Question and Answer :: SRIRAM'S IAS

 Q. 101. What are the regional developments that have brought India and the United Arab Emirates into a special strategic relationship?
Both geoeconomics and geopolitics have brought India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) closer. UAE is home to about 2.6 million Indians who have contributed to the local economy as well as to that of India through remittances. The visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE in August, strengthened the emerging strategic partnership between Delhi and Abu Dabhi. Geoeconomics has a play as India and UAE have emerged as each other's preferred economic partner. But the growing security and defence partnership is the result of geopolitics. The reasons for the two countries coming together are regional in nature: Pakistan's refusal to send troops to Yemen to fight Houthi rebels under the Saudi leadership incurred the UAE's displeasure. The common threat from the Islamic State, too, contributed. Concurrently , with India moving closer to Iran, especially after the nuclear deal with the US, made the UAE act fast to reap the benefits of its strategic location in the Persian Gulf and of its liberal investment policies. By deciding to elevate the India-UAE relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership, a first between India and any Gulf country, New Delhi and Abu Dabhi will now coordinate efforts to counter radicalisation and the misuse of religion by groups and countries.
 Q. 100. How is the caste system in India affected by economic reforms? Which part of India is still resisting change? Why?
Economic reforms are diluting caste rigidities due to education, urbanisation and globalization. Caste is crumbling as India urbanises and gets educated. Nearly a third of Indians now live in cities or towns. The village heads who enforce caste rules have less power than they did.

On dalits: Since 1991, a growing number of dalits are working and operating businesses in agriculture, retail, hospitality, manufacturing and many other sectors where it was previously unheard of. There is a growing dalit entrepreneur class who actually hire upper caste workers. There are even over 3,000 dalit millionaires. The proportion of dalits in the halwaha system (bonded labour) in eastern UP has fallen from 32.1 per cent to 1.1 per cent. As  licensing and permit system for occupations dropped, competition meant that upper caste business owners choose suppliers based on cost effectiveness, quality and efficiency rather than caste allegiance — even if the supplier is a dalit. Social status also improved as there is a significant increase in dalit ownership of status symbols such as mobile phones, brick houses and motorcycles as key markers of progress. The proportion of upper caste members accepting food and drink from dalits rose .This transformation is in keeping with the Enlightenment tradition which views free trade and exchange between different groups as fostering trust, co-operation, co-dependence and respect. But  dalits still face considerable discrimination. The area where the caste system still wields the most influence — rural India — also happens to be the area where liberalisation has proven the most difficult.

Although caste is still powerful in many rural pockets, it is gradually giving way to the money motive. Job security and prosperity matter more than caste.
 Q. 99. Describe the changes in the institution of marriage in India. What accounts for it?
Marriage is a central institution in all societies, more so in. Yet marriage in India is also changing. Indian marriage is affected by prosperity and technology and they are eroding tradition, largely.
Traditionally, marriages were almost always arranged. Dowry payments were widespread. About 90-95% of the time Hindus married within their broad caste group. But these features are changing distinctly.

It used to be that parents and elders fixed marriages but these days the offspring are finding their own partners, but parents may veto them. Marriage is still a family decision. What has changed is who is driving the process.

Through websites like, youngsters are seeking partners for themselves, not by their parents or brothers. They access the website via smartphones. Tech-savvy Indians can now find out all about potential partners by tracking their digital traces through social media, or just by texting and telephoning. Parents come into picture much later. A quarter of young Indians were in tertiary education in 2013, according to the World Bank, up from 11% a decade earlier. Education and control over marriage go together.

Although caste still matters, it is gradually giving way to  money.  Jobs and mobility are important.

Some north Indian village elders have chosen to relax caste and village rules, because so many single men are in search of wives—a consequence of sex-selective abortions.
Popular culture is driving change too.
 Q. 98. How does 3D printing technology help in cases of injuries and illnesses?
Researchers are in the process of bioprinting tissues and organs to solve a many injuries and illnesses. Scientists are taking steps toward printing a working human heart. As part of this work, they are pioneering breakthroughs in printing human stem cells. The combination of these stem cells and 3D bioprinting is going to help repair or replace damaged human organs and tissues, improve surgeries, and ultimately give patients far better outcomes in dealing with a wide range of illnesses and injuries.

3D-Printed heart helped recently in a New York Hospital to save two-week-old baby without performing multiple operations. They made use of a 3D printed replica of the heart of the two-week-old baby born with congenital heart disease to study it and plan the surgery. This helped the team of surgeons to complete the surgery in just one operation, by practising surgery on the 3D-printed replica of the affected heart. Normally such problems required several operations. The 3D printed replica heart allowed the doctors to rehearse extremely complicated surgeries on the tiny heart, which is less than a third of the size of an adult hand. The 3D printed replica heart was not a living heart but just a dummy used as a reference. 

Presently, a few objects like heart valves and some small veins have been created by 3D printing using cells and it is too early to talk of a beating heart being created using 3D printing technology.

These developments could remove the ethical dilemmas associated with stem cells and potentially take regenerative medicine to new heights.
 Q. 97. What is nanomotor lithography?
Nanoengineers have recently invented a new unconventional nanoscale manufacturing technology for mass production electronic components. It is a lithographic method in which a spherical nanorobot made of silica that focuses light like a near-field lens is used to write complex patterns on the surface of light-sensitive material to form the sensors and electronics components on nanoscale devices. The researchers have dubbed the new technique as 'nanomotor lithography'. At present, state-of-art lithography methods such as electron beam writing are used to define extremely precise surface patterns on substrates used in the manufacture of microelectronics and medical devices. These patterns form the functioning sensors and electronic components such as transistors and switches packed on today's integrated circuits. The researchers, however, point out that this nanomotor lithography method cannot completely replace the state-of-the-art resolution offered by an e-beam writer, for example. But the technology provides a framework for autonomous writing of nanopatterns at a fraction of the cost and difficulty of these more complex systems, which is useful for mass production.
 Q. 96. How is ocean acidity increasing and with what consequences?
Our continued burning of fossil fuels is increasing the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Most of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere ultimately ends up in the oceans.

Consequently, the oceans have been absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide since the Industrial Revolution (approximately 1750). It is this increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the oceans that is causing ocean acidification.

When carbon dioxide enters the ocean, it combines with seawater to produce carbonic acid, which increases the acidity of the water, lowering its pH. Although it is unlikely that the ocean will ever become actual acid (fall below a pH of 7.0), the term acidification refers to the process of the oceans becoming more acidic.

A consequence of the oceans becoming more acidic is the binding up of carbonate ions, which are used by marine creatures to make their calcium carbonate shells and skeletons. As the availability of carbonate ions decreases, it becomes more difficult for these animals to build their calcium carbonate structures. Imagine trying to build a house while someone keeps stealing your bricks.

As the oceans become more acidic, it will become progressively more difficult, if not impossible, to build calcium carbonate shells and skeletons.

Even more significant is the rate at which ocean chemistry is changing. The current rate of acidification is at least 100 times faster than any time period over the last few hundred thousands years and is it most likely unprecedented in Earth's history. Carbon dioxide is being absorbed so rapidly that it is likely that many marine organisms will not be able to adapt to the quickly changing conditions.

One of the major concerns is that the most vulnerable species to ocean acidification are also some of the most important for healthy marine ecosystems. Ocean acidification may adversely impact some plankton species, and their loss would ripple through food webs to impact larger animals like fish and whales.

Corals are also very susceptible to the impacts of ocean acidification and coral reefs are some of the most beautiful and biologically diverse habitats on the planet. Ocean acidification has the potential to cause widespread changes in marine ecosystems which may eventually disrupt the ocean goods and services we depend on. If nothing is done to help curb ocean acidification, its negative impacts may be felt on the marine environment, local communities, and all the way up through the global economy.

Ocean acidification has risen by a quarter since pre-industrial times as a result of rising carbon emissions, casting a shadow over the seas as a future source of food, scientists warned in the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC.

In the past two centuries, the sea's acidity level has risen 26 percent, mirroring the proportion of carbon dioxide it absorbs from the air.
Rising acidity will have damaging consequences for shellfish, corals and other calcium-making organisms which play a vital part in the food web.
 Q. 95. Differentiate between Profession, Trade, Business, Commerce, Occupation and Vocation
A professional is an individual who  is educated and skilled and does  complex work. Professionals are doctors, lawyers, accountants, economists, professors, teachers, etc. Trade is buying and selling that also includes imports and exports (foreign trade). It is a part of business activity. Business is wider term inc of manufacturing, procuring and selling. In the USA, business and commerce are used synonymously.  Occupation is what we do for a living.  Vocation, on the other hand, is the talent we are inherently equipped with.
 Q. 94. Write on Rogan art.
The Rogan art of painting is an art over three hundred years old. The traditional Rogan flower motifs and designs speak of a Persian influence and the word Rogan itself means oil-based in Persian. Today, Nirona in Kutch is the only place where this work is created. When castor oil is heated over fire for more than twelve hours and cast into cold water, it produces a thick residue called rogan, which is mixed with natural colours obtained from the earth. With a six-inch wooden stick or pen, the craftperson then draws out from this a fine thread which is painted to the cloth. Rogan painting is delicately and precisely painted from one’s own creative imagination and is done with total concentration sitting on the floor without using a table-frame or any outline. Rogan painted cloth is used for making pillow covers, tablecloths, wall hangings, file folders, decorative pieces and even saris. Rogan art is a rare craft that is not well known even in India. It is practiced by only one family in India and they reside in Nirona village in Gujarat. In Gujarat, Nirona, Khavada and Chaubari were the hubs of Rogan art and bustling with its practitioners till a few years ago but not any more.PM Modi gifted a couple of exquisitely handcrafted Rogan paintings to Obama.
 Q. 93. What is Hyperandrogenism (HA) ? Is its application in sports justified?
It is a term used to describe the excessive production of androgenic hormones in females. The androgenic hormone of specific interest for the purposes of sports is the performance enhancing hormone, testosterone. Men typically achieve better performances in sport because they benefit from higher levels of androgens than women and this is predominantly why, for reasons of fairness, competition in Athletics is divided into separate men’s and women’s classifications.

By extension, since it is known today that there are rare cases of females with HA competing in women’s competitions, in order to be able to guarantee the fairness of such competitions for all female competitors, the new Regulations stipulate that no female with HA shall be eligible to compete in a women’s competition if she has functional androgen levels (testosterone) that are in the male range.
Moreover, from the athlete’s health perspective, there is a scientific consensus as regards the importance of determining the presence (and source) of high levels of androgens in females. The early diagnosis of HA is considered critical to an effective therapeutic strategy.
International Association of Athletics Federations(IAAF) has the  role as the international governing body for the sport of Athletics  to guarantee the fairness and integrity of the competitions that are organised under its Rules.(Read the Current Affairs Notes for 2016 Updates)
 Q. 92. What do you know of India-USA FATCA?
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a United States federal law that requires United States persons, including individuals who live outside the United States, to report their financial accounts held outside of the United States, and requires foreign financial institutions to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of US about their U.S. clients. Congress enacted FATCA to make it more difficult for U.S. taxpayers to conceal assets held in offshore accounts and thus to recoup federal tax revenues. The law aims to check and impose withholding tax on illicit activities of some wealthy individuals who use offshore accounts to evade millions of dollars in taxes. A noncompliance with FATCA entails 30 per cent withholding tax on certain US source payments.
The Government of India has concluded an agreement with the Government of USA for entering into an Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) for implementation of FATCA. 
FATCA mandates the deduction and withholding of tax equal to 30% on a US source payment to recalcitrant FIIs or FFIs in non compliant countries which do not meet with the requirements of FATCA. Such 30% withholding will also be imposed by other FATCA compliant countries against non compliant countries. The consequences of not signing the agreement with US under FATCA would be disastrous. It will negate the efforts being undertaken by our government to revive the Indian economy.
 Q. 91. Write on the importance of Loktak Lake in the economy of Manipur and why it is in news lately.
Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India, and is famous for the phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matter at various stages of decomposition) floating over it. Keibul Lamjao is the only floating national park in the world. It is located near Moirang in Manipur state, India.
The Keibul Lamjao National Park is the last natural refuge of the endangered sangai (state animal).
This ancient lake plays an important role in the economy of Manipur. It serves as a source of water for hydropowergeneration, irrigation and drinking water supply. The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fishermen who live in the surrounding areas and on phumdis, also known as “phumshongs”. Human activity has led to severe pressure on the lake ecosystem. 55 rural and urban hamlets around the lake have a population of about 100,000 people. Considering the ecological status and its biodiversity values, the lake was initially designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990. Later, it was also listed under the Montreux Record, “a record of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur”.
In November 2016, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has constituted a four-member team for conservation and management of Loktak Lake in Manipur. It will enumerate the steps required to be initiated for declaring Loktak Lake as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 Q. 90. Masala bonds are a major innovation where multiple benefits are combined. Comment.
Masala bonds are bonds issued outside India but denominated in Indian Rupees, rather than the local currency. Masala is a Hindi word and it means spices. The term was used by IFC of the WB group  to evoke the culture and cuisine of India. Unlike dollar bonds, where the borrower takes the currency risk, masala bond makes the investors bear the risk. The first Masala bond was issued by the World Bank backed International Finance Corporation in 2014 when it raised 1,000 crore bond to fund infrastructure projects in India. Later in August 2015 International Financial Corporation for the first time issued green masala bonds and raised Rupees 3.15 Billion to be used for private sector investments that address climate change in India.

In July 2016 HDFC raised 3,000 crore rupees from Masala bonds and thereby became the first Indian company to issue masala bonds. In the month of August 2016 public sector unit NTPC issued first corporate green masala bonds worth 2,000 crore rupees.

Benefits are: companies get credit; country gets forex; rupee appreciates and stabilises; imports are facilitated due to forex build up; brand India gains; forex build up for the RBI for its stabilising operations; BOP of the country becomes stable as forex buildup; rupee stabilises; investment in the country is boosted.
 Q. 89. Write on Indian cinema and the freedom struggle.
Indian cinema played a crucial role in the freedom struggle. Many patriotic films, in Hindi and the regional languages, upheld it. A few film producers were even involved in the campaign. India’s staunch patriots as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Vallabhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, S. Satyamurti and Rabindranath Tagore, opining that the cinema was useful for emancipation and political awakening, strongly supported it.
Some pre-Independence champions in the cinema industry :
Dwarkadas Naraindas Sampat – maker of the first political (silent) film, Bhakt Vidur (1921) ;
J B.H. Wadia, most politically involved film maker of Hindi cinema, who had become an INC volunteer since 1930 – made such films, centred on democracy, as Diler Daku (1931), Toofan Mail (1932), Lal-e-Yemen and Dilruba Daku (1933), Kala Gulab (1934) and Ekta (1942) ; he filmed the historic celebrations of India’s freedom as officially organised on the midnight of 14-15 August 1947 ;
R. Jyotiprasad Aggarwal – the pioneer of Assamese films, who was a political activist and freedom fighter, is renowned for his Jyotimati (1934) ;
Debaki Kumar Bose, a revolutionary turned film producer, who played the lead role in his political films ; he made Inquilab (Revolution) in 1935 ;
V. Shantaram (1901-1993) – who, in Marathi and Hindi cinema for over 60 years, though never in active politics, made attractive films on socio-economic issues [like Amar Jyoti (1936) and Shejari/Padosi (1941)], and on communal harmony ; he was famous for pioneering in India a colour film, Sairandhri (1933) ;
K. Subramanyam (1904-1971), Tamil film pioneer, whose contribution to liberation had no match in Indian cinema, crusaded against orthodoxy, as in his Balayogini (1936) and Bhakta Cheta (1940), while his Sevadasan (1938), on the status of women, and Tyaga Bhoomi (1939), with an easily indentifiable political flavour, in which the actor Sivan portrayed Sambhu Sastri as Tamil Nadu’s Gandhi, were even more radical.
Between 1936 and 1942, K. Subrahmanyam made some of the most socially significant Tamil films. His celebrated film ‘Thyagaboomi’ (1939) was important in several ways. It was banned by the British Government for propagating nationalist sentiment and promoting the Indian National Congress.
Sohrab Modi’s ‘Sikandar’ on Alexander’s invasion of India evoked passionate nationalist sentiments. Prabhat’s devotional, biographical film on the saint, ‘Eknath’ propagated the Gandhian ideals of abolishing ‘untouchables’.
 Q. 88. Write on the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle development in India.
Heralding a new era in the indigenous development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), DRDO  successfully carried out the maiden flight of TAPAS 201 (RUSTOM – II), a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV. The test flight took place from Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, 250 km from Bangalore which is a newly developed flight test range for the testing of UAVs and manned aircraft. The flight accomplished the main objectives of proving the flying platform, such as take-off, bank, level flight and landing etc. TAPAS 201, the MALE UAV has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the Bangalore-based premier lab of DRDO with HAL-BEL as the production partners. The UAV weighing two tonnes was put into air by a dedicated team of young scientists of DRDO. It was piloted (external and internal) by the pilots from the Armed Forces.
 Q. 87. Write a short note on Keibul Lamjao National Park.
The Keibul Lamjao National Park is a national park in the Bishnupur district of the state of Manipur in India. It is the only floating park in the world and an integral part of Loktak Lake.
The national park is characterized by many floating decomposed plant materials locally called phumdis. To preserve the natural refuge of the endangered Manipur Eld's deer or brow-antlered deer or sangai also called the dancing deer, listed as an endangered species by IUCN, the park which was initially declared to be a sanctuary in  was subsequently declared to be a national park and it  has generated local support and public awareness.
 Q. 86. Write a short note on Black and red ware culture.
The black and red ware culture (BRW) is an early Iron Age archaeological culture of the northern Indian subcontinent. It is dated to roughly the 12th – 9th century BCE, and associated with the post-Rigvedic Vedic civilization.

In some sites, BRW pottery is associated with Late Harappan pottery. BRW may have directly influenced the Painted Grey Ware and Northern Black Polished Ware cultures. BRW pottery is unknown west of the Indus Valley.

Use of iron, although sparse at first, is relatively early, postdating the beginning of the Iron Age in Anatolia (Hittites) by only two or three centuries, and predating the European (Celts) Iron Age by another two to three hundred years.

It is succeeded by the Painted Grey Ware culture.
 Q. 85. Why is Ran ki vav in news recently? What is its importance?
Rani ki vav is an intricately constructed stepwell situated in the town of Patan in Gujarat, India. It is located on the banks of Saraswati River. Rani ki vav was built as a memorial to an 11th century AD king. It was added to the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 2014.Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constructed since the third millennium BC. Rani ki vav was built in the complex Maru-Gurjara architectural style with an inverted temple and seven levels of stairs and holds more than 500 principle sculptures.

Rani ki Vav bagged the title of “Cleanest Iconic Place” in India at the Indian Sanitation Conference (INDOSAN) 2016 in New Delhi in October 2016.

It was "an exceptional example of technological development” in utilising ground water resources and an unique water management system which illustrates "the exceptional capacity to break large spaces into smaller volumes following ideal aesthetic proportions”. The property had been buried under layers of silt for almost seven centuries after the disappearance of the Saraswati river. Its excavation demonstrated an exceptional state of conservation with seven floors of ornamental panels representing the height of the Maru-Gurjara style.
 Q. 84. Write on the legendary female singer “MS” whose birth anniversary falls this year.
Ans. Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi also known as M.S., was a Carnatic vocalist. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, often considered Asia's Nobel Prize. To honour the legacy of India’s Carnatic music legend M.S. Subbulakshmi, the United Nations issued a stamp to mark her birth centenary in 2016.
 Q. 83. What is Paschim Leher and why is it necessary?
With the operational situation along the western front remaining volatile amid heavy exchanges of cross-border firing with Pakistani forces, the Indian security establishment is taking no chances in being ready for any contingency. Even as the Army and IAF airbases maintain top-levels of operational readiness, the Navy too is coming into action with a major exercise “Paschim Leher (western wave)” in the Arabian Sea from next week. Over 40 warships and submarines, backed by maritime fighter jets, patrol aircraft and drones, have already begun to amass on the western seaboard for the intensive combat manoeuvres, which include “cross-deployment” even from the eastern seaboard.
 Q. 82. Is there a need for the creation of National Disaster Mitigation Fund (NDMF) ? How is disaster mitigation financed in India?
The objective of creation of National Disaster Mitigation Fund (NDMF) is for the projects exclusively for the purpose of mitigation. The purpose is being served by the existing Centrally Sponsored Schemes / Central Sector (CS) Schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Krishonnati Yojana, National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture, MGNREGA, Major Irrigation projects, Namami Gange-National Ganga plan, River Basin Management, National River Conservation Plan and Water Resource Management. Additionally, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has made a provision of 10% of total outlay for all CSS schemes (except for schemes which emanate from a legislation (eg. MGNREGA), as flexi fund.
Keeping in view the above, the Government feels that at present there are sufficient schemes to take care of mitigation measures in different projects and the need for creation of separate NDMF has not been felt.
Financial management of disasters is undertaken as per the mechanisms available in DM Act, 2005 and there is no fund namely Disaster Management Fund.