Model Questions for UPSC PRE CSAT PAPER SET - 31
Model Questions for UPSC PRE CSAT PAPER SET - 31
At the Fourth World Water Forum held in Mexico City in March 2006, the
120-nation assembly could not reach a consensus on declaring the right to safe
and clean drinking water a human right. Millions of people the world over do not
have access to potable water supply. But it is good times for the bottled-water
industry, which is cashing in on the need for clean drinking water and the
ability of urban elite to pay an exorbitant price for this very basic human
need. The fortunes of this more-than- $100-billion global industry are directly
related to the human apathy towards the environment - the more we pollute our
water bodies, the more the sales of bottled-water. It is estimated that the
global consumption of bottled-water is nearing 200 billion litres - sufficient
to satisfy the daily drinking water need of one-fourth of the Indian population
or about 4.5 per cent of the global population.
In India, the per capita bottled-water consumption is still quite low-less than five litres a year as compared to the global average of 24 litres. However, the total annual bottled-water consumption has risen rapidly in recent times – it has tripled between 1999 and 2004 —from about 1.5 billion litres to five billion litres. These are boom times for the Indian bottled-water industry - more so because the economics are sound, the bottom line is fat and the Indian government hardly cares for what happens to the nation’s water resources. India is the tenth largest bottled-water consumer in the world.
In 2002, the industry had an estimated turnover of ‘ 10 billion (‘ 1,000 crore). Today it is one of the India’s fastest growing industrial sectors. Between 1999 and 2004, the Indian bottled-water market grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25 percent — the highest in the world. With over a thousand bottled-water producers, the Indian bottled-water industry is big by even international standards. There are more than 200 brands, nearly 80 per cent of which are local. Most of the small-scale producers sell non-branded products and serve small markets. In fact, making bottled-water is today a cottage industry in the county. Leave alone the metros, where a bottled-water manufacturer can be found even in a one-room shop, in every medium and small city and even some prosperous rural areas there are bottled-water manufacturers.
Despite the large number of small producers, this industry is dominated by the big players —Parle, Bisleri, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Parle Agro, Mohan Meakins, SKN Breweries and so on. Parle was the first major Indian company to enter the bottled-water market in the county when it introduced Bisleri in India 25 years ago. The rise of the Indian bottled water industry began with the economic liberalisation process in 1991. The market was virtually stagnant until 1991, when the demand for bottled-water was less than two million cases a year. However, since 1991-1992 it has not looked back, and the demand in 2004–05 was a staggering 82 million cases. Bottled-water is sold in a variety of packages: pouches and glasses, 330 ml bottles, 500 ml bottles, one litre bottles and even 20 to 50 litre bulk water packs. The formal bottled-water business in India can be divided broadly into three segments in terms of cost: premium natural mineral water, natural mineral water and packaged drinking water.
Attracted by the huge potential that India’s vast middle class offers, multinational players such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have been trying for the past decade to capture the Indian bottled-water market. Today, they have captured a significant portion of it. However, Parle Bisleri continues to hold 40 per cent of the market share. Kinley and Aquafina are fast catching up, with Kinley holding 20–25 per cent of the market and Aquafina approximately 10 per cent. The rest, including the smaller players, have 20–25 per cent of the market share.
The majority of the bottling plants - whether they produce bottled-water or soft drinks - are dependent on ground-water. They create huge water stress in the areas where they operate because groundwater is also the main source in most places the only source - of drinking water in India. This has created huge conflict between the community and the bottling plants. Private companies in India can siphon out, exhaust and export groundwater free because the groundwater law in the country is archaic and not in tune with the realities of modem capitalist societies. The existing law says that “the person who owns the land owns the groundwater beneath”. This means that, theoretically, a person can buy one square metre of land and take all the groundwater of the surrounding areas and the law of land cannot object to it. This law is the core of the conflict between the community and the companies and the major reason for making the business of bottled-water in the country highly lucrative.
1. What is/are the reason(s) for the global growth of bottled-water industry?
(a) Pollution of water bodies
(b) Basic human need for clean drinking water
(c) Paying capacity of the elite
(d) All of the above
2. According to the passage, which of the following statements is/are true?
A. In India, the increase in total annual bottled-water consumption is
followed by increase in per capita bottled-water consumption.
B. Indian bottled-water market grew at the highest CAGR.
C. The formal bottled-water business in India is divided into broadly two segments in terms of cost.
(a) A only
(b) A and C both
(c) B only
(d) A, B and C
The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Goa has developed a real-time
reporting and Internet-accessible coastal sea-level monitoring system and it has
been operational at Verem jetty in the Mandovi estuary in Goa since September
24, 2005. The gauge uses a cellular modem to put on the Internet real-time
sea-level data, which can be accessed by authorised personnel. By using a
cellular phone network, coastal sea-level changes are continuously updated on to
a web-server. The sea-level gauge website can be made available to television
channels to broadcast real-time visualisation of the coastal sea level,
particularly during oceanogenic hazards such as storm surges or a tsunami. A
network of such gauges along the coast and the islands that lie on either side
of the mainland would provide data to disaster management agencies to
disseminate warnings to coastal communities and beach tourism centres.
The gauge incorporates a bottom pressure transducer as the sensing element. The sea unit of the gauge, which houses the pressure transducer, is mounted within a cylindrical protective housing, which in turn is rigidly held within a mechanical structure. This structure is secured to a jetty. The gauge is powered by a battery, which is charged by solar panels. Battery, electronics, solar panels, and cellular modems are mounted on the top portion of this structure. The pressure sensor and the logger are continuously powered on, and their electrical current consumption is 30 mA and 15 mA respectively. The cellular modem consumes 15 mA and 250 mA during standby and data transmission modes respectively. The pressure sensor located below the low-tide level measures the hydrostatic pressure of the overlying water layer. An indigenously designed and developed microprocessor based data logger interrogates the pressure transducer and acquires the pressure data at the rate of two samples a second. The acquired pressure data is averaged over an interval of five minutes to remove high-frequency wind-waves that are superimposed on the lower frequency tidal cycle. This averaged data is recorded in a multimedia card. The measured water pressure is converted to water level using sea water density and acceleration owing to the earth’s gravity. The water level so estimated is then referenced to chart datum (CD), which is the internationally accepted reference level below which the sea-level will not fall. The data received at the Internet server is presented in graphical format together with the predicted sea-level and the residual. The residual sea level (that is, the measured minus the predicted sea level) provides a clear indication of sea-level oscillation and a quantitative estimate of the anomalous behaviour, the driving force for which could be atmospheric force (storm) or physical (tsunami).
A network of sea-level gauges along the Indian coastline and islands would also provide useful information to mariners for safe navigation in shallow coastal waters and contribute to various engineering projects associated with coastal zone management, besides dredging operations, port operations and man-water treaties with greater transparency. Among the various communication technologies used for real-time transmission of sea-level data are - the wired telephone connections, VHF/UHF transceivers, satellite transmit terminals and cellular connectivity. Wired telephone connections are severely susceptible to loss of connectivity during natural disasters such as storm surges, primarily because of telephone line breakage. Communication via VHF/UHF transceivers is limited by line-of-sight distance between transceivers and normally offer only point-to-point data transfer. Satellite communication via platform transmit terminals (PTTs) has wide coverage and, therefore, allows data reception from offshore platforms. However, data transfer speeds are limited. Further many satellites (for example, GOES, INSAT) permit data transfer only in predefined time-slots, thereby inhibiting continuous data access.
Technologies of data reporting via satellites have undergone a sea change recently in terms of frequency of reportage, data size, recurring costs and so forth. Broadband technology has been identified as one that can be used optimally for real-time reporting of data because of its inherent advantages such as a continuous two-way connection that allows high-speed data transfer and near real-time data reporting. While satellite communication is expensive, wireless communication infrastructure and the ubiquity of cellular phones have made cellular communication affordable. Low initial and recurring costs are an important advantage of cellular communication. A simple and cost-effective methodology for real-time reporting of data is the cellular-based GPRS technology, which has been recently implemented at the NIO for real-time reporting of coastal sea level data.
3. According to the passage, which of the following statements is not true?
(a) Network of gauges along the coast and the islands would help disaster
management agencies to disseminate warnings
(b) Cellular-based GPRS technology is not a simple and cost effective method for real-time reporting of data
(c) Disadvantage of wired telephone connection is the loss of connectivity during disasters due to line breakages .
(d) Data reporting via satellites has undergone changes in terms of frequency, data size, recurring cost, etc.
4. What is the outermost part of the sea unit of the gauge?
(a) Pressure transducer
(b) Mechanical structure
(c) Cylindrical protective housing
(d) Sensing element
5. What is the limitation of satellite communication via platform transmit terminals?
(b) Offshore platforms
(c) Data transfer speed
(d) None of these
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6. Which one of the following relationships is correct as per the passage?
(a) Predicted sea level is a product of measured sea level and residual sea
(b) Predicted sea level is the sum of measured sea level and residual sea level
(c) Predicted sea level is the sum of predicted sea level and measured sea level
(d) Predicted sea level is obtained by dividing measured sea level and residual sea level
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference, which commenced in
Hong Kong on December 13, 2005, adopted a declaration on December 18, 2005 after
six days of acrimonious negotiations between developed and developing countries.
Although initially there was a show of unity among developing countries
especially on the issue of agriculture, which was reflected in the formation of
the G-100, the final outcome of the Ministerial Declaration has been thoroughly
anti-development. The Ministerial Declaration has not only failed to address
substantially the concerns of developing countries but has actually paved the
way for an eventual trade deal by the end of 2006, which is going to be severely
detrimental to their interests. It is clear by now that the so-called
“Development Round” launched in Doha in 2001 has been manipulated by developed
countries, especially the United States and the members of the European Union,
to push for further trade liberalisation in developing countries while they
continue to protect their economies through high subsidies and non-tariff
barriers. Far from redressing the asymmetries of the global trading system, the
Doha round seems to be heading for another catastrophe for the developing world.
The EU stuck to its intransigent position on the deadline of 2013 for the
elimination of export subsidies and developing countries gave up their demand
for an earlier end date despite the initial collective efforts of the G-llO. The
gross inadequacy of this so-called “concession” can be understood from the fact
that export subsidies comprise less than 2 per cent of the total farm subsidies
in the developed world. There has been no concrete commitment on the reduction
of domestic support other than export subsidies. The EU can continue to
subsidise agriculture to the tune of 55 billion Euros a year. The EU budget
adopted recently ensures that nothing can be touched in the agriculture budget
till at least 2013. The US budget reconciliation process and the final vote in
the Congress are set to extend domestic support to agriculture and
counter-cyclical support to commodities up to around 2011. Even in the case of
cotton, the agreement to eliminate subsidies by 2006 is restricted to export
subsidies only and does not include other forms of domestic support. The US
refused to give duty-free access to exports from Least-Developed Countries (LDCs)
for 99.9 per cent of product lines and the final agreement was on 97 per cent of
them, which would enable the US and Japan to deny market access to LDCs in
product lines such as rice and textiles. Much of the Aid for Trade for LDCs,
which is being showcased by developed countries as a “development package”, is
disguised in conditional loan packages that are contingent upon further opening
up of their markets.
India’s prime interest in agriculture was to ensure the protection of its small and marginal farmers from the onslaught of artificially low-priced imports or threats thereof. The proposals for agricultural tariff cuts, which are already on the table, are quite ambitious and the G-20 has already committed itself to undertake cuts to the extent of two-thirds of the level applicable to developed countries. Moreover, India has 100 per cent tariff lines bound in agriculture with the difference in the applied level and the bound level not very marked in many lines. In this context, the systemic problem faced by India’s small and marginal farmers practising subsistence agriculture will only get aggravated as a result of the impending tariff cuts that have been agreed upon. The government claims that the right to designate a number of agricultural product lines as special products based upon the consideration of food and livelihood security and to establish a special safeguard mechanism based on import quantity and price triggers, which have been mentioned in the Ministerial Text, adequately addresses the concerns of Indian farmers. The claim is questionable since the nature as well as the extent of protection under the category of special products remains restricted and the special safeguard mechanism, admittedly, is a measure to deal with an emergency and is of “a temporary nature”.
Therefore, seen in the light of the insignificant reductions in domestic farm subsidies by developed countries, tariff reduction commitments by developing countries seem to be totally unjustifiable. Developing countries have also agreed on the Swiss formula for tariff cuts under Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA). Although the coefficients will be negotiated later, it is unlikely that developed countries will agree upon sufficiently large coefficients for the formula that would ensure adequate policy space for developing countries in future to facilitate development of different sectors of their industries. The Ministerial Text’s ritual references to “less than full reciprocity” and “special and differential treatment” fails to conceal the fact that the flexibilities provided by the July framework regarding the nature of the tariff reduction formula, product coverage, the extent of binding and the depth of cuts have been done away with.
Moreover, no concrete commitment has been obtained in the Ministerial Text for the removal of the Non-Tariff barriers by developed countries, which is their principal mode of protection, despite developing countries making such major concessions on industrial tariff cuts. The fact of the matter is that developing countries have committed themselves to cuts in both agricultural and industrial tariffs, without getting anything substantial in return from developed countries. And India has facilitated the adoption of this bad deal in the backdrop of an acute crisis faced by Indian agriculture. Unfortunately, developing countries have lost the opportunity to rework fundamentally the iniquitous Agreement on Agriculture and protect the domestic policy space vis-a.-vis industrial protection by developing countries, which could have been achieved by galvanising the unity of the G-110.
7. What was/were the flexibility/flexibilities envisaged by the July framework?
(a) Depth of cuts
(b) Product coverage
(c) Tariff reduction formula
(d) All of the above
8. Which one of the following statements is not correct as per the passage?
(a) Aid which, is given for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by the
developed countries in the form of ‘developed package’ is conditioned upon
further opening of their market
(b) Reduction in the domestic farm subsidies by the developed countries is insignificant and the commitment made by the developing countries for tariff reduction is unjustifiable
(c) India’s main interest in agriculture is to protect its small and marginal farmers from the onslaught of artificially low-priced imports or threats of such nature
(d) Developed countries have given commitment to the Ministerial Text on the removal of Non-Tariff barriers
9. Which claim of the Indian Government is questionable?
(a) Right to designate agriculture product lines as special products
considering food and livelihood security
(b) India has facilitated the adoption of a beneficial deal for agriculture at WTO
(c) Formation of G-110 proves unity among developing countries
(d) Developing countries can negotiate large coefficient on the Swiss formula for tariff cuts
10. Why is it that the imbalances of the global trading system appear to be catastrophic?
(a) EU has not moved away from its declared position
(b) US refused to give duty free access to exports from LDCs
(c) The collective efforts of G-110 failed
(d) All of the above