The number of projects undertaken in space technology is growing day by day as the area of applications are immense. Explain.

The number of projects undertaken in space technology is growing day by day as the area of applications are immense. Explain.

Approach:

• Introduce by pointing out increasing endeavours in the space technology.

• Discuss the applications by subdividing into 4-5 headings.

• Conclude appropriately.

Model Answer :
The space technology is without a doubt driving the modern world. A number of countries and private enterprises are undertaking projects or entering into collaboration for development of space technology. The applications of space technology are not limited to exploring the outer space which remains an object of fascination for mankind since time immemorial.
The applications of space technology are:
  • Earth Observation: The Remote sensing satellites are used for earth observation which has a wide range of applications in the areas of agriculture, water resource management, urban planning, mineral exploration, etc.
  • Satellite Communication: The communication satellites have revolutionized the economic and technological growth of mankind. Various applications like Telemedicine, Direct to Home services, Internet Services, Telecommunication , etc. The INSAT and GSAT series of satellite are instrumental in facilitating e-governance in India.
  • Disaster Management: The space technology aids disaster management in a big way by providing the emergency communication system and remote sensing capabilities to predict upcoming disasters. For example, recently launched South Asia Satellite boosts efforts made to reduce the disaster risk in the region.
  • Satellite Navigation: The satellite navigation is widely used for civil purposes like address location, road transportation, civil airline navigation, etc., among its strategic uses are border management, monitoring enemy movement, etc. Some of the prominent satellite navigation systems are GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BEIDOU. India has also developed IRNSS(NAVIC) and GAGAN in this area.
  • Climate Monitoring: Various systems have been developed to provide hourly information on the critical weather patterns such as pressure, temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind, etc. ISRO has developed AGROMET to measure soil temperature, soil heat, soil radiation, soil moisture, etc. Doppler Weather Radars are being used to monitor extreme weather events like heavy rainfalls and cyclones.
  • Others: The offshoots of space technology are being applied in our day to day life such as the CAT scans, scratch-resistant lenses, artificial limbs, etc.
Besides being a profitable venture, space technology is also making lives of people simpler. Space technology should continue to be harnessed for human development and to reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.

Subjects : Science and Technology

Children testifying as witnesses find the courtroom experience intimidating. What steps have been taken by the government and courts towards ensuring a conducive and protective atmosphere for vulnerable witnesses. (250 words)

Children testifying as witnesses find the courtroom experience intimidating. What steps have been taken by the government and courts towards ensuring a conducive and protective atmosphere for vulnerable witnesses. (250 words)

Approach:

  • Briefly introduce with the problems faced by children inside courtrooms.
  • Discuss the steps like POCSO act, SC’s guidelines, Delhi HC’s guidelines, etc.
  • Conclude Appropriately.
Model Answer :

Vulnerable witnesses in criminal cases, often minor survivors of rape or victims of sex abuse end up being ill treated by the criminal justice system. They are often treated like any other witness of the State in a criminal trial. Delays and intimidating questions during trial in a hostile environment often makes the witnesses hostile. So, to protect the rights of vulnerable witnesses while testifying in a court, various steps have been taken such as:

  • Laws: POCSO Act provides for child friendly procedures during a trial. Under this law, the officer recording a child’s statement should not be in uniform; also, during court proceedings steps must be taken to ensure that the child is not exposed to the accused. The court is allowed to record a child’s statement through video conferencing, or using one-way mirrors or curtains.
  • SC directions: The Supreme Court has ordered setting up of at least 2 vulnerable witnesses deposition centres in the jurisdiction of every high court across the country by January 2018. The SC bench said eventually every district should have a special centre, which would provide vulnerable witnesses a friendly atmosphere to testify. SC has directed other HCs to adopt Delhi HC’s guidelines for recording the evidence of vulnerable witnesses in criminal matters.
  • Delhi HC guidelines: Delhi High Court has given Guidelines for Recording the Evidence of Vulnerable Witnesses in Criminal Matters. Its main objectives include eliciting complete, accurate and reliable testimony from child witnesses, minimising harm, and preventing ‘secondary victimisation’. The practices include a screen or some arrangement by which the victim does not see the body or face of the accused; reducing cross-examination questions to writing and handing them over to the judge to be put to the victim in a language that is clear and not embarrassing; and sufficient breaks for victims of child abuse or rape while testifying.

For now, the term ‘vulnerable witnesses’ is limited to children, but the principle may have to be expanded to include adults who may be equally vulnerable to threats and an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Ideally, every district in the country would need a special deposition centre.

Subjects : Social Justice

The Supreme Court of India’s recognition of the right to privacy as a fundamental right is going to have widespread implications. Explain.

The Supreme Court of India’s recognition of the right to privacy as a fundamental right is going to have widespread implications. Explain.

Approach

  • Introduce with right to privacy and recent judgement of SC in this regard.
  • Point out various implications of this judgement.
  • Conclude appropriately.
Model Answer :

The right to privacy gives people the right to lead their lives in a manner that is reasonably secluded from public scrutiny. The Indian constitution does not explicitly recognises the right to privacy as a fundamental right. The Supreme Court of India recently ruled that the right to privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty and hence protected as a fundamental right under article 21 of the constitution of India.

The implications of this decision are as follows:

  • The state is now obligated to take all the necessary means e.g. enacting suitable legislative and policy framework, to protect the privacy of the citizens.
  • The judgement will impact the Aadhaar project as it involves the biometric and demographic data which are intrinsic to the privacy of individuals.
  • In the age of digitalisation and technology, several non-state actors like IT companies also deal with various forms of data relating to an individual. Formation of a robust data protection regime will be expedited by this judgement.
  • The SC has explicitly included a person’s sexual orientation as a part of the right to privacy, this can help in reforming the legal architecture like sec. 377 of the IPC, w.r.t the LGBT community.
  • Overall, this will help an individual to control and protect the vital aspects of his/her life like eating habits, religion and faith, health records, etc against unnecessary intrusion in privacy.

The recognition of right to privacy is going to have many effects in future as more and more legal cases will be tried on its parameter. This judgement has undoubtedly ushered a new era, however, it should be kept in mind that the right to privacy is not an absolute right but subject to reasonable restrictions for greater public interest.

Subjects : Polity

Explain with an example the difference between attitude and aptitude. Why are both these attributes important in a Civil Servant? (150 words)

Explain with an example the difference between attitude and aptitude. Why are both these attributes important in a Civil Servant? (150 words)

Approach:

  • Define Attitude and Aptitude
  • Mention differences between Attitude and Aptitude with an example
  • Highlight the importance of Aptitude and Attitude in Civil Service
  • Conclude accordingly
Model Answer :

Attitude: Attitude is the mental evaluation of the social situation, event, person or organization, that has the potential to guide the way we think, we feel, and we behave. It is associated with character. Attitude has three components i.e. Affect (emotions-associated feelings), Behaviour and Cognition (knowledge and understanding).

Aptitude: Aptitude is natural/acquired ability for learning a specific skill or to perform a specific task. It is associated with the competence of a person.

An example to illustrate the difference:

In “operation Sulaimani” a district collector in Kozhikode has stated initiative to feed poor by collaborating with large restaurants (donating extra food). In this case the attitude of the district collector is towards poor is of compassion and the aptitude is his innovative way to collaborate with restaurants.

Why Aptitude is  considered as foundation value in Civil Service?

India is facing several socio-economic challenges. Civil Servants should possess the ability to solve these problems innovatively and efficiently. For this, a civil servant must possess the right aptitude and right attitude. For example, in the above example the civil servant may have the right aptitude towards addressing the needs of the poor, but if he does not have the right attitude towards the poor (like having compassion of them), then he would not have tried to find a solution to the problem.

Subjects : Ethics – Essence

Explain the various factors controlling the temperature distribution on our planet.

Explain the various factors controlling the temperature distribution on our planet.
Approach:
  • Introduce with importance of temperature.(be brief)
  • Discuss various factor influencing the distribution of temperature on Earth.
  • Conclude appropriately.
Model Answer :
Temperature is an important climatic element having far-reaching global influences. The distribution of temperature across the globe is uneven as it is influenced by the interaction of incoming solar radiation (insolation) with various factors of the earth’s surface and the atmosphere.
The factors influencing the temperature on earth are as follows:
  1. Latitude: Due to earth’s inclination, the temperature diminishes form the equatorial region towards the polar regions. The insolation heats up a smaller area in equatorial region as the solar rays travel a shorter distance, whereas away from the equatorial region the solar rays travel a longer distance and hence the temperature is lower.
  2. Altitude: The atmosphere is mainly heated by the energy radiated by the earth’s surface (terrestrial radiation) that’s been heated by insolation, and thus the places nearer to the earth surface are warmer than places away form the surface. Hence, as the hight increases from the earth surface, the temperature decreases.
  3. Continentality: The land heats up faster and cools down faster compared with the water bodies, hence the interiors of the continents are warmer in the summers and colder in the winter compared with the land on the margins along with oceans.
  4. Ocean Currents and Winds: The ocean currents and winds are two types: cold and warm. Both the types can affect the temperature of an area by transporting their heat or coldness to a region. Cold Ocean Current like Labrador Current gives a chilling effect in the north-east Canada. Similarly Chinook, a warm local wind brings relief to people from cold in the Western US.
  5. Natural Vegetation: The thickness of natural vegetation can also impact the temperature by acting as a shield against insolation. The areas devoid of vegetation usually have a higher temperature.
  6. Soil: The type and colour of soil also impact temperature as light coloured soil reflects a major portion of insolation whereas dark soil absorbs more insolation.
Some local aspects also influence the temperature but by and large the above-mentioned factors control the distribution of temperature on the earth. It is important to study the temperature distribution as temperature influences major climatic aspects like water vapour in the air, evaporation rate, cloud formation, precipitation etc.

Subjects : Geography

Smart farming: Agriculture data can reap a bumper harvest Editorial 25th Apr’19 FinancialExpress

Headline : Smart farming: Agriculture data can reap a bumper harvest Editorial 25th Apr’19 FinancialExpress

Details :

Dependence on government for agriculture data:

  • Agricultural statistics is not easy to collect and compile, hence the dependence on the government.
  • But this data suffers from the issues of timeliness, reliability and integrity.
  • Yet, since it is only source, there is no option but to use government data.

Huge data in various silos:

  • Data available with the government in various silos, not correlated, and often not inter-operable. .
  • This includes data on land, ownership of lands, weather and rainfall, irrigation, electrification, crop-wise sowing, production and yield, fertiliser consumption, market arrivals and prices from APMCs,wholesale and consumer prices, procurement, etc.
  • Then there are the new ‘data-driven’ schemes like soil health, PM crop insurance, PM KISAN etc, which have important data.

Issues with data:

  • Data collection:
    • The elaborate exercise of collection of primary data (collected by a researcher from first-hand sources) on even those crops (rice, wheat, etc) that have established systems still has design errors and implementation gaps.
    • Crops like sugarcane and cotton are more difficult.
  • Compilation:
    • Even the compilation and publishing of data needs to be improved.
  • Delays:
    • For example, it is is well known that data related to sowing or crop-cutting always comes late.

 

Agriculture data has been used by policymakers:

  • A large volume of data related to agriculture exists, but in a number of segregated silos. They are collected at different intervals of time for different purposes. This data is collated, summarised and published by various government agencies.
  • Historical data sets have been used extensively for analysis, understanding trends, estimating impacts of weather and policy on crops and prices, etc.
  • These have helped policymakers and researchers to suggest changes in policy prescriptions, and design, implement and monitor schemes.

But has not helped the farmers much:

  • But the policy prescriptions and scheme have not helped farmers take timely decisions to increase their income or even reduce losses in the event of a change in the situation.

Due to focus on macro indicators:

  • Rather than providing micro level data to help the farmers, what is happening currently is that modern technology is being used to give ‘unsolicited’, often irrelevant, advice based on macro indicators.
  • Most advice, though scientifically correct, is not farmer-specific, and is of limited use.

 

Need micro-level data for farmers to benefit:

  • The farmer will be better off if provided with specific crop, soil ,weather and market information advisories.
  • This requires micro-climate details like rainfall, moisture levels, soil fertility, etc, are mapped along with his crops as also advisories on fertilisation and irrigation schedules, pest control measures and market trends are given on time.
  • Today’s technology is capable of doing this in real time.

This information can be provided by tech entrepreneurs:

  • Modern technology enables using of data in the agriculture sector to help farmers take more informed decisions and further the prosperity and income of farmers.
  • Young technology entrepreneurs today can offer farmers specific solutions using data from the sky, the soil and the market.

But they need help:

  • These new start-ups can help the farmers if two core issues are addressed:
    1. Access to existing data
    2. The revenue model

 

Way forward:

  • Give open, but ‘limited’ (limited on account of privacy and national security issues) access to primary data in the government.
  • Provide technical backing to agri start-ups and enable a revenue model to enable them to participate in the extension space.

 

Importance:

GS Paper III: Economy

 

Section : Editorial Analysis

The multiple connectivity initiatives being taken up by India and Bangladesh are crucial for the development on North Eastern India as well as regional economic prosperity. Discuss.

The multiple connectivity initiatives being taken up by India and Bangladesh are crucial for the development on North Eastern India as well as regional economic prosperity. Discuss.

Approach

  • Introduce with how connectivity has improved the relationship between the two nations.
  • Mention few connectivity initiatives which have improved the overall relations and discuss how these initiatives have helped North Eastern India.
  • Conclude Appropriately.
Model Answer :

India’s relations with Bangladesh have certainly witnessed a significant upswing over the past decade, despite some persistent challenges. Regional connectivity has offered a game changing opportunity for India and Bangladesh to cement the ties. The connectivity initiatives will not only help connect rest of India with the north eastern region but also help in establishing India’s connectivity with ASEAN nations.

Some of the connectivity initiatives are:

  • Broadband connectivity of 10 gbps is being provided from Bangladesh’s Cox Bazar to Tripura and beyond, to help improve the speed and reliability of internet access in North Eastern India.
  • Bus Services on the Agartala – Dhaka – Kolkata route has reduced the distance between Agartala and Kolkata by around 700 kms. The resultant decline in the prices of goods and services can have a strong impact on consumer welfare and poverty reduction in Northeast India.
  • Cargo vessels have been occasionally plying through Bangladesh (Kolkata-Dhaka-Guwahati-Dibrugarh) under a protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade. For ex- Heavy machinery and equipment for the Numaligarh refinery and Subansiri hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • For Northeast India, Bangladesh is potentially its most important economic partner, given the latter’s size and location.
  • India already exports 660 MW of power to Bangladesh from Tripura and Behrampur in Orissa. Bangladesh can be the power corridor for transmission of hydro energy from Arunachal Pradesh to the rest of India.
  • In the future energy trade could well link up with potential hydropower exports from Bhutan and Nepal to form a BBIN power market.

The connectivity initiative can spur India Bangladesh economic relationship as well as energize the economy of North East India and advance India’s Act East vision. Equal emphasis on physical and institutional connectivity between India and Bangladesh will facilitate the exploration of more opportunities through trade and investment.

Subjects : International Relations

In Brief: About National Housing Bank (NHB), About National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)

News : RBI divests its entire stake in Nabard, NHB

News Analysis

  • Reserve Bank has divested its entire stake in National Housing Bank (NHB) and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), with this the government is now cent percent holder of both these financial institutions.
  • RBI had 100% shareholding in NHB, which was divested for ₹1,450 crore.
  • RBI had 72.5% stake in NABARD which was divested in two phases.
  • This divestment was based on the recommendations of the Narasimham Committee-II and the Discussion Paper prepared by RBI on Harmonizing the Role and Operations of Development Financials Institutions and Banks.

 

About National Housing Bank (NHB)

  • NHB was set up in July, 1988 under the National Housing Bank Act, 1987.
  • It is the apex level financial institution for housing.
  • It registers, regulates and supervises Housing Finance Company (HFCs), keeps surveillance through On-site & Off-site Mechanisms and co-ordinates with other Regulators.
  • As a result of the revision in the composition of share capital between Government of India and RBI, NHB now is fully owned by Government of India.

Aim: To harness and promote the market potentials to serve the housing needs of all segments of the population with the focus on low and moderate income housing.

Objectives:

  • To promote a sound, healthy, viable and cost effective housing finance system to cater to all segments of the population and to integrate the housing finance system with the overall financial system.
  • To promote a network of dedicated housing finance institutions to adequately serve various regions and different income groups.
  • To augment resources for the sector and channelise them for housing.
  • To make housing credit more affordable.
  • To regulate the activities of housing finance companies based on regulatory and supervisory authority derived under the Act.
  • To encourage augmentation of supply of buildable land and also building materials for housing and to upgrade the housing stock in the country.
  • To encourage public agencies to emerge as facilitators and suppliers of serviced land, for housing.

 

About National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)

  • NABARD was established on the recommendation of the Sivaraman Committee in 1982 under a parliamentary act.
  • It was given the agricultural credit functions of RBI and refinance functions of the then Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC).
  • It is one of the premier agencies providing developmental credit in rural areas and a specialised bank for Agriculture and Rural Development in India.
  • Consequent to the revision in the composition of share capital between Government of India and RBI, NABARD today is fully owned by Government of India.

Functions

  • Providing refinance support and building rural infrastructure
  • Preparing district level credit plans and guiding and motivating the banking industry in achieving these targets
  • Supervising Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and helping them develop sound banking practices and onboarding them to the CBS platform.
  • Designing new development schemes and the implementation of Government of India’s development schemes
  • Training handicraft artisans and providing them a marketing platform for selling these articles.
Section : Economics

Ethics play important role in our society. Illustrate with examples. (150 words)

Ethics play important role in our society. Illustrate with examples. (150 words)

Approach:

  • Define ethics in introduction.
  • Then discuss the role of ethics in our society with examples.
  • Conclude appropriately.
Model Answer :

Man has always sought to know how to lead a ‘good’ life and to draw up rules of conduct. Ethics are a set of standards that a society place on itself and which helps guide behavior, choices and actions.

Role of ethics in our society:

  • Survival of society: No society can survive without an ethical code of conduct of what is acceptable and what is not. It is even more important where laws do not reach. For example, taking care of older parents
  • Making life easy: Ethics help an individual take decisions in most facets of life without having to scrutinize the good and bad of everything. For example, an individual does not have to learn on his own to not steal etc.
  • Aid in making laws: Ethics by themselves are not enforceable, and hence most ethical standards are incorporated as laws. For example, laws to punish sexual harassment at office.
  • Functioning of organisations: Each organisation evolves its own ethical code reflective of its values, to guide the conduct of its members. For example, civil services have their own code of conduct, while Army has its own.
  • Evaluating own morality: Ethics help a person to look at his own life critically and to evaluate the morality of his actions/choices/decisions. For example, everyone following lane discipline will help you see the wrong in your actions if you break lanes.

Ethics make a society peaceful, harmonious and a better place to live by guiding the behavior of people. Ethics act as a self-governing system to keep human self-interest and the good of society at equilibrium because the eyes of the law are not always available.

Subjects : Ethics – Essence

With the country on track to achieve complete rural electrification, the next step is to ensure power for all. Discuss how the recently launched Saubhagya scheme seeks to achieve this.

With the country on track to achieve complete rural electrification, the next step is to ensure power for all. Discuss how the recently launched Saubhagya scheme seeks to achieve this.

Approach:

  • Introduce with progress rural electrification and how ‘power for all’ is the next step
  • Explain Saubhagya scheme and its key features that are aimed at achieving power for all
  • Conclude with how the scheme does not address some critical issues and why there is a need to address them
Model Answer :

The Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (earlier Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana) scheme envisaged creation of basic electricity infrastructure in villages while the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) sought to achieve the same in the urban areas. A village to said to be “electrified” if 10% of households in the village enjoy access to electricity, along with some public places. Only about 3000 villages are to left to be electrified. However, even in areas that were electrified, many households do not have electricity connections for many reasons including last mile connectivity, awareness as well as poverty.

To address this, in September 2017, the Government of India launched the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) to achieve universal household electrification in the country. It seeks to provide electricity connections to over 4 crore unelectrified households in rural and urban areas by Dec’ 2018.

Key Highlights

  • Poor households would be provided electricity connections free of cost, while others can get connection for Rs. 500.
  • For households located in remote and inaccessible areas, solar power packs would be provided.
  • Application for electricity connections shall be registered electronically.
  • Camps would be organised in villages for identification of beneficiaries, and to complete requisite documentation
  • Wide multi-media campaign would be undertaken to make people aware of all aspects the Scheme.
  • The Gram Panchayat / public institutions in rural areas may be authorized for activities including distribution of bills and collection of revenue.
  • The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) will remain the nodal agency for the operationalisation of the scheme throughout the country.

Saubhagya does not address the fundamentals of India’s crippling power problem, including the poor financial health of discoms, high AT&C losses, illegal connections we well as the cost of power. However, Saubhagya scheme is notable for aiming to achieve power for all households which is well beyond the earlier target of electricity infrastructure for all areas. Its success would mostly depend on making power affordable as well as addressing the structural issues plaguing the power sector.

Subjects : Current Affairs