1.Explain weathering and mass wasting and describe their significance. (GS Paper-1, Geography) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Introduce with exogenic forces and how weather and mass wasting are types of them
· Explain weathering and briefly various types like chemical, physical and biological
· Explain mass wasting
· Describe their significance like soil formation, formation of natural resources etc.
· Conclude appropriately
Along with endogenetic forces, Earth’s surface is being continuously subjected to by external forces originating within the earth’s atmosphere (exogenic forces) like weathering, mass wasting, erosion and deposition.
Weathering is the breaking down of rocks, soil, and minerals as well as wood and artificial materials through contact with the Earth’s atmosphere, water, and biological organisms. Weathering occurs in situ, with little or no movement.
There are three major groups of weathering processes:
1) Chemical Weathering Processes– A group of weathering processes i.e. solution, carbonation, hydration, oxidation and reduction act on the rocks to decompose, dissolve or reduce them to a fine clastic state through chemical reactions by oxygen, surface /soil water and other acids.
2) Physical Weathering Processes– They are mostly due to thermal expansion, and pressure release. The repeated action of these processes cause damage to the rocks
3) Biological weathering– It is contribution to or removal of minerals and ions from the weathering environment and physical changes due to growth or movement of organisms. Burrowing and wedging by organisms like earthworms, termites, rodents etc., help in exposing the new surfaces to chemical attack and assists in the penetration of moisture and air
These movements transfer the mass of rock debris down the slopes under the direct influence of gravity. While weathering is not a pre-requisite for mass movement, it aids mass movements.
- Conditions in favour: Mass movements are aided by gravity and no geomorphic agent like running water, glaciers, wind, waves and currents participate in the process of mass movements. Weak unconsolidated materials, thinly bedded rocks, faults, steeply dipping beds, vertical cliffs or steep slopes, abundant precipitation and torrential rains and scarcity of vegetation etc., favour mass movements.
- Types: The movements of mass may range from slow to rapid, affecting shallow to deep columns of materials and include creep, flow, slide and fall.
Significance of weathering and mass wasting
- Soil and Regolith: Weathering is crucial base to our ecology as it converts bed rock into regolith and soil. Regolith is also notable for being the basic source for the inorganic part of the soil.
- Resources: Weathering produces natural resources like clay, sand, gravel etc. Practically all bauxite, most iron ore and some copper ore are formed and concentrated by weathering.
- Landforms: Differential weathering helps in the evolution of different types of landforms like stone lattice, tors, buttes etc. Continuous removal and transfer of weathered materials through different processes of mass-translocation of rock wastes such as landslides and by the agent of erosion causes gradual lowering of the height of the affected area.
- Disasters: In mountainous regions, mass wasting of weathered material on the slopes occurs in the form of landslides and debris avalanches leading to loss of life and property.
The effects of most of the exogenic geomorphic processes are small and slow and may be imperceptible in a short time span, but in the long run play an important role.
2.Comment on the nature of Ordinance making power of the President of India. What safeguards are there against possible misuse? (GS Paper-2, Polity) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Introduce by explaining how ordinance is legislative power in the hands of executive
· Explain the nature of ordinance making power – when can he promulgate it, what effect it has, on what subjects etc.
· Enumerate the safeguards (Legislative & Judicial) against misuse of this power
· Conclude appropriately
Reference– M Laxmikant
Under the Indian Constitution, the power to make laws rests with the legislature (Parliament at the centre). However, in cases when Parliament is not in session, and ‘immediate action’ is needed, the President under Article 123 of the Constitution can issue an ordinance, that is a law to introduce legislative changes.
The nature of the ordinance making power:
- Only when legislature is not in session: Article 123 of the Constitution grants the President certain law making powers to promulgate Ordinances when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session.
- Only if immediate action necessary: The President cannot promulgate an Ordinance unless he is satisfied that there are circumstances that require taking ‘immediate action’. (ex-necessitate rie)
- Same force as an Act of Parliament: The ordinance issued by the President has same force as an Act of Parliament.
- Same Subjects as those of Parliament: An Ordinance may relate only to any subject that the Parliament has the power to legislate on (under 7th schedule).
The safeguards against misuse of the power:
- Because the ordinance power is prone to misuse, certain safeguards were provided in the Constitution while some developed through judicial intervention.
- Legislative safeguards:
o Ordinances must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of reassembling or they shall cease to operate.
o They will also cease to operate in case resolutions disapproving the Ordinance are passed by both the Houses.
o Rules of both the houses of the Parliament lays down that Bill seeking to replace the ordinance should be introduced along with the statement explaining the circumstances that led to passing of the ordinance in first place.
- Judicial safeguards:
o The SC has also held that ordinance will be subject to the test of vagueness, arbitrariness, malafide intention etc. In the Cooper case (1970), the Supreme Court held that the President’s satisfaction whether immediate action is necessary can be questioned in a court on the ground of malafide.
o The SC in its judgement in 2017 (Krishna Kumar v. State of Bihar case) held that repromulgation of ordinance is a fraud on the Constitution.
The ordinance-making power of the President in India is rather unusual and not found in most of the democratic Constitutions of the world. However, Indian Constitution makers felt the mechanism is needed in order to enable the Executive to deal with a situation that may suddenly and immediately arise when the Parliament is not in session
3.List out the merits and demerits fixed dose combinations (FDCs). (GS Paper-3, Science & Technology) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
• Introduce with what FDCs are
• Enumerate their merits
• Enumerate their demerits
• Conclude with the recent sub-committee of DTAB’s recommendation to again ban FDCs
Fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs are combinations of two or more active drugs in a single dosage form. In 2016, the government of India banned 344 FDCs based on Kokate committee recommendations. The ban was later lifted by the Delhi High Court.
- Simpler dosage schedule improves compliance and therefore improves treatment outcomes
- Reduces inadvertent medication errors
- Prevents and/or slows attainment of antimicrobial resistance by eliminating monotherapy
- Reduces drug shortages by simplifying drug storage and handling, and thus lowers risk of being “out of stock”
- Procurement, management and handling of drugs is simplified
- Side effects of a drug may be reduced by using another drug in combination
- Potential for drug abuse can be minimized by using one drug of the combination for this purpose (i.e., excessive use of the antidiarrheal narcotic diphenoxylate is discouraged by side effects of atropine in the FDC atropine + diphenoxylate)
- Dosage alteration of one drug is not possible without alteration of the other drug.
- Differing pharmacokinetics (action of drugs in the body) of constituent drugs pose the problem of frequency of administration of the formulation
- There are increased chances of adverse drug effects and drug interactions compared with both drugs given individually.
- Dosing mismatches could result in toxicity
- Pharma companies are not providing the “safety and efficacy data” of their own FDCs, and thus making these drugs potentially dangerous.
Recently, the sub-committee of Drugs Technical Advisory Board, formed on the directions of the Supreme Court, recommended banning of 343 FDCs and restrictions on 6 others after reviewing the “safety, efficacy and therapeutic justification” of FDCs. FDC in India is treated as new drug as per the Rule 122 E of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules and DCGI is the licensing authority. The office of DCGI must examine the rationality of an FDCs in a transparent manner and bring better ways to regulate their introduction in the market (and ban the existing ones as necessary).
4.What do you understand by Good Governance? Discuss the main characteristics of good governance. (GS Paper-4, Governance) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Introduce with the meaning of the term Good Governance.
· Discuss the key characteristics of good governance.
· Conclude by pointing out some initiatives taken by the government in this regard.
Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics
The World Bank popularised the concept of Good Governance in the 1990s. It deals with improving both qualitative and quantitative aspect of the governance framework in which the people can achieve their true potential and maximum welfare of the people is realised.
The XII five year plan (2012-2017) defines Good Governance as an essential element of any well-functioning society. It ensures effective use of resources and deliverance of services to citizens and also provides social legitimacy to the system.
As per the UNESCAP, the characteristics of Good Governance are as follows:
- Participation: Participation by people of all race, caste, creed, and gender in governance ensures that the rights of citizens are respected and citizens feel obligated towards their duties at the same time.
- Rule of Law: This provides a suitable framework for good governance and ensures that human rights are protected and weaker sections feel safe.
- Transparency: It is important that the citizens are aware of the functioning of the government. The access to information and its free availability ensures fairness in decision making and implementation.
- Responsiveness: The institutions of the government ensure that the citizens are served in a reasonable time frame by removing unnecessary delays in decision making and implementation.
- Consensus-Oriented: The diverged interests are reconciled and the consensus is reached for maximum welfare of the society accounting for both short-term and long-term interests.
- Equity and Inclusiveness: The government takes care of interests of all its citizens and special care is given for most vulnerable groups such as minorities, SC/STs, women, etc. so that they don’t feel sidelined from the mainstream.
- Effectiveness and Efficiency: Good governance calls of optimal utilisation of resources at disposal. The wastage is minimised and sustainable development is encouraged.
- Accountability: It is crucial that both public and private institutions are accountable to their stakeholders and uphold the interest of the public at large.
The concept of Good Governance goes beyond the concept of Governance. Over the time the government has taken steps like Constitutionalising Panchayati Raj, formulating Citizens’ Charters, promoting Cooperative Federalism and even celebrating December 25th as “Good Governance Day” each year. The mechanisms and institutions promoting the Good Governance must be strengthened over the time.
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