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Read the Farmer distress signals : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Read the Farmer distress signals : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Why in news?

  • On the occasion of anniversary of Gandhi’s Dandi March of 1930, farmers started the week-long march which reached Mumbai earlier this month.

  • Agriculture growth rate has been unsteady in the past and the events of farmer’s suicide due to distressed agriculture has led to various protests.

Nature of the Farmer’s Protest

  • It was unprecedented in many ways since it was mostly silent and disciplined, mostly leaderless, non-disruptive and non-violent, and well organised.

  • It received the sympathy of middle class city dwellers, food and water from bystanders, free medical services from volunteer doctors, and also bandwagon support of all political parties from the left to the right.

  • Even the Chief Minister of Maharashtra said he supported the cause (not the march), but as head of government his job was to address their issues, not to agitate.

  • The most remarkable thing about the march was that it was successful, and the State government agreed to all the demands, including pending transfer of forest land to Adivasis, expanding the scope of the loan waiver and ensuring higher prices for farm produce.

Comparison with other protests

  • Not all agitations have been peaceful or successful. In 2017 we saw protests, in Haryana and Rajasthan they tried to block highways which led to traffic chaos.

  • In Madhya Pradesh, in Mandsaur district, the protest turned violent, led to police firing and deaths of farmers.

Challenges/ Issues in the Indian farming system

  1. Monopoly procurement continues.

  2. There is little progress in direct link between farmer and buyer.

  3. Due to the fluctuations in the market forces of demand and supply farmers are facing price uncertainties.   

  4. Foreign direct investment in farm to fork chain is very restricted.

  5. Half the farmers don’t have access to formal credit, since most of them don’t own the land that they till.

  6. Contract farming remains virtually banned.

  7. Land leasing is not possible (but done informally).

  8. Moneylenders are taboo, even though they might be in the best position to address credit needs, albeit with proper regulation.

  9. The farmer’s plight is full of woe, exposed to risks from prices, demand, weather, pests and whims of policy and regulation.

  10. The government’s aim to double farm income in the next four years is a near impossible feat but signals the right intention.

Loan Waiver a necessary evil

  • It’s no surprise that crisis is chronic, and loan waivers become imperative, more for moral and ethical reasons, than economic.

  • Loan waivers punish those who worked hard and repaid.

  • Banks don’t issue fresh loans out of their own risk aversion. Hence, loan waivers are a bad economic idea but often a political compulsion.

New MSP Policy and Bad Economics

  • The same is true of rewarding farmers with 50% more minimum support price (MSP), no matter what the cost. This paradigm of cost plus pricing is bad economics.

  • Sugarcane grows cheaper in Uttar Pradesh in the Gangetic plains than in drought-prone Maharashtra. But with an assured cost-plus MSP, there is little incentive to diversify crops to suit weather and cost conditions.

  • Although the step taken by the govt is in consonance with Doubling the farmer’s income by 2022.

Positive policy steps taken by Govt

  1. Neem-coated fertilizer has reduced leakage.

  2. Direct benefit transfer to the farmer-buyer will reduce subsidy further.

  3. Soil cards ensure appropriate matching of inputs to soil conditions.

  4. Giving tax holiday to the farmer producer companies is also the right fiscal incentive.

Way Forward

  • The most comprehensive recent blueprint for reforms and rehabilitation of the farm sector is the report of the National Commission on Farmers, chaired by M.S. Swaminathan which is already over 10 years old and several of its ideas like decentralising public procurement of food grain to the lowest level possible and setting up of grain banks at the district level are yet to be implemented.

  • The workforce which depends on agriculture for its livelihood need to be reduced since there is considerable underemployment and low productivity, but farmers are unable to exit to other livelihood options.

  • There is urgency of accelerating industrial growth and improving the ease of doing business in order to generate employment in sectors other than agriculture.

  • Agriculture should be transformed to a truly commercial market-based enterprise.

Following steps need immediate attention

  1. To create opportunities outside farming for large scale exit of the workforce;

  2. To connect farmers to the value chain of farm to fork, including agribusiness;

  3. To remove restrictions on movement and exports of farm produce and let them tap into international market,

  4. To also allow easier land transfers including leasing;

  5. To encourage crop diversification and land consolidation that reverses fragmentation.

MODEL QUESTIONS

:: MCQ ::

Q. During Budget 2018, Govt has decided to set the MSP at how much percentage higher than cost of production?

A.25%

B.50%

C.75%

D.100%

Answer-B

Q. The famer led protests has increased in frequency in recent times, what is the role of Govt policies in mitigating the impact of Agricultural distress and mention the solutions to such agrarian distress?  

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(VIDEO) Facebook & Data Mischief - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Facebook & Data Mischief - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Facebook & Data Mischief - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : SY Quraishi, Former Chief Election Commissioner, Advocate Karnika Seth, Cyber law expert, Pradeep Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director, Sajoy Sarkar, Manager- Sales and Marketing, Hughes Systique, Venkat Ananth, Staff Writer,The Ken; Vishal Dahiya (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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Passive Euthanasia and Living will : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Passive Euthanasia and Living will : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


News:

Upholding the right to die with dignity, the Supreme Court on Friday gave legal sanction to passive euthanasia and execution of a living will of persons suffering from chronic terminal diseases and likely to go into a permanent vegetative state.

Terms:

  1. Euthanasia:  Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. Euthanasia is categorized in different ways, which include voluntary, non-voluntary, or involuntary.

Non-voluntary euthanasia (patient's consent unavailable), Involuntary euthanasia (without asking consent or against the patient's will),voluntary is by the consent

  1. Passive and Active Euthanasia: Passive euthanasia entails the withholding treatment necessary for the continuance of life. It is legal in US.

Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces (such as administering a lethal injection). Active voluntary euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

  1. Persistent vegetative state: A persistent vegetative state (PVS) is a disorder of consciousness in which patients with severe brain damage are in a state of partial arousal rather than true awareness.

  2. living will : is a written document that allows a person to give explicit instructions in advance about the medical treatment to be administered when he or she is terminally ill or no longer able to express informed consent.

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Background:

Aruna Shanbaug Case : Aruna Shanbaug was a nurse working at the King Edward Memorial Hospital. After being sodomized, she was left in a  vegetative state. The Supreme Court made its on the issue in 2011, The court rejected the plea to discontinue Aruna's life support but issued a set of broad guidelines legalising passive euthanasia in India.

The following guidelines were laid down:

  1. A decision has to be taken to discontinue life support either by the parents or the spouse or other close relatives, or in the absence of any of them, such a decision can be taken even by a person or a body of persons acting as a next friend. It can also be taken by the doctors attending the patient. However, the decision should be taken bona fide in the best interest of the patient.

  2. Even if a decision is taken by the near relatives or doctors or next friend to withdraw life support, such a decision requires approval from the High Court concerned.

  3. When such an application is filled the Chief Justice of the High Court should forthwith constitute a Bench of at least two Judges who should decide to grant approval or not.

Recent decision :

  1. Supreme court recognised a person's right to die with dignity while giving sanction to passive euthanasia and living will.

  2. The Supreme Court said that it has laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how a nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board.

  3. In the event of the executor becoming terminally ill with no hope of recovery, the physician treating the patient after informing the executor/his guardian about the nature of illness and consequences of alternative forms of treatment will set up a hospital medical board.

  4. Guidelines and directives shall remain in force till a legislation is brought to deal with the issue.

Arguments in favour of the judgment ( Living will and passive euthanasia):

  1. Right to Die : Right to die peacefully is part of Fundamental Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Article 21 provides that "no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law".

  2. A person cannot be forced to live on support of ventilator. Keeping a patient alive by artificial means against his/her wishes is an assault on his/her body.

  3. The government in the recently passed mental healthcare bill had liberalized the stance on suicide in which it referred to an attempt to suicide as an indicator of mental illness, In this case it is a matter of urgency and right to die with dignity.

  4. Pallative care in some cases is in itself is form of assisted suicide.

Arguments against the decision:

  1. In 1998, Gian Kaur case where a constitutional bench had held that the right to life did not include the right to die.

  2. The centre had opposed the concept of living will on grounds that consent for removal of artificial support may not be an informed one and could be misused in cases of the elderly.

  3. Various countries across the world disallow creation of living will by the patients.

  4. It is also a case of judicial activism where the decision is being taken by the court instead of centre framing a law in this regard.

Way Forward

  1. The decision of supreme court to allow passive euthanasia and Living will is a landmark judgment and upholds the fundamental right of life which includes the tight to die with dignity.

  2. The 241st report of the Law Commission states that passive euthanasia should be allowed with certain safeguards and there is a proposed law—Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patient (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill, 2006 in this regard.

  3. The centre must frame a suitable legislation and get it passed to clear any confusions that may arise from the order.

MODEL QUESTIONS

Mains Questions

1. Giving a legal sanction to passive euthanasia and living will might prove to be disastrous. Do you agree? Substantiate your arguments with the various legal proceeding in India in this regard. (15)

2. Is right to die part of right to live under article 21 of Indian constitution? Critically examine in light of recent judgment of  apex court in this regard.

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(VIDEO) Wombs Not For Rent - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Wombs Not For Rent - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Wombs Not For Rent - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Dr. Shivani Sachdev Gour, General Secretary, INSTAR, Shilpi Jain, Lawyer, Supreme Court, Hari G Ramasubramanian, Chief Consultant, Indian Surrogacy Law Centre, Kiran Chawla Kapoor, Social Activist, Shankar Agrawal, Former Secretary of women & Child Development; Neelu Vyas (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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Awash in water crises (World Water Day on March 22) : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Awash in water crises : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Water crises is the situation when there is lack of sufficient availability of potable, unpolluted freshwater within a region and due to which regions demand for water remain unfulfilled due to various factors like growing freshwater use and depletion of freshwater resources. Almost every continent is affected by water crises.

Why in news?

  • World Water Day on March 22.

  • World Water Development Report 2018 released on 19th March 2018.

World Water Development Report 2018

  • The United Nations World Water Development Report, Nature-based Solutions for Water, launched on 19 March 2018 during the 8th World Water Forum, and in conjunction to the World Water Day.

  • The report demonstrates how nature‐based solutions (NBS) offer a vital means of moving beyond business‐as‐usual to address many of the world’s water challenges while simultaneously delivering additional benefits vital to all aspects of sustainable development.

Challenges to Global Water Security

  • The world’s population is expected to increase from 7.6 billion (2017) to between 9.4 and 10.2 billion people (2050), with two-thirds of them living in cities and UN estimates are that more than half of this anticipated growth will be in Africa (1.3 billion) and Asia (0.75 billion). Therefore, those most in need of water will be in developing or emerging economies.

  • Climate change and induced Global warming also impacting the Global water cycle, due to which wetter region generally becoming wetter and drier region drier.

  • An estimated 3.6 billion people now live in areas that could face water scarcity for at least a month in a year, with that number increasing to 4.8 and 5.7 billion by 2050.

  • The International Water Management Institute estimates that total demand could increase from 680 billion cubic metres (BCM) to 833 BCM by 2025, and to 900 BCM by 2050.

  • By 2050, countries already facing water scarcity challenges may also be forced to cope with the decreased availability of surface water resources.

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Water crises in India

  • India faces major threats to its water security, with most water bodies near urban centres heavily polluted.

  • Inter-State disputes over river resources are also becoming more intense and widespread.

Quality of Water- Global

  • Along with water scarcity, there is the issue of water quality. Since the 1990s, water pollution has worsened in most rivers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

  • An estimated 80% of industrial and municipal wastewater is released without any prior treatment, with detrimental impacts on human health and ecosystems.

  • Given the transboundary nature of most river basins, regional cooperation will be critical to addressing projected water quality challenges.

Quality of water- India

A report conducted by CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) indicates-

  • Almost half of India’s inter-State rivers are polluted.

  • Sewage from 650 cities and towns along 302 polluted river stretches in the country increased from 38,000 million litres per day (MLD) in 2009 to 62,000 MLD in 2015.

  • Report found that the untreated sewage and industrial waste was a major cause of pollution in 16 of 40 inter-State rivers in the country.

Solutions for ensuring water security

Environmentally-friendly agricultural systems like-

  1. Use practices such as conservation tillage,

  2. Crop diversification,

  3. Legume intensification and

  4. Biological pest control.

Constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment

 

  1. These can also be a cost-effective, nature-based solution that provides effluent of adequate quality for several non-potable uses (irrigation) and additional benefits that include energy production.
  2. Such systems already exist in nearly every region of the world.
  3. Natural and constructed wetlands also biodegrade or immobilise a range of emerging pollutants.
  4. Recent experiments suggest that for some emerging pollutants, nature-based solutions work better than “grey” solutions, and in certain cases may be the only viable option.

Watershed management

  • It is another nature-based solution that is seen as a complement to built or “grey” infrastructure.

  • It can also spur local economic development, job creation, biodiversity protection and climate resilience.

Advantage of Nature based Solutions?

  • In areas like access to drinking water, sustainable food production, improved human settlement, water related disaster risk reduction the Nature based solutions provide great opportunities.

NBS use or mimic natural processes to-

  1. Enhance water availability (e.g., soil moisture retention, groundwater recharge),
  2. Improve water quality (e.g., natural and constructed wetlands, riparian buffer strips), and
  3. Reduce risks associated with water‐related disasters and climate change (e.g., floodplain restoration, green roofs).
  • Nature-based solutions can address overall water scarcity through “supply-side management,” and are recognised as the main solution to achieving sustainable water for agriculture.

  • Nature-based solutions are closely aligned with traditional and local knowledge including those held by indigenous and tribal peoples in the context of water variability and change.

Case Study- Chennai

  • Chennai in Tamil Nadu is a textbook example of how nature is being ignored in urban development-posed challenges.

  • Unplanned urban development and unwieldy growth with no hydrological plan are causing many problems.

  • Earlier, when there was heavy rain in catchment areas in the Chennai region, lakes, ponds, tanks, rivers and inter-linked drainage systems helped replenish groundwater, hold back some water and release the excess to the ocean.

  • With development, a number of tanks and lakes in and around Chennai have been encroached upon by various stakeholders.

  • Major rivers and canals such as the Cooum, Adyar and Buckingham Canal which are meant to carry excess rainwater to the Bay of Bengal now serve as the city’s drainage outlets.

  • The Pallikaranai marsh which acted as a sponge to soak up excess rainwater is now an over-run.

Conclusion

Business-as-usual approaches to water security are no longer sufficient and Nature-based solutions are crucial to achieving our Sustainable Development Goals. Adopting them will not only improve water management but also achieve water security.

MODEL QUESTIONS

:: MCQ’s ::

Q. World Water day is celebrated on?

A.19th March.

B. 22nd March

C.22nd April

D.5th June

Answer- B

Q. Explain how Climate change is affecting the global hydrological cycle and Mention the solutions to check global water crises?

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(VIDEO) New Push to education - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) New Push to education - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: New Push to education - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Prof. Sushma Yadav, Professor of Public Policy, IIPA ; Dr. Pankaj Gupta, Professor, Vice Dean and Director (EMBA) Jindal Global Business School ; Prof. Rajnish Jain, Secretary, University Grants Commission, New Delhi ; Neelu Vyas (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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E-way Bill : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


E-way Bill : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


The E-way bill, or the electronic way bill, is a document to be generated online under the GST system, when goods of the value of more than ₹50,000 are shipped inter-State or intra-State. The E-way bill must be raised before the goods are shipped and should include details of the goods, their consignor, recipient and transporter. According to the McKinsey report speed- breakers cost Indian Economy an extra $45 Billion or 4.3% of the GDP every year so the GST e-way Bill is expected to trim the logistic cost by 20%.

How to generate e-way Bill?

  • e-way portal provides the seamless gateway to generate the e-way Bill via two methods web and SMS.

How to verify an e-way Bill?

  • A consignment can be intercepted at any point for the verification of its E-way bill, for all inter-State and intra-State movement of goods.

  • If a consignment is found without an E-way bill, a penalty of ₹10,000 or tax sought to be evaded, whichever is greater, can be levied.

What is the advantage of an e-way Bill?

  • E-way bill is supposed to make the transportation smooth by eliminating the time spent on inter-state check points, since the time spent by truck on inter-state checkpoints is around 20% of its total journey time which is huge.

  • E-way bill helps in reducing Tax-Evasion since every e-way bill generated by the sender or buyer of goods is to be automatically updated in the outward sales return (GSTR) of the supplier, leaving little scope for tax evasions on shipments.

  • In previous tax regime, tax official had to manually cross-check the way bill against the tax-returns filed to verify whether the tax has been paid or not but with e-way bill the process becomes automatic.

  • Single electronic way bill for movement of goods across the country will save lot of paperwork.

  • The LPI (Logistics Performance Index) Survey by World Bank in 2014 put logistics costs at 14 per cent of the total value of goods in India, while it is only 6-8 per cent in other major countries. Thus, e-way bill will help to reduce the logistic cost and it will help in increasing ease of doing business in India.

  • It may increase the govt revenues by 20%.

Limitation and challenges in the implementation of the e-way Bill

  • The original rollout plan for February 1, 2018 had to be aborted as the IT system couldn’t handle the lakhs of e-way bills being generated by consignors and transporters.

  • The e-way Bill has been proposed to be launched in the phased manner in the states from April 1 2018, onwards due to technical limitations.

MODEL QUESTIONS

:: MCQ’s ::

Q. Which of the following statement about e-way Bill is wrong?

A. It can be generated via web as well as SMS.

B. It will help in increasing ease of doing business.

C. It will help in reducing the logistics cost.

D. It has already been implemented by 14 state govts before 1st of April 2018.

Answer-D

Q. Analyse the advantages of the e-way bill and also mention the limitation and challenges in the implementation of this tool?

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(VIDEO) New Religion Ahead of Polls - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) New Religion Ahead of Polls - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: New Religion Ahead of Polls - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Desh Ratan Nigam, Senior Advocate & RSS Thinker, Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr, Sr Journalist, V. Rajyalaxmi, Sociologist, Janki Devi Memorial College, Sanjay Makal, President, Vishwa Lingayat Mahasabha; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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(VIDEO) Russia's New Czar - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Russia's New Czar - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Russia's New Czar - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Professor Harsh V Pant, Head, Strategic Studies, ORF, Professor Sanjay Pandey, Centre for Russian Studies, JNU,Virendra Gupta, Former Ambassador; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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Environment Performance Index : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Environment Performance Index : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is a method of quantifying and numerically marking the environmental performance of a state's policies. This index was developed from the Pilot Environmental Performance Index, first published in 2002, and designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

The EPI was preceded by the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), published between 1999 and 2005. Both indexes were developed by Yale University (Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy) and Columbia University (Center for International Earth Science Information Network) in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

Methodology

 

EPI

Objective

Issue Category

Indicator

Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

Environmental Health (40%)

Health Impacts (23%)

Environmental Risk Exposure (100%)

Air Quality (33%)

Household Air Quality (30%)

Air Pollution - Average Exposure to PM2.5 (30%)

Air Pollution - PM2.5 Exceedance (30%)

Air Pollution - Average Exposure to NO2 (10%)

Water and Sanitation (33%)

Unsafe Sanitation (50%)

Drinking Water Quality (50%)

Ecosystem Vitality (60%)

Water Resources (25%)

Wastewater Treatment (100%)

Agriculture (10%)

Nitrogen Use Efficiency (75%)

Nitrogen Balance (25%)

Forests (10%)

Change in Forest Cover (100%)

Fisheries (5%)

Fish Stocks (100%)

Biodiversity and Habitat (25%)

Terrestrial Protected Areas (National Biome Weights) (20%)

Terrestrial Protected Areas (Global Biome Weights) (20%)

Marine Protected Areas (20%)

Species Protection (National) (20%)

Species Protection (Global) (20%)

Climate and Energy (25%)

Trend in Carbon Intensity (75%)

Trend in CO2 Emissions per KWH (25%)


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Women Safety : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Women Safety : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Violence against women is a worldwide phenomenon. Women across the world have to face various kind of acts of aggression like trafficking for sex tourism, kitchen accidents, sexual war crimes like rape, marital rape, honor killings and other kinds of brutality they face globally.  According to World Health Organization (WHO), there are five stages of violence against women in the life cycle-- (i) Pre-birth, (ii) Infancy, (iii) Girlhood, (iv) Adolescence and adulthood and (v) Elderly.

Gender violence in India is an old issue, but consciousness among the people about the violence against women (VAW) has heightened, specially post Nirbhaya case of December 2012. Indian cities and villages are not regarded as safe places for women. The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data shows that the rate of crime against women stood at 52.2%.

It should be understood that gender violence is not just a legal crime but a violation of human rights directed against the female human population. This violence against women get compounded in areas where exposure and literacy rates among women are low. Due to this illiteracy, women do not become financially independent to break out of the dependence barrier to speak out against violence. Besides this economic barrier, presence of a relatively more conservative atmosphere about social and familial prestige attached to the crime against women. The issue of VAW in India, further being added by the lack of awareness among women, especially rural, of their rights.

The Gender vulnerability index, 2017 gives us a bad picture of vulnerability of Indian women in different states as shown in the given infographic--

                 

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UPSC Prelims 2017 Exam GS Paper Analysis & IAS Exam Strategy


UPSC Prelims 2017 Exam GS Paper Analysis & IAS Exam Strategy


With UPSC prelims 2017 paper, UPSC has again proved the unpredictability of the civil service prelims exam. While last two years saw the share of direct current affairs based question increase, 2017 exam year upsc question were bit tricky and not directly based on the facts as in case of 2016 paper. Many of the question required serious brainstorming and therefore for many two hours might have proved to be insufficient. This article tries to go into the depth of last year paper and see how a candidate can calibrate her/his approach for such surprises in the exam hall.

Following is the topic wise breakup of the UPSC pre paper for last 3 years:


No singular pattern about the weightage of the subject can be discerned from the above chart.

Click here to Download UPSC Pre Exam Previous Year Papers

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Point to be noted my lord!! The attitude of leaving one or two low weightage subjects based on the previous year papers is not at all fine with UPSC. It loves to surprise the candidate and therefore when you might have thought that S&T does not matter that much anymore, UPSC 2018 paper may house more than 15 questions as in case of polity this year.

You have to be battle ready for any kind of Thali that UPSC will serve to you on the D-Day!!

Should I focus on the fundamental part or the current affairs?

This is the most common doubt for every aspirant. There is no definite answer to that nor there can be unless UPSC comes out with a white paper on the subject (Which we know is never going the happen).

While UPSC 2016 paper was heavily skewed in the favor of Current Affairs, UPSC 2017 paper tilted towards the fundamental part as can be gauged from the increased share of polity.

UPSC Question Paper Analysis

For election to the Lok Sabha, a nomination paper can be filed by
(a) anyone residing in India.
(b) a resident of the constituency from which the election is to be contested.
(c) any citizen of India whose name appears in the electoral roll of a constituency.
(d) any citizen of India

Basic

Direct question. Can be attempted easily if
you have gone through the book of M. Laxmikant

or IAS EXAM PORTAL GS STUDY KIT

If you travel by road from Kohima to Kottayam, what is the minimum number of States within India through which you can travel, including the origin and the destination?
(a) 6
(b) 7
(c) 8
(d) 9

Basic - Application

Requires application of only basic knowledge of Indian maps. Rote learning will not suffice in this question

Recognition of Prior Learning Scheme’ is sometimes mentioned in the news with reference to
(a) Certifying the skills acquire by construction workers through traditional channels.
(b) Enrolling the persons in Universities for distance learning programmes.
(c) Reserving some skilled jobs to rural and urban poor in some public sector undertakings.
(d) Certifying the skills acquired by trainees under the National Skill Development Programme.

Current Affairs

Often covered in daily news. A direct question from the newspaper.

In India, if a species of tortoise is declared protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, what does it imply?
(a) It enjoys the same level of protection as the tiger.
(b) It no longer exists in the wild, a few individuals are under captive protection; and not it is impossible to prevent its extinction.
(c) It is endemic to a particular region of India.
(d) Both (b) and (c) stated above are correct in this context.

Current Affairs - Application

Must know what does the Schedule I of the act means
and other animals that are covered under the schedule.

With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements:
1. Sautrantika and Sammitiya were the sects of Jainism.
2. Sarvastivadin held that the constituents of phenomena were not wholly momentary, but existed forever in a latent form.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Surprise

Not covered in any conventional sources and requires in
depth knowledge of the subject.
Not possible to cover such questions during preparation
and therefore candidate has to be selective about attempting such questions

What to do then?

It is clear that a candidate has to make a habit of balancing the studies between the two. A candidate must:

  • Read the NCERTs thoroughly and revise them at least one. If possible underline the important concept or make note out of them. you can consider NCERT Notes for UPSC exams to cover everything easily.

  • Read only one reference books for every subject and revise it again. Selected candidate have always emphasized on this aspect of the preparation and is relevant for both upsc mains and prelims equally. It is a common mistake to burden oneself with too many thick books and ending up with zero retention of what one had read in those books.

  • Pick up one newspaper like The Hindu or in case it is not available them Indian express and make a habit of reading it thoroughly every day and make notes out of it. These notes come in handy in the last month before prelims where focus has to be on revision.

  • Go through IAS EXAM PORTAL daily current affairs and daily quiz based on current affairs. Go through them and note the concepts that you might have not covered in your newspaper.

  • If possible go through the latest economic survey and budget speech which will cover all the important relevant concepts of economy as it has been a direct source of many questions in the past like these.

  • If for some reason it is not possible to go through the eco survey cover to cover then do go through at least 2 summaries of the budget and eco survey as they cover important schemes as well.

  • Be selective in reading of India Year book. If you have a group of 3-4 friends them you can divide the important chapters amongst yourself and make note to share with each other

  • Don’t fall into the trap of subscribing to plethora of magazines and trying to go through them

(VIDEO) Are We Drinking Plastic? - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Are We Drinking Plastic? - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Are We Drinking Plastic? - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Amit Khurana, Head, Food Safety and Toxins, CSE, Dr. Punit Mishra, Prof of Community Medicine, AIIMS, Tusar Trivedi, Founder, Bottled water India, Sunil Bakshi, Advisor, Regulations & Codex, FSSAI; Tracy Shilshi (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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Cyber Security : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Cyber Security : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Cyber security refers to preventing any form of unauthorized and malafide access to any of the electronic pr digital device.  With evolving technological landscape cyber security has been dominating the public discourse from quite some time. For Ex: National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) stated that India recorded 9,622, 11,592 and 12,317 cases of cybercrime in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively, experts stated that this data accounted for merely 1% of the cybercrimes that actually took place in the country.

Certain features of cyberspace make it a challenge to be tackled for ex: Absence of any geographical barriers, Rapidly evolving technologies and innovations in the field, difficulty in locating the attacker because of anonymity that the cyberspace offers and there are always loopholes in the technologies to be exploited.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF CYBER CRIMES

1. The crimes in which the computer is the target. Examples of such crimes are hacking, virus attacks, DOS attack etc.

2. The crime sin which the computer is used as a weapon. These types of crimes include cyber terrorism, IPR violations, credit card frauds, EFT frauds, pornography etc.

Steps taken by the government of India

  1. Legislative framework: IT act 2000 provides for legal provisions for cyber security, Enacted with prime objective to create an enabling environment for commercial use of I.T.  The IT Act specifies the acts which have been made punishable.

  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860 has also been amended to take into its purview cyber crimes.

  1. Policy framework: National cyber security policy 2013 lays down the future path to be traced in this regard.

  • Set up different bodies to tackle various levels of threats.

  • Create a National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC)

  • Create a workforce of around 500,000 trained in cyber security

  • Indigenizing technological development in this regard.

  • Promoting education and awareness in this field

  • The policy also aims for public-private partnership for enhancing the security of cyberspace.

  • To enable effective prevention, investigation and prosecution of cybercrime and enhancement of law enforcement capabilities through appropriate legislative intervention.

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(VIDEO) State of our Cities - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) State of our Cities - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: State of our Cities - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : K.T. Ravindran, Dean Emeritus, RICS School of Built Environment ; Vivek Anandan Nair, Head, Annual Survey of India's City-System, Janaagraha ; Kunal Kumar, Municipal Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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Physicist Stephen Hawking, passes away at 76 : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Physicist Stephen Hawking, passes away at 76 : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Stephen Hawking was a fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the US National Academy of Science and he is regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Einstein.

About Stephen Hawking

  • Hawking contracted motor neurone disease in 1963 and was then told he had just two years.

  • From 1979 to 2009 he held the post of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, the chair held by Isaac Newton in 1663.

Awards and Honours received by Stephen Hawking

  • Professor Hawking has been awarded over a dozen honorary degrees including the CBE – Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – in 1982.

  • He was awarded with Adams Prize, Einstein Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Eddington Medal, Maxwell Medal, Heineman Prize, Hughes Medal, RAS Gold Medal, Dirac Medal, Wolf Prize, Prince of Asturias, Gemant Award, Naylor Prize and Fundamental Physics Prize.

Contributions of Stephen Hawking

  • He predicted theoretically that black holes emit radiation, this is often called Hawking radiation. 

  • For the first time in the world Hawking showed how quantum fluctuations (i.e. minuscule variations in the distribution of matter), might give rise to the spread of galaxies in the universe. 

  •  In 1983 together with Jim Hartle at Chicago University, he proposed a "wave function of the universe" that, in theory, could be used to calculate the properties of the universe we see around us.

  • Existence of millions of Mini Black Holes formed by the force of the original Big Bang explosion.

  • He also answered the famous unified field theory, which was one of the Einstein’s unanswered theories.

  • Hawking was also the subject of the 2014 film ‘The Theory of Everything’, which starred Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones and it was based on Prof. Hawking's ex-wife Jane Hawking's memoir 'Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen'.

  • The movie depicted the story of the scientist extraordinaire whose mind maps the universe while his body remains immobile in a wheelchair.

Books authored by him

MODEL QUESTIONS

Q.Which of the following is not correct regarding motor neurone disease?

A. Motor neurone disease (MND) describes a group of diseases.

B. MND affect the nerves (motor neurones) in the brain and spinal cord that tell your muscles what to do. 

C. In MND, messages from Motor Neurones gradually stop reaching the muscles, leading them to weaken, stiffen and waste.

D. MND does not affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe. 

Answer-D

Q. What are various contributions of Dr. Stephen Hawking in the field of Science and Technology?

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Initiatives in India to deal with the climate change : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Initiatives in India to deal with the climate change : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


The recently concluded Paris agreements has brought the issue of climate change at the center stage of national and international politics. The effects of climate change know no boundary and therefore require a concerted efforts at the national and global level.

Though Paris deal seeks to contain the global temperature rise below 2 degree C (preferably below 1.5), various studies have pointed out that the INDCs, if factored in the current trend of emission will lead to at least an increase of 3.5 degrees.

Developing countries especially the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and small island nations are at the highest risk of damage due to the climate change (Fiji will be underwater in 50 years). These countries such as India and China who now contribute significantly to global emissions have an important role to play. However, at the same time they have to fulfill their development needs through utilization of natural resources and industrialization.

India, today faces its biggest conundrum: Environment or Development? The population in India is projected to be highest in the world by 2022. It is the third largest emitter of the GHGs in aggregate terms but still has only 1/7th of the per capita energy consumption as that of OECD nations. At the same time India has high vulnerabilities to climate change impacts due to its peculiar economy and geography. The risks that India faces are:

  • Coastal areas: 7500 km long coastline is already vulnerable to various disasters like cyclone, coastal flooding, storm surges, heavy rainfall (as seen recently in Mumbai) etc. The rise in the sea temperature and level will only increase the frequency of such hazards endangering the life and livelihood of the coastal population. Also, India being close to the equator will experience much higher increase in sea level than higher latitudes

  • Monsoon: Phenomenon such as El Nino will increase the variability of the monsoon worsening the agricultural crisis with more than 50% area still being rain-fed and threatening the food security. Climate change has about 4-9 per cent impact on agriculture each year. As agriculture contributes 15 per cent to India’s GDP, climate change presumably causes about 1.5 per cent loss in GDP(1).

  • Disasters: More weather aberrations as recently seen in Mumbai and Chennai and increase incidence of the disasters like flood and drought will threaten both rural and urban economy

  • Biodiversity: Loss of biodiversity put the livelihood of the forest dependent and hill communities at risk and disturb the biogeochemical cycles that help maintain the flow of nutrient, water and pure air. Increase in human-wildlife conflict as recently observed in State like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand is another threat.

  • Health: Increased disease outbreaks especially of the tropical diseases like Malaria and Dengue, heat waves aggravating the urban heat island effect and water scarcity compelling people to consume polluted water will increase the burden of mortality and morbidity.

  • Migration: Rising inequalities as poor will be most affected due to climate change will increase the burden of migration and cripple the urban economies. Illegal migration from the neighbor countries will also cause security threats.

https://iasexamportal.com/sites/default/files/climate-change-the-long-road-to-a-global-deal-img.jpg

Reasons of the climate change:

https://iasexamportal.com/sites/default/files/causes-of-climate-img.jpg

So what initiative the governments in India have taken to deal with the crisis?

The initiatives can be classified into two broad categories:

  • Mitigation: Reducing the emission of the greenhouse gases causing the rise in temperature

  • Adaptation: Building the capacity of the community through financial, technical and other infrastructural support to minimize the losses due to the climate change.

The major initiative are:

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(VIDEO) Return Of Trade Barriers - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Return Of Trade Barriers - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Return Of Trade Barriers - Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate
Expert Panel Name : Ajay Shankar, Former Secretary, DIPP; Ajay Sahai, Director General & CEO, Federation of Indian Exports Organisation ;S.K. Sarkar, Managing Committee Member, ASSOCHAM; Frank Rausan Pereira (Anchor)

Courtesy: Rajya Sabha TV

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