1.Change in latitude and altitude leads to variation in temperature and vegetation. Analyze. (GS Paper-1, Geography) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Mention how change in latitude and altitude changes temperature and vegetation separately.
· Establish the connection between temperature distribution and vegetation.
· Appropriate examples should be provided to illustrate.
Temperature and vegetation in any region of earth is governed by multiple factors, latitude and altitudebeing the prominent ones. These factors can be elaborated as under:
- Latitude is one of the main factors affecting temperature. With increase in distance from theequator the amount of insolation on an area decreases due to the round shape of the earth so, notevery place receives the same amount of sunlight.
- Another reason is the differing angle of solar incidence. This is the angle at which the Sun’s raysstrike the Earth’s surface. At the Equator, the Sun’s rays strike the Earth at a right angle, whichmakes the heat more intense and concentrated over a small area. Less heat is lost to theatmosphere as the rays travel a shorter distance through the atmosphere.
- At the poles, the Sun’s rays strike the Earth at an acute angle; this spreads the heat over a largerarea. More heat is lost to the atmosphere as the rays travel a longer distance through theatmosphere.
- The atmosphere primarily gets heated by the long wave radiation that is emitted by the earth afterabsorbing solar insolation and not directly by sun’s rays. So altitude affects temperature as lower altituderegions are closer to the source of terrestrial radiation than higher altitude.
- Also, air molecules at low altitudes are crowded together and there subsequent collisions increases theirkinetic energy and temperature while at high altitude less air molecules are present in large volumewhich results into low temperature.
- Thus temperature generally decreases with increase in altitude.
The vegetation in an area depends on the prevailing climate which is primarily dependent on thetemperature and thus vegetation is also dependent on latitude and altitude.This can be discussed asunder:
- The vegetation around equatorial regions is abundant, diverse and evergreen due to hot and humidclimatic conditions due to ample amount of Insolation received in the region.
- As we move away from the equator towards the tropics, the insolation received decreases. Theclimate does not provide with torrential rains hence, the vegetation becomes thinner characterizedby tropical forest or grasslands depending on the rains the regions receive.
- Towards the temperate region the vegetation is scantily dispersed, characterized by mixed forests ortemperate grasslands.
- The Sibartctic regions and the regions closer to poles have vegetation with coniferous trees, as wemove further closer to poles the vegetation becomes limited to mosses, lichens etc. which can betteraccommodate to the cold climate. . As the latitude increases (towards the poles) the vegetation alsogenerally decreases.
- Altitude affect the type and amount of sunlight that plants receive, the amount of water that plants canabsorb and the nutrients that are available in the soil. As a result, certain plants grow very well in highelevations, whereas others can only grow in middle or lower elevations but in general with increase inaltitude the vegetation decrease.
- The vegetation generally decreases with the increasing altitude and the sun facing side of a mountainalso has better vegetation growth.
Thus the Latitude and altitude determine the climatic conditions and insolation of a region which in turndetermine the vegetation of a region.
2.Recently Iran has warned to shut down strategic Hormuz Strait. Discuss the significance of Hormuz Strait. Also highlight the impact of this decision. (GS Paper-2, International Relations) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Introduction: Present the context of Iran’s warning
· Briefly write about Hormuz Strait and its location. Also show location ofHormuz Straitin map.
· Discuss the significance of Hormuz Strait
· Conclude with the impact of this decision
Iran’s top general Mohammad Bagheri has warned that Tehran could close down the strategic Hormuz Strait tension arises further. Recently, USA has imposed some sanctions and lifted off Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) waivers.
Iran added that it will continue to sell its oil and use the Strait of Hormuz. But if Iran is prevented from doing that it will close the strait. The Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond, has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades.
The waterway separates Iran and Oman, linking the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea. The Strait is 21 miles (33 km) wide at its narrowest point, but the shipping lane is just two miles (three km) wide in either direction.
Importance of Hormuz Strait
- The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that 18.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of seaborne oil passed through the waterway in 2016. That was about 30 percent of crude and other oil liquids traded by sea in 2016.
- About 17.2 million bpd of crude and condensates were estimated to have been shipped through the Strait in 2017 and about 17.4 million bpd in the first half of 2018, according to oil analytics firm Vortexa.
- With global oil consumption standing at about 100 million bpd, that means almost a fifth passes through the Strait.
- Most crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq — all members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries — is shipped through the waterway.
- It is also the route used for nearly all the liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced by the world’s biggest LNG exporter, Qatar.
- Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear programme in return for an easing of sanctions under a 2015 deal with the United States and five other global powers. Washington pulled out of the pact in 2018. Western powers fear Iran wants to make nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this.
Crude oil prices can be surged due to supply concerns and unsettled stock markets. The closure may also have serious geopolitical repercussions as United States Navy’s Central Command is located in the Persian Gulf. Any confrontation between the US and Iran may escalate and will have larger security implication in the whole region.
3.The financial and economic performance of the dams leaves a lot to be desired. Discuss some remedial measures in the light of these performances. (GS Paper-3, Environment) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Point out the reasons of poor financial and economic performance of the dams
· Discuss the solutions to improve financial and economic performance of the dams
After decades of unrestrained addiction to the pursuit of “economic development” through the construction of huge or super hydro-dams, indications are that humankind is waking up to the reality that “the economic, political, social, cultural, ecological, moral and environmental costs of this technological choice seem to be consistently outstripping its benefits. Nevertheless, more and more superior huge dams continue to be pushed by governments and financiers as the wise choice to development particularly in the poor regions of the world.
The state of dams in general and specifically in India is pathetic. The reasons are:
- Dams designed to deliver irrigation services have typically fallen short of physical targets, did not recover their costs and have been less profitable in economic terms than expected.
- Dams built to deliver hydropower perform below targets for power generation.
- Dams built for municipal and industrial water supply have generally fallen short of intended targets (for timing and delivery of bulk water supply) and have exhibited poor cost recovery and economic performance. The multi-purpose dams also underachieve relative to targets.
- Compared to large projects, dams with heights less than 30 meters and reservoir areas of less than 10 km2 tended to be closer to the predicted targets.
- The cost overrun of the dams in South Asia is worst-138 percent.
- The case studies of Indian dams reveal a cost overrun by 235 per cent. The significance of it can be gauged from the fact that the average cost overrun of all 248 dams chosen for study by the WCD is 40 per cent (excluding Indian dams) and becomes 50 per cent after including Indian dams. It can be considered as the contribution of Indian dams to the dam-construction industry of the world.
One sustainable solution is the construction of small dams. Small dams have many advantages:
- They are cheaper and less risky for the investors and are hence unlikely to bankrupt a nation or a company;
- Smaller the dam, it is more likely that the benefits of its construction and operation can be in the hands of the local communities rather than outsiders;
- Small dams can provide electricity to remote villages which the national grid may never reach;
- Water can be provided to local farmers, rather than being diverted to cities and farmers elsewhere, thereby satisfying the riparian demands;
- Displaced people, being less in number can be compensated and rehabilitated more easily;
- The silt in the small reservoirs can be dug out and spread over nearby land, thereby maintaining the storage capacity of the reservoir as well as the fertility of the fields;
- Fewer people are at risk when they fail.
The other is use Local Wisdom, and local water harvesting techniques suited to different eco geographical regions.The use of groundwater has to be resorted to more and more as groundwater is replenishable, renewable and recyclable.
4.What is the difference between ‘Responsibility’ and ‘Accountability’? How the administration could be made more accountable to citizens? (GS Paper-4, Ethics) (150 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Write down difference between responsibility and accountability
· Mention mechanism to ensure accountability like RTI, Citizen’s charter etc.
Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics
The terms responsibility and accountability are often used interchangeably by the people, due to some similarities like the flow of both of these two, is from bottom to top.
- Responsibility is the authority which makes an individual to do a particular set of actions. It comes as a result of holding a place in an office or government. Accountability is the answerability of a person as to why he performed a particular action while holding a position.
- Accountability is more external in character and responsibility is related with inner life or something within the individual.
- The basic difference between responsibility and accountability is that the former is assumed whereas the latter is imposed.
To make the administration more accountable to citizens, some of the steps are-
- Formulating citizens charters.
- Making suo-moto disclosure under section 4 of RTI act.
- Effective regulatory mechanisms.
- Periodic monitoring and evaluation of reports of the public servants.
- Opening up the public offices for public scrutiny to ensure that people themselves act as auditors.
- Redressal of the grievances and mechanism to provide information if anyone seeks it.
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