Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – September 25


Q1) In the light of the  National Waterways Act, 2016, Discuss the challenges in using Waterways and measures required to address these challenges? GS 2


As acquisition of land for national and State highways becomes scarce and the cost of construction of roads, flyovers and bridges goes up, the government is now exploring using water as a means of public transportation.

What are challenges?

  • Even though India has enacted the National Waterways Act, 2016, the total number of national waterways is still 111.
  • Providing infrastructure such as jetties, terminals, and navigational channels continues to pose a challenge.
  • Peninsular rivers in India are mostly of seasonal nature
  • Riverine ecosystems may be affected due to oil-spills, noise pollution etc.
  • Slow movement and high infrastructural cost may question the economic viability of the project.
  • Water level fluctuates rapidly which can be detrimental to harbour.

Measures :

  • The National Waterways Act, 2017 proposes using a part of the cess collected on high-speed diesel and petrol for the upkeep of the national and State highways for maintaining the infrastructure of the national waterways.
  • Budgetary allocations to waterways, roads, and railways along with accountability and responsibility with a pre-determined time frame.
  • River water linking programme to connect water deficient South India to water sufficient north India and maintain required levels.
  • Private investment through Foreign Direct Investment can be explored.
  • River water disputes also need to be solved.

Q2- What are the challenges that  India’s pharmaceutical research  is facing  presently? To what extend can the failed education system in India be blamed for this? GS 3


India’s pharmaceutical research problem faces several barriers today, from a lack of investment in Research and development to human capital shortfalls


  • One of the biggest obstacles to scientific research is the lack of sufficient funding and inadequate allocations by the government.
  • At 0.83% of gross domestic product (GDP), India is among the countries with the lowest investment in scientific research.
  • New medicines, devices, diagnostics, patient aids and monitoring tools are mostly imported, often coming to India several years after they are available to patients in the developed world.

India ranked among the lowest (in the bottom five) due to

o    Weak intellectual property protection

o    Lack of data protection for biologics

o    Low investment in R&D

o    Price regulations

  • India also ranked No.19 in a 28-nation survey of biomedical investment attractiveness of countries, with an overall score of 59 out of 100.

To what extend can the failed education system in India be blamed?

  • The education system is to blame as well, imparting theoretical knowledge with no emphasis on product development and application of theory.
  • Leading to the deterioration of the knack for problem-solving and innovation.
  • Educational and academic institutions should be encouraged to participate in research programs with funding from both the government as well as the private sector.
  • The environment to support the development of these verticals could emerge through our various government-led initiatives such as Skill India, Make in India, Atal Innovation Mission, etc.

Q3. What do you understand by dynamic daily pricing system? Discuss the positive and negative impacts of dynamic daily pricing system. (GS 3)

Dynamic daily pricing system:

  • Dynamic daily pricing means the state retailers will reset the price of petrol and diesel each day, rather than wait for a fortnightly revision.
  • On a broad view, this move will align the retail pricing of crude products in line with price changes in the international markets. This will bring transparency in the pricing of crude products.
  • The companies will change the price of transport fuels every day based on crude price movements. Dynamic pricing is followed in many developed countries.
  • We can say therefore say that the retail fuel prices are expected to be more aligned to market dynamics.

Positive impact of dynamic daily pricing system:

  • This move is believed to crystallize the outlook for oil marketing companies marketing margin,or the difference between the cost of procurement and the price charged by retailer and therefore boost confidence over the overall sustainability of this broad deregulation initiative.
  • Shorter time lag between crude purchase and products sales will collapse, thus allowing prices to reflect cost and avoid artificial distortions.
  • It will enhance OMCs’ ability to pass the prices into the economy more effectively.
  • Global experience shows that the current dynamic pricing of fuel has the potential to attract participation of private players in fuel retailing and several downstream opportunities, thus exposing the downstream and marketing to best practices and modern technology in refining.
  • A liberalized retailing regime may also expose the PSUs into an intensive competitive scenario.

Negative impact of dynamic daily pricing system:

  • Consumers may be affected sometimes, especially if there is a major international event, like a war or riot. Then, the prices may fluctuate a lot. It can become expensive or cheap, depending on the nature of the incident.
  • Prices of FMCG goods may also fluctuate dynamically. FMCG prices are directly related to fuel prices. Now, if the fuel prices suddenly increase, then there are chances that FMCG products pricing may also fluctuate, and sometimes daily.

The global oil prices are becoming increasingly market-oriented. Thus, dynamic fuel pricing will improve the competitiveness of the economy overall. It would also bring in transparency in fuel pricing and incentivize investments in the oil sector.


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