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Question and Answer

SRIRAM'S IAS

 Q. 93. What is Hyperandrogenism (HA) ? Is its application in sports justified?
Ans.
It is a term used to describe the excessive production of androgenic hormones in females. The androgenic hormone of specific interest for the purposes of sports is the performance enhancing hormone, testosterone. Men typically achieve better performances in sport because they benefit from higher levels of androgens than women and this is predominantly why, for reasons of fairness, competition in Athletics is divided into separate men’s and women’s classifications.

By extension, since it is known today that there are rare cases of females with HA competing in women’s competitions, in order to be able to guarantee the fairness of such competitions for all female competitors, the new Regulations stipulate that no female with HA shall be eligible to compete in a women’s competition if she has functional androgen levels (testosterone) that are in the male range.
 
Moreover, from the athlete’s health perspective, there is a scientific consensus as regards the importance of determining the presence (and source) of high levels of androgens in females. The early diagnosis of HA is considered critical to an effective therapeutic strategy.
 
International Association of Athletics Federations(IAAF) has the  role as the international governing body for the sport of Athletics  to guarantee the fairness and integrity of the competitions that are organised under its Rules.(Read the Current Affairs Notes for 2016 Updates)
 Q. 92. What do you know of India-USA FATCA?
Ans.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a United States federal law that requires United States persons, including individuals who live outside the United States, to report their financial accounts held outside of the United States, and requires foreign financial institutions to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of US about their U.S. clients. Congress enacted FATCA to make it more difficult for U.S. taxpayers to conceal assets held in offshore accounts and thus to recoup federal tax revenues. The law aims to check and impose withholding tax on illicit activities of some wealthy individuals who use offshore accounts to evade millions of dollars in taxes. A noncompliance with FATCA entails 30 per cent withholding tax on certain US source payments.
 
The Government of India has concluded an agreement with the Government of USA for entering into an Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) for implementation of FATCA. 
 
FATCA mandates the deduction and withholding of tax equal to 30% on a US source payment to recalcitrant FIIs or FFIs in non compliant countries which do not meet with the requirements of FATCA. Such 30% withholding will also be imposed by other FATCA compliant countries against non compliant countries. The consequences of not signing the agreement with US under FATCA would be disastrous. It will negate the efforts being undertaken by our government to revive the Indian economy.
 Q. 91. Write on the importance of Loktak Lake in the economy of Manipur and why it is in news lately.
Ans.
Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India, and is famous for the phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matter at various stages of decomposition) floating over it. Keibul Lamjao is the only floating national park in the world. It is located near Moirang in Manipur state, India.
 
The Keibul Lamjao National Park is the last natural refuge of the endangered sangai (state animal).
 
This ancient lake plays an important role in the economy of Manipur. It serves as a source of water for hydropowergeneration, irrigation and drinking water supply. The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fishermen who live in the surrounding areas and on phumdis, also known as “phumshongs”. Human activity has led to severe pressure on the lake ecosystem. 55 rural and urban hamlets around the lake have a population of about 100,000 people. Considering the ecological status and its biodiversity values, the lake was initially designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990. Later, it was also listed under the Montreux Record, “a record of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur”.
 
In November 2016, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has constituted a four-member team for conservation and management of Loktak Lake in Manipur. It will enumerate the steps required to be initiated for declaring Loktak Lake as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 Q. 90. Masala bonds are a major innovation where multiple benefits are combined. Comment.
Ans.
Masala bonds are bonds issued outside India but denominated in Indian Rupees, rather than the local currency. Masala is a Hindi word and it means spices. The term was used by IFC of the WB group  to evoke the culture and cuisine of India. Unlike dollar bonds, where the borrower takes the currency risk, masala bond makes the investors bear the risk. The first Masala bond was issued by the World Bank backed International Finance Corporation in 2014 when it raised 1,000 crore bond to fund infrastructure projects in India. Later in August 2015 International Financial Corporation for the first time issued green masala bonds and raised Rupees 3.15 Billion to be used for private sector investments that address climate change in India.

In July 2016 HDFC raised 3,000 crore rupees from Masala bonds and thereby became the first Indian company to issue masala bonds. In the month of August 2016 public sector unit NTPC issued first corporate green masala bonds worth 2,000 crore rupees.

Benefits are: companies get credit; country gets forex; rupee appreciates and stabilises; imports are facilitated due to forex build up; brand India gains; forex build up for the RBI for its stabilising operations; BOP of the country becomes stable as forex buildup; rupee stabilises; investment in the country is boosted.
 Q. 89. Write on Indian cinema and the freedom struggle.
Ans.
Indian cinema played a crucial role in the freedom struggle. Many patriotic films, in Hindi and the regional languages, upheld it. A few film producers were even involved in the campaign. India’s staunch patriots as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Vallabhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, S. Satyamurti and Rabindranath Tagore, opining that the cinema was useful for emancipation and political awakening, strongly supported it.
Some pre-Independence champions in the cinema industry :
Dwarkadas Naraindas Sampat – maker of the first political (silent) film, Bhakt Vidur (1921) ;
J B.H. Wadia, most politically involved film maker of Hindi cinema, who had become an INC volunteer since 1930 – made such films, centred on democracy, as Diler Daku (1931), Toofan Mail (1932), Lal-e-Yemen and Dilruba Daku (1933), Kala Gulab (1934) and Ekta (1942) ; he filmed the historic celebrations of India’s freedom as officially organised on the midnight of 14-15 August 1947 ;
R. Jyotiprasad Aggarwal – the pioneer of Assamese films, who was a political activist and freedom fighter, is renowned for his Jyotimati (1934) ;
Debaki Kumar Bose, a revolutionary turned film producer, who played the lead role in his political films ; he made Inquilab (Revolution) in 1935 ;
V. Shantaram (1901-1993) – who, in Marathi and Hindi cinema for over 60 years, though never in active politics, made attractive films on socio-economic issues [like Amar Jyoti (1936) and Shejari/Padosi (1941)], and on communal harmony ; he was famous for pioneering in India a colour film, Sairandhri (1933) ;
K. Subramanyam (1904-1971), Tamil film pioneer, whose contribution to liberation had no match in Indian cinema, crusaded against orthodoxy, as in his Balayogini (1936) and Bhakta Cheta (1940), while his Sevadasan (1938), on the status of women, and Tyaga Bhoomi (1939), with an easily indentifiable political flavour, in which the actor Sivan portrayed Sambhu Sastri as Tamil Nadu’s Gandhi, were even more radical.
Between 1936 and 1942, K. Subrahmanyam made some of the most socially significant Tamil films. His celebrated film ‘Thyagaboomi’ (1939) was important in several ways. It was banned by the British Government for propagating nationalist sentiment and promoting the Indian National Congress.
Sohrab Modi’s ‘Sikandar’ on Alexander’s invasion of India evoked passionate nationalist sentiments. Prabhat’s devotional, biographical film on the saint, ‘Eknath’ propagated the Gandhian ideals of abolishing ‘untouchables’.
 Q. 88. Write on the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle development in India.
Ans.
Heralding a new era in the indigenous development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), DRDO  successfully carried out the maiden flight of TAPAS 201 (RUSTOM – II), a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV. The test flight took place from Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, 250 km from Bangalore which is a newly developed flight test range for the testing of UAVs and manned aircraft. The flight accomplished the main objectives of proving the flying platform, such as take-off, bank, level flight and landing etc. TAPAS 201, the MALE UAV has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the Bangalore-based premier lab of DRDO with HAL-BEL as the production partners. The UAV weighing two tonnes was put into air by a dedicated team of young scientists of DRDO. It was piloted (external and internal) by the pilots from the Armed Forces.
 Q. 87. Write a short note on Keibul Lamjao National Park.
Ans.
The Keibul Lamjao National Park is a national park in the Bishnupur district of the state of Manipur in India. It is the only floating park in the world and an integral part of Loktak Lake.
 
The national park is characterized by many floating decomposed plant materials locally called phumdis. To preserve the natural refuge of the endangered Manipur Eld's deer or brow-antlered deer or sangai also called the dancing deer, listed as an endangered species by IUCN, the park which was initially declared to be a sanctuary in  was subsequently declared to be a national park and it  has generated local support and public awareness.
 Q. 86. Write a short note on Black and red ware culture.
Ans.
The black and red ware culture (BRW) is an early Iron Age archaeological culture of the northern Indian subcontinent. It is dated to roughly the 12th – 9th century BCE, and associated with the post-Rigvedic Vedic civilization.

In some sites, BRW pottery is associated with Late Harappan pottery. BRW may have directly influenced the Painted Grey Ware and Northern Black Polished Ware cultures. BRW pottery is unknown west of the Indus Valley.

Use of iron, although sparse at first, is relatively early, postdating the beginning of the Iron Age in Anatolia (Hittites) by only two or three centuries, and predating the European (Celts) Iron Age by another two to three hundred years.

It is succeeded by the Painted Grey Ware culture.
 Q. 85. Why is Ran ki vav in news recently? What is its importance?
Ans.
Rani ki vav is an intricately constructed stepwell situated in the town of Patan in Gujarat, India. It is located on the banks of Saraswati River. Rani ki vav was built as a memorial to an 11th century AD king. It was added to the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 2014.Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constructed since the third millennium BC. Rani ki vav was built in the complex Maru-Gurjara architectural style with an inverted temple and seven levels of stairs and holds more than 500 principle sculptures.

Rani ki Vav bagged the title of “Cleanest Iconic Place” in India at the Indian Sanitation Conference (INDOSAN) 2016 in New Delhi in October 2016.

It was "an exceptional example of technological development” in utilising ground water resources and an unique water management system which illustrates "the exceptional capacity to break large spaces into smaller volumes following ideal aesthetic proportions”. The property had been buried under layers of silt for almost seven centuries after the disappearance of the Saraswati river. Its excavation demonstrated an exceptional state of conservation with seven floors of ornamental panels representing the height of the Maru-Gurjara style.
 Q. 84. Write on the legendary female singer “MS” whose birth anniversary falls this year.
Ans. Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi also known as M.S., was a Carnatic vocalist. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, often considered Asia's Nobel Prize. To honour the legacy of India’s Carnatic music legend M.S. Subbulakshmi, the United Nations issued a stamp to mark her birth centenary in 2016.
 Q. 83. What is Paschim Leher and why is it necessary?
Ans.
With the operational situation along the western front remaining volatile amid heavy exchanges of cross-border firing with Pakistani forces, the Indian security establishment is taking no chances in being ready for any contingency. Even as the Army and IAF airbases maintain top-levels of operational readiness, the Navy too is coming into action with a major exercise “Paschim Leher (western wave)” in the Arabian Sea from next week. Over 40 warships and submarines, backed by maritime fighter jets, patrol aircraft and drones, have already begun to amass on the western seaboard for the intensive combat manoeuvres, which include “cross-deployment” even from the eastern seaboard.
 Q. 82. Is there a need for the creation of National Disaster Mitigation Fund (NDMF) ? How is disaster mitigation financed in India?
Ans.
The objective of creation of National Disaster Mitigation Fund (NDMF) is for the projects exclusively for the purpose of mitigation. The purpose is being served by the existing Centrally Sponsored Schemes / Central Sector (CS) Schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Krishonnati Yojana, National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture, MGNREGA, Major Irrigation projects, Namami Gange-National Ganga plan, River Basin Management, National River Conservation Plan and Water Resource Management. Additionally, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has made a provision of 10% of total outlay for all CSS schemes (except for schemes which emanate from a legislation (eg. MGNREGA), as flexi fund.
 
Keeping in view the above, the Government feels that at present there are sufficient schemes to take care of mitigation measures in different projects and the need for creation of separate NDMF has not been felt.
 
Financial management of disasters is undertaken as per the mechanisms available in DM Act, 2005 and there is no fund namely Disaster Management Fund.
 Q. 81. Why was the Demchok area is in news?
Ans.
In Ladakh's Demchok area -a region bordering Tibet and site of previous Chinese incursions, Indian and Chinese troops have been in a stand-off over construction of an irrigation canal. Demchok is at an altitude of around 11,500 feet and marks the entry of Indus into India from Tibet. China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops are said  to have entered the  area near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and stopped the construction work. Government is constructing an irrigation canal under the rural employment guarantee scheme to link a village with a `hot spring' in Demchok, 250km east of Leh.
 
The fresh tensions in Demchok also come in the wake of the Indian government's decision to allow the Dalai Lama to travel to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh despite China's strong reservations about the Buddhist leader. Tawang is also the site of a monastery that is of special significance to Tibetan Buddhists while China claims all of Arunachal as “South Tibet”.
 
The area had witnessed a similar incident in 2014 over a small irrigation canal at Nilung Nalla under the MNREGS that had been a sore point with the Chinese. There was a prolonged incursion by a Chinese platoon in April, 2013 as well that led to India and China agreeing on a protocol to improve communications between border troops.
 Q. 80. Critically examine the fire safety norms prevalent in the country presently.
Ans.
The fire code is aimed primarily at preventing fires, ensuring that necessary training and equipment will be on hand, and that the original design basis of the building, including the basic plan set out by the architect, is not compromised. The fire code also addresses inspection and maintenance requirements of various fire protection equipment in order to maintain fire protection measures.
 
Recent tragedies in India show how casually fire safety is taken in India despite major fires in residential complexes, temples and other public places. Official records show that there are just 2,900 fire stations in all of the country when at least 8,500 are required at the very minimum. Fire is a state subject but most states simply do not provide enough resources for fire safety. The fire departments are ill-equipped and do not have enough staff. Urban fire services are deficient by 72.75% in fire stations, 78.79% in manpower and 22.43% in fire fighting and rescue vehicles.
 
One way to minimise the outbreak of fires is for the authorities to rigorously enforce the law that any building under construction will not be given an operational clearance unless its promoters comply with fire safety norms. A safety audit of all buildings must be carried out at regular intervals, something which is hardly ever done. Now we see a case of building permits being handed out liberally with no check on whether safety measures have been incorporated into the plans. If restaurants or commercial buildings which are fire hazards do not comply with the rules, they should be shut down after proper warning.
 
Restaurants operating from the first floor flats of the Capital’s posh Khan Market with no proper measures for escape in the event of fire were in news recently. Most of them have been turned into commercial establishments though constructed for residential purposes. Most of them have narrow staircases, which pose a threat to customers in the event of a fire. These open onto narrow service lanes in which the fire brigade cannot enter.
 
The Delhi High court directed Delhi Fire Service to re-visit its policy which exempts restaurants with a seating capacity of less than 50 persons from obtaining clearance under the Delhi Fire Service Act. If this is the case with Khan Market, one can imagine the situation in other crowded markets in Delhi, many of which have serious fire hazards like exposed and hanging wiring and few exit routes.
 Q. 79. Write a short note on the evolution from Look East to Act east of India's policy.
Ans.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi the new government of India has made its relations with East Asian neighbours a foreign policy priority at a time when the United States has engaged in a "pivot to Asia". It is called  Act East policy, following on from the Look East policy which was introduced during the government of Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao 25 years ago From the very beginning the Modi government made it clear that India would focus more and more on improving relation with ASEAN and other East Asian countries as per India's Look East Policy which was formulated during Narasimha Rao's government in 1992 for better economic engagement with its eastern neighbours. Modi government successfully turned it into a tool for forging strategic partnership and security cooperation with countries in that region in general and Vietnam and Japan in particular.  Thus, from economic relation essentially to security relation. Act east policy aims at stabilising the Asia pacific by actively cooperating with the regional powers (ASEAN and others). Its unspoken but underlying aim is to check China so that India's interests in the region are not threatened.
 Q. 78. Comment on the India and China counter-terror dialogue
Ans.
India and China late in  September 2016 discussed ways to enhance security and cooperation to combat terror as officials from the two sides exchanged information on policies and legislation to deal with terrorism at the first high-level dialogue where they reached "important consensus".The two sides exchanged views on the international and regional security situation at the first meeting of the India- China High Level Dialogue on Counter-terrorism and Security held here.
 
The two countries  exchanged information on respective policies, systems and legislation to deal with terrorism, and further enhance their understanding on issues of major concerns to both sides, according to a press release issued by the Indian embassy here.
 
The two sides had in-depth discussions on enhancing cooperation in counter-terrorism and security and on measures to jointly deal with security threats The discussions were held on the “international and regional security situation”. The two sides also exchanged information on respective policies, systems and laws to deal with terrorism.
 Q. 77. What are HFCs? Do you think these chemicals are environment-friendly? State India’s stand on phasing out HFCs.
Ans.
HFCs were introduced as ozone-friendly gases but they are greenhouse gases with high global warming potential. They are factory-made gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration. While HFCs are less abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, they have 10,000 times the planet-warming potency. But carbon dioxide lingers in the atmosphere for centuries, while HFCs disintegrate after about 15 years.

Some countries like the US and several other developed countries have long been seeking to replace HFCs with alternative technologies, such as HFOs (hydrofluoroolefins) and want the matter to be discussed under the Montreal Protocol.

The international debate about Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—the climate-damaging refrigerant gases— is: should they be treated as short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) under Kyoto Protocol or be phased out Montreal Protocol. Since HFCs are not ozone-depleting, they have been kept out of the Montreal Protocol that currently deals with phasing out ozone depleting substances like hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). HFCs, on the other hand, contribute to global warming and come under Kyoto Protocol.
 
India initially wanted them under climate talks as in these talks India enjoyed common but differentiated treatment and did not have to take emission targets. But there is international pressure on India to take targets though on a lesser scale than the developed countries. Thus, climate talks do not offer any special advantage for HFCs. PM Narendra Modi in an op-ed in the Washington Post, co-authored with US President Barack Obama back in September, had recognised the Montreal Protocol (MP) as the right forum for HFCs—but with reporting and accounting under the UNFCCC. This was depicted as an encouraging step towards changing stance of India on the issue.Previously, this had been a point of disagreement between India and the US since India opposed any action on HFCs under Montreal Protocol.
 
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) expressed its view that the HFCs are a part of SLCPs but have higher global warming potential when compared to carbon dioxide. Even though HFCs only contribute to less than one per cent of global warming to date, their production, consumption and emissions are growing at a rate of 8 per cent every year.
 While these debates go on, the global climate agreement in Paris in December 2015 might lead to more clarity on the issue.
 Q. 76. What is the significance of Pratham- the cube satellite?
Ans.
Designed to fit within a 30-cm cube, the 10kg Pratham satellite will measure total electron count in the ionosphere that can improve the accuracy of the Global Positioning System in India, and also predict tsunamis. Conceptualised in 2008, Pratham has been worked on by students across IIT-B engineering departments and spread over seven batches. The project cost Rs 1.5 crore.
 
All the signals that are sent by satellites towards earth interact with a layer of electrons (negatively charged particles) in the atmosphere. This interaction changes the behaviour of these signals, and introduces certain errors in the GPS readings, Pratham Knowing the TEC will help predict changes in GPS readings due to such interactions and make necessary corrections to improve GPS readings. In the case of a tsunami, the earthquake responsible for the tsunami often emits high intensity gravity waves that change the electron count drastically. So when someone tries to measure TEC, the readings will be high which can act as a warning for coastal areas for an impending tsunami.
 Q. 75. Differentiate between production sharing agreements and revenue sharing agreements in oil exploration. Why is the government shifting to the latter model? Do you agree with the decision of the government?
Ans.
Production sharing agreements (PSA) are a common type of contract signed between a government and a resource extraction company (or group of companies) concerning how much of the resource (usually oil) extracted from the country each will receive. In production sharing agreements the country's government awards the execution of exploration and production activities to an oil company. The oil company bears the mineral and financial risk of the initiative and explores, develops and ultimately produces oil/gas from the field . When successful, the company is permitted to use the money from produced oil to recover capital and operational expenditures. The remaining money is shaped between the government and the company.

Production sharing agreements can be beneficial to governments of countries that lack the expertise and/or capital to develop their resources and wish to attract big domestic and foreign companies to do so. They can be very profitable agreements for the oil companies involved as well. A section of experts favour the production sharing model for deep sea exploration because guarantees for the recovery of all sunk costs are important to attract oil majors with proprietary technology. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had criticised PSA which prevails in India on grounds that it encourages companies to inflate (gold plate) capital expenditure and  reduce and delay the government’s share.

A panel headed by former Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan had in 2013 suggested moving to a revenue-sharing regime that requires companies to state upfront the quantum of oil or gas they will share with the government from the first day of production.In the new regime, the companies will have to indicate the quantity of oil and gas they will share with the government at different stages of production as well as at different rates. That is, not wait till the end.
In March 2016, the policy of RSC was adopted across all hydrocarbons under Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP).
 Q. 74. India launches eight satellites into two orbits recently. What do you know of them?
Ans.
India recently achieved another space milestone when it successfully launched multiple satellites from one rocket into two different orbits. In the longest mission for the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV C-35) that lifted off from Sriharikota carrying eight satellites -- three from India, including the weather satellite SCATSAT-1, three from Algeria, and one each from Canada and the US. The PSLV has launched 39 remote-sensing satellites for Isro, including the Mars mission of 2013-14.
 
The 371-kg SCATSAT-1, will study oceans and help in weather forecasting, including cyclone detection. Two of the Indian satellites are student-made. Pratham, a 10-kg satellite developed by students of Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, will study the electron count in space which will help improve the accuracy of the Global Positioning System in India, and also predict tsunamis. The 5.25-kg PISAT made by students of Bengaluru’s PES University will take pictures of earth.






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