iClub Synopsis : 20 April 2019

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Q.1 The rock cycle describes the transitions through geologic time among the three main rock types. Discuss the cycle of rock change. (150 words)

Relevance : General studies Paper – I Geography

Structure of the Answer

• Introduction

• Explain cycle of rock change

• Draw diagram to illustrate the rock cycle

Reference- NCERT

Answer:

The processes that form rocks, when taken together, constitute a single system that cycles and recycles Earth materials over geologic time from one form to another. The rock cycle is an illustration that explains how the three rock types are related to each other, and how processes change from one type to another over time.

The cycle of rock change

There are two environments—a surface environment of low pressures and temperatures and a deep environment of high pressures and temperatures. The surface environment is the site of rock alteration and sediment deposition. Here, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks are uplifted and exposed to air and water. Their minerals are altered chemically and broken free from the parent rock, yielding sediment. The sediment accumulates in basins, where deeply buried sediment layers are compressed and cemented into sedimentary rock.

Sedimentary rock, entering the deep environment, is heated and comes into a zone of high confining pressure.
Here, it is transformed into metamorphic rock.

Pockets of magma are formed in the deep environment and move upward, melting and incorporating surrounding rock as they rise. Upon reaching a higher level, magma cools and solidifies, becoming intrusive igneous rock, which reaches the surface environment when it is uncovered by erosion. Or it may emerge at the surface to form extrusive igneous rock. Either way, the cycle is completed.

The cycle of rock change has been active since our planet became solid and internally stable, continuously forming and re-forming rocks of all three major classes. Not even the oldest igneous and metamorphic rocks found so far are the “original” rocks of the Earth’s crust. These were recycled eons ago.

Q.2 What are the Types of Constitutional Amendment in India?(250 words)

Relevance : General studies Paper – II Polity

Structure of the Answer

• Introduction- Briefly explain Article 368 on Constitution

• Discuss types of amendments in Indian Constitution

Reference- Laxmikanth

Answer:

Article-368 of the Constitution deals with the powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure. It states that the Parliament may, in exercise of its constituent power, amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of the Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down for the purpose. However, the Parliament cannot amend those provisions which form the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. Basic structure’ concept was ruled by the Supreme Court in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973).

Types of amendments

Article 368 provides for two types of amendments, that is, by a special majority of Parliament and also through the ratification of half of the states by a simple majority. But, some other articles provide for the amendment of certain provisions of the Constitution by a simple majority of Parliament, that is, a majority of the members of each House present and voting.

Therefore, the Constitution can be amended in three ways:

(a) Amendment by simple majority of the Parliament,

(b) Amendment by special majority of the Parliament, and

(c) Amendment by special majority of the Parliament and the ratification of half of the state legislatures.

By Simple Majority of Parliament

A number of provisions in the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the two Houses of Parliament outside the scope of Article 368. For example, admission or establishment of new states, abolition or creation of legislative councils in states, salaries and allowances of the members of Parliament, privileges of the Parliament, its members and its committees can be amended by simple majority of Parliament.

By Special Majority of Parliament

The majority of the provisions in the Constitution need to be amended by a special majority of the Parliament, that is, a majority (that is, more than 50 per cent) of the total membership of each House and a majority of two-thirds of the members of each House present and voting.

The provisions which can be amended by this way include:

(i) Fundamental Rights;

(ii) Directive Principles of State Policy; and

(iii) All other provisions which are not covered by the first and third categories.

By Special Majority of Parliament and Consent of States

Those provisions of the Constitution which are related to the federal structure of the polity can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament and also with the consent of half of the state legislatures by a simple majority.

The following provisions can be amended in this way:

1. Election of the President and its manner.

2. Extent of the executive power of the Union and the states.

3. Supreme Court and high courts.

4. Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the states.

5. Any of the lists in the Seventh Schedule.

6. Representation of states in Parliament.

7. Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure (Article 368 itself). 

Q.3 What are the causes of inflation? Also explain the effects of rising prices of goods on economy. (250 words)

Relevance : General studies Paper – III Economy

Structure of the Answer

• Briefly define inflation

• Explain the causes of inflation and its effect on our economy

Reference- Ramesh Singh

Answer:

Inflation is the overall increase in the goods prices which creates the most continuous impact on the price level of goods prices. Thus price increase will leads to deteriorating effect on the purchase power of money, which leads to the real value of currency loss, and the increase in the value of goods and, services.

Causes of inflaton

Inflation refers to a rise in prices that causes the purchasing power of a nation to fall. Inflation is a normal economic development as long as the annual percentage remains low; once the percentage rises over a pre-determined level, it is considered an inflation crisis. There are many causes for inflation, depending on a number of factors.

Excess printing of money

Inflation can happen when governments print an excess of money to deal with a crisis. As a result, prices end up rising at an extremely high speed to keep up with the currency surplus. This is called the demand-pull, in which prices are forced upwards because of a high demand.

Rise in production costs

Another common cause of inflation is a rise in production costs, which leads to an increase in the price of the final product. For example, if raw materials increase in price, this leads to the cost of production increasing, this in turn leads to the company increasing prices to maintain steady profits. Rising labour costs can also lead to inflation. As workers demand wage increases, companies usually chose to pass on those costs to their customers.

International lending and national debts

Inflation can also be caused by international lending and national debts. As nations borrow money, they have to deal with interests, which in the end cause prices to rise as a way of keeping up with their debts. A deep drop of the exchange rate can also result in inflation, as governments will have to deal with differences in import/export level.

Rise in tax and duties

Finally, inflation can be caused by federal taxes put on consumer products such as cigarettes or fuel. As the taxes rise, suppliers often pass on the burden to the consumer; the catch, however, is that once prices have increased, they rarely go back, even if the taxes are later reduced.

Wars are often cause for inflation, as governments must both recoup the money spent and repay the funds borrowed from the central bank. War often affects everything from international trading to labour costs to product demand, so in the end it always produces a rise in prices.

Effect of inflation

As we know Inflation is the increase in the price of general goods and service. Thus, food, commodities and other services become expensive for consumption. Inflation can cause both short-term and long-term damages to the economy; most importantly it causes slowdown in the economy.

1. People start consuming or buying less of these goods and services as their income is limited. This leads to slowdown not only in consumption but also production. This is because manufactures will produce fewer goods due to high costs and anticipated lower demand.

2. Banks will increase interest rates as inflation increases otherwise real interest rate will be negative. (Real interest = Nominal interest rate – inflation). This makes borrowing costly for both consumers and corporate. Thus people will buy fewer automobiles, houses and other goods. Industries will not borrow money from banks to invest in capacity expansion because borrowing rates are high.

3. Higher interest rates lead to slowdown in the economy. This leads to increase in unemployment because companies start focusing on cost cutting and reduces hiring.

4. Rising inflation can prompt trade unions to demand higher wages, to keep up with consumer prices. Rising wages in turn can help fuel inflation.

5. Inflation affects the productivity of companies. They add inefficiencies in the market, and make it difficult for companies to budget or plan long-term. Inflation can act as a drag on productivity as companies are forced to shift resources away from products and services in order to focus on profit and losses from currency inflation. 

Q.4 What are attitudes? Discuss the functions of attitude with examples. (250 words)

Relevance : General studies Paper – IV Ethics

Structure of the Answer

• Define attitude and briefly mention its component

• Explain the functions of attitude

• Give examples to explain functions

Reference: Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude

Answer:

Attitudes are ‘learned predispositions to respond in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way towards a given object, person or event’. This definition makes several points.

• First, we are not born with attitudes, we learn them through experience.

• Second, attitudes tend to be stable and relatively enduring and,

• Third, they are a means by which we judge things in a positive or negative way.

Attitudes are generally conceptualised as having three component parts. The cognitive element is associated with knowledge, thinking and the processing of information; the affective element is linked to feelings and emotions; and the behavioural element is concerned with actions. It is usual for the three components to be congruent, although the relationship between the three is not straightforward.

Functions of attitudes

The functional view of attitudes emphasises the ways in which attitudes might be useful to the people who hold them. Generally, the functional view holds that the purpose of attitudes is to mediate between a person’s internal needs (e.g. for safety, self-expression etc.) and the external environment, full of people and information. Each attitude a person holds, then, can be expected to help that person meet their needs in some way or other. The functions of attitudes fall into four broad categories:

• The adaptive (or instrumental) function;

• The knowledge function;

• The value-expressive (or ego-expressive) function;

• The ego-defence function.

Any particular attitude may satisfy one or more of these functions. The most important function of any attitude can only be ascertained by considering it in relation to the person who holds it and the environment in which they operate. Consequently, what is apparently the same attitude may serve rather different purposes depending on who holds it and where/when it becomes salient to them.

The adaptive function

• Some attitudes serve to enable people to attain particular, desired goals or avoid undesirable circumstances. The holding/expressing of certain attitudes may bring about direct rewards.

• For example, a young child whose parent holds strong attitudes about football might learn that expressing support for, say, Aston Villa (a football club) brings parental approval.

• Alternately, some attitudes allow a person to access circumstances where rewards are available, as when expressing liking for particular music or ways of dressing allows some adolescents to join particular social groups and obtain the benefits of group membership (friendship, social support and so on). Furthermore, expressing other attitudes may help some people avoid negative circumstances.

The knowledge function

• Some attitudes are useful because they help to make the world more understandable. They help people ascribe causes to events and direct attention towards features of people or situations that are likely to be useful in making sense of them. Consequently, they help to make the world more understandable, predictable and ‘knowable’, as well as increasing the efficiency of information processing (cognitive economy).

• Stereotyping is an example of the knowledge function of attitudes. Stereotypes are mental structures that allow us to predict the characteristics a person will have based on the group they belong to. Using stereotypes to make sense of people is quick and requires minimal mental effort – both significant advantages in a complicated and fast-moving world. Of course, the down side of this type of thinking is that the inferences we make about people based on stereotypes may be unhelpful and wildly inaccurate.

The value-expressive function

Some attitudes are important to a person because they express values that are integral to that person’s self-concept (i.e. their ideas about who they are). The attitude is, consequently, ‘part of who they are’ and the expression of that attitude communicates important things about that person to others.

The ego-defence function

Some attitudes serve to protect the person that holds them from psychologically damaging events or information by allowing them to be recast in less damaging or threatening ways. This inevitably may involve a degree of bias or distortion in the way the world is interpreted but people will readily do this in order to preserve a particular (usually favourable) view of themselves or the world.

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