Geography – Seismic Gap, Liquefaction

Seismic Gap:-
It’s the earthquake prone area where occurs a gap in the occurrence record of major earthquakes.
This means, that statistically, major earthquake is due ie, much more time had elapsed since the last major earthquake than the average time gap between two major earthquake as per the historical occurances.

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Earthquake waves gets significantly amplified when they passed through soft grounded ( water saturated alluvial deposits).
Liquefaction is sudden loss of strength of water saturated soils resulting from shaking during an earthquake.
It can cause large ground cracks to open, shaking can cause soils to consolidate and thus to occupy a smaller volume.
During shaking of an earthquake, the water saturated material may result in subsidence, fracturing and horizontal sliding of the ground surface.

Geography Concept:- Trade Winds, Outback

Trade Winds:-
Trade winds are most regular of all the planetary winds and in general they blow with great force and in constant direction.

Since trade winds blow from the subtropical latitudes to the warmer equatorial latitudes, they have great capacity of holding moisture.

In their passage across oceans, they gather more moisture and bring heavy rainfall to the east coast of continents.

As their offshore on the west coast, these regions suffer from great aridity and form hot deserts of the world.
E.g. Sahara, Kalahari, Atacama, Great Australian deserts.

Interior area of Australia
The term outback in Australia refers to dry interior region.
Term outback implies “Never Never” ( Never Never go there)

Brief about El Nino, La Nino, Southern Oscillation, Walker Cell

El Nino :-

El- Nino is Spanish word for male child ( Christ Child)

El Nino refers to two things:-
1. ceasing of upwelling off west coast of South America (Eastern Pacific Ocean)

2. appearance of warmer waters than average on the surface of ocean off the west coast of South America.

Statistically, El-nino has been found have a negative correlation with India’s summer monsoon rains.

La- Nina:-
Spanish word for Girl Child and refers to the reinforce or augmented or strengthened normal situation in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
Statistically, La- Nina has been found to have positive correlation with India’s summer monsoon rains.

Walker Cell:-
Term walker cell in general refers to prominent east west pressure cell of atmospheric circulation ( especially in tropical areas)

Southern Oscillation:-
It’s given by Sir Gilbert Walker
It refers to sea saw arrangement of atmospheric pressure conditions between Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Southern Oscillation Index :-
(Tahiti’s Atmospheric pressure ) – (Darwin’s atmospheric pressure)

Grography – ITCZ, Doldrums, Horse Latitude

At sea, ITCZ area is called doldrums because sailors in olden days used to get becalmed here.
It’s the region of weak winds (small pressure gradients), High Humidity and High Temperatures occuring heat near equator.


Horse Latitude:-
In olden days, Zones at about 30 N/S Degree were known as Horse latitude.
When ships were becalmed, horses were thrown to reduce the load.
Here, the air is comparatively dry and winds are calm and light, because of small pressure gradient force.
It’s the region of descending air currents or wind divergent ie. Anti-Cyclonic condition.

ITCZ – Inter Tropical Convergence Zone

ITCZ is a zone where the trade winds converge. It’s also referred as the Thermal Equator.
ITCZ can be found as much as 20 degree north of equator in July and 10 degree south of equator in January.

The exceptional shift in ITCZ by 20 degree is seen in South Asia during Summer Season. The exceptional shift of ITCZ plays a significant role in the causation of summer monsoon in South ASIA.

ITCZ is a zone of calm, hot, rising air and low pressure area.

What is Trachoma?

• It is a chronic infective eye disease caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis which is transmitted through contact with eye and nose discharge of infected people, particularly young children who are most vulnerable to the infection.

• It is also spread by flies which come in contact with the infected person and is most common under poor environment, low personal hygiene and inadequate access to water.

• It is one of the causes of the avoidable blindness and one of the 18 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD).

• During 1950s, India was a hyperendemic to Trachoma. About 50%-80% children from North-west India were affected by it.

Safeguard for Minorities in India

Currently there are 6 minorities in India viz. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains.

The Constitution does not define a minority or provide details relating to the geographical and numerical specification of the concept.

However, it talks about ‘Minorities’ and speaks of those ‘based on religion or language and provides for special domain rights for them such as:

• Article 29(1): Right of ‘any section of the citizens’ to ‘conserve’ its ‘distinct language, script or culture’

• Article 29(2): Restriction on denial of admission to any citizen, to any educational institution maintained or aided by the State, ‘on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them’

• Article 30(1): Right of all Religious and Linguistic Minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

• Article 30(2): Freedom of Minority-managed educational institutions from discrimination in the matter of receiving aid from the State.

• Article 347: Special provision relating to the language spoken by a section of the population of any State.

• Article 350 A: Provision for facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at primary stage.

• Article 350 B: Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities and his duties.

Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS)

• It is a joint Government, International Diamond Industry and Civil Society initiative to stem the flow of Conflict Diamonds (rough diamonds used to finance the conflicts and topple the established government).

• It was started in 2003 after the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution in 2000 supporting the creation of an international certification scheme for rough diamond. It also finds mention in the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

• India is one of the founding member of KPCS. At present, KPCS has 54 members representing 81 countries including the EU with 28 members.

• KPCS enables the participating countries to certify the shipment in rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’ and prevent entrance of conflict diamonds in legitimate trade.

• According to the KPCS terms, member states have to meet the ‘minimum requirements’ and also put in place national legislations and institutions, export, import and internal controls, commit to transparency and exchange of statistical data.

India’s poor export infrastructure remains a major limitation on its export competitiveness. Discuss. Enumerate some of the steps the government of India is taking to improve our export infrastructure.


• Introduce with the need for export competitiveness

• List shortcomings in export infrastructure

• What steps were taken to improve export infrastructure

• Conclude appropriately

Model Answer :

Over the last 25 years since India’s liberalisation, its foreign trade has expanded multifold. But India’s share in World Merchandise Exports over the last few years remained at around 1.7%. India’s poor export infrastructure remains a major limitation on its export competitiveness.

Shortcomings in export infrastructure:

1.Ports Infrastructure: Indian ports lag behind international standards, have inadequate capacity to handle high-volume trade flow and have high turn-around time. Lack of trans-shipment hubs and high level of manual operations are other concerns.

2.Poor hinterland connectivity: Limited hinterland linkages increase the cost and time of transportation and cargo movement.

3.Airport infrastructure: The cargo volume handled by Indian airports is very less as compared to major international airports. The major bottlenecks are lack of competitive air cargos, congestion at terminals, lack of specialized storage for hazardous and vulnerable cargo, slow cargo clearance etc.

4.IT Infrastructure: This includes lack of facility for electronic payment of fees, duties, taxes etc. at the customs stations.

5.Warehouses and Coldchains: India lacks capacity in warehousing and coldchains which is a big concern, especially for perishable goods.

To improve the export infrastructure GOI is taking following steps:

1.Modernization of Infrastructure: GOI is undertaking modernization of infrastructure, including port modernization, upgradation of Air cargo facility at major airports, Dedicated Freight Corridors, network of national highways and waterways.

2.Sagarmala: The Sagarmala initiative was launched with objectives of port modernization and creating efficient evacuation system and hinterland connectivity.

3.Multimodal Parks: Multi Modal Logistics Parks are being set up at various locations, to act as hubs for freight movement, and enhance connectivity with road and rail and other modes of transport to promote multimodal freight transportation.

4.Logistics Performance Index: The commerce ministry is working on a Logistics Performance Index (LPI) for states and union territories, which will promote competition by ranking them as per their trade related facilities.

5.TIES Scheme: Tje Union Commerce Ministry in 2017 launched a new scheme Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) to provide assistance for setting up and up-gradation of infrastructure projects with overwhelming export linkages.

India needs to increase its share in world exports to boost growth and jobs as well as reduce trade deficit. Renewed focus on export infrastructure is welcome and needs to be sustain to improve India’s export competitiveness and economic growth.

The concept of “port led development” is central to the Sagarmala vision.” What is Sagarmala initiative and how can it help in achieving the aim of port led development.


• Introduce with India’s potential for port-led development

• Explain Sagarmala initiative with its components

• Explain how it will help in port led development

• Conclude appropriately

Model Answer :

India is richly endowed with natural maritime advantages, a strategic location for key international trade routes, and navigable and potentially navigable waterways. There is great potential for port-led development in India, but to realize it Indian ports must address infrastructural and operational challenges.

Sagarmala initiative:

The prime objective of the Sagarmala project is to promote port-led direct and indirect development and to provide infrastructure to transport goods to and from ports quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. The Sagarmala Project seeks to reduce logistics costs by developing access to new development regions with intermodal solutions, enhanced connectivity with main economic centres and beyond through expansion of rail, inland water, coastal and road services. As part of the programme, a National Perspective Plan (NPP) for the comprehensive development of India’s coastline and maritime sector has been prepared.

Components of Sagarmala Programme:

1.Port Modernization & New Port Development: De-bottlenecking and capacity expansion of existing ports and development of new Greenfield ports

2.Port Connectivity Enhancement: Enhancing the connectivity of the ports to the hinterland, optimizing cost and time of cargo movement through multi-modal logistics solutions including domestic waterways (inland water transport and coastal shipping)

3.Port-linked Industrialization: Developing port-proximate industrial clusters and Coastal Economic Zones to reduce logistics cost and time of EXIM and domestic cargo

4.Coastal Community Development: Promoting sustainable development of coastal communities through skill development & livelihood generation activities, fisheries development, coastal tourism etc.

How Sagarmala initiative can help in achieving the aim of port lead development?

The concept of “port led development” is central to the Sagarmala vision. Port led development focuses on logistics intensive industries, where transportation either represents a high proportion of costs, or timely logistics are a critical success factor.  The population in adjoining areas would have to be sufficiently skilled to participate in economic opportunities on offer. The synergistic and coordinated development of four components, namely logistics intensive industries, efficient ports, seamless connectivity and requisite skill-base will lead to unlocking of economic value.


India, where the logistics cost around 19% of GDP is amongst the highest in the world, is on the path to complete transformation under the Sagarmala Programme, by unlocking the full potential of India’s coastline and waterways.

Public private partnership is a key model of infrastructure development in India today but there is a need to mature it to deliver infrastructure projects better and faster. Discuss in light of the Kelkar Committee’s recommendations.


• Give a brief introduction about PPP

• Highlight the various shortcomings in PPP

• Discuss the important recommendation of Kelkar committee

• Conclude appropriately.

Model Answer :

Public private partnership (PPP) is a long-term contract between a private party and a government entity, for providing a public asset or service, in which the private party bears significant risk and management responsibility, and remuneration is linked to performance. A large number of key infrastructure projects today are being implemented in a PPP mode, including airports, highways, ports etc. However, various shortcomings of this model have impacted this model’s effectiveness.

Various shortcomings in the PPP projects:

Delay in projects lead to cost overrun due to which customers have to pay higher charges for the services.

Due to economic conditions like Non-performing assets, private entities are not able to get long term credit.

Elongated timelines due to lack of institutional capacity in the project-award process have been hurting.

Weakening economic growth and the debt overhang problem have constrained both the capacity and flow of private investment in asset creation.

Complex government rules sometimes force private companies to withdraw

In light of this, the Union Finance Minister’s had set up the Committee on Revisiting and Revitalizing the PPP model of Infrastructure Development (Chair: Dr. Vijay Kelkar) in 2015. The committee submitted its report the same year.

Kelkar committee recommendations to revitalize PPP in infrastucture:

Set up an institution for invigorating private investments in infrastructure, providing guidance for a national PPP policy and developments in PPP.

An institutionalized mechanism like the National Facilitation Committee (NFC) to ensure time bound resolution of issues including getting timely clearances.

Essential to set up independent Regulators in sectors going in for PPP.

Build up capacity in all stakeholders, including regulators, authority, consultants, financing agencies, developers

Amend the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 to distinguish between genuine errors in decision-making and acts of corruption.

Pre-qualified PPP consultancies could be empanelled.

PPPs are an important policy instrument that will enable India to compress time in this journey towards economic growth and development. A successful and growing stream of PPPs in infrastructure will go a long way in accelerating the country’s development process.