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20 Solved Questions with Answers
  • Economic Development

    1. Why is Public Private Partnership (PPP) required in infrastructural projects? Examine the role of PPP model in the redevelopment of Railway Stations in India.

    • Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are a mechanism for government to procure and implement public infrastructure and services using the resources and expertise of the private sector.

    PPP in Infrastructure Projects

    • Governments in developing countries face the challenge to meet the growing demand for better infrastructure services. Introduction of PPP will help in providing better infrastructure services through improved operational efficiency.
    • The funding available and capacity of public sector to implement project on time remains limited, partnership with the private sector is an attractive alternative to increase and improve the supply of infrastructure services.
    • PPPs are beneficial in supplementing limited public sector capacities to meet the growing demand for infrastructure development.
    • It will develop local private sector through joint ventures with large firms in areas such as: civil works, electrical works, facilities management, security services, cleaning services, maintenance services.
    • The long-term value-for-money is extracted through appropriate risk transfer to the private sector over the life of the project – from construction to operations.

    Role of PPP model in the redevelopment of Railway Stations in India

    • The station redevelopment comprises two components:
      • Mandatory station redevelopment: It will make smooth and hassle-free travel.
      • Station Estate (Commercial) development: It will enable to tap several revenue streams to ensure the viability of entire project.
    • The Government of India pushing for reforms in railway infrastructure with the help of PPP. The first station redeveloped through PPP process is Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
    • Other stations will be redeveloped such as New Delhi, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and many more including in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
    • The responsibility of train operations and safety certification rests with Indian Railways.

    PPPs offer the public sector potential cost, quality, and scale advantages in achieving infrastructure service targets. NITI Aayog strategy for new India @ 75 envisages many targets in railway infrastructure like increasing the speed of infrastructure from the present 7 km/day to 19 km/day, 100% electrification of broad-gauge track by 2022-23.

  • Economic Development

    2. Is inclusive growth possible under market economy? State the significance of financial inclusion in achieving economic growth in India.

    In a market economy, the production of goods and services is directed by the laws of supply and demand and by profit with no government intervention.

    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines inclusive growth as economic growth that is distributed fairly across society and creates opportunities for all.

    Achieving inclusive growth in a market economy is a difficult prospect.

    • The absence of government intervention does not leave any substantial scope for social welfare schemes.
    • The profit-driven efficient utilisation does not take into consideration the deprivations faced by the marginalised sections of the population.
    • This often results in the further socio-economic weakening of these sections such as job loss, etc.
    • Market economy encourages privatisation, which in an unregulated manner, can prove to be detrimental to a large section of the population (high education fees and exorbitant prices of vaccines, essential medicines, etc.).

    Financial Inclusion is the process of ensuring access to financial services for vulnerable groups at affordable costs.

    • The government has initiated several schemes such as PM Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and PM Mudra Yojana (PMJY) aimed at effecting financial inclusion in the country.
      • These schemes are primarily to increase the coverage of the formal financial services in the country and enable a larger number of people to join the economic mainstream.
    • The integration of a greater number of people into the formal economic system of the country and the development of the habit of saving which further contributes to economic growth.
    • Extension of loans (PM Mudra Yojana) is also a key part of financial inclusion. With the availability of capital, more MSMEs, start-ups, etc., can be established that can play a crucial role in economic growth.
    • Pension-related schemes (Atal Pension Yojana, etc.) also constitute a key part of financial inclusion. This allows the elderly population of the country to remain economically productive and allow them to lead a dignified life.
    • Technology-driven financial inclusion (UPI) can also lead to economic growth since it helps in plugging leakages and enable larger people to integrate themselves with the formal financial services in the country.

    The market economy despite being economically efficient is not the ideal system for the implementation of inclusive growth which is based on equity and socio-economic welfare.

  • Economic Development

    3. What are the major challenges of Public Distribution System (PDS) in India? How can it be made effective and transparent?

    The Public distribution system (PDS) is an Indian food security system established under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution. PDS is operated under the joint responsibility of the central and the state governments.

    There are many issues associated with PDS system in India:

    • Studies show that entitled beneficiaries are not getting food grains while those that are ineligible are getting undue benefits.
    • TPDS (Targeted PDS) suffers from large leakages of food grains during transportation.
    • Open-ended Procurement i.e., all incoming grains accepted even if buffer stock is filled, creates a shortage in the open market.
    • A performance audit by the CAG has revealed a serious shortfall in the government’s storage capacity.

    However, various measures can be taken to make it effective and transparent:

    • Its effectiveness can be enhanced with technology-based solutions. Shifting towards DBT is another idea, but with caution.
    • Increased public participation through social audits and participation of SHGs, Cooperatives and NGOs will ensure the transparency of the PDS system at the ground level.
    • Integrating Aadhar with TPDS will help in the better identification of beneficiaries and address the problem of inclusion and exclusion errors. This will make PDS more effective.

    PDS is one of the biggest welfare programmes of the government. Strengthening of the existing TPDS system by capacity building and training of the implementing authorities along with efforts to plug leakages is the best way forward.

  • Economic Development

    4. Elaborate the scope and significance of the food processing industry in India.

    Industry, using processing methods, transforms agriculture product into food or consumable form is called as food processing industry.

    Scope

    • Indias has approximate 60.4 percent land as agriculture land.
    • India is leading producer of fruits, vegetables, milk, meats and cereals.
    • India is one of the largest consumer markets in the world.

    Significance

    • It can provide a profitable market to farmers. Profitable market can contribute to double the farmers income.
    • It is a link between agriculture and manufacturing sector. It can contribute in employment generation.
    • Organised supply of easily available processed food can help to reduce nutritional poverty in India.
    • Smooth functioning of forward and backward linkages can curb the food inflation and can reduce the delay market ready products.
    • Industry level processed food production can enhance the export capacity of Indian trade in international market.

    Limitations

    • Unorganised nature of this industry creates chaos to formulate comprehensive focused policy.
    • Lack of robust Logistic infrastructure leads to wastage of food resources.
    • Lack of proper functioning of backward and forward linkages led to Supply and demand side bottlenecks in economy.
    • Lack of investment and technological upgradation hinders this industry to realize its true potential.

    Way forward

    • To harness the true potential of this industry, formalization of this sector is key.
    • Greater investment and logistical infrastructure support can create new endeavours and job opportunities in this industry.
    • Coordination of various government ministries and departments are needed to Greenfields projects and running projects.
    • Need for integrated system to reduce post-harvest losses.it will further enhance agricultural products supply.

  • Economic Development

    5. The increase in life expectancy in the country has led to newer health challenges in the community. What are those challenges and what steps need to be taken to meet them?

    Life expectancy is the estimate of the number of years an individual is expected to live. Life expectancy at birth is the most common measure of life expectancy.

    India has witnessed a steady increase in life expectancy due to factors such as enhancement of public health coverage, improvement in sanitation and hygiene, etc. It currently stands at around 70 years in India.

    The increase in life expectancy has led to newer challenges in the community.

    • Extra burden on the already stressed public healthcare system.
    • Vulnerability to diseases and other health-related issues due to several factors such as exposure to air pollution, recurring viruses and pandemics, etc.
    • India has not witnessed an increase in “healthy life expectancy” with people now living longer with illness and disability due to the rising instances of non-communicable diseases.
    • Increased financial burden on the families and the state due to the increased healthcare requirements of an ageing population (health insurance coverage, medical treatments, etc.).
    • Accelerated utilisation of resources leading to issues in their distribution and management.

    Nevertheless, steps can be taken to address these challenges.

    • Increased awareness vis-à-vis diseases and health can improve the quality of health of the population.
    • It can also lead to people living healthier lives and requiring lesser resources for their medical needs later in life.
    • This can lead to a lesser economic burden on both the families and the state for looking after their medical requirements.
    • Improvements in the public health system with respect to its quality and access are also required for meeting the challenges due to the increase in life expectancy

    Thus, increased life expectancy has both positive and negative effects. With proper management, it can be utilised for effecting a positive outcome in the larger community and country.

  • Environment and Ecology

    6. Each year a large amount of plant material, cellulose, is deposited on the surface of Planet Earth. What are the natural processes this cellulose undergoes before yielding carbon dioxide, water and other end products?

    Cellulose is being considered the most abundant organic compound on the earth. The chemical formula of cellulose as a chain is (C6H10O5)n. Cellulose is an important structural component of the primary cell wall of green plants, many forms of algae and the oomycetes. Some species of bacteria secrete it to form biofilms.

    Properties of Cellulose

    • Complex carbohydrate that consists of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen.
    • A chiral, tasteless compound without any odour.
    • Biodegradable, insoluble in water and most organic solvents.

    Natural Processes of Cellulose

    Biosynthesis

    • In plants, cellulose is synthesized at the plasma membrane by Rosette Terminal Complexes (RTCs).
    • The RTCs contain the cellulose synthase enzymes that synthesis the individual cellulose chains.

    Breakdown (Cellulolysis)

    • Cellulolysis is the process of breaking down cellulose into smaller polysaccharides called cellodextrins or completely into glucose units.
    • The breakdown products are then used by the bacteria for proliferation.
    • The bacterial mass is later digested by the ruminant in its digestive system (stomach and small intestine).

    Breakdown (thermolysis)

    • At temperatures above 350 °C, cellulose undergoes thermolysis (pyrolysis).
    • It decomposes into solid char, vapors, aerosols, and gases such as carbon dioxide.
    • The semi-crystalline cellulose polymers react at pyrolysis temperatures (350–600 °C) in a few seconds.
      • This transformation has been shown to occur via a solid-to-liquid-to-vapor transition.
    • Maximum yield of vapors which condense to a liquid called bio-oil is obtained at 500 °C.

    Generally, cellulose is mainly used to produce paperboard and paper. But its conversion from energy crops to biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol is under development as a renewable fuel source. The biofuel production from cellulose would be a revolutionary technology as it can fulfil India’s target in Paris Climate Agreement.

  • Environment and Ecology

    7. Discuss in detail the photochemical smog emphasizing its formation, effects and mitigation. Explain the 1999 Gothenburg protocol.

    Photochemical smog also known as Los Angeles smog is a type of air pollution due to the reaction of solar radiation with airborne pollutant mixtures of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (hydrocarbons).

    Formation:

    The formation of photochemical smog is closely related to the concentration of primary pollutants (oxides of nitrogen such as nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and nitrous oxide and most VOCs) in the atmosphere. In some cases, it is also related to the concentration of secondary pollutants (aldehydes, tropospheric ozone, and PAN).

    • Photochemical smog appears to be initiated by nitrogen oxides
    • Absorbing the visible or ultraviolet energy of sunlight, it forms nitric oxide (NO) to free atoms of oxygen (O), which then combine with molecular oxygen (O2) to form ozone (O3).
    • With hydrocarbons, certain other organic compounds, and sunlight, various chemical reactions take place to form photochemical smog.

    Effects:

    • Chemicals within it, when combined with hydrocarbons, form molecules which cause eye irritation.
    • Ground level ozone can prove to be extremely toxic to human beings.
    • Other negative symptoms include decreased vision and shortness of breath.
    • Acid rain and eutrophication.

    Mitigation

    • Catalytic converters can reduce vehicle emissions of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons.
    • reducing greenhouse gas emissions and noxious urban emissions from transport through Biofuels.
    • cleaner options for vehicles such as Hydrogen powered and electric vehicles

    Gothenburg Protocol:

    • It is to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone was adopted by the countries of UNECE in Gothenburg (Sweden) on 30 November 1999.
    • It is also known as Muti-effect protocol.
    • It sets emission ceilings for 2010 for four pollutants: Sulphur, NOx, VOCs and ammonia.
    • These ceilings were negotiated on the basis of scientific assessments of pollution effects and abatement options.

    Currently, the protocol is under negotiation for a revised protocol. It was updated in 2012 to include particulate matter and black carbon.

  • Disaster Management

    8. Explain the mechanism and occurrence of cloudburst in the context of the Indian subcontinent. Discuss two recent examples.

    Cloudbursts are short-duration, intense rainfall events over a small area. According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), it is a weather phenomenon with unexpected precipitation exceeding 100mm/h over a geographical region of approximately 20-30 square km. In the Indian Subcontinent, it is generally observed in the Himalayan region.

    Mechanism of cloudburst

    When moisture laden air moves the hilly terrain, it forms vertical column of cloud also known as cumulonimbus cloud. These clouds are generally associated with rain, thunder and lightning. These unstable clouds cause an intense rainstorm over a small area and locked in the ridges and valleys between the hills.

    Occurrence of cloudburst

    The relative humidity and cloud cover is at the maximum level with low temperature and slow winds because of which clouds may get condensed at a very rapid rate and result in a cloudburst.

    Recent incidents

    • Amarnath Cloudburst in July 2022, which caused heavy casualties of pilgrims on yatra.
    • In August 2022, several people have been killed in destruction caused by cloudbursts and flash floods in different parts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

    With rising occurrences of cloudburst every year, it has become necessary to install dense network of weather instruments, and computing capabilities especially for hilly regions.

  • Internal Security

    9. Discuss the types of organised crimes. Describe the linkages between terrorists and organised crime that exist at the national and transnational levels.

    Illegal activities carried out at a large scale for profit through organisation and planning by powerful criminal groups are known as organised crime.

    Some major types of organised crime are smuggling, racketeering, drug and human trafficking, etc.

    Organised crime can be broadly categorised as ‘traditional’ and ‘non-traditional’. The former includes activities such as extortion, contract killings, smuggling, etc., while the latter includes cybercrime, enterprise and political corruption, white collar crimes, etc.

    Terrorism is not classified as an organised crime since it is driven by a political and ideological agenda and not profit-making. Nevertheless, both organised crime and terrorism often complement each other.

    Terrorists primarily require two things for carrying out their activities — financing and logistical support, often provided by entities engaged in organised crime. Sometimes, even terrorists carry out activities that fall under the purview of organised crime. For example, extortion by Left Wing Extremists for financing their activities against the state.

    Further, as showcased by the 1993 bombings in Mumbai, entities and individuals in organised crime also provide logistical support to terrorists such as smuggling of dangerous material(s), providing human resources, communication network(s) and information, arranging financial help etc.

    Thus, organised crime and terrorism share close linkages at both national and transnational levels and pose a significant threat to the security of the country.

  • Internal Security

    10. What are the maritime security challenges in India? Discuss the organisational, technical and procedural initiatives taken to improve the maritime security.

    India has more than 7000 km long maritime border shared with seven nations. Instruments of maritime security protects the territorial sovereignty of nation from possible marine threats.

    Challenges-

    • Issues of smuggling and human trafficking across the marine border.
    • Issues of cross border terrorism.
    • Infiltration of illegal migration.
    • Issues of piracy in maritime trade.
    • Maritime environmental hazards.
    • Some Initiatives taken by India-

    Organisational-

    • India launched security and growth for all (SAGAR) policy to integrated collaboration with Indian ocean region nations.
    • India introduced the establishment of integrated theatre command.
    • India set up an International fusion centre (IFC) for Indian ocean region in Gurugram.
    • Recently quad launched Indo-pacific partnership for maritime domain awareness (IPMDA) for better coordination and awareness.
    • India is part of various organisations and dialogue like IONS, IORA and India- EU maritime dialogue.

    Technical-

    • Mission based deployment of naval ships and aircrafts. Like, INS Vikrant, Nuclear Submarines and project 75I etc.
    • India is working on digital cargo and bay arrangement optimization to enhance efficiency of maritime security.
    • India introduced advanced Electronic Warfare System ‘Shakti’ in Indian Navy.
    • India used advance electronic and digital surveillance over the marine border.

    Procedural-

    • Being signatory of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), India adheres all its rules and regulations.
    • India follows the procedure of operational interactions with friendly nations via joint exclusive economic zones (EEZ) surveillance.

    Way forward

    • Swift coordination and collaboration of various security institution is much needed. It can enhance the efficiency in maritime security services.
    • Multilateral information sharing is key to prevent marine threats. So, there should be an integrated multilateral data sharing platform.
    • Best practices of other marine nations should be shared among all friendly nations holistically.

  • Economic Development

    11. ''Economic growth in the recent past has been led by increase in labour productivity.'' Explain this statement. Suggest the growth pattern that will lead to creation of more jobs without compromising labour productivity.

    According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), labour productivity represents the total volume of output (measured in terms of Gross Domestic Product, GDP) produced per unit of labour (measured in terms of the number of employed persons or hours worked) during a given time reference period.

    In the recent past, India has witnessed economic growth driven by an increase in labour activity. Several key factors have contributed to this development.

    One of the most important factors has been the prevalence of work-from-home since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Working from home has allowed people to dedicate more time to their respective economic engagements and vocations resulting in higher labour activity and resultantly productivity.

    Further, sectors such as ed-tech and other digitally driven fields have flourished during the same period and have contributed to higher labour activity and subsequently productivity and eventually to higher economic growth.

    Also, the initiative taken by the government in launching several important schemes (Skill India) aimed at the upskilling of the workforce and encouragement to the start-up ecosystem (Startup India) has resulted in the creation of a skilled and well-equipped workforce.

    Also, the reinstatement of economic activities after nearly two years of Covid-induced lockdowns has led to increased labour activity and productivity.

    Several initiatives can be taken to create a growth pattern that ensures the creation of jobs without compromising labour productivity.

    • Manufacturing-intensive industries, the MSME sector and start-ups should be promoted to ensure the creation of an adequate number of jobs to ensure without compromising labour productivity.
    • Government, through capital expenditure can create jobs and ensure that labour productivity is not compromised.
    • Further, it can also initiate programmes aimed at upskilling the workforce as well as increasing government recruitments in a financially prudent manner.
    • A focus on automation and the introduction of new and efficient technologies is another method of maintaining labour productivity and ensuring economic growth.
    • Efforts should be made to bring those sections of the population into the mainstream workforce that have hitherto not been able to make an active contribution to labour activity.

    Thus, increased labour activity and the resultant increase in productivity and economic growth have been important features of the post-pandemic economy. An economic growth pattern that ensures its continuation is thus very important.

  • Economic Development

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

    India at the COP 26th meeting of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) committed to the 5-point agenda programme. One of them is to meet 50% of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.

    To reach the above commitments India has already achieved few targets:

    • India has overachieved its commitment made at COP 21- Paris Summit by already meeting 40% of its power capacity from non-fossil fuels.
    • India is also one of the world’s largest producers of modern bioenergy.
    • Today, India is the world's third largest producer of renewable energy, with 40% of its installed electricity capacity coming from non-fossil fuel sources.
    • India's massive UJALA LED bulb campaign is reducing emissions by 40 million tonnes annually.

    However, there are a few challenges in achieving the target:

    • To meet the above target India will need massive funding. BlombergNEF (BNEF) report says that only to meet wind and solar energy targets India will need $223 Billion.
    • In the short-term rising interest rates, a depreciating rupee and high-inflation create challenges for the financing of renewables.
    • Even, to complete the targets Indian government needs to cut down its taxes for almost 2 lakh crores by 2030 which will effect the other sectors like education, health and infrastructure.

    Fossil fuel subsidies by the Union government have fallen 742% since 2014 but the subsidies on coal, oil and gas increased by nine times in 2021-22. Still, the Fossil fuel subsidies in India nine times higher than renewable energy. So, there is no complete shift to subsidies on renewable energy sources.

    Although, the shift of subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables will help in subsidies for E- vehicles and raising taxes on fossil fuels will help in achieving the above objective because giving subsidies to renewable sources will make it look cheaper and this will also work against the fossil-fueled incumbents that are preventing new renewable energy entrants access to the market. For example, giving subsidies for E- vehicles and raising taxes on fossil fuels will help in achieving levels needed by 2030 as it will contain global warming to the Paris goal of 1.5-2C.

  • Agriculture

    13. What are the main bottlenecks in upstream and downstream process of marketing of agricultural products in India?

    Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy. Even, with the growth of other sectors, agriculture still continues to play a dominant part in the overall economic scenario of India. Agricultural marketing is mainly a state entitlement with the Central Government providing support under central sector schemes. The upstream process of agricultural marketing includes inputs to agriculture like seeds, machinery, and technology and the downstream process includes the food processing industry.

    However, there are still many challenges in upstream and downstream process of agricultural marketing:

    • In the upstream process, lack of coverage of reform policies is one of the main hindrances in addressing the issues of agricultural marketing. For example, only some States have adopted the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (APLMA) Act fully.
    • Contract farming has been taken out of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) domain, citing conflict of interest and this creates lacunae in the upstream as well as downstream process.
    • Another downstream bottleneck is flawed MSP provision which forces the private traders to buy produce at or above MSP or penalizing for not doing so, which can kill the private markets for agricultural produce.
    • There should be effective provision of procurement by the State and its agencies with the involvement of local institutions like Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) and producer companies as it effects sourcing activities and purchasing activities in upstream and downstream process.
    • Most disappointingly, Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017 (APLMA, 2017) ignores the vexed issue of the role of Arthiyas (commission agents or CAs) in the APMCs and maintains them as central agents in the system. This effects the whole agricultural marketing process.

    However, with some reforms like the removal of entry barriers, involvement of other stakeholders and electronic settlement of sales, the process of marketing of agricultural products can be improved.

    Addressing the challenges of the agricultural market is complex, yet doable, as the doubling of farmers’ income cannot come without developing a thriving market of agriculture. Hence, it is high time that focus must shift from agricultural production to agricultural marketing.

  • Agriculture

    14. What is Integrated Farming System? How is it helpful to small and marginal farmers in India?

    Integrated Farming System (IFS) is an interdependent, interrelated often interlocking production system. The IFS model combines various compatible enterprises such as crops (field crops, horticultural crops), agroforestry (agri-silvi culture, agri-horticulture), livestock (dairy, poultry, small ruminants), fishery, mushroom and bee culture in an synergistic way so that the waste of one process become the input for other processes for optimum farm productivity.

    How is it helpful to Small and Marginal farmers:

    • Utilising the by-products of one component of the farming system as an input in another to ensure supplementary and complementary enterprise relationship. Thus, effective input cost is reduced. For example, cattle dung mixed with crop residues and farm waste can be converted into nutrient-rich vermicompost.
    • Maximization of yield of all component enterprises to provide steady and stable income at higher levels.
    • Rejuvenation/amelioration of systems productivity and achieve agro-ecological equilibrium.
    • Control the built-up of insects-pest, diseases and weeds population through natural cropping system management and keep them at low level of intensity.
    • Reducing the use of chemical fertilizer and other harmful agrochemicals and pesticides to provide pollution-free, healthy produce and environment to the society at large.
    • It will help in mitigating the negative impact of agriculture or livestock on the environment.
    • Regular stable income through products like egg, milk, mushroom, vegetables and silkworm cocoons etc..

    According to the Agriculture Census 2015, India has 86% small and marginal farmers, hence ensuring their livelihood is critical to ensuring inclusive growth. Small and marginal farmers should always be encouraged to implement IFS. It will also help the government achieve its aim of doubling farmers' income and increasing agriculture's total GVA to the economy at large. However, there are some limitations with the IFS:

    • Financial restrictions prevent small and marginal farmers from affording huge cattle or setting up ponds for fisheries.
    • Lack of awareness among farmers and hesitancy to adopt newer farming systems and technologies.
    • MSP is provided only for 23 crops. It does not apply to other crops such as Mushrooms and Beekeeping industries.

    IFS fulfills multiple objectives, including making farmers self-sufficient by ensuring the family members get a balanced diet, enhancing the standard of living by maximizing the total net returns and providing more jobs, overall upliftment of rural community and conserving the natural resources and crop diversity.

  • Science & Technology

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

    The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. It was successfully launched from French Guiana on 25th December 2021. The telescope is the result of an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency.

    Features of James Webb Telescope over other Telescopes

    Features James Webb Telescope Hubble Telescope Herschel Space Observatory Telescope
    Wavelength Observes in Infrared range Observes in Ultra-violet and visible part of spectrum. Observes in Infrared range
    Coverage 0.6 to 28 microns 0.8 to 2.5 microns 60 to 500 microns.
    Mirror Size Diameter: 6.5 meter Diameter: 2.4 meter Diameter: 3.5 meter
    • The James Webb Telescope and the Herschel Telescope is orbiting L2 region while other previous telescopes were launched into low earth orbit. It will help in better image capturing because of different wavelengths.
    • The size of mirror of James Webb telescope is much larger than other telescopes which will help in collecting larger area as compared to other.
    • James Webb Telescope is expected to go beyond the range of Hubble Telescope which will help in revealing stars and galaxies 13.7 billion years ago.

    Key Goals

    • Search for the first galaxies that formed after the Big Bang.
    • Determine how galaxies evolved from their earlier formation until now.
    • Observe the formation of stars from the first stages to the formation of planetary systems.
    • Measure the physical and chemical properties of planetary systems and investigate the potential for life in such systems.

    Potential benefits of James Webb for Human Race

    • The Webb telescope offers opportunity to understand the formation and growth of earlier galaxies.
    • It will help to detect possibilities of life on other planets. The detection of water and methane present in atmosphere of exoplanets can be done by infrared wavelengths.
    • It will be helpful in watching the birth of stars as the infrared light from the stars can penetrate through the dust.
    • It will help in studying black holes form different angle. It will provide valuable data related to temperatures, speed, chemical composition of the black hole.
    • It will also help to observe the atmospheres of extrasolar planets which are present beyond our solar system.

    James Webb telescope is the successor of the Hubble Telescope. The characteristics of the telescope will aid in learning about the mass, age, history and composition of ancient galaxies. It is expected that it will provide broad range of investigation in fields of astronomy ad cosmology.

  • Science & Technology

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

    A vaccine is a biological product that can be used to safely induce an immune response that confers protection against infection and disease on subsequent exposure to a pathogen. The essential component of most vaccines is one or more protein antigens that induce immune responses that provide protection.

    Basic Principle Behind Vaccine Development

    • To induce protection against a pathogen by mimicking its natural interaction with the human immune system.
    • Vaccines induce the immune system to produce an immunological memory based on T and B lymphocytes.
    • This memory helps to produce a rapid and effective response to exposure to the targeted pathogen.

    Working of Immune System

    • When a pathogen does infect the body, our immune system gets triggered and the pathogen is attacked and destroyed.
    • The subpart of a pathogen that causes the formation of antibodies is called an antigen.

    Working of Vaccines

    • Vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of an antigen that triggers an immune response within the body.
    • This weakened version of antigen will prompt the immune system to respond much as it would have on its first reaction to the actual pathogen.

    Approach Adopted to Develop India’s First Indigenous COVID-19 Vaccine

    • COVAXIN
      • Developed by the Bharat-Biotech.
      • It is an inactivated vaccine which is developed by inactivating the live microorganisms that cause the disease.
      • It is developed using Whole-Virion Inactivated Vero Cell derived platform technology.
    • COVISHIELD
      • Developed by the University of Oxford in collaboration with Swedish-British drugmaker AstraZeneca.
      • Serum Institute of India (SII) is the manufacturing partner in India.
      • It is based on a weakened version of a common cold virus or the adenovirus that is found in chimpanzees.
      • This viral vector contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (protrusions) present on the outer surface of the virus that help it bind with the human cell.

    In a historic achievement, India’s vaccination drive has surpassed the 200-Crore milestone in July 2022. India has always supported the research, development and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines under the “Make-in-India” and “Make-for-World” Strategy, embarked on the use of cutting-edge technologies like CoWIN.

  • Environment and Ecology

    17. Discuss global warming and mention its effects on the global climate. Explain the control measures to bring down the level of greenhouse gases which cause global warming, in the light of the Kyoto Protocol, 1997.

    Global warming is the long-term heating of Earth’s surface observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere.

    Effects on Global Climate

    • Early snowmelts, disappearing glaciers, and severe droughts are causing more water shortages.
    • Rising sea levels lead to more coastal flooding.
    • Heatwaves, heavy downpour, and increased flooding levels create trouble for farms, forests, and cities.
    • Disruption of coral reefs and alpine meadows could cause many plant and animal species to extinction.
    • Allergies, asthma, and infectious diseases will become more common due to higher levels of air pollution.

    Control measures to bring down the level of greenhouse gases which cause global warming

    • The Kyoto Protocol was an international treaty that commits state policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005.
    • The Kyoto protocol targets emission of six gases which includes Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (NO2), Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), group of hydrocarbons (HCFs), and groups of per fluorocarbons (PFCs).
    • There are various mechanism to reduce levels of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol:
      • The clean development mechanism allows the country with emission-reduction commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to implement projects in developing countries.
      • Carbon credit is a tradable certificate which is equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide. It attempts to limit the growth of concentration of greenhouse gases. Carbon credits can be acquired through afforestation, carbon sequestration, methane capture, etc.
      • Joint implementation allows country with an emission reduction commitment under Kyoto Protocol to earn emission reduction units from emission reduction projects.
      • Emission trading allows countries to sell unused emission units to other countries which have exceeded their targets.

    The Kyoto Protocol is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and is only global treaty with binding limits on greenhouse gases emissions.

  • Environment and Ecology

    18. Explain the causes and effects of coastal erosion in India. What are the available coastal management techniques for combating the hazard?

    The process of removal of coastal sand or displacement of land because of local sea level rise, strong wave action, heavy intrusion of sea water in coastal region can be termed as coastal erosion. The Ministry of Earth Sciences informed the Lok Sabha that of the 6,907.18 km long Indian coastline of the mainland, a significant area is under varying degrees of coastal erosion.

    Factors responsible for coastal erosion are:

    • Natural reasons
      • Global Warming- The increase in concentration of CO2 in atmosphere has led to warming of planet and has resulted in melting of glaciers which invariably has led to rise in sea level. Thus, threat of coastal erosion has increased manifold.
      • Planetary cycle- Planetary position of Earth and Moon cause tides in the sea every fortnight
      • Strong winds that blow across the planet generate huge energy; this generated energy is released by waves on the shores breaking rocks into sand in long run.
      • Warming of Sea Water- It has increased the formation of cyclones in Indian peninsula and contribute to destruction of coastal areas.
    • Anthropological reasons
      • Violation of Coastal Management Zones (CMZ) rules by builders
      • Energy production near coastal areas like nuclear energy, tidal energy plant
      • Dredging at shallow waters near coasts
      • Reduced flow of sand from river into ocean
    • Effect of coastal erosion are:
      • Rise of sea level has increased the threat submergence of small islands.
      • Destruction of coastal habitats thus increases vulnerability of coastal flora and fauna.
      • Loss of income from coastal ecosystems.

    Major coastal management techniques to prevent erosion are:

    Natural response

    • Coastal Shelter belts such as mangroves, coral reefs and lagoons are recognized as the best defence against sea storms and erosion, deflecting and absorbing much of the energy of sea storms. Therefore, it is important to maintain these natural habitats for shore protection as well as for environmental conservation.

    Artificial response

    • Use of Geo-synthetic Tubes / Bags- Geo-synthetic tube is a sizable, tube-shaped bag filled with sand slurry and fashioned with porous, weather-resistant geotextile that is used to create artificial coastal structures like breakwaters, dunes, or levees. They are aligned with the shoreline to weaken wave energy and protect against coastal erosion
    • Artificial Beach Nourishment- Often referred to as a “soft armoring” technique, beach nourishment, or beach filling technique is the practice of adding large quantities of sand or sediment to beaches to combat erosion and increase beach width.
    • Groynes - An active structure that protrudes into the sea from the shore and is often perpendicular to or slightly oblique to the shoreline is called a groyne. A groyne's primary job is to catch and hold back some of the sediment that is travelling through the surf zone, mostly in a longshore direction.

    With the alarming rise in climate change threats, rising sea level is a certain outcome of the process. As coastal areas across India are densely populated, it has become quintessential that coastal planning is given concrete thought by considering the option of displacement of people to safe havens.

  • Internal Security

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

    Cyber security means the protection of cyberspace including critical information infrastructure from attacks, damage, misuse and economic espionage. It also includes the set of technologies and practices designed to prevent various types of cybercrimes.

    There are certain key elements of cyber security such as:

    • Application Security: It includes measures that are taken during an application’s development process to protect it from threats emerging from flaws in the app design, development, deployment, etc.
    • Information security: It is related to protecting information from unauthorized access to avoid identity theft and protect privacy.
    • Network Security: It includes activities to protect the network's usability, reliability, integrity and safety.
    • Disaster Recovery Planning: It is a process that includes performing risk assessment, establishing priorities and developing recovery strategies in case of a cyber-attack.
    • End-user awareness: This includes the dissemination of information and raising awareness about the various facets of cybersecurity among the larger public

    Challenges related to cyber security are centred around certain key issues such as:

    • An increase in cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure has been witnessed in recent times.
    • The lack of adequate necessary infrastructure and human resources trained in dealing with cybersecurity-related issues.
    • Inadequate focus on cyber security by the private sector on developing preparedness for dealing with cyber-attacks.
    • The country's expanding digital ecosystem and inadequate infrastructure and procedures render large amounts of data vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
    • Further, India is not a signatory to the Budapest Convention which seeks to address cybercrimes by improving investigative techniques and increasing cooperation among nations.

    India has adopted a multi-faceted National Cyber Security Strategy to deal with cybercrime.

    • The Information Technology Act, passed in 2000 and amended in 2008, deals with the mitigation of cybercrime and related issues.
    • The constitution of specialised agencies dealing with cybercrime such as the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) and Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C).
    • Other government initiatives related to spreading awareness about and mitigating cybercrime-related threats are the Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative, National Cyber Security Coordination Centre (NCCC), Cyber Swachhta Kendra and Information Security Education and Awareness Project (ISEA).
    • A National Cyber Security Policy was implemented by the government in 2013 for dealing with cybercrimes.
    • Further, in 2020, the National Cyber Security Strategy was conceptualised by the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) headed by Lt General Rajesh Pant. This is yet to be implemented by the Centre.

    Thus, with the changing nature of cybercrimes, India has also made efforts at meeting the challenges emanating from them. However, more needs to be done to effectively address the threats posed by cybercrimes.

  • Internal Security

    20. Naxalism is a social, economic and developmental issue manifesting as a violent internal security threat. In this context, discuss the emerging issues and suggest a multilayered strategy to tackle the menace of Naxalism.

    Naxalism is considered as the biggest security threat to the country. The term Naxalism derives its name from the village Naxalbari of West Bengal. The Naxal Movement started in 1967 under the leadership of Kanu Sanyal and Jagan Santhal as a rebellion against the local landlords over a land dispute. The movement was spread across the eastern Indian and in less developed states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh.

    Emerging Issues

    • The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 deprives tribal to depend upon forests produces and there is a massive displacement of tribal population due to developmental and mining projects.
    • The administration fails to provide essential services to the people of Naxalite affected regions such as education, freedom, sanitation, and food. There is a confusion over tackling Naxalism as a social issue or as a security threat.
    • Some villages suffer with infrastructural problems such as communication and connectivity. There is absence of technical intelligence to fight with Naxalites.
    • Lack of political participation by the tribal community and the inability of political authority to provide avenues for structural uplift to the deprived sections.

    Strategy to Tackle the Menace of Naxalism

    Social Dimensions

    • Aspirational District Programme deals with Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in a holistic manner for ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities and improvement in governance and management.
    • Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme is implemented by the Central Government to reimburses needs of security forces like ex-gratia payment to the family of civilians/security forces killed/injured in LWE violence, compensation to Left Wing Extremist cadres who surrendered in accordance with the surrender and rehabilitation policy.
    • The government should initiate more dialogues between the Naxalites and the government officials. Equal participation in casting votes and contesting elections can make the conditions better.
    • Providing access to the basic resources such as forests, education, sanitation, and food. There is a need to emphasis on rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected population.

    Economic Dimensions

    • Removing economic disparity could contribute to tackle the growth of Naxalism.
    • Generation of more employment with higher wages will help the people of that region in uplifting their skills.
    • There is a need of coherent national strategy to be implemented by Central Government to end Naxalism.

    Developmental Dimensions

    • Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RCPLWE) is implemented for further improving road connectivity in LWE affected States.
    • LWE Mobile Tower Project is implemented to improve mobile connectivity in the LWE areas.
    • The concern of infrastructure needs to be addressed in the Naxalite affected regions.

    India has made little success tackling Naxalism, but the root causes have not been addressed yet. The central and the State Governments should continue to work together and come up with common strategy.

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