1.Nuclear power provides as much advantages as is loaded with limitations. Do you agree? (GS Paper-1, Geography- Recourses) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Mention the advantages of nuclear energy in terms of cost, environment friendly etc.
· Conclude with the disadvantages of nuclear energy
Nuclear power has the potential to change the future of the world. It does offer some permanent solutions, but it is not without any problems.
- Uranium is a cheap, easily available mineral. The main producing countries are the USA, Australia, Canada, South Africa and Niger.
- Uranium is energy intensive: one small pellet of uranium contains as much energy as a tone of coal or four barrels of oil.
- Energy from nuclear power can be cheaper than burning fossil fuels.
- Nuclear power is clean – there are no ash or toxic gases to pollute the air and to cause acid rain.
- The large number of overseas uranium suppliers means that nuclear stations are less likely to be put out of action by strikes.
- New types of nuclear reactor, called fast breeders, are expected to produce plutonium as a by-product.
- Nuclear power stations are very expensive to build.
- There are few sites suitable for their location – they need to have firm foundations. Nuclear power stations in areas of unstable crust could release radioactivity if an earthquake caused damage to the reactor.
- They also need plenty of cooling water. Early stations were built away from large urban areas for safety.
- Highly radioactive waste is produced. This has to be stored in water until it can be sent by rail to a reprocessing plant at Sellafield in Cumbria, but it remains very dangerous for thousands of years.
- There are few places suitable for the disposal of nuclear waste. Most countries propose to bury it in deep mines or shafts. Less radioactive waste is also buried on land or at sea.
- The stations will be very difficult and expensive to make safe when they come to the end of their active lives after 25 to 30 years. The cost of dismantling each station in a blackmail attempt.
- There is always the slight threat of a major accident, e.g., the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.
- Failproof equipment and highly trained staff are essential.
2.Critically analyze the selection of private individuals for appointment in the ranks of deputy secretary, director and joint secretary. (GS Paper-2, Polity) (250 words)
|Structure of the Answer
· Discuss the benefits of lateral entry of experts in government
· Then discuss criticism behind this move
Lateral entry has been used in the past to harness top talent from outside the civil services. Mr.Manmohan Singh, NandanNilekani, Ahluwalia etc. served at various positions in the government and have showed promising results on ground.
- Various private sector experts have also been appointed as officers on special duty, ranked between under-secretary and secretary, to ministers. Institutionalising lateral entry, thus, makes it easier for the country to benefit from private sector/non-UPSC talent.
- The move will also address the drying up of the talent pool at the top level as there is an overall shortfall of about 20% in just IAS officers in 24 state cadres. The 2016 BS Baswan committee report pointed out that many large states suffer from a pronounced deficit of IAS officers, leading to their reluctance to depute officers for central posting.
- Lateral entry will also address many structural problems the present system suffers from: The seniority criteria in promotions has meant many talented lower ranked officers take a long time to get appointed to posts where their skills could have significant impact in the immediate run.
- Higher qualifications will be an advantage. The call is for outstanding individuals with expertise in the relevant fields.
- The move could be a significant step towards fulfilling the longstanding need for domain specialists in positions crucial to policy-making and implementation of government schemes.
- Lateral entry system is a disruption as there is a risk that due process might not be followed and ill-qualified, political appointees will land up in senior positions of the government and hurt public interest.
- Lateral entry does open the risk and prospect of powerful corporate groups placing their men in key positions of government.
- Also people who are recruited in this way might lack ground experience and also have little idea about the administrative leviathan.
3.Analyze the role of shale gas in transforming the world economy. How is India placed in this regard? (GS Paper-3, Economy) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Then discuss the role of shale gas in transforming the world economy
· Then mention Indian reserve of shale gas
· Also highlight the benefits and limitation of shale gas resource in India
Shale Gas is a form of natural gas that is trapped within shale (a fine grained sedimentary rock) formations, shale gas is known for more than a century. It was not seen as a viable alternative to petroleum fuels because shale drilling (which is done horizontally) is more expensive than conventional oil drilling. Shale was not worth extracting with conventional technology. Now a new technology, ‘fracking’, plus horizontal drilling, have greatly increased shale gas productivity, so extraction is now viable. Gas can readily substitute fuel oil in industry and power generation, and kerosene in cooking. But the bulk of oil consumption is in transport.
Shale gas has the potential to transform the entire geopolitics of world. It is because
- Shale gas can hugely reduce the dependence of most countries (including India) on imported energy.
- Second, the geopolitical clout of major gas exporters — Russia, Iran, Algeria, Bolivia — will fall dramatically.
- Third, some countries may start converting their transport fleets into gas-based ones, hitting the demand for and prices of petrol and diesel.
- Fourth, converting gas into oil will become economic.
- The major International Shipping transport route is likely to undergo major change. For example, the finding of oil shale in Brazil and Venezuela along with massive deposits of shale oil in Canada has altered the American shipping route by concentrating its movement North South of Americas, rather than the whole of the world.
- The American interest in Persian Gulf has seen a major decline.
- The concentration of shale oil deposits in Ukraine has allowed Ukraine to bargain with Russia, as it may not be dependent on Russian oil at all. That will allow it to take help of American technology.
- The clout of OPEC has decreased and so have been the falling oil prices.
India has large shale deposits, with good prospects in the Gangetic plain, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat. Tamil Nadu, Andhra and the north-east.
Large shale gas discoveries should embolden India to convert transport fleets in all cities from petrol and diesel to CNG. That will reduce not only energy dependence but pollution too.
Prospects & Significance of Shale Gas For India
India has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States Geological Survey for cooperation. The USGS is to identify the potential areas and amount of gas available in India.
- The petroleum ministry has identified six basins for exploration in the first phase-Cambay, Krishna-Godavari, Cauvery, Ganga, Gondwana and Assam-Arakan.
- The Assam-Arakan basin is considered to have significant shale gas deposits.
- Unlike conventional oil fields are drilled first vertically and then horizontally. Shale gas is found in tight reservoirs that have poor permeability. Water, air, chemicals and sand are forced at great pressure down the drill and through perforations in the rock to stimulate the flow of gas. This process is known as hydraulic fracking. Availability of abudant water is major pre-requisite for this process.
- Recently completed drilling of four wells in Durgapur, Raniganj, Jharia and North Karanpura near Hazaribagh. Reliance Industries is also making rapid moves in the field.
- Not going to be an easy affair as land acquisition could be a major problem Gangetic basin are densely inhabited. Shale gas is a land and water intensive project.
- Hydraulic fracking, which is used for shale gas drilling, is fraught with environmental challenges, said environmentalists. Where fracking used, the ground water had been found contaminated by methane.
4.Do you think animals have rights? If you believe that they do have rights, what are they? Discuss. (GS Paper-4, Ethics) (150 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Briefly present your opinion on animal rights with reason
· Discuss about animal rights
· Give examples to illustrate
Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics
Yes, I do believe that animals have rights. As humans we are integral components of the nature and we are the parts of a whole. Similarly, animals are also integral parts of the same whole and thus, they cannot be regarded as our subordinates.
If by virtue of being a part of this nature we have ‘Right to Life’ then going by the same logic animals too can be given the ‘Right to Life’. It can be argued that irreverence for even a small form of life affects one’s reverence for all life.
However, the implications of ‘Right to Life’ in both the cases can be slightly different keeping in mind our respective differences. Moreover, just as taking of human life can be argued to be moral in certain circumstances, like euthanasia, similarly it can be justified in the case of animals as well under certain circumstances.
For instance, it can be argued that humans have a right to use animals for food, just as animals use other animals, that is, it is in accordance with natural law to use each other for food. But, of course, animals can also have right against cruelty, and accordingly we can argue against experimentation on animals or killing animals for consumer products, sports etc. Again, onus is on human beings to give rights to animals and to protect their rights.
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