Jan. 15, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 15, 2021

  1. Explain the factors affecting the climate of India.

 Approach:

  • Introduce with climate variations in India

  • List the various factors affecting climate - like latitude, distance from sea etc.

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

The climate of India can be described as "monsoonal" in rhythm and character. India's location, large expanse and great physiographic diversity means a lot of factors affect climate in India.

Factors Affecting Climate Of India

  • Location and Latitudinal extent: The southern parts of India being closer to the Equator experience high temperatures throughout the year. On the other hand, the northern parts lie in the warm temperate zone, hence experience low temperatures, particularly in winter.

  • Distance from the sea:With a long coastline, large coastal areas have an equable climate. Areas in the interior of India are far away from the moderating influence of the sea. Such areas have extremes of climate.

  • The Himalayas: The Himalayan and adjoining mountain ranges act as a climatic divide between Indian Sub-Continent and Central Asia. It protects India from the bitterly cold and dry winds of Central Asia during winter. Furthermore, they act as an effective physical barrier for the rain bearing southwest monsoons winds to cross the northern frontiers of India.

  • Diverse physical features:The physiography or relief of India also affects the temperature, air pressure, direction and speed of wind and the amount and distribution of rainfall.

  • Monsoonal winds: The complete reversal in the direction of monsoon winds in India leads to sudden change in the seasons. During winter season, the North East Monsoon winds blow bring rainfall over Coromandel coast. During summer season, the North-East Monsoon winds are replaced by moisture laden South-West Monsoons which cause widespread rain over most parts of India.

  • Upper Air Circulation: The southern branch of Westerly Jet stream is believed to have a great influence on winter weather conditions in India. This jet stream is responsible for bringing western disturbances from the Mediterranean region into North and North-western regions of India, which causes winter rain, hailstorms and occasional heavy snowfall in hilly regions. During summer season, the western jet stream is replaced by easterly jet stream, which helps in sudden onset of Indian monsoon.

However, due to the various factors explained above, the climate of India has many regional variations expressed in the pattern of winds, temperature and rainfall, rhythm of seasons, the degree of wetness or dryness etc. These regional diversities may be described as sub-types of monsoon climate.

 

Subjects : Geography

Jan. 13, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 13, 2021

  1. At the onset of winter every year, stubble burning is invariably blamed for smog in and around Delhi. What are the other factors contributing to smog? Suggest alternatives for disposal of the stubble.

 

Approach:

  • Introduce with what is smog and smog problem in northern India.

  • Mention the various reasons contributing to it with focus on stubble burning.

  • Suggest alternatives to the stubble burning.

  • Conclude appropriately.

Model Answer

Smog is used to refer to a type of air pollution caused by a combination of smoke (and other pollutants) and fog. It has become a perennial problem in Delhi and adjoining areas of the National Capital Territory of India where air pollution peaked on both PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels.

 

Stubble Burning

Paddy stubble burning in areas around Delhi, at the onset of winter every year, increases the severity of smog, creating a health crisis. Due to paucity of time and to save on costs of stubble disposal, farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi burn their combine harvested fields to prepare it for sowing of wheat crop.

Smog gets accentuated as cold weather and stagnant winds in this season trap the smoke particles near the ground surface. However, stubble burning is only one of the several factors responsible for this smog.

Other Factors Contributing To Smog

  • Vehicular emissions, especially from trucks, which have large contribution.

  • Power plants, industries and domestic cooking 

  • According to a study by IIT Kanpur, road dust accounts for about 35% of PM 2.5 in the air.

  • Municipal solid waste burning

  • Dust from construction activities like land clearing, demolition etc.

Alternatives to Stubble Burning

In light of health emergency created by severe smog, and the far reaching impact of stubble burning, there have been calls from all stakeholders for finding alternative methods to dispose of the paddy straw.

  • Paddy straw can be used by Biomass energy plants for generating power.

  • Using Turbo Happy Seeder Machine, which can drill the wheat seeds into soil and deposit the straw over the sown area as mulch cover. The Government of Punjab distributed 24,000 tractor-mounted ‘happy seeders’ to cut down the rice stubble and sow wheat seeds simultaneously.

  • It can be used along with sugarcane leaves to make rich quality of organic manure in a compost pit.

  • Another machine is the paddy straw chopper-cum-spreader – to chop paddy straw left behind on mechanically harvested paddy fields. It chops the straw into pieces and spreads it around the field in a single operation, so wheat-sowing becomes easy.

  • In-situ decomposition with microbial application such as the accelerated straw decomposition process. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute has developed a solution it has named ‘Pusa’, which can decompose crop residue into manure by accelerating the decomposition process. These agents act on the straw to make it soft and ploughable, break down its molecular components and release the nutrients into the field.

  • Crop diversification from rice to other crops.

 

There is a need to holistically address the problem. Considering most farmers are small and marginal, Government needs to provide them with either financial incentives or alternative modes of disposal. Meanwhile, in regions in and around Delhi, measures must be taken to mitigate other pollutants through public transportation, ban on old diesel vehicles and polluting industries, vaccum cleaning of road dust etc.

 

Subjects : Environment

Jan. 11, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 11, 2021

  1. Explain about the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) as a new model of Public Private Partnership in highway construction and discuss how it can solve the problems of the earlier models.

 

Approach:

  • Introduce with how the HAM model was needed in PPP projects

  • Explain the problems with earlier EPC and BOT models in financing and risks

  • Explain how HAM can solve the earlier problems

  • Conclude by noting HAM's success and how other entities are taking up this model

Model Answer

Taking into account the struggle of various types of PPP projects especially in highway construction, the Union Government in 2016 approved hybrid annuity model (HAM) to fast-track highway projects, revive the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode and attract more investments in the sector.

Problems With Earlier PPP Models

  • Problems With Financing
    • Earlier PPP models included EPC (engineering, procurement and construction), where NHAI pays private players to lay roads, and BOT (build, operate, transfer), where private player financed, built and operated projects and got paid through annuity or toll.

    • But both the models were struggling as government didn't have funds for EPC while private players struggled to raise funds under BoT.



  • Risk sharing:
    • In BOT model all risks i.e. financial, toll collection and operation & maintenance (O&M) is borne by private sector. These risks put private sector more vulnerable.



HAM Model

  • Financing
    • Hybrid Annuity Model is a mix of the EPC and BOT models. The government will contribute to 40% of the project cost in the first five years through annual payments (annuity). The balance 60 per cent is arranged by the developer, and is recovered as variable annuity amount after the completion of the project from NHAI which collects revenue.

    • Essentially, disbursement of funds from the government is done within a stipulated timeframe. Issues with banks on debt disbursement have also been mostly resolved.



  • Risk Sharing
    • In the new HAM model, a realignment of risk sharing is brought in. The private partner continues to bear the O&M risks, but the financing risk is now shared with government as the government pays 40% during the construction stage. The government also shoulders the responsibility of revenue collection. Hence not one entity takes burden of all risk and hence all are comfortable with this model.



  • Pre-project system:Land acquisition and other issues like clearances have been addressed to a large extent through changes in pre-project systems. So financing risks have also come down substantially.

HAM's success can be seen by the fact that it has become the preferred contract for NHAI, with nearly 50 per cent contracts in FY18 in highway construction awarded under this model. Banks are also benefitting by limiting their exposure to 35 per cent (in HAM projects) compared with 70 per cent in the traditional BOT projects. Based on success of HAM in highway sector, many other entities like National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) are taking up hybrid-annuity based PPP model for sewage treatment plants etc. 

 

Subjects : Economy

Jan. 8, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 8, 2021

  1. Enumerate the main objectives of the Indian National movement up to 1905.

 

Approach:

  • Introduce with the national movement leading to 1905

  • Enumerate the objectives of the movement under various heads like military, administrative etc.

  • Conclude with how the moderate failed and it led to extremists gaining prominence in 1905.

Model Answer

The Indian national movement up to 1905 was primarily led by the moderate leaders in Indian National Congress who favoured constitutional and peaceful struggle for incremental gains against the British excesses in India. They are also known as "Early Nationalists" and had full faith in the British sense of justice, fair play, and honesty while they believed that British rule was a boon for India.

The tools used by moderates to achieve their objectives were - to educate the people, to arouse political consciousness, and to create powerful public opinion in favour of their demands by organizing annual sessions, processions, meetings etc. Their objectives were primarily to reform the Indian civil, military and financial administration. 

Reform In Civil & Political Administration:

  1. Abolition of the India Council Act.

  2. Adequate representation of Indians in the executive council of the Viceroy and those of the governors.

  3. Expansion of the legislative council and Legislative Assemblies, both Central and Provincial.

  4. Increase in the membership of Indians by including some members elected by local bodies like chambers of commerce, universities, etc. in these councils and by giving greater powers to them.

  5. Separation of the Judiciary from the executive.

  6. Simultaneous examination for the Indian Civil Service in India and England.

Reforms In The Military Field

  1. Reduction on expenditure on home charges

  2. Reduction of military expenditure, including on costly foreign wars like the Afghan war of 1878-79

  3. Repeal of Arms Act

  4. Appointment of Indians to the commissioned ranks in Army

Reforms In Financial Administration:

  1. Introduction of Permanent Settlement to other parts of India

  2. Rationalization of the financial relations between India and England

However, the national movement of this period had limited success due to its limited support base, connections to landlords etc. The failure of the moderates in extracting any significant reforms from the British has led to the increasing prominence of the extremists in Congress after 1905. As a result, the extremists, who favoured a more militant form of struggle and called for Swaraj, took over the Swadeshi movement during this period.

 

Subjects : Modern History

Jan. 6, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 6, 2021

  1. Discuss the Nolan Committee's principles of public life.

 Approach

  • Introduce with importance of ethics in public life.

  • Discuss the principles as given by Nolan Committee.

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

Public officials are expected to uphold the highest standards in their actions and an ethical code acts as a guide to achieve this. In the year 1994, The Committee on Standards in Public Life, famously known as the Nolan Committee, was set up in UK to advice on the ethical standards in public life.

The seven principles of public life given by Nolan Committee are as follows:

  • Selflessness: Public officials should act solely in public interest. They should not seek any personal gains out of the public position they hold.

  • Integrity: Any obligation to a person or organization must be avoided by public officers which can influence them in performing their official duties.

  • Objectivity: The official decisions taken must be clear, impartial, fair and on merit; utilizing the best evidence available and without any prejudice.

  • Accountability: Public officials are ultimately accountable to the public. To ensure this, it is necessary that they are open to any scrutiny.

  • Openness: The decisions must be taken in a transparent manner; all the information should be disclosed to the public unless the law forbids it.

  • Honesty: The public officers must be truthful and honest towards their duties and responsibilities.

  • Leadership: The holders of public office must uphold these principles in their behaviour and lead by example.

These principles form the cornerstone of a public office and many countries have embodied these principles through various means like the constitution, laws, service codes, etc.

 

 

Subjects : Ethics

Jan. 4, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 4, 2021

  1. Discuss the important features of Mughal (Indo Islamic) School of Painting.

 

Approach:

  • Introduce with how this school of paining is a synthesis of various styles

  • Highlight the various features of this school of painting

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

The Mughal (Indo Islamic) School of painting was a result of synthesis of indigenous Indian style of painting and the Safavid school of Persian painting. Thus, Mughal paintings was a unique blend of Indian, Persian and Islamic styles.

Its rise to prominence was seen during the reign of Akbar in 1560 A.D., when various Persian painters migrated and joined his court. In the beginning of Akbar’s rule, this style of painting was established under the supervision of two Persian masters, Mir Sayyed Ali and Abdul Samad Khan, who were originally employed by Humayun. Later, a large number of Indian artists from all over India were recruited to work under the Persian masters.

Major Features of Mughal Painting

  • Mughal painting is the style of miniature painting that developed in the northern Indian subcontinent in the sixteenth century and continued till the mid–nineteenth century.

  • The Mughal style is marked by supple naturalism based on close observation of nature and fine and delicate drawing.

  • It is primarily aristocratic and secular type of painting.

  • It was mainly confined to Imperial courts, so mainly depicted the Mughal splendor and pomp.

  • Under Jahangir, the Mughal school paintings acquired greater charm, refinement and dignity and covered the portraiture of birds, animals and flowers.

  • Many a times, this style of painting dealt with materialistic aspect of animal life such as hunting of deers, fighting of animals such as elephants.

  • The two most celebrated works accomplished during the times of Akbar was Tuti-nama and Hamza Nama. 

Mughal painting was essentially a court art; it developed under the patronage of the ruling Mughal emperors and began to decline when the rulers lost interest. After Jahangir's reign, the Mughal painting declined and by the second half of 18th century, it mostly ceased to exist in the mainstream.

 

Subjects : Art and Culture

Jan. 1, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Jan. 1, 2021

  1. What do you understand by "judicial review" in Indian context? Enumerate the key provisions in the constitution with respect to judicial review in India. 

 

Approach

  • Introduce with the meaning of judicial review.

  • Explain key provisions of the constitution with respect to judicial review in India.

  • Mention few instances when it has been used.

  • Conclude appropriately suggesting middle path.

Model Answer

Judicial review is the power of the Supreme Court and the High Courts to examine the constitutionality of the Acts of the Parliament and the state legislatures and executive orders both of the centre and state governments. If the Acts, rules or actions are found to be ultra vires to the constitution, then such actions are declared null and void by the judiciary.

The constitutional validity of a legislative enactment or an executive order may be challenged on the following grounds:

  • Violation of fundamental rights

  • Outside the competence of the authority which has framed it

  • Repugnant to the Constitutional provisions

        In Keshavanand Bharti’s case, it was held that the judicial review is a ‘basic feature’ of the constitution. Though the term "judicial review" is not used in the constitution of India, there are many provisions in the constitution conferring this power to the judiciary. Some of the important provisions include:

  • Article 13: All laws inconsistent with the Fundamental Rights shall be null and void.

  • Article 32 and 226: They guarantee the right to move the Supreme Court and the High court respectively for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights and empowers them to issue directions or orders or writs for that purpose.

  • Article 131: Provides for the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in the centre–state and inter-state disputes.

  • Article 132-134: Provides for the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in constitutional cases, civil cases and criminal cases.

  • Article 143: The President can seek the opinion of the Supreme Court on any question of law or fact and on any pre-constitution legal matters.

  • Article 245: Dealing with the territorial extent of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of States.

  • Article 246: Dealing with the subject matter of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of States.

  • Articles 251 & 254: Provides that in case of a conflict between the central law and state law, the central law prevails over the state law and the state law shall be void.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had described the provisions related to judicial review as the ‘heart of the Constitution’. This power of judicial review has been utilised by the courts of India over time in cases like the Bank Nationalisation case (1970), Keshavananda Bharti case (1973) and recently in the NJAC case.  Thus, the judicial review has played a key role in protecting the rights of downtrodden and poor, filling the grey areas of law, and acting as the protector of democracy.

However, the Supreme Court of India has cautioned the judges to respect and not encroach upon the domain of other organs of government by exercising restraint in using these powers. The Supreme Court should best subserve to strengthen the institutions of India’s liberal democracy and sustain over time the otherwise wide ambit of judicial review, so that the judiciary remains “a light unto the nations” without being a “sheriff unto the nations”

 

Subjects : Polity
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