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20 Solved Questions with Answers
  • Ancient History and Art & Culture

    1. Safeguarding the Indian art heritage is the need of the moment. Discuss. (2018)

    India has a vast basket of diverse art and cultural heritage which need institutional support and encouragement to address areas critical for their survival and preservation.

    We need to preserve our art heritage because of the following reasons.

    • Presently, many Indian art forms are on the verge of extinction such as Manjusha painting of Bihar, traditional art of Puppetry, Parsi embroidery, Naga craft, Dhokra handicraft, etc., which need protection and preservation.
    • India has a unique identity in the world for its art and culture which represents Indian civilization on world platform and if it vanishes the uniqueness of India will get affected.
    • For many tribal communities, art and craft is the source of income.
    • This is also the source of attraction for tourism which contributes to economic development of the country.
    • Art heritage also represents “unity in diversity” of India and builds a bridge between people living abroad to get connected with their native country.
    • Art and culture is also a part of soft power in world politics.

    Government has started many initiatives to preserve the rich art heritage of the country, such as, Scheme for Conservation of Wall Painting (1996-97), Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat programe, Tribal haats, GI tag to the local products, e-haat, etc. Apart from strict implementation of such programmes, Government should provide financial assistance to strengthen regional and local museums, preserve art heritage through virtual media, and promote local paintings on products like wallet, mobile cover, pillow cover, etc.

  • Ancient History and Art & Culture

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

    Reconstruction of Indian history of the ancient and medieval era is a daunting task owing to lack of chronological records, and subjectivity in the interpretation of archaeological and literary sources.

    In this context, accounts of foreign travellers, who were eye witnesses to the events that occurred at that time, become an important source to corroborate other sources of history.

    Chinese Accounts

    Accounts of Fa-hien, Hsuan Tsang, and I-tsing have proved to be a valuable source of information on the Gupta period and the years following the end of Gupta rule. They provided vital information about:

    • Socio-economic conditions in India - For example, Fa-hien mentions about the Chandalas (untouchables) living outside the village. This shows that untouchablility was prevalent in the society as early as 5th Century AD.
    • Existing political conditions - For example, Hsuan Tsang’s account shows that during Harsha’s reign (7th Century AD), Pataliputra was in a state of decline and on the other hand, Prayag and Kannauj in the doab had emerged important.
    • Nature of Buddhist doctrines, rituals, and monastic institutions in India - For example - Hsuan Tsang and I-tsing provided vivid accounts of Nalanda.

    Arab Accounts

    • Arab travellers such as the merchants - Sulayman, Abu Zaid, etc. provided vivid accounts on Indian culture and science, which are valuable sources for the study of early medieval Indian history.
    • Abu Zaid noted that most Indian princes while holding court, allowed their women to be seen unveiled – highlighting that there was no system of purdah (veiling) in upper class women in early medieval India.
    • Arab travellers also provide information about the socio-economic condition through their description of trade contacts and the wealth which was exclusively derived from the trade with India.
    • Arab travellers of the period like Al-Beruni and Ibn Battuta had direct personal contacts with the people of Indian subcontinent which enabled them to give detailed first hand information in their accounts about the economic, social and other activities of the people.

    Though there are issues associated with the reliability of the accounts provided by these travellers owing to their personal biases, still they are key sources for finding out the missing links in the reconstruction of Indian history.

  • Ancient History and Art & Culture

    3. Throw light on the significance of thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi in the present times. (2018)

    Gandhian thoughts underline the most humane way to resolve many of the problems that plague our times, as can be ascertained from the list given below:

    Gandhian Thoughts

    Significance

    Non-violence

    The ideal of non-violence needs to guide the approach of individuals as well as nations and world-organizations, as violence initiates a vicious circle of repression and injustice.

    Satyagraha

    The moral framework of resistance which marked satyagraha is especially pertinent in the times when to be quiet or to collaborative seem to be the only dominant choice in face of any injustice.

    Swaraj

    In the age of markets laden with products based on generating and gratifying instinct of social approval and when public-imagination is becoming increasingly vulnerable to demagogues, the idea of Swaraj which had economic, social, spiritual and political connotations continues to be significant.

    Eliminating Untouchability

    Caste disrimination has still not ceased to be a feature of Indian-public life. Gandhian ideal of social consciousness to eliminate it needs to be taken forward.

    Women Emancipation

    With glass-ceiling still far from being shattered in the public sphere, the Gandhian thought of women emancipation continues to hold relevance.


    Gandhian thoughts about compassion, punctuality and sanitation are the other ideals that continue to hold value in our times marked by strife, procrastination in public and private lives and casual attitude towards hygiene.

    Ultimately, all ideals and thoughts of the Mahatma were reached by him via a process of life long experimentation with truths and this makes Gandhian thoughts most significant in what is also being called by a few as post-truth era.

  • Geography

    4. Why is Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) needed? How does it help in navigation? (2018)

    IRNSS: NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is an independent and indigenous regional navigation satellite system developed by India. It is a set of 8 satellites which will be located in suitable orbital slots - geostationary or geosynchronous.

    It makes India only the sixth country in the world to have its own navigation system.

    This frees India from dependence on other countries for its navigation (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo etc.).

    Given that it’s primary service area is India and the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary, it’s expected to be more accurate (better than 20 m) and reliable. Also, this will help solidify India’s position as a regional power as NavIC will be open for use by India’s neighbours as well.

    Further, it will help meet local user requirements of the positioning, navigation and timing services.

    Navigation

    • IRNSS will provide two types of navigation services:
      • Standard Positioning Service – for all users.
      • Restricted Service – an encrypted service only for authourised users.
    • The signals broadcast by IRNSS satellites will transmit navigation service signals (timing and position information) to the users.
    • This data will be used to give users visual and voice navigation assistance.
    • These will form the basis for variety of navigation applications:
      • Land navigation – traffic management, tracking train’s movement, land survey, etc.
      • Marine navigation – fishermen, merchant ships, port operations, disaster management, etc.
      • Aerial navigation – civil aviation, military operations, etc.

  • Geography

    5. Why is India taking keen interest in resources of Arctic region? (2018)

    According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India’s interests in Arctic Ocean region are commercial, strategic, environmental and scientific. Pursuant to this, in 2013, India gained Observer status in the Arctic Council.

    • Potential Natural Resources: Arctic region holds oil and natural gas resources which can boost India’s energy security and diversify its energy imports especially when West Asia is under geopolitical turmoil. Arctic is also an abundant source for fishing.
    • Potential for Newer Shipping Routes: As global climate warms up and polar ice recedes, new paths between Asia, Europe and North America become open which can reduce cost of transportation for India’s exports and imports. For example, the Northern Sea Route, a mostly frozen seaway can become navigable throughout the year.
    • Increased Vulnerability of Coastal Communities: Melting of ice on large scale can make India’s coastal cities more vulnerable to sea level rise.
    • Potential for Joint Research on Environmental Issues: Joint research with countries like Norway can help India in better research on issues related to aerosol radiation, space weather, glacier cycles which are also mandate of Himadri Research Station.
    • Geopolitical Importance: While a treaty for Arctic, a global common, being negotiated, it is a strategic necessity to mould it in India’s favour. Also, India needs to make investments to match Chinese investments in Arctic.

  • Geography

    6. Define mantle plume and explain its role in plate tectonics. (2018)

    Mantle plume is an upwelling of abnormally hot rock within the earth's mantle which carries heat upward in narrow, rising columns, driven by heat exchange across the core-mantle boundary. Eventually, the rising column of hot rock reaches the base of the lithosphere, where it spreads out, forming a mushroom-shaped cap to the plume. Heat transferred from the plume raises the temperature in the lower lithosphere to above melting point, and forms magma chambers that feed volcanoes at the surface. It is a secondary way through which earth loses heat. In 1971, geophysicist W. Jason Morgan developed the hypothesis of mantle plumes.

    Role of Mantle Plumes in Plate Tectonics

    • Mantle plumes transport primordial mantle material from below the zone of active convection; produce time-progressive volcanic chains; break up continents; and act as a driving force for plate tectonics.
    • The narrow conduits of deep-mantle material rise through the solid mantle before spreading out laterally in the upper asthenosphere. From there, they cause the lithosphere to swell and shear as the heat from the plume increases the temperature of lower lithosphere.
    • Mantle plumes are also thought to be the cause of volcanic centers known as hotspots and probably have also caused flood basalts.
    • As the plume remains anchored at the core-mantle boundary and it does not shift position over time, a string of volcanoes is created when the lithospheric plate moves above it. The formation of the Hawaiian Island and Emperor Seamount chain in the middle of the Pacific Plate are caused by mantle plume.

  • Geography

    7. What are the consequences of spreading of ‘Dead Zones’ on marine ecosystems? (2018)

    "Dead Zone" is a more common term for hypoxia, which refers to a reduced level of oxygen in the water in some parts of the world's oceans and large lakes. In March 2004, Global Environment Outlook Year Book, published by the UN Environment Programme, reported 146 dead zones in the world's oceans. One of the largest dead zones forms in the Gulf of Mexico every spring. Hypoxic zones can occur naturally but climate change, nutrients run-off from the land, and eutrophication are leading to algal bloom and causing further depletion of oxygen level in water. As a result dead zones are spreading at much faster pace.

    Consequences of spreading dead zones on marine ecosystem:

    • The reduced dissolved oxygen in ocean water results in loss of marine life thus the habitats which were teeming with life become biological desert.
    • Toxic algal blooms release toxins that can poison fish, molluscs and marine mammals like dolphins. Thus, affecting marine ecosystem by altering its food chain.
    • The reproductive problems emanate when the oxygen level depletes i.e. there is lower egg count and less spawning.
    • Slow moving bottom-dwelling creatures like clams, lobsters and oysters are unable to escape the dead zone and face extinction.
    • When fast moving marine species flee from the dead zones and occupy a new habitat, they cause overcrowding of their new habitats and affect the ecosystem services over there.

    It is clear that the spread of dead zones can affect most marine ecosystems and have socio-economic ramifications due to human dependency on marine goods and services.

  • Indian Society

    8. “Caste system is assuming new identities and associational forms. Hence, caste system cannot be eradicated in India”. Comment. (2018)

    Introduction

    • Caste refers to a broad hierarchical institutional arrangement along which basic social factors like birth, marriage, food-sharing etc are arranged in a hierarchy of rank and status. These sub-divisions are traditionally linked to occupations and decide the social relations with respect to other upper and lower castes.
    • The traditional hierarchical ordering of castes was based on the distinction between ‘purity’ and ‘pollution’. While the manifestation of the order has changed to a large extent in the recent times, the system itself has not changed much.
      • For example- even though untouchability and caste-based discrimination is barred under the Constitution of India, occupations like manual scavenging have the majority of workers from lower castes.

    New identities and associational forms

    • Political: In contrast to the older structure, various caste communities have asserted themselves by forming political parties based on caste identities. For example-
      • Bahujan Samaj Party. Political mobilization based on caste has been rising.
      • Lingayats’ demand to be considered as a minority community.
    • Economic: Development policies targeting the backward castes and scheduled have benefitted only a section of the population. These sections have emerged as the elite and this has created a division within the backward castes. Also, the welfare policies have led to social stigma among the castes which are not included. These policies have strengthened the caste-based mobilization. For example:
      • Dominant castes like Marathas, kapus and patidars have been demanding reservation.
      • Socially empowered and landholding communities like Jats have also mobilized themselves and have demanded reservation.
    • Social: Under the impact of globalization and technological advancement, the strict codes of marriage and inheritance have diluted with more inter-caste marriages taking place. Caste groups like Khap Panchayats have been brought under the scrutiny of the judiciary. The expression of social exclusion and maintaining the caste-based division by the communities has however not vanished but has changed to become more subtle. For example-
      • The matrimonial advertisements are frequent in the newspapers that especially demand brides and grooms from particular communities.
      • Even religions that do not follow caste systems like Muslims and Christianity have observed caste-like discrimination. Dalits who have converted to Christianity have separate graveyards in States like Kerala.

    Conclusion

    • Considering that these divisions offer solidarity and psychological strength to various marginalized groups, even if the caste-based discrimination is diffused through the legislative enforcement the divisions of identity will be difficult to erase.

  • Indian Society

    9. ‘Despite implementation of various programmes for eradication of poverty by the government in India, poverty is still existing’. Explain by giving reasons. (2018)

    Poverty is a social and economic condition in which a part of the society is unable to fulfill its basic requirements. Reducing poverty has become an international concern as SDG 1 targets to end poverty in all its forms everywhere.

    Removal of poverty has been a prime focus of Indian policy makers. Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) initiated in early 1980s was one of the early poverty alleviation programmes. Since then a large number of programmes and schemes have been launched, but they have not been able to give the desired results. Reasons for existence of poverty in India are:

    • Numerous already functional poverty alleviation programmes work in silos.
    • There is no systematic attempt to identify people who are below poverty line; to determine and address their needs; and enable them to move above the poverty line.
    • There are cases of corruption in identification of beneficiaries, and there is also a lack of authentic data at every level.
    • A typically low administrative capacity, coupled with problems of implementation at State level has often resulted in the under utilization of funds.
    • Leakage at different levels has led to diversion of resources meant for deprived ones.
    • These programmes have focused on top to bottom approach, but such approach lacks coordination in decision making and causes clogging of funds and asymmetry in distribution.

    Poverty eradication in a country with a huge population like India needs to involve programmes and policies with bottom up approach, technological interventions, and a mix of innovative ideas like Universal Basic Income.

  • Indian Society

    10. How the Indian concept of secularism is different from the western model of secularism? Discuss. (2018)

    The term ‘secular’ literally means ‘worldly’ rather than ‘spiritual’, not relating to religion or bound by monastic restrictions. It means that the spheres of secularism and religion are distinct, independent, exclusive and separate without overlapping zones.

    The Indian concept of secularism differs from western model of secularism as secularism emerged in the Western Europe as an opposite ideology to the church hegemony and as a protest against the wars and massacres in the name of religion. Secularism thus originated as an anti-religious principle. On the other hand, the Indian concept of secularism is not a rejection of religious practices. In Indian context, secularism means equal respect for all faiths and the state keeping itself impartial in not preferring one religion over other.

    Secularism in India does not stand for the abolition of religion, unlike in the West, but only for the separation of state from religion. While accepting the identities of various religious groups and their freedom to propagate, the Indian concept of secularism limits all those practices to the private life and negates every idea of mixing religion in the public life.

    The uniqueness of Indian secularism is that it admits the freedom of religion, unlike its western counterpart that avoids religion. This religious freedom granted in the secular concept, makes the consolidation of religious people under one umbrella a reality in India.

  • Ancient History and Art & Culture

    11. The Bhakti movement received a remarkable re-orientation with the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Discuss. (2018)

    Indian social set-up during the medieval period was based on Brahmanism characterized by rigid caste division, rituals and methods of prayer. Bhakti Movement was a reformative movement characterized by intense devotion or love for God. The movement focused to reform Indian society which was shadowed by Brahmanical dominance.

    Bhakti Movement started from South India in the form of Vaishnavite and Shaivaite sect, commonly known as Alvars and Nayanars respectively. Early 16th century was marked by rise of Bhakti Saint Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Eastern India. He was a Vaishanavit Saint and an ardent follower of Lord Krishna. According to his followers, he was an incarnation of Lord Krishna.

    Chaitnaya Mahaprabhu preached love, compassion, and non-violence. Though he was a Brahmin, he condemned caste system and emphasized on equality for all. According to him true worship lay in love and devotion. Bhakti Movement is known to transcend the practice of strict rituals and religious practices. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is known to have revolutionized and re-oriented Bhakti Movement, giving it impetus through simplicity in teachings, propagating Bhakti ideas through his disciples, instructing them to write books, and overall making it a mass movement

    The very first mandate by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to his disciples was to go to each house and ask people to chant ‘Hari Bol’. By this, he propagated amongst people the practice of ‘Nama Simaran’ as a mode of devotion and love for God. Further, he propagated his message of ‘Hari Bol’ through ‘Sankirtan Mandali’. In these Mandalies, devotees used to chant, sing and dance. Through Sankirtan, chanting of Hari Bol and combined dance and chant, Mahaprabhu brought people from different caste, creed, religion and sex together.

    The message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or Gaudiya School of thought is now propagated through ISKCON Movement across the world. It has participation of devotees from around the world. In other words it can be said that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu not only revolutionized Bhakti movement but also universalized it.

  • Post Independent India

    12. Discuss whether formation of new states in recent times is beneficial or not for the economy of India? (2018)

    Recently formed state Telangana has continuously been among the top ranks in the list of ease of doing business in the country, since its formation. Creation of new states offer possibilities of having better governance structure, greater participation for people, administrative convenience for the State and equitable distribution of resources. Regional development strengthens the equitable and symmetric growth of India.

    Benefits from the Creation of New States:

    • The Economic Survey 2016-17 stated that smaller states in India trade more than the rest. Smaller states offer better and efficient administration which leads to creation of infrastructure strengthening the connectivity in the area, expand its access to market and boost trade for the overall economy of the country.
    • People of the region gain control over its resources and an organic model of growth can emerge to address their economic aspirations.
    • Political stability that arises from better representation of people creates conducive environment for investment in the region. Thereby encouraging regional economic development.
    • The new states can have political freedom to frame legislations that address the unique and specific economic problems of the region affected by its geographical location, sociological conditions, technological advancement, availability of human capital etc. Factors that can hinder the economic growth following the creation of new states:
    • New states may find itself lacking in infrastructure (administrative and industrial), which requires time, money and effort to build. As was observed in the creation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.
    • The stabilization of the government and administrative institutions requires time for resolution of various issues such as division of assets, funds and of the state civil services. Also the creation of sustainable linkage from the other parts to the newly formed state’s capital can take time affecting the overall economic stability of the country.
    • Territorial issues, disputes over water sharing (eg Krishna water dispute between Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra), disagreements over capital (as observed in the case of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over Hyderabad) are some other issues that can hinder the economic progress of these States and the country.
    • Mere creation of newer states out of the existing ones cannot guarantee faster and inclusive economic development in the region. The economic benefits from the creation of new states can only be reaped if it is followed by establishment of good governance, sustained socio-political stability and better coordination with the rest of the country.

  • Ancient History and Art & Culture

    13. Why indentured labour was taken by British from India to other colonies? Have they been able to preserve their cultural identity over there? (2018)

    Indentured labour was a system of bonded labour that was instituted following the abolition of slavery throughout British Empire in 1833 as newly free men and women refused to work for low wages on sugar, tea plantations and rail construction projects in British colonies of West Indies, Fiji, Mauritius and Ceylon.

    • In 19th century people were recruited as indentured labor from regions like Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Central India and dry districts of Tamil Nadu as these regions experienced many changes such as -
    • Decline of cottage industries, rising land rents and clearing of land for mines and plantations.
    • All this affected lives of poor as they failed to pay their rents and became deeply indebted – forcing them to migrate in search of work to escape poverty and famine.
    • India’s large population provided the British Empire with a steady source of work force. Thus, British exploited both the vulnerability and readily available large population.

    Once placed in British colonies, festivals such as Muharram, Holi served as a placental link to preserve their cultural Identity.

    • In Trinidad, the annual Muharram procession was transformed in to carnival ‘Hosay’ for Imam Hossain drawing a large crowd.
    • The protest religion of RASTAFARIANISM popularized by Bob Marley reflects social and cultural links with Indian migrants to Carribean.
    • Chutney music became popular in Trinidad.
    • Bollywood kept alive the cultural identity among indentured labor.
    • A rigid caste system of Indian society melted as indentured people identified more with ‘Indianness’, promoting fraternal feeling.
    • Initiatives such as ’Know India Programme’ are conscious efforts by Government of India to ensure a continuum of new generations with Indian ethos.

    However, the Sri Lankan 13th Amendment to constitution is reminder that the quest to preserve their culture continues in some places. By and large, indentured labour have been able to retain their cultural heritage and renew their links with India both as potent act of resistance and a powerful affirmation of their distinctness.

  • Geography

    14. “The ideal solution of depleting ground water resources in India is water harvesting system”. How can it be made effective in urban areas? (2018)

    The NITI Aayog in its recently released Composite Water Management Index warned that India is facing its ‘worst’ water crisis in history. Critical groundwater resources, which accounted for 40% of India’s water supply, are being depleted at “unsustainable” rates.Twenty-one cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people.

    Though there are many ways to check the further depletion of ground water and increase the level of water such as limit of water-extraction, change in crop-patterns, diverting river streams, building reservoirs and plantation drives but water harvesting system provides ideal solution for the problem.

    Water Harvesting (WH) means capturing rain water, where it falls and capture the runoff from, catchment and streams etc. Local people can easily be trained to build expand systems themselves. It will not only reduce water bills; provide an alternative supply during water restrictions but also ensure supply of high quality water - pure, free of chemicals. In fact, depending upon tank size and climate, rainwater harvesting can reduce main water use by 100%. RWH also decreases storm water runoff, thereby helping to reduce local flooding and scouring of creeks. RWH is most suitable where groundwater is scarce, contaminated, rugged or mountainous terrains, risk to aquifer from salt water intrusion.

    Approaches for Effectiveness of WH in Urban India

    • Water Harvesting in urban small areas is done by surface runoff harvesting and rooftop rainwater harvesting. Since present day urbanization has resulted both in shrinking of open spaces and very minimal area remaining unpaved, so small structures like recharge pit, recharge trenches, dug wells, recharge shafts, and percolation tanks should be built to capture the runoff and inject rainwater into the soil during rains.
    • For better effectiveness of water harvesting in urban areas, existing water bodies should be protected and revived without allowing any further construction in them in future. This will have to be undertaken by the government. At the micro level every resident/individual should implement both rooftop and driveway runoff harvesting in their respective homes, commercial complexes, office premises, factories etc.

    Most metro cities in India are water starved but not rain starved. We should not forget the fact that water harvested is water produced and make sincere attempts to harvest every drop of water that falls within every premises, locality, city and country. For this, WH should be made mandatory in new buildings.

  • Geography

    15. Defining blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India. (2018)

    The concept of rapid increase in the production of fish and marine product through package programme like Green Revolution is called as Blue Revolution. It was launched during the seventh Five-Year Plan, when the Central Government sponsored the Fish Farmers Development Agency (FFDA) with an aim to create an integrated and holistic development and management of fisheries in the country and to improve the socio-economic conditions of fisher folk and fish farmers.

    Problems

    • There are lack of reliable database relating to aquatic and fisheries resources in India as well as lack of suitable policies of government and inefficiency of an enforcement agency to monitor the supply of good quality seeds and feeds.
    • Water pollution, unscientific management of aquaculture and over exploitation of coastal fisheries along with problems in harvest and post-harvest operation; lack of landing and berthing facilities for fishing vessels.
    • Many fisheries management bodies do not heed scientific advice on fish quotas and set catch limits above the recommended maximum amount.
    • Lack of adequate financial support and proper transport and marketing facilities for the products.
    • Lack of skill and prevalence of negative social perception and prejudice regarding fishing as a profession in the caste ridden Indian society.

    Strategies for the Development of Pisciculture

    • Focus on the improvements in breeding technology, disease control, feeds and nutrition, and low-impact production systems to complement traditional knowledge to improve efficiency.
    • Focus on spatial planning and zoning to ensure that aquaculture operations stay within the surrounding ecosystem’s carrying capacity.
    • Formulation of public and private policies to provide financial support, enhance skill and make farmers aware and capable to practice sustainable pisciculture.
    • Emphasis on leveraging the latest information technology for better planning and monitoring.
    • Invest on cold chain and market infrastructure to avoid loss due to delay in selling and price fall.

    India is home to more than 10 percent of the global fish diversity and it ranks second in the world in total fish production. Realizing the immense scope for development of fisheries and aquaculture, the Government of India has restructured the Central Plan Scheme named, Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries for overall development of the sector.

  • Geography

    16. What is the significance of Industrial Corridors in India? Identifying industrial corridors, explain their main characteristics. (2018)

    Industrial Corridors (ICs) are stretches across the country allocated to a specific geographical area with the intent to stimulate industrial development. It aims to create an area with a cluster of manufacturing or other industries and gives an impetus to smart and sustainable cities by leveraging on the high speed, high connectivity transportation system.

    The Significance of Industrial Corridors in India

    • Setting up of industrial townships, educational institutions, roads, railways, airports, hospitals along industrial corridors would generate employment and raise standard of living.
    • Production costs would come down due to improved transportation system and agglomeration effect, making Indian goods competitive in domestic as well as foreign markets.
    • Provide necessary logistics infrastructure needed to reap economies of scale, thus enabling firms to focus on their areas of core competence.
    • People would find job opportunities close to their homes which would curb migration towards cities, thus preventing stress on already burdened urban landscape.
    • Prevention of concentration of industries in one particular location would prevent exploitation of environment as well as ensure balanced development in the country.

    Various Industrial Corridors of India

    • Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor
    • Bengaluru – Mumbai Economic Corridor
    • Chennai – Bengaluru Industrial Corridor
    • Vizag - Chennai Industrial Corridor
    • Amritsar – Kolkata Industrial Corridor

    The Main Characteristics of Industrial Corridors

    • Constructed in areas that have pre-existing infrastructure, such as ports, highways and railroads.
    • Each IC would have 6-8 key nodes developed on Smart City principles.
    • Dedicated construction of residential areas, public utilities, production units, schools, and hospitals.
    • Freight cargo would be brought to the industrial corridor via rail and road feeder links that shall provide last mile connectivity.
    • The challenges while creating ICs would include correctly assessing the demand and viability, transport options for goods and workers, land values, and economic incentives for companies. The economic and financial feasibility of ICs should be ensured by attracting potential investors to set up manufacturing units at National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NMIZs). India will also have to rely on foreign players for innovative technologies. The fundamental focus of ICs should be on improving both Industrial and Urban Infrastructure.

  • Geography

    17. Mention core strategies for the transformation of aspirational districts in India & explain the nature of convergence, collaboration & Competition for its success. (2018)

    The ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ Programme aims to expeditiously improve the socio-economic status of 117 districts from across 28 states.The programme focusses on 5 main themes - Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure, which have direct bearing on the quality of life and economic productivity of citizens.

    Core Strategies of the programme are:

    States as main drivers

    • Work on the strength of each district.
    • Make development as a mass movement in these districts.
    • Identify low hanging fruits and the strength of each district, to act as a catalyst for development.
    • Measure progress and rank districts to spur a sense of competition.
    • Districts shall aspire to become State’s best to Nation’s best.

    The three core principles of the programme i.e. Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (among citizens and functionaries of Central & State Governments including district teams), and Competition among districts have been envisaged for the success of the programme.

    Nature of Convergence, Collaboration and Competition

    • The Aspirational Districts Programme is a product of collective and collaborative effort in which States are the main drivers which are being anchored by NITI Aayog.
    • In addition, individual Ministries as well as administration of respective district have assumed responsibility to drive progress of districts. For each district, a central Prabhari offcer of the rank of Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary has been nominated.
    • States have been requested to form a committee under Chief Secretary to implement the programme. States have also nominated nodal offcers and also State level Prabhari offcers.
    • An Empowered Committee under the convenership of CEO, NITI Aayog has been notified to ensure convergence in schemes and address speciffic issues brought out by Prabhari offcers.
    • NITI Aayog in partnering releases delta ranking for the districts. The purpose of this ranking is to spur a sense of competition among dynamic teams in districts.

    As per UNDP’s 2018 Human Development Index wherein India is ranked 130 out of 189 countries, there are significant inter-state and inter-district disparity. By uplifting the districts which have shown relatively lesser progress in achieving key social outcome, India can move ahead in the Human Development Index which will promote inclusive development through transformative governance.

  • Indian Society

    18. ‘Women’s movement in India has not addressed the issues of women of lower social strata.’ Substantiate your view. (2018)

    Though efforts were made to uplift the status of women prior to independence, the women’s movement in India gained prominence in 1970s and 80s. These movements have tried to bring the women specific issues in the public domain.

    However, it is found that these have not been able to address the issues of the women of lower social strata, belonging to SC, ST, minorities, and BPL families.

    • It is being seen that activists within the movements are urban, western, and middle class. Therefore, the movement is being considered a Western product. It has little to do with the lives of thousands of poor, rural, underprivileged women all over India.
    • Women continue to have unequal access to land and other resources. Compensation policies in case of displacement are inevitably discriminatory towards women of lower strata due to multiple reasons such as lack of awareness, education etc. Women from these sections also find it more difficult to get loans.
    • Recently, several movements have raised the gender issues through temple entry movement, triple talaq, etc. But temple entry movements are restricted to the specified places only, and triple talaq especially in hinterland or rural areas, go unnoticed.
    • Sexual and domestic violence is mainly perpetrated against the women from lower caste and poor women but this issue has not acquired centre-stage in the discourse of women movements.

    Issues of women agricultural labourers (e.g. fair wages etc.), women domestic workers and women manual scavengers has not been raised by the women movement prominently.

    However, there is also a counter view that the urban, middle-class women are one of the participants in the movement. It is rather the poor women which are the backbone of the movements, exemplified the presence of poor women in the anti-alcohol agitation in Andhra Pradesh, and other parts of India. Similarly, the movement to protect the environment was started by poor women in Reni village of Uttarakhand and thereafter, it spread to other parts of the country.

    But there are substantial evidences to prove that women movements have neglected the lower strata women. The National Federation of Dalit Women (NFDW), formed in 1995, has forced women’s movements in India to address the caste question seriously. Thus there is an urgent need of women movements to be more inclusive and just, embracing the cause of poor and vulnerable women.

  • Indian Society

    19. ‘Globalization is generally said to promote cultural homogenization but due to this cultural specificities appear to be strengthened in the Indian Society.’ Elucidate. (2018)

    Globalization is a process in which the world becomes a global village as national and regional economies, societies, and cultures get integrated through the network of trade, communication, migration and transportation. The pace of globalization has accelerated in India after the adoption of the policies of liberalization, privatization & globalization in the 1990s.

    Globalization is leaving its footprints on almost every aspect of Indian society such as language (English), cuisine, clothing, etc., and thus leading to homogenization in many respects. There is an increasing tendency towards ‘glocalisation’ of culture which refers to the mixing of the global with the local culture.

    Liberal ideas of individualism are permeating the Indian society; joint families are giving way to nuclear families; live-in relationships are proliferating; celebration of Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day; consumption of pizza, burger, chowmein etc.; wearing jeans and tops; cropping up of MNCs; popularity of Hollywood movies, Bhangra pop, Indi pop, etc. are some of the homogenizing influences of globalization on Indian society.

    However, globalization is not simply about homogenization, but it is also strengthening cultural specifities in India.

    • A large segment of populace feels insecure by the inroads of globalization and are trying to preserve their cultural traditions and practices.
    • Indian classical dance and music has got fillip in the recent years with the efforts of organization like SPIC MACAY and others.
    • Local customs, and festivals are being observed by some tribal groups, especially in North-east India more zealously than before.
    • The Indian culture has also spread its impact globally. Yoga traditions and practices are not only being practiced by Indians, but people across the globe are embracing them.
    • Indian system of Ayurveda is being promoted by a large section of society in the backdrop of the ills of western system of medicine and cure. For example profuse use of ‘Patanjali’ products by the middle and lower middle classes of India.

    However, there are also negative reactions to the process of globalization. Revival of caste, race and cultural identity at times leads to chauvinistic tendencies and may hurt the peace and harmony of the society. Excessive emphasis on cultural specifities, as a reaction to globalization may lead to protectionism, proliferation of orthodox ideas, and fundamentalism.

  • Indian Society

    20. ‘Communalism arises either due to power struggle or relative deprivation’. Argue by giving suitable illustrations. (2018)

    According to historian Bipan Chandra “communalism is the belief that because a group of people follow a particular religion, they have as a result, common social political and economic interests.” The majority community alleges that minorities have an anti-national approach while the minority points to the insecurity they are facing which often collides and trigger tensions.

    Communalism is a modern phenomenon which took its origin in the British colonial period and gained momentum at the time of freedom struggle and reached its heights at the time of partition. Its fundamental causes are secular like competition for share in political power or government jobs and a feeling of relative deprivation. Religion is not its fundamental cause but becomes an instrumental cause because it has great mobilizing power.

    Example – The Bhiwandi communal riot (1970)

    The struggle for political power and a sense of relative deprivation creates communal problems. Bhiwandi in Maharashtra was a centre of powerloom industry with minority community’s domination in ownership and labourers. Some members of minority community having amassed much wealth wanted to get a hold in the political set up of Bhiwandi, challenging the traditional leadership in Municipal administration. This led to a major riot in 1970.

    The practice of mixing up religion with politics or using religion for the sake of political and economic gains is a reason for conflict between communities.

    The progress of one community is viewed with unpleasantness and the economic collapse of the opposite side is gladly welcomed in a communally charged atmosphere. The vested interest groups having economic and other anti-social motives trigger communal conflicts in order to gain through a riot.

    Religion, when deliberately used as a tool for attaining power, both political and over resources, leads to the growth of communalism. The rising trend of communalism and the violent aftermath that follows it is a major threat to the integrity of India. So, efficient and effective measures must be adopted against the evil of communalism and checking its spread on the social fabric of India.

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