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Question and Answer

SRIRAM'S IAS

 Q. 33. "Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) has benefits at the individual and macro levels." Substantiate.
Ans.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) introduced a new star rating methodology called Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) for air conditioners. This evolved rating methodology factors in variance in higher temperature in India and rates air conditioners accordingly. Consumers can now purchase air conditioners with higher efficiency leading to lower electricity bills. Keeping the performance of air conditioners during higher temperature in mind, ISEER will address the different climatic zones in India and higher temperature. ISEER measures energy efficiency of air conditioners based on a weighted average of the performance at outside temperatures between 24 and 43 degree C based on Indian weather data. 
 Q. 32. "Microgrids are the answer for the plan goal of round-the-clock power for all by 2022."Explain.
Ans.
Microgrid is a small standalone system connected to solar panels which can supply power to about 100 households. In this model, a customer registers with the microgrid owner with a monthly subscription, and the service provider provides him solar power for two lights, a fan and cell phone charging socket.
 
A customer would spend Rs 100. It is cheaper than kerosene and has been growing rapidly.
A microgrid costs under Rs 60,000 to set up and the project costs get recovered in three years -- including maintenance, upgrades and other overheads. Households save money each month which helps ensure payments. These micro-economics are sound, low-risk and sustainable and are attractive for investors.It has to prospects that every village in India will soon be electrified, thanks to the solar microgrid revolution.
 
With such clear economics, more companies are looking at the sector. People in the industry see the business opportunity here now as there are hundreds of villages with no electricity and it doesn't make economic sense for the government to put up a grid" .
 
Firms say that while for the immediate term, lending from NABARD would help, to take this on a longer term, government support would be required in terms of giving service providers protection and status to function like a state electricity utility.
 
Micro grid holds the key to lighting and digitally connecting millions of lives. The Centre’s plan to supply electricity 24/7 to all parts of India in five years needs microgrids as a practical solution to provide electricity to off-grid and inaccessible areas.
 Q. 31. Adam's Bridge and the importance of Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project.
Ans.
Adam's Bridge also known as Rama's Bridge or Rama Setu is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Geological evidence suggests that this bridge is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka.
 
The bridge is 18 miles (30 km) long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (southwest) from the Palk Strait (northeast). Some of the sandbanks are dry and the sea in the area is very shallow, being only 3 ft to 30 ft (1 m to 10 m) deep in places, which hinders navigation.
Hindu believers hold it as the structure that Lord Rama and his army of apes and monkeys built to reach demon king Ravana`s Lanka.
 
Today, ships bound for India`s eastern coast have to circle around the entire island of Sri Lanka to reach Tuticorin, Chennai, Vizag, Paradip and other ports.
 
Therefore, a project titled Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project was mooted by the Government of India and a feasibility study ordered in the 1990s.
 
Successful completion of the project would cut travelling by about 350 nautical miles and will save 10 to 30 hours` sailing time. Plans were also drawn up to develop 13 minor ports in India, and fishing harbours and other infrastructure in both India and Sri Lanka.
 
The project involves creating a 83-km-long deepwater channel that will link Mannar with Palk Strait by extensive dredging and removal of the limestone shoals that constitute the Ram Sethu. It will bring down shipping costs and add to India`s exchequer in the form of transit fees.
 
The project has been condemned and opposed by a wide spectrum of the Indian people. Hindu outfits have come down on the plans to destroy something built by Lord Rama.
 
Some environmentalists opposed it as they hold it would destroy and destabilise the aquatic flora and fauna of the area.
 
With China’s influence in Sri Lanka increasing, India needs to explore alternative shipping routes and the project becomes more attractive for that reason.
 Q. 30. Kwarizmi is a Persian scholar with an Indian cultural connection- Clarify.
Ans.
Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, earlier transliterated as Algoritmi (780 – 850) was a Persian mathematician, astronomer and geographer during the Abbasid Caliphate, a scholar in the House of Wisdom in Baghdad.
 
In the twelfth century, Latin translations of his work on the Indian numerals introduced the decimal positional number system to the Western world. His Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing presented the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations in Arabic. In Renaissance Europe, he was considered the original inventor of algebra, although it is now known that his work is based on older Indian or Greek sources. Some words reflect the importance of al-Khwarizmi's contributions to mathematics. "Algebra" is derived from al-jabr, one of the two operations he used to solve quadratic equations.
 
 Q. 29. What are autoimmune diseases? What is their effect?
Ans. Autoimmune diseases arise from an abnormal immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body (autoimmunity). This may be restricted to certain organs or involve a particular tissue in different places.
A large number of autoimmune diseases are recognized.
 
It has been estimated that autoimmune diseases are among the top ten leading causes of death among women in all age groups up to 65 years. A substantial minority of the population suffers from these diseases, which are often chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening. There are more than 80 illnesses caused by autoimmunity.
 
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.
 
In lupus, something goes wrong with the immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs ("foreign invaders," like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means our immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and our body’s healthy tissues ("auto" means "self") and creates auto-antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These auto-antibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.
 
The treatment of autoimmune diseases is typically with immunosuppression—medication that decreases the immune response.
 Q. 28. What are reproductive rights and how far are they available practically to women in India?
Ans.
Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction. Reproductive rights may include some or all of the following:
a. the right to legal and safe abortion
b. the right to birth control
c. freedom from coerced sterilization and contraception
d. the right to access good-quality reproductive healthcare
e. the right to education and access in order to make free and informed reproductive choices
 
Reproductive rights may also include the right to receive education about sexually transmitted infections.
 
Women in India enjoy these rights but practically the limitations are due to lack of literacy; absence of institutional facilities; socially inferior status, for example, the tragedies from women-centered sterilisations as seen in Bilaspur in 2015. The draft surrogacy Bill 2016 , while it enhances the reproductive  health of the surrogate mother,   is is also criticised for denying women their reproductive choices. 26 weeks maternity leave granted by Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 is another example of women's reproductive rights being  granted.
 Q. 27. What are autoimmune diseases? What is their effect?
Ans.
Autoimmune diseases arise from an abnormal immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body (autoimmunity). This may be restricted to certain organs or involve a particular tissue in different places.
A large number of autoimmune diseases are recognized. It has been estimated that autoimmune diseases are among the top ten leading causes of death among women in all age groups up to 65 years. A substantial minority of the population suffers from these diseases, which are often chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening. There are more than 80 illnesses caused by autoimmunity.
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.
In lupus, something goes wrong with the immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs ("foreign invaders," like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means our immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and our body’s healthy tissues ("auto" means "self") and creates auto-antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These auto-antibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body. The treatment of autoimmune diseases is typically with immunosuppression—medication that decreases the immune response.
 Q. 26. Ganges River dolphin (Susu) - 'National Aquatic Animal' of India
Ans.
It inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. This vast area has been altered by the construction of more than 50 dams and other irrigation-related projects, with dire consequences for the river dolphins.
 
The Ganges River dolphin lives in one of the world's most densely populated areas, and is threatened by removal of river water and siltation arising from deforestation, pollution and entanglement in fisheries nets. In addition, alterations to the river due to barrages are also separating populations. Total population of the Ganga river dolphin is estimated to be between 2,500-3,000 in its entire distribution range, out of which more than 80% is within the Indian territory.
 
This dolphin is among the four "obligate" freshwater dolphins - the other three are the baiji now likely extinct from the Yangtze river in China, the bhulan of the Indus in Pakistan and the boto of the Amazon River in Latin America. Although there are several species of marine dolphins whose ranges include some freshwater habitats, these four species live only in rivers and lakes.
 
Being a mammal, the Ganges River dolphin cannot breathe in the water and must surface every 30-120 seconds. Because of the sound it produces when breathing, the animal is popularly referred to as the 'Susu'.
 
Dolphin is an indicator species. The presence of dolphin in a river system signals a healthy ecosystem. Since the river dolphin is at the apex of the aquatic food chain, its presence in adequate numbers symbolizes greater biodiversity in the river system and helps keep the ecosystem in balance.

Main threats to the Ganges River dolphin
The survival of the Ganges River dolphin is threatened by unintentional killing through entanglement in fishing gear; directed harvest for dolphin oil, which is used as a fish attractant and for medicinal purposes; water development projects (e.g. water extraction and the construction of barrages, high dams, and embankments); industrial waste and pesticides; municipal sewage discharge and noise from vessel traffic; and overexploitation of prey, mainly due to the widespread use of non-selective fishing gear.More than 50 dams and irrigation-related projects have had an adverse impact on the habitat of this species. These projects result in major changes in the flow, sediment load, and water quality of rivers, which affects the quality of waters downstream.
 
As a result, there has been a serious decrease in fish production, while the extraction of river water and siltation from deforestation are also degrading the species' habitat. In some cases, habitat alterations have resulted in the genetic isolation of dolphin populations.Pollution levels are a problem, and are expected to increase with the development of intensive modern industrial practices in the region. Compounds such as organochlorine and butyltin found in the tissues of Ganges River dolphins are a cause for concern about their potential effects on the subspecies. Although the killing of this dolphin for meat and oil is thought to have declined, it still occurs in the middle Ganges near Patna, in the Kalni-Kushiyara River of Bangladesh, and in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra. In fisheries for large catfish in India and Bangladesh, dolphin oil and body parts are used to lure prey, and Ganges River dolphins are used to this end.
 
Efforts have been made in India to test shark liver and sardine oil and fish offal to find an alternative for dolphin products. The latter appears promising.
 
Ganga river dolphins are listed in Schedule-1 of the wild life protection act thereby according them the highest degree of protection during hunting.
 
To mitigate the identified threats, WWF encourages local communities along a 164km-stretch of important dolphin habitat in the upper Ganges River to use natural fertilizers; not to dispose of domestic sewerage in the river; to improve sewerage management; to reforest the river bank; and to ban commercial fishing and sand-mining activities. WWF also monitors dolphin populations and threats in important dolphin habitats in other areas of the country.
 
Dolphin conservation has not figured in earlier attempts to clean the river — the Ganga Action Plan phase-I and phase-II were more focused on sewage treatment — though it was being run as a separate programme. The dolphin was also named the ‘National Aquatic Animal’ of India in 2009.
Nearly 50 per cent of the total population of dolphins in Ganga is now in Bihar.
Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal — have Dolphins Jharkhand, the other state through which the Ganga flows, does not have dolphins. Dolphin conservation was entirely dependent on the progress of the Ganga cleaning exercise. Dolphins breed in deep waters and feed in shallow waters. In the Ganga, excessive siltation has reduced the depth. A number of barrages and hydropower projects has interrupted the flow of water. In addition, the destruction of floodplains has affected the population of small fish which form the main diet of dolphins.
 
Irrawady river dolphins
They can survive both in fresh water and marine water. A small number of these are found in Myanmar, Indonesia and the Mekong river delta of south-east Asia. A few of them are in Bangladesh and in Orissa’s Chilka lake.
Dolphins do not breed in large numbers. On an average, a dolphin gives birth to five or six offspring during its life span, which is about 25 to 28 years.
 
 Q. 25. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) & Antrix Corporation Limited
Ans. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
ISRO is the space agency of the Indian government headquartered in  Bangalore. Its vision is to "harness space technology for national development, while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration".It is managed by the Department of Space, which reports to the Prime Minister of India.

Antrix Corporation Limited
Antrix Corporation Limited is the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).Its objective is to promote the ISRO's products, services and technologies. It is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), wholly owned by the Government of India. It is administered by the Department of Space (DoS).It is a  'Miniratna'  PSU.
 Q. 24. Quality of education at the foundational and the next levels depends on the quality of teachers. What is being done in this regard?
Ans.
Competence of teachers and their motivation is crucial for improving the quality. Several initiatives are being taken for addressing teacher shortages, shortages of secondary school teachers in mathematics, science and languages, improving the quality of pre-service teachers and in-service teachers professional development, enhancing the status of teaching as a profession, improving teachers’ motivation and their accountability for ensuring learning outcomes, and improving the quality of teacher educators. Focus is on using technology to have teachers trained by the best educators through the internet. There is also a proposal to introduce institutions like the Academic Staff Colleges in Universities as they exist for college lecturers. As the TSR Subramanian committee recommended, we need to create an autonomous teacher recruitment board and set up an independent mechanism for teacher recruitment. Teacher eligibility test (TET) is a good start. This will ensure a good quality pool.
 Q. 23. What is "dark web" and "onion routing"?
Ans.
The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets, overlay networks which use the public Internet but which require specific software, configurations or authorization to access. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the Web not indexed by search engines.
 
The darknets which constitute the dark web include small, friend-to-friend peer-to-peer networks, as well as large, popular networks like Tor, operated by public organizations and individuals. Users of the dark web refer to the regular web as the Clearnet due to its unencrypted nature. The Tor dark web may be referred to as onionland, a reference to the network's top level domain suffix .onion and the traffic anonymization technique of onion routing.
 Q. 22. What are life style diseases? Why are they emerging as big threats? How does preventive health care help? State the steps government is taking in this regard.
Ans.
In the modern scenario, non-communicable disease forms the bulk of what is ailing the population, mostly those residing in the cities. Increasingly sedentary lifestyles, growth in the aging population, surfeit of high calorie food, pollution, and addictions such as smoking and drinking has given rise to lifestyle diseases. This includes diabetes, chronic lung ailments, hypertension, cancer, and cardiac troubles. Many of these problems if left unmonitored for long can prove to be fatal. The premature mortality and morbidity during the most productive of life phase poses serious challenges to the Indian economy and hence the need for preventive healthcare measures than ever before.
 
Preventive health has become crucial as it allows people to know about their health issues in the initial days and helps keep track of the progress on a real time basis. It   includes identification and minimization of disease risk factors, existing disease course improvement, and early disease detection through screening. This has become crucial since it allows people to know about their health issues well within time. It involves
 
1. Adoption of medical devices: With technology at the core of healthcare development, preventive medical devices such as blood pressure monitor, blood glucose monitor, and body fat analyser are high in demand owing to rising incidences of cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disorders, diabetes and obesity. Indians are becoming more conscious of their health risks and are proactively adopting preventive healthcare measures to avoid issues.
2. Online healthcare records:  Electronic Health Record (EHR) allows users to maintain their personal health records, past appointments, test results, prescriptions etc. and helps them keep a track of things. 
3. Increased government spending on primary care: The Union Budget 2016-17 was focused on the Healthcare sector and it received benefits like new health protection scheme for health cover up-to 1 lakh per family. Senior citizens will get additional healthcare cover of Rs 30,000 under the new scheme. PM Jan Aushadhi Yojana to be strengthened, 300 generic drug store to be opened. These facilities will help both the rural and urban India to improve its healthcare system.
4. Healthcare policies: Healthcare policies are a welcome necessary step and must expand to help in facilitating equitable health care to both rural and urban India. Health care covers not only medical care but also all aspects of preventive care as well. A versatile health insurance plan will help patients to get regular healthcare check-up, which is the vital part of preventive care.
5. Sanitation as a key tool: One of the key areas for preventive healthcare is cleanliness. Maintenance of the hygiene and cleanliness helps reduce the incidence of infections acquired in hospitals and health care centres. India lags behind in the field of sanitation and the unsanitary conditions need a great sanitary awakening. Govt. programs like Swachh Abhiyaan dedicated to providing recommendations for healthcare facilities to enable the hospital management to address various aspects of cleanliness and sanitation.
 
Achieving equity in access to health care across rural and urban India requires overcoming several factors that challenge equity in service delivery, and equity in health financing and financial risk protection.
 Q. 21. Discuss the ethical importance of the philosophy of humanism.
Ans.
Throughout recorded history there have been  two sources of humanism: Firstly from  people who have believed that the universe is a natural phenomenon with no supernatural side, and that we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. They have trusted  the scientific method, evidence, and reason to discover truths about the universe and have placed human welfare and happiness at the centre of their ethical decision making. Today, people who share these beliefs and values are called humanists and this combination of attitudes is called Humanism. Secondly, from religious ideas where the liberation of humans is taught by reason and deliberate effort. The ethical value of humanism lies in the equality it asserts. The emphasis on human effort solving human problems creates collective optimism.  Constitutionalism that empowers citizens through law; public policy  of the democratic and welfare state ; and scientific innovation and people gaining access to technological benefits, in short, the benefits of enlightenment are the result of humanist  beliefs and commitments. Above all, it values human effort and encourages it to strive higher.
 Q. 20. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Ans.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)  is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 35 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress  world trade. It is a forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members. OECD membership includes non-European states. Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries. The OECD's headquarters are in Paris, France. India decided against joining the rich countries' club but is a member of various OECD committees.
 
 Q. 19. What is PISA in the field of education? How can it help in public policy?
Ans.
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in member and non-member nations of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and reading. It was first performed in 2000 and then repeated every three years. It is done with a view to improving education policies and outcomes. It measures problem solving and cognition in daily life.The preparation for the tests makes government and schools educate its students in schools well. It improves standards of school education all round. It is a benchmark for global comparisons. In a knowledge society of the 21st century, the quality foundations for education has to be laid at the school level. If PISA rankings can make the education system cultivate higher standards, innovation and productivity  can be achieved. Governments and the NGOs like Pradham together can achieve a lot in aim for higher standards and igniting young minds.  
 Q. 18. What is European Economic Area? How is it different from European Union?
Ans. The Agreement on the European Economic Area, which entered into force in 1994, brings together the EU Member States and the three EEA EFTA States — Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway — in a single market, referred to as the "Internal Market".
The EEA agreement also states that when a country becomes a member of the European Union, it shall also apply to become party to the EEA Agreement (Article 128), thus leading to an enlargement of the EEA.The EEA Agreement provides for the inclusion of EU legislation covering the four freedoms — the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital — throughout the 31 EEA States. In addition, the Agreement covers cooperation in other important areas such as research and development, education, social policy, the environment, consumer protection, tourism and culture. The Agreement guarantees equal rights and obligations within the Internal Market for citizens and economic operators in the EEA.
The EEA Agreement does not cover the following EU policies:
• Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies (although the Agreement contains provisions on various aspects of trade in agricultural and fish products);
• Customs Union;
• Common Trade Policy;
• Common Foreign and Security Policy;
• Justice and Home Affairs (even though the EFTA countries are part of the Schengen area); or
• Monetary Union (EMU).
 Q. 17. Where does Punjab get its drugs from?
Ans.
 Q. 16. What is Project Ghatak? What change can it make on the warfront?
Ans. After the success of Mars mission Mangalyan and satellite navigation system IRNSS, India is set to make its own stealth combat drones or UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) under the project named Ghatak. The drones will have the ability to take off from its home base, fire missiles and other guided weapons at enemy targets and return to home base. The project comes as a result of successfully completed AURA (autonomous unmanned research aircraft) program. Project Ghatak was initiated by Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in collaboration with Indian Air Force (AIF). Indigenously developed Kaveri aerospace engine will be used in the UCAV. UCAVs on the other hand, are more advanced than UAVs, which are likely to revolutionize the war front in the near future.
 Q. 15. Can we measure happiness?
Ans.
According to Webster, happiness is "a state of well-being and contentment."  It has to be understood at various levels.
 
Some equate basic human needs as the crux of happiness: nutritious and adequate food, sanitation, shelter, clothes, communication devices like mobile; education, skill and job, time and facilities for recreation etc. However that is well being. The difference can be in the form of unmet career aspirations, sexual inhibitions, fractured relationships -- revealed anxieties, insecurities and loss that make one happy or otherwise.
 
Public policy as a role in facilitating human happiness by way of providing basic minimum services; checking gross inequality ,providing rule of law, improving the quality of public services etc. Bhutan measures progress not in terms of GDP but Gross National Happiness in which governance, growth, environment and tradition have equal place.
 
There will still be everyday issues like job insecurity, workplace discrimination, high rents and expensive schools fees etc. But overall, happiness is not entirely  up to the government, it’s up to individuals and their own mindsets. To some extent, that is, happiness is also a state of mind.
 Q. 14. Who are the Siddis in India? Where are they settled?
Ans.
It is an African-origin ethnic tribe of about 20,000 people that has been living in near total obscurity in India for centuries. Isolated and reclusive, Siddis are mostly confined to small pockets of villages in the Indian states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat, and the city of Hyderabad (there’s also a sizable population in Pakistan). Descendants of Bantu people of East Africa, Siddi ancestors were largely brought to India as slaves by Arabs as early as the 7th Century, followed by the Portuguese and the British later on. Others were free people who came to India as merchants, sailors and mercenaries before the Portuguese slave trade went into overdrive. When slavery was abolished in the 18th and 19th Centuries, Siddis fled into the country’s thick jungles, fearing recapture and torture.
 
These African slaves were originally known as Habshis, which is Persian for Abyssinian (the former name of Ethiopia was Abyssinia). But those who rose through the ranks of royal retinue were honoured with the title Siddi, a possible etymon from the Arabic word for master, sayed/sayyid. It is not entirely clear when the use of the term Habshi declined and Siddi replaced it, but today, Siddi describes all people of African descent in India.






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