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

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

    Originally began in South India in the 9th century with Shankaracharya, the Bhakti Literature spread over all parts of India and by the 16th century and became a great spiritual force to reckon with, especially after the great wave made by Kabir, Nanak and Shri Chaitanya.

    Nature of Bhakti Literature:

    • Bhakti and Sufi supported each other. Various recitation of sufi saints found place in Sikhs’ religious canons.
    • Spread of Bhakti cult due to adoption of vernacular languages which was easy to be understood by masses.
    • It preached for removal of sectarianism and casteism. The Bhakti literature called for inclusion of castes and out-castes.

    Contribution of Bhakti Literature:

    • The Bhakti literature promoted the growth of vernacular language in different parts of the country.
      • Bengali was used by Chaitanya and by the poet Chandidas, who wrote extensively on the theme of the love of Radha and Krishna.
      • Shankaradeva popularised the use of the Assamese in the Brahmaputra valley in the 15th He used an entirely new medium to spread his ideas.
      • Marathi reached its apogee at the hands of saints like Eknath and Tukaram.
      • Other prominent saints like Kabir, Nanak, and Tulsidas contributed enormously to regional literature and language with their captivating verses and spiritual exposition.
    • Emergence of a new cultural tradition with the influence of Bhakti and sufism. Also emergence of new sects like Sikhism, Kabir panth etc.
    • Post-Vedanta ideas were explored by Madhvacharya through his Dvaitadvaita, by Ramanujacharya in his Vishishta Advaita etc.
    • As a literary movement, it liberated poetry from singing the praises of kings and introduced spiritual themes. From a style point of view, it introduced simple and accessible styles like vachanas (in Kannada), saakhis, dohas and other forms in various languages and ended the hegemony of Sanskrit metrical forms.

    The ideas of Bhakti Movement continued to permeate the cultural ethos of the society through the enormous body of literature left by them. The congruence in their ideas not only saved us from the likely internecine conflicts but also built the spirit of tolerance.

  • Ancient History and Art & Culture

    2. Trace the rise and growth of socio-religious reform movements with special reference to Young Bengal and Brahmo Samaj.

    When the British came to India, they introduced the English language as well as certain Western ideas. This led to the development of new Indian middle-class intelligentsia, where people like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar, Dayanand Saraswati, etc. spread the ideals of liberty, social and economic equality, democracy and justice.

    Brahmo Samaj and Raja Ram Mohan Roy:

    • Raja Ram Mohan Roy is known as the father of Modern India’s Renaissance and a tireless social reformer who inaugurated the age of enlightenment and liberal reformist modernisation in India.
    • He founded Brahmo Sabha in 1828, whose main aim was the worship of the eternal God. However, it was against priesthood, rituals and sacrifices.
    • The greatest achievement in the field of social reform was the abolition of Sati in 1829.
    • He advocated the abolition of polygamy and wanted women to be educated and given the right to inherit property.
    • This led to the emergence of rationalism and enlightenment in India which indirectly contributed to the nationalist movement.
    • It was the forerunner of all social, religious and political movements of modern India.

    Young Bengal and Henry Lui Vivian Derozio:

    • Derozio joined the Hindu College of Calcutta as a teacher.
    • He promoted radical ideas through his teaching and by organising an association for debate and discussions on literature, philosophy, history and science.
    • He inspired his followers and students to question all authority.
    • Derozio and his famous followers, known as Young Bengal, were fiery patriots.
    • They cherished the ideals of the French Revolution (1789) and the liberal thinking of Britain.

    Apart from attacking social evils like bigotry, superstition, untouchability, purdah system, sati, child marriage, social inequalities and illiteracy, the social and religious reform movements also helped in dealing with the racism perpetuated by the colonial rule. This eventually led to the development of nationalism against the British Government.

  • Post Independent India

    3. Assess the main administrative issues and socio-cultural problems in the integration process of Indian Princely States.

    The monarchical states subordinated to British India were termed as Princely States. The word ‘princely’ was deliberately retained during the British regime, to ascribe subordination of the rulers to the British Crown.

    Administrative issues:

    • Lapse of British Paramountcy: The Indian Independence Act of 1947 (based on the Mountbatten Plan) provided for the lapse of paramountcy of the British Crown over the Indian states. Many of the rulers saw the departure of the British as the ideal moment to declare autonomy and announce their independent statehood on the world map.
    • Signing of Instruments of Accession: The instruments of accession executed by the rulers, provided for the accession of states to the Dominion of India (or Pakistan) on three subjects, namely, defence, external affairs and communications.
    • Power and Prestige: The princely states were not comfortable with the idea of giving away their power and prestige. Some of these states that posed problems were Jodhpur, Bhopal and Travancore before independence and Junagarh, Hyderabad and Kashmir post-independence.
    • Availability of Natural Resources: Some of the Princely States had good reserves of natural resources, it was believed it could survive on its own and hence wanted to remain independent.
    • People Resentment: The Maharaja of Manipur, signed the Instrument of Accession with the Indian government. Under the pressure of public opinion, the Maharaja held elections in Manipur in June 1948 and the state became a constitutional monarchy. The Government of India succeeded in pressurising the Maharaja into signing a Merger Agreement in September 1949, without consulting the popularly elected Legislative Assembly of Manipur.
    • Connectivity and Agrarian Support: The Rajput princely state, despite having a Hindu king and a large Hindu population, strangely had a tilt towards Pakistan. Jinnah offered free access to the Karachi port, to arms manufacturing and importing along with military and agrarian support.

    Socio-cultural challenges:

    • Kashmir: It was a princely state with a Hindu king ruling over a predominant Muslim population which had remained reluctant to join either of the two dominions.
    • Hyderabad: It was the largest and richest of all princely states, covering a large portion of the Deccan plateau. Nizam Mir Usman Ali was presiding over a largely Hindu population in the princely state.
    • Peasant Protest: The Telangana Rebellion of 1946–51 was a communist-led insurrection of peasants against the princely state of Hyderabad in the region of Telangana that escalated out of agitations. It brought the struggles of the peasantry to the forefront and served as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the people of this region in fighting against the autocratic rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

    The rulers of most of the states signed a document called the ‘Instrument of Accession’ which meant that their state agreed to become a part of the Union of India. Accession of the Princely States of Junagadh, Hyderabad, Kashmir and Manipur proved more difficult than the rest.

  • Geography

    4. Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats.

    A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope. They are a type of mass wasting, which denotes any downward movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity. Landslides are caused due to three major factors: geology, morphology, and human activity.

    Causes of landslides in Himalayan region:

    • Geology: Himalayas are young, fragile mountains still growing, hence susceptible to natural landslides, tectonic activity, with the plate moving up which causes instability.
    • Morphological: Steep and sharp slope in the Himalayas.
    • Anthropogenic: These include, jhum cultivation, deforestation etc., leading to landslides.

    Causes of landslides in Western Ghats:

    • Geology: These factors play a very little role here as the Western Ghats are one of the most stable landmasses.
    • Anthropogenic: Heavy mining activities, deforestation for settlements and cutting for road construction, windmill projects have led to huge fractures on the mountains, loosening structures.

    Following measures for the mitigation of landslides can be taken:

    • Restriction on the construction and other developmental activities such as roads and dams in the areas prone to landslides.
    • Limiting agriculture to valleys and areas with moderate slopes.
    • Promoting large-scale afforestation programmes and construction of bunds to reduce the flow of water.

    Terrace farming should be encouraged in the north-eastern hill states where Jhumming (Slash and Burn/Shifting Cultivation) is still prevalent.

  • Geography

    5. Despite India being one of the countries of Gondwanaland, its mining industry contributes much less to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in percentage. Discuss.

    Despite being a part of Gondwana land, rich in providing minerals such as coal, iron, mica, aluminium, etc., the contribution of the mining sector to India’s GDP has been on a steady decline. Contribution by the mining sector to India’s GDP is only 1.75%. Whereas other countries like South Africa and Australia contribute 7.5% and 6.99%.

    Reasons:

    • Mining is harmful from an environmental point of view. There has hardly been a mining project that did not face opposition on this front.
    • Several tribal communities and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) fall into the mining zones. Their residence is also threatened by an increase in mining. Their rehabilitation and compensation is another major issue.
    • The auction of a mine is a process where the power rests in the hands of State governments. There might exist ambiguity in the case where there are two different political parties in power at the Center and the State.
    • There are also issues like technological advancements and availability of cheap funds. Lack of these is the major determinant in poor growth of the mining industry.
    • India has majorly been an exporter of raw materials and an importer of finished products made out of those raw materials. As the raw materials are sold at dirt cheap rates, it reflects poorly in the GDP calculations.

  • Geography

    6. What are the environmental implications of the reclamation of the water bodies into urban land use? Explain with examples.

    Land reclamation means creating land either by removing water from muddy areas or raising the level of the land. With an increasing demand for land, it can be a good solution for creating areas for building, agriculture and other uses.

    However, it is one of the most consequential fields of human induced environmental transformation and has many environmental consequences such as:

    • Damaged Ecology: Urban land transformation leads to creation of residential, commercial buildings around water bodies, causing degradation of water ecology and influx of nutrients. Dal Lake and other water bodies in Srinagar are a great example of it. Land reclamation can also change the shape of the seabed and wave patterns leading to changes in the ecosystem.
    • Frequent Floods: Water bodies act as sponges for rainfall, reclamation of water bodies, has led to higher incidences of floods. Depletion of vegetation, transformation of soil cover to concretised landscape has reduced permeability, increased run-off. The biggest example of it is Mumbai.
    • Extinction of Species: Land reclamation of wetlands has increased the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) which is detrimental not only for aquatic species but also for aerial fauna.
    • Pollution: Water bodies have been turned into landfills in several cases. Because of heavy pollution of Hussainsagar Lake, many pollutants get carried into underground water bodies. Though percolation filters many pollutants, open wells or bore wells receive certain pollutants causing groundwater pollution.

    Water bodies not only support high concentrations of biodiversity, but also offer a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services like food, water, fiber, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, storm protection, erosion control, carbon storage and climate regulation. Hence their conservation is an imperative.

  • Geography

    7. Mention the global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021 and their impact on regional environment.

    A volcano is an opening or rupture in the earth’s surface that allows magma (hot liquid and semi-liquid rock), volcanic ash and gases to escape. The volcanic eruption could have implications for the local and regional environment like earthquake, landslides, lahars (mudflows), ash and thunderstorms. 2021 witnessed several volcanic eruptions viz. Mount Sinabung (Indonesia); Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka, Russia); Fournaise (Réunion); Mount Etna (Italy); and Erebus (Antarctica).

    Impact of volcanic eruption on the environment:

    • Volcanic eruptions are responsible for forming new rock on the Earth’s surface.
    • The gases and dust particles thrown into the atmosphere during volcanic eruptions have influences on climate.
    • Volcanoes have also caused global warming over millions of years during times in Earth’s history when extreme amounts of volcanism occurred, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
    • Even though volcanoes are in specific places on Earth, their effects can be more widely distributed as gases, dust, and ash get into the atmosphere
    • Volcanic eruptions are generally preceded by increased seismic activity.

    Most of the active volcanoes on earth occur on the Circum-Pacific Belt, also referred to as the Ring of Fire. Volcanoes are a natural exogenic phenomenon that cannot be avoided, but developing disaster risk resilience will surely be a step in the right direction.

  • Geography

    8. Why is India considered as a subcontinent? Elaborate your answer.

    The Indian subcontinent, or simply the subcontinent, is a physiographic region in South Asia. It is situated on the Indian Plate, projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas.

    Geologically, the Indian subcontinent is related to the landmass that drifted from the supercontinent Gondwana during the Cretaceous and merged with the Eurasian landmass nearly 55 million years ago. Geographically, it is the peninsular region in South-Central Asia, delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east.

    This natural physical landmass in South Asia has been relatively isolated from the rest of Eurasia. The Himalayas (from Brahmaputra River in the east to Indus River in the west), Karakoram (from Indus River in the east to Yarkand River in the west) and the Hindu Kush mountains (from Yarkand River westwards) form its northern boundary. The Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea form the boundary of the Indian subcontinent in the south, south-east and south-west.

    Moreover, India’s high population and its multiple races, religions, castes, languages, customs make it look like a small continent like the subcontinent. The diversity is largely a result of physical aspects of the land itself, which in turn shaped historical events such as migrations and invasions. However, in spite of numerous differences, at the root there are numerous similarities in the socio-cultural-economic way of life.

  • Indian Society

    9. Examine the uniqueness of tribal knowledge systems when compared with mainstream knowledge and cultural systems

    Indigenous people around the world have preserved distinctive understandings of their cultural experience that helps them in their survival. These understandings are called the tribal knowledge or aboriginal knowledge.

    Tribal knowledge systems represent inter-generational wisdom passed on to the present times through centuries of experience and learnings. While similar characteristics can be seen in evolution of mainstream knowledge and culture, tribal knowledge systems are unique as: 

    • Proximity to Nature: Tribal societies have contemporary knowledge of nature due to continued closeness to forests, flora and fauna. Mainstream societies have moved on to agricultural basis of society.
    • Source of Knowledge: Mainstream knowledge systems are based on questioning of ideas, science, rationality and evolution process. On the other hand, tribal methods are based on conservation of knowledge.
    • Transfer of Knowledge: Tribal knowledge is transmitted between generations through stories, songs, dances, carvings, paintings and performances, while mainstream knowledge is preserved in books and recordings.
    • Type of Learning: Tribal knowledge systems promote integrated learning for the community. Therefore, they believe in producing generalists. But in the mainstream society, knowledge and learning has been disintegrated into specialised subjects and these societies mainly focus on producing specialists.
    • Equality: Tribal knowledge systems are non-exclusionary and marked by equity. Mainstreams knowledge systems are full of barriers like cost of education, patent protections, social exclusion etc.

    Nevertheless, tribal and mainstream societies are not mutually exclusive systems. Constant interaction and mutual dependence have enriched both.

  • Indian Society

    10. Examine the role of ‘Gig Economy’ in the process of empowerment of women in India.

    A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organisations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. According to a report by Boston Consulting Group, India’s gig workforce comprises 15 million workers employed across industries such as software, shared services and professional services.

    Gig economy will expand and boost women’s employment because it is based on flexible, temporary, or freelance jobs. This has the potential of absorbing more women and increase their participation in the workforce. This will encourage those women who could not opt for full-time work to join the workforce.

    However, the challenges remain.

    • The gig economy thrives largely unregulated; therefore, workers have little job security and few benefits.
    • A worker needs to be skilled enough. Unless a person is extremely talented, his bargaining power will necessarily be limited. While companies routinely invest in training employees, a gig-economy woman worker will have to upgrade his skills on his own at his own cost.
    • There are already many more potential online independent workers than jobs, and this demand-supply mismatch will only get worse over time, depressing wages especially for women.

    To safeguard the interest of both employers and employees, some labour laws and regulations are required in the changing world of work. Also, documenting best practises across the globe on how different industries are using new technologies and at the same time creating job opportunities for women would help create supportive policies.

  • Modern History

    11. To what extent did the role of the moderates prepare a base for the wider freedom movement? Comment.

    The first phase of the existence of the Congress is known as the moderate phase (1885-1905). During this, the Congress worked for limited objectives and concentrated more on building up its organisation. The leaders like Dadabhai Nauroji, P.N. Mehta, D.E. Wacha, W.C. Banerji, S.N. Banerji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale were staunch believers in liberalism and moderate politics and came to be labelled as moderates.

    The main objective of the Moderates was to achieve self-government within the British Empire. They believed in patience and reconciliation rather than in violence and confrontation, thus relying on constitutional and peaceful methods in order to achieve their aims. They organised annual sessions with delegates participating from all parts of the country. After the discussions, resolutions were adopted which were forwarded to the Government for its information and appropriate action.

    Success/contributions of moderates:

    • They represented the most progressive forces of the time.
    • They were able to create a wide national awakening of all Indians having common interests and the need to rally around a common programme against a common enemy, and above all, the feeling of belonging to one nation.
    • They trained people in political work and popularised modern ideas.
    • They exposed the basically exploitative character of colonial rule, thus undermining its moral foundations.
    • Their political work was based on hard realities, and not on shallow sentiments, religion, etc.
    • They were able to establish the basic political truth that India should be ruled in the interest of Indians.
    • They created a solid base for a more vigorous, militant, mass-based national movement in the years that followed.

    The early nationalists did a great deal to awaken the national sentiment, even though they could not draw the masses to them and failed to widen their democratic base and the scope of their demands. Moderates wanted to educate people in modern politics, to arouse national and political consciousness and to create a united public opinion on political questions. Their critics often accuse them for using methods of beggary through prayers and petitions.

    However, had they adopted revolutionary or violent methods, they would have been crushed right in the infancy of the Congress. They created a solid base for a more vigorous, militant, mass-based national movement in the following years. The Moderates thus were prudent in using the constitutional and peaceful methods to handle British rule.

  • Modern History

    12. Bring out the constructive programmes of Mahatma Gandhi during Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement.

    Gandhi’s comprehensive plan of national regeneration, which he named the constructive programme, aimed at establishing social order, based on truth and non-violence. Gandhi believed that foreign domination in India lived and prospered because of our negligence towards fundamental duties as a nation. Collective fulfilment of these duties can be referred to as the constructive programme.

    Constructive programme during Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement:

    • Communal Unity: According to Gandhi, communal unity does not merely mean political unity but should be an unbreakable unity of hearts. This was achieved during the Lucknow Pact 1916, whereby both the Indian National Congress and Muslim League joined hands against British rule.
    • Removal of Untouchability: Gandhi held that untouchability was a blot and curse upon Indian society. Gandhi endeavoured to abolish this evil. He founded ‘Harijan Sevak Sangh’ for the abolition of untouchability in 1932 after his Poona Pact.
    • Khadi Making: Gandhi presented Khadi as a symbol of nationalism, economic freedom, equality and self-reliance. Khadi takes the central place in the upliftment of the village economy, which eventually lead to the attainment of Gram Swaraj.
    • New or Basic Education: Gandhi’s concept of new education implies that nature, society and crafts are huge mediums of education. According to him, true education is that which draws out and stimulates the spiritual, intellectual and physical faculties of the children. This education ought to be for them, a kind of insurance against unemployment.
    • Upliftment of Women: In his mission of Swaraj, Gandhi needed the cooperation of women, kisans, labourers and students. It was only due to Gandhi’s efforts that women came out of their houses for the first time in history and participated in the Indian political struggle.

    Integration of Indian society was perhaps more difficult than the achievement of freedom because, in this process, there existed a possibility of conflict between groups and classes of our own people. In this scenario, the Gandhian constructive role played a key role in nation building.

  • World History

    13. “There arose a serious challenge to the Democratic State System between the two World Wars.” Evaluate the statement.

    The period between two world wars was relatively short, yet featured many significant social, political, and economic changes throughout the world. Politically, the era coincided with the rise of communism, starting in Russia with the October Revolution and Russian Civil War, at the end of World War I.

    Challenges to democratic system:

    • The conditions of economic hardship caused by the Great Depression brought about significant social unrest around the world, leading to a major surge of fascism and in many cases, the collapse of democratic governments.
    • In the 1930s the breakdown of the League of Nations, the rise of aggressive dictatorships posed a serious threat to democracy throughout the world.
    • After the Nazis took power and implemented their anti-semitic ideology and policies, the Jewish community was increasingly persecuted. In 1936, Jews were banned from all professional jobs, effectively preventing them from participating in education, politics, higher education and industry.
    • The Spanish Civil War, (1936–39) was a military revolt against the Republican government of Spain, supported by conservative elements within the country. When an initial military coup failed to win control of the entire country, a bloody civil war ensued.
    • The name most commonly given to a far-right movement and political party in Romania in the period from 1927 into the early part of World War II. It was ultra-nationalist, anti-semitic, anti-communist, anti-capitalist, and promoted the Orthodox Christian faith. Its members were called “Greenshirts’’ because of the predominantly green uniforms they wore.
    • Fascism also expanded its influence outside Europe, especially in East Asia, the Middle East, and South America. In China, Wang Jingwei’s Kai-tsu p’ai (Reorganization) faction of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party of China) supported Nazism in the late 1930s.

    The efforts of the League of Nations failed to maintain peace after the first world war. Eventually, Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 drove Great Britain and France to declare war on Germany, marking the beginning of World War II.

  • Geography

    14. Briefly mention the alignment of major mountain ranges of the world and explain their impact on local weather conditions, with examples.

    Mountain range refers to a series of ridges which originated in the same age and underwent the same processes. The most prominent or characteristic feature of mountain ranges is their long and narrow extension.

    Mountain ranges and their influence:

    • Andes Mountain Range:
      • The range stretches from north to south through seven countries in South America, along the west coast of the continent: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
      • Because the Andes act as a large wall between the Pacific Ocean and the continent, they have a tremendous impact on weather in the region.
      • The northern part of the Andes is typically rainy and warm, and the weather is also wet in the eastern part of central Andes, and the area to the southwest.
      • To the west, the dry climate is dominated by the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The mountains form a rain cover over the eastern plains of Argentina, which have extremely dry weather.
    • The Himalayas:
      • The Himalayan mountain ranges are stretched over the northern borders of India. These mountain ranges run in a west-east direction from the Indus to the Brahmaputra. The Himalaya consists of 3 parallel ranges in its longitudinal extent.
      • The mountain range in Asia separates the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau.
      • The Himalayas have a profound effect on the climate of the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan Plateau. They prevent frigid, dry winds from blowing south into the subcontinent, which keeps South Asia much warmer than corresponding temperate regions in the other continents.
    • Rockies Mountain Range:
      • These are massive mountain ranges that stretch from Canada to central New Mexico.
      • These cast a fairly substantial rain shadow - a dry area on the leeward side of the mountain range, where wind does not hit, which forms because the mountains block rain-producing weather systems and create a metaphorical shadow of dryness.
      • Wet weather systems begin in the Pacific Ocean and travel over the western states to the Rocky Mountains, and as the air moves higher up the western slope it cools and condenses, leaving rain and snow along the mountainside in its wake.
      • Having been stripped of moisture, the air continues over the Rocky Mountains and dries out as it moves down the eastern slope. Because the air is now dry, it absorbs moisture from the landscape, leaving the earth more arid.
      • Essentially, the rain shadow is a desert forced into existence because of the mountain range it borders, which prevents the eastern slopes and foothills from experiencing the same moisture that falls on the western side of the range.
    • Great Dividing Range:
      • It runs roughly parallel to the east coast of Australia and forms the fifth-longest land-based mountain chain in the world, and the longest entirely within a single country.
      • The Great Dividing Range blocks the flow of moist air coming from the Tasman Sea. This creates rain over the range and reduces the amount of rainfall in inland regions west of the range.
    • Atlas Mountains:
      • The Atlas Mountains extend some 2,500 km across north-western Africa, spanning Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The mountain range separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert.
      • Westerly winds from the Atlantic Ocean carry moisture into the region, but the mountains act as a weather barrier between the coastal grasslands and wetlands and the Sahara Desert.
      • The Atlas Range causes a rain shadow effect, preventing the areas beyond the mountains from receiving much rainfall. During the winter months, the highest peaks of the Atlas Mountains are among the few parts of Africa to see snow.
    • The Ural Mountains:
      • It extends from the Kara Sea to the Kazakh Steppe along the border of Kazakhstan. Geographically, this range marks the northern part of the border between Europe and Asia.
      • The northern side of the mountain range receives cool, rainy weather, while the southern side is a hot desert.
      • The western side of the mountain range receives warm continental winds, while the eastern side is much cooler and drier.

    The mountain ranges of the world provide essential ecosystem-based services to global communities as well as inspiration and enjoyment to millions. These are particularly important for their biodiversity, water, clean air, research, cultural diversity, leisure, landscape and spiritual values.

  • Geography

    15. 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.

    Many glaciers around the world have been rapidly melting. Human activities are at the root of this phenomenon. Specifically, since the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions have raised temperatures, even higher in the poles, and as a result, glaciers are rapidly melting, calving off into the sea and retreating on land.

    Consequences of melting:

    • The Arctic and Antarctic act like the world’s refrigerator. They balance out other parts of the world that absorb heat. The loss of ice and the warming waters will affect sea levels, salinity levels, and current and precipitation patterns.
    • The global average sea level has risen by about 7-8 inches since 1900, and it’s getting worse. Rising seas endanger coastal cities and small island nations by exacerbating coastal flooding and storm surge.
    • Permafrost in the Arctic region (ground that is permanently frozen) stores large amounts of methane, which is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. As more quickly the ice is lost, more rapidly permafrost will melt. This will result in a vicious cycle that may result in a climate catastrophe.
    • The melting of ice also puts the region’s vibrant biodiversity under serious threat. Many land and sea animals rely on glaciers as their natural habitats and as they disappear, so does the rich ecological life they shelter.

    The solution to all of this is obvious. Climate change mitigation policies need to be implemented stringently. If CO2 emissions can be reduced over the next ten years, then glaciers can still be saved. More targeted measures may also be required.

  • Geography

    16. Discuss the multi-dimensional implications of uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world.

    Petroleum is not distributed evenly around the world. Slightly less than half of the world’s proven reserves are located in the Middle East (including Iran but not North Africa). Following the Middle East are Canada and the United States, Latin America, Africa, and the region made up of Russia, Kazakhstan, and other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union.

    This uneven distribution of mineral oil across the globe has many multi-dimensional implications.

    • Economic: Uneven distribution of the mineral oil across the world, affects the balance of trade between the importing and the exporting countries. This in turn affects the foreign exchange reserves of the country. It also leads to economic consequences like inflation, for the importing country.
    • Political: Many historical and present-day conflicts involve nations trying to control resource-rich territories. For example, the desire for diamond and oil resources has been the root of many armed conflicts in Africa. USA’s interference in the geopolitics of West Asia is also one of the reasons for uneven distribution of oil minerals.
    • Employment & Migration: Availability of oil reserves leads to more job opportunities in the Middle east. That is the reason why India has a large diaspora in the middle east.
    • Uneven Growth: Uneven distribution of mineral oil has also led to uneven growth across the globe. Rise in import prices directly hamper the capabilities of the government to spend on welfare objectives.
    • Energy Security: The uneven distribution of the mineral oil resource is the reason for energy insecurity in the oil deficient countries. It also directly affects their strategic autonomy.

    The uneven distribution of the mineral oil resources leads to various implications ranging from economic to energy security. This highlights the need for India to diversify its energy basket both in terms of content and geography.

  • Geography

    17. What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India?

    Information technology is an example of a general-purpose technology that has the potential to play an important role in economic growth, as well as other dimensions of economic and social development. The IT industry accounted for around 8% of India’s GDP in 2020.

    However, IT industries in India are concentrated in a few major cities like Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, etc. This, though boosted the economy around the cities, has imprinted wider socio-economic implications.

    Socio-economic implications of development of IT industry:

    • Uneven development and Economic Disparity: The major cities with large IT hubs are developing faster than the semi urban and Tier I, II cities. There is also a huge wage gap between IT workers and other workers.
    • Accentuating Digital Divide: Given the importance of industries, the hosting cities attract most of the developmental activities. To illustrate, lack of infrastructure in rural areas impede the access to essential services, impacting their socio-economic development.
    • Increased Migration and Cultural Change: The youth migrate from rural areas and small cities to the major IT cities leaving their parents alone and needy for social and emotional support. This is leading to breakdown of joint family culture and more nuclear family culture is emerging in India.

    India’s technology services industry can achieve USD 300-350 billion in annual revenue by 2025 if it can exploit the fast-emerging business potential in cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity and other emerging technologies. Though we need to invest in such technologies, this investment should be evenly distributed and not centred to a few locations. For example, the IT-BPO industries can be established in North East cities and Tier 1 and 2 cities. We can only become a knowledge economy if the developments are even and inclusive.

  • Indian Society

    18. Discuss the main objectives of Population Education and point out the measures to achieve them in India in detail.

    The total number of people living in a particular place, at a particular time, is known as a population. Population Education can be defined as a process of developing awareness and understanding of the population situation among people and making them more responsible towards managing the population.

    Objectives of Population Education is to develop and understanding of:

    • Demographic concepts and processes.
    • Influence of population trends on the various aspects of human life - social, cultural, political and economic.
    • Close interaction of population growth and the developmental process with particular reference to development programmes for raising the standard of living of people.
    • Evil effects of overpopulation on the environment and the concomitant dangers from pollution.
    • Scientific and medical advancement enabling to get an increasing control over famines, diseases and death and the imbalance thus created between death rate and birth rate.
    • Biological factors and phenomenon of reproduction which are responsible for continuance of the species.

    Population Education in India:

    • India became one of the first developing countries to come up with a state-sponsored family planning programme in the 1950s. A population policy committee was established in 1952. In 1956, a Central Family Planning Board was set up and its focus was on sterilisation. In 1976, GoI announced the first National Population Policy.
    • The National Population Policy, 2000 envisaged achieving a stable population for India. One of its immediate objectives is to address the unmet needs for contraception, health care infrastructure, and personnel and provide integrated service delivery for basic reproductive and child health care.
    • National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is a large-scale, multi-round survey conducted in a representative sample of households throughout India.
    • The beginning of population education in India can be traced to the third Five Year Plan (1961-66). Realising the potential of education in tackling the problems of growing rate of population, a Population Education Programme was launched in 1980 to introduce Population Education in the formal education system.

    The family welfare program over the last five decades with holistic approach towards population control have made significant contributions, but the necessity for the intervention of educational efforts to bring appropriate social transformations so as to promote population stabilisation and ensure quality of life can never be denied. The universities and other educational institutions can play a vital role by providing adequate knowledge and necessary awareness in relevant areas.

  • Indian Society

    19. What is Cryptocurrency? How does it affect global society? Has it been affecting Indian society also?

    A cryptocurrency is a digital currency designed to work as a medium of exchange through a computer network that is not reliant on any central authority, such as a government or bank, to uphold or maintain it. It is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend.

    Cryptocurrency affects society in following ways:

    • Bringing the next level of globalisation as the cryptocurrency is digital currency and easily available across the international borders.
    • Emergence of one currency for the countries of the world which are decentralised and not related to any country. This may make fiat money redundant in the future.
    • Cryptocurrencies are way cheaper to use to execute international transactions making transactions faster and accurate, there are less chances of fraud. It has made it easier for entrepreneurs to reach international markets.
    • However, it takes away the sovereign power of issuing currency. Thus, making economic policy of the government ineffective. It also makes capital more volatile posing risk to macroeconomic stability.
    • Use of cryptocurrency by terrorist organisations, drug cartels etc. negatively impacts the global society and the anonymity of its use has potential to increase crime.

    India is the largest receiver of remittances. However, people lose money on conversion, processing charges, and switching to crypto will help people to get rid of these expenses. But in the era of digital currency, those who are not able to afford technology are devoid of such digital currency. In 2018, The RBI issued a circular preventing all banks from dealing in cryptocurrencies. This circular was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in May 2020. Recently, the government has announced to introduce a bill to create a sovereign digital currency and simultaneously ban all private cryptocurrencies.

    Blockchain and crypto assets will be an integral part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Indians should not be made to simply bypass it. The framework on cryptocurrencies should be developed which will require global partnerships and collective strategies.

  • Indian Society

    20. How does Indian society maintain continuity in traditional social values? Enumerate the changes taking place in it.

    The essence of Indian society lies in harbouring diverse and distinct identities, ethnicities, languages, religions, and culinary preferences. History stands witness to the fact that the societies that have struggled to hold differences were shattered in such an attempt.

    The supreme social-cultural traditional values of Indian life have been the values of:

    • A Cosmic Vision: The framework of Indian culture places human beings in the centre of the universe, as a divine creation-which celebrates individuality and differences of opinion in society.
    • Tolerance: In India, tolerance and liberalism are found for all religions, castes, communities, etc. Indian society accepted and respected various religions and ensured that there is a peaceful co-existence of religions.
    • Sense of Harmony: Indian philosophy and culture try to achieve innate harmony and order in society.
    • Continuity and Stability: The light of ancient Indian culture life is yet glowing. Many invasions occurred, many rulers changed, many laws were passed but even today, the traditional institutions, religion, epics, literature, philosophy, traditions, etc. are alive.
    • Adaptability: It is the process of changing according to time, place, and period. Indian society has shown fluidity and has adjusted itself with changing times.
    • Caste System and Hierarchy: Indian Society has evolved systems of social stratification, which in the past helped in accommodating outsiders, but concomitantly it has also been the reason for discrimination and prejudice.
    • Unity in Diversity: Despite inherent differences, Indian society celebrates unity in diversity which reflects in modern India’s founding principles and constitutional ideals.

    In recent times, Indian society has seen a surge in multiple divisive issues like:

    • Casteism: Caste-based discrimination leads society to divide into artificial groups which sometimes even led to violence.
    • Communalism: The aggressive attitude of one community towards the other creates tension and clashes between the two. It poses a great challenge to democracy and the unity of our country.
    • Nuclear Families: The new trend of nuclear families with one or a maximum of two children has emerged in India. Due to this children are not able to get the presence of the elderly who plays a major role in instilling values among the younger ones.
    • Gender Discrimination: There is a need for India to closely examine the norms that allow violence and a broader pattern of gender discrimination to continue. A society that does not value women as much as men fail to reach its full potential.

    Despite all these reasons, India remains a diverse country, a bewildering mosaic of communities of all kinds. Our peculiar societal genius is to fashion a form of coexistence where diversity can flourish and find its place. The principle of “Sarva Dharma Sambhava” (equal respect for all religions) is rooted in India’s tradition and culture.

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