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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 AUGUST 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 AUGUST 2018


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 2


Topic–  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

1) A lot needs to be done to make Ayushman Bharat scheme a success story. Comment. (250 words)

The hindu

Economictimes

Why this question

Ayushman Bharat is one of the most important healthcare schemes, recently envisaged by the GoI. Given the rising healthcare costs along with a large out-of-pocket expenditure incurred by the vast majority of the poor it is imperative to discuss as to what should be done in order to make Ayushman Bharat scheme a success story.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to  dig deep into the newly envisaged Ayushman Bharat scheme and express our opinion as to what needs to be done and what steps should be taken in order to make it a success story.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few lines about the nature of the Ayushman Bharat scheme. E.g it is a comprehensive health-insurance scheme targeted at poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers’ families. AB-NHPS will have a defined benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh per family (on a family floater basis) per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. It will offer a benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year. It will subsume the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).

Body-

Discuss what needs to be done in order to make it a success.

E.g State governments, which will administer it through their own agency, will have to purchase care from a variety of players, including in the private sector, at predetermined rates. Reaching a consensus on treatment costs through a transparent consultative process is vital for a smooth and steady rollout. A large-scale Information Technology network for cashless treatment should be set up and validated; State governments need to  upgrade the health administrative systems;the NHPM has a problem with the distribution of hospitals, the capacity of human resources, and the finances available for cost-sharing. Addressing these through the planned increase in public health spending to touch 2.5% of GDP, and 8% of State budgets, is the immediate challenge etc.

Conclusion- Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • India is concerned with many health issues be it malnutrition, infant mortality, rising non communicable diseases, growing number of deaths due to cancer etc. The national health protection scheme or the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme is the step in the right direction which can give impetus to healthcare in India.

Ayushman Bharat:-

  • Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme, which will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
  • Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes – Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).
  • Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.

Benefits of the scheme would be :-

  • This mission enables increased access to in-patient health care for the poor and lower middle class. The access to health care is cashless and nationally portable.
  • It spurs increased investment in health and generate lakhs of jobs, especially for women, and will be a driver of development and growth. It is a turning point for the health sector.
  • The scheme will replace Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana under which, the government provided Rs.30,000 annually for healthcare. Under NHPS, Rs.30,000 is increased to Rs. 5 lakhs.
  • Will bring healthcare system closer to the homes of people.
  • The new program would be a vast expansion of health coverage, allowing people to visit the country’s many private hospitals for needs as varied as cancer treatment and knee replacements. 

The following problems with Indian healthcare system need to be resolved to make Ayushmann Bharat a success:-

  • Massive shortages in the supply of services(human resources, hospitals and diagnostic centres in the private/public sector) which are made worse by grossly inequitable availability between and within States.
    • For example, even a well-placed State such as Tamil Nadu has an over 30% shortage of medical and non-medical professionals in government facilities.
  • Health budget:-
    • The health budget has neither increased nor is there any policy to strengthen the public/private sector in deficit areas.
    • While the NHPS provides portability, one must not forget that it will take time for hospitals to be established in deficit areas. This in turn could cause patients to gravitate toward the southern States that have a comparatively better health infrastructure than the rest of India.
  • Infrastructure constraints:-
    • There are doubts on the capacity of this infrastructure to take on the additional load of such insured patients from other States, growing medical tourism (foreign tourists/patients) as a policy being promoted by the government, and also domestic patients, both insured and uninsured.
  • In the absence of market intelligence, arbitrary pricing and unethical methods cannot be ruled out:-
    • Aarogyasri scheme has only package rates, a procedure that all States have since followed as a model. Package rates are not a substitute for arriving at actuarial rating.
    • More importantly, there is no way the government or the payer has an idea of the shifts in the price of components within the package.This knowledge is essential to regulate/negotiate prices to contain costs. This also explains why there is no dent in the exorbitant health expenditures being faced in India despite government-sponsored schemes.
  • Absence of primary care:-
    • In the northern States there are hardly any sub-centres and primary health centres are practically non-existent.
    • The wellness clinic component is a step towards bridging that lacuna but funding constraints are here too.
  • Out of pocket expenditure high:-
    • Even the poor are forced to opt for private healthcare,  and, hence, pay from their own pockets. Resultantly, an estimated 63 million people fall into poverty due to health expenditure, annually. 
  • Inequities in the health sector existdue to many factors like geography,  socio-economic status and income groups among others. Compared with countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand and China, which started at almost similar levels, India lags behind peers on healthcare outcomes.
  • The Government has launched many policies and health programmes but success has been partial at best.
    • The National Health Policy(NHP) 2002 proposed to increase Government spending on health by two to three per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2010 which has not happened yet. Now, the NHP 2017, has proposed to take it to 2.5 per cent of the GDP by 2025.
  • Healthcare does not have holistic approach:-
    • There are a lot of determinants for better health like improved drinking water supply and sanitation; better nutritional outcomes, health and education for women and girls; improved air quality and safer roads which are outside the purview of the health Ministry.
    • These issues are increasingly being recognised with emerging challenges such as Anti-microbial resistance, air pollution, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
  • While private sector healthcare providers play an important role in the overall delivery of health services, any engagement of Government hospitals with private sector is seen with suspicion.
  • A number of health institutions, established since independence, seem to have outlived their utilityfor instance  institutions solely focus on family welfare.
  • Finally, universal health coverage (UHC) is a widely accepted and agreed health goal at the global level and has been included in the broader Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda as well. In India, the momentum seems to have been lost. The inclusion and articulation of core principles of UHC as central aim of NHP 2017, is a sign of hope. 
  • Rural medical practitioners (RMPs), who provide 80% of outpatient care, have no formal qualifications for it. 
  • Given low salaries, colleges face serious difficulties in filling the positions. The result has been extremely slow expansion of capacity in many states.
  • Pricing of medical equipment :-
    • Private hospitals are charging exorbitant prices for these and poor suffer the most and there is no price capping yet.

Way forward:-

  • There is a need for multi-sectoral planning and ‘health in all policies’ approach,where initiative of different departments and Ministries is developed and planned coordination, accountability  assigned and progress monitored jointly. It has to be coordinated at the level of Prime Minister or the Chief Minister’s office, as the case may be.
  • PPP in India needs a nuanced approach and systematic mechanisms, includinglegislation and regulatory aspects. The process requires wider stakeholder engagement and deliberations and oversight from top leadership.
  • There is a need to reform and re-design institutions to broader health system goals to contribute achieve sustainable development goals.
  • Policy proposals, such as setting up of Indian Medical Service, establishing public health cadre as well as mid-level healthcare providers and exploring lateral entry of technical experts in academic and health policy institutions, including in the health Ministry (up to the levels Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary levels) should be deliberated and given due priority.
  • A competitive price must be charged for services provided at public facilities as well. The government should invest in public facilities only in hard to reach regions where private providers may not emerge.
  • The government must introduce up to one-year long training courses for practitioners engaged in treating routine illnesses. This would be in line with the National Health Policy 2002, which envisages a role for paramedics along the lines of nurse practitioners in the United States.
  • There is urgent need for accelerating the growth of MBBS graduates to replace unqualified “doctors” who operate in both urban and rural areas. 
  • The government needs to provide adequate funding to improve the quality of services as well.
  • In a federal polity with multiple political parties sharing governance, an all-India alignment around the NHPS requires a high level of cooperative federalism, both to make the scheme viable and to ensure portability of coverage as people cross State borders.
  • State governments, which will administer it through their own agency, will have to purchase care from a variety of players, including in the private sector, at predetermined rates. Reaching a consensus on treatment costs through a transparent consultative process is vital for a smooth and steady rollout.
  • A large-scale Information Technology network for cashless treatment should be set up and validated. State governments need to  upgrade the health administrative systems. The NHPM has a problem with the distribution of hospitals, the capacity of human resources, and the finances available for cost-sharing.

Conclusion:-

  • Good health is part of ‘social contract’ between the Government and the people and essential for sustaining economic growth of the country. Seventy years of independence is an opportune time to revisit priorities and place health higher on policy and development agenda.

Topic-Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

2) While the idea of a Theatre Command may seemingly have some operational advantage, the permanency of dividing our own territory into Operational Theatres as a defence measure may be counterproductive. Comment.(250 words) 

Indian express

Why this question

There have been calls for a unified theatre command on lines of NATO and others. But the idea has its own pitfalls which need to be discussed upon.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to deliberate upon the idea of a theatre command and bring out as to whether dividing our country into operational theatres will be counter productive or not. We have to form the opinion based on a proper discussion in which arguments for or against the statement need to be presented.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the Theatre Command concept- the idea of forming three integrated military Theatre Commands, covering the Northern, Eastern and Southern territory, that would subsume all operational functions of the existing 19 predominantly single-service commands in their respective geographical areas.

Body-

  • Discuss the benefits of such a command. E.g better coordination; quicker maneuverability; quicker response in case of a war etc.
  • Discuss the cons of a theatre command concept. E.g technology now offers stand-off means and special weapons that reduce the need for direct confrontation. The days of large manoeuvering armies are over, especially in a nuclear-threat scenario; the current responsibilities of the 19 commands towards administering, training, equipping and supporting the forces under their charge would in no way diminish if such Theatre Commands are formed- creating more top-heavy organization, which is not required; IAF assets, including special weapons, are limited in number and are distributed across the country, which require base-installation support. It is not possible to triplicate or quadruplicate them to every Theatre Command. Same is the case with skilled personnel and EW (electronic warfare) and C4ISR (command, control, computers, communications, intelligence and reconnaissance) equipment etc.

Conclusion–  sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

Background :-

  • Recently there have been discussions about the idea of forming three integrated military Theatre Commands, covering the Northern, Eastern and Southern territory, that would subsume all operational functions of the existing 19 predominantly single-service commands in their respective geographical areas.

Theatre commands:-

  • Under theatre commands like the ones which exist in the US, all the forces working in a geographical area are put under a theatre command which can be headed by one officer from any of the three services.
  • The integrated theatre commander will not be answerable to individual Services, and will be free to train, equip and exercise his command to make it a cohesive fighting force capable of achieving designated goals. 

Theatre command benefits:-

  • Speedy decision making:-
  • 19 different commands in India are neither co-located nor co-purposed. Since speed in decision-making, allocation of resources and flexible operations would be the essence in modern war, it is important that there should be only two commanders, one for each joint command theatre, instead of the present 19. An example given is of the Chinese military which has created theatre commands. 
  • Brings in greater jointness:-
    • The armed forces need to move away from a service specific approach to operations towards a system which avoids duplication, ensures optimum utilisation of available resources, brings in greater jointness.
    • It leads to timely and mature decisions to developing situations and ensures flawless execution of orders to achieve success in battle.
  • International instances:-
    • Major military powers like the US and China, who are serious about their war fighting capabilities, operate via theatre commands as it is seen to be a better means of pooling resources and improving efficiency.
    • China restructured its military in 2015 to come up with six theatre commands, whereas America’s theatres the Unified Combatant Commands are global in scope.
  • Today’s military challenges cannot be tackled without a real integration up to the command level :-
    • Modern potential conflict with a major military power like China might extend well beyond the typical theatres into the domains of cyber, space, nuclear and covert capabilities. A more integrated response will be needed from the Indian armed forces.
  • The pressures for increasing jointness in the Indian military, like other militaries, are because of not only the need for enhanced efficiency in the use of resources but also due to the need for optimising military performance in joint operations. 

Criticism:-

  • Forming Theatre Commands would demand large increase in expenditure with doubtful returns.
  • India is still lagging behind in modernization of defence forces so formation of a Theatre Command at this juncture would not be in the best interest of the nation.
    • India, unlike China, does not have a vibrant defence-industrial complex to accelerate productions to meet the war-effort. Given this, the time for India to have joint theatre commands has not come.
  • Might lead to operational chaos:-
    • By adding another layer in the form of joint theatre commander, there would be three operational commanders leading to further operational chaos.
  • Airforce issues:-
    • While India would undertake hostilities on its western border, it would inevitably get sucked into a two-front war (non-contact with China and a partial contact war with Pakistan) scenario. Given this, the IAF aircraft and other support assets would need the Air Force Headquarters, rather than the two joint theatre commanders, for fighting the war.
    • The IAF feels that it doesn’t have enough resources fighter squadrons, mid-air refuellers and AWACS to allocate them dedicatedly to different theatre commanders.
  • All services not on the same page:-
    • Defence experts feel that the recent Air Force war game Exercise Gaganshakti showcased that its assets can shift from one theatre to the other within no time and putting them under a dedicated theatre would not be of much use in a country with limited resources.
  • There are also underlying fears about the smaller Services losing their autonomy and importance.

Way forward:

  • A precursor to the creation of integrated theatre commands has to be the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff or Permanent Chairman, COSC. This was first proposed by the GoM in 2001, but hasn’t been implemented so far.
  • Experience from the US, Russia and China shows that the decision to create integrated theatre commands will have to be a political one, which will then be executed by the defence services.

 


General Studies – 3


TopicAchievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

3) India’s human spaceflight programme (HSP), the Gaganyaan, is still a long way away, despite advancements in some critical technologies in the past decade. Analyze. (250 words)

The hindu

Timesofindia

Wikipedia

Why this question

The PM of India recently announced India’s intentions to send a Human spaceflight by 2022. This would be a remarkable achievement for India given that only three other countries have successfully launched such a program. It is therefore essential to know the preparedness and challenges involved in the programme.

Directive word

Analyze- Analyze- Here we have to dig deep into the issue and identify and discuss about all the related and important aspects and correlate them to satisfy the key demand of the question.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to delve deep into India’s HSP and identify the critical technologies required for the mission and bring out the level of preparedness of launching a successful Gaganyaan Mission.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few lines about the spaceflight and its history. E.g Human spaceflight is a space travel with a crew or passengers aboard the spacecraft. Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement. The first human spaceflight was launched by the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961. Mention India’s Gaganyaan Mission.

Body- Mention that the objective is to carry a crew of two to low Earth orbit (LEO) and return them safely for a water-landing at a predefined landing zone. The program is proposed to be implemented in defined phases. Currently, the activities are progressing with a focus on the development of critical technologies for subsystems

Discuss in points the critical technologies required for the mission and discuss their level of preparedness.

E.g Environment Control and Life Support Systems- meant to make the crew capsule liveable and the flight safe for the astronauts.  in development phase and work is going on in case of space suits etc.

The Crew Escape System- It is an emergency escape measure designed  to quickly pull the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort. Mention experiment for emergency escape of astronauts called the Pad Abort Test which will be repeated at higher distances etc.

Crew Module- India has successfully launched a crew module with dummy payloads and  brought it back to the Arabian sea etc.

A new dedicated control centre for HSP would be set up at ISTRAC etc.

Conclusion- Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background :-

  • Human spaceflight is a space travel with a crew or passengers aboard the spacecraft. Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement.
  • The first human spaceflight was launched by the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961.

Gaganyaan :-

  • India’s first manned space flight Gaganyaan is expected to send three persons into the space for seven days and the spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km.
  • Two unmanned Gaganyaan missions will be undertaken prior to sending humans. The total programme is expected to be completed before 2022 with first unmanned flight within 30 months.
  • The mission is estimated at 9000 crore.
  • It would raise scientific and technological temper across the country and inspire youngsters.
  • When it achieves the mission, India would be the fourth nation to circle Earth after the Soviets, the Americans and the Chinese.

Critical technologies:-

  • ISRO said that it carried out a major technology demonstration, the first in a series of tests to qualify a crew escape system, a critical technology relevant for human spaceflight.
  • In 2014, experimental flight of GSLV Mk-III was successfully tested. It also had successfully tested experimental crew module, demonstrating reentry capability. In 2017, first developmental flight of GSLV Mk-III was successfully conducted. In 2018, first successful flight of crew escape system was tested.
  • ISRO has developed some critical technologies like re-entry mission capability, crew escape system, crew module configuration which was successfully launched with dummy payloads and  brought it back to the Arabian sea etc, thermal protection system, deceleration and floatation system, sub-systems of life support system etc. required for this programme.
  • Some of these technologies have been demonstrated successfully through the Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-2007), Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE-2014) and Pad Abort Test (2018). These technologies will enable ISRO in accomplishing the programme objectives in a short span of 4 years.
  • Environment Control and Life Support Systems are meant to make the crew capsule liveable and the flight safe for the astronauts.  
  • The Crew Escape System is an emergency escape measure designed  to quickly pull the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort. Mention experiment for emergency escape of astronauts called the Pad Abort Test which will be repeated at higher distances etc.
  • India has a new dedicated control centre for HSP would be set up at ISTRAC etc.

However more needs to be done :-

  • Since time is short, the ISRO won’t be able to establish an astronaut training facility for the current mission and instead will have to train its astronauts in a foreign centre.
  • ISRO is still long way away, despite advancements in some critical technologies in past decade. It is stilling building its capabilities and developing critical technologies required to send astronaut being into space.
  • The required key technologies ISRO still has to develop for such mission. It includes ability to launch, recover and ensure earth-like conditions for astronauts. ISRO so far has successfully tested many of the technologies required for such a manned mission, but there are still others to be developed and tested.

Topic–  Indian Economy : Issues

4) Farm loan waivers have become a popular demand and a politically attractive option. Discuss in light of the recent decision of Karnataka state government to waive off farmers loans. (250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The issue of loan waivers, comes in news repeatedly because most of the state governments see it as a low hanging fruit. The overall impact of the loan waivers is not judged. The article discusses these issues and indicates why waiving off farmers loans may not be the best idea in helping them.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the pros and cons of loan waivers, examine the reasons why loan waivers are resorted to by state governments, and the impact that it has.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the instances in recent times where loan waivers have been given to farmers.

Body

  • Discuss the reasons behind loan waivers – political, agriculture in distress, environmental challenges for the farmers etc
  • Discuss the pros and cons of loan waivers. Examine the challenges that it causes for the banking sector. Mention the view of Swaminathan committee etc on loan waivers.
  • Discuss alternatives to loan waivers – more constructive solution to farmers distress.

Conclusion – Give your view on the penchant of state government to give loan waivers and discuss the way forward.

Background:-

  • Agriculture currently contributes just about 15% to the national output and about 50% of the population directly or indirectly depends on it for employment. 
  • Farmer distress is a real and pressing problem, as evidenced by the protests currently taking place in various parts of the country. 
  • In the recent past, widespread demands have been heard for farm loan waivers amid continuing agrarian distress.

Why farm waivers are important :-

  • Agriculture in India has been facing many issues like fragmented land holding, depleting water table levels, deteriorating soil quality, rising input costs, low productivity. 
  • Output prices may not be remunerative. Farmers are often forced to borrow to manage expenses. 
  • Indebtedness is a key reason for the many farmer suicides in the country. 
  • Loan waivers provide some relief to farmers in such situations.
  • Farm loan waivers are at best a temporary solution.
  • Farm loan waivers is becoming a necessity now because these deep rooted problems are not being addressed related to farmers and their sufferings cannot be ignored. 

Negative implications 

  • Less long term impact:-
    • Loan waivers might help the government buy peace with farmers in the short run, but they are unlikely to change much on the ground. 
    • Research shows that loan waivers do not result in greater investment or better labour market outcomes. 
  • Experience shows failure:-
    • No improvement in farm productivity for households qualifying for loan waiver indicates a failure of the programme to achieve its desired goals. 
  • Loan waivers can also affect the flow of credit:-
    • It creates distortions in the credit market, as repeated waivers incentivise default. 
    • They can not only increase the deficit and interest burden, but also limit the ability of the government to undertake capital expenditure. Lower capital expenditure affects longer-term growth prospects, including that of the agriculture sector.
  • Debt waiver in case of default, farmers are likely to reduce productive investments and spend more on consumption. 
  • Providing loan waivers in some states promote farmers from other states also demanding farm loan waiver. 
  • Due to farm loan waivers, overall borrowings of the government would go up and that can lead to crowding out private borrowers and increase the cost of borrowings for others
  • This idea seems to be bad politics as well as bad economics because it may win the political party some votes but is not sustainable in the long run. Waiver of loan is a plain action where the credit climate is hampered. It will be counter productive not only for the state but for the entire credit market.
  • Farm loan waivers may act as a temporary solution and can prove to bemoral hazard in future because those farmers who are able to pay their loans might not pay it expecting a waiver.
  • Affects banking system:-
    • The banks may become wary in providing loans to the poor farmers who actually need it. These waivers will add to the NPAs of the banks and it will cost taxpayers.

Solutions that go beyond loan waivers are:-

  • As a long term measure, agriculture should be made sustainable by:
    • Reducing inefficiencies and increasing income
    • Providing protection through insurance schemes
    • Better risk management and more efficient agricultural markets
    • Subsidies should be directed towards the farmers not the companies.
  • Incentivise people to move out of agriculture by expansion in the manufacturing sector. 
  • Apart from efforts to increase yields, land leasing should be strengthened, which will not only allow consolidation, but will also give an opportunity to unwilling farmers to exit the sector. 
  • Adequate safeguards need to be built in order to protect farmers against both production and price risks. 
  • Central and state governments will need to work together in order to enhance the viability of the sector. 
  • Investment in practically every aspect of the farm economy, including irrigation, agricultural research, storage and marketing. 
  • Require policy decisions in other areas like FDI in multi-brand retail, which would lay the groundwork for cold- chain storage infrastructure that support the sector. 
  • Formulate eligibility rules for loan waiver that depend on historical loan-utilization, investment, and repayment patterns. 
  • Alternative policy intervention is the agricultural insurance. 
  • The money waived could be invested for creating infrastructure that makes farmers independent of cartel of traders and help them to reap maximum economic benefit of their produce. 
  • Considering loan waiver only up to a specified threshold limit (mostly Rs 1 lakh), and any amount over that will have to be paid so that there may not be a significant worsening of credit culture.

Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “volcanoes”

5) Discuss the influence of volcanism on the evolution of landscape? (250 words)

NCERT Class XI Physical Geography Ch 3

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the impact that volcanoes have on landscape.

Directive word

Discuss – the various land forms that are formed as a result of volcanoes are to be explained in your discussion

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what volcanism is.

Body – discuss the various landforms that are formed as a result of volcanoes such as batholith, laccolith, sills, dykes etc. Extra points can be earned by mentioning examples as well.

 

Volcanism:-

Volcanism is the phenomenon of eruption of molten rock onto the surface of the Earth or a solid-surface planet or moon, where lava, pyroclastics and volcanic gases erupt through a break in the surface called a vent.

Volcanic Landforms

  • Volcanic landforms are divided into extrusive and intrusive landformsbased on weather magma cools within the crust or above the crust.
  • Extrusive Volcanic Landforms
    • Extrusive landforms are formed from material thrown out during volcanic activity.
    • The materials thrown out during volcanic activity includes lava flows, pyroclastic debris, volcanic bombs, ash and dust and gases such as nitrogen compounds, sulphur compoundsand minor amounts of chlorine, hydrogen and argon
    • Conical Vent and Fissure Vent
      • A conical vent is a narrow cylindrical vent through which magma flows out violently. Conical vents are common in andesitic (composite or stratovolcano) volcanism.
      • A fissure vent, also known as a volcanic fissure or eruption fissure, is a narrow, linear volcanic vent through which lava erupts, usually without any explosive activity. The vent is often a few meters wide and may be many kilometers long. Fissure vents are common in basaltic volcanism.
    • Mid-Ocean Ridges
      • These volcanoes occur in the oceanic areas. There is a system of mid-ocean ridges more than 70,000 km long that stretches through all the ocean basins. The central portion of this ridge experiences frequent eruptions.
      • The lava is basalticin nature (Less silica and hence less viscous).
      • Cools slowly and flows through longer distances.
      • The lava here is responsible for see floor spreading.
    • Composite Type Volcanic Landforms
      • They are conical or central type volcanic landforms.
      • Along with andesitic lava, large quantities of pyroclastic material and ashes find their way to the ground.
      • Andesitic lava along with pyroclastic material accumulates in the vicinity of the vent openings leading to formation of layers, and this makes the mounts appear as composite volcanoes.
      • The highest and most common volcanoes have composite cones.
      • They are often called strato – volcanoes.
      • Stromboli ‘Lighthouse of the Mediterranean’, Mt. Vesuvius, Mt. Fuji etc. are examples.
    • Shield Type Volcanic Landforms
      • The Hawaiian volcanoesare the most famous examples.
      • These volcanoes are mostly made up of basalt, a type of lava that is very fluid when erupted.
      • These volcanoes are not steep.
      • They become explosive if somehow water gets into the vent; otherwise, they are less explosive.
      • Example: Mauna Loa (Hawaii).
    • Fissure Type Flood Basalt Landforms [Lava Plateaus]
      • Sometimes, a very thin magma escapes through cracks and fissures in the earth’s surface and flows after intervals for a long time, spreading over a vast area, finally producing a layered, undulating (wave like), flat surface.
      • Example: Deccan traps(peninsular India), Snake Basin, U.S.A, Icelandic Shield, Canadian Shield etc.
    • Caldera Lake
      • After the eruption of magma has ceased, the crater frequently turns into a lake at a later time. This lake is called a ‘caldera’. Examples: Lonar in Maharashtraand Krakatao in Indonesia
    • Cinder cone
      • A cinder cone is a steep conical hill of loose pyroclastic fragments, such as either volcanic clinkers, cinders, volcanic ash, or scoria that has been built around a volcanic vent.

·         Intrusive Volcanic Landforms

  • Intrusive landforms are formed when magma cools within the crust [Plutonic rocks (intrusive igneous rock)].
  • The intrusive activity of volcanoes gives rise to various forms.
  • Batholiths
    • These are large rock masses formed due to cooling down and solidification of hot magma inside the earth.
    • They appear on the surface only after the denudation processes remove the overlying materials.
    • Batholiths form the core of huge mountains and may be exposed on surface after erosion.
    • These are granitic
  • Laccoliths
    • These are large dome-shaped intrusive bodies connected by a pipe-like conduit from below.
    • These are basically intrusive counterparts of an exposed domelike batholith.
    • The Karnataka plateau is spotted with dome hills of granite rocks. Most of these, now exfoliated, are examples of laccoliths or batholiths
  • Lapolith
    • As and when the lava moves upwards, a portion of the same may tend to move in a horizontaldirection wherever it finds a weak plane. It may get rested in different forms. In case it develops into a saucer shape, concave to the sky body, it is called Lapolith
  • Phacolith
    • A wavy mass of intrusive rocks, at times, is found at the base of synclines or at the top of anticline in folded igneous country.
    • Such wavy materials have a definite conduit to source beneath in the form of magma chambers (subsequently developed as batholiths). These are called the Phacoliths.
  • Sills
    • These are solidified horizontal lava layers inside the earth.
    • The near horizontal bodies of the intrusive igneous rocks are called sill or sheet, depending on the thickness of the material.
    • The thinner ones are called sheets while the thick horizontal deposits are called sills
  • Dykes
    • When the lava makes its way through cracks and the fissures developed in the land, it solidifies almost perpendicular to the ground.
    • It gets cooled in the same position to develop a wall-like structure. Such structures are called dykes.
    • These are the most commonly found intrusive forms in the western Maharashtra area. These are considered the feeders for the eruptions that led to the development of the Deccan traps.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic– Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

6) Buddhism goes on to develop its own ethical virtue by observing the self-discipline of keeping certain moral precepts. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the moral/ethical precepts of Buddhism and discuss their meaning. We have to bring out how these self-disciplining moral precepts aim to create ethical virtues of Buddhism.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few lines about the Buddhist ethics e.g Buddhist values are rooted in the project of overcoming greed/attachment, hatred and delusion, which are seen as the roots of unwholesome actions and the key causes of suffering. The 5 moral precepts propagated by Buddhism aim to counter greed/ attachment, hatred and delusion.

Body-

Discuss the 5 lay moral precepts developed by Buddhism-

  • to abstain from onslaught on breathing beings-  to counter hatred.
  • to abstain from taking what is not given-  to counter greed.
  • to abstain from misconduct concerning sense-pleasures- to overcome attachment and delusion.
  • to abstain from false speech- to counter greed and hatred.
  • to abstain from alcoholic drink or drugs that are an opportunity for heedlessness- to counter delusion.

Mention that; Emphasis is sometimes laid on the need for a ‘middle way’ in keeping the precepts, avoiding the extremes of laxity and rigid adherence. Buddhism emphasizes a future-directed morality in which one always seeks to do better in the future, taking the precepts as ideals that one is seeking to live up to in an increasingly complete way. While each precept is expressed in negative wording, as an abstention, one who keeps them increasingly comes to express positive virtues as the roots of unwholesome action are weakened.

Conclusion- Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

 

Background:-

  • Buddhist tradition acknowledges that life is complex and throws up many difficulties, and it does not suggest that there is a single course of action that will be right in all circumstances. Indeed, rather than speaking of actions being right or wrong,
  • Buddhism speaks of the being skilful (kusala) or unskilful (akusala). In Triratna, our faith in the Three Jewelsof Buddha, Dharma and Sangha finds everyday practical expression in our aspiration to live by ethical precepts, to the best of our ability.

Moral precepts of Buddhism:-The Five Precepts

  • Not killing or causing harm to other living beings:-
    • This is the fundamental ethical principle for Buddhism, and all the other precepts are elaborations of this. The precept implies acting non-violently wherever possible, and many Buddhists are vegetarian for this reason. The positive counterpart of this precept is love.
  • Not taking the not-given:-
    • Stealing is an obvious way  in which one can harm others. One can also take advantage of people, exploit them, or manipulate them. All these can be seen as ways of taking the not given. The positive counterpart of this precept is generosity.
  • Avoiding sexual misconduct:
    • Over the centuries different Buddhist schools have interpreted this precept in many ways, but essentially it means not causing harm to oneself or others in the area of sexual activity.
    • It includes avoiding breaking commitments in the area of sexual relations, and avoiding encouraging others to do the same. The positive counterpart of this precept is contentment.
  • Avoiding false speech:-
    • Speech is the crucial element in our relations with others, and yet language is a slippery medium, and we often deceive ourselves or others without even realising that this is what we are doing.
    • Truthfulness, the positive counterpart of this precept, is therefore essential in an ethical life. But truthfulness is not enough, and in another list of precepts (the ten precepts or the ten kusaladharmas) no fewer than four speech precepts are mentioned, the others enjoining that our speech should be kindly, helpful, and harmonious.
  • Abstaining from drink and drugs that cloud the mind:-
    • The positive counterpart of this precept is mindfulness, or awareness. Mindfulness is a fundamental quality to be developed the Buddha’s path, and experience shows that taking intoxicating drink or drugs tends to run directly counter to this.

 

Buddhists hold that moral way of life, which is the Middle Way (majjihima magga), is the gateway to the highest and ultimate goal of all Buddhist aspiration (nibbdna).Emphasis is sometimes laid on the need for a ‘middle way’ in keeping the precepts, avoiding the extremes of laxity and rigid adherence.

Buddhism emphasizes a future-directed morality in which one always seeks to do better in the future, taking the precepts as ideals that one is seeking to live up to in an increasingly complete way. While each precept is expressed in negative wording, as an abstention, one who keeps them increasingly comes to express positive virtues as the roots of unwholesome action are weakened.

Each precept thus has a positive counterpart:-

  • The counterpart of the first is kindness and compassion
  • That of the second is generosity and renunciation: in Buddhist cultures, greed is 
    strongly disapproved of, and generosity much praised.
  • The counterpart of the third is ‘joyous satisfaction with one’s own wife’ , contentment and fewness-of-wishes. Contentment is seen as the ‘greatest of wealths’
  • The counterpart of the fourth precept is being honest, trustworthy and dependable and attaining precision of thought.
  • The counterpart of the fifth precept is mindfulness and awarenes.

Closely related to keeping the precepts is the concept of ‘right livelihood’, a factor of the Eightfold Path .This refers to making one’s living in a way that does not involve one in habitually breaking the precepts by bringing harm to other beings, but that is, it is hoped, helpful to others and an aid to the development of one’s faculties and abilities.