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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 11th


Following are the Suggested Answers for Mains Marathon, April 11:


April 11th:


  1. What is Graphene? Describe some uses and applications of Graphene in our day-to-day lives. (GS 3)

ग्रेफीन क्या है? हमारे दिन-प्रतिदिन के जीवन में ग्रेफीन के कुछ उपयोग और अनुप्रयोगों का वर्णन करें।


Graphene:-

  • Graphene is an allotrope of carbon in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale, hexagonal lattice in which one atom forms each vertex.
  • It is the basic structural element of other allotropes, including graphite, charcoal, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes.
  • It can be considered as an indefinitely large aromatic molecule, the ultimate case of the family of flat polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • Graphene has many unusual properties. It is about 200 times stronger than the strongest steel. It efficiently conducts heat and electricity and is nearly transparent.
  • Graphene is the only form of carbon (or solid material) in which every atom is available for chemical reaction from two sides.
  • The remarkable thing about graphene is that its crystalline structure is two-dimensional.

Uses and applications of graphene:-

  • Graphene is a transparent and flexible conductor that holds promise for various material/device applications, including solar cells, light-emitting diodes (LED), touch panels and smart windows or phones.
  • Graphene-based touch panel modules produced by a China-based company have been sold in volume to cell phone, wearable device and home appliance manufacturers. For instance, smart phone products with graphene touch screens are already on the market.
  • As of 2015 one product was available for commercial use: a graphene-infused printer powder.
  • It turns out graphene is not just for high-tech applications, but for the simple devices people use everyday like our light bulbs.
  • Potential graphene applications include lightweight, thin, flexible, yet durable display screens, electric/photonics circuits, solar cells, and various medical, chemical and industrial processes enhanced or enabled by the use of new graphene materials.
  • Heat conduction:
    • Graphene is a good conductor of electricity and can replace copper wires
    • Can be used in boilers and cooking utensils.
  • Graphene being highly inert is being deployed towards automobile paints, etc.
  • Composite materials: Due to its superior properties of hardness and shear strength, graphene is utilized towards developing light weight products like aircraft parts.
  • Electrodes: Due to its superior conductivity at room temeperature, graphene is also used towards developing electrodes with high surface area and low resistance.
  • Bio-medical applications:
    • Targeted drug delivery as well as activated biomolecules and bio-sensors are some other uses of graphene.
    • Drug delivery grapheme can be used in the drug delievery and also in the detection of the disease
  • It can revolutionalise electronic circuitry.
  • It can be used to recharge lithium batteries at very fast pace and can used to store electricity
  • Because of its strength it can be used in aviation sector too.

 

Challenges:

  • Possible health risks.
  • Costs involved may make it less affordable in day-to-day uses

 

With graphene still new,more research is needed to explore the benefits of it.In the future the role to be played by graphene is rather more.

 


  1. Why is Teesta waters one of the most contentious issues between India and Bangladesh? Suggest some ways to resolve the issue. (GS 2)

भारत और बांग्लादेश के बीच सबसे विवादास्पद मुद्दों में से एक तीस्ता क्यों है? इस मुद्दे को हल करने के कुछ तरीके सुझाएं।


 

Reasons :-

  • Significance of the river :-
    • The Teesta River is a 309 km long river and forms the border between India and Bangladesh. The river covers nearly the entire floodplains of Sikkim, while draining 2,800 sq km of Bangladesh, governing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
  • Failure of agreements:-
    • In 1983, an ad-hoc water sharing agreement was reached between India and Bangladesh, whereby both countries were allocated 39% and 36% of the water flow respectively.
    • However, the deal fell through when West Bengal refused to approve the treaty, fearing that the loss of higher volume of water to the lower riparian would cause problems in the northern region of state, especially during drier months.
  • Importance to Bangladesh:-
    • Teesta water is crucial for Bangladesh, especially in the leanest period from December to March when the water flow often temporarily comes down to less than 1,000 cusecs from 5,000 cusecs.
    • The flood plain of Teesta River covers about 14% of the total cropped area of Bangladesh and provides livelihood opportunities to approximately 7.3% of the population.
    • India has built a barrage at Gazaldoba from which 85% of water flow is diverted from Teesta River without Bangladesh’s consent. When Bangladesh needs water in dry season it does not get it, but when it does not need water during summer and monsoon it gets enough of it to the point of flooding, destroying houses, roads and riverbanks and embankments.
    • Since Sikkim and West Bengal withdraw water from the Teesta, the flow has been drastically reduced to the detriment of the Bangladeshi farmers.
  • State subject:-
    • Although Article 253 of the Indian constitution gives power to the Union government to enter into any transboundary river water-related treaty with a riparian state, the Centre cannot do it arbitrarily without taking into consideration the social, political and economic impact of such a treaty in the catchment area.
  • Confusion:-
    • One of the reasons for not accepting the new deal on the Teesta is confusion over the agreed percentage of water to be shared between India and Bangladesh. The deal says that Bangladesh will receive 48%of the waters.
  • Indian concerns:-
    • Westbengal  isn’t ready to budge on the demand for sharing of water. On top of that, it would affect the irrigation in Bengal adversely.
    • According to the new proposed agreement, Bangladesh would receive about 48% of the Teesta water which is about around 33,000 cubic feet per second (cusec) of water annually. Such a step would bring down the irrigation levels in the areas of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, South and North Dinajpur.

 

  • Coalition governments everywhere suffer conflicting pressures from different party components, and the Teesta water-sharing appears to have become a victim of political manoeuvring between New Delhi and Kolkata.
  • Hydropower on the Teesta is another point of conflict.There are at least 26 projects on the river mostly in Sikkim, aimed at producing some 50,000MW.

Measures to resolve the issue are :-

  • India should embed in the construction of giant artificial reservoirs, where the monsoon water can be stored for the lean season.The reservoirs need to be built in India as the country has some mountain-induced sites favourable to hosting dams with reservoirs, unlike Bangladesh,
  • The deal, as anticipated, will help India get more political leverage, which, it thinks, is necessary to check the rising influence of an extra regional power China in the Bay of Bengal region.
  • There is a need to set up a commission to ascertain the level of water flowing through the Torsa and the quantum of water that can be shared.
  • Bringing West Bengal government, so that it will also have an equal say in matter.
  • Building Artificial dams to store water during the monsoon and release it during lean season.
  • Water supply:
    • Increase water supply via Inter-linking of rivers , rainwater harvesting, upstream reservoirs to store water during rainy period
  • Water demand reduction:
    • Use of less water intensive rice crop like basmati,generation of non-farm jobs.
  • There is a need for integrated approach to the issue not limited to water of Teesta but to focus on issue of water availability, efficiency of use and demand check in addition to political will to have a lasting solution

  1. Tyranny naturally arises out of democracy. Do you agree? (GS 4)

त्रीनी स्वाभाविक रूप से लोकतंत्र से निकलती है। क्या आप सहमत हैं?


  • Plato explains how each system eventually changes into another and lower one because of the principle that “the excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction”.
  • Democratic government in turn engenders its own reaction: the more liberty men have, the more they demand, until a situation arises that is strikingly similar to that found today. Therefore the society has says Socrates, “subjects who are like rulers, and rulers who are like subjects”; “the master fears and flatters his scholars, and the scholars despise their master”; “the father grows accustomed to descend to the level of his sons and to fear them, and the son is on a level with his father.” Hence, law and authority cease to function, and there appears a class of “idle spendthrifts” who destroy the State. So oligarchy turns to democracy and democracy changes to tyranny.
  • The excess of liberty, whether in States or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.
  • And so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty.
  • Power struggle shifts the priorities of the elected candidates from greater good of people to establishing their stronghold. For instance the  use of chemical weapons in Syria by Bashar al assad to protect its government.
  • In process of defending one’s decisions, it is common to see rules being used to curb opposition. Ex : Use of Article 124A, Section 66A of IT act, Defamation laws.
  • Leadership: Potential tyrants like Mussolini can sway the masses in a democracy by using freedom of speech.

Sometimes democracy need not lead to tyranny all the tie there are democratic institutions which try to check that in a democracy:-

  • Judiciary, supremacy of constitution keep tyranny under control.
  • Democratic values like separation of power ensure power is decentralised to executive, legislature and judiciary
  • Democratic processes like election after 5 years, no-confidence motion etc check such outcomes
  • Democratic institutions like election commission is ensured independence in conduct of elections.

Democracy doesn’t turn to tyranny but it is the weakness of democratic institutions constitutional framework and processes that provide possibility of getting themselves hijacked which pushes it to tyranny . Thus, there is always a possibility of tyrant hijacking a democratic state but in my view it cannot be said to be natural outcome.

 


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