UPSC Mains 2018: General Studies Paper I Solutions

gs mains solutions


UPSC Mains 2018: General Studies Paper I Solutions


1.        Safeguarding the Indian art heritage is the need of the moment. Comment.


India is unmatchable in terms of having largest and most diverse mixture of traditions and  cultures. Its diversity is reflected by tangible and intangible art heritage which is as old as  the Indian civilization. India is a cradle of finest cultural symbols of the world which includes  architecture, performing arts, classical dance, sculptures, paintings etc. The art heritage of India has a special place among the countries of the globe. The recognition of Indian art can be gauged from the fact that 29 cultural sites which includes, Ajanta caves, Great living Chola temples, Agra fort,  Elephanta caves etc. are on the Tangible Cultural World Heritage list of the UNESCO and more than a dozen elements which includes KumbMela, Yoga, Nawrouz etc. on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.

With the passage of time cultural significance of India is increasing at the global to the extent of considering culture as the mainstay of the largest democracy in the world. ‘Incredible India’ campaign has risen to higher pedestal owing to the importance given to the cultural  heritage of the country. So preserving and protecting art heritage of India that reflects the cultural sensibilities of Indian civilization becomes imperative. Some of the factors that make preserving our art heritage imperative include:

  • Art as symbol of national identity: Culture and its heritage reflect and shape values, beliefs, and aspirations, thereby defining a people’s national identity. It is important to preserve our cultural heritage, because it keeps our integrity as a people. Our national leaders used cultural symbols to instil sense of oneness
  • Art as an instrument of harmony and social cohesiveness: Art and culture has played an important role in unifying the nation. It has acted as an instrument of harmony and social cohesiveness.
  • Art as symbolic narration of history: Indian art is an immediate expression of Indian civilization as a whole. It represents beliefs and philosophies, ideals and outlooks, the materialized vitality of the society  and its spiritual endeavours in varying stages of development
    • Art represents history and in fact art narrates history of who we are and where we have come from. Monuments, paintings, dance and sculptures are strong reminders of many identities and histories  that form our collective consciousness and become an inalienable part of ourselves. For example, the art of painting was widely cultivated in the Gupta period and is best known through the paintings surviving in the Ajanta Caves, and also in the Bagh caves.
  • Art as symbol of harmony with nature: Indian painting, sculpture, architectural ornamentation, and the decorative arts is replete with themes from nature and wildlife reflecting love and reverence, and therefore the ethics of conservation. A wide range of images of forests, plants, and animals are  to be found in Indian miniature paintings and sculpture. The theme of the Hindu god Krishna’s life depicted in miniature paintings underlines an appreciation of ecological balance. He is shown persuading people to worship the mountain in order to ensure rainfall. Krishna swallowing the forest fire also signifies a concern for the protection of forests and wildlife.

Although art heritage of India has immense value in terms of its historical, national, economical and political significance, many of the art forms and monument building are dissipating from the Indian map rapidly. Protecting and preserving  art has become need of the moment given the challenges that have been brought in by industrialization, globalization, modernisation, environmental degradation and automation which has made the traditional arts and crafts outdated for the people. Some of the challenges and threats which the traditional arts and heritage of India is facing include:

    • India, with several millennia of history, boasts of a diverse and rich built heritage. Each region of our subcontinent boasts of monumental buildings and remarkable archaeology. Yet, less than 15,000 monuments and heritage  structures are legally protected in India—a fraction of the 600,000 protected in the UK.
    • Even those structures considered to be of national/state or local importance in India  and protected as such remain under threat from urban pressures, neglect, vandalism and, worse, demolition, only for the value of the land they stand upon.
    • Monuments and arts are protected by central and state agencies which are lacking in staff and expertise. Heritage continues to be the least priority for most governments. Museums and  the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) remain gravely short-staffed with an inadequate number of licensing and registering officers.
    • Despite the strong legislation, The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, to protect the antiquity of India, the smuggling of Indian art treasure which includes among others sculptures in stone, shrines, terracotta, metals, jewellery, ivory, paintings in paper, wood, cloth, skin, and manuscripts over a hundred years old etc. to the outside country is unabated.
    • According to the National Crime Records Bureau, between 2008 and 2012 a total of 4,408 items were stolen from 3,676 ASI¬-protected monuments across  the country, but only 1,493 could be intercepted by police. Overall, around 2,913 items are feared to have been shipped to dealers and auction houses worldwide during this period.
    • According to the National Mission for Monument and Antiquities, there are approximately 7 million antiquities in India. But only 1.3 million had been documented. A report by the Comptroller and Audit General stated in 2013 that the ASI had outlined irregularities in preservation of antiquities  by the state and central agencies which includes:
      • No mandatory requirements for inspection by Superintending Archaeologist
      • Absence of complete and proper documentation of works estimates
      • Non-preparation of inspection notes after site inspection
      • Faulty budgeting of works
      • Delays in work completion
    • Indian traditional art and craft gradual seclusion from the larger population and the craft-guilds  has affected the cultural sustainability of the country. Due to industrialization Indian traditional art and craft  are losing their potential market.
  • Climate change and environmental degradation has adverse impact on the art heritage of India. A study conducted by UNESCO “Study of Environmental Effects on Cultural Property, India’ 1987 has  outlined the increasing threat of climate change and atmospheric pollution on Indian artefacts and buildings.

Some of the findings include:

    • Copper and bronze objects continue to deteriorate and tarnish even when displayed or stored in a museum. This type of effect is largely due to the pollution present in the atmosphere.
    • Increasing pollutants in atmosphere will have drastic impact on the heritage sites of India which includes Taj Mahal, Red Fort of Delhi, and thousands of temples and shrines.

All these challenges require an immediate attention and need of the hour is to make a holistic strategy to preserve and protect our cultural heritage. Some of the steps which could be instrumental in reviving and retaining our art heritage include:

  • Tapping of the Public-Private Partnership models for sustenance of arts and crafts. E.g Monument Mitra and Adopt a Heritage Scheme of government.
  • Greater involvement of universities in schemes promoting arts and culture as well as  inclusion of Fine Arts as a subject in universities.
  • Preserving and properly promoting India’s rich intangible cultural heritage by inventorizing and documenting oral traditions, indigenous knowledge systems, guru-shishya systems, folklores and tribal and oral traditions and also extending patronage to various dance forms like Bihu, Bhangra, Nautanki, Dandiya and other  folk dances besides classical forms
  • Setting up at least one museum in each district  with different chambers for visual and other forms  of art, architecture, science, history and geography with regional flavour.
  • Enhancing assimilative capabilities in order to adapt to emergent challenges of globalization and technological innovations.
  • Promoting regional languages
  • Making cultural and creative industries work in tandem for growth and employment.
  • Generating demand for cultural goods and services as a matter of sustenance rather than patronage, thus bringing out the art and culture sector in the public domain.
  • The promotion of export of cultural goods and services for taking the country in the list of  first 20 countries ranked by UNESCO for export of culture.
  • Recognizing ‘cultural heritage tourism’ as an upcoming industry by building cultural resources with an adaptation of scientific and technological knowledge to local circumstances as well as forming partnerships between local and global bodies.



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


Indian subcontinent was never an isolated geographical area. Since early times, traders, travellers, pilgrims, settlers, soldiers, goods and ideas moved to and fro across its frontiers covering vast distances over land and water. It is therefore not surprising that there are many references to India in foreign texts. Such texts  reveal how people from other lands viewed India and its people, what they noticed and found worthy of description. The accounts of Chinese and Arab travellers who visited India at different stages of India’s past are examples of such corpse of travel accounts. While the Arab travellers were curious of India’s riches and its distinct  cultural traditions, the Chinese travellers came to India more often in search of Buddhist scriptures and visiting monasteries.

Chinese Accounts:

Many Chinese monks made long and arduous overland journey to India in order to collect authentic manuscripts of Buddhist texts, meet Indian monks, and visit places of Buddhist learning and pilgrimage. The best known among those who wrote accounts of their Indian travels are Faxian (FaHien) and Xuangzang (Hiuen Tsang). Faxian’s travels  extended from 399 to 414 CE and were confined to northern India. Xaungzang left his home in 629 CE and spent over 10 years travelling across  India. Yijing another 7th  century Chinese  traveller lived for 10 years in great monastery of Nalanda. The importance of these accounts for the construction of India’s  past can be understood by underlining that:

  • These throw light on the socio- political conditions of India at that time:

For example:


    • Faxian presents a idyllic and idealized picture of Indian society in the 5th century.  He describes a  happy and contended people enjoying a life of peace and prosperity. According  to him people in India did not have to register their households or appear before  magistrates. Farmers who worked on royal land had to give a certain portion of their produce to the king.
    • Xuangzang gives a  vivid description of  the beauty, grandeur and prosperity of  Kanaunj, the capital of Harsha’s empire in 7th century. His work Si-Yu-Ki throws light on almost all the aspects of Indian  life during 7th century. Apart from the account of doctrines and practices of Buddhist monks, stupas, monasteries and pilgrimage sites his account include description of India’s landscape, climate, produce, cities, caste system and various customs of the people. His  travel to India and subsequent description of India to his king led to the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China.
  • Historians and archaeologists have used works and itinerary of Chinese travellers India to  trace the location of various Buddhist monasteries across the subcontinent. For example Gordon Mackenzie the British chronicler used extensively the accounts of Xuanzang to trace the Buddhist monasteries in south India.
  • The history of Buddhism in India is extensively documented by these accounts and historians have immensely relied on these accounts to trace development of Buddhism in late ancient and early medieval period of India as well as eventual demise of Buddhism from the land of its origin. For example the accounts of Faxian focuses mainly Buddhist monasteries in various parts of north India, the number of monks and their practices, descriptions of the places of Buddhist pilgrimage and legends associated with them.

Therefore the accounts of Chinese travellers are immense importance for the construction of history of Buddhism in the subcontinent, the socio-economic conditions of  the late ancient and early medieval India and lastly but very importantly tracing the diplomatic and trading ties between India and China as well as trade along the silk route.

Arab Accounts:

Arab accounts are useful source of information for early medieval India. The important Arab works on India include the 9th-10th century writings of travellers and geographers such as Sulaiman, Al-Masudi, Al-Biduri and Haukal. Later Arab writers include Al-Biruni, Al-Idrisi, Muhammad Ufi and IbnBatuta. Of all these  ‘Al- Biruni’s Tahqiq-i-Hind’ and Ibn Batuta’s ‘Rihla’ are outstanding in terms of covering almost all the aspects of Indian life including social, political, economic and religious aspects of the medieval India.

  • Al-Biruni travelled  India to satisfy his curiosity about the land and its people and to study their ancient  texts in original language. His Taqiq-i-Hind covers a large number of topics including Indian scripts, sciences, geography, astronomy, astrology, philosophy, literature, beliefs, customs, religions, festivals, rituals, social organisation and laws.  Apart from the historical value of his descriptions of 11th  century  India, Al Biruni helped modern historians identify the initial years of the Gupta era.
  • Ibn-Batuta’s book of travels, called Rihla written in Arabic provides extremely rich and interesting details about the social and cultural life in the subcontinent in the fourteenth century.  His account provides a vivid description of Indian cities during the medieval times. According to him Indian cities are full of exciting opportunities for those who had necessary drive, resources and skills. They were densely populated and prosperous.
  • Since India and Arabs had developed trading relations in Indian Ocean in early medieval times, the Arab accounts have extensively covered the trade relations between India and Arabs as well as that of Indian Ocean region.

Thus, travels accounts can help historians to reconstruct the past by juxtaposing them with other contemporary sources of history such as court chronicles. These accounts become of immense importance given the paucity of historical sources in the early and late medieval India. While as the court chronicles and other  sources rarely provide any description of ordinary people, foreign accounts provides an insight into the ordinary lives of the people. Travellers were not the  historians. They wrote about what actually attracted them or what was unique to them from the perspective of their own lands. Constructing history out of the foreign accounts needs critical  examination and veracity of the respective account, the background of the writer and corroboration of the fact with other existing sources. It is then only historical importance of these sources can be established.


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



Mahatma Gandhi the father of our nation was a prolific writer, philosopher, freedom fighter, an advocate by profession and a social activist by nature. He was a visionary and possessed a very powerful mind and hence thought deeply and wrote on basic human issues and problems  facing India in those times. Those issues are as relevant today as they were in his time. Therefore significance of the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi is relevant on all those basic human issues and problems which humanity is facing now and then. These issues range from social, political, economic and religious aspects of the society.

Social Issues:

  • One of the visible adversaries of the present world is intolerance among societies, countries and cultures. Western world has become apathetic to countries of third world more now than any time in the history. Racial and cultural discrimination is rampant due to the fear of losing ground for to the immigrants in western countries. Middle East is divided  in religious and racial lines and is in continuous turmoil. Africa is witnessing the rise of extremism. In our own country India, the danger of intolerance can divide our society and tear our social fabric.
  • Fear and insecurity is the  root cause of intolerance as  per Gandhi. So he advocated throughout his life  the principle of being truthful and fearless. His idea of fearlessness allowed him to be tolerant to varied thoughts and perceptions accommodating diverse sections of the society and at same time come up with     a compromise.
  • His ideas of tolerance, compromise and non-violence can serve as  an antidote to the present social crises of hatred, terrorism, and racial and religious conflicts across the world. As per Gandhi fear can be triumphed through meditation and strong belief in God. Both these attributes makes a man tolerant and accommodative.
  • The modern man can also take great wisdom from what Gandhi said the seven  social sins: Politics without principles; Wealth without work; Commerce without morality; Education without character; Pleasure without conscience; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice. All these are very  much relevant in the contemporary world than any other time in human history.

Political  Issue:

At the global level,  many places in the world have  been drastically changed through the use    of brute force, by the power of guns such as in the erstwhile Soviet Union, China, Tibet, Burma, and many communist countries in Africa and South America. The Israel-Palestinian war, the Korea war, the rise of ISIS and the ethnic cleansing of minorities in Middle-East and the armed race among the countries  are all symptoms failures of the leadership to guide for the goodness of all humanity.

  • Gandhi left many valuable  for the modern man to fight for  goodness in society in a non-violent way.  He considers non-violence a tree that grows slowly, imperceptibly but surely. Goodness along with knowledge courage and conviction can bring wonders to the humankind as per Gandhi. For Gandhi, the process of  change was very important which must be ethical, nonviolent and democratic giving rights to all minorities.
  • The idea of inter-dependence at the international level propounded by Gandhi holds  relevance of immense importance today. No country in the world is efficient enough to tackle  the global challenges of environmental degradation, poverty, terrorism, etc. single headedly. Collaboration and cooperation among the nations can be only means to move ahead and made some progress in these matters.
  • At domestic level, the idea of gram swaraj propounded by Gandhi has found resonance through constitutional validity of panchayats and municipalities. Gandhi believed that villages are the real India  and if India is to move forward and make impressions on world, villages would have to be made as fundamental units for development. The policy changes since last three decades to decentralize governance and politics are resonating the idea of Gandhi on Gram Swaraj.
  • Moreover Gandhi’s Idea of politics  without principle is a sin should be a lesson to the political class  to up hold their integrity and work for the progress of all ‘Sarvodaya’ the term used by him.
  • Gandhi’s views about sanitation or women empowerment or need for basic education for all, is relevant. Make in India is nothing but self-sufficiency as emphasised by Gandhi.

Economic issues:

  • Materialistically world has progressed a lot since last century. But the progress and the fruits of development are unevenly distributed both vertically and horizontally. Inequality is rampant all over the world. India today has  the unique distinction of being the only country in the world which has the richest man in the world while at the same time more than 30 per cent of its population lives in dire poverty.
  • Statistics show that the country is definitely not following ‘sarvodaya’ a broad Gandhian term meaning ‘universal upliftment’ or ‘progress of all’ reaching the masses and the downtrodden. As per  Gandhi ‘Poverty is the worst form of violence’.
  • Gandhi’s idea of uplifting and empowering poor is first key towards realising the inclusive and sustainable development.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating poverty, hunger free world, eliminating  illiteracy, gender equality, dignity of labour, employment opportunity and better healthcare are goals resonating the ideas and goals of Gandhi which he cherished throughout his life.

Thus, it can be said that Gandhi was the leader of the past runs  into the present and marches towards the future. He had always been a leader of the time ahead. His  thoughts are relevant and important today more than ever before.


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


The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), with an operational name of NAVIC is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing  services. It covers India and a region extending 1,500 km (930 mi) around it, with plans for further extension.


Objective of Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System:

  • The objective of the project is to implement an independent and indigenous regional space borne  navigation system for national applications.
  • For long  India, like many other countries, had been dependent on the services  that were being rendered by the foreign navigation systems. The usage and availability of satellite data depended largely upon how good relations were maintained with said countries.
  • This technological dependency brought with it the grave vulnerability especially in the case of hostile situations.
  • The immediate reason to initiate indigenous navigation capabilities was Kargil War in 1999, when USA denied India access to vital satellite based information.
  • Before the launch of IRNSS, the availability so far of the satellite data was  without any contractual services obligation that gave an easy escape for such service provider to withdraw their services at  any point of time.
  • The system is expected  to provide accurate real-time position, velocity and  time observables for users on a variety of platforms with a 24 hour x 7 day service availability under all weather conditions

How does it help in navigation?

  • The IRNSS design requirements call for a position accuracy of < 20 m throughout India and within the region of coverage extending about 1500 km beyond.
  • The system is expected  to provide accurate real-time position, velocity and  time observables for users on a variety of platforms with a 24 hour x 7 day service availability under all weather conditions
  • It give real time information for 2 services i.e. standard positioning service open for civilian use and Restricted service which may be encrypted for authorised user like for military.
  • It will help to mitigate the disaster effects by providing information of disaster timing, safe location and  also help the disaster relief management to make earlier plans and save the lives of people in India as well as up to 1500 km around it.
  • It will help the mariners for far navigation and fisherman for get information about the valuable fisheries location and any disturbance in Sea.
  • It will help to make friendly relations  with others countries by providing real time  information during any calamity or disaster for mitigates its after effect and for making early plans.

Hence, India has become one of the 5 countries having their own navigation system like GPS of USA, GLONASS of Russia, Galileo of Europe and BeiDu of China. So India dependence on other countries for navigation purposes has reduced on significant level.



5.        Why is India taking keen interest in the Arctic region?


Although India may be far from the Arctic region physically, yet the impact of  melting of the Arctic ice on the global climate is likely to be significant. India also understands the geo-strategic importance of the Arctic region.

Importance of arctic region for India:

  • To study monsoon pattern: To study the hypothesized tele-connections between the Arctic climate and the Indian monsoon by analyzing the sediment and ice core records from the Arctic glaciers and the Arctic Ocean.
  • To characterize sea ice in Arctic using satellite data to estimate the effect of global warming in the northern polar region.
  • To conduct research on the dynamics and mass budget of Arctic glaciers focusing  on the effect  of glaciers on sea-level change.
  • To carry out a comprehensive assessment of  the flora and fauna of  the Artic vis-à-vis their response to anthropogenic activities. In addition, it is proposed to undertake a  comparative study of the life forms from both the Polar Regions.
  • For exploration of hydrocarbons: The opening of the sea routes and the exploration of hydrocarbons present economic opportunities which Indian companies can also exploit.
  • China’s ability to navigate the Northern  Sea Route (NSR) is another factor in India’s military  strategy in that region.
  • Observer role of India Arctic Council: India which has a significant expertise in this area from its association with the Antarctic Treaty System can play a constructive role in  securing a stable Arctic. India in its new role as a permanent observer in the Arctic Council is committed to contribute to the deliberations of the council to develop effective cooperative partnerships that can contribute to a safe,  stable and secure Arctic.

India cannot remain immune from the developments in the region even though the area is  remote and far away. India has a long tradition of polar research. It maintains a permanent research  station in Svalbard. On the negative side, the enhancement of economic activity in the Arctic Region will accelerate  global warming and lead to large sea level rise impacting the global climate to which India cannot remain indifferent.


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


A mantle plume is an upwelling of abnormally hot rock within the Earth’s mantle. It is a large column of hot rock rising through the mantle. The heat from the plume causes rocks in the lower lithosphere to melt.  The largest (and most persistent) mantle plumes are presumed to form where a large volume of mantle rock       is heated at the core-mantle boundary, about 1,800 miles below the surface, although smaller plumes may originate elsewhere within the mantle. Once the temperature increases  sufficiently to lower the rock density, a column of the hotter-than-normal rock starts to rise very slowly through the surrounding mantle rocks.


Role of mantle plume in plate tectonics:

    • The rising column of hot rock reaches the base of the lithosphere, where it spreads out, forming a mushroom-shaped cap to the plume. The overlying lithosphere is pushed up and stretched out as the plume cap spreads. Heat transferred from the plume raises the temperature in the lower lithosphere to above melting point, and magma chambers form that feed volcanoes at the surface.
    • Because the plume remains anchored at the core-mantle  boundary, it does not shift position over time. So, as the lithospheric plate above it moves, a string of volcanoes (or other volcanic features) is created.
  • The material and energy from Earth’s interior are exchanged with the surface crust in two distinct modes: the predominant, steady state plate tectonic regime driven by upper mantle convection, and a punctuated, intermittently dominant, mantle overturn regime driven by plume convection. This second regime, while often discontinuous, is periodically significant in mountain building and continental breakup.
    • When a plume head encounters the base of the lithosphere, it is expected  to flatten out against this barrier and to undergo widespread decompression melting to form large  volumes of basalt magma. It may then erupt onto the surface.
    • Numerical modelling predicts that melting and eruption will take place over several million years. These eruptions have been linked to flood basalts, although many of those erupt over much shorter time scales (less than 1 million years). Examples include the Deccan traps in India, the Siberian traps of Asia, etc.
  • The eruption of continental flood basalts is often  associated with continental rifting and breakup. This  has led to the hypothesis that mantle plumes contribute to continental rifting and the formation of ocean basins. In the context of the alternative “Plate model”, continental breakup is a process  integral to plate tectonics, and massive volcanism occurs as a natural consequence when it onsets.

Thus, mantle plumes are thought to be strong enough to induce rifting and the formation of plates. The relationship between plate- and plume-tectonics is considered in view of the growth and breakdown of supercontinents, active rifting, the formation of passive volcanic-type continental margins, and the origin of time-progressive volcanic chains on oceanic and continental plates.



7.        What are the consequences of spreading of ‘Dead Zones’ on marine ecosystem?


Dead zones are low-oxygen, or hypoxic, areas in the  world’s oceans and lakes. Because most organisms  need oxygen to live, few organisms can survive in hypoxic conditions. That is why these areas are called dead zones. Dead zones in the coastal oceans have spread exponentially since the 1960s and have serious consequences for ecosystem functioning.

dead zones

Effects of dead zones on marine ecosystem:

    • An ocean dead zone is an invisible trap that there is no escaping from for marine life. Fish can’t detect dead zones before entering the areas. Unfortunately, once fish wander into a  dead zone, it’s hard to escape and survive. The oxygen shortage causes the fish to lose consciousness and die shortly after. Other sea dwellers, such as lobsters and clams, are also unable to get away because they naturally move slowly.
    • Fish suffer greatly from dead zones because the extreme changes in the oxygen level changes their entire biology. Their organs become smaller, meaning they can’t reproduce or function in the necessary ways that allow them to flourish. The females are unable to produce as many eggs and the males can’t properly impregnate the females to keep the species alive.
    • By depriving organisms of sunlight and oxygen, algal blooms negatively impact a variety of species  that live below the water’s surface. The number and diversity of benthic, or bottom-dwelling, species are especially reduced.
  • The less biodiversity that exist underwater,  the more the balance of the entire ocean is disrupted.  This also leads to economic instability for local fisherman.
  • Elevated nutrient levels and algal blooms can also cause problems in drinking water in communities nearby and upstream from dead zones. Harmful algal blooms release toxins that contaminate drinking water, causing illnesses for animals and humans.
  • Algal blooms can also lead to the death of shore birds that rely on the marine ecosystem for food. Wading birds, such as herons, and mammals, such as sea lions, depend on fish for  survival. With fewer fish beneath algal blooms, these animals lose an important food source.

Scientists have identified 415 dead zones worldwide. Conservation of the marine ecosystem is crucial for its survival and  its success hinges on the collaborative spirit of cities, farmers, agri-business and policy makers to embrace science-based solutions, both on the ground and at the policy level. By following these simple methods of keeping the environment clean and keeping communities aware of methods of industrial practices used by factories, we can ultimately draw an end to dead zones and provide  a better environment for the ocean, animals and people that live in these areas.


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


Textually, Caste system is a hierarchical, regressive institution where individuals are ascribed social positions, powers, access to important social resources (like education, jobs) differentially from their being part  of a certain caste grouping. Be it Brahmins, Kshtriyas or Vaishyas etc. there are many castes and sub-castes in India.

Prevalence of Khap Panchayat, demand for caste based reservations (as  in Patel, Jat agitation), political parties giving tickets based on castes (Ex: Akali dal), Ccste based political mobilisation like Bahujan Samaj  Party and Coalition-Politics (Ex: Alliance btw Congress and JDS in Karnataka elections), Regional caste associations like Dalit Mandals, Fragmented Habitations /Colonies in urban areas where dalits, lowers caste reside ——examples which show that caste in India assuming new identities and forms

Regressive attributes of Caste system:

Dowry, caste conflict, child marriage, jajmani inter-caste relationship, patriarchy and its impact on women and children, purdah and restriction on sexuality of women, authoritarianism classification of work and social life   as pure/impure.

Before it assuming new identities and forms one has understand the reasons for its perpetuation, rigidity and    its all pervasiveness

  1. Slow Economic Growth and increasing population during medieval times and 19th C resulted in resource- scarcity. This led to exclusive control of important resources by upper caste to reduce competition
  2. Lack of Modern Education based on science, rationalism and more emphasis on literature, religion, law.
  3. Lack of a Modern Secular State with Rule of law, Political and Social rights to citizens.
  4. Lack of Physical and Social infrastructure that could create employment, integration, collective mobilisation. This would have contributed for upward social mobility, breaks the old  social relationships and forms new identities.

Western societies have through socio-economic changes have replaced old social institutions, relationships through modern institutions. However

Post independent India with:

  1. Modern Constitution, idea of individual-civil rights, social legislations like “Right to Education”, Dowry, Sati acts, New Industrial Policy Resolutions, Representation of  People’s act disallowing political parties to ask votes based on Caste gives freedom for choice of occupation, mobility, migration and participation.
  2. Modern Infrastructure and facilities, public places are open to all irrespective of caste promotes secularism in public place.
  3. Public and private employment is equally open to all based on merit and not on social positions

Despite these changes, caste appears to be taking new forms, transforming, reviving itself  to make itself relevant in modern political and secular Indian society than altogether disappearing.

Reasons for its prevalence and new forms:

Today caste system has transformed into Political Pressure group (vote banks), Cooperative, educational to protect, promote their interest unlike a closet, controlled, power group of the earlier times.

This is because

    1. Indian secularism doesn’t disengage completely with caste but recognises all equally and intervenes for social upliftment ex: Art 15, Art 16(4b), Art 17. Hence protecting their  identity serves their socio- political interests
    2. Reservation on basis of caste and unequal growth between regions, community and groups has resulted in  a sense of relative deprivation in excluded groups making caste mobilisation, identification more relevant.
  • Modern society is changing too fast and getting instrumental, bureaucratic,  and uncertain that people want some emotional bonding to identify themselves which Caste provides. When rural workers migrate, they tend to look for people from their caste who can help them, strengthening caste groupings.
  1. Marriage within caste is most preferred through Gotra
  2. Caste like many traditions has origin in supernatural belief. Science hasn’t answered the uncertain phenomena’s of universe (big bang theory). This reinforces peoples beliefs in caste. This explains why HigsBason is called “God Particle”.
  3. Modernuncertainties sudden shocks like landslides, tsunami, earthquake, rapid economic slump, Job loss, lifestyle disease feel the want of emotional wellbeing which the caste community provides. Caste groups provide subsidy, scholarships for higher education among their communities.

Caste institutions today has proliferated into various institutions like Educational Institutions, Political system, pressure groups, Grass-root community groups like Self-help groups etc where they have changed their earlier role of stratification, control, closet community to economic mobilisation for the purpose of development(both qualitative and quantitative).

However some aberrations in the form of Hate-speeches, Dalit violence (as in  Bhima-Karegoen), caste conflicts (ex: Lynching of dalits, honour killings) castisation of politics and politicisation of caste are becoming more menacing.

In India people attach their caste identity with their names as in Aggarwal, Gowdas etc. to identify and ensure that society identify their social positions all the while ensuring that they act secular in their public interaction. Lower caste still prefers to identify with word “Dalit” than Scheduled caste to manifest their identity and reassertion.

Hence caste may not be eliminated rather will evolve to suit the times making it immortal Indian legacy.



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


Poverty is a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.

From “garibihatao”, to Reservations to Rozgharyojana to Skill Training to Priority Sector Lending  to Self- Help Grouping to Targeted Subsidies Indian public debates ,political mobilisation have been centred around “POVERTY ALLEVIATION”. Yet today as Per Committee reports namely Rangarajan  and Tendulkar reports poverty rate ,its reduction and its spread and prospect of its reduction in near future isn’t encouraging.


  1. It is multi-dimensional menace which needs convergence, synergy from all level of institutions which we lack today.
  2. Poverty has certain behaviaral attributes—“culture of poverty”—relatively high rate of abandonment of  wife and children ,strong feeling of marginality, of helplessness, of dependency, absence of childhood as a specially prolonged and protected stage in the life-cycle, early initiation into sex, free unions or consensual marriages, a tend toward female or mother-centered families, a strong predisposition toward authoritarianism, lack of privacy, verbal emphasis upon family solidarity which is only rarely achieved, Child Marriage, Trafficking, short time  gratification, sex as the only source of entertainment, high rate of juvenile delinquency——These have not been suitably into policy convergence.
  3. Sudden Social and Economic shock of Industrial society—Climate change, Jobless growth, high inflation/ commodity products

World Development Report  2017 highlights India’s lagging  in encashing Digital dividend resulting  in which it calls “Digital Divide” (poor not able to reap benefits of Digital Technologies),

Way forward:

Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 should be completed, National Citizen  Registry like it’s done in Assam recently should be carried for all India, Formalisation of informal workforce through transferring social benefits like pension, insurance etc.

Digital literacy and mohalla healthcare as in Delhi and PMBJP yojana, Swatch Bharat Abhiyan, Poshan Abhiyan, Greater convergence and transparency in governance so poor can demand what services they are entitled to, Enactment of Right to Public Delivery of Services Act, Citizen’s charter,  using innovative solutions like waste-to-money models as in Kolkata, revitalising Indian Civil Society including Media (print and Broadcast) encouraging decentralised, local based solutions.

Making new products of technology, Public Transport accessible to disabled (Braille friendly Currency notes, ATMs, Buses)

Cost of access to Justice at all levels should be made  accessible through use of E-courts, gramnyayalas, special courts and revitalise the instrument of PILs for greater good of poor.

Corporate Social Responsibility of adopting villages as by Digi-goan by ICICI, recognising Environmental, Mineral, land Rights of Vulnerable specially tribals, farmers. Flagging problems in their early stage.

Universalising higher education and tertairy healthcare, Mid-day meals not only to School-Going Children but to Senior Citizens etc, financial sector reforms in micro-insurance during disaster management.

Disaster and related hazards impact the poor and increase their vulnerability hence inclusive policies should  take into account land-use pattern, planned urbanisation etc. into account.



10.     How the Indian concept of secularism different from the western model of secularism? Discuss.


Secularism, as a political concept evolved post French Revolution and has been adopted, cherished  as dominant ideology in most modern nation states of the 20th  century.  It means separation of  state,institutions of governance from the religious activities,either by following, preaching and enforcing. This is largely synonymous with the idea of liberty and freedom of thinking.State shall not preach any religious instructions using public funds.

Thus, one of the major difference between Indian and western concept of secularism is that while western concept of secularism maintenances complete separation between government and religion, Indian secularism encourages government to keep equal distance from all religion. Indian government support  all religion equally.

Western concept evolved due to their hatred-ness towards the church. Moreover, since the majority were Christians, challenge of co-existence didn’t pose a serious challenge.

Indian concept of secularism should be understood in the context of cultural diversity, dominance of hindu majority groups, past experience of unique cultural co-existence with tolerance,pre-dominance  of religion in the life of citizens and above all need for reform within the religion.

This unique desire and direction to embrace such secularism can be traced back to national freedom struggle. Prominent leaders like M.G Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Swami Vivekananda worked for reformation   of religion, its regressive institutions like untouchability, sati,Purdah than completely embracing western concept of “secularism”.

Though, Constitution of India doesn’t define secularism it is can be understood from the rights(in Constitution) and other legislative, judicial decisions that have followed.

Post Independence, Art 25-30 provides for every citizen to protect, promote,and practice his/her religion.In doing so,it empowers state to put “reasonable restriction” in the interest of Public health,morality and public order.

Under Art 17 ban on Untouchability and  Art 14 (forcing all public authorities to  treat all citizens equally) and Prevents discrimination based only on religion, caste, race etc. This prevents misutilisation of power for pursuance of sectoral interests.

Dowry Prohibition Act, Hindu succession act  1956,Child Marriage Prohibition act with recent nullification  by Supreme Court of Provisions of The Shariat Act (Triple talaq),  IPC section 497 etc strike at the heart of regressive religious practices for the purpose of social and individual welfare.

Indian secularism therefore imbibes concept of equal treatment of all religion,promote tolerance among them,initiate reform and enable continuity and change of the institutions.

It is for this reason that  today state subsidy for Haj  pilgrimage, Organisation of Amarnathyatra,  preaching all religious texts in state sponsored public schools, undertaking de-radicalistion programs in minority institutions among many other initiatives.

Despite being one of the largest Muslim  populated countries, ISIS and other radical organisation  have failed to woo Indians into their fold that the cultural-mixing has been evolving so uniquely that Indian has been recognised as the micro-cosm of the world society.



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


Bhakti movement is an important landmark in the cultural history of the medieval India which was brought about by a galaxy of socio-religious reformers. Bhakti symbolised the  complete surrender of one’s self to God. The main features of the movement were unity of God or one God though known by different names, intense love and devotion the only way to salvation, repetition of the True Name and self-surrender. This movement was responsible for many rites and rituals associated with the worship  of God by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs of Indian subcontinent. For example, Kirtan at a Hindu temple, Qawaali at a Dargah and singing of Gurbani at a Gurdwara are all derived from the Bhakti movement of medieval India. The movement had profound influence on the socio-cultural milieu of the Indian subcontinent. The social base  of the bhakti saints ranged from the low castes such as Kabir to the high castes such as Chaitanya Mahaprabu.

Chaitanya (1486-1533) the eastern bhakti poet worshipped the cult of Radha Krishns. Chaitanya was influenced by the doctrines of Nimbikara, Vishnuswami, poetry of Jayadeva and Vidyapala. He believed in the philosophy of sravan and Kirtana  as the highest form of devotion to lord. The influence of Chaitanya movement on the overall bhakti movement is immense as he introduced some new elements into the bhakti movement and reorients the bhakti cult in north India. Some of the aspects which were introduced through the Chaitanya movement in the Bhakti movement at larger scale are underlined below:

  • Systematic propagation of bhakti theology: On the request of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu his selected six disciples called Goswamis started systematically present the theology of Bhakti. This was revolutionary within the bhakti movement as it was not known so far on wider scale. The propagation of  bhakti ideas far and wide became instrumental in spreading the message of Chaitanya movement across the north east parts of India and had ripple effect on the other sects.
  • Wider social base: Unlike most of bhakti saints, Chaitanya’s associates range from the higher caste to lower castes. His association with Acharyas made his doctrines acceptable to  a wider population and later his teaching were spread by the higher and lower caste people alike. The cult of teaching doctrines introduced by Chaitanya in Gaudiya Vaishnivism was later popularised by many followers who were teachers in their own right.
  • Propagating bhakti within existing social structure: Chaitanya propagated his without relinquishing the caste identity. But he accepted the lower caste people as his devotees. This was unique as most of  the bhakti saints relinquished existing hierarchies and rigidities. Yet Chaitanya cult became popular among all the people including some Muslim followers. It was because of the emphasis on the purity of thought and action which Chaitanya has emphasised in his teachings and thoughts.
  • Chanting the best means to realise God: Since the inception of Chaitanya movement, a favourite and characteristic form of worship was group singing known as kirtan. It consists of singing of simple hymns and the repetition of Krishna’s name accompanied by sounding of a drum and  cymbals and by a rhythmic swaying of the body that continued for several hours and usually resulted in states of religious exaltation. This has profound influence on the later developments in worship in  Hindu temples. It became an important ritual in the temples of north India. The concept was that the chanting the name of God brings the devotee closer to Him. This concept was to some extent similar to  that of Sama,  a  Sufi tradition of exalting and chanting the name of to feel his presence. Thus it  is no wonder that kirtan and Sama attracted the bhakti devotees of Hindus and Muslims towards each other’s  traditions and formed the basis for composite culture.
  • Voice of oppressed: Chaitanya though belonging to higher caste became  the voice of the oppressed lower trodden. He confronted even his own high caste followers in order to bridge the gap between the    low and high. He became the bridge to reduce the social tensions in eastern India. His highly venerated disciples included Rupa, Santana and Jiva, all of whomwere marginalised either untouchables or stigmatised in society.


Chaitanya movement is a corner stone of Vaishnavism movements that happened in the northeast after 16th century.  In fact it  is rightly called the first renaissance  movement in Bengal. It transverse the caste  barriers at the same time kept the social structures within the order.  It provided a means to bridge the gap between the upper and the lower castes rather than relinquishing the social identities altogether. The movement didn’t prohibit the idol worship which became an integral part of the temple worship of the later times.  The movement inspired many generations to teach the rightful gospel of Chaitanya which was based on love and devotion to God. The movement was successful in re-orienting the bhakti movement by creating a missionary to spread the bhakti ideas, reducing social tensions by emphasising on peaceful coexistence and by emphasising Sankirtana, chanting name of God as  a means to come near to God. The movement has subtle influence on the nationalist leaders of Bengal such as Vivek Ananda, Aurbindo Ghosh and many others. The cultural and social life of Bengal in particular and north east India in general resonated many of the ideas and influences of the Chaitanya movement who is even venerated as an incarnation of Krishna and  being worshipped in many parts of this region.



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


Reorganisation of states has been one of the most contentious issues  since the Independence of India. Besides political bargains, creation of new states has attracted the attention of policy makers and intellectuals who hold divergent views regarding the formation of smaller states. The economic  viability of smaller states and their promise of development of undeveloped terrain is the opinion of one section whereas contrary to this, dividing existing states can breed animosity to an extent that the national political stability can  come under threat.

Under this situation, the best way to analyse whether the small states would usher in economic growth and development of the country would be through underscoring the performance of recently created states of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh carved out of Bihar, UP and Madhya Pradesh respectively on the basis of economic development and good governance.

Small states as boon for economic development:

A new paper by the economists Sam Asher of university of Oxford and Paul Novosad of Dartmouth College provides the first systematic evidence of the impact of redrawing of boundaries of new states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand:

  • There is marked increase in economic activity immediately across the border  in the new states as per their findings. School enrolment also increased suggesting greater investment in human capital. Durable goods remained comparable across the two sides of the state border, suggesting that free movement of labour and capital can mitigate differences in economic opportunities across proximate geographies. The results provide new evidence that institutions matter for development,  and local control of institutions can have large economic impacts.
  • The findings underlined that the new states are growing faster than the old states; by 2008 the difference between economic activity in old and new states is no longer statistically significant, and  the gap continues to close until the end of the data in 2013.
  • The findings suggest that new state borders have 25  per cent more economic activity than the parent state.
  • Given the greater social heterogeneity of India,  there should be higher number of states. When  there are too many diverse groups in a large state, conflict emerge. And instead of public-good provisioning, redistribution of resources among regions becomes the central political issue. In other words when the diversity effects becomes greater than the scale effect, there is an economic case for a smaller state.
  • Small states, it is being argued are able to use funds efficiently, focus on those regions which have been neglected by the erstwhile big states.
  • Economic integration sought under a centralised development planning model on the failed promise of bringing about equitable development across the regions has acted as an incentive for political separation.
  • Political conflicts like those in Telangana or Gorkhaland have been breaking out over failed redistribution policies as the difference in terms of income distributions within regions keep increasing, and the gains  from agreeing to remain part of the parent state seem small for the marginal regions.
  • In the case of the three new states mentioned above culture or ethnic factors were added as instrumental factors for mobilisation but arguably, decades of underdevelopment was the driving force behind the movement.

Economic backwardness of sub-regions within large states has also emerged as an important ground on which demands for  smaller states are being made. This is evident from the immediate demands for the formation of Vidharbha, Bodoland and Saurashtra, among other states. These developments have  been responsible for a shift away from issues of language and culture – which had shaped the earlier process of reorganisation – to those of better governance and greater participation, administrative convenience, economic viability and similarity in the developmental needs of sub-regions.

Small states as no guarantee for economic development:

While analysing the socio-economic development of the new states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand, there is a contrary opinion as well. According  to this opinion, smaller states are no guarantee for better lives and economic development for those social groups for whom new states have been created.

They hold this opinion on the following premises:

  • Uttarakhand continues  to be at the end in the Human Development  Index. The recent floods showed the inability of the state to deal with rehabilitation of the displaced residents.
  • Chhattisgarh has witnessed largest tribal displacement in the recent times. The inclusive economic development is far from the reach of  the state giving the increased miserable conditions of the tribal and their forceful displacement.
  • Jharkhand has failed from the governance and administrative perspective  and became state of coal scams and corrupt practices.
  • Telangana  recently carved out from the state of  Andhra Pradesh is heavily relying on the central grants  to pay for its newly created administrative and institutional machineries.
  • To catch up with the growth trajectory of the other states, the above mentioned states started unmindful exploitation of resources such as mining of the minerals, converting agricultural  land into real-estate which is not sustainable as far the economy of the country is concerned in the long run.
  • Small states do not generate enough revenue for the state, thus are heavily dependent on the central assistance.
  • Creation of new states means establishing new administrative machineries and new institutions which  leads to increased revenue expenditure in turn puts pressure on fiscal pressures for the government.

A small state is  likely to face limitations  in terms of the natural (physical)  and human resources available to it. Moreover, it will lack the kind of agro-climatic diversity required for economic and developmental activities. It would also be restricted in its capability to raise resources internally. All these factors would only  make it more dependent on the Centre for financial transfers and centrally-sponsored schemes. Further, increasing the number of states in the country would expand the span of control of the central ministries dealing with states and of party high commands dealing with state party units.

Middle Ground:

Evidence shows that both large and small states have fared well and that poor performance is not necessarily linked to size. In fact, today, technology can help make governing larger territories easier and bring even far- flung areas closer.


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


Indentured labour was a defining feature of the 19th century economy. There were marked changes in the economic, political, social and technological aspects in the 19th century. The industrialization of  Britain followed by the other European countries accelerated the flow of trade, labour and  capital across the world. The growing urbanism in Europe especially in Britain increased the demand for food and agricultural goods since most of the labour force was consumed by the factories and firms. Colonies in Africa  and Asia became the lucrative destinations for investing in agricultural and raw commodities. The abundance of land in the colonies together with cheap labour made the colonies in Asia and Africa attractive destinations for investing  in agriculture lands and transporting them to Europe. However this was also the time when slavery was abolished in Britain and its African colonies, followed by France and many other European countries. All these factors created a ground for new type of slavery based on contract system which was called Indentured labour system.

Indentured labour was a bonded labour under contract to work for an employer for a specific amount of  time, to pay off his passage to a new country. It was initiated by the British in Mauritius named as “Great Experiment” after the abolition of slavery to demonstrate  to the world the superiority of free labour over   slave labour. Around 95 per cent of labourers who were transported to Mauritius were Indians. Thereafter Indians were recruited and transported to many labour-importing colonies of Africa and Asia. Several factors were responsible for thriving of indentured labour system. British Empire had political, economic and strategic compulsions to invest in Indentured labour. Some of the factors for recruiting Indians include:

  • End of slavery: This provided for the immediate background  for the Indentured labour system all over the world. British needed the labour to work in the plantation fields of African colonies. Hundreds of thousands of Indian and Chinese labourers went to work on plantations, in mines, and  in road and railway construction projects around the world.
  • The natives of African countries were self sufficient  and completely relying on cattle farming. They were reluctant to work in the British factories and farms, so Indians became  the obvious choice. The main destinations of Indian indentured migrants were the Caribbean islands (mainly Trinidad, Guyana and Surinam), Mauritius and Fiji. Closer to home, Tamil migrants went to Ceylon and Malaya. Indentured workers were also recruited for tea plantations in Assam
  • Availability of labour pool: Most Indian indentured workers came from the  present-day regions of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, central India and the dry districts of Tamil Nadu. In the mid-nineteenth century these regions experienced many changes – cottage industries declined, land rents rose, lands were cleared for mines and plantations. All this affected the lives of the poor: they failed to pay their rents, became deeply indebted and were forced to migrate in search of work.
  • Escape  from poverty: Many migrants  agreed to take up work hoping  to escape poverty or oppression  in their home villages. Agents also tempted the prospective migrants  by providing false information about final destinations, modes of travel, the nature of the work, and  living and working conditions. Often migrants were not even told that they were to embark on a long sea  voyage. Sometimes agents even forcibly abducted less willing migrants. Nineteenth-century indenture has been described as a ‘new system of slavery’.
  • Indian workers were perceived as being quiet, docile and industrious by colonists  and suitable for working in many plantation and construction works in different colonies of Britain. The recruitment and arrival were done by private parties initially later British government regulated the recruitment of indentured labour.
  • Many of the indentured labourers did not return to their native countries  and settled back in the colonies. They came to these colonies with hope and expectations. On arrival at the plantations, labourers found conditions to be different from what they had imagined. Living and working conditions were harsh, and there were few legal rights. But workers discovered their own ways of surviving.
  • Many of them escaped into the wilds, though if caught they faced severe punishment. Others developed new forms of individual and collective self expression, blending different cultural forms, old and new.
  • In Trinidad the annual Muharram procession was transformed into a riotous carnival called ‘Hosay’ (for Imam Hussain) in which workers of all races and religions joined.
  • The protest religion of Rastafarianism (made famous by the Jamaican  reggae star Bob Marley) is also said to reflect social and cultural links with Indian migrants to the Caribbean.  ‘Chutney music’, popular in Trinidad and Guyana, is another creative contemporary expression of the post-indenture experience.
  • These forms of cultural fusion are part of the making  of the global world, where things from different places get mixed, lose their original characteristics and become something entirely new.
  • Most indentured workers stayed on after their contracts ended, or returned to their new homes  after a short spell in India. Consequently, there are large communities of people of Indian descent in these countries. For example V.S Naipaul, Noble Prize winner writer had Indian roots.

From the 1900s India’s nationalist leaders began opposing the system of indentured labour  migration as abusive and cruel. It was abolished in 1921. Yet for a number of decades afterwards, descendants of Indian indentured workers,  often thought of as ‘coolies’, remained an uneasy minority in the Caribbean islands. At the same time many of those who stayed back in the colonies elevated to  highest positions after the process of decolonization.



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


Excess extraction of groundwater is to blame for the 61% decline in groundwater level in wells  in India between 2007 and 2017; according to the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) .Urban centres in India are specifically facing an ironical situation today. On one hand there is the acute water scarcity and  on the other, the streets are often flooded during the monsoons. This has led to serious problems with quality and quantity of groundwater. Because of short duration of heavy rain, most of the rain falling on the surface tends to flow away  rapidly leaving very little for recharge of groundwater. Most of the traditional water harvesting systems in cities have been neglected and fallen into  disuse, worsening the urban water scenario. One of the solutions to the urban water crisis is rainwater harvesting – capturing the runoff.

Water harvesting as solution to depleting ground water resources in India:

  • Rain water available from rooftop of building, paved and unpaved areas needs to be harvested.
  • Water spreading: Means diverting or collecting runoff from natural channels, gullies, or streams with a system of dams, dikes, ditches, or other means, and spreading it over a relatively flat area.
  • Rooftop collection of rainwater: Rooftop Rain Water Harvesting is the technique through which rain water is captured from the roof catchments and stored  in reservoirs. Harvested rain water can be stored in sub-surface ground water reservoir by adopting artificial recharge techniques to meet the household needs through storage in tanks.
  • Applying the Sponge City concept: It indicates a particular type of city that does not act like an impermeable system not allowing any water to filter through the ground, but, more like a sponge actually absorbs the rain water, which is then naturally filtered by the soil and allowed to reach into the urban aquifers. This allows for the extraction of water from the ground through urban or peri-urban wells. This water can be easily treated and used for the city water supply.
  • Recharge pit: In alluvial areas where permeable rocks are exposed on the land surface or are located at  very shallow depth, rain water harvesting can be done through recharge pits. The technique  is suitable for buildings having a roof area of 100 sq.m. These are constructed for recharging the shallow aquifers.
  • Recharge trench: Recharge trenches are suitable for buildings having roof area of 200-300 sq. m. and  where permeable strata are available at shallow depths.
  • Tube wells: In areas where the shallow aquifers have dried up and existing tubewells are tapping deeper aquifer, rain water harvesting through existing tubewell can be adopted to recharge the deeper aquifer
  • Trench with recharge well: In areas where the surface soil is impervious and large  quantities of roof water or surface runoff is available  within a very short period of heavy rainfall, the use of  trench/ pits is made to store the water in a filter media and subsequently recharge to ground water through specially constructed recharge wells. This technique is ideally suited  for area where permeable horizon is within 3m below ground level.

Ground water exploitation is inevitable is  Urban areas. But the groundwater potential is getting  reduced due to urbanisation resulting in over exploitation. Hence, a  strategy to implement the groundwater recharge, in a major way need to be launched with concerted efforts by various Governmental and Non-Governmental Agencies and Public at large to build up the water table and make the groundwater resource, a reliable and sustainable source for supplementing water supply needs of the urban dwellers.



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


The term “blue revolution” refers to the remarkable emergence of aquaculture as an important and highly productive agricultural activity. Blue Revolution, the Neel Kranti Mission has the vision to achieve economic prosperity of the country and the fishers and fish farmers as well as contribute towards food and nutritional security through full potential utilization of water resources for fisheries development in a sustainable manner, keeping in view the bio-security and environmental concerns.

Problems of pisciculture development in India


  • Problems of ocean fish farming:


      • The cost of inputs per unit of fish weight is higher than in  extensive farming, especially because of the high cost of fish feed. Netting involves regular and labour  intensive cleaning. In ocean farming, the transfer of disease organisms from the wild fish to the aquaculture fish is  an ever- present risk. The very large number of fish kept long-term in a single location contributes to habitat destruction of the nearby areas
      • Factory fish farming which is known as aquaculture is generally big, dirty and dangerous, just like factory farming on land. – Factory fish farms may interfere with the livelihoods of commercial and recreational fishermen by displacing them from traditional fishing grounds or harming wild fish populations.


  • Problems of inland fish farming:


    • Social problems: Norms  and religious  values excluded women  or other groups from participation  in certain activities. Lack of family encouragement considering lower prestigious occupation.
    • Inadequate family labour: Multiple use of pond water especially domestic purposes restrict the commercial fish farming. Multiple ownership of land is the cause of dispute and opinion diversification. Disputed ownership of water areas.
    • Poaching from fish pond, poisoning in fish pond due to jealousy or revenge, Lack  of contract farming, Presence of middlemen in the fish trade who reduce the profit margin of fish farmers.
    • Economical problems: High costs of cultural inputs especially fish feed, lack of financial assistance, adequate loan from financial agencies, lack of remunerative  price for the commodity, fluctuating fish prices in market, small size of ponds (majority of farmers are small and marginal farmers), lack   of regulated market facilities, too much competition in fishery business.
    • Technological problems: Lack of value addition for enhancing profit margin. The market for processed fish is limited in the domestic market and is restricted to fish pickles,  papads, cutlets and the like. Fish production technology is a complex technology. Lack of timely availability of inputs nearby, lack of quality feed in local market, lack of location specific improved technology, inadequate knowledge and skill about scientific fish farm management.

Strategies of pisciculture development in India:

  • Growth of aquaculture sector, particularly brackish aquaculture, is mainly export driven. Thus to sustain the momentum of growth, issues concerning ecological and economic sustainability of brackish aquaculture and its comparative advantage need to be studied on a multidisciplinary and regional framework.
  • Brackish aquaculture should be encouraged only in the areas suitable for the purpose. These should be identified and delineated with the help of remote sensing and GIS techniques to minimise problems of ecological pollution and social conflicts.
  • Develop adequate legal and institutional measures to regulate the aquaculture activity in the ecologically fragile zones. These should be implemented and enforced by the local authorities.
  • Enforce quarantine measures on fish seed and feed to ensure that the imported  material is neither infected nor unwanted.
  • Financial institutions should be strengthen the flow of credit to aquaculture sector but with due consideration to ecology and regulatory framework governing this sector.
  • For proper planning of freshwater as well as brakishwater aquaculture, there is a need to strengthen the current database, which is neither adequate nor easily amendable to proper empirical policy analysis.

In the present era of food insecurity, pisciculture shows enormous potential to feed the ever increasing human population. The pisciculture sector has become a modern, dynamic industry that produces safe, high valuable and high quality products, and has developed the means to be environmentally sustainable aquaculture is currently the need in India as elsewhere. Eco-friendly aquaculture in harmony with environmental and socioeconomic needs of the society has to be evolved.



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

Industrial Corridors recognize the inter-dependence of various sectors of the economy and offer effective integration between industry and infrastructure leading to overall economic and social development. Industrial corridors constitute world class infrastructure such as high-speed transportation.

Significance of Industrial Corridors in India:

  • An industrial corridor in India is a package of infrastructure spending allocated to a specific geographical area, with the intent to stimulate industrial development.
  • The aim is to create an area with a cluster of manufacturing or other industry. Such corridors are often created in areas that have pre-existing infrastructure, such as ports, highways and railroads. These modalities are arranged such that an “arterial” modality, such as a highway or railroad, receives “feeder” roads or railways.
  • Industrial corridor provides opportunities for private sector investment in the provision of various infrastructure projects associated with the exploitation industrial opportunity. However, the successful utilization of opportunities that arises from industrial corridors depends on availability of  efficient transport and other infrastructure support systems.
  • Corridor approach for industrial development primarily takes advantage of the existence of proven,  inherent and underutilized economic development potential within the influence region.
  • Apart from the development of infrastructure, long-term advantages to business and industry along the corridor include benefits arising from smooth access to the industrial production units, decreased transportation and communications costs, improved delivery time and reduction in inventory cost.

Industrial corridors in India and their main characteristics:


  • Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC):
      • The Delhi–Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project (DMICDC) is a planned industrial development project between India’s capital, Delhi and its financial hub, Mumbai. It is one of the world’s largest infrastructures spread across six states. The project has received a major boost from India and Japan, due to an agreement to set up a project development fund.


  • Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial corridor:
      • It is expected to boost commerce between south India and East Asia by enabling quicker movement   of goods from these places to the Chennai and Ennore ports.
      • The project with assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be developed in collaboration with the governments of three southern states. 2 major backbone infrastructure projects will be created for the corridor. Both Road and Rail connectivity for Freight movement will be upgraded in this corridor.


  • The East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC):
      • The ECEC running along the entire east coast of India from Kolkata to Kanyakumari is a multimodal, regional maritime corridor that can play a  vital role in unifying the large domestic market, as well as integrating the Indian economy with the dynamic global value chains of Southeast  and East Asia.
      • It would play a crucial role in the Government of India’s (GoI) Make in India campaign and also supports the port-led industrialization strategy under the Sagar Mala initiative and the Act  East Policy by linking domestic companies with the vibrant global production networks of East and Southeast Asia.


  • Amritsar kolkata industrial Corridor (AKIC):
      • In order to give a boost to industrial development in the densely populated States of Northern and Eastern India. The AKIC will also leverage the Inland Water System being developed along National Waterway-1 which extends from Allahabad to Haldia.


  • North East Myanmar Industrial Corridor:
    • It has been initiated from the Tokyo Declaration for India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership for enhanced connectivity and development in Northeast which would catalyze economic development and increase prosperity in the region.

Thus, an industrial corridor is a package of infrastructure spending allocated to a specific geographical area,  with the intent to stimulate industrial development. An industrial corridor aims to create an area with a cluster of manufacturing or other industry which assist in faster development of the region.



17.     Mention core strategies for the transformation of aspirational districts in India and explain the nature of convergence, collaboration and competition for its success.


The transformation of aspirational districts in India aim to quickly and effectively transform some of India’s most underdeveloped districts. It will identify areas of immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts. The states are the main drivers in the programme. Deliberately, the districts have been described as aspirational rather than backward. The motive is to view  them as areas of opportunity and hope rather than of distress and hopelessness.

Core strategies for the transformation of aspirational districts in India:

  • To establish aspirational districts on the lines of great federal relations between the Union and the state governments. With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
  • The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers &  District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a spirit of mass Movement.

Convergence, collaboration and competition for success of aspirational districts:

  • The 115 districts were chosen by Union government. This was in consultation with State officials on the basis of a composite index. The parameters included are -deprivation enumerated under Socio-Economic Caste Census key health and education performance indicators state of basic infrastructure
  • The present ranking is based on 49 indicators across 5 sectors. These sectors are areas that have been targeted for transformation -health and nutrition education agriculture and water resources financial inclusion and skill development basic infrastructure.
  • A minimum of one district was chosen from every State. Apparently,  the largest concentration of districts is in the States which have historically under-performed. This includes states  such as UP and Bihar, or which are afflicted by left-wing extremism such as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The present ranking would be followed by delta ranking of these districts based on their “incremental progress”.
  • NITI Aayog in partnership with the government of Andhra Pradesh has created a dashboard. This is for monitoring the real-time progress of the districts. District collectors of all the aspirational  districts can input the latest available data of their respective districts. The dashboard will also be open to the public.
  • Governance: Achieving success in this programme necessitates the contribution of all 3 tiers of government.
  • Competitive federalism: The spirit of cooperation needs to be supplemented by a culture of competition.
  • Civil society: It has opened its door to civil society and leveraged the tool of corporate social responsibility.
  • Efficiency: Many schemes of the Centre have flexible spending components,  permitting autonomy at local level.

India is on a high economic growth trajectory. What urgently needed was the enhancement of the Human Development Index and reduction in the significant inter-state and  inter-district variations in development. For this to happen, the government launched transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme which will go long way in reduction of poverty, interstate and inter district disparity and to spur a sense of competition among the dynamic teams in the districts.



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


India has witnessed since  1980s women-centred movements highlighting issues faced by India in women. Be     it Jessica Lal, Aarushi Talwar murder case, Temple entry movement in Gujarat among many others. These  have largely voiced injustice in socio-economic issues like Equal Remuneration, Recognition for their Work, Leadership roles Sexual Harassment at Workplace, Right to Privacy and live-in relationships, Dowry Related violence, IPC section 497. These are largely aspirational choices of Upper and upper middle class women

Women at lower strata face wide and serious issues which doesn’t get highlighted (barring few)in public discourse hence lack momentum in making it a successful social movement . Some of them are –greater rate     of abandonment by husbands, Child marriage, lack of choice in marital relationships, Trafficking, Prostitution(ex: devadasi in Karnataka) alcoholism and resulting violence by husbands, high maternal mortality, poor life expectancy, rigid caste system with low  level of literacy and greater control on their sexuality, denial of right to work, visit parental home, creamation etc.

Women in poor household have to work entire day collecting firewoods, using unhealthy chulha,  fetching waters from far away wells, live in unhygienic habitat without electricity, and nourish child, in-laws all by  herself. Subjected to marital rape, being treated only as sexual toys of their men is considered as their only service.

Reasons for this are varied:

  1. Corporate and money centric media don’t bring these issue to limelight since they don’t  attract much TRPs
  2. Lack of women leaders from lower strata despite grass-roots panchayats. Men  take up roles of their wives to exercise power in Panchayats.

Once they raise their social status, they voice concerns of the new social group than their older counterparts. Ex: Film actresses

  1. Lack of recognition for their leadership in small industrial units (MSMEs), Modern Scientific Education, skills of social empowerment (like confidence, soft-skills etc).#Meetoo campaign highlighted Sexual harassment at workplace
  2. Lack of job opportunities and socio-economic infrastructure in Rural areas. Upward social mobility  through migration is more among men while women are restricted to low-paying agricultural jobs, informal sector jobs like Beedi-making etc lacking awareness of their rights
  3. Strong control on women’s life through Caste panchayats, patriarchy through honour killings, Kangaroo courts, moral policing .Customary morality are too much internalised by women that they  tend to perceive exploitation as normal, right.
  4. Poverty breeds more children, put burden on women who cannot afford time for their individual self- expression

Legislative measures like Dowry Prohibition Act, Child Marriage (Prohibition) Act, Hindu Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act and many others have not percolated deep into poor women’s lifestyle.

Current news: Perumal Murugan’s a dalit writer from Tamil Nadu was recently attacked for his book Mathorubhagan (translated into English as One Part Woman) highlighting problems of lower caste women.

Off late reformative initiatives like Ban on Triple talaq, Niqah halala, Polygamy,  IPC 377 nullity purdah (issues of lower strata) have begun to make public space with greater intervention of the Supreme Court. The political leadership shouldrefrain from appeasement policies as in amendment to Shah Bano verdict, Civil Society and media should actively work on developing consensus on  Uniform Civil Code, women leaders from elite sections should highlight, train next generation leaders from lower strata, Women oriented movies like Gulaab gang, Bandit Queen should get more media spacehelp deepen democracy in general and new women movement in particular.



19. ‘Globalisation is generally said to promote cultural homogenisation but due to this cultural specificities appear to be strengthened in the Indian society.’ Elucidate.


Globalisation is the inter-mixing of cultural, political and social institutions, relationships through greater interaction between people, civil society, governments etc. It is an outcome of free international trade,  migration of workforce.

Remix of Western Songs to evolution of  new styles of dressings, new Indian art to renaming Eanglish names  of city to Indian names to a New (Devagiri) Rupee symbol to revival of  Yoga (AYUSH) to encouraging Indian products (as in Patanjali) globalisation has manifested differently in India with Indian Cultural Specificities.

It is characterised by:

  1. Industrial manufacturing with large domestic and international migrant workforce
  2. Globalisation of capitalism, Culture of consumerism, materialism
  3. Breakdown of Trade Unions due to emphasis on individual achievement orientation
  4. Nuclearisation of joint family, emergence of new families and relationships (single, same-sex marriage)
  5. Decrease in role and influence of religion and also its reform.
  6. Greater participation of women in workforce and pay-parity
  7. Separation of workplace and residence

These homogeneities have similarities all over the developing world .While India has  embraced it, some unique cultural responses specific to India has been seen.

    1. Elsewhere role of religion, caste and other traditional institutions has  decreased in public and personal life due to scientific education, industrialisation. Yet during launch of Mangalyaan, ISRO  scientists went to temple to rest their hopes on almighty, Politicians take oath in name of god, we all still visit temples.
    2. Festivals like Holi, Diwali, Ramadan etc don’t seem to have disappeared. People embrace e-freindly  ganesha idols, green-diwali in different ways. Amarnath Yatra, Haj pilgrimage still draws large public interest.
    3. Tribal festivals like Losar, Saga Dawa have manifested more strongly and gathered public space, media  than earlier so with folk dance, arts like Yakshagana, Bharatanatyam
    4. Caste system being a traditional, hierarchical, regressive institution hasn’t disappeared completely. It has reformed to perform new economic and political roles as  in Elections, demand for reservations in jobs etc. Political leaders still visit temples, religious places make their religion relevant, movies, and childrenin Tamil Nadu are given Tamil names as a cultural reaction.
    5. Protect their traditional practices like Jallikattu, Kambala are often defended based on their cultural identity.
    6. Though nuclear families have proliferated in urban and semi-urban areas,there is increasing jointness seen today. For ex: during birth, Death Ceremononies, birthday celebration there is collective gathering and mutual integration.
    7. As a response to Capitalism which imbibes values of individualism, instrumentalism, India has embraced collective capitalism through initiatives like Corporate Social Responsibility, Jan-Dhan and Ayushman Bharat etc


  • Our cellphones, ATMs have embraced local languages despite increase in English usage.



Modern world is changing with greater uncertainties and losing their old identities  like caste, village, legacy etc. In India people want to be keep intact their old identities for a greater  emotional satisfaction and overcome extremely bureaucratic, instrumental lifestyle, hail their unique-ness. NRIs now have established greater bonding due cultural affinity, communication infrastructure, participate in Pravasi Bharatiya divas.

Globalisation is an all-embracing process whose pace might disturb the local cultures creating various social menaces due to maladjustments. Ex: Radicalisation of Youth, increase in life-style diseases, Suicides, Juveniledelinquency, relative deprivation. Thus India has been unique in ensuring that modern values, changes are adapted to India society in an Indian way.


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


Communalism is an ideology (set of ideas) which states that society is divided into religious  communities whose interest differ and are, at times, even opposed to each other. The antagonism practiced  by the people of one community against the people of other community and religion can be termed as ‘communalism’.

For Indian society with large diversity across geographical distribution, ensuring unity and curtailing forces/ causes of communalism becomes all the more challenging.

If we do an anatomy of communal conflicts  (pre/post-independence) one can identify either power struggle    or sense of being excluded, deprived of one’s rights relative to others in the society to be main causes.


During freedom struggle British sought to create conflicting interests groups based on religion through Divide and rule. They offered reservation in public employment (GoI 1909), appeased them by declaring Delhi as capital, partition of Bengal etc. These appealed to minority community largely because they felt deprived of  their rights, access to power during moderate phase of Indian politics. Strong Hindu religious element in nationalist thoughts and propagandas made presence in Congress. For example Bal Gangadhar Tilak popularised Ganesh pooja and Shivaji Mahaotsav and taking dip in Ganga, etc. The programmes related to “Ganesh Pooja” and “Shivaji Mahotsav” was not initiated to support the interests of Hindus. However, both “Ganesh” and “Shivaji” were associated with  the emotions of a number of Hindus. This was to be used by Leaders as tool to politically awaken Indians. This kept Muslims largely away from Congress till 1919.

Post Independent India has been testimony to many Communal Conflicts largely because communal colour being attached to most social and political processes.

Minorities –religious/linguistic/ethnic –because of their poor numerical strength cannot fully take part in institutions of power. They are apprehensive of Majority Hindu Strength, their outnumbering  in political system, bureaucracy, Economy and Education.

Political parties exploit this for capturing power resulting in “appeasement politics”/”vote bank politics”.

Gharwapsi, Lynching, anti-cow slaughtering, denial of minority status to add fuel to this communal atmosphere and result in polarisation.

This accentuates minorities to capture position of power to address their apprehensions.

Unbalanced Development among Socio-economic groups what Sachar Committee calls “Exclusive Urbanisation” has not resulted in changes in traditional occupations like butchering, barber, trading restricting their upward mobility. When political parties/civil society groups give communal colour to issues like TRIPLE TALAQ, UNIFORM CIVIL CODE, NIQAH HALALA and infuriate through demolition of Temples (Babri Masjid), church attacks, target particular community for terrorism it results in relative deprivation escalating struggle for power.

The Khalistan Secessionist Movement was one such culmination of appeasement politics which ended in changing the course of modern Indian history. It was  perceived Insult, deprivation to Sikh community in 1970s that fuelled violence.

Communalism is a FASCISM OF INDIA as Pandit Nehru put it. It demolishes social fabric  of trust, tolerance, and respect. It deviate public focus/mainstream issue from economic growth, development to insecurity, hatredness. Indian society is a micro-cosm of world society.

Prescriptive measures to deal with Communalism:

Long term:

  1. In initiating the process of de-communalising the people at all levels, say, by bringing home to them that communal assumptions are false, by explaining to them the socio-economic and political roots of communalism.
  2. Communalisation of the state and of the political elite has to be checked because it leads to  inaction against communal violence and covert or overt political and ideological support to communalism by the state apparatus.
  3. The communalisation of civil society also needs to be checked because it leads to riots that are more communal. People with communal ideas and ideologies pressurize the government to act in a manner, which is always against the principles of secularism.
  4. The role of education, particularly emphasizing on value oriented education both in schools  and colleges is important in preventing communal feelings.
  5. The media can also prove to be significant in preventing communal feelings. Communal press can be banned and legal action can be taken against communal writers.

Short term:

  1. Peace committees can be set up in which individuals belonging to different religious communities  can work together to spread goodwill and fellow feelings and remove feelings of fear and hatred in the riot affected areas.
  2. The state has to plan and use new strategies in dealing with communal violence. Whenever strong and secular administrators have used or threatened the use of  strong steps, riots either did not occur or were of short duration.
  3. The role of media is immensely highlighted during the course of  communal violence. The fear and hatred can be checked if the press, radio and TV report the events in a way conducive to soothing the  frayed nerves of people instead of inflaming the temper further.
  4. Lastly, the government in power has to treat the extremist  communal outfits as its immediate targets and cripple their capacity to disrupt law and order.

The secessionists in Kashmir, the militants in Punjab, the ISS now banned in Kerala and other extremist organisations of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communalism have  to be dealt with by the state through its law and order machinery.

The small insecure communities always look to government or move towards communal parties for protection. The Pundits in Kashmir, the innocent victims of  communal riots in Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and other states, and the sufferers of violence of extremists in Bihar, Assam, look towards the secular  state of India for the security of life and property.