Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – September 3, 2018


Q.1) Discuss the need and steps taken by government for holistic developments of Indian islands.

Answer: The 1382 offshore-identified islands of India hold immense unexploited potential for fostering growth and achieving cohesive socio-economic development of the region in particular and also, the nation as a whole.

Need for development of islands:

  1. Security – there is need to strengthen maritime security along the islands to rising threats from the sea (26/11 Mumbai attacks) and piracy related threats.  
  2. Strategic

a) There is greater role and importance of islands in maritime strategy

b) Greater connectivity of these islands with Southeast Asia.

c) Major island chains life the Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep group are located in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.

d) China continues to assert its dominance in the Indian ocean region through partnerships with Indian neighbors.

  1. Human development – most of the islands remain cut off from the mainland. Thus they are deprived of vital connectivity and infrastructure – both physical and social. Moreover, key islands in India host diverse tribal population which lag behind in human development.
  2. Energy – as most of the islands are located along the coasts, there are possibilities to explore various energy sources life tidal/ wave/ wind energy.
  3. Resources –

a) Possibility of cultivating seaweeds and fisheries development.

b) A&N Islands alone account for 30% of India’s EEZ-revenue.

  1. Tourism – islands offer huge potential for development of tourism. This is already demonstrated by success of A&N islands as tourist hubs.

Steps taken so far:

  1. The requirement of Restricted Area Permit for foreigners visiting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was dispensed with.
  2. Steps taken to boost Tuna fishing and “Lakshadweep Tuna” as a brand was promoted. The Prime Minister appreciated Lakshadweep initiatives on cleanliness.
  3. The government had constituted the Islands Development Agency (IDA).
  4. The government announced laying of submarine optical fiber cable between Chennai and A&N Islands to increase telephone and internet connectivity in the region.
  5. Key infrastructure projects such as creation of jetties/berthing facilities, Roll-on/Roll-off ships.
  6. 2016 Indo-Japan Joint Statement on Bilateral Cooperation envisioned to develop “Smart Islands” on the line of the ‘Smart Cities’ project.


Q.2) What are the features of and issues surrounding India’s new Drone Policy. What are the areas of application of drones in India?

Answer: Features of the policy:

  1. Remotey piloted aircraft (RPA) is an unmanned aircraft piloted from a remote pilot station.
  2. Operators of civil drones will need to get a permit from the DGCA.
  3. The basic operating procedure will restrict drone flights to the daytime only and that too within “Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)”.
  4. Airspace has been divided by the government into different zones:

a) Red Zone: Flying not permitted

b) Yellow Zone: Controlled airspace — permission required before flying

c) Green Zone: Uncontrolled airspace — automatic permission

  1. RPAs cannot be flown within 5km of the perimeters of the airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and within 3km from the perimeter of any other airport.
  2. Eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are off-limits without prior permission.
  3. Digital Sky platform will be the first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements a ‘no permission, no takeoff’ system for remotely piloted aircraft.
  4. It clearly disallowed delivery of payload by drones for now, which means they cannot be used by e-commerce companies or online food platforms for delivery of food or goods.

Issues surrounding the policy:

  1. The issue of liability in case of drone-to-drone collisions.
  2. They do not mention anything about import standards, even though the majority of the drones in India are imported.  
  3. The lack of a policy outline on quality control for indigenously manufactured- and built-drones.

Areas of application of drones:

  1. Drones offer low-cost, safe and quick aerial surveys for data collection. This is useful for industries such as power, mining, realty, oil and gas exploration, railways and highways.
  2. With big data and tools such as 3D modelling, businesses can simulate and analyse varied situations.
  3. Drones can inspect tall structures and offshore rigs.
  4. Relief, rescue work and policing can become more effective by using them.
  5. They can be used for delivery of fertilizers in fields and to ship goods, a use e-commerce firms may be interested in.


Q.3) What do you understand by ‘Codes of Ethics’ & ‘Codes of Conduct’? Do you think there is a need to shift from Codes of Conduct to Codes of Ethics?

Answer: Code of Ethics:

  1. It behaves like the Constitution with general principles to guide behaviour; outlining a
    set of principles that affect decision-making. For example, if an organization is committed to protecting the environment and “being green”, the Code of Ethics will state that there is an expectation for any employee faced with a problem, to choose the most “green” solution.
  2. It works on the bases of “treat others as you would like to be treated.”
  3. When faced with ethical dilemmas or debatable situations, what’s articulated in the Code of Ethics can help guide decision making.

Code of Conduct:

  1. A Code of Conduct applies the Code of Ethics to a host of relevant situations.
  2. A particular rule in the Code of Ethics might state that all employees will obey the law, a Code of Conduct might list several specific laws relevant to different areas of organizational operations, or industry, that employees need to obey.
  3. The Code of Conduct outlines specific behaviours that are required or prohibited as a condition of ongoing employment.
  4. It might forbid sexual harassment, racial intimidation or viewing inappropriate or unauthorized content on company computers.

Need to shift from Codes of Conduct to Codes of Ethics:

  1. Ethical standards generally are wide-ranging and non-specific, designed to provide a set of values or decision-making approaches that enable employees to make independent judgments about the most appropriate course of action.
  2. Conduct standards generally require little judgment; you obey or incur a penalty, and the code provides a fairly clear set of expectations about which actions are required, acceptable or prohibited.
  3. They give more freedom for the civil servants to respond to dynamic situations.
  4. They provide a framework to hold the civil servants more accountable.


Q. 4) What do you understand by civil services activism? Analyze its impacts on the functioning of democracy?

Answer: Civil services’ activism includes all or any of those proactive steps which are taken by civil servants to make the system/administration more people centric, transparent, efficient and abiding by constitutional values.

It may include gamut of activities like civil servants holding regular public meetings, asking for people’s feedback, making people aware of their rights, ensuring quality of goods and services provided by government, vigilant working, taking a strict stand against actions or decisions of political bosses or colleagues/seniors which are against their constitutional duties and constitutional values (e.g. corruption) and thus bringing a major reform, overhauling in the office.

Ex: T. N. Seshan (former Chief Election Commissioner) can be called as an activist civil servant. He fought a tough battle to bring down electoral malpractices and making Election Commission a powerful, efficient and transparent body. He gave us some cleanest ever elections by implementing MCC (Model Code of Conduct) strictly.


  1. It not only improves administration but majorly it reinforces people’s faith in the system.
  2. As most of the cause of civil service activism are pro-poor, pro-people, or pro-environment , the weaker section gets the due justice. For instance, implementation of finger print based payment model helped the MGNREGA workers gets their full due on time.
  3. Civil service activism brings new concept, ideas, and innovative solutions to governance. For instance, in left wing affected areas of Chhattisgarh, use of Bamboo based fully residential school, use of local tribal language to teach the tribal student, and skill training of local youth were adopted based on the ideas of district collectors and some of the civil servant. This help the state to reduce the school drop-out student in the LWE area.
  4. Civil service activism make the bureaucrats an inspiration to the upcoming generation.
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