IASCLUB Synopsis : 30 September 2019

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1.Describe various types of weathering. How does it influence soil, minerals and landforms?                                                                                                            (GS Paper-1, Geography) (250 words)

Structure of the Answer 

·         Introduction: Define Weathering

·         Describe types of weathering

·         Discuss significance of weathering

Reference- NCERT

Model Answer:

 Weathering is a static and in-situ phenomenon which involves the weakening, breaking-up and disintegration of rocks at or near the earth’s surface by physical, biological and chemical processes.

Types of weathering:

The process of weathering is of following types, but the processes involved in each are closely interrelated:

Chemical Weathering: The air and water from the atmosphere initiate chemical reactions in the surface layers of exposed rocks, This weakens or dissolves certain constituents of rocks and weakens the rock surface. Example: karst topography

Physical Weathering: This process works more easily when the surface of rock has already been weakened by chemical weathering. It is more rapid in sedimentary rocks and takes place in several ways:

  • Repeated temperature changes as in deserts causes the rock to expand when hot and contract when cold. As different minerals contract/expand at different rates, it causes internal stress in rocks and results into cracks or joints in the outer layer.
  • Repeated wetting and drying as in the coastal areas where outer layer of rocks absorbs water and expand and when they are dried by wind they shrink creating internal stress in rock, resulting into cracks or joints.

Frost weathering: In cold areas like higher Himalayas and temperate latitudes, the alternate freezing and melting of water inside cracks splits them into smaller fragments.

Biological Weathering: The weathering which is caused by the living organism mainly flora and fauna is called Biological weathering. It may occur in the following ways or in any combination:

  • The roots of plants and trees penetrate into the soil in search of nutrients and water and progressively crack the rock apart.
  • Some plants through microbial activities release organic acids in the soil which break down the outer layer of rock through chemical reaction.
  • Burrowing animals like squirrels and rabbits can speed up the development of fissures in the rock, exposing the rocks to chemical, biological and physical weathering.

Significance of Weathering:

  • Weathering is the initial process in the denudation and thus crucial for soil formation. The depth of soil depends on extent of weathering.
  • It produces natural resources like clay, sand, gravel etc. Practically all bauxite, most iron ore and some copper ore are formed and concentrated by weathering.
  • Differential weathering helps in the evolution of different types of landforms like stone lattice, tors, buttes etc. Continuous removal/transfer of weathered materials through different processes causes gradual lowering of the height of the affected area.

2.What are the impacts of declaring MasoodAzhar as a Global Terrorist? How the proposal is passed in the United Nations Security Council?   (GS Paper-2, International Relations) (250 words)

Structure of the Answer

 ·         Introduction: Give context of the issue

·         Then explain the process of passing the proposal in UNSC

·         Conclude with the impacts of this decision

 Reference-Current Affairs

 Model Answer:

 The 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council designated Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief MasoodAzhar as a Global Terrorist.

The move came after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist Azhar. Previously, China had blocked a bid in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to designate Azhar as a global terroristfor the fourth time.

The decision of the United Nations came on the proposal that was moved by P3 countries (France, United Kingdom and United States) to the 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee in wake of Pulwama terror attack by Pakistan-based terror group JeM that killed over 40 CRPF personnel in India.

Process of passing the proposal in UNSC:

  • Any member of the Security Council can bring the resolution in this regard. The rest of the member countries express their opinion on this matter. All the 5 permanent and 10 non permanent members of the UNSC vote on any resolution comes to the UNSC.
  • Any resolution will get passed only when all the 5 permanent members of the UNSC approve it.
  • So the consent of all the permanent members is must to declare anyone a global terrorist.
  • Permanent members have veto power. If a single permanent member does not agree with the proposal then the resolution get rejected in the UNSC.
  • When the resolution is put up in the UNSC then objections are sought from the permanent members for initial 10 working days. If all the permanent members approves the resolution then it is get passed and the person is declared as global terrorist.

Impacts of declaring MasoodAzhar as a Global Terrorist:

  • After ban on MasoodAzhar, he will not be able to travel to any United Nations member country.
  • The United Nations member country must freeze the properties of the ban individual or its institutions in their country.
  • The assets of the global terrorist are freezed in the countries he/she belongs to. That means that he will first be crippled financially.
  • No UN member country can provide any kind of support to a global terrorist.
  • No UN member country can neither have trade of weapons nor provide weapons to a global terrorist. Even if any UN member country has a prior trade pact with any individual then this trade agreement must be broken after his declaration as a global terrorist.

 3.Discuss the environmental issues caused by irresponsible and illegal sand mining from rivers.                                                                                                            (GS Paper-3, Environment) (250 words)

Structure of the Answer

 ·         Introduction: Explain the sand mining process

·         Then discuss the harmful effects of on environment

·         Conclude with suggestion

Reference– NCERT/ Current Affairs

 Model Answer:

Sand mining is the process of extracting sand from an open pit, sea beaches, rivers and ocean beds, river banks, deltas, or inland dunes. The extracted sand can be used for various types of manufacturing, such as concrete used in the construction of buildings and other structures. The sand can also be used as an abrasive or can be mixed with salt and applied to icy roads to reduce the melting point of ice.

As populations grow and rates of urbanization increase, the demand for sand needed in construction also increases. These high levels of demand have often led to the use of unsustainable sand extraction processes and illegal sand mining.

Such activities have a negative effect on the surrounding ecosystem:

  1. Sand Mining Causes Erosion
  • Unregulated mining of large volumes of sand along beaches leads to their erosion.
  • By removing too much sediment from rivers, sand mining also leads to the erosion and shrinking of river banks.
  • Deltas can recede due to sand mining.
  • All of these destructive effects of sand mining ultimately lead to the loss of fertile land and property.
  • It also destabilizes the ground and causes the failure of bridges, dikes, and roads.
  1. Sand Mining in Beaches and Sand Banks of Rivers Harms Local Wildlife
  • Beaches are home to a variety of species like crabs, snails, and turtles. When sand is mined in beaches, it disturbs the wildlife living in the beach ecosystem.
  • For example, turtles such as the Olive ridley sea turtle arrive at beaches to dig nests in the sand and lay their eggs. After laying their eggs, the turtles cover them with sand to protect the nests from predators. When the hatchlings emerge, they move across the beach and enter the sea. However, when sand mining occurs in turtle nesting habitats, it leads to the loss of nesting sites. Therefore, sand mining can be a factor responsible for the disappearance of a species.
  1. Sand Mining Destroys Aquatic Ecosystems
  • The ill effects of sand mining on wildlife are not confined to beaches and sandbanks, but also include underwater ecosystems. When sand is mined from seabeds or river beds, it can create create turbidity in the water. The machines and human disturbance induced by such processes can also adversely impact aquatic wildlife.
  • The turbidity can create a barrier that prevents sunlight from entering the water, which is harmful to corals that need sunlight.
  • Fish may also die-off due to a lack of food and oxygen in the turbid waters.
  • The fishing industry that is dependent on such waters will also suffer great economic losses.
  1. Sand Mining Makes Areas More Prone to Flooding

Beaches, dunes, and sandbanks act as barriers to flooding. When sand mining removes such barriers, areas near the sea or river become more prone to flooding. As a result, beachside communities in areas subjected to indiscriminate sand mining are thus more vulnerable to the forces of nature.

  1. Sand Mining Adversely Affects Tourism

Sand mining destroys the aesthetic beauty of beaches and river banks, and also makes the ecological system in these areas unstable. If such beaches and riverside areas are popular tourist destinations, then the tourism potential of such areas will be lost.


  • Improving sustainable consumption and production of sand resources does not imply waiting for new global laws or rules to enable international cooperation.
  • A hierarchy of three major strategies emerged that could lay new foundations for improved governance of sand resources in 2019 and thereafter:
  1. Avoiding unnecessary natural sand consumption in construction;
  2. Using alternative materials to replace natural sand in construction; and
  3. Reducing sand extraction impacts with existing standards and best practices.

4.When the objective is noble, the means do not matter. Do you agree? Justify your stand with a suitable example.                                                 (GS Paper-4, Ethics) (150 words)

Structure of the Answer

 ·         Present your opinion with proper justification

·         Give examples to illustrate

·         Conclusion

Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics

Model Answer:

No, I do not completely agree with the statement. Even if the objective is noble, the means through which it is to be achieved must not be compromised. For, if they are compromised, the objective itself may lose relevance.

A case in point is the program of forced sterilizations that India witnessed in the 1970s. The objective was noble, to control our rapidly burgeoning population. But such harsh and draconian means would have violated the basic rights granted to us by the Constitution, rendering the objective moot.

Gandhiji firmly believed that means are as important as the end result. During the non-cooperation movement which was going on peacefully, a violent incident happened at ChauriChaura. Gandhiji in his wisdom immediately called for the suspension of the Non-cooperation movement all over the country. According to him, using violence as mean can not be justified.

However, there may be circumstances where the situation is very compelling. Here, usual norms can be overlooked as a matter of exception. But even so, the means should not be contrary to public welfare. E.g. during disasters, the usual rules can be relaxed, because this is being done for larger public good. But even here, public welfare must not be jeopardized.



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