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Question and Answer
Q. 109. How is NITI Aayog expected to promote federalism?
Ans. NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog is a Government of India policy think-tank that replaced the Planning Commission. NITI Aayog seeks to foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by state governments of India, a "bottom-up" approach in contrast to the Planning Commission's tradition of "top-down" decision-making. It is a body meant to streamline economic growth in the reforms-era.
Its federal efforts can be understood from the following:
1. Centralization of planning was in vogue when Planning Commission undertook socio economic planning. Its replacement by a much leaner body with less functions augurs well for federalism.
2. Niti Aayog does not recommend transfer of plan funds to states. It is largely being done by the Constitutional body of Finance Commission. States have welcomed it
3. NITI, is expected to be federal in character as it has a Governing Council consisting of the VCMs of States and UTs and administrators of UTs.
4. There will be regional bodies for a group of states in every region. Regional Councils will be formed to address specific issues impacting more than one state or a region. These will be formed for a specified tenure. The Regional Councils will be convened by the Prime Minister and will comprise of the Chief Ministers of States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories in the region. These will be chaired by the Chairperson of the NITI Aayog or his nominee.
Q. 108. Taking trade and energy sectors, show how Central Asia is crucial for India. Why is the relationship subdued? What is being done?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to five Central Asian countries- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan- reinvigorated India's traditional ties with the region. Strong relation in energy, trade, culture and security sectors with the five nations is in mutual interest.
The economic development of Central Asia, specially in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, has sparked a construction boom and development of sectors like IT, pharmaceuticals and tourism. India has expertise in these sectors and deeper cooperation will give a fresh impetus to trade relations with these countries. India's trade ties with Central Asia have been performing well below their true potential. Pakistan refused to give India rights to overland trade with Afghanistan that hit our trade with Central Asia.
Poor connectivity has contributed to the below-par trade between India and Central Asia. But India has found a way to solve the problem. Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan recently inaugurated a railway line connecting the two countries with Iran. India has invested in Iran's Chabahar port and that will allow Indian products to reach Iran and then to Central Asia through the rail link. India seeks to re-energise the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) The INSTC was initiated by Russia, India and Iran in 2000 to establish transportation networks among the member states and to enhance connectivity with the land locked region of Central Asia. The successful nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers will also make it easier for Delhi to do business with Tehran.
Central Asian countries want to diversify their foreign relations away from Russia and China and believe that India's presence will help them achieve their aim.
Central Asia is known for resources like hydrocarbon, mineral deposits, hydroelectric power potential and gold.India has a deal with Kazakhstan for uranium. India's state-run oil firm ONGC Videsh Limited has a minor stake in Kazakhstan's Satpayev oil blocks. In Turkmenistan, TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline was discussed.
Q. 107. Do you think that the mechanism provided by the Constitutional (99th) Amendment Act is restrictive of judicial independence
National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and Constitutional (99th) Amendment Act were recently nullified by the apex court. The new NJAC limits the primacy of the judiciary and increases the government's power in appointments of judges to the higher judiciary. The NJAC is to be comprised of the chief justice of India and two senior-most Supreme Court judges, the union law minister and two "eminent people," one of whom would be drawn from the scheduled castes, tribes, minorities and other backward classes or women.
Some have argued that the NJAC violates judicial independence by creating a system in which the Collegium would no longer have primacy as the judiciary would not have majority in the NJAC. Also, NJAC would override the convention that Chief Justices are selected on the basis of seniority. Furthermore, NJAC grants Parliament the power to alter judicial selection criteria and procedures, which is a violation of judicial independence, separation of powers, and the rule of law. Further, NJAC allows the Union Law Minister, a major litigant before the court, to play a role in appointments and finally. NJAC violates separation of powers under Article 50.
Votaries, however argue that it is a broad based system. It has built in checks and balances. Rules of appointment are rigorously to be laid down. Collegium system did not do well.
Q. 106. What we are witnessing is the Act East Policy of India and it has distinct content. Justify the statement.
Under the new leadership in Delhi, India’s Look East policy has become upgraded to Act East policy, which envisages accelerated across-the-board engagement East Asia. India-ASEAN relations are improving in both economic and strategic arenas. FTA in services is being signed. The strategic content of the relationship, the backbone of the Act east policy, is deepening as the two sides step up their collaboration across a range of strategic issues, including trans-national terrorism, maritime piracy and nuclear proliferation.
Against the backdrop of the churn in the South China Sea, India has consistently argued for freedom of navigation and has pressed for the resolution of all maritime territorial disputes in accordance with the UN Law of the Seas. Besides, "Act East" policy is drawing India closer to not only Japan and Australia in the Pacific but also to smaller Southeast Asian nations most of who have contending territorial claims with China like Vietnam. In 2014, India and Vietnam vowed to strengthen their defence cooperation.
There is a greater convergence in US-India interests particularly in US rebalance to Asia and India's Act East policy as was stated in the India-US Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region released when President Obama visited India in January 2015. Thus, Act East policy can be said to acquire strategic importance more than earlier. It includes reinvigorated relations with Australia South Korea and Japan as well.
Q. 105. Analyse the social effects of migration from rural to urban areas.
Ans. Migration affects bot the area of origin and the area of desintation. The social effects of migration are the following:
When more of the same generation migrates, it has a detrimental effect on social structure
There is a disproportionate number of females left behind
The non-return of migrants causes an imbalance in the population pyramid
Returning retired migrants may impose a social cost on the community if support mechanisms are not in place to cater for them
The above may be called the costs. Given below are the benefits:
The population density is reduced and the birth rate decreases , as t is the younger adults who migrate
Remittances sent home by economic migrants can finance improved education and health facilities
caste rigidities decrease and dalits will benefit
women empowerment may take place as urban women are more likely to be educated and work
Q. 104. What are the social roots of farmers suicides? Suggest social interventions that can alleviate the crisis.
Ans. Indian India, farmers’ suicides have been reported for the last many years from many states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, AP, Telangana etc. They did not drop after Government relief packages. While economic reasons can not be belittled, social reasons are also substantial. Social support systems are crumbling. Social stress is alleviated due to relatives, friends etc. when they give courage and support. The intensity of the stress becomes less. But traditional social support systems are breaking down and due to globalization, commercialization and individualism are coming it.
While farming has always been a hard and uncertain work, suicides are taking place on a sizeable scale now. Reasons have to be contemporary. Commercial relations are replacing social relations. Traditional social relations are being eroded in favour of political relations. Rural divides are emerging on a more sharper scale. Traditional occupations have given way to new ones like commercial cropping etc for more profits. Individualism is replacing traditional family ties. Nuclear family is replacing joint family and this the traditional social support and safety is breaking down. Marriages are becoming expensive. Socio-cultural factors such as old age, illness, family tension, etc., further add their urge to take their own lives.
Remedies are in the form of social work. Social worker can do intervention at the micro level individual, family, group and rural community. It can identify and asses the farmers families in stress and crisis in rural community. It can recreate folk songs, dance and such other phenomena that can create relief. New social support systems like self-help groups (SHG) can also be useful.
Q. 103. It is said that ISIS is far more dangerous than al-Qaeda. Do you agree? Give reasons.
Ans. ISIS has been in international news since mid-2014 as a terrorist group. It is more dangerous than al-Qaeda for the following reasons:
1. ISIS is the richest terrorist group in history. It controls oil fields in Syria and Iraq that generate income and it has millions of dollars in ransoms for hostages ISIS has money in billions of dollars. ISIS’ territorial control allows for consistent stream of funding, and they‘ve developed an extensive extortion racket, as well as selling electricity and exporting oil and gas.
2. ISIS controls large territory in Syria and Iraq.
3. ISIS has evolved into a proto-state, with its own army, civil administration, judiciary and a sophisticated propaganda operation.
4. ISIS is the most heavily-armed Islamist extremist group in history, having captured huge amounts of military weapons and equipment in Iraq and Syria.
5. ISIS is out-recruiting Al-Qaeda.
6. The leader of ISIS, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, is a charismatic leader who claims descent from the Prophet Mohammed. This will help recruit young, impressionable Muslims.
In summary, ISIS is an army, not just a terror group. ISIS is the biggest terror group ever. ISIS is actually established as a state, a caliphate at that, and it’s richer than al-Qaeda. It holds more territory than al-Qaeda, it’s drawing more recruits than al-Qaeda, and it’s more brutal than al-Qaeda.
Q. 102. How will India-USA space cooperation be useful to India? What is the most important event in this field?
Ans. Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will launch nine micro satellites (each weighing around 100 kg) using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), over a year.
It is the first time for India to launch American satellites from an Indian spaceport. ISRO and NASA already set up a joint working group for Mars exploration.
India’s Moon and Mars missions brought global acknowledgement of ISRO’s ability to develop and deploy cost-effective technologies.
In 2008, the ‘foreign’ payload on board India’s Chandrayaan-1 Moon mission included two American instruments: The Mini Synthetic Aperture Radar and the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (which helped determine the existence of water ice under the lunar surface).
And in 2013, by a coincidence, the US spacecraft Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN) entered the Martian orbit just two days before India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) did. NASA’s deep space network provided space navigation and tracking support to MOM, and now ISRO and NASA routinely share data and imagery from these spacecraft.
The two countries are working out a plan for cooperation over deep space exploration…on missions beyond Mars. Potential areas of cooperation include manned spaceflight.
The US played a key role in the early Sixties in establishing the sounding rocket programme. In subsequent years, NASA helped ISRO in satellite broadcasting and remote sensing
Benefits for India are the money such launches earn. It helps us technologically and militarily. India and the US could cooperate in areas like space situational awareness (SSA) - crucial for spaceflight safety and for preventing collisions in space.
Stronger India-US space ties bode well for multilateral cooperation, too.
It could see India play a major role in the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).
Q. 101. What are the regional developments that have brought India and the United Arab Emirates into a special strategic relationship?
Both geoeconomics and geopolitics have brought India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) closer. UAE is home to about 2.6 million Indians who have contributed to the local economy as well as to that of India through remittances. The visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE in August, strengthened the emerging strategic partnership between Delhi and Abu Dabhi. Geoeconomics has a play as India and UAE have emerged as each other's preferred economic partner. But the growing security and defence partnership is the result of geopolitics. The reasons for the two countries coming together are regional in nature: Pakistan's refusal to send troops to Yemen to fight Houthi rebels under the Saudi leadership incurred the UAE's displeasure. The common threat from the Islamic State, too, contributed. Concurrently , with India moving closer to Iran, especially after the nuclear deal with the US, made the UAE act fast to reap the benefits of its strategic location in the Persian Gulf and of its liberal investment policies. By deciding to elevate the India-UAE relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership, a first between India and any Gulf country, New Delhi and Abu Dabhi will now coordinate efforts to counter radicalisation and the misuse of religion by groups and countries.
Q. 100. How is the caste system in India affected by economic reforms? Which part of India is still resisting change? Why?
Economic reforms are diluting caste rigidities due to education, urbanisation and globalization. Caste is crumbling as India urbanises and gets educated. Nearly a third of Indians now live in cities or towns. The village heads who enforce caste rules have less power than they did.
On dalits: Since 1991, a growing number of dalits are working and operating businesses in agriculture, retail, hospitality, manufacturing and many other sectors where it was previously unheard of. There is a growing dalit entrepreneur class who actually hire upper caste workers. There are even over 3,000 dalit millionaires. The proportion of dalits in the halwaha system (bonded labour) in eastern UP has fallen from 32.1 per cent to 1.1 per cent. As licensing and permit system for occupations dropped, competition meant that upper caste business owners choose suppliers based on cost effectiveness, quality and efficiency rather than caste allegiance — even if the supplier is a dalit. Social status also improved as there is a significant increase in dalit ownership of status symbols such as mobile phones, brick houses and motorcycles as key markers of progress. The proportion of upper caste members accepting food and drink from dalits rose .This transformation is in keeping with the Enlightenment tradition which views free trade and exchange between different groups as fostering trust, co-operation, co-dependence and respect. But dalits still face considerable discrimination. The area where the caste system still wields the most influence — rural India — also happens to be the area where liberalisation has proven the most difficult.
Although caste is still powerful in many rural pockets, it is gradually giving way to the money motive. Job security and prosperity matter more than caste.
Q. 99. Describe the changes in the institution of marriage in India. What accounts for it?
Marriage is a central institution in all societies, more so in. Yet marriage in India is also changing. Indian marriage is affected by prosperity and technology and they are eroding tradition, largely.
Traditionally, marriages were almost always arranged. Dowry payments were widespread. About 90-95% of the time Hindus married within their broad caste group. But these features are changing distinctly.
It used to be that parents and elders fixed marriages but these days the offspring are finding their own partners, but parents may veto them. Marriage is still a family decision. What has changed is who is driving the process.
Through websites like Shaadi.com, youngsters are seeking partners for themselves, not by their parents or brothers. They access the website via smartphones. Tech-savvy Indians can now find out all about potential partners by tracking their digital traces through social media, or just by texting and telephoning. Parents come into picture much later. A quarter of young Indians were in tertiary education in 2013, according to the World Bank, up from 11% a decade earlier. Education and control over marriage go together.
Although caste still matters, it is gradually giving way to money. Jobs and mobility are important.
Some north Indian village elders have chosen to relax caste and village rules, because so many single men are in search of wives—a consequence of sex-selective abortions.
Popular culture is driving change too.
Q. 98. How does 3D printing technology help in cases of injuries and illnesses?
Researchers are in the process of bioprinting tissues and organs to solve a many injuries and illnesses. Scientists are taking steps toward printing a working human heart. As part of this work, they are pioneering breakthroughs in printing human stem cells. The combination of these stem cells and 3D bioprinting is going to help repair or replace damaged human organs and tissues, improve surgeries, and ultimately give patients far better outcomes in dealing with a wide range of illnesses and injuries.
3D-Printed heart helped recently in a New York Hospital to save two-week-old baby without performing multiple operations. They made use of a 3D printed replica of the heart of the two-week-old baby born with congenital heart disease to study it and plan the surgery. This helped the team of surgeons to complete the surgery in just one operation, by practising surgery on the 3D-printed replica of the affected heart. Normally such problems required several operations. The 3D printed replica heart allowed the doctors to rehearse extremely complicated surgeries on the tiny heart, which is less than a third of the size of an adult hand. The 3D printed replica heart was not a living heart but just a dummy used as a reference.
Presently, a few objects like heart valves and some small veins have been created by 3D printing using cells and it is too early to talk of a beating heart being created using 3D printing technology.
These developments could remove the ethical dilemmas associated with stem cells and potentially take regenerative medicine to new heights.
Q. 97. What is nanomotor lithography?
Nanoengineers have recently invented a new unconventional nanoscale manufacturing technology for mass production electronic components. It is a lithographic method in which a spherical nanorobot made of silica that focuses light like a near-field lens is used to write complex patterns on the surface of light-sensitive material to form the sensors and electronics components on nanoscale devices. The researchers have dubbed the new technique as 'nanomotor lithography'. At present, state-of-art lithography methods such as electron beam writing are used to define extremely precise surface patterns on substrates used in the manufacture of microelectronics and medical devices. These patterns form the functioning sensors and electronic components such as transistors and switches packed on today's integrated circuits. The researchers, however, point out that this nanomotor lithography method cannot completely replace the state-of-the-art resolution offered by an e-beam writer, for example. But the technology provides a framework for autonomous writing of nanopatterns at a fraction of the cost and difficulty of these more complex systems, which is useful for mass production.
Q. 96. How is ocean acidity increasing and with what consequences?
Our continued burning of fossil fuels is increasing the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Most of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere ultimately ends up in the oceans.
Consequently, the oceans have been absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide since the Industrial Revolution (approximately 1750). It is this increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the oceans that is causing ocean acidification.
When carbon dioxide enters the ocean, it combines with seawater to produce carbonic acid, which increases the acidity of the water, lowering its pH. Although it is unlikely that the ocean will ever become actual acid (fall below a pH of 7.0), the term acidification refers to the process of the oceans becoming more acidic.
A consequence of the oceans becoming more acidic is the binding up of carbonate ions, which are used by marine creatures to make their calcium carbonate shells and skeletons. As the availability of carbonate ions decreases, it becomes more difficult for these animals to build their calcium carbonate structures. Imagine trying to build a house while someone keeps stealing your bricks.
As the oceans become more acidic, it will become progressively more difficult, if not impossible, to build calcium carbonate shells and skeletons.
Even more significant is the rate at which ocean chemistry is changing. The current rate of acidification is at least 100 times faster than any time period over the last few hundred thousands years and is it most likely unprecedented in Earth's history. Carbon dioxide is being absorbed so rapidly that it is likely that many marine organisms will not be able to adapt to the quickly changing conditions.
One of the major concerns is that the most vulnerable species to ocean acidification are also some of the most important for healthy marine ecosystems. Ocean acidification may adversely impact some plankton species, and their loss would ripple through food webs to impact larger animals like fish and whales.
Corals are also very susceptible to the impacts of ocean acidification and coral reefs are some of the most beautiful and biologically diverse habitats on the planet. Ocean acidification has the potential to cause widespread changes in marine ecosystems which may eventually disrupt the ocean goods and services we depend on. If nothing is done to help curb ocean acidification, its negative impacts may be felt on the marine environment, local communities, and all the way up through the global economy.
Ocean acidification has risen by a quarter since pre-industrial times as a result of rising carbon emissions, casting a shadow over the seas as a future source of food, scientists warned in the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC.
In the past two centuries, the sea's acidity level has risen 26 percent, mirroring the proportion of carbon dioxide it absorbs from the air.
Rising acidity will have damaging consequences for shellfish, corals and other calcium-making organisms which play a vital part in the food web.
Q. 95. Differentiate between Profession, Trade, Business, Commerce, Occupation and Vocation
A professional is an individual who is educated and skilled and does complex work. Professionals are doctors, lawyers, accountants, economists, professors, teachers, etc. Trade is buying and selling that also includes imports and exports (foreign trade). It is a part of business activity. Business is wider term inc of manufacturing, procuring and selling. In the USA, business and commerce are used synonymously. Occupation is what we do for a living. Vocation, on the other hand, is the talent we are inherently equipped with.
Q. 94. Write on Rogan art.
The Rogan art of painting is an art over three hundred years old. The traditional Rogan flower motifs and designs speak of a Persian influence and the word Rogan itself means oil-based in Persian. Today, Nirona in Kutch is the only place where this work is created. When castor oil is heated over fire for more than twelve hours and cast into cold water, it produces a thick residue called rogan, which is mixed with natural colours obtained from the earth. With a six-inch wooden stick or pen, the craftperson then draws out from this a fine thread which is painted to the cloth. Rogan painting is delicately and precisely painted from one’s own creative imagination and is done with total concentration sitting on the floor without using a table-frame or any outline. Rogan painted cloth is used for making pillow covers, tablecloths, wall hangings, file folders, decorative pieces and even saris. Rogan art is a rare craft that is not well known even in India. It is practiced by only one family in India and they reside in Nirona village in Gujarat. In Gujarat, Nirona, Khavada and Chaubari were the hubs of Rogan art and bustling with its practitioners till a few years ago but not any more.PM Modi gifted a couple of exquisitely handcrafted Rogan paintings to Obama.
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