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Total Questions: 384

Question:
What is the Council of Ministers, and who are its members? What are the responsibilities of cabinet ministers and ministers of state?
 

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  • Article 74 stipulates that there exists a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at its helm to assist and advise the President, who must act in accordance with this advice in the exercise of their functions.
  • The Central Council of Ministers, led by the Prime Minister, plays a crucial role in formulating government policies and is the practical executive authority in India's parliamentary system.
  • As per the Indian Constitution, the President of India, as the head of the Executive, is obligated to act upon the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
  • Article 75 specifies that the President appoints the Prime Minister, who in turn recommends other ministers for appointment. The size of this council is mandated not to exceed 15% of the total membership of the Lok Sabha, the House of the People.
  • Article 88 empowers ministers to participate in the proceedings of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, joint sessions, and parliamentary committees to which they belong, although it does not guarantee them the right to vote.

Role of the Prime Minister in the Council of Ministers:

The Prime Minister serves as the chief executive of the Central Council of Ministers.

While being the foremost leader of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister is considered equal to other ministers.

Article 75 states that the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.

The Prime Minister holds decision-making authority over significant policy issues and ministries not specifically assigned to other ministers.

Additionally, the Prime Minister heads the Cabinet Secretariat, overseeing day-to-day government administration and inter-ministerial coordination. The Prime Minister also leads the NITI Aayog and the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State (Independent Charge):

Cabinet ministers are senior members of the council, ranking directly below the Prime Minister. They oversee crucial ministries such as Home Affairs, Finance, and Defence, and are empowered to schedule and attend meetings and make pivotal policy decisions.

Ministers of State are junior members of the Council of Ministers. A Minister of State (Independent Charge) heads their ministry independently, without oversight from other cabinet ministers or the Union government.

Ministers of State:

Ministers of State assist cabinet ministers in their duties and are responsible for specific tasks delegated to them by their superiors. They do not have primary administrative authority over a ministry but support the cabinet minister in managing it

 

Other Points to Consider

Council of Ministers in recent Lok Sabha

Election Commission

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Discuss the role of Presiding Officers of state legislatures in maintaining order and impartiality in conducting legislative work and in facilitating best democratic practices. (2023)

2. Explain the constitutional provisions under which Legislative Councils are established. Review the working and current status of Legislative Councils with suitable illustrations. (2021)

(mains ) 20-Jun 2024
Question:
Analyze the recent visit by the Maldives' president to India to understand how it sheds light on the evolving landscape of alliances and the strategic objectives of major powers in the Indo-Pacific
 

Introduction

  • The Maldives is a crucial partner for India in safeguarding its maritime boundaries and overseeing the broader Indian Ocean region, where China is asserting its influence. The archipelago is situated approximately 300 nautical miles (560 km) from India’s west coast and about 70 nautical miles (130 km) from Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep, intersected by numerous key commercial shipping routes.
  • Mohamed Muizzu, President of the Maldives, was among the leaders from India’s neighboring countries who attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • Muizzu’s attendance was noteworthy due to his political stance toward India and the strategic importance of the India-Maldives relationship.

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What is the India Out Campaign?

  • The India Out campaign started in 2020 as a protest against then-President Ibrahim Solih’s perceived pro-India policies, quickly evolving into a broader movement opposing India’s alleged military presence in the Maldives. Both the Solih administration and India denied these allegations.
  • Consequently, in May, the final group of Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives to operate and maintain donated helicopters and Dornier aircraft were replaced by civilians.

Muizzu’s Pro-China Tilt

  • The relationship between the Maldives and India deteriorated due to Muizzu’s alignment with China, India’s geopolitical rival in the Indian Ocean.
  • In January, Muizzu broke with Maldivian tradition by selecting Beijing over New Delhi for his first international visit as president. During his trip, he met with President Xi Jinping and signed 20 agreements covering areas such as tourism, social housing, and e-commerce.
  • Additionally, Male signed its first-ever military deal with Beijing to receive free “non-lethal” military equipment and training from China.
  • Over the past few decades, Chinese influence in the Maldives has grown, with the island nation becoming part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, resulting in significant Chinese investment and a strengthened bilateral relationship at India’s expense.

Conclusion

  • The Maldives heavily depends on Indian imports across nearly all essential sectors, including food, life-saving medicines, and aircraft used for search and rescue missions.
  • India has consistently come to the Maldives' aid during various crises, from being the first responder after the 2004 tsunami to airlifting drinking water during a desalination plant failure in 2014. During the COVID-19 pandemic, India supplied medicines, masks, gloves, PPE kits, vaccines, and other necessary items
 
 
Other Points to Consider
 

What is the Belt and Road Initiative?

Atolls in news in Maldives

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1.Discuss the political developments in Maldives in the last two years. Should they be of any cause of concern to India? (2013)

2.Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South East Asian countries economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South-East Asia in this context. (2017)

(mains ) 20-Jun 2024
Question:
Explore the impact of Birsa Munda's actions on the social and political fabric of India during the late 19th and early 20th centuries
 

Introduction

  • Birsa Munda, born on November 15, 1875, emerged during a period of significant transformation for his community. The Mundas, originally a nomadic hunting tribe that had transitioned to farming in the Chotanagpur district of present-day Jharkhand, faced severe challenges due to oppressive policies and events.
  • Before colonial rule, land ownership in this region was governed by the "khuntkatti" system, based on customary rights and free from landlords.
  • The introduction of the Permanent Settlement Act of 1793 marked a turning point, facilitating colonial penetration into rural India. The East India Company used this law to establish the zamindari system of land revenue collection, creating two distinct classes: the land-owning zamindars, seen as outsiders or "dikus" by the indigenous people, and the tenant farmers or "ryots."

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  • The Act allowed the dikus to claim ownership through deeds specifying particular territories, displacing indigenous people and depriving them of land they had cultivated for generations.
  • Additional oppressive policies worsened the community's plight, including the "begar" system of forced labor, dependency on money lenders for credit, and the replacement of traditional clan councils with colonial courts.
  • The famines of 1896–1897 and 1899–1900 further led to widespread hunger among the tribes.
  • British rule and the increasing presence of Christian missionaries in the area fueled tribal resentment towards the dikus.
  • Between 1886 and 1890, Munda spent much of his time in Chaibasa, a center of the Sardari rebellion, where the Oraon and Munda tribes peacefully resisted British authority.
  • This period inspired Munda to join the anti-missionary and anti-colonial movements. By the time he left Chaibasa in 1890, he was deeply committed to fighting British oppression of tribal communities.
  • In 1899, Birsa Munda initiated the Ulgulan movement, employing guerrilla warfare and weapons to expel the foreigners. He urged the tribes to establish Birsa Raj and defy colonial laws and rent demands.
  • Despite their efforts, the British quickly suppressed the movement due to their superior strength. Munda was captured by British police on March 3, 1900, while resting with his guerrilla force in the Jamkopai jungle of Chakradharpur.
  • The movement did, however, lead to significant changes, including the government's repeal of the begar system and the enactment of the Tenancy Act of 1903, which recognised the khuntkhatti system. Later, the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act of 1908 prohibited the transfer of tribal land to non-tribals
 
Other Points to Consider
 

Ulgulan movement

Other tribal movements

 

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1.How did the colonial rule affect the tribals in India and what was the tribal response to the colonial oppression? (2023)

(mains ) 20-Jun 2024
Question:
Examine the importance of Mahatma Gandhi's initial Satyagraha campaign in South Africa and how it served as a pivotal moment in the development of his nonviolent resistance ideology
 

Introduction

  • On June 7, 1893, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a young lawyer, was forcibly removed from a first-class train compartment reserved for whites only at the Pietermaritzburg railway station in South Africa. This incident sparked Gandhi’s first act of civil disobedience, known as Satyagraha.
  • Gandhians regard the Pietermaritzburg incident as one of the pivotal moments in Gandhi's life. In his autobiography, Gandhi described the event as "a symptom of the deep disease of colour prejudice," and he felt it was his "duty" to combat it.

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  • Gandhi's experiences in South Africa profoundly influenced his personal growth and philosophical outlook.
  • His debates with Christians challenging his religious beliefs led him to develop a more inclusive spirituality.
  • Gandhi defended Indian traders from discrimination, opposed efforts to disenfranchise Indian voters in Natal, and authored a guidebook for Indian students, showing his commitment to both personal and professional growth.
  • Ramachandra Guha, in "Gandhi Before India" (2012), highlighted that the years Gandhi spent in South Africa were crucial for shaping the unique form of political protest that would become his lasting legacy to India and the world.
  • In South Africa, Gandhi both developed and practised satyagraha, engaging in activities such as writing letters, articles, and petitions, as well as organizing mass mobilizations and willingly facing imprisonment if demands were unmet. He later applied this nonviolent protest strategy against British rule in India.
  • Gandhi's principles of nonviolent resistance were instrumental in India's struggle for independence, from the Non-Cooperation Movement (1919-22) and the Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-34) to the Quit India Movement (1942)
 
Other Points to Consider
 

Non-Cooperation Movement

Quit India Movement

 

Previous Year Questions

 

1.What was the difference between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore in their approach towards education and nationalism? (2023)

2.Bring out the constructive programmes of Mahatma Gandhi during Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement. (2021)

(mains ) 20-Jun 2024
Question:
The approval of Donanemab, a new Alzheimer’s disease treatment, has stirred arguments over its efficacy and safety. Discuss
 

Introduction

  • Donanemab, a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease developed by Eli Lilly, has received unanimous support from independent experts advising the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), advancing it closer to clinical trials.
  • The FDA advisory committee noted in a briefing document that "the potential risks of donanemab, when properly managed as directed in the labelling, are outweighed by the demonstrated benefits on clinical endpoints in those with Alzheimer’s disease (AD)."

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How do the Benefits of the Drug Stack Up Against Its Risks?

  • Donanemab is designed specifically for individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia.
  • The drug significantly slows the progression of the disease, allowing patients to maintain their functional abilities for a longer period.
  • According to the FDA's risk-benefit assessment, most amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA), such as brain bleeding and seizures, were non-serious and resolved or stabilized when the medication was discontinued.
  • Proper labelling and clinical monitoring can mitigate major concerns, and post-authorization studies can provide further insights. Given the severity of Alzheimer’s disease and the limited availability of disease-modifying treatments, donanemab offers a substantial clinical benefit for AD patients, as per the FDA statement.

How Does It Work?

  • Donanemab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the accumulation of amyloid beta protein in the brain, a key characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A phase 3 trial demonstrated that donanemab reduced cognitive decline in early Alzheimer's patients by 35.1% over 76 weeks. The trial included 1,736 participants, with 860 receiving the infusion every four weeks until the amyloid beta plaque was eliminated.
  • The primary side effect of the drug is brain swelling or bleeding, which is generally asymptomatic. The study reported that 24% of participants experienced brain edema, while 19.7% had brain bleeding. There were three treatment-related deaths documented in the study
 
Other Points to Consider

Alzheimer

United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)

 

Previous Year Questions

1.Introduce the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI). How does AI help clinical diagnosis? Do you perceive any threat to privacy of the individual in the use of AI in healthcare? (2023)

2.What is the basic principle behind vaccine development? How do vaccines work? What approaches were adopted by the Indian vaccine manufacturers to produce COVID-19 vaccines? (2022)

(mains ) 20-Jun 2024
Question:
Explore the practice of planting rice seeds directly in the field (DSR), examining both its potential advantages and limitations
 

Introduction

Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) involves planting rice seeds directly into the field rather than transplanting seedlings from a nursery. This method is also known as the ‘tar-wattar’ technique.

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How DSR Works

Traditionally, rice farmers start by sowing seeds in nurseries. After 25–35 days, these seedlings are transplanted into the main, flooded field. Although this method is labor-intensive and water-demanding, it generally results in higher yields and healthier crops.

In DSR, seeds are sown directly into the field approximately 20-30 days before they would traditionally be transplanted. The field is first irrigated and leveled with a laser before using a seed drill or fortunate seeder for planting. Seed preparation is crucial, with seeds soaked in a fungicide solution for eight hours and then dried for half a day before planting.

The first irrigation occurs 21 days post-sowing, followed by 14-17 more irrigation cycles at intervals of 7-10 days, depending on soil type and monsoon conditions. The final irrigation happens 10 days before harvesting, with the overall process requiring around 25-27 irrigations.

Benefits of DSR

  • Water Conservation: DSR can reduce water usage by 15% to 20%, whereas the traditional method requires 3,600 to 4,125 liters of water per kilogram of rice.
  • Labor Reduction: It requires less labor compared to traditional methods.
  • Faster Maturation: DSR crops mature 7 to 10 days sooner, allowing farmers more time to manage paddy straw.
  • Cost Efficiency: Lower production costs.
  • Environmental Impact: Better soil conditions for subsequent crops and reduced methane emissions.

Challenges of DSR

  • Weed Management: Weeds pose a significant challenge in DSR as they compete with rice seedlings more aggressively than in traditional methods.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Although DSR reduces methane emissions, it can increase nitrous oxide emissions due to aerobic soil conditions.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies: Micronutrient deficiencies are more prevalent in DSR.

Conclusion

Achieving comparable yields with DSR is possible through several cultural strategies, such as selecting suitable cultivars, timing the sowing process appropriately, using the correct seeding rates, and managing weeds and water effectively. Encouraging farmers to adopt DSR can be facilitated by developing better short-duration and high-yielding varieties, as well as improving nutrient management and weed control strategies

 

Other Points to Consider

Subsidies in DSR

Importance of soil for DSR

 

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1.What is Integrated Farming System? How is it helpful to small and marginal farmers in India? (2022)

2.What are the major factors responsible for making the rice-wheat system a success? In spite of this success how has this system become bane in India? (2020)

(mains ) 20-Jun 2024
Question:
Discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with India’s neighbourhood foreign policy
 

Introduction

Leaders from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, and Seychelles attended the swearing-in ceremony of the new Indian government, while Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Myanmar were not invited.
No significant bilateral meetings occurred with any neighbouring leaders.
India plans to adjust its strategic agenda for specific regions based on the evolving global situation and its strategic interests.
 
Body

Challenges and Opportunities in India’s Neighborhood

Afghanistan

  • Diplomatic relations with Kabul have been minimal since the Taliban took over in August 2021. India maintains a low-level engagement through a technical team for humanitarian aid, with no high-level interactions planned.

Myanmar

  • Engaging with Myanmar's junta, which is dealing with internal armed resistance, presents a challenge. Indian strategic circles suggest that India should also consider engaging with opposition groups due to the potential instability of the current government.

Maldives

  • The election of President Mohamed Muizzu, who campaigned on an "India Out" platform, is significant. In response, India replaced its military personnel with trained technical staff as requested by the Muizzu government, indicating readiness for further engagement.

Bangladesh

  • A restrained approach from Indian government members during the third phase of the BJP government is beneficial, as both countries aim to combat extremism, radicalization, and terrorism.

Bhutan

  • India is prepared to assist Bhutan with its five-year plan, a financial stimulus package, and the Gelephu city project.

Nepal

  • China has a notable influence in Nepal, with former Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli's government appearing to use Beijing's support against India. India needs to work hard to regain the trust of the Nepalese people, which was damaged by the 2015 economic blockade.

Sri Lanka

  • India's support during Sri Lanka’s financial crisis earned goodwill, but this was undermined by disputes over Katchatheevu island.

Seychelles and Mauritius

  • India aims to enhance port infrastructure in these countries as part of its maritime diplomacy and security efforts. Progress has been made on Agalega Islands in Mauritius, but developing Assumption Island in Seychelles remains challenging.

Pakistan

  • India's relationship with Pakistan fluctuated in 2014 and 2015, deteriorating after terrorist attacks in Pathankot and Uri in 2016. The 2019 Pulwama attack and subsequent Balakot strikes heightened nationalist sentiment in India. Changes to the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019 led to a further downgrading of diplomatic relations. Recent terrorist attacks in J&K have hindered any potential for renewed engagement.

China

  • High-level engagements, including Modi's meeting with President Xi Jinping at the SCO summit in Kazakhstan, could offer a chance for progress. However, India insists on complete disengagement and de-escalation, which will require significant time to move 50,000-60,000 troops and equipment from both sides of the border
 
Other Points to Consider
 

India’s engagement with Western countries

India’s involvement in the South-Asian region

 

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1.Indian diaspora has scaled new heights in the West. Describe its economic and political benefits for India. (2023)

2.‘India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka.’ Discuss India’s role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka in the light of the preceding statement. (2022)

3.Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South East Asian countries economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South-East Asia in this context. (2017)

(mains ) 20-Jun 2024
Question:
How is the Pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha Appointed, and What are Their Roles and Responsibilities?
 

Introduction

In the newly elected Lok Sabha, the Speaker is chosen by a simple majority vote. Until this selection is complete, a pro-tem Speaker is appointed to perform necessary duties temporarily. The term 'pro-tem' denotes a temporary assignment.

Article 94 of the Indian Constitution clarifies that following the dissolution of the House of the People, the sitting Speaker remains in office until just before the first session of the newly elected House. Although the Constitution does not explicitly mention the role of a pro-tem Speaker, the official ‘Handbook on the Working of Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs’ provides guidelines for the ‘Appointment and Swearing in of Speaker pro tem’.

Appointment Process of the Pro-tem Speaker

The handbook indicates that when the Speaker’s position is vacant before the establishment of a new Lok Sabha, the President appoints a Member of the House to temporarily carry out the Speaker’s duties as the pro-tem Speaker. Typically, three additional elected members are also appointed by the President to witness the oath-taking of the new MPs.

The handbook notes that usually, the most senior members, in terms of their tenure in the House, are chosen for this role, though there can be exceptions. After the new government is formed, the Legislative I Section of the Government of India prepares a list of the senior-most Lok Sabha members, which is then submitted to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs or the Prime Minister. They then appoint an MP as the pro-tem Speaker and three more members for administering oaths.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Pro-tem Speaker

The primary duty of the pro-tem Speaker is to administer the oaths to the newly elected MPs. According to Article 99 of the Constitution, each Member of the House must take an oath or affirmation before the President or an appointed representative before they can assume their seat, following the form set out in the Third Schedule of the Constitution.

The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs sends a note to the President requesting approval for the appointment of the pro-tem Speaker and the three additional members, including the date and time for the swearing-in ceremony.

At Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President administers the oath to the pro-tem Speaker, who then administers the oath to the three appointed members. With the help of these three members, the pro-tem Speaker administers the oath/affirmation to the newly elected members of the Lok Sabha

 

Other Points to Consider

 

Duties of Speaker of the Lok Sabha

Articles related to Speaker of the Lok Sabha and chairman of the Rajya Sabha

 

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1.Once a Speaker, Always a Speaker’! Do you think this practice should be adopted to impart objectivity to the office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha? What could be its implications for the robust functioning of parliamentary business in India? (2020)

2.Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people’ Discuss. (2017)

(mains ) 20-Jun 2024
Question:

How Sangam literature has evolved? Discuss the contribution of Thiruvalluvar during the Sangam age.

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Sangam literature

Dravidian literature primarily comprises four languages: Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam. Among these, Tamil stands out as the oldest language that has preserved its Dravidian essence. Kannada, considered a cultural language, shares antiquity with Tamil. Classical Tamil literature, known as Sangam literature, is divided into two categories: aham (subjective love poetry) and puram (objective, public poetry, and heroic tales). The Pandyan Kingdom emerged during the Sangam period, marking the genesis of organized governance.

 

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The Sangam classics, consisting of 18 works including anthologies of lyrics and lengthy poems, are celebrated for their straightforward language. To facilitate comprehension of early Tamil poetry, scholars compiled the Tolkappiyam, a foundational Tamil grammar book.

The twin epics, Silappadhikaram (the tale of the anklet) by Ilango-Adigal and Manimekalai (the narrative of Manimekalai) by Chattanar, were crafted between A.D. 200 and 300. These epics offer vivid depictions of Tamil culture during that era.

Thiruvalluvar's Contribution During the Sangam Age

  • Thiruvalluvar, also known as Valluvar in Tamil, occupies a revered position in Tamil culture and morality, revered as an ancient saint, poet, and philosopher across all castes and religions.
  • At the heart of Thiruvalluvar's legacy lies the Thirukkural, a collection of 1,330 couplets (kurals in Tamil) that holds a central place in every Tamil household, akin to the Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana/Ramcharitmanas in traditional North Indian Hindu homes.
  • Thiruvalluvar's wisdom extends to his counsel for the monarchs of the Sangam age, cautioning them against the corrupting influence of unchecked power. His teachings emphasize the importance of virtuous governance and ethical leadership.
  • Thiruvalluvar serves as a cornerstone for Tamils seeking to connect with their cultural heritage. His couplets are memorized and cherished, with his lessons guiding daily conduct and moral principles.
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Thiruvalluvar remains a vital pillar for Tamilians in reconnecting with their cultural origins. They are instructed to memorize his couplets meticulously and incorporate his teachings into their daily lives. Recent excavations conducted near Madurai at Keeladi by the Tamil Nadu State Archaeological Department have uncovered evidence that extends the historical timeline of the Sangam Era.

 

Other Points to Consider 

 

What makes Thiruvalluvar significant today?

Silappadhikaram

Manimekalai

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Evaluate the nature of Bhakti Literature and its contribution to Indian culture. (2021)

2. Though not very useful from the point of view of a connected political history of South India, the Sangam literature portrays the social and economic conditions of its time with remarkable vividness. Comment. (2013)

 

(mains ) 22-May 2024
Question:

Investments in energy transition, digital public infrastructure, and female empowerment are propelling the country towards a greener, more sustainable future. Discuss.

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about energy transition
 

The energy transition refers to the global shift from traditional, fossil fuel-based energy sources to cleaner, more sustainable alternatives. This transformation is driven by a combination of environmental, economic, and technological factors, with the primary goal of mitigating climate change and reducing dependence on finite resources.

 

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India's Progress in Renewable Energy

India has made remarkable strides in its energy transition journey, with renewable energy sources accounting for 42% of its total power generation capacity. As the world's fourth-largest renewables market, India boasts 3% of the global solar manufacturing capacity. The country invests approximately $10 billion annually in renewables, positioning it among the top five emerging and middle-income economies with substantial public investment in renewable energy. Additionally, India has incentivized the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and the production of renewable hydrogen.

Digital Transformation for Inclusivity

India's digital public infrastructure (DPI) initiative has revolutionized inclusivity by leveraging technology. Through digitally verifiable identity proofs, millions can access social safety net payments, banking services, and government assistance without enduring long queues or paperwork hassles. Digital payments have also streamlined maternal health conditional cash transfers, reducing delays by 43%. Despite challenges in affordable access, digital innovation is transforming rural communities, enabling online health consultations, remote learning, e-commerce, and fintech solutions.

Addressing Gender Disparities

While India faces challenges in female labor force participation, efforts to provide safe urban housing and enhance access to finance have bolstered female representation in the industrial workforce to 43% of the national total. Initiatives like the National Rural Livelihoods Mission, supported by the World Bank, have empowered millions of rural women through self-help organizations. Over $4 billion in commercial credit has been allocated to promote women-led cooperatives and rural enterprises.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.
 

India's progress across these diverse areas serves as a testament to its commitment towards a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable future for all its citizens.  By addressing climate change, promoting digital equality, and empowering women, India is charting a course for a brighter future.

 

Other Points to Consider 

What is DPI?

Women participation in workforce

Renewable energy

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Elucidate the relationship between globalization and new technology in a world of scarce resources, with special reference to India. (2022)

2. How have digital initiatives in India contributed to the functioning of the education system in the country? Elaborate your answer. (2020)

 

(mains ) 22-May 2024
Question:

India’s charging infrastructure requires a major boost to alleviate range anxiety and drive widespread adoption. Discuss

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about India’s Charging Infrastructure

India's transition towards electric mobility is predominantly centred on the adoption of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as a replacement for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Among the various alternatives, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are perceived as the most promising solution in the current scenario.

As of February 2023, India has a meagre 12,146 public EV charging stations catering to over 3.3 million (33 lakh) registered EVs. This translates to a dismal vehicle-to-station ratio of 270:1. This is a far cry from countries like China, which boasts a significantly better ratio of 7 EVs per charging station.

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Meeting Future Demand

Industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) estimates that India needs to install over 1.3 million (13 lakh) chargers by 2030 to keep pace with the anticipated growth in EVs. Bridging this infrastructure gap is crucial for India's aspirations of transitioning towards cleaner mobility solutions.

Challenges Beyond Infrastructure:

The Indian EV push faces hurdles beyond the immediate need for charging stations:

  • Subsidy Dependence: The success stories of EV adoption in countries like Norway, the United States, and China all highlight the critical role of state subsidies in incentivizing EV purchases.

  • Charging Infrastructure vs. Subsidies: A World Bank report suggests that investing in charging infrastructure yields a 4-7 times greater impact on EV adoption compared to upfront purchase subsidies.

  • Renewable Energy Integration: Many leading EV nations, like Norway with its 99% hydroelectric power, have a strong foundation of renewable energy sources powering their electricity grids. India, however, still relies heavily on coal-fired thermal plants for electricity generation.

  • Li-ion Battery Dependence: As India grapples with securing a foothold in the global lithium value chain, discussions are emerging regarding the need to explore alternatives to Li-ion batteries for a more diverse EV battery mix.

 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

India's e-mobility ambitions require a multi-pronged approach. While localizing battery manufacturing is crucial, it must be accompanied by a large-scale rollout of charging infrastructure. Additionally, exploring alternative battery technologies and integrating more renewable energy sources into the power grid can pave the way for a more sustainable and successful EV revolution in India.

 

Other Points to Consider 

 

Hybrid vehicles
Ethanol and flex fuel vehicle
Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. What are the direct and indirect subsidies provided to farm sector in India? Discuss the issues raised by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in relation to agricultural subsidies. (2023)

2. Do you think India will meet 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2030? Justify your answer. How will the shift of subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables help achieve the above objective? Explain. (2022)

 

(mains ) 22-May 2024
Question:
What are supersonic cruise missiles? Discuss the strategic significance of these missiles.
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about upersonic cruise missiles

 

Cruise missiles are self-guided, unmanned vehicles that rely on jet engines and aerodynamic lift to deliver their payloads with precision. They travel through the atmosphere, unlike ballistic missiles that follow a high, arcing trajectory. Cruise missiles can be launched from various platforms, including land, air, ships, and submarines. These missiles are categorized based on factors like size, speed, range, and launch platform. One key distinction lies in their speed. Supersonic Cruise Missiles travel at extremely high speeds, typically between 2 and 3 times the speed of sound (Mach 2-3). Their supersonic speed combined with their warhead payload creates a devastating impact on targets.

 

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It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

 

The Strategic Importance of Supersonic Cruise Missiles

Supersonic cruise missiles, exemplified by the formidable BrahMos, hold significant strategic relevance owing to their advanced features and operational capabilities:

  • Dual-Stage Propulsion: The BrahMos employs a sophisticated two-stage propulsion system, comprising a solid propellant booster engine and a liquid ramjet. This design enables the missile to achieve supersonic speeds during its flight trajectory, enhancing its agility and effectiveness in hitting targets.
  • Stealth and Versatility: With an exceptionally low radar signature and the ability to maneuver along diverse flight paths, the BrahMos exhibits stealth capabilities, making it challenging for adversaries to detect and intercept. Its versatility allows for effective deployment across various operational scenarios, including land, air, and sea.
  • Standoff Range Engagement: As a "standoff range weapon," the BrahMos can be launched from a considerable distance, enabling the attacker to evade defensive counterfire while maintaining precision and lethality. This standoff capability enhances operational flexibility and reduces the risk of launching platforms.
  • Superior Performance: Compared to subsonic cruise missiles, the BrahMos offers three times the speed, significantly extended flight range, and enhanced striking capabilities. Its unparalleled speed and range make it a formidable asset for preemptive strikes and swift engagements across vast distances.
  • Continuous Advancements: Recent tests, including the successful launch of an extended-range air-launched variant from a frontline SU-30MKI aircraft and an advanced sea-to-sea variant from INS Visakhapatnam, underscore ongoing advancements in BrahMos technology. These developments further augment the missile's operational effectiveness and expand its tactical utility.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The BrahMos deployment and ongoing advancements solidify India's defence posture. The strategic triad deployment, commitment to modernization, and burgeoning international partnerships position India as a major player in the field of supersonic cruise missile technology.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Other classifications of cruise missiles

Difference between solid propulsion and liquid propulsion

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development? (2016)

2. India has achieved remarkable successes in unmanned space missions including the Chandrayaan and Mars Orbiter Mission, but has not ventured into manned space mission. What are the main obstacles to launching a manned space mission, both in terms of technology and logistics? Examine critically. (2017)

 

(mains ) 22-May 2024
Question:

What is the law on abortions in India? Discuss the recent changes made with reference to the abortions so far.

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Abortion laws in India

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP Act) provides a legal framework for terminating pregnancies in India, delineating procedures and conditions under which abortions are permissible. Here's a breakdown of the key provisions:

Three Stages of Pregnancy Termination

The MTP Act allows termination of pregnancy in three distinct stages:

  1. Up to 20 Weeks: Termination of pregnancy within the first 20 weeks is permitted based on the advice of a single doctor.
  2. 20 to 24 Weeks: In cases where the pregnancy is between 20 to 24 weeks, the right to seek abortion is subject to the evaluation of two registered medical practitioners. This exception is granted under specific circumstances outlined in Section 3B of the MTP Act's Rules. These circumstances include cases of statutory rape involving minors, sexual assault, pregnancies in women with disabilities, or changes in marital status during pregnancy.
  3. After 24 Weeks: Beyond 24 weeks of pregnancy, the MTP Act mandates the establishment of a medical board in approved facilities. This board is responsible for evaluating cases involving substantial fetal abnormalities and determining whether termination of pregnancy is warranted. The board has the authority to either permit or deny termination based on its assessment of the situation.
Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

Recent Changes in Abortion Laws in India

In recent years, India has witnessed significant developments in its abortion laws, particularly concerning the termination of pregnancies beyond the traditional gestational limits. Here are the key updates:

1. Supreme Court Interventions

The Supreme Court of India has played a crucial role in allowing abortions beyond the previously established gestational limits in certain exceptional cases:

  • 14-Year-Old Sexual Assault Victim: In a landmark decision, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud permitted a 14-year-old victim of sexual assault to terminate her nearly 30-week pregnancy. The court deemed this case as "very very exceptional" and emphasized the need to protect the rights and well-being of the girl.

  • Rape Survivor's Pregnancy at 27 Weeks: Another Bench, led by Justice Nagarathna, held a special sitting to grant permission for the termination of pregnancy of a rape survivor, whose pregnancy had advanced to 27 weeks and three days.

  • Recognition of Transformative Constitutionalism: In September 2022, a Bench led by Justice Chandrachud allowed abortion for an unmarried woman who was 24 weeks pregnant and in a consensual relationship. The court invoked the principle of "transformative constitutionalism," highlighting the evolving societal norms and family structures.

2. Revisions to Gestational Limits

India revised its upper gestational limit for legal abortion in 2021, extending it to 24 weeks for specific categories of "vulnerable women." Moreover, the amendments removed gestational limits altogether in cases of substantial fetal abnormalities diagnosed by a medical board.

Implications and Societal Changes

These legal amendments and court interventions reflect a growing recognition of the complexities surrounding abortion laws and the need to adapt to evolving societal norms. By prioritizing the rights and well-being of women, especially in cases of sexual assault or medical complications, India's legal framework aims to ensure greater access to safe and timely abortion services while upholding the principles of justice and dignity for all individuals involved.

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The WHO's guidelines on abortion care reflect a commitment to advancing reproductive rights and promoting equitable access to healthcare services. By advocating for full decriminalization and the removal of restrictive policies, the WHO aims to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their reproductive health while upholding principles of non-discrimination and equality. These recommendations serve as a call to action for policymakers to prioritize the health and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their circumstances or background.

 

Other Points to Consider 

 

What is ‘foetal viability’ in abortion?

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Does the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 ensure effective mechanism for empowerment and inclusion of the intended beneficiaries in the society? Discuss. (2017)

2. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 remains inadequate in promoting incentive-based system for children’s education without generating awareness about the importance of schooling. Analyse. (2022)

 

(mains ) 22-May 2024
Question:

The amendment to the India-Mauritius treaty signals the keenness to plug the well-known loophole. Discuss.

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about the India-Mauritius treaty
 

India and Mauritius have ratified a protocol in Port Louis, amending their Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA). This updated agreement incorporates the Principal Purpose Test (PPT), aligning with international initiatives to combat treaty abuse, notably within the BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) framework. The inclusion of the PPT signifies that tax advantages granted by the treaty will be void if it is determined that obtaining such benefits was the primary objective of any transaction or arrangement.

 

Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

Evolution of Tax Treaties and the BEPS Project

Tax treaties play a crucial role in facilitating cross-border investment by determining how income earned in one country is taxed for residents of another. The Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, initiated to curb tax avoidance through the exploitation of low-tax jurisdictions, prompted significant reforms in international tax laws. Led by the OECD, the project identified 15 action points aimed at redesigning tax laws to prevent profit shifting.

Multilateral Instrument (MLI) and Treaty Improvements

One notable outcome of the BEPS project was the introduction of the Multilateral Instrument (MLI), providing governments with the flexibility to modify tax treaties and clauses efficiently. Among the significant improvements introduced was the inclusion of provisions to prevent treaty abuse as a minimum standard and revisions to treaty preambles. These revisions aimed to prevent situations of non-taxation or reduced taxation resulting from tax evasion strategies, including treaty-shopping arrangements benefiting foreign residents.

Prevention of Treaty Misuse

The amended provisions ensure that treaty benefits, such as lower withholding rates, are not granted when obtaining such benefits is determined to be a primary objective of the transaction or arrangement. This provision enables tax administrations to scrutinize the intentions behind financial flows, particularly concerning investments routed through Mauritius. Mauritius has often been used as a conduit for investments by taxpayers from various jurisdictions, posing challenges for tax authorities in addressing treaty abuse.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.
 
These combined measures the focus on principal purpose, India's GAAR, and the STTR rule create a more robust framework for tax collection. They empower authorities to look beyond formalities and ensure that the India-Mauritius tax treaty is used for its intended purpose: facilitating cross-border investments while upholding fair tax practices.

 

Other Points to Consider 

 

What is STTR?

What is GAAR?

Places in news in Mauritius

What are base erosion and profit shifting?

 

Previous Year Questions

1. ‘India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka.’ Discuss India’s role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka in the light of the preceding statement. (2022)

2. What is the significance of Indo-US defence deals over Indo-Russian defence deals? Discuss with reference to stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (2020)

 

(mains ) 22-May 2024
Question:

What is the geological time scale (GTS)? Describe the historical evolution of the geological time scale.

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Geological time scale

The geological time scale is a framework used by scientists to chronologically divide and categorize Earth's history into distinct intervals based on significant geological, biological, and climatic events. This timeline allows researchers to understand the sequence of events that have shaped the planet over billions of years.

Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.
 

Evolution of the Geological Time Scale

Origins and Early Breakthroughs

The foundation of the geological time scale traces back to the 1500s and 1600s, with a significant milestone occurring in 1669 when Danish scientist Nicolas Steno published the first laws of stratigraphy. Stratigraphy is the science of interpreting the layers of rock, or strata, on Earth's surface.

Steno's Principles:

Steno established two fundamental principles:

  1. Horizontal Deposition: Sedimentary rocks, formed on or near the Earth's surface, are initially laid down horizontally.

  2. Superposition: Successive rock layers are deposited on top of older layers. This principle implies that layers closer to the Earth's surface are younger than those beneath them.

Arduino's Classification:

Italian geologist Giovanni Arduino further advanced geological understanding by classifying the Earth's crust into four main layers:

  1. The Primary Layer is The lowest layer comprised of metamorphic and volcanic rocks.
  2. The Secondary Layer Consists of hard sedimentary rocks.
  3. The Tertiary Layer Comprising less hardened sedimentary rocks.
  4. The Quaternary Layer is the most recent, relatively soft compared to others, representing the most recently deposited rocks.

Challenges and Limitations

  1. Local Descriptions: Rock formations were often described based on local characteristics such as colour, texture, or odour, hindering comparisons between different regions.

  2. Absence of Absolute Time: Unlike tree-ring dating, which provides a direct annual measure, rock layers do not offer precise time intervals. Each layer represents a period of geological time, but the duration of these periods cannot be determined solely from the layers.

The 1800s brought a breakthrough in geological time-scale development. English surveyor William Smith recognized that fossils held the key.  He realized that distinct fossil types characterized specific periods.  For instance, a rock with a trilobite fossil belonged to the Paleozoic era (541-252 million years ago) because trilobites were exclusive to that period.  This observation laid the foundation for a more precise understanding of Earth's history.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The geological time scale continues to evolve as discoveries and advancements in dating techniques emerge. Its significance lies in its ability to provide a chronological framework for studying Earth's history and understanding the processes that have shaped our planet over geological time scales.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Different types of rocks

Soil profile

Difference between categories of GTS

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Describe the characteristics and types of primary rocks. (2022)

 

(mains ) 22-May 2024
Question:

What are ocean currents? Discuss the ways it influences human behaviour.

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Ocean Currents

The ocean is not a stagnant body of water. Instead, it's constantly on the move, with currents transporting water from place to place. These currents are measured in meters per second or knots (one knot is roughly equal to 1.85 kilometres per hour).

Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

Three key factors influence the movement of ocean currents: wind, water density variations, and tides.

  • Tides and Tidal Currents: The rise and fall of tides create currents, especially strong near coastlines, bays, and estuaries. These predictable "tidal currents" follow a regular pattern and can be forecast for future dates.

  • Wind-Driven Currents: Winds have a powerful influence on currents flowing near the ocean's surface. Coastal winds can generate localized currents, such as coastal upwelling where nutrient-rich deep water rises to the surface.

  • Thermohaline Circulation: This large-scale circulation system is driven by density differences in the ocean. Temperature (thermal) and salinity (haline) variations cause water density to change across different regions. This density contrast creates a slow-moving conveyor belt of deep and shallow currents that are much slower than tidal or surface currents.

Impact of Ocean Currents on Climate and Human Activities

Ocean currents exert a profound influence on climate and human activities, shaping the environmental conditions along coastlines and impacting various socio-economic sectors. Here's an overview of their effects:

Temperature Regulation:

Cool ocean currents along the west coasts of continents in tropical and subtropical latitudes moderate temperatures, resulting in relatively modest average temperatures with limited diurnal and yearly fluctuations. Despite arid landscapes, fog is common in these regions.

Conversely, warm ocean currents bordering the west coastlines of continents at the middle and higher latitudes create distinct marine climates characterized by pleasant summers, generally warm winters, and narrow yearly temperature ranges.

Climate Patterns:

Warm currents moving parallel to the east coasts of continents in tropical and subtropical latitudes contribute to warm and rainy climates, particularly on the western borders of subtropical anticyclones.

Ecological Impact:

Mixing of warm and cold ocean currents facilitates oxygen replenishment and promotes the growth of plankton, the primary food source for fish populations. These mixing zones, often found at the convergence of warm and cold currents, serve as some of the world's best fishing grounds.

 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.
 
A recent study has raised concerns about the stability of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). This critical system of ocean currents plays a vital role in regulating global climate patterns. The AMOC is the Atlantic branch of a much larger circulation system called the Thermohaline Circulation (THC), often referred to as the ocean's conveyor belt. It acts as a massive conveyor, distributing heat and nutrients throughout the world's oceans. The AMOC operates like a giant loop. It carries warm surface waters northward from the tropics in the Atlantic Ocean. As these warm waters travel towards the North Atlantic, they cool down and become denser. This denser water then sinks towards the ocean floor, eventually returning southward as a deep current. 

 

Other Points to Consider 

 

What happens if AMOC collapses?

Difference between warm currents and cold currents

Location of important water currents

 

Previous Year Questions

1. What are the forces that influence ocean currents? Describe their role in the fishing industry of the world. (2022)

2. Explain the factors responsible for the origin of ocean currents? How do they influence regional climates, fishing and navigation? (2015)

 

(mains ) 22-May 2024
Question:

What are the reasons for the increase in frequency of forest fires in India? Discuss how climate change adds to the risk of forest fire.

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Forest Fires

 

Forest fires can be triggered by natural phenomena like lightning strikes, as well as human activities such as campfires, agricultural burning, and arson. These fires have far-reaching environmental impacts, including habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, and air pollution. They also contribute to climate change by releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

 

Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

Causes and Effects of Forest Fires in India

Seasonality and Vulnerable Forest Types

Forest fires are a recurring phenomenon in India, primarily observed during the summer months, lasting from November to June. Dry deciduous forests are particularly susceptible to severe fires, while evergreen, semi-evergreen, and montane temperate forests are comparatively less prone.

Loss of Precious Resources

These fires result in the loss of valuable forest resources, including carbon stored in biomass, impacting the flow of goods and services from forests. Approximately 4% of the country's forest cover is extremely prone to fire, with an additional 6% classified as very highly fire-prone.

Technological Solutions for Prevention and Management

Utilizing satellite-based remote sensing technology and Geographic Information System (GIS) tools has proven effective in preventing and managing forest fires. These tools aid in creating early warnings for fire-prone areas, real-time monitoring of fires, and estimation of burnt scars, facilitating prompt response and mitigation efforts.

 

Role of Climate Change

Human Activities and Changing Land Use

While natural factors like temperature, precipitation, and vegetation contribute to forest fires, human activities such as changes in agriculture and unchecked land-use patterns play a significant role. Factors like deliberate fires by locals, carelessness, farming-related activities, and natural causes exacerbate the risk of wildfires.

Impact of Climate Change

The increasing temperatures associated with climate change have led to more frequent and intense extreme weather events worldwide, including heat waves, droughts, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Patterns of natural climate variability, such as El Niño and La Niña, further contribute to these events, creating conditions conducive to wildfires.

Prolonged Wildfire Seasons

Extreme heat caused by climate change evaporates moisture from the land, creating conditions more prone to wildfires and extending the wildfire season. The longer duration and increased intensity of wildfires pose significant challenges for forest management and conservation efforts.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Forest fires in India are a complex issue influenced by a combination of natural and human factors, exacerbated by climate change. Implementing proactive measures, utilizing advanced technologies for early detection and response, and addressing the root causes of wildfires are crucial steps in mitigating their adverse impacts and preserving India's rich forest ecosystems.

 

Other Points to Consider 

ISFR 2021

What is a Bambi bucket?

Efforts which can reduce forest fires

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Explain the mechanism and occurrence of cloudburst in the context of the Indian subcontinent. Discuss two recent examples. (2022)

2. The frequency of urban floods due to high intensity rainfall is increasing over the years. Discussing the reasons for urban floods, highlight the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events. (2016)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:

 Recent controversies on adding unhealthy amounts of sugar to baby products should lead to tightening rules and plugging regulatory gaps in the food market. Discuss.

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Added sugars
 

Added sugars are sugars and syrups incorporated into foods and beverages during processing or preparation. Unlike naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy, added sugars provide additional sweetness but often without nutritional benefits. Common sources of added sugars include soft drinks, candy, baked goods, and cereals.

 

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It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.
 

Concerns about Added Sugars in Infant Products

Recent reports highlight a concerning trend where Nestle baby products sold in Asia, Africa, and Latin America contain added sugars, whereas those in Europe do not.

While sugar is generally not recommended for infants, guidelines in many developing countries do not explicitly prohibit its use in baby products.

Health Risks Associated with Added Sugars

  • The first two years of life are crucial for a child's growth and development. Breastfed infants naturally consume sugar from lactose in their mother's milk.
  • Studies indicate that children fed a sugar-heavy diet are at higher risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and tooth decay compared to those with balanced diets.
  • India has the highest number of childhood diabetes cases globally. A Lancet study reported over 12 million overweight children aged five to 19 in India.
  • According to the American Heart Association (AHA), natural sugars are found in milk (lactose) and fruit (fructose), while added sugars are chemically manufactured or separately added during food processing.
  • Despite World Health Organization guidelines discouraging added sugars in baby foods, some countries permit their inclusion in infant products.
  • Global Trends and Concerns

As incomes increase and global food brands proliferate, low and middle-income countries face growing exposure to free sugars, increasing the risk of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and obesity.

A UNICEF-supported study revealed that nearly half of infant cereals, snacks, and ready-to-eat meals marketed in Southeast Asia contain added sugars and sweeteners.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

 

The prevalence of added sugars in infant products poses significant health risks to children, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Regulatory authorities, food manufacturers, and healthcare professionals must work together to ensure that infant foods adhere to strict guidelines, prioritizing the health and well-being of young children globally.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Examples of added sugars

Difference between natural sugar and added sugar?

 

Previous Year Questions
 
1. Elaborate the scope and significance of the food processing industry in India. (2022)
 
2. What are the impediments in marketing and supply chain management in developing the food processing industry in India? Can e-commerce help in overcoming these bottlenecks? (2015)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:

Elections were adjourned in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul Lok Sabha constituency due to the death of a candidate. Regarding the above statement, what can the election commission do if normal polling process is disrupted?

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about the Election Commission of India

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is a constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India at both the national and state levels. Established under Article 324 of the Indian Constitution, the ECI ensures that elections are conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner, safeguarding the democratic process in the world's largest democracy.

Body:

You may incorporate some of the following points in the body of your answer:

India’s election laws offer a comprehensive framework to address disruptions in the polling process, whether due to damaged electronic voting machines (EVMs), booth capturing, natural disasters, or the death of a candidate. Provisions for repolls, adjournments, and the voiding of polls help maintain the integrity, transparency, and continuity of the democratic process. Recently, elections in Madhya Pradesh's Betul Lok Sabha constituency were adjourned following the death of a candidate.

Provisions for Fresh Polls Under Section 58 of the RPA

Conditions for Declaring a Poll Void

Under Section 58 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), the Election Commission (EC) can declare the poll at a polling station void under the following circumstances:

  • (a) An unauthorised person unlawfully takes away any Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).
  • (b) An EVM is accidentally or intentionally destroyed, lost, damaged, or tampered with.
  • (c) A mechanical failure occurs in any EVM during the recording of votes.

Procedure for Declaring a Poll Void

In such scenarios, the Returning Officer (RO) must promptly inform the EC and the state's Chief Electoral Officer of the relevant facts and circumstances. Following this, the EC may declare the poll void and formally set a new date and time for the poll.

Notification and Voter Awareness

The contesting candidates or their election agents are then notified in writing. To inform voters, a notice is displayed in public areas, and an announcement is made by beating a drum in the polling area. All electors are eligible to vote in the new election. During the repoll, voters' left middle fingers are inked to differentiate from the mark made during the first poll.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.
 

India’s election laws ensure that the democratic process remains robust and fair even when unforeseen disruptions occur. By providing clear protocols for repolls and adjournments under Section 58 of the RPA, the Election Commission can effectively manage and mitigate issues, maintaining the integrity of elections. 

 

Other Points to Consider 

Booth capturing and natural disaster, other disruptions to polling are defined in which section of RPA?

Election Commission of India

Representation of People Act, 1951

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Discuss the role of the Election Commission of India in the light of the evolution of the Model Code of Conduct. (2022)
2. In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (2018)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:

How the South China Sea situation unfolds will be critical to India’s security. Discuss.

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about  South China Sea
 

The South China Sea is a region located south of the Chinese mainland, bordered by countries including Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Territorial disputes over the South China Sea have persisted for decades among these nations. However, tensions have intensified in recent years. The South China Sea is strategically significant due to its maritime routes and potential natural resources. Various countries seek control over parts of it to assert their influence in the region.

 

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Importance of the South China Sea for India's Security

The situation in the South China Sea holds critical implications for India's security, and several key factors underscore its significance.

Historical and Economic Significance

Contrary to China's claims, the South China Sea is not exclusively its territory but a vital global commons. It has historically served as a crucial maritime route, facilitating uninterrupted passage for trade and navigation for millennia. India has a rich maritime heritage in these waters, dating back over 1,500 years, with evidence of extensive trade connections from Malaysia to China.

Economic Interests

The South China Sea region plays a pivotal role in global trade, with nearly $200 billion worth of trade passing through its waters. Additionally, thousands of Indian citizens are engaged in studying, working, and investing in ASEAN countries, China, Japan, and South Korea. Thus, ensuring peace, stability, and freedom of navigation in the region is vital for India's economic prosperity and interests.

Support for Regional Peace and Stability

India, like other nations in the region, has a vested interest in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. Freedom of passage and routine activities with friendly countries are essential for fostering economic growth and regional cooperation.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.
 

The situation in the South China Sea holds significant implications for India's security and broader regional stability. As a region of historical and economic importance, the South China Sea's role as a global common and vital maritime route underscores the need for maintaining peace and stability. India's engagement in the region is driven by its historical connections, economic interests, and commitment to upholding freedom of navigation. By supporting efforts to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea, India contributes to a conducive environment for economic growth and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Islands of South China Sea
What is nine dash line?
Importance of the South China Sea
 
 

Previous Year Questions

1. With respect to the South China sea, maritime territorial disputes and rising tension affirm the need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region. In this context, discuss the bilateral issues between India and China. (2014)
2. “The USA is facing an existential threat in the form of China, that is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain. (2021)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:

How viable are low-carbon renewables in an increasingly hot and arid world?

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about low-carbon renewables
 

Low-carbon renewables are energy sources that generate power with minimal greenhouse gas emissions. They are crucial for combating climate change and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Here are some of the most common types of low-carbon renewables are Solar energy, Wind energy Hydropower, Geothermal energy and Biomass energy.

 

Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

India's Climate Goals and Hydropower's Role

Hydropower has long been a dependable and clean energy source, playing a crucial role in global renewable energy production.

  • Hydropower's Strengths: With over a century of proven reliability and cost-effectiveness, hydropower remains the world's leading renewable electricity source. Its function is straightforward - the flow of water turns turbines, generating electricity.
  • A Global Decline: Despite its strengths, a recent report by Ember, a UK-based energy think tank, reveals a concerning trend. Hydropower generation witnessed a historic decline in the first half of 2023, marking a 70% increase over the past two decades.
  • China's Hydro Woes: China, the world's top hydropower producer, is at the heart of this decline. Severe droughts in 2022 and 2023 have caused significant drying up of rivers and reservoirs, leading to power shortages and government-imposed rationing.
  • Drought's Devastating Impact: Data suggests that drought, possibly intensified by climate change, is the primary culprit behind the 8.5% global drop in hydropower generation during this period.
  • Vulnerability of Hydro-Reliant Nations: Countries with a high dependence on hydropower are particularly at risk from climate-related changes. For instance, hydropower generates over 80% of the electricity in nations like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, and Zambia, all of which are facing severe drought conditions.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) acknowledges that while wind and solar power are likely to overtake hydropower in the long run, hydropower is expected to remain the leading source of renewable electricity generation until at least the 2030s.  This suggests hydropower will continue to play a significant role shortly of decarbonization efforts.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Solar and wind energy

Solar installations in India

Hydropower plants in news

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Examine the potential of wind energy in India and explain the reasons for their limited spatial spread. (2022)

2. India has immense potential of solar energy though there are regional variations in its developments. Elaborate. (2019)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
A battle fought between the British and the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah, on the banks of the Hooghly River marked a watershed moment in modern Indian history. Discuss.
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about the Battle of Plassey
 

The Battle of Plassey stands as a pivotal moment in history, etched in both cultural and literary narratives, symbolizing the British conquest of the Indian subcontinent. The conflict escalated in 1756 with the accession of Siraj-ud-Daulah, a 23-year-old ruler. Unlike his predecessor Alivardi Khan, whose reign was celebrated as a 'golden age,' Siraj-ud-Daulah faced widespread disdain from the Murshidabad court. The battle gained prominence as it marked the East India Company's initial significant triumph in India.

 

Body:

You may incorporate some of the following points in the body of your answer:

The Company's Administrative Evolution in Bengal

Following the Battle of Plassey, Mir Jafar ascended to the Nawab's throne, yet the East India Company remained hesitant to assume direct administrative responsibilities.

  • The Company's primary objective remained trade expansion. Instead of direct conquest, they sought to collaborate with local rulers, granting privileges to facilitate trade expansion.
  • When Mir Jafar voiced dissatisfaction, the Company replaced him with Mir Qasim. However, repeated grievances led to Mir Qasim's defeat at Buxar (1764) and his subsequent expulsion from Bengal.
  • The Company demanded substantial monthly payments from the Nawab to fund battles, meet trade requirements, and cover other expenses. Over time, it sought additional territories and revenue sources.
  • In 1765, the Mughal emperor conferred Diwani rights upon the Company, granting control over Bengal's revenue resources. This resolved a significant financial constraint for the Company.
  • The Diwani rights curtailed the outflow of gold from Britain, allowing revenues from India to fund Company expenses. These funds were allocated for various purposes, including textile procurement, military support, and infrastructure development in Calcutta.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The Battle of Plassey opened the door for the British East India Company's transformation from a trading entity to a political and administrative power in Bengal. The Company's initial reluctance to take on administrative burdens gave way to seizing control of Bengal's revenue streams, laying the groundwork for their eventual dominance in India. While Plassey itself may be a singular event, its consequences had a long-lasting impact on the Indian subcontinent.

 

Other Points to Consider 

 

Battle of Buxar

Conflict between the Company and the Nawabs of Bengal

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Explain how the upraising of 1857 constitutes an important watershed in the evolution of British policies towards colonial India. (2016)

2. The third battle of Panipat was fought in 1761. Why were so many empire-shaking battles fought at Panipat? (2014)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:

What is balanced fertilisation? Discuss the importance of neem coated urea.

 

Introduction:

A Simple Introduction about balanced fertilisation

Balanced fertilization involves providing nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash in the right ratio according to the specific needs of the soil and crops. Encouraging farmers to adopt balanced fertilization practices is a key policy goal for the government, as it discourages the excessive use of urea, di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), or muriate of potash (MOP), which are rich in primary nutrients.

Urea consumption reached a record high of 35.8 million tonnes (mt) in the fiscal year ending March 2024, marking a significant increase of 16.9% from 30.6 mt in 2013-14. The usage of urea, which contains 46% nitrogen (N), actually declined between 2016-17 and 2017-18, mainly due to the compulsory coating of all urea with neem oil introduced in May 2015.

 

Body:

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Fertilizers serve as essential nutrients for crops, providing the vital elements necessary for robust plant growth and optimal grain yields. Balanced fertilization entails the judicious supply of primary nutrients (Nitrogen-N, Phosphorus-P, and Potassium-K), secondary nutrients (Sulfur-S, Calcium, Magnesium), and micronutrients (Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Boron, Molybdenum) in appropriate proportions tailored to soil characteristics and the specific requirements of crops at various growth stages.

Neem-Coated Urea

In 2015, the Government of India embarked on a transformative initiative to introduce 100% neem coating on all subsidized agricultural-grade urea across the nation.

Key Features of Neem-Coated Urea:

  • Neem oil, utilized for coating urea, contains approximately 150 ppm (parts per million) of azadirachtin, a crucial active component. Azadirachtin shares a benzene ring structure akin to chlorobenzene, a compound commonly found in transformer or cutting oils.
  • The primary objective of neem coating is to prevent the illicit diversion of heavily subsidized urea for non-agricultural purposes, such as plywood production, dye manufacturing, livestock feed supplementation, and synthetic milk production.
  • Neem oil's minor nitrification inhibitory properties enable a gradual release of nitrogen, leading to enhanced nitrogen utilization efficiency. This results in reduced urea bag requirements per acre, contributing to sustainable agricultural practices.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The nutrient-based subsidy (NBS) system, launched in April 2010, aimed to improve fertilizer practices. It did this by fixing a per-kg subsidy for key nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and sulfur (S). This linked fertilizer subsidies directly to their nutrient content.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Nutrient-based subsidy

DAP

 

Previous Year Questions

1. What are the direct and indirect subsidies provided to farm sector in India? Discuss the issues raised by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in relation to agricultural subsidies. (2023)
2. Explain various types of revolutions, took place in Agriculture after Independence in India. How these revolutions have helped in poverty alleviation and food security in India? (2017)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
Why coral reefs in India are undergoing severe bleaching?

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on Earth, with a history spanning approximately 200 million years. These reefs are vital components of the marine ecosystem, providing essential habitats for a wide array of marine vegetation and wildlife.

Ecologically, coral reefs are comparable to tropical rainforests in terms of species richness and biological productivity. They play a crucial role in promoting the establishment of related ecosystems, which support important habitats, fisheries, and livelihoods. Thus, the health and preservation of coral reefs are critical for maintaining marine biodiversity and supporting human communities that rely on these ecosystems.

 

Body:

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Coral Bleaching and Its Impact

Causes of Coral Bleaching

Coral bleaching occurs when water temperatures become excessively warm, causing corals to expel the microscopic algae living in their tissues. These algae are crucial for the corals as they provide nourishment through photosynthesis. Without these algae, the corals' tissues become transparent, revealing their white skeletons, a phenomenon known as coral bleaching.

Effects and Risks of Bleaching

Bleached corals are not dead but are at significant risk of malnutrition and disease. Scientists estimate that corals can survive without their algae for around two weeks. Thermal stress, which causes bleaching, occurs when sea surface temperatures exceed 1 degree Celsius above the maximum mean temperature, and this stress intensifies if high temperatures persist.

Measuring Heat Stress

Scientists use the Degree Heating Week (DHW) indicator to measure accumulated heat stress in a given area over the previous 12 weeks. This indicator sums up any temperatures that surpass the bleaching threshold during that period, expressed in Celsius weeks.

Regional Impacts and Case Studies

The western Indian Ocean region has experienced the most significant increase in marine heatwaves, with approximately 1.5 events per decade, followed by the north Bay of Bengal at 0.5 events per decade. An underwater assessment showed that 85% of the corals in the Gulf of Mannar near the Tamil Nadu coast bleached after the marine heatwave in May 2020.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Coral reefs, vital components of marine ecosystems, are home to diverse marine life and play a crucial role in supporting the overall health and biodiversity of the oceans. Protecting these vulnerable ecosystems is essential for preserving marine biodiversity and sustaining the livelihoods of coastal communities.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Heat waves

Importance of corals

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Describe the key points of the revised Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) recently released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). How are these different from its last update in 2005? What changes in India’s National Clean Air Programme are required to achieve revised standards? (2021)
2. Explain the causes and effects of coastal erosion in India. What are the available coastal management techniques for combating the hazard? (2022)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
What is the ‘eggshell skull’ rule? What Supreme Court has said with reference to this rule?
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about ‘eggshell skull’ rule

The eggshell skull rule is a common law principle in civil litigation. It holds that an offender is accountable for all harms exacerbated by the victim’s unique characteristics, even if the offender was unaware of them. For instance, a defendant is liable for the full extent of injury to a person with a delicate skull, even if a "normal person" would not have been as severely impacted. This rule allows for claiming enhanced compensation for damage greater than ordinarily anticipated due to the defendant's actions.

 

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It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

The Jyoti Devi Case

The Supreme Court's recent judgment in the Jyoti Devi case sheds light on the application of the eggshell skull rule in medical negligence claims.

Jyoti Devi underwent an appendectomy in a Himachal Pradesh hospital in 2005. However, she continued to experience abdominal pain after the surgery. Following a series of consultations over four years, doctors at PGIMS Chandigarh discovered a foreign object (a needle) left behind in her abdomen, necessitating further surgery.

Compensation Dispute

Jyoti Devi filed a consumer forum complaint seeking compensation for medical negligence. The district forum awarded Rs. 5 lakh, but the state forum reduced it to Rs. 1 lakh. On appeal, the NCDRC increased it to Rs. 2 lakh.

Supreme Court's Ruling

The Supreme Court reinstated the district forum's initial Rs. 5 lakh compensation, stating that the lower courts awarded "paltry" and "unjust" sums. However, the court clarified that the eggshell skull rule did not apply in this case.

Reasoning Behind Non-Application of Eggshell Rule

The Supreme Court ruled that the eggshell skull rule wouldn't apply in Jyoti Devi's case because the facts presented no evidence of a "pre-existing vulnerability or medical condition" that might have caused her to suffer "unusual damage."

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

 

This case emphasizes the importance of considering all aspects when awarding compensation for medical negligence. While the eggshell skull rule protects vulnerable patients, it's not a blanket principle. The specific circumstances of each case determine its applicability.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Origin of the eggshell skull rule

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)

 

Previous Year Questions

1. The most significant achievement of modern law in India is the constitutionalisation of environmental problems by the Supreme Court.” Discuss this statement with the help of relevant case laws. (2022)
2. Whether the Supreme Court Judgment (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and elected government of Delhi? Examine. (2018)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
India and Italy enjoy great bilateral relations, people-to-people relationships, and historical friendships. What is the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement (MMPA) between India and Italy?
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about India - Italy Bilateral Relation

India and Italy boast a longstanding history of cultural and trade exchanges spanning over 2,000 years, with Italian coastal cities serving as vital trading hubs along the ancient spice route. Following India's independence in 1947, both nations formalized political relations, leading to frequent visits by heads of state and government officials.

 

Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

Bilateral trade between India and Italy has experienced significant growth, reaching USD 13.229 billion in the fiscal year 2021-22, marking a remarkable increase of over 50% compared to the previous year. Italy stands as India's fourth-largest trading partner within the European Union, showcasing the depth of economic cooperation between the two nations.

Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement (MMPA): The signing of the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement (MMPA) in November 2023 during the visit of India's External Affairs Minister to Italy underscores a new dimension in bilateral relations. This agreement aims to enhance people-to-people connectivity and mobility, facilitating the movement of various categories of individuals, including workers, students, researchers, and artists, in alignment with the respective labor market needs.

Enhancing Job Opportunities and Collaboration: The MMPA is poised to create job opportunities for Indian workers and professionals by streamlining their mobility in Italy. By addressing the identified needs of labor markets, the agreement fosters greater collaboration and synergy between the two countries, contributing to economic growth and development.

Stabilizing the Indo-Pacific Region: The partnership between India and Italy, including the MMPA, contributes to the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. A safe and open Indo-Pacific region is essential for fostering future commerce, connectivity, and strategic cooperation, aligning with the shared objectives of both nations.

India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC): The inauguration of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) during the G20 conference in Delhi signifies a concerted effort to establish a new trade route between Asia and Europe. This initiative aims to bolster economic integration and connectivity, further strengthening India's engagement with the Middle East and Europe while enhancing regional stability and prosperity.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The agreement between India and Italy strengthens ties in two key areas: education and professional mobility. Indian students in Italy can now gain valuable work experience for up to a year after completing their studies. This aligns with the growing trend of Indian students choosing Italy for education, with numbers rising from 3,008 in 2021 to 5,897 in 2022.

 

Other Points to Consider 

IMEC
Trade between India and Italy
Indo-Pacific region
Blue-Raman project
 
 
Previous Year Questions
 
1. Indian diaspora has scaled new heights in the West. Describe its economic and political benefits for India. (2023)
2. ‘Indian diaspora has a decisive role to play in the politics and economy of America and European Countries’. Comment with examples. (2020)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
What is the Nagara style of temple architecture? List out its characteristics.
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Nagara style of temple architecture
 

The Nagara architectural style originated in northern India during the fifth century CE, flourishing during the late Gupta dynasty era. In North India, it is customary to build complete temples on stone platforms with ascending steps, contrasting with the South Indian tradition that often incorporates elaborate boundary walls and gates. Nagara temples are further classified into different types according to the design of their shikharas.

 

Body:
 
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Characteristics:

  • Nagara temples are elevated on a raised platform, with the inner sanctum, known as the garbha griha, situated at the heart of the temple complex, housing the deity idol.
  • The garbhagriha is consistently positioned directly beneath the tallest tower, known as the shikhara, which symbolizes the pinnacle of the temple.
  • The shikhara, often likened to a mountain peak, stands as the most prominent feature of Nagara-style temples.
  • Typically, Nagara temples include a pathway encircling the garbha griha, facilitating circumambulation, along with one or more mandapas (halls) aligned with the main axis. Intricate murals and reliefs frequently adorn the temple walls.

 

UPSC Mains answer practice — GS 1 (Week 50) 

Modes of Nagara Architecture:

  • According to Adam Hardy's renowned work "The Temple Architecture of India" (2007), Nagara temple architecture manifests in five distinct modes: Valabhi, Phamsana, Latina, Shekhari, and Bhumija.
  • Valabhi mode represents a transition from wooden structures to masonry, often resembling barrel-roofed chaitya halls associated with Buddhist shrines.
  • Phamsana mode demonstrates a formalization of multi-eave towers, achieved through stacking slabs.
  • Latina mode features a single, slightly curved tower with four equal-length sides, evolving into composite forms in the tenth century, giving rise to Shekhari and Bhumija styles.
  • Shekhari style incorporates attached sub-spires or spirelets echoing the main tower's shape, often varying in size and placement.
  • Bhumija mode showcases miniature spires arranged in horizontal and vertical rows, creating a grid-like pattern on each face of the tower.
Example
 
The recently inaugurated Ram temple in Ayodhya showcases the Nagara style of architecture. This style is characterized by the prominent shikhara dominating the temple's profile, contrasting with the South Indian emphasis on the vimana and gopurams.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Vimanas of Dravida-style temples are generally smaller compared to the grand gatehouses or gopurams, which serve as the most visually striking architectural features within a temple complex. In southern Indian architectural traditions, shikhara are referenced, but they specifically pertain to the dome-shaped crown positioned atop the vimana.

 

Other Points to Consider 

 

Features of Dravida style temples

Examples of Nagara and Dravida style temples

 
Previous Year Questions
 
1. How will you explain that Medieval Indian temple sculptures represent the social life of those days? (2022)
2. Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture. Discuss (2013)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
The Quit India Movement marked a turning point in India’s fight for independence. Discuss.

 

 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Quit India Movement
 

In 1942, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the people of India embarked on the decisive final phase of the independence movement. This monumental anti-colonial uprising, unprecedented in scale, conveyed a resolute message: the imminent end of British rule in India. Despite the ruthless suppression by the British, the movement, fueled by the determination of India's masses, left an indelible mark. It became unequivocally clear that nothing less than the complete departure of the British was acceptable to the people of India.

 

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It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.
  • Although the Quit India Movement's ability to incite insurrection at the national level was limited, it achieved significant regional success, particularly in areas like Satara, Maharashtra, Talcher, Orissa, and Midnapore.
  • Local inhabitants successfully established parallel governments in Midnapore's Tamluk and Contai subdivisions, which operated autonomously until Gandhi intervened personally and ordered the leaders to disband in 1944.
  • In Ballia, Uttar Pradesh's easternmost district, a small-scale insurrection occurred. The populace overturned the district administration, stormed the jail to free arrested Congress leaders, and established their own independent government. It took weeks for the British to restore their authority in the district.
  • The Quit India Movement in rural Bengal was propelled by peasants' discontent with increasing war taxes and forced rice exports.
  • Despite the incarceration of all members of the Congress Working Committee, massive rallies and demonstrations erupted across the country. Workers went on strike, and various forms of civil disobedience were observed. Some demonstrations turned violent, with explosions, arson attacks on government buildings, and disruptions to transportation and communication infrastructure. The government responded by arresting nearly ten thousand individuals.
  • On August 8th, 1942, in Bombay (now Mumbai), Mahatma Gandhi delivered a powerful message to the Indian people gathered at Gowalia Tank Maidan. His words, "Do or Die," resonated throughout the nation, igniting a spirit of unwavering determination. The message was clear: India would be free, and its people were prepared to fight for it, even if it meant sacrificing their lives.
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Though the Quit India Movement was ultimately suppressed, it marked a turning point in India's freedom struggle. It was a moment when the masses rose as one, their collective voice demanding an end to British rule with an unprecedented intensity and passion. The movement may have been quelled, but the message resonated – India would no longer tolerate British dominion.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Cripps Mission

Other movements led by Mahatma Gandhi

 

Previous Year Questions

1. What was the difference between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore in their approach towards education and nationalism? (2023)

2. Bring out the constructive programmes of Mahatma Gandhi during Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement. (2021)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
A national policy to end Naxalist violence has to emanate out of economic, developmental and internal security considerations. Discuss. 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Naxalism

Naxalism is a Maoist-inspired communist insurgency that has been active in India since the mid-1960s.  The movement originated in the village of Naxalbari, West Bengal, in 1967, following a peasant uprising against local landlords. Inspired by Mao Zedong's communist ideology, Naxalites believed in armed revolution to establish a socialist state. Naxalites aim to overthrow what they perceive as a corrupt and exploitative government. They advocate for land redistribution and social justice for marginalized communities, particularly Adivasis (indigenous tribes) and Dalits (formerly untouchables).

 

Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.
 

According to Maoist ideology, the economically oppressed peasants and working class will rise against the capitalist bourgeois class to establish a classless society through armed revolution. However, rapid economic growth, opportunities created by communication and mobility, and aspirational youth act as strong counterforces to economic class-based divisions.

Strategies for Countering Naxalism

Strategic victory over Naxalism requires a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of central and state governments, as well as an honest assessment of the capabilities, mindset, and resolve of security forces engaged in anti-Naxalite operations. Additionally, establishing a realistic timeframe is essential to effectively root out this menace.

Tactical Warfare and Local Commando Forces

At the tactical level, successful combat against Naxalism necessitates the deployment of agile, stealthy, enduring, and disciplined commando forces primarily recruited from the local youth. An example of this approach is the Greyhounds of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh police.

Economic Interests and Resource-Rich Regions

The influence of Maoists thrives in contiguous forested areas across multiple states due to deep-rooted financial interests. These regions are rich in minerals such as bauxite, iron ore, limestone, marble, dolomite, coal, and copper, as well as pristine forests abundant in timber and Minor Forest Produce (MFP).

Exploitation of Natural Resources and Extortion

The value chain associated with these natural resources offers significant profit margins for extractive industries and contractors, creating opportunities for extortion and protection money demanded by Maoist groups. With many state governments enacting the Panchayat (Extension of Scheduled Areas) Act 1996, gram panchayats now auction MFP, including bamboo and tendu leaves, further contributing to these dynamics.

Implications and Solutions

Understanding the economic dynamics behind Naxalism underscores the importance of holistic approaches that address socio-economic grievances, governance issues, and the exploitation of natural resources. Combining security measures with development initiatives aimed at improving the lives of local communities is crucial for effectively countering the insurgency and fostering lasting peace and stability in affected regions.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

To effectively combat Naxalism, an integrated approach is imperative, spearheaded by counter-offensive operations conducted by well-trained, disciplined, agile, and stealthy commando forces of the state police. Additionally, expanding road networks from the periphery to the core of liberated zones, facilitated under the security cover of central forces or specially raised engineering units, is crucial. Furthermore, the rapid expansion of mobile communication networks and the commercialization of economic activities represent slow but certain and irreversible pathways to success.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Naxalbari movement
Minor Forest Produce (MFP)
Guerrilla warfare
 
 
Previous Year Questions
 
1. Naxalism is a social, economic and developmental issue manifesting as a violent internal security threat. In this context, discuss the emerging issues and suggest a multilayered strategy to tackle the menace of Naxalism. (UPSC CSE 2022)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
What is 3D printing and how is it done? Explain with an example how it promises to transform different sectors.
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about 3D Printing

3D printing is a manufacturing method that utilizes computer-generated designs to produce three-dimensional objects layer by layer. It operates on an additive principle, gradually building up layers of materials such as plastic, composites, or bio-materials to form objects of various shapes, sizes, rigidity, and colours.

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It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

3D printing is transforming manufacturing across industries, and even space exploration isn't immune to its potential. 

Simplified Printing Process

  • User-Friendly Approach: 3D printing offers a relatively straightforward process. With a 3D model designed using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software and a connected 3D printer, users can bring their ideas to life. The printer handles the intricate task of constructing the object layer by layer.
  • Additive Manufacturing: In contrast to traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques that remove material to create an object, 3D printing works additively. It builds the desired form by depositing material layer upon layer.

ISRO's Success Story

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) exemplifies the exciting possibilities of 3D printing in space exploration:

  • Engine Revamp: ISRO successfully 3D printed a liquid rocket engine, the PS4, used in the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle's (PSLV) fourth stage.
  • Benefits of 3D Printing: This innovative approach offered significant advantages:
    • Part Consolidation: The engine design was transformed from 14 separate parts into a single, unified piece.
    • Efficiency Boost: 3D printing eliminated the need for 19 weld joints, saving a remarkable 97% of raw materials.
    • Time Savings: Production time was reduced by a staggering 60%.

ISRO's achievement demonstrates the immense potential of 3D printing to revolutionize space exploration by streamlining engine design, reducing production times, and minimizing resource requirements.

 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

3D printing finds application across a diverse array of industries, including healthcare, automobile, and aerospace. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the healthcare sector extensively leveraged 3D printers to manufacture crucial medical equipment such as swabs, face shields, masks, and components for ventilator repairs. Last year saw the inauguration of India’s maiden 3D-printed post office, marking a significant milestone in the adoption of this innovative technology.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Types of 3D printing

Advantages and challenges of 3D printing

 

Previous Year Questions

1. How does the 3D printing technology work? List out the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. (UPSC CSE Mains 2013)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
Where does India stand in terms of commerce with Israel and Iran? Highlight the regional tensions that are affecting commerce.
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about India's relations with Israel and Iran
 
 
India's trade with Israel has witnessed a dramatic rise in recent years. From a focus on diamonds initially, the relationship has expanded considerably. In FY 2022-23 (financial year ending March 2023), excluding defence deals, bilateral trade reached a substantial $10.77 billion. India enjoys a trade surplus of $6.13 billion with Israel.
India's trade with Iran has seen a decline in recent years, largely due to US sanctions imposed on Iran. There was a positive sign in FY 2022-23, with a 21.77% increase in trade compared to the previous year, reaching $2.33 billion. India maintains a trade surplus of about $1 billion with Iran.
 
Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

Impact of Middle East Tensions on India’s Trade and Energy Prices

  • India began diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992. Since then, commerce between the two countries has increased dramatically, from approximately $200 million in 1992 (mainly for diamonds) to $10.7 billion (excluding defense) in the fiscal year 2022-23. In contrast, Iran was India’s 59th largest trading partner, with bilateral trade.
  • According to the think tank Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI), petrol prices in India are unlikely to rise as a result of the ongoing Middle East tensions. However, tensions in the Red Sea, a vital commercial route between Europe and Asia, may have a broader impact. This route accounts for around 12% of total world trade.
  • Since November 2023, Yemeni militants known as the Houthis have targeted certain ships sailing through this region. They claim their actions are in response to Israel’s military activity in the Gaza Strip, while Israel accuses Iran of supporting the Houthis. The latest conflict between Iran and Israel may exacerbate India’s commercial problems caused by shipping disruptions in the Red Sea. Despite these challenges, this battle is unlikely to impact Indian petrol prices significantly. The ongoing conflict has made the situation in West Asia extremely insecure, potentially delaying initiatives such as the Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) for an extended period.
  • The current violence is unlikely to seriously impair crude oil and gas output because major producers such as the United States, Russia, and North Sea firms are not in the conflict zone, and Saudi Arabia has not directly intervened. However, shipping disruptions in the Red Sea have forced longer trade routes via the Cape of Good Hope to Europe and North America’s east coast, potentially resulting in higher oil and petrol costs. In India, the impact on consumers may be negligible because the government can balance price rises by lowering taxes.
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

While geopolitical tensions in the Middle East may create challenges for India's trade and energy security, the country's diversified trade relations, coupled with its ability to adapt to changing circumstances, position it to navigate through these challenges with resilience.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Important places in news in Israel and Iran
Trade between India and Iran
Trade between India and Israel
Location of Israel and neighbouring countries
 
 

Previous Year Questions

1. In what ways would the ongoing U.S-Iran Nuclear Pact Controversy affect the national interest of India? How should India respond to this situation? (2018)
2. Indian diaspora has scaled new heights in the West. Describe its economic and political benefits for India. (2023)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
What is the significance of the India-Nepal relationship? Discuss the key difficulties and prospects in the India-Nepal border dispute.
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about India-Nepal Relationship
 

India and Nepal enjoy a robust friendship and cooperation founded on an open border and deep-seated familial and cultural ties. Nepal shares a border spanning over 1850 kilometres with five Indian states: Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Extensive defence cooperation is a hallmark of the relationship between India and Nepal. The Government of India's development assistance to Nepal is comprehensive, focusing on grassroots infrastructure development. Projects encompass infrastructure, healthcare, water resources, education, rural, and community development. Cooperation in water resources, particularly involving shared rivers, is a pivotal area of bilateral collaboration. Since 1971, India and Nepal have maintained a Power Exchange Agreement to fulfil their power requirements along the border, leveraging each other’s transmission facilities.

 

Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.
 

The territorial dispute revolves around a 372-square-kilometer area encompassing Limpiadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani at the India-Nepal-China trijunction in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district. Nepal asserts historical and evident ownership of these lands.

Genesis of the Issue

  • The Treaty of Sugauli, concluding the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-16, led to Nepal ceding territory to the East India Company. Article 5 of the treaty removed Nepal’s rulers’ sovereignty over the land east of the Kali River.
  • British Surveyor General of India's maps from 1819, 1821, 1827, and 1856 depicted the Kali River as originating near Limpiadhura.
  • A map issued in 1879 referred to the river in the local language as "Kuti Yangti."
  • However, the last map printed by the British before their departure from India in 1947 depicted the Kali River’s source near Limpiadhura.
  • Until 1962, villages in this area, including Gunji, Nabhi, Kuti, and Kalapani (also known as Tulsi Nyurang and Nabhidang), were included in Nepal government censuses, with villagers paying land revenue to the Kathmandu government. However, this changed during the conflict between India and China that year.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Resolving this dispute peacefully and through historical evidence is crucial for maintaining the strong relationship between India and Nepal. Their long-standing cooperation in various sectors,  including defense, development, water resources, and power exchange, makes a collaborative solution even more important.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Map work: Limpiadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani

Treaty of Sugauli

Anglo-Nepalese War

 

Previous Year Questions

1. India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka.’ Discuss India’s role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka in the light of the preceding statement. (2022)
2. The USA is facing an existential threat in the form of China, that is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain. (2021)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:

How did the revolt of 1857 take the form of a popular movement with the participation of peasants in Awadh?

 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about the Revolt of 1857

The Revolt of 1857, also known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857 or the First War of Independence, was a significant uprising against British colonial rule in India. It began as a mutiny among Indian soldiers (sepoys) of the British East India Company's army in Meerut on May 10, 1857, and quickly spread to other parts of northern and central India.

 

Body:

It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

  • Awadh was a region that contributed a significant number of military personnel to the British East India Company's army. With 75,000 soldiers, nearly every farming family in the kingdom had representation in the army, making events in Awadh directly relevant to the Sepoys.
  • The removal of the Nawab and the appropriation of taluqdar villages during the 1856 land revenue settlement incited widespread unrest. Over 14,000 petitions were submitted by Sepoys regarding the hardships they faced due to the revenue system. Mangal Pandey's actions reflected the discontentment caused by British authority among peasant families.

Mangal Pandey's Role in the Revolt

  • Mangal Pandey enlisted in the East India Company’s army at 22, serving as a soldier in the 6th company of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry. He refused to use the newly introduced Enfield gun, which was believed to have cartridges made of animal fat (beef and pork) that had to be bitten open before use.
  • Soldiers perceived this as a direct assault on their religious beliefs by the British, who were seen as attempting to undermine their religion and promote Christianity.
  • The blending of identities between soldier and farmer, coupled with widespread public anger against British rule, facilitated the uprising's expansion across India. For a time, the public felt liberated from governmental fear and administrative control.
  • In Awadh, the revolt evolved into a grassroots movement, with participation from both dispossessed taluqdars and peasants who had obtained land titles in 1856. They rallied in support of their ousted Nawab, shaping the rebellion into a popular cause. 

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

On September 20, 1857, Delhi succumbed after a fierce struggle. Bahadur Shah, seeking refuge at Humayun’s tomb, was captured, tried, and exiled to Myanmar. The British quelled rebels in various regions. On June 17, 1858, the Rani of Jhansi perished in battle. Despite Nana Saheb's refusal to surrender, he eventually fled to Nepal in early 1859, hoping to resume the conflict. Tantiya Tope, who waged successful guerrilla warfare until April 1859, was betrayed by a zamindar, captured, and executed by the British. Thus concluded the most significant challenge the British had encountered in India.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Other places of revolt in 1857

Who called in the First War of Indian Independence?

 
Previous Year Questions
 
1. Why did the armies of the British East India Company – mostly comprising of Indian Soldiers – win consistently against the more numerous and better equipped armies of the then Indian rulers? Give reasons. (2022)
2. Explain how the upraising of 1857 constitutes an important watershed in the evolution of British policies towards colonial India. (2016)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
What is an ‘Aurora’ and how does it occur?
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Aurora

 Auroras are natural lights that appear as bright, swirling curtains in the night sky, displaying a variety of colours such as blue, red, yellow, green, and orange. These lights are typically seen around the poles in both the northern and southern hemispheres throughout the year but can sometimes extend to lower latitudes. The northern lights are called the Aurora Borealis, while the southern lights are known as the Aurora Australis.

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Reasons for the Occurance of the Aurora

  • Auroras occur due to activity on the Sun’s surface. The Sun continuously emits a stream of charged particles, primarily electrons and protons, along with magnetic fields known as the solar wind. As the solar wind approaches Earth, it is deflected by the planet’s magnetic field, which acts as a protective barrier.
  • However, some charged particles become trapped in the magnetic field and travel along magnetic field lines near the north and south poles into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
  • These particles then interact with other gases in the atmosphere, producing small flashes that light up the night sky. When solar wind particles collide with oxygen, green light is produced, while interaction with nitrogen generates blue and purple hues.
  • When the solar wind is particularly strong, auroras can extend to the midlatitudes. This happens when increased activity on the Sun’s surface leads to solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are additional bursts of energy in the solar wind.
  •  In such cases, the solar wind is so strong that it can cause a geomagnetic storm, a temporary disturbance of the Earth’s magnetic field. During a geomagnetic storm, auroras can be observed in the middle latitudes.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.
 

NASA explains that solar storms erupt when the Sun unleashes powerful explosions called solar flares. These flares hurl intense bursts of energy particles towards Earth. These flares also release a type of high-energy radiation called ionized radiation. When this radiation interacts with Earth's atmosphere, it can create temporary magnetic fields.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Auroras in India

What are the impacts of the northern lights on Earth?

 

Previous Year Questions

1. How are the fjords formed? Why do they constitute some of the most picturesque areas of the world? (2023)
2. How do the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers of the Antarctic differently affect the weather patterns and human activities on the Earth? Explain.(2021)
 
(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:

What are Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs)? What are the National Institute of Nutrition’s (NIN) guidelines for children and mothers?

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs)

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also referred to as chronic diseases, are long-lasting conditions resulting from a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The most prevalent NCDs include cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and strokes), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma), and diabetes. NCDs are responsible for the deaths of 41 million people annually, making up 74% of all deaths globally.

Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.
 
Dietary Guidelines and Health Recommendations

General Health

  •  Poor diets contribute to approximately 56.4% of India’s total illness burden.
  •  Adopting a healthy diet and regular physical activity can prevent 80% of Type 2 diabetes cases and significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in Hyderabad, part of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has issued guidelines recommending the reduction of salt and highly processed food consumption.

For Children and Mothers

  • Optimal nutrition for mothers and children from conception to age two is crucial for proper growth and development. It helps prevent all forms of malnutrition, including deficiencies and obesity.
  • The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2019 reports high rates of lifestyle-related issues among children, with about 5% of those aged 5 to 9 and 6% of adolescents being overweight or obese. Nearly 2% of children and adolescents have diabetes, and another 10% have pre-diabetes.
  • The survey found high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides) in 37.3% of children aged 5 to 9, and 19.9% of those aged 10 to 19. One-fourth of all children and adolescents had low levels of healthy cholesterol.
  • Pregnant women experiencing nausea and vomiting should eat small, frequent meals. The guidelines recommend consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in iron and folate.
  • For infants and children, exclusive breastfeeding is advised for the first six months, with no need for honey, glucose, diluted milk, or even water, regardless of the season. After six months, complementary foods should be introduced.
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Micronutrient deficiencies (zinc, iron, and vitamins) affect 13% to 30% of children aged 1 to 19. The recommended diet charts address both these deficiencies and overnutrition disorders. Severe undernutrition like marasmus and kwashiorkor has been eradicated, but anaemia remains prevalent: 40.6% in infants under five, 23.5% in children aged 5 to 9, and 28.4% in children aged 10 to 19.

 

Other Points to Consider 

Malnutrition
Obesity
Overweight
Hypertension
 
 

Previous Year Questions

1. What do you understand by nanotechnology and how is it helping in health sector? (2020)
2. Can overuse and free availability of antibiotics without Doctor’s prescription, be contributors to the emergence of drug-resistant diseases in India? What are the available mechanisms for monitoring and control? Critically discuss the various issues involved. (2014)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:

What is ‘digital arrest’? What steps are taken by the government to counter online fraud and cybercriminals?

 

Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about digital arrest

Online fraudsters often call potential victims, claiming they have sent or are receiving a parcel with illegal items. Sometimes, they contact the target’s relatives, alleging the target is involved in a crime or accident. Using police images to appear legitimate, criminals demand money for a ‘compromise.’ In some cases, victims are forced to stay visible via Skype until demands are met. Cybercriminals may use studios resembling police stations and wear law enforcement-style outfits.

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Steps taken by the government

  • In collaboration with Microsoft, the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which oversees the country’s cybercrime response, has blocked over 1,000 Skype IDs associated with these operations.
  • Efforts are also underway to block SIM cards, mobile devices, and “mule” accounts utilized by cybercriminals. According to security advice on HDFC Bank’s website, money mules or “smurfers” are “innocent victims duped by fraudsters into laundering stolen/illegal money via their bank accounts.”
  • The Home Ministry is working with other ministries, agencies, the RBI, and various organizations to combat these illegal activities. I4C provides inputs and technical support to state and union territory police forces to help identify and investigate such cases.
  • To increase public awareness, I4C has shared infographics and videos on its social media platform Cyberdost, as well as on its Twitter (X), Facebook, and Instagram accounts. The Ministry urges citizens to stay vigilant and spread awareness about cybercrime.
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (NCRP) has received numerous complaints about intimidation, blackmail, extortion, and digital arrests carried out by cybercriminals impersonating officials from the police, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Narcotics Department, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), among others. Intelligence services have determined that these incidents are part of a larger online economic crime racket orchestrated by cross-border crime syndicates.

 

Other Points to Consider 

 

Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre

What is cybercrime?

 

Previous Year Questions

1. What are the internal security challenges being faced by India? Give out the role of Central Intelligence and Investigative Agencies tasked to counter such threats. (2023)
2. What are the different elements of cyber security? Keeping in view the challenges in cyber security, examine the extent to which India has successfully developed a comprehensive National Cyber Security Strategy. (2022)

 

(mains ) 21-May 2024
Question:
Why does it rain in southern India in December?
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Northeast (NE) Monsoon

The Northeast (NE) monsoon, also known as the retreating monsoon, is a seasonal weather phenomenon that brings rainfall to parts of South Asia, particularly southern India, during the winter months. The Northeast (NE) monsoon plays a crucial role in the climate of southern India, bringing rainfall during the winter months. This seasonal phenomenon is associated with the reversal of surface and lower tropospheric winds, typically beginning in October.

 

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Significance of the Northeast Monsoon

  • The NE monsoon season, often referred to as the retreating phase of the southwest monsoon, brings essential rainfall to regions such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, and coastal Andhra Pradesh.
  • Southern India, particularly Tamil Nadu, relies heavily on the NE monsoon for agricultural activities, contributing significantly to rabi cultivation.

Characteristics of the Northeast Monsoon

  • Unlike the southwest monsoon, the NE monsoon is relatively dry, stable, and has a lesser vertical extent.
  • Rainfall during this period occurs on various time scales, ranging from diurnal to synoptic and intra-seasonal to inter-annual.

Impact and Recent Examples

  • Inter-annual variability of NE monsoon rainfall affects agricultural production and water resources in south peninsular India.
  • Recent instances of surplus rainfall, such as in Kanyakumari district, highlight the variability and significance of the NE monsoon.
  • Extreme weather events, including heavy rain and floods, are common during the NE monsoon season, as seen in the Chennai deluge of 2015.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The NE monsoon, occurring from October to December, contributes significantly to the annual rainfall in southern India. Its variability impacts agricultural output and water resources in the region. Understanding and managing the NE monsoon is crucial for sustainable development and disaster preparedness in southern India.

 
Other Points to Consider 

ITCZ

ENSO

Difference between south-western and north-eastern monsoon

Cyclone Michaung

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Why is the South-West Monsoon called ‘Purvaiya’ (easterly) in Bhojpur Region? How has this directional seasonal wind system influenced the cultured ethos of the region? (2023)
2. What characteristics can be assigned to monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of the world population residing in Monsoon Asia? (2017)
3. How far do you agree that the behaviour of the Indian monsoon has been changing due to humanizing landscapes? Discuss. (2015)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
Discuss how the concept of Indian Union Territories was developed and implemented.
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about  Union Territories

Union Territories (UTs) in India are administrative divisions that are directly governed by the Central Government of India. Unlike states, which have their own elected governments and legislatures, UTs are administered by an administrator appointed by the President of India. The concept of Indian Union Territories (UTs) emerged as a solution to address the linguistic diversity and regional aspirations within the newly independent nation. The development and implementation of this concept unfolded through various stages, driven by factors such as linguistic movements and administrative considerations.

 

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  • In the late 1940s and early 1950s, linguistic tensions began to escalate across India, fueled by demands for separate administrative units based on language. Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, and Gujarati speakers, among others, advocated for the formation of states corresponding to their linguistic identities. The creation of Andhra Pradesh in 1953 further intensified these movements, prompting the government to appoint the States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) to address the linguistic issue.
  • Comprising Justice Fazil Ali, KM Panikkar, and HN Kunzru, the SRC recommended the reorganisation of India's administrative units along linguistic lines. In its report submitted in 1955, the SRC proposed the formation of 14 states and six centrally administered territories, introducing the concept of Union Territories.
  • The original six Union Territories included Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep (formerly Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands), Delhi, Manipur, Tripura, and Himachal Pradesh. These territories were characterized by their direct administration by the central government.
  • Over the years, the evolution of Union Territories reflected the diverse geographical, cultural, and administrative landscape of India. The addition of new territories, such as Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in 2019, further expanded the UT category, reflecting changing geopolitical dynamics.
  • India's states were initially classified into Parts A, B, C, and D based on their administrative structures. Part A states had governors, Part B states had elected legislatures, Part C states were administered by Chief Commissioners, and Part D included territories directly administered by the central government.
  • With the enactment of the Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act in 1956, the territories were officially designated as Union Territories. Subsequent legislative measures, such as the Goa, Daman, and Diu Reorganisation Act of 1987, led to further modifications in the UT landscape, including the grant of statehood to certain territories.

 

Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.
 
The concept of Indian Union Territories emerged as a pragmatic solution to accommodate linguistic diversity and regional aspirations within the framework of the Indian Union. The evolution of UTs reflects the ongoing process of administrative restructuring and territorial governance in response to changing socio-political dynamics.
 
 
Other Points to Consider 

Indian states during the British Rule

7th amendment of Constitution of India

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. The political and administrative reorganization of states and territories has heen a continuous ongoing process since the mid-nineteenth century. Discuss with examples. (2022)

2. Has the formation of linguistic states strengthened the cause of Indian unity? (2016)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
What is a tsunami? How earthquake trigger a tsunami? Discuss why tsunamis keep forming in the island country.
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Tsunami

A tsunami, derived from the Japanese words "tsu" (harbor) and "nami" (wave), refers to a series of long-wavelength waves triggered by various natural phenomena, most commonly earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or underwater landslides. These waves can propagate across vast distances in the ocean, causing devastation upon reaching coastal areas.

 
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  • Tsunamis are primarily triggered by earthquakes that involve the sudden vertical movement of the ocean floor. When an earthquake occurs beneath the ocean, particularly at subduction zones where tectonic plates converge, the displacement of large volumes of water leads to the formation of tsunami waves. This displacement can result from the upward or downward movement of the sea floor, generating powerful waves that propagate outward from the earthquake epicenter.
  • The phenomenon of tsunamis occurring frequently in island countries, such as Japan and those situated in the Pacific Ocean, can be attributed to their location within seismically active regions. These regions, notably the Pacific Ring of Fire, are characterized by the convergence of multiple tectonic plates, leading to frequent seismic activity, volcanic eruptions, and subsequent tsunami formation.
  • For instance, Japan, situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, experiences a high frequency of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to the complex interaction of tectonic plates. In 2011, Japan witnessed the devastating impact of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami, resulting in widespread destruction and loss of life.
  • Similarly, India's coastal regions, particularly Gujarat, are vulnerable to tsunamis resulting from seismic activity in the Mekran coast. The Indian Ocean region, including countries like Indonesia, India, and Sri Lanka, has also experienced catastrophic tsunamis, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by a 9.3 magnitude earthquake.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

While not all earthquakes or volcanic eruptions lead to tsunami formation, the propensity for tsunamis in island countries and coastal regions is heightened due to their exposure to seismic activity and geological instability. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of tsunami generation and implementing effective early warning systems are crucial steps in mitigating the impact of these natural disasters and safeguarding vulnerable coastal communities.

 
 
Other Points to Consider 

Pacific Island Countries

Tsunami in India

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Discuss about the vulnerability of India to earthquake related hazards. Give examples including the salient features of major disasters caused by earthquakes in different parts of India during the last three decades. (2021)

2. On December 2004, tsunami brought havoc on fourteen countries including India. Discuss the factors responsible for occurrence of tsunami and its effects on life and economy. In the light of guidelines of NDMA (2010) describe the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events. (2017)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
What is India’s first polarimetry mission X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat)? Discuss its significance.
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about India's first polarimetry mission

India's first polarimetry mission, the X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat), marks a significant milestone in the country's space exploration endeavours. Designed to delve into the intricate dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources, XPoSat stands as a testament to India's growing prowess in space science and technology. With its unique capabilities and cutting-edge payloads, this mission promises to unravel the mysteries of the universe like never before.

 
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  • XPoSat, positioned in low Earth orbit at approximately 650 km with a low inclination of around 6 degrees, boasts two state-of-the-art scientific payloads: the Indian X-ray Polarimeter (POLIX) and the X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing (XSPECT). Developed by esteemed institutions such as the Raman Research Institute and the UR Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru, these payloads are at the forefront of X-ray polarimetry research.
  • The POLIX instrument, a pioneering creation, operates within the medium X-ray energy band of 8 to 30 kilo electron Volts (keV), making it the world's first instrument of its kind. Meanwhile, the XSPECT payload is geared towards conducting fast timing and high spectroscopic resolution in the soft X-ray energy band ranging from 0.8 to 15 keV. Together, these payloads empower XPoSat to explore a wide range of astronomical phenomena with unprecedented precision and depth.
  • The significance of the XPoSat mission lies in its transformative potential for X-ray astronomy. By enabling X-ray polarisation measurements from bright sources in the medium energy band, XPoSat opens new avenues for scientific inquiry and discovery. From persistent sources like targeted and known astronomical objects to transient sources such as pulsars, active galactic nuclei, and magnetars, XPoSat's observations promise to revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos.
  • X-rays, emitted by various celestial bodies under extreme conditions, can become polarized due to interactions with surrounding materials or intense magnetic fields. Through the analysis of polarised X-rays, XPoSat aims to unravel the secrets of phenomena like black holes, neutron stars, and their surroundings, shedding light on some of the most enigmatic aspects of the universe.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

With an estimated mission life of five years, XPoSat is poised to make groundbreaking discoveries during its operational tenure. By observing polarised X-rays from a diverse array of celestial sources, this mission will contribute significantly to humanity's quest for knowledge about the cosmos. As XPoSat embarks on its journey of exploration, it reaffirms India's commitment to advancing space science and unlocking the mysteries of the universe for the betterment of humankind.

 
Other Points to Consider 

Other payloads of the Mission

POLIX

XSPECT

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Launched on 25th December, 2021, James Webb Space Telescope has been much in the news since then. What are its unique features which make it superior to its predecessor Space Telescopes? What are the key goals of this mission? What potential benefits does it hold for the human race? (2022)

2. India has achieved remarkable successes in unmanned space missions including the Chandrayaan and Mars Orbiter Mission, but has not ventured into manned space mission. What are the main obstacles to launching a manned space mission, both in terms of technology and logistics? Examine critically. (2017)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
Discuss the appointment procedure of Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners.
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about the Election Commission
 

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is a constitutional body responsible for administering elections in India, ensuring that they are free, fair, and conducted impartially. Article 324 of the Constitution of India establishes the Election Commission, comprising the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs), entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing electoral processes across the country.

 
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Appointment Procedure: The appointment procedure for the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners is delineated as follows:

  • Legislative Framework: The Constitution empowers the President of India to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. However, it does not prescribe a specific legislative process for their appointment.
  • Selection Committee: The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, introduced provisions for the appointment process. A Selection Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister and including the Leader of the Opposition and a Union Minister, is responsible for recommending candidates for appointment to the President.
  • Search Committee: The Bill also establishes a Search Committee chaired by the Law Minister and comprising two other members with expertise in election matters. This committee is tasked with preparing a panel of five individuals eligible for consideration by the Selection Committee.
  • Nomination and Appointment: Based on the recommendations of the Selection Committee, the President appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.
 
The recent enactment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, introduces a structured procedure for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. This framework aims to ensure transparency, accountability, and meritocracy in the selection process, reinforcing the integrity of the Election Commission of India.
 
 
Other Points to Consider 

Powers and Functions of the Election Commission of India

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Discuss the role of Presiding Officers of state legislatures in maintaining order and impartiality in conducting legislative work and in facilitating best democratic practices. (2023)

2. Discuss the role of the Vice-President of India as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. (2022)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
What are electoral bonds and how they are different from electoral trusts? Discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Electoral Bonds Scheme.
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Electoral Bonds and Electoral Trusts
 
Electoral bonds were introduced in 2017 as interest-free bearer instruments. They allow individuals and entities, including corporations, to make anonymous donations to political parties.
Electoral trusts, on the other hand, were established in 2013 and operate under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956. They are entities formed by companies to channel their political donations.
 
 
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Key features of electoral bonds include:
  • Available in denominations ranging from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1 crore.
  • Purchased from authorized State Bank of India (SBI) branches through accounts complying with Know Your Customer (KYC) norms.
  • Exempt from disclosure requirements, providing anonymity to donors.
 

Key aspects of electoral trusts include:

  • Any company registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956, can form an electoral trust.
  • Donors to electoral trusts include individuals, companies, firms, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), or associations of persons living in India.
  • Electoral trusts must donate at least 95% of contributions received in a financial year to registered political parties.
  • Require renewal every three financial years.

Supreme Court's Ruling on Electoral Bonds: The Supreme Court of India has addressed the issue of transparency and accountability in political funding through electoral bonds. Key rulings and directives include:

  • In an interim order dated April 12, 2019, the Supreme Court directed political parties receiving donations through electoral bonds to submit details of the bonds to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • The Court emphasized the importance of disclosing particulars of donors, including the amount of each bond and credit details, to ensure transparency.
  • A subsequent ruling referred the case to a five-judge bench to address constitutional challenges and broader issues related to political funding and transparency.
  • Petitioners have sought to declare all political parties as public offices under the Right to Information Act, compelling them to disclose income and expenditure details.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.
 
While electoral bonds and electoral trusts serve as avenues for political donations, they differ in their structure and regulatory requirements. The Supreme Court's interventions aim to balance the need for transparency in political funding with the anonymity provided by electoral bonds.
 
Other Points to Consider 

The stance of the Election Commission of India and the Government of India on Electoral Bonds

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Discuss the procedures to decide the disputes arising out of the election of a Member of the Parliament or State Legislature under The Representation of the People Act, 1951. What are the grounds on which the election of any returned candidate may be declared void? What remedy is available to the aggrieved party against the decision? Refer to the case laws. (2022)

2. The most significant achievement of modern law in India is the constitutionalization of environmental problems by the Supreme Court.” Discuss this statement with the help of relevant case laws. (2022)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
How did spices, particularly pepper, serve as a conduit for cultural exchange between India and other countries?
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Pepper 
 

Black pepper, the king of spices, is a flowering vine in the Piperaceae family, cultivated for its fruit, which is dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit is a drupe, which is a small, fleshy stone fruit. When ripe, the peppercorn is a dark red colour.

Black pepper is the most common type of pepper and is made from unripe peppercorns that have been dried. The drying process causes the peppercorns to shrink and wrinkle, and they turn from green to black. Black pepper has a strong, pungent flavour and a slightly bitter bite. It is a versatile spice that can be used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savoury.

 

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Pepper's Importance on the Malabar Coast

  • Pepper, native to the Malabar Coast, was highly valued and traded extensively. Malabar was famously referred to as "the land of pepper" by the Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta, highlighting the region's dominance in pepper production and trade.
  • The Zamorins, rulers of the Malabar region, leveraged pepper as a commodity for trade, enabling them to forge connections with distant lands and consolidate their power.

Pepper Trade and Cultural Exchange

  • The trade of pepper along the Asian coasts facilitated significant cultural exchange. Pepper-laden ships attracted traders and merchants from diverse regions, fostering interaction and the exchange of ideas.
  • Persian traders frequented the Malabar Coast, transporting pepper to the Mediterranean and beyond, contributing to the spice's dissemination and cultural influence.
  • The pepper trade also played a role in the spread of Islam, as Muslim traders traversed the maritime routes, extending Islamic influence from East Africa to southern China.

European Influence and Control

  • European powers, including the Dutch East India Company and the Portuguese, sought to capitalize on the lucrative pepper trade. The Dutch, in particular, monopolized pepper sales through strategic trading practices and military interventions.
  • Despite Portuguese attempts to control pepper-producing regions along the Malabar Coast, they primarily served as intermediaries, unable to exert significant control over production or trade.
 
Conclusion: 
 
 The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Pepper's journey from the Malabar Coast to distant lands epitomizes its role as a catalyst for cultural exchange and interaction. As a prized commodity, pepper not only fueled trade and economic prosperity but also facilitated the exchange of ideas, beliefs, and traditions. Its significance in shaping historical narratives underscores the profound impact of spices on global history and cultural interconnectedness.

 
Other Points to Consider 

Other spices which were traded

What India imports in exchange for pepper.

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. The ancient civilization in Indian sub-continent differed from those of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece in that its culture and traditions have been preserved without a breakdown to the present day. Comment. (2015)

2. Assess the importance of the accounts of the Chinese and Arab travellers in the reconstruction of the history of India. (2018)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
Discuss how the architectural history of India experienced a distinct and impactful era during the Vijayanagara Empire.
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about the Vijayanagara Empire

The Vijayanagara Empire, established by Harihara I of the Sangama dynasty in 1336, marked a significant era in the architectural history of India. Flourishing between 1336 and 1646, the empire reached its zenith under the reign of Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1529), boasting military superiority over rival kingdoms such as the Bahmani Sultanate, the Golconda Sultanate, and the Gajapatis of Odisha. Spanning from Goa in the west to parts of southern Odisha in the east and the southernmost tip of the subcontinent, the empire left an indelible mark on India's cultural and architectural landscape.

 
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It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

Cultural and Architectural Contributions

  • The Vijayanagara Empire made remarkable contributions to culture and architecture. It fostered the flourishing of poetry, literature, and writing styles in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Sanskrit.
  • The strategic location of Vijayanagara, nestled within the natural basin formed by the river Tungabhadra, provided a conducive environment for architectural innovation and development.
  • The empire's fortifications, as noted by Abdur Razzaq, an ambassador from Persia, were awe-inspiring, with seven lines of forts encircling the city and its surrounding agricultural hinterland and forests. The elaborate gateways served as distinctive architectural features regulating access to the city.

Temple Architecture

  • Temples were integral to Vijayanagara's architectural landscape, with a rich history dating back to dynasties like the Pallavas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas, and Cholas. The Hazara Rama Temple, adorned with scenes from the Ramayana, exemplifies the fusion of religion and art during this period.
  • The Virupaksha Temple, originally established in the 9th and 11th centuries and expanded under the Vijayanagara Empire, stands as a testament to the empire's architectural grandeur. The temple complex includes halls used for various cultural and religious activities.
  • The Vitthala Temple, dedicated to Vitthala, a form of Vishnu worshipped in Maharashtra, showcases unique features such as chariot streets extending from the temple gopuram. These streets were venues for religious processions and festivities, reflecting the vibrant cultural life of the empire.
 
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The architectural legacy of the Vijayanagara Empire, epitomized by sites like Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, continues to inspire awe and admiration. Amidst the empire's military and political achievements, its commitment to preserving classical Hindu traditions and fostering artistic expression stands out. The temples, fortifications, and urban planning of Vijayanagara serve as enduring symbols of India's rich cultural heritage and architectural prowess, leaving an indelible mark on the country's history and identity.

 

Other Points to Consider 
 

Temples of Vijayanagara Empire

Rulers of Vijayanagara Empire

 
 

Previous Year Questions

1. Krishnadeva Raya, the King of Vijayanagar, was not only an accomplished scholar himself but was also a great patron of learning and literature. Discuss. (2016)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
What are the first advance estimates? How can GDP be estimated by using first advance estimates?
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about the First Advance Estimates 

The First Advance Estimates (FAEs) are preliminary projections of economic growth presented by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) in early January each year. These estimates provide an initial assessment of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the ongoing financial year.

Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

Methodology of Estimation

The FAEs are formulated using the benchmark-indicator method, which involves extrapolating the previous year's GDP data based on relevant indicators reflecting sectoral performance. These indicators include data on industrial production, agricultural output, trade, services, and other economic activities.

Significance of FAEs

  • The FAEs serve as crucial inputs for policymakers, economists, and stakeholders, offering insights into the trajectory of the economy and guiding decision-making processes.
  • They are the last GDP data released before the presentation of the Union Budget, providing policymakers with important information to formulate fiscal policies and budgetary allocations.

Key Findings of FAEs

  • The FAEs for the current fiscal year (2023-24) suggest a GDP growth rate of 7.3%, indicating a robust economic performance.
  • This growth rate surpasses earlier expectations, with projections initially hovering between 5.5% and 6.5%. The upward revision underscores the resilience and strength of India's economic recovery.
  • Components contributing to GDP growth include Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE), Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF), Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE), net exports, private consumption demand, and government spending.
Conclusion: 
 
 The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The release of First Advance Estimates marks a significant milestone in assessing the economic outlook for the ongoing financial year. These estimates offer valuable insights into the performance of various sectors and provide policymakers with essential information to formulate appropriate strategies for sustainable economic growth. As India strives to navigate through economic challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities, the FAEs play a pivotal role in guiding decision-making and shaping policy interventions for fostering inclusive and resilient economic development.

 
Other Points to Consider 

National Statistical Office

Per Capita Income

Real GDP and Nominal GDP

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Faster economic growth requires increased share of the manufacturing sector in GDP, particularly of MSMEs. Comment on the present policies of the Government in this regard (2023)

2. Explain the difference between computing methodology of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before the year 2015 and after the year 2015. (2021)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
What is cyber kidnapping? Discuss the major cybercrimes reported in India in 2022, according to data released by the National Crime Records Bureau.
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Cyber Kidnapping

Cyber kidnapping is a form of crime where perpetrators manipulate victims into believing that a loved one has been abducted and demand ransom for their release. This nefarious tactic involves coercing victims to hide while contacting their family or friends for ransom. Perpetrators may use fabricated evidence, such as manipulated images or threatening messages, to convince victims of the authenticity of the kidnapping.

 
Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

Cybercrimes in India

  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), cybercrimes in India witnessed a significant increase in 2022, with a 24% rise compared to the previous year.
  • The NCRB report 'Crime in India' highlighted that out of 65,893 cybercrime cases registered, fraud accounted for 64.8% of the cases, followed by extortion (5.5%) and sexual exploitation (5.2%).
  • Economic offences, including forgery, cheating, and fraud (FCF), constituted a significant portion of cybercrimes, with 1,70,901 cases reported in the previous year.
  • Crimes against women also saw a rise, with 4,45,256 cases registered in 2022, showing a 4% increase compared to 2021. These included cases of cruelty by husband or relatives, kidnapping, abduction, assault, and rape.

Impact of Cyber Kidnapping

  • Cyber kidnapping not only inflicts emotional distress on victims and their families but also poses significant financial risks. Victims may succumb to the pressure of paying ransom out of fear for their loved one's safety, leading to financial loss.
  • The psychological trauma experienced by victims can have long-lasting effects, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Moreover, cyber kidnapping undermines trust in online communication channels and creates a sense of insecurity among internet users.

Preventive Measures

  • To mitigate the risk of falling victim to cyber kidnapping, individuals should exercise caution while sharing personal information online, especially on social media platforms.
  • It is essential to verify the authenticity of any distress calls or messages received and refrain from acting impulsively under pressure.
  • Maintaining strong cybersecurity practices, such as using secure passwords, updating security software, and avoiding suspicious links or emails, can help prevent cybercrimes.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Cyber kidnapping represents a grave threat in the digital age, exploiting the vulnerabilities of individuals and exploiting their fears for financial gain. As cybercrimes continue to evolve, law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity experts must collaborate in combatting these threats and safeguarding individuals' online safety and security. Additionally, raising awareness about the tactics employed by cybercriminals and promoting responsible online behaviour can empower individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones from falling victim to cyber kidnapping and other forms of online extortion.

 
 
Other Points to Consider 

Artificial intelligence

Cognizable and Uncognizable crimes

 

Previous Year Questions

1. What are the different elements of cyber security? Keeping in view the challenges in cyber security, examine the extent to which India has successfully developed a comprehensive National Cyber Security Strategy. (2022)

2. Discuss different types of cyber crimes and measures required to be taken to fight the menace. (2020)

3. Discuss the potential threats of Cyber attack and the security framework to prevent it. (2017)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
The relationship between India and Maldives is going through considerable strain. Discuss.
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about India and Maldives Relations
 
The relationship between India and the Maldives dates back centuries, with cultural and people-to-people contacts forming a strong foundation. India has been a key partner in the Maldives' development, providing economic and security assistance. The Maldives' location in the Indian Ocean makes it strategically important to India. India has a vested interest in maintaining stability in the region.
 
Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

The strain in the India-Maldives relationship has been exacerbated by several recent incidents:

  • Social Media Controversy: A social media dispute erupted after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's posts promoting tourism in the Lakshadweep islands. Maldivian politicians and officials responded with offensive and derogatory comments directed at Indians and PM Modi, escalating the situation.
  • Diplomatic Friction: Diplomatic tensions escalated with controversies surrounding the two Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), the presence of Indian military personnel in the Maldives, and the termination of agreements allowing India to conduct hydrographic surveys in Maldivian waters.
  • Economic Challenges: The Maldives faces economic challenges, highlighted by a World Bank report in 2022 warning of the need for revenue generation and expenditure reforms to avert a future economic crisis.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Despite the recent strains in bilateral relations, the ties between India and the Maldives remain significant. Indian tourists continue to be among the top visitors to the Maldives, highlighting the enduring people-to-people connections. However, addressing the diplomatic and economic challenges is crucial to restoring the historical friendship and cooperation between the two nations.

 
Other Points to Consider 

Important places of Maldives and Lakshadweep

Atolls of Maldives

 
 

Previous Year Questions

1. India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka.’ Discuss India’s role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka in the light of the preceding statement. (2022)

2. The USA is facing an existential threat in the form of China, that is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain. (2021)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
Discuss how the current phase of Red Sea shipping attacks differs from prior threats posed by Somali pirates in the region. What impact will it have on India?
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Somali Pirates
 
Somali pirates, also known as Somali sea robbers, are criminals who engage in maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Horn of Africa. They became particularly notorious for their activities in the late 2000s and early 2010s, posing a significant threat to international shipping in the region. 
 
Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

The recent attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea by Yemen's Houthi rebels mark a worrying trend, distinct from the past threats posed by Somali pirates in the region.

Houthi Attacks vs. Somali Piracy

  • Motivation: Somali pirates, active between 2000-2016, primarily aimed for ransom money. Their attacks lacked a clear political agenda and were driven by economic motives.
  • Tactics: Somali pirates typically hijacked ships and held crews hostage for ransom negotiations. Their targets were diverse, with no specific political affiliation.
  • Eradication: Through international cooperation, enhanced security measures, and targeted actions against pirate bases, Somali piracy was significantly curbed by 2016.

Houthi attacks, on the other hand, are

  • Politically Driven: These attacks are a direct consequence of the ongoing Yemen civil war and the Houthi rebels' conflict with the Saudi-backed Yemeni government. They target vessels potentially linked to Israel or its allies.
  • Military Tactics: The Houthis employ drones and missiles to target ships, showcasing a more sophisticated and potentially more dangerous approach.
  • Uncertain Resolution: The underlying political conflict remains unresolved, making a long-term solution to Houthi attacks challenging.

Impact on India

While the Indian government downplays the immediate impact on its maritime trade, the situation warrants close monitoring:

  • Potential Disruptions: Escalating attacks could disrupt shipping routes in the Red Sea, a crucial artery for global trade, potentially impacting Indian imports and exports.
  • Increased Insurance Costs: Heightened security risks could lead to higher insurance premiums for ships traversing the Red Sea.
  • Geopolitical Tensions: The conflict adds another layer of complexity to the already tense situation in the Middle East, potentially impacting India's regional partnerships.
 
Conclusion: 
 
 The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.
 
The current situation in the Red Sea demands a diplomatic solution to address the underlying Yemeni conflict. International cooperation to ensure safe passage through the Red Sea may also be necessary. India, a major maritime player, will need to adapt its strategies to navigate these evolving security challenges.
 
 
Other Points to Consider 

Israel-Hamas conflict

Red Sea

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Sea is an important Component of the Cosmos’ Discuss in the light of the above statement the role of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) in protecting environment and enhancing maritime safety and security. (2023)

2. Increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several member states by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).” Explain with suitable examples. (2016)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
How does “green road” construction foster environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive development in the Himalayas?
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Green Roads
 
Green roads refer to roads and transportation infrastructure that are designed, constructed, and maintained with a focus on environmental sustainability, minimizing ecological impact, and promoting biodiversity conservation. These roads aim to integrate ecological principles into their planning, design, construction, and maintenance processes to reduce their carbon footprint, preserve natural habitats, and enhance overall environmental quality. 
 
 
Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

Green road construction is pivotal for promoting environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive development in the Himalayas, considering its significance as a lifeline in this remote and ecologically sensitive region.

  • Economic and Social Importance: Roads are vital for fostering economic growth and livelihood development in the Himalayas, providing access to remote areas and connecting communities to essential services and markets.
  • Objectives of Green Roads: Green roads prioritize sustainability and aim to minimize environmental impact while promoting biodiversity conservation. They serve as a pathway towards achieving green growth goals in mountainous regions.
  • Environmental Considerations: Green road construction focuses on preventing slope destabilization and minimizing disruption to the fragile mountain ecosystem. Techniques such as Environmental Friendly Road Construction (EFRC) are adopted to minimize vegetation loss and soil erosion.
  • Lessons from Bhutan: Bhutan offers valuable insights into EFRC approaches, emphasizing techniques like the "cut and carry" method over conventional "cut and throw" practices. This approach preserves vegetation cover and protects slopes from erosion.
  • Integrated Planning and Design: Green road design incorporates measures to mitigate environmental impact, including spoil disposal sites, drainage structures, and erosion control measures like crib walls and gabion walls. This integrated approach ensures minimal disruption to the natural environment.
 
Conclusion: 
 
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Green road construction in the Himalayas presents an opportunity for environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive development. While initial investments may be higher, the long-term benefits, including reduced maintenance costs, fewer road blockages, and preservation of flora, fauna, and cultural heritage, outweigh the upfront expenses. By embracing green road construction methods, policymakers can pave the way for resilient and sustainable development in the Himalayan region.

 
Other Points to Consider 

Green Highways

 

Previous Year Questions

1. How are the fjords formed? Why do they constitute some of the most picturesque areas of the world? (2023)

2. In what way can floods be converted into a sustainable source of irrigation and all-weather inland navigation in India? (2017)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024
Question:
Lakshadweep’s culture and society evolved much differently than the rest of India due to its geographical isolation and absence of colonialism. Discuss.
 
 
Introduction:
 
A Simple Introduction about Lakshadweep

Lakshadweep, India's smallest Union Territory, comprising 36 islands spread over 32 sq km, boasts a unique cultural and societal fabric shaped by its geographical isolation and historical context. In the 16th century, the islands came under the dominion of the Arakkal kingdom of Kannur, Kerala's only Muslim dynasty. The kingdom's control over Lakshadweep was significant, driven by strategic and economic considerations, amid competition with European powers.

 
Body:
 
It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

The evolution of Lakshadweep's culture and society has been markedly distinct from the rest of India due to several factors

  • Islamic Influence: Unlike other regions where Islam spread primarily through the Mappila community, Lakshadweep's Islamic heritage has deeper roots in its interactions with Arab merchants and sailors. Consequently, the Islam practiced here bears distinct characteristics, reflecting an amalgamation of Malayali, Arab, Tamil, and Kannadiga influences.
  • Matriliny and Societal Structure: One of the defining features of Lakshadweep's society is its tradition of matriliny, where lineage and property are traced through the maternal line. This unique social structure sets it apart from mainstream Indian society and contributes to its cultural richness.
  • Pre-Islamic Influences: Despite its predominantly Islamic character, traces of pre-Islamic Hindu practices are evident in Lakshadweep. Archaeological findings, such as buried idols, and traditional island songs that reference Hindu deities and rituals, suggest the presence of a pre-Islamic Hindu society.
  • Gradual Conversion to Islam: Scholars suggest that the conversion to Islam in Lakshadweep occurred gradually over time, facilitated by regular interactions with Arab traders and travelers navigating the Arabian Sea. This prolonged engagement fostered cultural exchanges and facilitated the assimilation of Islamic beliefs and practices.
  • Inhabited Islands and Lineage: Certain islands, such as Amini, Kalpeni, Andrott, Kavaratti, and Agatti, are among the oldest inhabited ones in Lakshadweep. Families residing here often trace their lineage to converts from Nair and Namboodiri Brahmin communities on the mainland, highlighting the diverse socio-cultural origins of the islanders.
 
Conclusion: 
 
 The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Lakshadweep's cultural and societal landscape stands as a testament to its rich heritage, shaped by centuries of maritime trade, migration, and cultural exchanges. Despite its small size, the archipelago's distinctiveness underscores the importance of recognizing and preserving India's diverse cultural tapestry.

 
Other Points to Consider 

Important Islands of Lakshadweep

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Given the diversities among tribal communities in India, in which specific contexts should they be considered as a single category? (2022)

2. Assess the main administrative issues and socio-cultural problems in the integration process of Indian Princely States. (2021)

 

(mains ) 05-Apr 2024