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Question and Answer :: SRIRAM'S IAS

Civil Services Exam Preparation

 Q. 26. Ganges River dolphin (Susu) - 'National Aquatic Animal' of India
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?
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"?
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.
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.
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.

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