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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 18


 

  1. Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. Comment.(GS 4)

Yes,democracy must be built through open societies that share information :-

  • Open societies sharing information is the prerogative of any mature democracy.It’s the main way of removing people away from ignorance thus contributing to their and in turn development of the society.
  • The vision of democracy is welfare of people, and sharing of information is also one of them hence a society open to information and experimentation is a good sign of healthy democracy.
  • Open societies lead to building of strong, peaceful and sustainable democracies by ensuring participation of all sections.
  • Open societies encourages discussions and debates which is a cornerstone of democracy
  • Tolerance:
    • It does not curtail even the most radical ideas instead provide them freedom of speech
  • Reform:
    • Society evaluates all possible solution from all section and accept the reforms and move forward.
  • Transparency:
    • People fearlessly convey their concern to the immediate problem, participate freely in discussion without the fear of repurcussion all essential in democracy.
  • It helps in smooth running of democratic polity via people’s initiative and public participation.

An open society with information sharing provides a smooth platform and process to counter any challenge faced in the society that has political repurcussions.


  1. Discuss the systemic glitches that impede attempts to the government to rid economy of black money.(GS 3)

Indian Express

Systemic glitches:-

  • Weak institutions such as banking system, enforcement mechanism etc. which are opaque and to some extent, corrupt and this is exploited to fullest by evaders and criminals alike.
    • People exploited the loopholes in the system to foil moves to demonetise the economy. People allegedly took the help of bankers and also used others’ bank accounts to deposit their unaccounted money. Banks did not make proper arrangements to detect counterfeit currency.
  • Government measures will discourage further:-
    • The stringent provisions of the foreign assets declaration scheme will discourage people from parking unaccounted money in overseas assets and investments.
    • Also, stringent provisions under other laws and the Income Tax Act will discourage people from generating more unaccounted money.
    • Government lacks access to data to detect evasion probably due to use of cash for payments
  • Tax system is very arbitrary. Income tax laws have failed to impose criminal punishments on tax evaders.
  • Lack of adequate manpower and capacity building in different government departments.
  • In small towns and villages, there is a big difference between market value and stamp duty value of properties, particularly land.
  • Lack of coordination among different governmental institutions:-
    • Various agencies like State vigilance, CBI, CVC, Enforcement directorate, DRI etc have over-lapping function, hindering coordination and sharing information.
  • Agencies have not taken to use of Bigdata which is essential to mine useful information
  • Cash to GDP ratio of 12%, Indian economy is excessively dependent on cash transactions which is difficult to trace.

Way forward:-

  • Improve inter-agency coordination by appointing liasoning officers, use of technology
  • Develop an intelligence grid similar to NATGRID with access to all agencies
  • Capacity building of agencies by establishing dedicated cadre for ED, DRI etc
  • Big data application for transactions and analysing the transactions.
  • Increase the strength of personnel in tax administration.
  • Restricting cash transactions over a certain value.
  • Keeping in check the foreign transactions and putting pressure on tax havens for information

With the recent steps taken by the government like Project insight of IT department to gather data from various source, promotion of cashless economy. They would go long way in checking black money.


  1. Politics and ethics belong to different worlds. Critically comment.(GS 4)

No they are not :-

  • Ethics and politics are intimately related. Both are normative sciences.
    • Ethics aims at the supreme good of the individual whereas Politics aims at public good. Public good can be attained through individual good; therefore politics aims at the establishment of an ideal welfare state where more perfection of the citizens can be realized.
  • Similarly individual good can be achieved through public good. Politics is a practical science but ethics is not. However, the influence of ethics on the practical life can not be ignored.
  • Gandhi for example, advocates that a happy marriage should be instituted between politics and morality. High politics must have a moral base.
  • Politicians in their turn have played an important role in changing the moral out look of the state.
  • The concepts like justice, liberty, right duties etc. are located in the border areas of ethics and politics.

Yes they are different:-

  • Politics has no connection with ethics. The will of the sovereign is law. The power must be exercised on the people at any cost of their own protection.Hence, it need not have any connection with morality.
  • Both ethics and politics are concerned with the ideas of duty, responsibility etc. The moral thinker makes a theoretical and analytical study in order to consider what responsibility is and what is not.
    • The politician also does the same job but the extra work that he does is to fix up responsibility and recommend the quantum of penalty on the wrong door..
  • Politics is basically a descriptive and factual science as it studies functioning of government at the time of peace and war. Ethics studies the human conduct with reference to a particular norm. Thus it is a normative science. It studies what ought to be, not what actually occurs or what is the case

In spite of these differences of opinion one thing is certain that there is a mutual dependence of ethics and politics Moral philosophers have tried to influence state politics.


 

 

 

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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 24


  1. Use of Internet and social media by non-state actors for subversive activities is a major concern. How have these have misused in the recent past? Suggest effective guidelines to curb the above threat.(GS 3)
    UPSC Mains Previous Year Paper

Introduction:-

  • In the 21st century , the internet and social media have empowered non-state actors so much that superpowers can no longer install stable regimes at will.

How have these been used in the recent past:-

 

  • The internet and social media can now create and mobilize radical ideologues across the world, and create homegrown fanatics in every country . There is no military defence against these new developments.
  • The ability to spread subversive ideas, once the hallmark of liberation movements, is now the hallmark of radical Islam.
  • High technology could pulverise conventional armed forces but could not control low-tech rural areas, or stop the Taliban’s spread of ideas and arms, or even stop the Taliban raising funds through local taxes, smuggling and the opium trade.
  • Even if ISIS gives up most of its erritory , it will retain the power to persuade and mobilize hrough social media and the internet, inspiring an unending succession of alienated Muslims in many countries to become suicide killers.
  • New forms of communication have enabled non-state actors to spread their tentacles, and to mobilize money and arms, on a scale that even strong states cannot foil. Somali pirates have shown that even commercial hoodlums, seeking millions without a shred of ideology , can defy the greatest naval superpowers.
  • Hacking and other 21st century tools enable radicals to undercut the most powerful states.
  • Cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and other forms of cyber terrorism.
  • Brainwashing by manipulating religious doctrines
  • Glorifying acts of terrorism by uploading videos of killings & attacks

How to curb it?

  • Ideally , by creating a sense of universal brotherhood.
  • India should be active in demand for equitable internet governance globally.
  • Cyber security laws and bodies like CERT-IN should be upgraded with latest technologies.
  • Digital literacy must be increased via school & college education with emphasis on our secular & democratic ethos.
  • International co-operation must be sought for preventing and control of cyber-crimes

  1. Give an account of the current status and the targets to be achieved pertaining to renewable energy sources in the country. Discuss in brief the importance of National Programme on Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).(GS 3)

UPSC Mains Previous Year Paper

Current status and targets:-

In tune with increasing energy demands and as per India’s INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution) provided to UNFCCC as part of Paris climate pact, India intends to build 175 Giga Watts (GW) of renewable energy by 2022.
It includes:
• Solar Power: Target – 100 GW (current installed capacity 3GW)
• Wind Energy: Target – 60 GW (current installed capacity 22GW)
• Biomass: Target – 10 GW (current installed capacity 4000MW)
• Small Hydro: Target – 05 GW (current installed capacity 4000MW)
Apart from electricity generation in a environmentally friendly manner, in order to focus on efficient use of energy

Importance of national programme on LED:-

  • Launched as the Prakash Path (Way to Light), a National Programme for LED-based Home and Street Lighting. Under this scheme, the government is planning to replace  77 crore conventional bulbs and 3.5 crore conventional streetlights with the LED range.
  • As per the Economic Survey 2015-16, this change will see a savings of Rs 45,500 crore by reducing 21,500 MW electricity demand.
  • For this, the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) along with Discoms, will be distributing LED bulbs to consumers at Rs 10 per unit. This is against the market price of Rs 350-400.
  • Energy conservation:
    • LEDs havelonger life (50,000 hours) and increased efficiency due to photo sensitive semiconductor technology. Estimated savings of 100 b KWh (domestic) and 9 b KWh (street lighting)
  • Mitigate climate change:
    • It helps in mitigating the climate change by reducing the CO2 emission by 85 million tonnes annually.
  • Environment friendly:
    • They have no mercury they have zero negative environmental impact.
  • Reduces power load:
    • It is estimated to reduce reduce peak load by 20000 MW (domestic)and 1500 MW (street lighting).
  • Rural electrification:
    • Reduced peak load and supply of LED would not help in rural electrification but also for rural development.
  • Economical:
    • There availability at low prices and their usage is also economical to the nation as it reduces energy import bill
  • Industry:
    • It gives a boost to Make in India, startup and stand up India it would give thrust to LED manufacturing, especially for the MSMEs. It would also promote employment.
  • Thus National Programme for LED -based home and street lighting not only helps facilitate India’s commitment of reducing its emission intensity per unit of GDP by 33-35% by 2030 under its INDC but also step towards bringing positive behavioural change in society by shifting to less energy consumption mode.

  1. Women empowerment in India needs gender budgeting. What are the requirements and status of gender budgeting in the Indian context?(GS 3)

UPSC Mains Previous Year Paper

Background:

  • Gender budgeting (GB) is a practice that accounts budgetary measures to support gender commitments.
  • India formally adopted gender budgeting in 2005.Every Indian budget since 2005 has a statement that lists out schemes meant specifically for women.Sixteen states have also embraced gender budgeting over the past decade.

Status:

  • Greater gender equality with respect to enrollment in schools:
    • More girls are enrolling with increase in awareness.
  • Spending on infrastructurehas also increased for instance women in BPL categories are given free LPG for better health prospects.
  • Providing women with safe toilets in school especially in villages, giving free cycles for easy commutation(for eg. in Bihar), providing them with drinking water facilities are some steps in this direction.
  • Village panchayats controlled by women tend to spend more on public goods such as drinking water which are closer to the concerns of women
  • The gender budgeting has helped improve women's economic equality.
  • Government efforts :-
    • Many government schemes like beti bacho beti padhao for bettering sex ratio and education , sukanya samridhi yojana for enhancing their economic status are launched.
    • Recently government has increased the Paid leave of women to 26 Weeks from 12 Weeks under maternity benefit act this will ensure the retention of Women in the work force.

Concerns:

  • Gender budgeting alone is unlikely to solve the massive problem of gender inequality that not only prevents women from living a full life but also hurts economic growth.
  • For example, India has the lowest level of female participation in the labour force when compared to most other regional economies. Indian women enter the labour force only when there is economic distress while they retreat back into their homes once the situation improves a rare case of employment going down when the economy improves.
  • Social norms do prevent women from exercising these freedoms.
  • The lack of certain core public goods such as safe streets or lack of clean drinking water are more likely to hurt the economic prospects of women more than men.
    • The lack of clean drinking water on tap in effect means that women in many parts of the country spend several hours every day walking in search of water.
  • According to the Mcckinsey Global report on Gender parity, India has a score of 0.48 which compares poorly with 0.71 for Western Europe and 0.74 for North America and Oceania.It also goes onto say that investment in gender parity can result in 1.4% per year increase in GDP.

 

Requirements of gender budgeting :-

  • GB requires Government budgets to establish its gender specific impacts and to ensure that gender commitments are translated into budgetary commitments.
  • Gender specific grant allocations in various schemes. For example schemes like Start Up India and Stand up India allocations must be specifically earmarked for women entrepreneurs.
  • Provisions specially to attract women in the mainstream economy and targeting the section of women that hesitates to participate actively by leveraging benefits.
  • Institutionalizing GB at state govt. level must be done to increase the share and commitment on state subjects.

A gender sensitive budget helps in translating gender-specific commitments into budgetary commitments. Since women comprise approx 48% of the population of India, it becomes important for their voices to be heard.


 

 

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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 20


  1. 1. What is anti-defection law? Do you think that anti-defection law in India is weak? (GS 2)

The Hindu

Anti defection law:-

  • The Tenth Schedule popularly known as the Anti-Defection Act was included in the Constitution in 1985
  • The 52nd amendment to the Constitution added the Tenth Schedule which laid down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection.
    • A member of parliament or state legislature was deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily resigned from his party or disobeyed the directives of the party leadership on a vote. That is, they may not vote on any issue in contravention to the party’s whip.
    • Independent members would be disqualified if they joined a political party.
    • Nominated members who were not members of a party could choose to join a party within six months; after that period, they were treated as a party member or independent member.

Anti defection law in India is weak :-

  • Loss of membership is hardly a penalty in cases ahead of the scheduled time of general elections as seen last year. It also loses significance if the House is likely to be dissolved.
  • On the other hand, the voting behaviour may be affected even on issues not related to the stability of the government. A member may be unable to express his actual belief or the interests of his constituents. Therefore, a case may be made for restricting the law to confidence and no-confidence motions.
  • The Dinesh Goswami Committee on electoral reforms (1990) recommended this change, while the Law Commission (170th report, 1999) suggested that political parties issue whips only when the government was in danger. it was met with severe oppositions on logic that it impinged on right to free speech of legislators.
  • The curtailing to a certain extent the role of the MP or member of state legislature.
    • It is culminated into absence of constructive debates on critical policy issues. The whip has become all the more powerful and has to be followed in all circumstances.
  • The anti-defection law has enabled the political parties to have stronger grip on their members which many times has resulted into preventing them to vote for the lure of money of ministerial birth.

It’s not that weak :-

  • Supreme court stated that “the anti-defection law seeks to recognise the practical need to place the proprieties of political and personal conduct above certain theoretical assumptions.” It held that the law does not violate any rights or freedoms, or the basic structure of parliamentary democracy.
  • Supreme Court also made some observations on Section 2(1) (b) of the Tenth schedule. Section 2(1) (b) reads that a member shall be disqualified if he votes or abstains from voting contrary to any direction issued by the political party.
  • The judgement highlighted the need to limit disqualifications to votes crucial to the existence of the government and to matters integral to the electoral programme of the party, so as not to ‘unduly impinge’ on the freedom of speech of members.
  • It also provides stability to the government by preventing shifts of party allegiance and ensures that candidates elected with party support and on the basis of party manifestoes remain loyal to the party.

Way forward:-

  • The Venkatachaliah Commission recommended that defectors should be barred from holding any ministerial or remunerative political office for the remaining term of the House. It also said that the vote of any defector should not be counted in a confidence or no-confidence motion.
  • The decision making power of speaker / chairman needs review
  • The phrase “voluntarily giving up membership” is too vague and needs comprehensive revision.
  • Political parties should limit issuance of whips to instances only when the government is in danger
  • The Election Commission had recommended that the decisions under the Tenth Schedule should be made by the President/ Governor on the binding advice of the Election Commission

  1. What is the need of setting up a Computer Emergency Response Team for the Financial Sector (CERT-Fin) in India? Discuss. (GS 3)

The Hindu

Need for setting up CERT-Fin in India:-

  • It is a move to set up an emergency response team comes in the backdrop of growing cyberattacks in the financial system.
  • RBI had already created a specialised cell (C-SITE) within its supervision department to conduct detailed IT examination of banks’ cybersecurity preparedness, to identify the gaps and to monitor the progress of remedial measures.Last year, more than 32 lakh debit cards of various public and private sector banks were compromised.
  • This entity will work in close coordination with all financial sector regulators and other stakeholders
  • Post demonetisation, promotion of a digital economy is an integral part of government’s strategy to clean the system and weed out corruption and black money.
  • The CERT-Fin will lead to collaboration between the technology companies and the banking system in the country.
  • The synergy created by these announcements, along with the efforts of cyber security solutions, is going to further inspire new users to come online, aiding India’s transition to a digital economy.
  • It would certainly bring in higher protection to boost the confidence of consumers as the nation moves to broad digitization and an increasingly cashless economy.
  • Given the government’s mission to set a target of 2500 crores worth of digital transactions for FY 2017-18 through modes such as Unified Payment Interface, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data-USSD, Aadhar Pay, IMPS and debit cards, CERT-Fin has a big role to play in securing transactions through stringent security controls.

Concerns:-

  • Cyber experts said much more is needed to be done in order to safeguard our computer networks and payment gateways as India aims to go digital.
  • Big challenge is to however, is to work out a realistic framework for CERT-Fin’s activities and carefully define its role in ensuring higher security for the financial sector.
  • The banking industry faces the challenge of helping to define the exact role of CERT-Fin, considering that the RBI recently formed its new IT arm to prescribe cybersecurity policies for the sector.

What needs to be done?

  • Need far more focus to safeguard computer networks and payment gateways targeted by state and non-state actors.
  • Need to strengthen our cyber law so that online fraudsters can be nailed fast.
  • It’s essential for CERT-Fin to enable financial firms to develop an even stronger community defense model. The new organization should provide an important resource to deliver deeper analysis, mitigate risks and encourage greater collaboration.
  • The key focus should be to bolster the quality and timeliness of cyber threat intelligence received by financial institutions, strengthen cybersecurity risk management and response, as well as champion cybersecurity programs and initiatives in the sector.
  • Together with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, a resolution mechanism for financial firms will ensure comprehensiveness of the resolution system in the country.


  1. Ethics are pre-determined and a matter of discovery, and not a evolved concept. Discuss.
    (GS 4)

Ethics are a set of principles that govern human behavior and regulate human activities. Ethics have been both predetermined as well as evolutionary.

Predetermined ethics:

  • Value for life which gradually gave way to opposing murder or even killing of animals except when done foe a better purpose
  • Harmony with nature as man discover his life was very much dependent on nature and could become better by conserving rather than destroying environment
  • Love and Respect for others which was discovered in the form of equality, charity, empathy etc
  • Ethics like non-violence and peace are innate to human being as written in Buddhist values which require meditation to discover
  • Ethical values like Truth, Brotherhood have been in place since the birth of man and societies

Evolutionary ethics:-

  • Cooperation among individuals has evolved with society as survival needed competition.
  • Professional ethics have evolved with the development of formal profession for example Medical ethics
  • Ethics of a particular society evolves with the society itself. Thus, child marriage which was acceptable part of indian society few centuries back is condemned presently.
  • Accepting and respecting differences; this was a part of Jain and Buddhist philosophy earlier. In modern this has been recognized in ways such as LGTB rights, Women equality rights.
  • Objectivity and Impartiality is the hallmark of ethical administration in current times. It has been derived from the ethical principle of Equality

Therefore ethics is both predetermined and evolutionary .


 

 

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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 17


  1. Do you think that EVMs are vulnerable? What are the concerns relating to the use of EVMs?(GS 2)

The Hindu | Live Mint

No:-

  • The Madras High Court also categorically ruled out any question of tampering of the EVMs.
    •  It said that EVMs cannot be compared to personal computers.
    • The programming in computers, as suggested, has no bearing with the EVMs.  The computer would have inherent limitations having connections through Internet and by their very design, they may allow the alteration of the programme but the EVMs are independent units and the programme in EVM is entirely a different system.
  • The data or technique brought in use in EVM in India were not subject to piracy as nobody knows anything about the contents of any type or has any unauthorized or free access to EVM.
  • The machine is electronically protected to prevent any tampering/manipulation. The programme (software) used in these machines is burnt into a One Time Programmable (OTP)/Masked chip so that it cannot be altered or tampered with.
  • Further these machines are not networked either by wire or by wireless to any other machine or system. Therefore, there is no possibility of its data corruption.
  • The software of EVMs is developed in-house by a selected group of Engineers in BEL (Defense Ministry PSU) and ECIL (Atomic Energy Ministry’s PSU) independently from each other.
    •  A select software development group of 2-3 engineers designs the source code and this work is not sub-contracted.
  • After completion of software design, testing and evaluation of the software is carried out by an independent testing group as per the software requirements specifications (SRS). This ensures that the software has really been written as per the requirements laid down for its intended use only.
  • Source code is never handed over to anyone outside the software group of PSUs.
  • Bulk production clearance by PSU is given to micro controller manufacturer only after successful completion of this verification.
  • The source code for the EVM is stored under controlled conditions at all times. Checks and balances are in place to ensure that it is accessible to authorized personnel only.
  • During production in the factory, functional testing is done by production group as per the laid down Quality plan and performance test procedures.
  • The software is so designed that it allows a voter to cast the vote only once. The vote can be recorded by an elector from the ballot unit only after the Presiding Officer enables the ballot on the Control Unit. The machine does not receive any signal from outside at any time.
  • Samples of EVMs from production batches are regularly checked for functionality by Quality Assurance Group, which is an independent unit within the PSUs.
  • Certain additional features were introduced in 2006 in ECI-EVMs such as dynamic coding between Ballot Unit (BU) and Control Unit (CU), installation of real time clock, installation of full display system and date and time stamping of every key-pressing in EVM.
  • Technical Evaluation Committee in 2006 has concluded that any tempering of CU by coded signals by wireless or outside or Bluetooth or WiFi is ruled out as CU does not have high frequency receiver and data decoder.
  • Most of the systems used in other countries are Computer based with internet connectivity. Hence, these could be vulnerable to hacking. The ECI-EVMs cannot be compared with those EVMs.
  • As stated above, the software in the ECI-EVM chip is one time programmable (OTP) and burnt into the chip at the time of manufacture. Nothing can be written on the chip after manufacture. Thus the ECI-EVMs are fundamentally different from the voting machines and processes adopted in various foreign countries.
  • On the poll day, a mock poll by casting at least 50 votes is conducted at every polling station in the presence of the representatives of the candidates/polling agents with their signature and a mock-poll certificate to that effect is obtained from every Presiding Officer.
  • It`s easy to see the utility of the machine— it eliminates invalid votes, ends booth capturing, and makes counting easier and faster. It is tamper-proof, error-free and easy to operate

Yes:-

  • EVM Software Isn’t Safe
    • The electronic voting machines are safe and secure only if the source code used in the EVMs is genuine.
    • The EVM manufacturers, the BEL and ECIL have shared the ‘top secret’ EVM software program with two foreign companies, Microchip (USA) and Renesas (Japan) to copy it onto microcontrollers used in EVMs.
  • Each EVM contains two EEPROMs inside the Control Unit in which the voting data is stored. They are completely unsecured and the data inside EEPROMs can be manipulated from an external source. It is very easy to read (data from) the EEPROMs and manipulate them.
  • The EVM has no means for the voter to verify that his/her votes have been tallied properly.
  • The EVM has no  means outside of the memories of the voting machines themselves to audit or recount  the votes.
  • Secure storage of cast votes: The votes that are cast using the electronic voting machines, are stored in a safe storage or space in the computer machine memory.  The time gap between election and the counting of votes is a risk to possible hacking and manipulation.
  • Several countries in the world rejected Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) because they are difficult to secure, easily subject to manipulation and open to large scale fraud and pose a serious threat for free, fair and transparent elections in democratic societies.
  • EVMs  are allowed in most states of the US only with a paper back up. Indian EVMs do not produce a paper trail, which is  a major drawback .
  • Potential dangers of “vote fraud” and more importantly, lack of transparency and verifiability associated with them prompted ban or restrictions of their use.
  • Developed nations like the United Kingdom, France, Japan and Singapore have so far stuck to voting on paper ballots, owing to their simplicity, verifiability and voter confidence in the system.

What Can Be Done ?

  • A Voter Verified Paper Ballot (VVPB) Provides An Auditable Way To Assure Voters That Their Ballots Will Be Available To Be Ocounted. Without VVPB There Is No Way To Independently Audit The Election Results.
  • Use two machines produced by different manufacturers to records votes.
  • Expose the software behind EVMs to public scrutiny. Having the software closely examined by independent experts would make it easier to close technical loopholes that hackers can exploit.
  • Booth monitoring: Strict monitoring of the activities inside the polling booth is important to eliminate human elements responsible for frauid and corruption

  1. An independent judiciary is of critical importance in a political democracy, for it provides checks and balances vis-à-vis the executive and the legislature. Critically examine.(GS 2)

LiveMint

Background:-

  • Judicial Independence or Independence of Judiciary refers to an environment where judges are free to make decisions or pass judgment without any pressure from the government or other powerful entities.
  • Independence of Judiciary means that the judiciary as an organ of the government should be free from influence and control of the other two organs i.e., the executive and the legislature of government.

Why independent judiciary is important?

  • Judicial independence plays an important role in maintaining the democratic set-up of any country.
  • An impartial and independent judicial system alone can protect the rights of the citizens against the arbitrary powers of the executive or legislature.
  • Freedom from the influence and control of the executive is of crucial importance. It is important for individual freedom that the judges give their verdict without fear or favor.
  • It refers to an environment where the judge can pass impartial judgment.
  • Protection of fundamental fights(FR):
    • The FR are framed against state and judiciary is the guardian of citizen’s Fundamental Rights (article 32).
  • Protection of Minorities: The constitution prevents tyranny of Majority and judiciary ensures it .For instance the cases like Babri masjid Judgement, NEET judgement, Shah Bhano judgement, Mandal case etc
  • There have been instances last year when the states were reeling under drought but measures was not taken by the governments and judiciary had to step in to acknowledge the water crisis.
  • Independent judiciary also helps in settling federal disputes.

Why is it not?

  • While many of the judgements ensured thriving democracy in India, some cases like recent National Highway Liquor outlet judgement, NJAC judgement etc may be treated as Judicial overreach.
  • Judiciary has been criticised for overstepping into executive orders like making it mandatory to stand for national anthem in theatres.
  • Judiciary is involving itself in matters related to administration and financial matters of the state

Suggestions:-

  • There is a need to bring reforms in judiciary by making the system transparent,passing the judicial accountability bill ,appointments through NJAC etc.

Therefore, Maintaining checks and balances between the different organs of constitution is necessary for political democracy, if it’s not abided it may lead to supremacy of one authority in turn hurting the basic foundations of constitution, hence maintaining an independent and integrated judiciary is essential.


  1. Citizens have the right to access the Internet to gain information, wisdom and knowledge and their right cannot be curtailed unless it encroaches into the boundary of illegality. Comment.(GS 2)

The Hindu

In light of digital revolution curbing information online is a violation of fundamental right but necessary checks need to be ensured tas that doesn’t encroach legality.

No:-

  • Internet has opened a new era of possibilities and opportunities to people and has been a major source of information to every age group.
  • Knowing about e-commerce offers can result in access to low-cost goods and save time
  • Knowing about governments activities and link with government through Twitter like platforms.
  • Curtailing right to access internet has wide reaching consequences and now can even put the daily life activities at halt for eg.banking, ticket booking

Yes:

  • Child pornographic content cannot be allowed
  • Information related to terrorist activities shouldn’t be accessible
  • Anti-national campaigning or related activities cannot be allowed
  • Cyber bullying of women
  • Violation of laws. Ex: Access to information related to foeticide.

To avoid misuse a cyber law can be brought in by the government and necessary precautions are needed but banning altogether is not a very welcome stand.


 

 

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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 7



  1. What is a quasi-judicial body? Explain with the help of concrete examples.(GS 2)

UPSC Previous Year Question Paper

Quasi judicial body:-

  • A quasi judicial body is an organisation or body which has powers similar to that of the law imposing bodies but it is not a court.
  • These mainly govern the administrative areas.
  • The courts (judiciary) has the power to preside over all kinds of disputes but the quasi judicial bodies are the ones with the powers of imposing laws on administrarive agencies.
  • These bodies help in reducing the burden of the courts.

Explanation with examples:-

  • These are created for specific purpose. For example, National Human Rights Commission is quasi judicial body which looks into cases of specifically Human Rights violation, if fundamental rights are violated, courts intervene in that.
  • They can be statutory, regulatory or constitutional in nature. For example,National Human Rights Commission is a statutory body, while Finance Commission is a constitutional body created under Article 280, whereas SEBI is a regulatory body which performs Judicial functions too.
  • They can be created for a specific period for special purposes. Central Vigilance Commission is a permanent body while Finance Commission is constituted every five years.
  • These bodies need not be headed by a judge rather experts too can be included having sectoral knowledge like Finance, Economics, Law etc.
  • Verdict of these bodies can be challenged in a court of law which is the final authority.

These bodies improve administrative efficiency and help in Good Governance.


  1. Exercise of CAG’s powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and the States is derived from Article 149 of the Indian Constitution. Discuss whether audit of the Government’s Policy implementation could amount to overstepping its own (CAG) jurisdiction.(GS 2)

UPSC Previous Year Question Paper

Introduction:-

  • Under article 149The Comptroller and Auditor-General shall perform such duties and exercise such powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and of the States and of any other authority or body as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament.However in the recent years there have been questions about its jurisdiction.

Yes it overstepped:-

  • CAG in the past has limited to account audit and has not taken to auditing outcomes. Thus, sidestepping establised conventions
  • Sensationalisation:
    • It has in 2G case quantified the amount of loss based on its own subjective methodology that was seen by critics as over-reach.

No it has not:-

  • CAG can audit the accounts if expenditure pertains to the competent authority, has legislature’s approval etc. Thus, such audit not amount to overreach
  • As parliament cannot look into daily executive orders CAG needs to take action .
  • Even SC judgement acknowledged that policy audit is inbuilt in CAG functions
  • Audit of the efficiency of expenditure is its discretion and what is deems fit, thus doesnot amount to overstepping.
    • Such audit will inturn lead to improve resource use efficiency, improved outcomes etc.
  • Under the constitution,CAG can audit the spending not just quantitatively but also qualitatively.

Thus CAG role has to definitely see that the government resources are not misused and necessary check is available but it should not be so that the representatives are questioned for work they did in genuine public interest.


  1. Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look East Policy in the context of the post-Cold War international scenario.(GS 2)

UPSC Previous Year Question Paper

Introduction:-

  • The leaders of independent India, particularly Nehru, took the lead in launching the third wave by focussing on East Asia as an important part of India’s policy of Asian resurgence.
  • However, the imperatives of the Cold War, intra-Asian conflict and rivalries, and India’s weaknesses on economic and military fronts did not let its Asia policy blossom.
  • What is identified as India’s LEP since the early 1990s constitutes the fourth wave of India’s eastward (re)engagement.

Economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look east policy :-

1.Strategic:-

  • Under the strategic thrust of this policy, India has also firmed up strategic relations with them through extensive consultations on regional and global security issues and consistent cooperation in defence sectors involving military supplies and naval exercises.
    • India is having various maritime exercises and trade with BIMSTEC countries( south and south east asian countries) for safe passage in the waters and protecting from pirates.
    • India also has maritime exercises with Australian navy on part of its act east policy to strengthen ties between two countries.
  • India’s strategic vision for the East extends to the whole of Asia-Pacific region as India has manifested both its willingness and capability to play a critical role in the emerging strategic dynamics and architecture for this region.
  • As a Strategic Partner of ASEAN, India is actively associated with various ASEAN-led fora dealing with defence and strategic issues.
    • These include the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, ADDM+ (ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus) and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum.
    • defence ties with the region has expanded significantly like bilateral defence cooperation activities with ASEAN and other regional countries.
  • Besides, organisations involving ASEAN as a whole, India has taken a leading role in other regional fora.
    • These include the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC, in which Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are members), the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC involving Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand) and other organisations.
  • China factor: India has been successful in countering china and maintaining Balance of power in vietnam, myanmar etc
  • Maritime security: India under BIMSTEC and IORA conduct maritime security exercises
    c)Defence relations: India has sold Radar, Offshore patrol vehicles to the region ; held joint exercises eg Malabar with japan

Economic :-

  • It has helped India garner support for a permanent seat at UN Security Council from many countries.
  • It has helped India form South-South co-operation at many International fora such as WTO and climate change talks.
  • Helped India increase trade with many of these countries.India has also signed an FTA with ASEAN.
  • Helped India to have reliable partners on important Sea lanes of communication such as Malacca Straits.
  • Has given boost to Indian trade and economy along with creation of jobs and encouraging people to people contacts.
  • India is developing road corridor through BBIN( Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) for carrying out trade and easy movement of vehicles and also Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar road corridor for carrying out trade among those countries
  • ASEAN has become important trade partner in volume and amount of trade.
  • Huge investment flows esp FDI and FPI originate from Hongkong, Japan etc
  • Japan has started to invest in Indian infrastructure under Overseas Development assistance ODA
  • Connectivity:india has committed to BCIM corridor, Kaladan multimodal transport
  • Tourism has seen upgrowth esp in Buddhist circuit.
  • d)UNSC, MTCR: India has evinced support of these nations for UNSC, MTCR

 

  • Weaknesses in given dimesions:
    Problem with the earlier concept:Earlier Look east policy had limited geographic focus as it didnot extend to pacific , japan but was later extended
  • China: It has made quite inroads in Myanmar, Laos and cambodia, Malaysia
  • Trade: India has huge trade deficit with china, ASEAN nations
  • FTA with South korea has impacted our local manufacturing due to cheap duty free imports
  • Financial assistance under line of credit has not been commesurate with our intentions and policy goals , thus letting china to displace us in Myanmar in previous decade
  • The connectivity with ASEAN has not taken up in big way
  • Lack of success of RCEP
  • India doesnot have FTA with china esp in services
  • Bilateral Investment treaties with these nation have ended due to model BIT

Way forward :-

With the focus now on Asia from developed countries as well India’s strong relation with ASEAN countries plays even more important role.


 

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Mains Marathon

UPSC Current Affairs Questions and Answer Writing – Mains Marathon – June 5

Categories
Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 28



  1. How can Aadhaar-PAN linkage stop tax leakage? Do you think that the linkage can restrict evasion of tax?(GS 2)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

  • Recently the Supreme Court referred to the mandatory linking of Aadhaar to the Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Income Tax returns as an instance of the government’s efforts to bring new and new laws to stop leakages.

How can Aadhar pan linkage stop tax leakage and tax evasion:-

  • Biometric system was the only way to prevent duplication as there was no way in which people could get a duplicate or fake Aadhaar number and linking of PAN with Aadhaar would be very effective in monitoring cases of tax evasion.
  • people are procuring multiple PAN cards which were being used for illegal transactions and to “divert funds” to shell firms.

How it cannot curb tax evasion:-

  • Aadhaar was not foolproof, experts responded that 132% of the population of Delhi is shown to have taken Aadhaar cards and 104% all over the country.
  • How will it help their avowed objective to stop black money and make cash transactions transparent, if Section 139AA is limited to just individuals. Aadhaar is only meant for individuals and not companies.
  • Making Aadhaar mandatory would push the country towards a totalitarian state where citizens’ rights would be made subservient and the government would keep an eye on each of their activities.

  1. “IMF will have to change its asymmetric power structure and outdated quota system to become relevant.” Critically discuss.(GS 2)

The Hindu

Criticisms:-

  • The IMF’s and World Bank’s structural adjustment policies (SAPs) ensure debt repayment by requiring countries to cut spending on education and health; eliminate basic food and transportation subsidies; devalue national currencies to make exports cheaper; privatize national assets; and freeze wages. Such belt-tightening measures increase poverty, reduce countries’ ability to develop strong domestic economies and allow multinational corporations to exploit workers and the environment.
  • The IMF has made elites from the Global South more accountable to First World elites than their own people, thus undermining the democratic process..
  • Unlike a democratic system in which each member country would have an equal vote, rich countries dominate decision-making in the IMF because voting power is determined by the amount of money that each country pays into the IMF’s quota system.
  • Unlike the path historically followed by the industrialized countries, the IMF forces countries from the Global South to prioritize export production over the development of diversified domestic economies.
  • Members of affected communities do not participate in designing loan packages. The IMF works with a select group of central bankers and finance ministers to make polices without input from other government agencies such as health, education and environment departments.
  • By far the most prominent criticism of the IMF has been directed at the conditionality attached to the loans that it provides.
  • One factor weakening the legitimacy of the IMF has been that members’ quota and voting shares, which underpin IMF decisions, have become unbalanced over time, less adequately representing the current distribution of economic and financial power and needs in today’s world.
  • Proposed package of reforms falls far short of the goals of the exercise.
    • A major weakness is the proposed revised formula for calculating the presumptive quota and voting shares of members.
    • Taken on its own, the formula generates changes in shares that move away from rather than toward a closer alignment of voting power with economic realities.
    • By way of example, the combined voting share of China, India, Korea, Brazil, and Mexico will increase from 8.2 percent to only 10.7 percent of total votes.
    • The combined share of the five European countries Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland will decline only modestly, from 10.4 percent to 9.5 percent.
  • Some IMF policies may be anti-developmental; the report said thatdeflationary effects of IMF programmes quickly led to losses of output and employment in economies where incomes were low and unemployment was high.
  • Another criticism is that IMF programs are only designed to address poor governance, excessive government spending, excessive government intervention in markets, and too much state ownership.This assumes that this narrow range of issues represents the only possible problems; everything is standardised and differing contexts are ignored.
  • WithGini coefficient, it became clear that countries with IMF programs face increased income inequality
  • its core areas of concern indeveloping countries are very narrow.
  • Three years ago, the IMF had loaned more than 100 billion US dollars to various countries to help them tide over problems including management of external balance of payments. This amount has now shrunk to less than 20 billion dollars a year.
  • Disturbing picture that emerges is that some developing countries will be given increases by reducing the shares of some other equally deserving countries.
  • The irrelevance of the Fund was evident from the fact that current fund inflows through bond markets were far higher than funds disbursed by the IMF. Besides, a one-time lender of funds had become a net recipient of money.

Positives:

  • IMF policies promote corporate welfare
  • The IMF routinely pushes countries to deregulate financial systems. The removal of regulations that might limit speculation has greatly increased capital investment in developing country financial markets.
  • Some see it as being driven by a neo-liberal economic agenda.
  • The organisation only enters a country and gives its assistance when requested by a host country.

  1. Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. Comment.(GS 4)

Yes,it is the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do:-

  • Ethics goes beyond doing what is legally right and addresses proper behavior and expectations for those tasked with the responsibility of planning communities in their roles as public officials representing the public good.
  • While the law provides clear responsibilities and limits to officials and other individuals responsible for the planning of communities, there is a great deal of flexibility where individuals or groups must make judgment decisions in the best interests of their community, and being guided by strong ethical principles ensures that the best decisions are being made.
  • A law may tell part-III of constitution is your rights. But there can some rights which are not covered in this part. In such case, ethics tells us what is right to do. This part may not talk specifically on manual scavenging but one should know that it is not right to force someone to do such act.
  • Religion:
    • It may give all guidelines for what is right to do. Some of them may not be compatible to present day. But ethics tells us that such acts are not right. For example polygamy, triple talaq are against women’s rights.
    • Child marriage and sati were once ethical in indian society but illegal
    • Animal sacrifice is considered accepted in tribal and rural society but illegal.
  • Marital rape is allowed in the law but is unethical in itself. Ethics guide the husband in not committing such acts.

Ethics in general helps in letting people aware of the difference between what rights they have and what is right to do..


 

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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 21



1.What are Non-Performing Assets (NPAs)? Suggest some ways to reduce Non-Performing Assets in banks. (GS 3)

Non performing assets:-

  • Non-performing asset is a loan on which the borrower has stopped paying interest and/or principal
  • According to RBI, terms loans on which interest or installment of principal remain overdue for a period of more than 90 days from the end of a particular quarter is called a Non-performing Asset.
  • For the first half of the 2016-’17 financial year, bad loans constituted more than 9% of total advances.
  • The problem is most acute in public sector banks, where NPAs were nearly 12% of total advances for the first half of the just-concluded financial year. India’s public sector banks had about Rs 6 lakh crores in non-performing assets as of December.

Measures:-

  • Strict credit appraisal:
    • Banks should stop giving money to unworthy people. Strict credit monitoring is the need of hour.
  • Proper followup after disbursal:-
    • An alternative loan monitoring system should be developed. Send an external audit party independent of borrower to check stock and debtors on regular intervals.
  • Sell NPAs:
    • Selling NPAs is an another measure which can be adopted by banks.
  • One time settlement:
    • Keeping the public interest in mind, banks should provide an one time settlement scheme, it can save banks both time and money.
  • Unnecessary litigations can also be avoided. Recovery camps should be organized on regular basis.
  • Stock audit by external professional s atleast once a year for large borrower accounts is also essential.

The government has finally recognised that stressed assets “have reached unacceptably high levels”. And with the current ordinance, the RBI is in a stronger position to find a permanent solution to India’s NPA crisis.


  1. What is the need of having Wholesale and long-term finance (WLTF) banks? Also, discuss the problems associated with WLTF banks. (GS 3)

Introduction:-

  • RBI has released a discussion paper on a proposal to set up ‘differentiated banks’ in the form of wholesale and long-term finance banks to fund large projects.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday proposed to float wholesale and long-term finance (WLTF) banks that would fund long-term high-value projects something similar to the development finance institutions (DFIs) of the past.

Need of having wholesale and long term finance banks:-

  • In an effort to introduce new ideas and develop niches to ensure that more segments are covered.
  • Focus primarily on lending to the infrastructure sector and small, medium and corporate businesses.
  • They will also securitize assets for banks and financial institutions which do priority-sector lending.
  • RBI’s proposal comes at the time when the banking sector is saddled with stressed assets worth Rs7 trillion, overall credit growth is languishing at around 4.5% and bank credit to industry is shrinking at a rate of 5% year-on-year.
  • Due to asset quality impacts on banks’ balance sheets, there is an overall declining trend in bank credit, primarily towards services sector, industrial segments, and small and medium enterprises.
  • Considering the existing landscape of banking and non-banking services in the country, it is felt that there is a need to explore the possibilities of permitting other types of differentiated banks to facilitate progression to a more mature and deeper financial sector.
  • Specialisation in the field of long term financing is needed to properly evaluate the risks attached and lending rate therefore.
  • There are less explored areas of borrowing money i.e. corporate debt market, masala bonds etc. WLTF banks can use these instruments.
  • Huge infrastructure deficit needing long term funds.

Problems associated with WLTF banks:-

  • However, to put small and medium enterprises and infrastructure portfolios together, perhaps, is not a bright idea.
  • The existing and established universal banks may not necessarily take the reform with excitement. They are presently evolving approaches to ensure payment banks do not run away with their fee income or customer base.
  • Borrowing by WLTF banks may become an issue as it has to keep rate low, repayment duration long and has to compete with existing banks and other avenues of investment.
  • Government support may be needed, which may lead to excess government interference.
  • Only few entities can come forward as need of capital will be high for WLTF banks.
  • Regulation: SLR, CRR would impact their margins.

Way forward:-

  • Avoid government participation for more operational freedom of these banks
  • Licences should be provided to only those who are in a position to bring in capital to both meet regulatory requirements and run the business on a sustainable basis
  • Allow these banks to compete directly with bond market and exempt them from CRR and SLR.

  1. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Discuss. (GS 4)

Introduction:-

  • In today’s world, people face financial, political and societal ambiguity and change.
  • It is essential, here, for companies, governments, and other organizations to find new and innovative solutions to upcoming problems and glitches.
  • Innovation is a critical part of leadership. Innovation may not be required for all leadership situations, but it is an important decision which a leader should be able to make, irrespective of its necessity.
  • Without proper leadership, many new and innovative products have died while on the road to success. So, finding the proper leader to lead an innovation is one important key factor to realize the success that an innovation deserves.
  • The leader must know when to simply take the tested ways, and when to introduce new and innovative ideas and products.
  • Trying innovative approaches to implement the government schemes will show the strength of leadership by an administrator.
  • If not all, successful innovators are successful leaders too. Innovation leads to market leadership, one grand example being the Apple iPad.
  • If leaders are not willing to look for innovative solutions, they may simply be left behind.
  • If people follow in another company’s footsteps, you will never make any noticeable impact. Think about companies that have innovated something so revolutionary, that it has been woven into our lexicon. “Goggle” “Kleenex” “Tivo”, etc.
  • Not all leadership situations may require innovation, but leaders must at least be able to decide if innovation is necessary. Timing is an important part of leadership. The leader must assess the needs in a given situation and then act at the appropriate moment.
  • Learning to lead innovation may be as important as the innovation itself. Without recognizing the need for proper leadership many an idea or product has simply died on the road to successFinding the proper leader may just be the key to success in your innovation.
  • It is not that follower doesn’t innovate but his innovations are small ones and may be useful to himself or don’t know the potential of his idea.

leadership qualities like vision, anticipation, innovation etc need to be inculcated in civil servants, as they carry the responsibility to reform the governance system.



 

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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 14



1.The effective management of land and water resources will drastically reduce the human miseries. Explain. (GS 1)
Mains Previous Year Question Paper

Why effective management of water and land is necessary?

  • Without having an efficient water resources management system,it would be difficult to talk about food security, environment and safe future of man kind on planet earth.
  • Watershed based management: It will improve quantity and quality of water available to residents by rainwater harvesting, afforestation, cleaning and desilting of tanks
  • Use of pesticides for better crops but in the end it is degrading soil nutritious value .
  • Improving quality by strict CPCB/SPCB enforcement will reduce water pollution in river that infect the local dwellers.
  • Over crowding, excessive exploitation of ground water, land degradation resulting in droughts.

Way forward:-

  • Reducing excessive usage, recycling and reusing of resouces.
  • Groundwater recharge measures needs to be undertaken, reckless pumping of ground water should be avoided, sprinkler and drip irrigation methods should be employed widely.
  • Preventing forest degradation, increasing the expanse of forests and habitation of wild.
  • Consolidation of agriculture land: it will reduce input cost of farming thereby reducing farmer misery.
  • Water harvesting method should be made mandatory for all municipalities.

The management requires involvement of communities and local bodies as Bottom up approach is more feasible in these cases. SDG-12 calls for sustainable consumption and production. The initiatives towards this goal can be way forward for effective management.


2.To what extent globalization has influenced the core of cultural diversity in India? Explain. (GS 1)
Mains Previous Year Question Paper

Introduction:

Not only in India, but the interchange of world views and ideas has resulted in a major transformation of the lifestyle and living standard of people globally.

How globalisation has affected the core of cultural diversity in India:-

  • Deep rooted traditions and customs have loosened up their hold with the emergence of globalization.
  • Globalization has not only inculcated the westernization in India, but conversely the Indian culture has also spread its impact globally.
  • The traditional joint family setup is neglected and nuclear families are rising more and more parents and grandparents are kept in old age homes .
  • Marriages have also lost their values. It is very much evident from the increasing number of divorce cases .
  • Even the Indians are not very much in favour of promoting their mother tongue or our national language. Instead the youth today consider it to be a shameful condition to speak their native languages.
  • India was predominantly an agricultural based country. With the advanced globalization and cropping up of MNCs, the farming has lost its prime value in India.
  • Folk art, theatres and music are facing extinction due to the onslaught of cosmopolitan culture.

Other changes are:

  • Lifestyle of people has changed in way of dressing, food.
  • Celebration of western festivals.
  • New cuisines from europe, east asia, south east asia have grown in influence and traditional food like lintel soup etc have seen reduced popularity.
  • Traditional dance like bharatnatyam etc has seen intense competition from new dance styles like salsa, break dance etc.fusion is getting popular.

Positives:-

  • Proliferation of modern ideas such as education, sanitation, liberty, equality.
  • Globalisation has helped in breaking the barriers of medievalism and feudalism in the Indian society through industrialisation and rationalism.

But it has still not impacted these areas:-

  • Despite globalising India has not changed its core areas like marriages are still mostly arranged in India.Inter caste marriages and inter religious marriages are still considered a taboo.
  • Honour killings,child marraiges still take place.
  • The families are still closely knit despite staying away from one another.

India needs to move very cautiously with the globalization process and preserve its nation’s pride and maintain cultural prestige.


3.Discuss the concept of air mass and explain its role in macro-climatic changes. (GS 1)
Mains Previous Year Question Paper

Concept of air mass:-

An air mass is a large body of air in which vertical gradient of physical properties such as temperature, moisture, lapse rate are fairly uniform over a large.

Role in macro climatic changes:-

  • While the major, readily observable effects of air masses are mostly in the realm of daily weather, the reliability of air-mass incursions in many regions make them important contributors to regional climate conditions.
  • Maritime air masses also contribute to a moderating climatic influence on coastal temperatures, as oceans heat up and cool down more slowly and less dramatically than landmasses.
  • The mixing of air masses achieved along the alternating warm and cold fronts of a mid-latitude cyclone is part of the process by which the heat of the lower latitudes is transferred poleward.
  • In maritime arctic and polar regions, the moist air is cool and the maritime tropical air mass produces the warm, humid conditions along the tropics, like Florida and the Caribbean.
  • Continental tropical air masses produce hot, dry conditions in the Southwest U.S. and Mexico.
  • Dry continental air mass from Mexico moves to Great Plains causes aridity which may lead to drought in the region.
  • Cold and heavy air mass in northern India during winter makes weather foggy.
  • The eastern coast of India experiences cyclonic events towards September-October is due to moist marine air mass hitting the coast under the influence of Easterlies.
  • South-west monsoon of India: The maritime tropical air mass in summer converges with continental polar air mass from China produces summer monsoon in India.
  • The cold continental air mass of Central Asia, the cold Siberian winds, is responsible for extremely cold weather conditions in the region.
  • The erratic climatic conditions of British isles is a result of interaction of different air masses.
  • Lake-snow effect: Continental polar cold mass of Canada touches the shores of Great lakes thus becoming moist and unstable and produces snowfall in the region.
  • When warm air masses move over cold air mass then warm air rises and if there is enough moisture present it may cause a thunderstorm.
  • Similarly when cold air mass moves over warm air mass then bottom cold air mass gets warm and if enough humidity is present there it can cause rain.

Thus air masses have a huge role in macro-climatic changes which produces various phenomenons from Thunderstorms to Droughts all over the world. Study of air masses can play a crucial role in predicting the weather patterns and analysing the impact of climate change n the long run.


Categories
Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 14th



1.The effective management of land and water resources will drastically reduce the human miseries. Explain. (GS 1)
Mains Previous Year Question Paper

Why effective management of water and land is necessary?

  • Without having an efficient water resources management system,it would be difficult to talk about food security, environment and safe future of man kind on planet earth.
  • Watershed based management: It will improve quantity and quality of water available to residents by rainwater harvesting, afforestation, cleaning and desilting of tanks
  • Use of pesticides for better crops but in the end it is degrading soil nutritious value .
  • Improving quality by strict CPCB/SPCB enforcement will reduce water pollution in river that infect the local dwellers.
  • Over crowding, excessive exploitation of ground water, land degradation resulting in droughts.

Way forward:-

  • Reducing excessive usage, recycling and reusing of resouces.
  • Groundwater recharge measures needs to be undertaken, reckless pumping of ground water should be avoided, sprinkler and drip irrigation methods should be employed widely.
  • Preventing forest degradation, increasing the expanse of forests and habitation of wild.
  • Consolidation of agriculture land: it will reduce input cost of farming thereby reducing farmer misery.
  • Water harvesting method should be made mandatory for all municipalities.

The management requires involvement of communities and local bodies as Bottom up approach is more feasible in these cases. SDG-12 calls for sustainable consumption and production. The initiatives towards this goal can be way forward for effective management.


2.To what extent globalization has influenced the core of cultural diversity in India? Explain. (GS 1)
Mains Previous Year Question Paper

Introduction:

Not only in India, but the interchange of world views and ideas has resulted in a major transformation of the lifestyle and living standard of people globally.

How globalisation has affected the core of cultural diversity in India:-

  • Deep rooted traditions and customs have loosened up their hold with the emergence of globalization.
  • Globalization has not only inculcated the westernization in India, but conversely the Indian culture has also spread its impact globally.
  • The traditional joint family setup is neglected and nuclear families are rising more and more parents and grandparents are kept in old age homes .
  • Marriages have also lost their values. It is very much evident from the increasing number of divorce cases .
  • Even the Indians are not very much in favour of promoting their mother tongue or our national language. Instead the youth today consider it to be a shameful condition to speak their native languages.
  • India was predominantly an agricultural based country. With the advanced globalization and cropping up of MNCs, the farming has lost its prime value in India.
  • Folk art, theatres and music are facing extinction due to the onslaught of cosmopolitan culture.

Other changes are:

  • Lifestyle of people has changed in way of dressing, food.
  • Celebration of western festivals.
  • New cuisines from europe, east asia, south east asia have grown in influence and traditional food like lintel soup etc have seen reduced popularity.
  • Traditional dance like bharatnatyam etc has seen intense competition from new dance styles like salsa, break dance etc.fusion is getting popular.

Positives:-

  • Proliferation of modern ideas such as education, sanitation, liberty, equality.
  • Globalisation has helped in breaking the barriers of medievalism and feudalism in the Indian society through industrialisation and rationalism.

But it has still not impacted these areas:-

  • Despite globalising India has not changed its core areas like marriages are still mostly arranged in India.Inter caste marriages and inter religious marriages are still considered a taboo.
  • Honour killings,child marraiges still take place.
  • The families are still closely knit despite staying away from one another.

India needs to move very cautiously with the globalization process and preserve its nation’s pride and maintain cultural prestige.


3.Discuss the concept of air mass and explain its role in macro-climatic changes. (GS 1)
Mains Previous Year Question Paper

Concept of air mass:-

An air mass is a large body of air in which vertical gradient of physical properties such as temperature, moisture, lapse rate are fairly uniform over a large.

Role in macro climatic changes:-

  • While the major, readily observable effects of air masses are mostly in the realm of daily weather, the reliability of air-mass incursions in many regions make them important contributors to regional climate conditions.
  • Maritime air masses also contribute to a moderating climatic influence on coastal temperatures, as oceans heat up and cool down more slowly and less dramatically than landmasses.
  • The mixing of air masses achieved along the alternating warm and cold fronts of a mid-latitude cyclone is part of the process by which the heat of the lower latitudes is transferred poleward.
  • In maritime arctic and polar regions, the moist air is cool and the maritime tropical air mass produces the warm, humid conditions along the tropics, like Florida and the Caribbean.
  • Continental tropical air masses produce hot, dry conditions in the Southwest U.S. and Mexico.
  • Dry continental air mass from Mexico moves to Great Plains causes aridity which may lead to drought in the region.
  • Cold and heavy air mass in northern India during winter makes weather foggy.
  • The eastern coast of India experiences cyclonic events towards September-October is due to moist marine air mass hitting the coast under the influence of Easterlies.
  • South-west monsoon of India: The maritime tropical air mass in summer converges with continental polar air mass from China produces summer monsoon in India.
  • The cold continental air mass of Central Asia, the cold Siberian winds, is responsible for extremely cold weather conditions in the region.
  • The erratic climatic conditions of British isles is a result of interaction of different air masses.
  • Lake-snow effect: Continental polar cold mass of Canada touches the shores of Great lakes thus becoming moist and unstable and produces snowfall in the region.
  • When warm air masses move over cold air mass then warm air rises and if there is enough moisture present it may cause a thunderstorm.
  • Similarly when cold air mass moves over warm air mass then bottom cold air mass gets warm and if enough humidity is present there it can cause rain.

Thus air masses have a huge role in macro-climatic changes which produces various phenomenons from Thunderstorms to Droughts all over the world. Study of air masses can play a crucial role in predicting the weather patterns and analysing the impact of climate change n the long run.