1. Coral reefs are the most biologically diverse and economically valuable ecosystems on earth. Discuss. Highlight the factors responsible for the decline of coral reefs across the world. (GS Paper-1, Geography) (150 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Introduction: Start the answer by bringing out the facts to show the importance of coral reefs
· Discuss the factors responsible for the decline of coral reefs
Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth. Coral reefs support more species per unit area than any other marine environment, including about 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals and hundreds of other species. They have high productivity and are referred to as ‘the Tropical Rainforests of the oceans’.
- Reef building corals lay down the foundation of calcium carbonate which act as home to a wide array of plants and animals.
- Coral ecosystems are a source of food for millions.
- Coral reefs buffer adjacent shorelines from wave action and prevent erosion, property damage and loss of life.
- Healthy reefs contribute to local economies through tourism.
- They provide habitat, spawning and nursery grounds for economically important fish species.
- The coral biodiversity is considered key to finding new medicines for the 21st century.
Factors responsible for decline:
- Coral species live within a relatively narrow temperature margin hence low and high sea temperatures can induce coral bleaching.
- When corals are exposed to high concentrations of chemical contaminants or pathogens, coral bleaching happens.
- Increasing demand of fish for food and tourism has resulted in over fishing of not only deep-water commercial fish, but key reef species as well.
- The growth of coastal cities and towns generates a range of threats to nearby coral reefs.
- With increased pollution, Carbon Dioxide is absorbed by Ocean leading to rise in Carbonic acid in water. As Coral has Calcium carbonate as main component, it reacts with Carbonic acid and slowly dissolves down.
2. Freedom of speech and expression is a guaranteed Fundamental right. Law on sedition has been archaic and colonial tool to supress dissent and violate the Fundamental rights. Do you agree? (GS Paper-2, Polity) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Brief discussion on origin of sedition law
· Highlight the conflict between FR and the section 124 A
· Write arguments either for sedition or against sedition
Solution – What is Sedition?
- Under IPC, section 124 A describes act of sedition when anyone “by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visual representation, or otherwise brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government”.
- It was not part of original IPC and was inducted into IPC in 1870. Similar law was in force in most commonwealth nations.
- In New Zealand it was abolished in 2007 and in 2009 in UK. Singapore and Malaysia on the other hand have followed strict implementation.
Its conservative interpretation was prevalent till 1942 when the Federal Court in Niharendu Dutt Majumdar vs. King Emperor, held that “public disorder or the reasonable anticipation or likelihood of public disorder is the gist of the offence”. The inference was that sedition implies incitement of lawlessness and violence, if there is no incitement to violence, it’s not sedition. Though, Privy Council opined in favour of colonial interpretation of law in 1947.
Conflict between fundamental right and sedition law:
After Independence a landmark in freedom of speech (art 19 1(a)) and sedition conflict came in 1962 in Kedarnath vs State of Bihar where Supreme court held a liberal interpretation of the term “sedition” as given by the Federal Court in 1942 “sedition”.
The constitution does not include sedition in Art 19(2), exceptions to freedom of speech. Because according to constitution frames “Sedition is not made an offence in order to minister to the wounded vanity of governments!”
In India therefore sedition is not unconstitutional; it remains an offence only if the words, spoken or written, are accompanied by disorder and violence and/ or incitement to disorder and violence.
Though, the continuance of section 124 A in IPC is sign of resistance of legislature in accepting the changed norms of governance. Elements injurious to the integrity of nation do exist but there are other powerful laws, like the national security act. By curbing voice of protest, voice of people would be stifled even to raise issue of their interest.
Freedom of Speech doesn’t limit itself to the act of speech alone. Freedom of Speech is worthy only when it’s accompanied with freedom after speech. Till the time laws like sedition law exist, freedom of speech can never be fully realised.
3.Discuss the role of agriculture and industries in air pollution. (GS Paper-3, Environment) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Brief introduction on air pollution and its impact
· Discuss role of agriculture in air pollution like crop burning, pesticide etc.
· Similarly discuss air pollution from industry and mining
Atmospheric pollution is an ever-increasing threat to health throughout the world especially in developing countries like India. Air pollution spoils the quality of air that we breathe.
Many substances which are harmful to lungs are carried by such inspired air. Air pollutants cause irritation to eyes, burning sensation in eyes, blocking of nose, sneezing and headache etc. There are others which cause more serious problems which in some cases can be fatal. Long exposures to air pollution can cause diseases such as bronchitis, chronic cough, asthma and emphysema.
Air Pollution from agricultural operations
- Pesticides – A significant proportion of pesticides applied to crops is vapourized and contaminates the atmosphere over agricultural fields.
- Smoke – Burning of crop residues results in production of smoke and many toxic gases.
- Water vapour – The humidity in agricultural fields especially after irrigation is generally high. In addition to the above, toxic gases are also released from the use of machinery such as diesel pumps, tractors etc. contaminate agricultural areas.
Air Pollution from Industrial Sector
- Smoke – Smoke is perhaps the major pollutant in industrial areas caused due to burning of fossil fuels such as coal. The chimney belches out dense clouds of pollutants which coat the surrounding areas with a thick layer of white dust or ash
- Carbon dioxide – Burning of fossil fuel, wood and crop residues all produce lot of carbon dioxide leading to global warming and climate change.
- Oxides of sulphur- Sulphur dioxide is produced by burning fossil fuels and it is a major pollutant released from oil refineries, etc.
In addition to the above, some industries like sugar mills, tanneries etc. release a lot of foul smelling gases. Many other atmospheric pollutants including heavy metals are common in urban atmosphere.
- Suspended particulate matter is one of the major pollutants in mining areas. This is especially so in stone quarries, iron mines, etc. Other pollutants are sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.
- Atmosphere of asbestos mines contains asbestos dust which causes asbestosis, silica causes silicosis, lead, zinc and other heavy metals such as chromium, arsenic, copper and manganese, and radon gas may also accumulate in high concentrations in their respective mines.
- High levels of alpha and gamma radiation can also be found in and around uranium mines and uranium ore tailings.
4. What is the central teaching of Socratic ethics? (GS Paper-4, Ethics) (150 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Explain the phrase “knowledge is virtue”
· Discuss his views as mentioned by Plato in Apology
Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics
His teachings on moral and religious elements are philosophical insights. These insights are the fundamental principles which brightened his life. They are mainly concerned with good and evil, conscience, the ethical person and moral virtues. Socrates clearly did think that all the moral virtues are rooted in practical wisdom or knowledge.
The central teaching of Socratic ethics is “knowledge is virtue“. He who knows, what good is, will do good. By this he wanted to tell that the right insight led to the right action. For Socrates, the moral conscience is not mere sentiment but it is a responsibility before God. Human life is not tragic; one should confront it with the spirit.
Socratic ethic is teaching that human is a moral being in general. This was a revolutionary thought against the belief of the aristocratic people who thought that morals are limited only to a privileged group.
He believed and taught that doing good is the moral duty of all human beings and possible for all. Socrates was teaching two moral imperatives attributed to the Delphic Oracle: “Know Thyself”, and “Avoid Excess”.
For Socrates the ultimate evil was the “unexamined life“. He forced upon people for the recognition of their ignorance. At the end of the Apology Socrates told those jurors, who voted for his acquittal, of his confidence that death will not be an evil thing for him. He advised them, “to bear in mind this one truth: that no evil comes to a good man in life or in death”. Socrates believed that there is life after death, which reflects in the life itself. A virtuous life here leads to happiness in the life after death. The proof for this is his death itself. This was done according to his faith in the immortality of soul. This faith is more religious than rational certainty. His life was a faith in the soul rather than a philosophy of the spirit. For him pleasure is below to the virtue.
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