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20 Solved Questions with Answers
  • Indian Heritage & Culture

    1. Early Buddhist Stupa-art, while depicting folk motifs and narratives successfully expounds Buddhist ideals. Elucidate. (2016)

    After the death of the Buddha, Stupas were raised in his honor. The relics of the Buddha were distributed to different kingdoms and Stupas were erected over them. The Buddhist Stupa transcends its predecessor, the burial mound, by shifting the emphasis from a particular relic to a higher transcendental actuality as realized by the Buddha, i.e. the Buddha's enlightenment.

    • The Jataka stories were depicted on the torans of Stupas. The Jataka stories are a method of teaching Buddhists the lessons of karma, samsara and dharma. The overall structure of the Jataka Tales is about the cycle of samsara that the Buddha had to experience before reaching enlightenment.
    • The main structure of the Great Stupa consisted of a flattened hemispherical dome, called an anda, placed atop a cylindrical base. Anda, literally an egg, alluded not only to the shape, but to its deeper significance as a symbol of latent creative power.
    • The anda was also intended as an architectural replica of the infinite dome of heaven, representing the cycle of death and rebirth.
    • The harmika, located at the summit of the anda, symbolized the zenith beyond life and death (nirvana). Its resemblance to a sacrificial altar was of particular significance for the attainment of nirvana required the sacrifice of the self and the world (what was below needed to be sacrificed to reach the top).
    • The parasol was always a distinguishing feature that implied royalty and dignity; it symbolized the sacred Tree of Life or enlightenment.
    • The three elements of the chattra at Sanchi represented the Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Dharma (the Law), and the Sangha (the community of monks).
    • Vedikas were repeated around the stupa and on the terrace on which the anda rested (medhi level). They served to demarcate the boundary of the sacred precinct with the secular world.

    In this way Buddhist stupa-art successfully expounds Buddhist ideals.

  • Indian Heritage & Culture

    2. 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)

    Krishnadeva Raya who ruled the kingdom of Vijayanagara was one of the greatest statesmen which medieval South India had produced. Called variously as ‘Kannadaraya’, ‘Sri Karnata Mahisa’ and ‘Kannada Rajya Ramaramana’, his rule saw all round prosperity of South India, culturally and materialistically.

    Krishnadeva Raya was a great patron of literature and was known as Abhinava Bhoja. Himself being a scholar, he wrote the Telugu work Amuktamalyada and a Sanskrit play, Jambavati Kalyana.

    • He had eight great scholars called Ashtadiggajas in his court. They included Allasani Peddana often described as the Andhra-kavitapitamaha. His famous work was Manucharitamu; another famous poet was Nandi Thimmanna, the author of Parijathapaharanamu.
    • Other eminent literary luminaries were Tenali Ramakrishna, Kumara Dhurjati and Rama Raja Bhushana.
    • He asked the Kannada poet Thimmanna to complete the Kannada Mahabharatha started by Kumara Vyasa.
    • Telugu poet Peddanna was personally honoured by him for his proficiency in Telugu and Sanskrit and Krishnadevaraya himself gave a helping hand to lift the palanquin in which the poets book 'Manucharitamu' was placd and taken in a procession.

    It is said whenever Krishna-devaraya met the poet while riding on his elephant, he gave him a lift. According to Nidatavolu Venkata Rao, the reign of Krishnadevaraya is a glorious chapter in the South Indian literary history. The imperial court had representatives of Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil poets, who contributed largely to their respective literatures.

  • Indian History

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

    The Revolt of 1857 gave a severe jolt to the British administration in India and made its re-organization inevitable. The Government of India’s structure and policies underwent significant changes after the Revolt.

    Changes in Administration: By the Act of Parliament of 1858, the power to govern India was transferred from the East India Company to the British Crown. The authority over India was now to be exercised by a Secretary of State for India aided by a Council.

    The Indian Council Act of 1861 enlarged the Governor’s Council for the purpose of making laws, which was known as the Imperial Legislative Council.

    Provincial Administration: The British had divided India for administrative convenience into provinces, three of which- Bengal, Bombay and Madras-were known as Presidencies. The Presidencies were administered by a Governor and his Executive Council of three, who were appointed by the Crown.

    Changes in the army: The domination of the army by its European branch was carefully guaranteed. The proportion of Europeans to Indians in the army was raised. The crucial branches of artillery, tanks and armored corps were put exclusively in European hands. The Indians were strictly excluded from the higher posts.

    Divide and Rule: Immediately after the revolt they suppressed Muslims, confiscated their lands and property on a large scale, and declared Hindus to be their favorite. After 1870, this policy was reversed and an attempt was made to turn Muslims against the nationalist movement. The Government cleverly used the attraction of government service to create a split between the educated Hindus and Muslims.

    Relations with Princely States: Loyalty of Princely States was now rewarded with the announcement that their right to adopt heirs would be respected and the integrity of their territories guaranteed against future annexation.

    The officials became hostile to the educated Indians when the latter began to organise a nationalist movement among the people and founded the Indian National Congress.

    The lands of most of the talukdars of Awadh were restored to them. The zamindars and landlords were now hailed as the traditional and ‘natural’ leaders of the Indian people. Their interest and privilege were protected and they, in turn, became the firm supporters of British rule in India.

    Hence, in essence, uprising in 1857 was an important mark from which the British government started consolidating its hold over India, with an aim of having long lasting empire.

  • Indian History

    4. Discuss the role of women in the freedom struggle especially during the Gandhian phase. (2016)

    The freedom struggle in India symbolized a cauldron in which various sections of society contributed according to their potential to create a flavor of nationalism. In this context the role of women is very significant. The role of women in national movement evolved through various stages during which they were awarded different roles. Initially stages, the literati portrayed Indian women as ‘Mother’ and linked it to ‘Bharat Mata’ (in Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya’s Anand Nath). The reform movements of 19th century presented the image of Ideal mother, Ideal wife and Ideal sister.

    Women’s active participation in mass movements began with the Swadeshi Movement in 1905 and only grew in later movements. Gandhiji accorded special role to women in NCM and CDM. He glorified their strength despite accepting their biological and social limitations. During Gandhian struggles the image of women changed from motherhood to sisterhood. To inspire confidence in them, Gandhiji presented examples of Sita and Damayanti. Some of women leaders during Gandhian struggle are as follows:

    • Anusuya Ben — Accompanied gandhiji in his tours and actively participated in 1918 Ahmedabad Textile milk strikes.
    • Sarojini Naidu — Led the raid on Dharasana salt works during civil movement following gandhiji arrest along with his son Manilal.
    • Mridula Sarabai — A Gandhian who worked with Vanara Sena (Organised by Indira Gandhi).
    • Besant — Helped Gandhiji organised Rowlatt Satyagrahs through Home Rule Leagues.

    In addition to these Gandhian leaders, women also participated in freedom struggle in other capacities:

    • Revolutionary Extremists — Kalpana Dutta (Chittagong Armoury raid), Bina Das/shot Bengal governor point blank, Durga Bhabhi/member of HSRA) etc.
    • Women during Quit India Movement — Usha Mehta (Congress Radio), Sucheta Kriplani/Underground movement) etc.
    • Indian National Army’s Rani Jhansi regiment led by Lakshmi Swaminadhan (Sehgal).

  • Indian History

    5. Highlight the difference in the approach of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom. (2016)

    Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose were both legendary personalities, gigantic in their political moral and ethical stature. Both played crucial roles in the freedom movement. They were both internationalists and humanists as well as secular in their approach and anti-social in their outlook. In spite of their common thought process, there were glaring differences in their approach. They are as follows:

    • Subhash Chandra Bose was a radical socialist meaning that he wanted to change the existing socio-economic situation whereas Gandhi was a conservative.
    • The young members, of INC including Bose demanded complete self-rule without any compromise while the senior members were okay with dominion status for India within British rule.
    • Bose had a strong revolutionary urge to achieve freedom while Gandhi believed in passive resistance.
    • Bose proposed the idea of complete Independence from the British rule. He wanted Swaraj based on all out struggle. Gandhi on the other hand believed in the concept of Struggle-Truce-Struggle. Gandhi was in favour of trusteeship theory and aspired village to be self-sustained economy.
    • Bose was a strong supporter of Fascism which was obvious in his strong belief that India needed a political system which was a mix of fascism and communism. Gandhi on the other hand was an anti fascist who did not propagate any such extreme political system.
    • Bose was open to the idea of taking foreign assistance to achieve freedom as seen in the formation of Indian national Association while Gandhi was completely against any such idea.

    Despite their ideological defferences both Gandhi and Bose spoke highly of each other. There were occasions when Bose praised Gandhi for his success in involvement of women in freedom struggle. Even Gandhi while differing from Bose’s extreme methods had utmost admiration for his unique effort for India’s freedom, mainly his struggle for freedom from outside India. Cue must be taken from these two great leaders’ tolerance and respect towards each other even after serious difference of opinion.

  • Post Independence Consolidation of India

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

    Though the demand for linguistic states precedes India’s independence, it was resisted by national leaders in the early years of independence. It was feared that demand for separate states along linguistic lines would endanger the unity of the young nation. It was felt that linguistic states may foster separatism and create pressures on the newly founded nation.

    However, the prophets of gloom and doom have been disproved. Linguistic states have strengthened not weakened Indian unity. It did not lead to the disintegration of the country as was feared. By accepting linguistic claims of all regions, the threat of division and separatism was reduced. The linguistic states underlined the acceptance of the principle of diversity. By embracing democracy, India did not merely adopt this format of elections, but it was a choice in favour of recognizing and accepting the existence of difference which could at times be oppositional. By reorganizing states on linguistic lines, a major grievance and source of discord was removed which could have led to separatist tendencies.

    Further, linguistic states have in no manner adversely affected the federal structure of the union. The central government wields as much authority as it did before. If anything, national government has been strengthened by the creation of coherent state units which could be administered through a medium that the vast majority of the population understands.

    In hindsight, instead of being a force of division, language has proved to be a cementing and integrating influence.

  • World History

    7. The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa were led by the new elite of Western-educated Africans. Examine. (2016)

    The anti colonial struggles in West Africa as response to European imperialism assumed both violent and non-violent form of resistance and spanned from late nineteenth century to mid twentieth century. The form of resistance depended upon number of factors - influence of religion, nature of the colony, degree of imperialism etc.

    The role of intellectuals in the freedom struggle in various phases stood out as beacon of hope for later movements (apartheid in South Africa in second half of twentieth century). One of the outstanding figures in West Africa colonial struggle was Samouri Toure. He created large Mandinka Empire in West Africa and his struggle is a significant example of pragmatic resistance against French. He manufactured firearms, relocated his kingdom and engaged in diplomacy with both French and British.

    Another form of resistance continued alongside violent resistance i.e. , the use of propaganda through press and literature by intellectuals. J.T. Jabavu established the press ‘Native opinion’ (Imvozaba NTsundu) through which Black south Africans expressed their opinions. The ‘Lagos weakly Record’ was founded by John Payne Jackson, an America-Liberian journalist who was influential in Lagos, Nigeria in 19th–20th Century.

    Besides press, the African intelligentsia also used societies, clubs and associations as vehicles for arising consciousness and disseminating information. The Gold Coast Aborigines Rights Protection Society (APRS) was one was one such associations formed in 1880s. In 1898 the ARPS successfully sent a petition to London to address issues with land Bill, and later for repealing the Town council ordinance. Another important organization founded in twentieth century was the ‘National Congress of British west Africa’ located in the gold cost which consisted of mostly African intellectual.

  • Indian Society

    8. To what extent globalisation has influenced the core of cultural diversity in India? Explain. (2016)

    Globalisation refers to the increased interconnectedness across the countries of the world whether economically, culturally or technologically. It has a particularly profound effect on the cultural diversity of a country. For India, its influence can be explained as following:

    • Family structure — Increasing urbanization as a consequence of globalization has resulted in migration of people from rural areas, resulting in the disintegration of the joint family system. A new trend of nuclear families with one or maximum two children has emerged in India.
    • Role of Women — As a result of globalization, women in India have become more aware of their rights and are now stepping out of homes to pursue not only schooling but higher education and jobs. With patriarchy’s influence decreasing, women are taking leading roles in various walks of life.
    • Role of caste is decreasing — with increasing urbanization as a result of globalisation, not only are caste barriers breaking at workplace but also at areas of living-people belonging to all caste work and live together. On the other hand, class discrimination is increasing.
    • Lifestyle — Whether it be in attire, food habits or taste in music, there has been an attempt to imitate the West. Sarees, Salwar-Kameez for women has given way to skirts and pant, jeans and shirts. Similarly for men, traditional dhoti-kurta has been replaced by shirts and trousers. Even in food habits, junk food like pizzas, burgers, pasta are the preferred choices of the youth today in India.
    • Language — English today is becoming the favoured mode of communication among the people of India over their mother tongues.

  • Indian Society

    9. "An essential condition to eradicate poverty is to liberate the poor from the process of deprivation." Substantiate this statement with suitable examples. (2016)

    Poverty is a state of being where a section of the society is unable to fulfill even its basic necessities of life. They are deprived of food, clothing, shelter and income. This is rooted in the underlying structural inequities in the economy and the inherent disadvantages arising out of social impediments such as lack of education, poor health etc. Therefore, to eradicate poverty, it is essential to liberate the poor from the process of deprivation. This can be done by providing them education, equipping them with skills to sustain a livelihood and providing them health care services to make them physically fit also to work. At the same time, to absorb them into the labour force, there has to be adequate number of job opportunities—without which all the efforts will be a waste.

    Recognising this, the government policies have shifted away from traditional poverty alleviation schemes to a more multipronged approach to end this process of deprivation. There have been programmes and policies like—

    • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act — it aims to enhance the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage-employment in a year to adult members of a rural household.
    • Right to Education Act — to provide free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6-14 years.
    • Skill India Mission — to rapidly implement and scale up skill development efforts across India.
    • National Health Mission — to provide universal access to equitable, affordable and quality health care service across rural and urban areas.
    • Make in India initiative, attracting FDI, promoting entrepreneurship through start-up India to create jobs in the country.

    The steps taken by the government are in the right direction and will go a long way in ending the process of deprivation if implemented effectively.

  • Indian Society

    10. Why are the tribals in India referred to as ‘the Scheduled Tribes’? Indicate the major provisions enshrined in the Constitution of India for their upliftment. (2016)

    The framers of the Constitution took note of the fact that tribal communities in the country were suffering from extreme social, educational and economic backwardness arising out of colonial practice of isolation and certain others. On account of these primitive agricultural practices, lack of infrastructure facilities and geographical isolation. These communities needed special consideration for safeguarding their interests and for their accelerated socio-economic development. So these communities were notified as Scheduled Tribes as per provisions of THE CONSTITUTION (SCHEDULED TRIBES) ORDER, 1950 passed by President compliant with Articles 342 of the Constitution.

    For the Socio-economic and overall development of the Tribal people, special provisions and safeguards have been provided in the Constitution of India under following provisions.

    • Art. 15(4): Special provisions for advancement of other backward classes (which includes STs);
    • Art. 46: The State shall promote the educational and economic interests of the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
    • Art.244: Clause(1) Provisions of Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration & control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any State other than the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura which are covered under Sixth Schedule, under Clause (2) of this Article.
    • Art. 275: Grants in-Aid to specified States (STs & SAs) covered under Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution.
    • Art.164 (1): Provides for Tribal Affairs Ministers in Bihar, MP and Orissa.
    • Art. 330: Reservation of seats for STs in Lok Sabha.
    • Art. 337: Reservation of seats for STs in State Legislatures.
    • Art. 334: 10 years period for reservation (Amended several times to extend the period.).
    • Art. 243: Reservation of seats in Panchayats.
    • Art. 371: Special provisions in respect of NE States and Sikkim.

    Apart from these provisions, 73rd Amendment Act, Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) have also been introduced in constitution which have various provisions for upliftment of tribal people.

  • Geography

    11. With a brief background of quality of urban life in India, introduce the objectives and strategy of the ‘Smart City Programme.” (2016)

    A 2015 report from PwC and Save the Children uncovered some of the conditions India’s urban poor are living in. The challenges they face are enormous such as: 1. Housing and Slums; 2. Crowding and Depersonalisation; 3. Water Supply and Drainage; 4. Transportation and Traffic; 5. Power Shortage, 6. Sanitation; 7. Pollution. In Mumbai, for example, over 50% of the population live in informal settlements. As a result, they have little or no access to basic services: water, sanitation, power and waste management.

    Government of India launched Smart Cities Mission to identify and roll out smart cities in order to drive economic growth, strengthen governance as well as enhance the quality of life for people.

    • A 'smart city' is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability. It is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents. There are many technological platforms involved, including but not limited to automated sensor networks and data centres.
    • Provision for affordable basic services such as adequate water supply, assured electricity supply, sanitation including solid waste management, affordable housing, especially for the poor, good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation etc would be the features of Smart Cities.
    • Apart from this, the government is partnering with countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Singapore to leverage their expertise for making Indian cities smart.
    • In a smart city, economic development and activity is sustainable and rationally incremental by virtue of being based on success-oriented market drivers such as supply and demand. They benefit everybody, including citizens, businesses, the government and the environment.

    These provisions under smart city, if implemented earnestly will go a long way in enabling the urban dweller to have a wholesome experience of city life.

  • Indian Society

    12. What is the basis of regionalism? Is it that unequal distribution of benefits of development on regional basis eventually promotes regionalism? Substantiate your answer. (2016)

    Regionalism can be defined as a phenomenon in which people’s political loyalties become focused upon a region. In other words, it implies people’s love of a particular region in preference to the country. Thus the phenomenon of regionalism is centered on the concept of region. Some of the most important the causes of regionalism in India are as follows: (i) Geographical Factor (ii) Historical and Cultural Factors (iii) Caste and Region (iv)Economic Factors (v) Political-Administrative Factors.

    In the present times, uneven developments in different parts of the country may be construed as the prime reason for regionalism. There are certain regions in the country where industries and factories have been concentrated, educational and health facilities are sufficiently provided, communication network has been developed, rapid agricultural development has been made possible. But there are also certain areas where the worth of independence is yet to be realized in terms of socio-economic development.

    The British administration may be held responsible for causing such wide regional variations due to their need that suited case of administration, trade and commerce. But in the post-Independence era, efforts should have been made for regional balance in matters of industrial, agricultural and above all, economic development. This disparity has caused the feeling of relative deprivation among the inhabitants of economically neglected regions. It has manifested itself in the demand for separate states such as Bodoland or Jharkhand land, Uttarakhand, etc.

    Successful demand of separate Telangana state is the manifestation of growing regionalism in India.

    In a country as diverse as India, regionalism is inevitable. However, Through regionally balanced policy making, it can be accommodated as an enabler in the larger goals of national integration.

  • Geography

    13. Discuss the concept of air mass and explain its role in macro-climatic changes. (2016)

    An air mass is a large volume of air in the atmosphere that is mostly uniform in temperature and moisture. Air masses can extend thousands of kilometers across the surface of the Earth, and can reach from ground level to the stratosphere—16 kilometers (10 miles) into the atmosphere.

    Air masses form over large surfaces with uniform temperatures and humidity, called source regions. Low wind speeds let air remain stationary long enough to take on the features of the source region, such as heat or cold. Meteorologists identify air masses according to their place of origin.

    There are four categories of air masses: arctic, tropical, polar and equatorial. Arctic air masses form in the Arctic region and are very cold. Tropical air masses form in low-latitude areas and are moderately warm. Polar air masses take shape in high-latitude regions and are cold. Equatorial air masses develop near the Equator, and are warm.

    Role of Air mass in Macro Climate Changes

    • The properties of an air mass which influence the accompanying weather are vertical distribution temperature (indicating its stability and coldness or warmness) and the moisture content.
    • The air masses carry atmospheric moisture from oceans to continents and cause precipitation over landmasses.
    • They transport latent heat, thus removing the latitudinal heat balance.
    • Most of the migratory atmospheric disturbances such as temperate cyclones and storms originate at the contact zone between different air masses and the weather associated with these disturbances is determined by characteristics of the air masses involved.

  • Geography

    14. “The Himalayas are highly prone to landslides.” Discuss the causes and suggest suitable measures of mitigation. (2016)

    Landslides are simply defined as the mass movement of rock, debris or earth down a slope and have come to include a broad range of motions whereby falling, sliding and flowing under the influence of gravity dislodges earth material. They often take place in conjunction with earthquakes, floods and volcanoes. In the hilly terrain of India including the Himalayas, landslides have been a major and widely spread natural disaster that often strike life and property and occupy a position of major concern. Example: the Uttarakhand tragedy.

    The reason why Himalayas are particularly vulnerable to landslides is because the mountain belt comprises of tectonically unstable younger geological formations subjected to severe seismic activity. The slides in the Himalayas region are huge and massive and in most cases the overburden along with the underlying lithology is displaced during sliding particularly due to the seismic factor. The landslide-prone Himalayan terrain also belongs to the maximum earthquake-prone zones and thus is also prone to earthquake-triggered landslides. The slopes of the mountains have immature and rugged topography, high seismicity and high rainfall, all contributing to the region's high vulnerability to landslides.

    Like any other natural hazard they can't be entirely eliminated. The damage however can be reduced by planning and disaster management. This can be done through:

    • Treating vulnerable slopes and existing hazardous landslides.
    • Restricting development in landslide-prone areas.
    • Preparing codes for excavation, construction and grading.
    • Protecting existing developments.
    • Monitoring and warning systems.
    • Putting in place arrangements for landslide insurance and compensation for losses.

    Above measures, if integrated in development and planning of Himalayan states will ensure sufficient protection against tragedies like Uttarakhand floods.

  • Geography

    15. The effective management of land and water resources will drastically reduce the human miseries. Explain. (2016)

    The twin problems of recurrent drought in Maharashtra- Telangana region resulting in suicides and furore over displacement of residents following forcible land acquisitions hold a common thread - increasing demand and avid scarcity of resources. While from the advent of life on earth water is a sin qua non for survival, exponential increase in population has put pressure on land too. Thus effective management of these two resources is important for mankind’s survival which involves the smart utilization of land and water for various purposes such as.

    • Economic: Balancing industrialisation needs with that of land for cultivation. Thus as far as possible cultivable land should be left for agricultural purposes.
    • Social: Land is required for settlement. Amid population explosion and transition of economy (Rostow’s model) has created urban clusters which if not managed will lead to slums development. Thus instead of a growth pole for industrialisation, India needs to develop more cities, industrial complexes.
    • Ecological: Land development for ecological needs such as forestry, wetland, biodiversity rich parks etc. would stabalise the gene pool and the food web. At all tropical levels effective management of water involves these components.
    • Recycling and reusing waste water through treatment.
    • Storing excess water (rain water harvesting, building canals and reservoirs)
    • Smart Agriculture (micro irrigation, hydroponics)
    • Minimising water pollution through sewage treatment as well as treating industrial water before release.

  • Geography

    16. South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance in the present context. Comment. (2016)

    South China Sea is a marginal sea of Pacific Ocean having the area of 3,500,000 square kilometer situated on the south of China. South China Sea has been “apple of discord” between US and China in international affairs for decades. Not only US-China rivalry but also regional countries have been motivated to involve on the territory as it’s one of the lucrative territories in both geopolitical and strategic dynamics. Now, it has become a global issue even small countries are involving vis-à-vis position. Philippine already has gone to Permanent Court of Arbitration against China and the court verdict is in favour of its claim.

    Geopolitical significance of South China Sea

    • South China Sea is the sea route for 50% global trade. It is the link between the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. Malacca strait is the economical sea passage of Persian Gulf. Thus it becomes an imp Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOC) for US, China, Japan, Korean Peninsula and East Asian countries.
    • It’s the territory where a vast number of gas, petroleum and mineral resources are preserved, hence SCS attains strategic place as energy store house, important for both developed and developing countries.
    • South China Sea covers 12% of global fish products. China, Philippine, Vietnam etc produce a huge number of fisheries resources.
    • There are some other valuable materials like Limonite, Monazite, Zircon, Cassiterite, Arenaceous quartz etc. which are very important raw materials for industries. South China Sea is also rich in salt.

    While geopolitics indicates geographical relations with politics, it also has strategic importance. The power politics, military interests have made South China Sea important. The concept of Exclusive Economic Zone could be another conflicting zone between China and its neighbours.

  • Geography

    17. Major cities of India are becoming vulnerable to flood conditions. Discuss. (2016)

    Indian cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are being continuously deluged by the floods, throwing the amenities of urban life to question. Along with climate change, that has resulted in such unexpected monsoon spills, the other reasons that can be attributed to it are:

    • Haphazard and rapid urbanization without proper planning has put the natural carrying capacity of cities under stress, severely limiting their drainage capacity.
    • Improper and unregulated urbanization has also led to failure of civic authorities to manage drainage resulting in poor sewage treatment, clogging of drains and sewer lines thus intensifying drainage problem during monsoon.
    • Urbanization and associated activities like dredging, spilling on to the fragile coastal and river beds, thus hampering their natural absorptive capacity.
    • Destruction of wetlands in and around cities which act as natural absorbers of excess runoff during monsoons.

    To prevent such flooding of cities, following measures need to be taken:

    • Proper urban planning along with provisions for efficient drainage system.
    • Strict regulations on construction in fragile coastal and riverbed systems.
    • Rainwater harvesting systems should be put up.
    • Timely preparedness and precautions should be taken by the municipal bodies like cleaning of drainage systems, traffic management, out flow provisions for excess water before onset of monsoons.
    • Disaster management team to be put in place to chalk out pre and post disaster responses to minimize losses due to such eventualities.

    Apart from above measures, robust implementation of Sendai framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-30,effective utilization of government schemes like AMRUT, Smart Cities and further impetus on Coastal Zone Management and Regulation should be undertaken to deal with such challenges.

  • Geography

    18. Major cities of India are becoming vulnerable to flood conditions. Discuss. (2016)

    Indus Water treaty was signed in 1960 by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then Pakistan President Ayub Khan, the treaty allocates 80% of water from the six-river Indus water system to Pakistan. India got control over the rivers Beas, Ravi and Sutlej whereas Pakistan got control over Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. India could use the water from Indus, Chenab and Jhelum for non consumptive purposes. A Permanent Indus Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing. The Treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably.

    Its implications in changing bilateral relations

    • About 65% area of Pakistan, including the entire Punjab province, is a part of the Indus basin. The water from Indus is important for the country for irrigation, drinking and other purposes. India’s decision to abrogate the treaty would affect Pakistan severely. Pakistan may face drought-like conditions.
    • To deter India from employing its water leverage, the anxiety of Chinese retaliation has been invented. The main Indus stream and the Sutlej, originated in Tibet and collect their main water in India.
    • India at present enjoys a moral high ground because it respects all its treaties with the neighbouring countries. The decision to abrogate the treaty would make other smaller neighbours uneasy.
    • The China may take similar actions in future in case of conflict. Indus originates in China and if the country decides to divert the Indus, India would lose over 35% of its river water.
    • The treaty has been brokered by World Bank. Abrogating the treaty may lead to Pakistan taking India to international dispute settlement agencies.
    • It would affect India’s chances of diplomatically isolating Pakistan.
    • India may face environmental challenges if it decides to scrap the treaty and starts building dams etc. Since river flows through earthquake prone region.

    Hence, before taking a decision on such an important international treaty with huge diplomatic, environmental and security repercu-ssions, India should weigh in all pros of cons and take a practical view.

  • Geography

    19. Enumerate the problems and prospects of inland water transport in India. (2016)

    India is estimated to have nearly 14,500 km of navigable inland waterways, even though the exploitation of sector has remained neglected as most waterways in the country require constant dredging on account of heavy silting and draft is available only seasonally.

    In the European Union it is 44 per cent. Inland waterways transportation in India, however, is a paltry 3 per cent. The number of vessels carrying cargo that ply on inland waterway systems in China and the EU are 2,00,000 and 11,000, respectively, while there are less than 1,000 vessels estimated to be using the Indian inland waterway systems. The crucial difference being that these countries have maintained and upgraded their river systems on core routes that can support large modern vessel fleets up to 40,000 tonnes of cargo on a single voyage, even as India is struggling to create depth in its river systems for vessels of 1,500 tonnage to go through. Even in Bangladesh, about 35 per cent of the freight movement is by inland waterways, according to ADB figures.

    Problems of Inland Water Transport

    • There is a seasonal fall in water level in rivers especially in the rain-fed rivers of the peninsula which become nearly dry during summer.
    • Reduced flow due to diversion of water for irrigation, for instance, in the Ganga which makes it difficult even for steamers to ply.
    • There is reduced navigability due to siltation, as in the Bhagirathi-Hooghly and in the Buckingham Canal.
    • There are problems in smooth navigation because of waterfalls and cataracts. For example, in rivers like Narmada and Tapti.
    • Salinity, especially in the coastal stretches, affects navigation.

    India should cash on its huge inland river network by addressing the above problems to save huge energy, time and environment costs (pollution)which it incurs on transport through road and rail network.

  • Geography

    20. In what way micro-watershed development projects help in water conservation in drought-prone and semi-arid regions of India? (2016)

    A watershed is a geo-hydrological unit, which drains into a common point. Watershed management is a comprehensive programme to maximize land and water utilization available in the region. Micro-watershed development projects involve regional planning at village and other micro levels to manage and improve water use efficiency that indirectly enhances agricultural productivity and income of rural households.

    Micro-watershed management through development projects become imperative in drought-prone and semi-arid regions that reels under constant water scarcity and drought conditions. Ways in which such development projects help conserve water are:

    • Land Development that includes in-situ soil and moisture conservation measures like contour and graded bunds that are fortified by plantation.
    • Afforestation Programmes that include block plantations, agro-forestry and horticultural development. This increases the green cover of the region and enhancing ground water recharge rate.
    • Repair, restoration and up-gradation of existing common property assets and structures under the watershed projects optimize sustained benefits.
    • Innovative management practices like crop demonstrations for popularizing new crops/varieties that are less water dependent and are well suited to the agro-climatic conditions of the region.
    • Other measures like renovation and augmentation of water resources, desiltation of tanks for drinking water/irrigation also improves water availability in the region.
    • Development of small water harvesting structures such as low-cost farm ponds, check-dams under watershed management programmes also augments percolation & ground water recharge rates.

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