Oct. 28, 2020

Mains Daily Question
Oct. 28, 2020

  1. What do you understand by “equality before law” and “equal protection of laws”? Can there be exceptions to equality? Explain.

Approach:

  • Introduce with Right to equality and article 14

  • Define the core concept of” Equality before law” and “Equal protection of law”

  • Giving reference of SC, mention exceptions

  • Conclude appropriately

The Model Answer will be displayed at Oct. 29, 2020, 9 a.m.

Oct. 26, 2020

Mains Daily Question
Oct. 26, 2020

  1. What do you understand by weathering and mass movements. Also discuss about their significance.

Approach

  • Introduce with exogenic forces and how weather and mass movements are types of them.

  • Explain weathering and briefly various types like chemical, physical and biological

  • Explain mass wasting

  • Describe their significance like soil formation, formation of natural resources etc.

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

Along with endogenetic forces, Earth’s surface is being continuously subjected to by external forces originating within the earth’s atmosphere (exogenic forces) like weathering, mass movements, erosion and deposition.

Weathering

Weathering is defined as mechanical disintegration and chemical decomposition of rocks, through the action of various elements of weather and climate. Weathering occurs in situ, with little or no movement. Weathering can happen in three ways:

  • Chemical Weathering - A group of weathering processes i.e. solution, carbonation, hydration, oxidation and reduction act on the rocks to decompose, dissolve or reduce them to a fine clastic state through chemical reactions by oxygen, surface /soil water and other acids.

  • Physical Weathering - They are caused due to applied forces which can be gravitational forces, thermal expansion forces, water pressures etc. The repeated action of these processes cause damage to the rocks.

  • Biological Weathering- It is contribution to or removal of minerals and ions from the weathering environment and physical changes due to growth or movement of organisms. Burrowing and wedging by organisms like earthworms, termites, rodents etc., help in exposing the new surfaces to chemical attack and assists in the penetration of moisture and Human beings by disturbing vegetation, ploughing, and cultivating soils also help in creating new contacts between air, water, and minerals in earth materials.

 

Mass Movements  

These movements transfer the mass of rock debris down the slopes under the direct influence of gravity. Mass movements are aided by gravity and no geomorphic agent like running water, glaciers, wind, waves and currents participate in the process of mass movements. Weak unconsolidated materials, thinly bedded rocks, faults, steeply dipping beds, vertical cliffs or steep slopes, abundant precipitation and torrential rains and scarcity of vegetation etc. favour mass movements. The movements of mass may range from slow to rapid, affecting shallow to deep columns of materials and include creep, flow (earthflow, mudflow), slide (rockslide, landslide) and fall.

 

Significance of Weathering and Mass Movement

  1. Soil and Regolith: Weathering is crucial base to our ecology as it converts bed rock into regolith and soil. Regolith is also notable for being the basic source for the inorganic part of the soil.

  2. Resources: Weathering produces natural resources like clay, sand, gravel etc. Practically all bauxite, most iron ore and some copper ore are formed and concentrated by weathering.

  3. Landforms: Differential weathering helps in the evolution of different types of landforms like stone lattice, tors, buttes etc. Continuous removal and transfer of weathered materials through different processes of mass-translocation of rock wastes such as landslides and by the agent of erosion causes gradual lowering of the height of the affected area.

  4. Disasters: In mountainous regions, mass wasting of weathered material on the slopes occurs in the form of landslides and debris avalanches leading to loss of life and property.

The effects of most of the exogenic geomorphic processes are small and slow and may be imperceptible in a short time span, but in the long run play an important role.

Subjects : Geography

Oct. 23, 2020

Mains Daily Question
Oct. 23, 2020

  1. What were the factors responsible for American revolution? Examine the effects of the revolution.

Approach:           

  • Briefly introduce American Revolution

  • Explain the various factors responsible for American Revolution

  • Mention the effects/outcomes of the American Revolution

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

The American Revolution or the U.S. war of Independence was a revolt waged by the American colonies to get independence from Great Britain during 1775. For more than a decade before the outbreak of American Revolution, tension had been building between colonists and the British authorities due to various reasons.

The reasons include:

  1. British Mercantilist Policy: The basis of England mercantile policy was that the State’s power depends on its wealth and colonies existed to serve the mother country. In fulfilment of these ideology, British started imposing many restrictions on colonies through Navigation Act, Trade Acts, and Industry Acts.

  2. Navigation Law of 1651 – It was compulsory for American ships to visit British ports before leaving for other parts of the world.

  3. Colonies were not allowed to use on-British ships in their trade.

  • Certain products such as sugar, tobacco, and cotton could be exported only to England.

  1. Colonies were also forbidden to start certain industries. E.g., Iron works, Textile etc/

  2. Role Of Seven Years War: After the end of Seven Years War in 1763 (British and Allies vs French and Allies), Britain faced severe economic crisis. In this situation, British Parliament's policy to impose various taxes on American colonies like sugar duty 1964, stamp duty 1965 etc. These resulted in stormy protest and emergence of slogans like “No Taxation without Representation’ etc.

  3. Townshend Act 1767 And Boston Massacre 1770: The act levied custom duty on five goods which were imported by America from England and it included tea. The colonists refused to pay and there was firing on mob; the incident famously known as Boston Massacre.

  4. Boston Tea Party: Under pressure, after Boston Massacre, the duty on all, except the tea, was removed. In response to which Samuel Adams along with his supporters threw away the tea containers into Atlantic Ocean. This was Boston Tea Party of 1773.

All these reasons culminated into the war of independence from 1776 in which various important battles were fought like Concord, Lexington, etc.  Later France also supported American fighters by sending its army under Lafayette.

 

Outcomes of the Revolution

  1. By signing of Treaty of Paris, 1783, Britain left all its claims on American colonies. It led to political and economic upheaval in Britain.

  2. The original face of Mercantilism became evident and hence it was denounced in other colonies. E.g., Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Central and South America

  3. Effect on French Revolution: It inspired French people to rise against despotic rule in France.

  4. Democracy was established and republic replaced monarchy.

  5. The 13 colonies became independent and determined to be loosely connected under the 1781 Articles of Confederation.

After the American Revolution, America emerged as a political and economic superpower. The revolution also inspired revolutionaries and freedom fighters across the world, most notably inspiring the French Revolution. 

 

Subjects : World History

Oct. 21, 2020

Mains Daily Question
Oct. 21, 2020

Q. What are the various sources of ethics? Briefly describe their impact on ethics in Indian society?

Approach
• Define Ethics
• Mention various sources of ethics with examples
• Explain through examples how they impact ethics in Indian society
• Conclude accordingly.

Model Answer

Ethics is the study of moral philosophy. i.e., the study of what is right or wrong about the human action and thought. It is study of a set of standards that society places on itself. They guide individual's behaviors, choices and actions as a member of the society.

Sources of Ethics 

Ethics are derived from various sources, including religion, traditions and customs.

  1. Religion: Religion is the most important source of ethics as religious teachings often prescribe what is right and wrong and society subscribes to such norms.

  2. Traditions: Practices that are handed over from generation to generation become part of societal standards.

  3. Family: Family is the fundamental unit of the society and they establish certain standards for a functioning society. A child is first educated about ethical norms in family.

  4. Human conscience: Conscience helps a man to differentiate between good and bad, and certain standards for society are acceptable for all conscientious men. 

  5. Government laws: Sometimes, certain standards are imposed on the society through laws, which over time are accepted by society and forms part of its ethical system 

  6. Role Models and Philosophers: They inspire people and help in societies discovering or assimilating new virtues.

Impact of The Above Sources on Ethics in Indian Society

  1. Hindu philosophy of "Sarva Dharma Sambhava" and principle of non-violence in Jainism/Buddhism had a profound influence on Indian society.

  2. Government prohibition of practices like sati and permitting of widow remarriage encouraged the society to incorporate their prohibition in societal standards.

  3. Role Models like Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar have stood against social evils and set examples of bringing changes in ethical norms.

Societies are dynamic, as are its ethical standards and the sources of these ethical standards. They form the guidelines by which we should live as members of the society.

 

Subjects : Ethics

Oct. 19, 2020

Mains Daily Question
Oct. 19, 2020

  1. Explain how trade monopolies of East India Company were diluted by different Charter Acts passed by the British Parliament?

 

Approach:          

  • Brief Introduction on how EIC got trade monopoly and why it was diluted.

  • Then explain how different charter acts diluted the trade monopoly of EIC.

  • Conclude appropriately.

Model Answer

The British came to India in 1600 as traders in the form of East India Company (EIC), which had the exclusive right of trading in India under charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I.  After the Battle of Buxar (1764), the EIC got Diwani rights also. However, party and parliamentary rivalries, political ambitions of statesman and commercial greed of merchants, jealousy of other sections of the British society due to the large wealth brought by the Company officials back to Britain etc led to the gradual transfer of power from company to crown by dilution of trade monopolies of East India Company.

  • Charter Act of 1793: It gave the East India Company a monopoly to trade with East only for a period of 20 years.

  • The Charter Act of 1813
    • It ended the trade monopoly of East India Company in India.

    • But the company’s monopoly to trade in tea with India and trade with China was kept intact.

    • Trade in India in all the commodities except tea was thrown open to all British subjects.



  • The Charter Act of 1833
    • It ended the monopoly in trade with China and the monopoly to trade in tea in India.

    • Henceforth all restrictions on European Immigration into India were abolished. The Europeans were allowed to settle and own property in India.



 

After the Battle of Plassey (1757), Company had started using its political control to acquire monopolistic control over Indian trade and production but problems such as relations of East India Company and its possessions to the government in Britain, ideology of free market theory of Adam Smith etc. led to the dilution of monopoly of the Company.

Subjects : Modern History

Oct. 16, 2020

Mains Daily Question
Oct. 16, 2020

  1. What do you mean by Non-performing asset (NPA). Enumerate the major factors behind accumulation of non-performing assets in the Indian banking sector in recent years.

Approach

  • Introduce with NPAs

  • Explain various factors causing NPAs.

  • Suggest way forward to deal with NPA

Model Answer

A non performing asset (NPA) is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payment remained overdue for a period of 90 days. The higher is the amount of non-performing assets (NPAs), the weaker will be the bank’s revenue stream.

In its Financial Stability Report for July 2020, the RBI highlighted that the gross NPA ratio fell from 9.3 percent in September 2019 to 8.5 percent by March 2020. However, the central bank said the GNPA ratio of the country's scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) may increase from 8.5 % in March 2020 to 12.5 %by the same period next year, under the baseline scenario.

 

Factors Behind Accumulation of NPAs In the Indian Banking Sector in Recent Years:

  1. Historical Reason: The historical origins can be traced to the nationalization of banks in 1969. It opened a window for bank lending on political behest, patronage, and rent-seeking.

  2. Public sector banks themselves are also responsible: Their lending was and is sometimes inept and sometimes corrupt. For one, banks simply did not have the capabilities to assess credit risk in investment lending. For another, banks were caught in a maturity mismatch, because they borrowed short from depositors but had to lend long to investors. The other reasons for rising NPAs are: Weakening of credit underwriting criteria, debt restructuring, poor governance of PSBs etc.

  3. Credit Boom: Part of the reason lies in the extraordinary credit boom that the country witnessed since 2003-04. Credit expansion was phenomenal, with average annual growth rate at 18.69 % while nominal GDP growth rates were 12.62. Credit booms are generally succeeded by stress in the banking system.

  4. Slowing Economic Growth and Global Crisis: The profits of most of the corporates dwindled due to slowdown in GDP growth due to covid, impact of Court judgments on mining, power and steel sectors, delay in environmental clearances, and slump in global trade. This has affected their ability to pay back loans and is the most important reason behind increase in NPAs of public sector banks.

  5. The wait and watch approach of banks have been often blamed as the reason for rising NPAs as banks allow deteriorating asset class to go from bad to worse in the hope of revival and often offered restructuring option to corporates.

  6. Willful Defaults: Recently there have also been frauds of high magnitude that have contributed to rising NPAs. As of December 2018, over 11,000 companies had willfully defaulted on amounts worth over Rs 1.61 lakh crore.

Way forward

Various steps have been taken to tackle the issue of NPAs. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has become a powerful tool for the banks to recover NPAs and has seen some good early success and it should be maintained. Steps have been taken to expedite and enable efficient resolution of NPAs of PSBs through Mission Indradhanush, Project Sashakt, consolidation of banks etc. Yet, corrective action is possible and necessary such as:

  1. PSB Governance: The entire process of improving the governance in PSBs, already set in motion, needs to be hastened. The recently constituted Bank Board Bureau is a step in this direction, but its independence from govt influence cannot be assumed. Its autonomy will have to be established.

  2. Credit Risk Management: Proper credit appraisal of the project, creditworthiness of clients and their skill and experience should be carried out. It is essential that public sector commercial banks acquire the capabilities to assess credit risk in investment lending. The establishment of a National Development Bank with a mandate for, and expertise in, longer-term investment lending would also serve a valuable purpose. Effective Management Information System (MIS) needs to be implemented to monitor early warning signals about the projects.

  3. Stricter NPA Recovery: The government needs to amend the laws and give more powers to banks to recover NPAs.

  4. Asset Reconstruction Company: There’s a need to set up an ARC or an Asset Management Company to fast track resolution of stressed assets of PSBs.

  5. Sector-specific Intervention: Power, Steel etc are few sectors that has high NPAs, which could reduce with regulatory clearances, better growth and recovery. To reduce the quantum of NPAs in steel, power and shipping sectors, select successful PSUs should take over the management of stressed projects in their respective sectors, in coordination with the lender banks.

 

Subjects : Economy

Oct. 14, 2020

Mains Daily Question
Oct. 14, 2020

  1. With reference to the theory of plate tectonics, explain the origin of fold mountains.

 

Approach

  • Introduce with brief explanation of plate tectonics theory and how it forms the basis for explaining formation of fold mountains

  • Explain the origin of fold mountains through plate convergence as per the plate tectonics theory - both continental-oceanic and continental-continental

  • Conclude how theory explains more than just formation of fold mountains

Model Answer

A tectonic plate (also called lithosphere plate) is a massive, irregularly shaped slab of solid rock, generally composed of both continental and oceanic lithosphere. These plates move horizontally over the asthenosphere as rigid units. Thus, it is not the continent that moves as believed by Weigner. Continents are part of a plate and what moves is the plate.

              The theory of plate tectonics identifies 7 major and 20 minor types of lithospheric plates. These plates are continuously in motion with respect to each other. These plates can be moving towards each other or away from each other, based on which the plate boundaries can be called as convergent or divergent boundaries. Fold mountains are triggered by endogenetic compressive forces and are formed at the convergent boundaries of two types: C-C Plate convergence and O-C Plate convergence, which is explained below.

 

Continental- Oceanic (O-C) Plate Convergence

On convergence, the heavier plate, usually the oceanic plate subsides under the lighter continental plate. This zone of subduction is called benioff zone. This subduction of heavy plate under the lighter plate cause tremendous compressional force. This compressional force compresses the sedimentary material and pushes them upwards. Thus, fold mountains are formed on the coast. Eg., The Andes and Rockies are formed by convergence of the Pacific plate with the south American and north American plates respectively.

 

Continental- Continental (C-C) Plate Convergence

Here again the denser plate amongst the two subsides and in the process exerts high compressional force on the other continental plate. In case of such interaction fold mountain are formed on both plates - the denser plate which subducts and well as the lighter plate. The subducted plate melts under tremendous heat and the voluminous expansion in form of magma tend to push the new formed fold mountain upwards. E.g., Himalayas are formed due to convergence of Indian plate and the Eurassian plate. Other examples are Urals mountains, Alps etc. 

 

Not just the fold mountains, the plate techtonic theory throws light on the genesis of various landforms. It is, thus, a comprehensive theory which explains many other phenomena like Mountain building, Folding and Faulting, Continental Drift, Vulcanicity, Seismic events (earthquakes) etc. 

 

Subjects : Geography

Oct. 12, 2020

Mains Daily Question
Oct. 12, 2020

  1. What are the basic values enshrined in the Preamble of our Constitution? How relevant are these values in the present time?

Approach:

  • In the Introduction part write about the Preamble and the values enshrined in the Preamble.

  • Then briefly explain some of the important values mention in the Preamble

  • After that explain how they are relevant in the present time

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

Answer

The Preamble of the Constitution is a brief introductory statement which reflects the fundamental values and the philosophy on which the Constitution is based. It embodies the ideals and aspirations of the people of India.

Values Enshrined in Preamble

The Preamble talks about the nature of Indian polity as sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic and envisages that the objectives of Constitution is to secure justice, liberty, equality, fraternity, and dignity for its citizens. These words of Preamble, in totality, aptly describe the values that the makers of Constitution have enshrined in Constitution.

  1. The term “Sovereignty” implies that India is internally supreme, not subjected to external power or control.

  2. The principle aim of Socialistic value system is to eliminate inequality of income, status, and standards of living.

  3. By Secularism, the Constitution means that India is neutral in religious matters and treats all religions impartially.

  4. The terms Democratic Republic means that the government will be run by the method of discussion and persuasion.

  5. The Democracy in India is not only from political viewpoint (through exercise of universal adult suffrage), but also from social standpoint. So, Preamble envisages not only a democratic form of government but also a democratic society infused with the spirit of justice, liberty, equality and fraternityas its values and ideals.

Contemporary Relevance of Values Enshrined in Preamble

The basic values enshrined in our Preamble are co-terminus with the ideals and aspirations of the freedom struggle. Nevertheless, these values are very much relevant today because these founding ideologies are slowly being defeated as we have already deviated from it considerably -

  1. The new world order is marked by the expansionist tendency of few countries, across the land and maritime domain. To safeguard the sovereignty of nation is even more important these days. India has done well in dealing with Chinese incursion along LAC, both domestically as well as internationally by garnering support from world powers.

  2. In view of the persistent communal tensions and riots on the basis of religion, secular values are more relevant today. An illustration in point is the protest movement against CAA and NRC, which creates internal rifts between communities, distort law & order scenario, and put a dent on the Country’s image internationally by projecting it as intolerant society.

  3. Although we have achieved political democracy, we are yet to achieve social democracy (justice, liberty, equality and dignity of person) and economic democracy (reducing economic inequalities).

  4. Persistent and increasing inequality in a society shows that the principle of economic justice has failed to realise its objectives. As per Oxfam Report 2020, India's richest 1 % hold more than four-times the wealth held by bottom 70 % of country's population.

  5. The discrimination against minorities, SCs/STs, Women etc is visible every day in Indian society.

  6. The shocking aspect of hunger is that in Global Hunger Index 2019, India ranks 102nd out of 117 qualifying countries, even behind the totalitarian regime of North Korea and war-ravaged Iraq. The high malnutrition level among children, women and other vulnerable groups is worrisome. This shows how economic & social justice is being denied to a majority of population, violating the basic ideology of our Preamble.

Need for Course Correction

The above illustrations clearly depict how we have failed miserably to live up to the expectations of our founding fathers. The further weakening of constitutional values is going to threaten the idea of India that evolved from a complex mix of cultures, religions, regions etc, with social justice, secularism, liberty and equality as its core principles. Thus, there is a need to lay emphasis on basic social liberal ideology, supported by a strong foundation for positive discrimination intervention by the government. There is a dire need to bring about changes in socio-psychological- politico mindset of the individuals, the communities, and the rulers to develop an egalitarian and just society.

Subjects : Polity
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