighted poor quality healthcare as a key factor of mortality in India with 1.6 million deaths in 2016, compared with 838,000 deaths due to non-utilization of healthcare system. In India, over half of the households avoided their nearby public health facility due to quality concerns, according to The Lancet report.

Reasons for poor quality of healthcare:

  1. Insufficient budgets to government hospitals. The government spending on health has not reached the desire 2.5% of GDP.
  2. Lack of infrastructure in public health institutions is cited as a reason. It includes vacancies in posts of doctors, poor quality of operation theatres and wards. There is one government doctor for every 10,189 people, one hospital bed for every 2,046 people, and one government-run hospital for every 90,343 people.
  3. Lack of strong accountability systems.
  4. Unlike developed countries such as the United States, where health policies hold the political stage, healthcare in India is not an electoral issue.

How to address the problem:

  1. Increasing budgetary allocations.
  2. Strengthening the supply chain of public health systems – from medicines to emergency wards.
  3. Active collaboration with private players through PPP for sharing service delivery.
  4. Reducing the cost of medical education, thus motivating doctors to continue rural service.
  5. Some Indian states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Goa have invested in their health systems.
  6. There have been improvements in public health care facilities such as deployment of frontline health workers, called accredited social health activists, the launch of public ambulance services, and free distribution of generic drugs.

Q.3) Without the contribution of extremists, Indian freedom struggle would have taken all together different path. Discuss.

Answer: The period from 1905 was known as the era of extremists in Indian freedom struggle. They believed in active struggle rather than the passive style of moderates which involved petitions, prayers and protests.

Contribution of extremists:

  1. Mass movement – they expanded the reach of freedom struggle to the masses. Many hitherto untouched groups life women, peasants all actively took part in the struggle.
  2. Idea of independence – they asked for ‘swaraj’ different from the request for a dominion status by the moderates. They believed in complete independence of India.
  3. Nationalism – they propagated nationalism through traditional festivals and melas to bring many Indians into the struggle.
  4. Inclusive program – their program is more inclusive in nature, much different from the moderate propaganda which relied on exclusion of masses.
  5. They are also responsible for the spread of many national arts like literature, and national education also received support from them.

Significance of their contribution:

  1. The mass participation of Indians in later phases of freedom struggle is a contribution of extremists.
  2. Revolutionary terrorists, who inspired many Indians to freedom, were also inspired by the extremists.
  3. Many ideas propagated by extremists were instrumental in later phases of freedom struggle.


Q.4) Critically Analyse the impact of LPG reforms on Indian Agriculture Sector.

Answer: Benefits:

  1. Competition from global market compels farmers to improve their productivity, which has been stagnant for variou crops.
  2. Opportunity for exporting crops in which India has a comparative advantage.
  3. Improved technology through FDI and imports.
  4. Opportunities for food processing and contract farming have increased.

Challenges posed:

Since agriculture continues to be a tradable sector economic liberalization and reform policy had far reaching effects on :

  1. WTO rules on agriculture – like restricting subsidies pose a challenge to developing economy like India.
  2. investment in new technologies and on rural infrastructure – Infrastructure development requires public expenditure which is getting affected due to the new policies of fiscal compression.
  3. patterns of agricultural growth are more concentrated in the large farmers due to increasing cost of production.
  4. agriculture income and employment – Liberalization of agriculture and open market operations enhanced competition. Thus farmers are resorting to “distress sale” and seeking off-farm employment for supplementing income.
  5. agricultural prices have become more volatile leading to frequent food inflation due to the links with global economy.
  6. Reduction in Commercial Bank credit to agriculture led to a fall in farm investment and impaired agricultural growth.
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