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Question and Answer :: SRIRAM'S IAS

Civil Services Exam Preparation

 Q. 21. Discuss the ethical importance of the philosophy of humanism.
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
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?
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?
 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?
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?
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.
 Q. 13. Differentiate between Hard-rock and Alluvial aquifers in India.
Ans. Hard-rock aquifers of peninsular India
These aquifers represent around 65% of India’s overall aquifer surface area. Most of them are found in central peninsular India, where land is typically underlain by hard-rock formations. These rocks give rise to a complex and extensive low-storage aquifer system, where in the water level tends to drop very rapidly once the water table falls by more than 2-6 meters. Additionally, these aquifers have poor permeability which limits their recharge through rainfall. This implies that water in these aquifers is non- replenishable and will eventually dry out due to continuous usage.
Alluvial aquifers of the Indo-Gangetic plains
These aquifers, found in the Gangetic and Indus plains in Northern India have significant storage spaces, and hence are a valuable source of fresh water supply. However, due to excessive ground water extraction and low recharge rates, these aquifers are at the risk of irreversible overexploitation.
 Q. 12. What are Maglevs? How do they offer such high speeds?
Maglev (derived from magnetic levitation) is a transport method that uses magnetic levitation to move vehicles without touching the ground. With maglev, a vehicle travels along a guide way using magnets to create both lift and propulsion, thereby reducing friction by a great extent and allowing very high speeds.

Japan in 2015 clocked 600 km/h.

Maglev trains move more smoothly and more quietly. They are relatively unaffected by weather. When we play with bar magnets we noticed that opposites attract, but if we turn one of the magnets around, then “like” poles repel. That is what keeps the mass of a train floating several millimeters in the air, cutting down on friction and allowing it to travel much quicker than traditional engines. That same magnetic force can also be used to move it forwards. All the propulsion forces come from electromagnetics, as well as the levitation and guidance forces. The trains are entirely magnetically levitated, driven, and guided.
 Q. 11. Elaborate on the Hausla Nutrition Scheme.
HNS is being  executed under the State Nutrition Mission of Uttar Pradesh. 
·         It is a scheme for providing nutritious food to pregnant woman and malnourished children.
·         Under this scheme, pregnant women and malnourished children would be given cooked food and one fruit each.
·         Consultation would also be provided to pregnant women and malnourished children come under the age group of 7 months to 3 years along with facility of regular weight check up.
·         The malnourished children would be given half kg desi ghee at the rate of 20 gm per child per day.
·         The pregnant women would also be given iron tablets and children biscuit packets/puffed rice for consumption at home.
Pregnant women and malnourished children will be given health and nutrition related advice at the Aanganwadi centres.

 Q. 10. What is "cold start" doctrine?
It is a military doctrine. A military doctrine helps standardize operations, facilitating readiness by establishing common ways of accomplishing military tasks. Objective of “cold start” is to foster initiative and creative thinking and links theory, history, experimentation and practice. Cold Start is a military doctrine developed by the Indian Armed Forces to put to use in case of a war with Pakistan. The main objective of the Cold Start Doctrine is to launch a retaliatory conventional strike against Pakistan inflicting significant harm on the Pakistan Army before any international community could intercede, but not in way Pakistan would be provoked to make a nuclear attack.
 Q. 9. What is Oppari?
Tamil oppari, or oppaari, is a distinctively South Indian genre of weeping songs performed primarily by grieving women, or by professional male musicians mostly from Harijan caste communities. Oppari is most commonly identified as the grieving song of a widow at the funeral of her husband. It is the folk tradition that grieves the death of men through story and song.
 Q. 8. Who is Dutee Chand? What has been the controversy about her?
Dutee Chand is an Indian professional sprinter and current national champion in the women's 100 metres event. She is the third Indian women to ever qualify for the Women's 100 metres event at the Summer Olympic Games, with PT Usha having qualified for the event in 1980 Summer Olympics. Chand was dropped from the Commonwealth Games contingent in 2014 after the Athletic Federation of India stated that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete. But she won the right to compete in 2015. 
Hyperandrogenism, or androgen excess, is a medical condition characterized by excessive levels of androgens in the body and the associated effects of these excessive levels of androgens. In international sports and the Olympic Games, a female athlete is not eligible to participate in the female category if the amount of androgenic hormone exceeds the permissible limits, on the ground that the condition could confer an unfair advantage.
 Q. 7. What is Global Peace Index? How is it measured? Account for India's position in it?
The Global Peace Index (GPI) is an attempt to measure the relative position of nations' and regions' peacefulness. It is the product of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and developed in consultation with an international panel of peace experts from peace institutes and think tanks with data collected and collated by the Economist Intelligence Unit.  It ranks 163 countries.
In attempting to gauge peacefulness, the GPI investigates the extent to which countries are involved in ongoing domestic and international conflicts. It also seeks to evaluate the level of harmony or discord within a nation; ten indicators broadly assess what might be described as a safety and security in society. The assertion is that low crime rates, minimal incidences of terrorist acts and violent demonstrations, harmonious relations with neighboring countries, a stable political scene and a small proportion of the population being internally displaced or refugees can be equated with peacefulness. The GPI has been criticised for not including indicators specifically relating to violence against women and children.
India was recently ranked 141 on a Global Peace Index with violence taking a 680-billion dollar toll on its economy in 2015.
Iceland was ranked as the world’s most peaceful country, followed by Denmark and Austria.
The report said, “India’s scores for ongoing domestic and international conflict and militarisation have deteriorated slightly. The country remains vulnerable to acts of terror and security threats at its shared border with Pakistan.
According to the report, world became a less peaceful in 2016, mainly on account of increased terrorism and higher levels of political instability.
Rankings of 81 countries have improved but deterioration in another 79 outweighed these gains.
 Q. 6. It is found that teenagers in urban India are a distressed lot. What are the reasons? What is being done?
The serious mental distress experienced by a growing number of young people, particularly teenagers, as a result of family breakdown, school-related stress, bullying, cyber bullying and 24/7 online culture. As a result, young people are struggling with mental health problems and are more likely to abuse alcohol, drugs and prescription medication in an attempt to switch off from distressing feelings. Health services like de-addiction centres, voluntary sector, education and  social care –  should work together to make sure everything possible is being done to ensure those at risk are being offered the right services in the right places.
Hon. Prime Minister took up the larger issue of drug addiction in his Man Ki Baat.
 Q. 5. What do you know of The Permanent Court of Arbitration
It  is an intergovernmental organization located at The Hague in the Netherlands. The PCA is not a court, but  a bureaucracy that provide services of arbitral tribunal to resolve disputes between member states, international organizations, or private parties arising out of international agreements.The cases span a range of legal issues involving territorial and maritime boundaries, sovereignty, human rights, international investment, and international and regional trade. It should not be confused with the International Court of Justice which is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations, while the PCA is not a UN agency.
 Q. 4. What is the difference between virtual reality vs. augmented reality?
Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing. VR is typically achieved by wearing a headset like Facebook’s Oculus equipped with the technology, and is used prominently in two different ways:

To create and enhance an imaginary reality for gaming, entertainment, and play (Such as video and computer games, or 3D movies, head mounted display).
To enhance training for real life environments by creating a simulation of reality where people can practice beforehand (Such as flight simulators for pilots).

Virtual reality is possible through a coding language known as VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) which can be used to create a series of images, and specify what types of interactions are possible for them.

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it. AR is developed into apps and used on mobile devices to blends digital components into the real world in such a way that they enhance one another, but can also be told apart easily.
 Q. 3. What is an industrial corridor? Where are they coming up in India? How do they benefit the people?
An industrial corridor is a package of infrastructure spending allocated to a specific geographical area, with the intent to stimulate industrial development.An industrial corridor aims to crease an area with a cluster of manufacturing or other industry. Such corridors are often created in areas that have preexisting infrastructure, suchas ports, highways and railroads. These modalities are arranged such that an "arterial" modality, such as a highway or railroad, receives "feeder" roads or railways. Concerns when creating corridors including correctly assessing demand and viability, transport options for goods and workers, land values, and economic incentives. Benefits stem from growth, employment, investments, incomes,infrastructure, FDI and the downstream effects that include fiscal collections going up to enable the government to spend on poor. Examples include
1. Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project
2. Shendra – Bidkin Industrial Park
3. Chennai Bangalore Industrial Corridor
4. Amritsar Delhi Kolkata Industrial Corridor
5. Vadrevu and Nizampatnam Port Industrial Corridor/VANPIC
6. Udhana-Palsana Industrial Corridor
 Q. 2. Poverty is a cognitive tax. Analyse the statement.
Ans. The evidence now is fairly strong that people have cognitive limitations that lead them not to process all the available information. Poor people in particular suffer from a lot of cognitive constraints. Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir  developed the idea of a “scarcity mindset”. The key finding is that poverty is a cognitive tax; it depletes our resources.

Poor people cant afford nutritious  food and thus their cognitive capacities become stunted. Because poverty is a vicious cycle, it is almost inherited. Our cognition is limited -- we can only think about a limited number of things at one time, and when the number of things we have to pay attention to goes beyond a certain threshold, we start making errors. Poor people have a lot more things they have to pay attention to. Poor people have to keep track of the price of everything they require. There's no room for error. If they spend too much on the milk , they will not be able to  afford the bread.

That's only  one of the many taxes on the cognitive load of poor people. David Graeber's Utopia of Rules details another: thinking of  what rich people are thinking. Poor people who antagonise the  rich people face reprisals far beyond those that rich people can expect from each other or from poor people.
This isn't unique to cash-poverty. Mullainathan talks of  "time poor" -- being overburdened with immediate livelihood concerns. This scarcity depletes  thoughtful attention to longer-term  priorities.

From the policy side, apart from developmental interventions, we also need to bring about behaviour changes as in Swachh Bharat against open defecation. Also, simplify government programmes. Too many programmes are too complicated  for poor to come on board  — that itself is a cognitive tax.

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