Q. What do the art objects that have survived tell us about the daily life of the people of the Indus Valley Civilisation?
A. Introduction: The art objects belonging to Indus Valley Civilization range from sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewellery, terracotta figures, etc.
1. Bearded Man: The bust of a bearded man has been excavated at Mohenjo Daro. The bearded man has been associated by scholars to be equivalent to a Priest-King. It’s beard, hairstyle, shawl, method of draping it, an amulet on the arm, all throw light on the characteristics of Harappan Civilization.
2. Bronze Dancing Girl: The beautiful image of a naked dancing girl in Bronze, and other bronze images, throw light on the highly developed Lost-Wax Technique the Harappans use to create such images. This tells us about their technological prowess. Apart from this, the ‘dancing girl’ has her right hand on her hip, and left arm covered in bangles, in a dancing pose, throw light on the sensibilities of the Harappans in terms of depiction of women.
3. The large number of Terracotta figurines of Mother Goddess wherein she is wearing a fan-shaped head-dress, tell us that the Harappans worshipped Mother Goddess.
4. The other terracotta figurines of toys, animals, terracotta carts etc. are not very sophisticated in terms of their artwork as compared with seals and images, and probably tell us that these were meant for a different class of people.
5. Pashupati Seal: The seal of Pashupati with 4 animals surrounding him, and two at his feet probably coincides with Pashupati (Lord of Beasts) and throw light on their religious practices.
6. Apart from this, 2000 other seals that have been discovered tell us that these were probably used to signify personal property or as modern-day identity cards.
7. Pottery: The Indus Valley pottery consists chiefly of very fine wheelmade wares, very few being hand-made. A large quantity of pottery excavated from the sites, enable us to understand the gradual evolution of various design motifs as employed in different shapes, and styles. The design motifs throw light on the life of Harappans.
8. The discovery of Perforated pottery tells us that probably these were used for straining liquor and hence tells us that liquor was consumed.
9. The large number of beads and ornaments that have been discovered tell us that the Harappans were conscious and aware of fashion, and took great care in embellishing themselves with these. Necklaces, fillets, armlets and finger-rings etc. are objects that were worn by both genders, which tells us about the fashion sensibilities of the people of the time.
Q. Comment on the principles that dominated the working of Constituent Assembly.
- Structure of the answer:
- Principles of working of C.A.
- Relevance of those principles
- Impact on the Indian Constitution
- Criticism of C.A.
According to Granville Austin, two main principles were part of the processes that were involved in Constitution making:
Consensus was the aim of decision making process. It is both an ethical and effective way of making decisions rather than the majority principle. Where they failed to reach consensus, there would be debates and discussion as was seen on numerous fronts such as language issue- Hindi and national language etc. The importance of public reason was emphasised in the mundane procedures of the Assembly as well.
- The Constituent Assembly had eight major Committees on different subjects. Usually, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel or B.R. Ambedkar chaired these Committees. These were not men who agreed with each other on many things. Ambedkar had been a bitter critic of the Congress and Gandhi, accusing them of not doing enough for the upliftment of Scheduled Castes. Patel and Nehru disagreed on many issues.
- Nevertheless, they all worked together. Each Committee usually drafted particular provisions of the Constitution which were then subjected to debate by the entire Assembly. Usually an attempt was made to reach a consensus with the belief that provisions agreed to by all, would not be detrimental to any particular interests.
- The idea of consensus was helped as it had a background wherein certain principles were entrenched as being the core of Indian polity. For decades preceding the promulgation of the Constitution, the nationalist movement had debated many questions that were relevant to the making of the constitution — the shape and form of government India should have, the values it should uphold, the inequalities it should overcome. Answers forged in those debates were given their final form in the Constitution.
- Principle of accommodation provides the capability to reconcile incomparable concepts. It reconciled the federal and unitary systems in achieving a sui-generis model, membership of commonwealth and being a republic, being a religious society and idea of secularism etc. Through this, a balanced arrangement of the institutions of government was sought.
- Apart from these two principles, a third may be seen as having evolved as a process for the Constituent Assembly- the art of selection and modification. Different things were selected from various constitutions and had to pass the test of applicability to India. These were modified and adapted to the democratic government envisioned for India creating a stable polity to suit our diversities and pluralities.
- Thus, the framers of the Constitution were not averse to borrowing from other constitutional traditions. Indeed, it is a testament to their wide learning that they could lay their hands upon any intellectual argument, or historical example that was necessary for fulfilling the task at hand. So they borrowed a number of provisions from different countries. India was extremely lucky to have an Assembly that instead of being parochial in its outlook could take the best available everywhere in the world and make it their own.
- Despite the three principles that aided in making of our ‘post liberal’ Constitution, the working of C.A. Came under severe criticism:
- The process of Constitution making was seen as time consuming and a ‘copy-paste’ job
- A. was seen as a Lawyers, Congress and Hindu dominated body
- Its representativeness was questioned due to indirect elections to the body
- Its sovereignty was questioned as the body was formed under the Cabinet Mission Plan
- Despite these shortcomings, it is imperative to remember that the Congress was an umbrella organisation that gave voice and space to numerous social groups and classes.
- The Assembly included both functional and interest groups. Furthermore, the democratic procedure adopted that invited views of public as well, helped articulate, negotiate and rework ideas that formed the foundational document of the country.
Q. While infrastructure sector in India faces the problem of investment deficit, it still is the lowest hanging fruit that can catapult India into the high growth trajectory. Elaborate.
A. I am using an article from the above-mentioned book to give some content (rather a lot of it) and also to help you guys frame structures.
The structure to the answer can be as follows:
1. Introduce with the problems that infrastructure sector is facing.
2. Highlight a few things that can be done to resolve this.
3. Don’t forget to highlight, how it will help India achieve a high growth trajectory.
Infrastructure facing the Problem of:
1. Growing Economy, requires more and better infrastructure.
2. Problem of Finance
3. Private partners seeking better terms
4. Slow Government approvals
5. Stalled Projects
6. Slow global growth
7. Twin balance sheet problem
Investment Deficit –
– Gap between Current and needed infrastructure
– Getting bigger
– ADB says, it is now 4% of GDP
– Banks are unwilling to lend
– Private Lending Institutions are defaulting (IL&FS crisis)
How it can be resolved:
– Public Finance Reforms can contribute 40% of it.
– Rest 60% lies on Private Partners.
But enhanced Govt. Participation can possibly lead to –
– Violation of FRBM
– Crowding out effect, leading to a lot of financial institutions willing to lend to government instead of private players because of inherent risks of the sector as well as ongoing slowdown in the sector
1. Macro-Economic Stability
2. Reforming Public Finance
3. Working on Stalled Projects
4. Re-energising PPP
5. Certain sector-specific recommendations
How will Macro Economic Stability help?
– Fiscal Consolidation will
o Enhance government’s credibility and lenders confidence
o It will help keep the interest rates low
– Low Inflation will
o Ensure stable returns to investors
– Policy Certainty will
o Help long term planning of Corporates
It will help bring in greater amounts of much needed foreign capital into infrastructure sector.
Reforming Public Finance –
– Transitioning from Current expenditure driven policy to Capital expenditure driven policy.
o Enhanced use of well-planned DBT can help in curtailing misuse of subsidies.
– Raising revenue by further incentivising registering under GST regime
– Expediting spectrum sales, disinvestment, monetizing govt. land holdings
– Transferring finished assets to private players for maintenance and the revenue raised be used to build new infrastructure
– Focusing on Toll and other User charges for enhancing sustainability of assets
It can help mobilise government’s finance to inclusive development oriented programs without compromising on government’s political realities, which might at time seem populist.
Untangling Stalled Projects –
– Land Pooling model of Andhra to build Amravati as capital can be replicated to explore innovative models of procuring land under LARR Act
– Strengthening of institutional architecture to give clearances, especially environmental
– Enhancing certainty of access to coal and other fuels can expedite the creation of a lot of infrastructure
It will help unlock the stagnant real-estate sector, a major contributor to GDP growth, which is stagnant from past few years.
Re-energise PPP –
– Operationalising 3PI (as suggested by Kelkar committee)
– Enhancing institutional capacity of research and development in matters relating to PPP
– Establishing sector regulators and ‘best-practice’ design
– Outlining key-principles of Risk Allocation
– Establishing clear norms of Financial Oversight of various SPVs
– Clear norms for Re-negotiation
It can present a greater thrust to private players to participate along with the government, to create infrastructure at a fast pace.
– Independent Regulator
o With power to fix fares
o Fair access regulation
o Licencing and Technical Standards
– Various models need to be used as per the requirements
o Toll based
o Optimal mix of these, as decided by regulators
– Reform State Electricity Boards (SEBs)
– Grid enhancement to accomdate rising Renewable Energy generation
– Municipal bodies to be given more power
– Greater funds to ULBs (14th FC)
– NITI Aayog’s mandate can include this
Developing Corporate Bond Markets.
Q. Discuss what are the causes of heat waves in India? What measures should be taken by governments to deal with heat waves and their effects? Examine.
Introduction – Define what is heat wave and how serious is the problem.
Causes – Suggest causes of heat waves.
Measure – Suggest measures taken by government to combat heat wave.
Way Forward – Suggest some more innovative measures to combat heat wave.
Conclusion – End on a positive note.
A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western parts of India. Heat wave is declared when temperature remains at 45 degrees Celsius and above for two days running. It gets the “severe” tag when mercury touches 47 degrees. However, a heatwave is declared in a place such as Delhi after the mercury touches 45 degrees Celsius for a day. World Meteorological Organization defines a heat wave as five or more consecutive days during which the daily maximum temperature exceeds the average maximum temperature by five degrees Celsius. Heat Waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July. Heat waves are confined to the north, northwest, central and the eastern coastal regions of India.
Heat waves have been becoming increasingly frequent over the last years. Scientists say this is part of climate change that’s becoming a worldwide phenomenon and is likely to become more frequent. Since 2004, the country has experienced 11 of the 15 warmest years. Last year was the sixth-warmest since 1901, when preserving weather records started in the country. This year, 11 of the 15 hottest places in the world were located in India, the rest were in neighboring Pakistan, weather monitoring website El Dorado reported. Also this year, the heat wave spell has already stretched for 32 days, the second-longest spell ever recorded.
Further, high humidity compounds the effects of the temperatures being felt by human beings. Extreme heat can lead to dangerous, even deadly, consequences, including heat stress and heatstroke. To calculate the effect of humidity, Heat Index Values is used. The Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature. Environmental activists have suggested that India put in place a plan to tackle heat waves that are costing hundreds of lives every year. Since 2010, more than 6000 people have died in heat waves in the country, the Lok Sabha was told last year by health minister Harsh Vardhan.
A heat wave occurs when a system of high atmospheric pressure moves into an area. In such a high-pressure system, air from upper levels of our atmosphere is pulled toward the ground, where it becomes compressed and increases in temperature. This high concentration of pressure makes it difficult for other weather systems to move into the area, which is why a heat wave can last for several days or weeks. The longer the system stays in an area, the hotter the area becomes. The high-pressure inhibits winds, making them faint to nonexistent. Because the high-pressure system also prevents clouds from entering the region, sunlight can become punishing, heating up the system even more. The combination of all of these factors come together to create the exceptionally hot temperatures we call a heat wave.
Sinking air, associated with an area of high pressure, essentially traps the heat near the surface. When heat is trapped, health officials become concerned about not only heat exhaustion but air quality. These (heat wave) conditions, coupled with what we call an atmospheric inversion, essentially trap pollution near the surface instead of it going up higher. This process will trap the pollutants closer to people and can last for several days.
Other causes included are Decreased tree cover and over concretization. Reduction of water bodies such as lakes, wetlands around habitations (lakes have moderating influence on temperature in surrounding area). Global warming. Increased frequency of El Nino due to climate change.
Many states are affected during the Heat wave season, such as State of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi. The combination of exceptional heat stress and a predominantly rural population makes India, vulnerable to heat waves. Vegetable vendors, auto repair mechanics, cab drivers, construction workers, police personnel, road side kiosk operators and mostly weaker sections of the society have to work in the extreme heat to make their ends meet and are extremely vulnerable to the adverse impacts of heat waves such as dehydration, heat and sun strokes. Therefore, it is not surprising that these workers, homeless people and the elderly constitute the majority of heat wave casualties in India. A comprehensive heat preparedness and response requires involvement from not only government authorities but also non-governmental organizations and civil society. The local authorities should carry out a vulnerability assessment in order to identify these areas.
Timely warnings by IMD about a possible spike in temperatures, to alert the people in advance, in collaboration with the NDMA and SDMAs. ( Colour coding Heat alerts) Provide list of Dos and Don’ts Allowing sufficient provision of piped water supply for drinking to households, as well as places like schools, working places, and even public taps, for the convenience of the general public. Preparing a national, state, as well as district-level action plan, in coordination with public health authorities. Providing quick treatment to the affected, and spreading awareness about keeping ice packs in store, for quick relief. Allowing for an adjustment in the timings of schools, and workplaces. Finally, a vigilant monitoring and review of the implementation of the action plan, or the necessary prevention guidelines, by the concerned authorities. Heat stroke should be included in the list of disasters.
Capacity building / training programme for health care professionals at local level to recognize and respond to heat-related illnesses, particularly during extreme heat events.
These training programmes should focus on medical officers, paramedical staff and community health staff so that they can effectively prevent and manage heat-related medical issues to reduce mortality and morbidity.
Apart from these short term measures, long term efforts that government should undertake include increasing the green cover, better designed buildings, Sustainable development and all that which would help in the cause of climate change. This would go a long way to deal with Heat wave and reduce human impact.
According to a study by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar, the frequency of severe heat waves in India will increase 30-fold by 2100 under a 2°C warming scenario. Under a business-as-usual scenario, heat-wave frequency might increase 75-fold. Heat wave is also called a “silent disaster” as it develops slowly and kills and injures humans and animals nationwide. Hence, measures have to be taken and taken fasr to minimize the deaths and damage caused due to heat waves.
Q. India’s relationship with Iran is impacted both by superpower politics as well as those in the Gulf. Examine the challenges and opportunities for India-Iran relations.
– Historical Background and Evolution
Areas of Opportunities with Iran
– Gateway to Central Asia and Afghanistan
Challenges in the relationship
– US animosity
– Iran’s Internal politics
• Iran has always been one of India’s main suppliers of oil, second only to Iraq and Saudi Arabia. India and Iran enjoyed bilateral relation right after independence with PM Nehru underscoring the historical ties between India and Iran as well as its people. While the ties suffered a blow after the Iranian revolution of 1979, they were revived by Narsimha Rao who visited the Islamic Republic in 1995
• Raja Mohan is correct in claiming that for ‘the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is the best of times and the worst of times.’ Iran’s regional influence has never been as expansive as it is today. Yet, there is a huge push back against Tehran from some of its Arab neighbours, Israel and the current US Administration. This has led to increasing internal and external economic and political volatility in Iran. Iran which was railing under decades of sanctions got a sigh of relief when under the Obama administration Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action came through
• The pulling out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, by US President Donald Trump had its implications felt on India which has been told along with other buyers to take oil imports to “zero” by the cut-off date of
• Heavily reliant on Iranian crude to fuel its fast-growing economy, India has been walking a diplomatic tightrope on the issue to balance its relations with Iran and US. Iran has also emerged as a potential regional power in the Middle East influencing events in a host of counters, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Bahrain and Yemen. The Shia-Sunni competition has taken the shape of tug of war between Iran and Saudi Arabia
Areas of Opportunities with Iran
• Within India’s diplomatic circles, Iran is seen as ‘gateway’ to Central Asia and Afghanistan
o President Rouhani’s visit to India which saw signing of 9 agreements showcases the potential of bilateral ties between the two states
• Connectivity is one of the most important avenues of cooperation
o Chabahar port emerged as one of the most significant aspects of bilateral talks
o India’s recent accession to the Ashgabat Agreement in which Turkmenistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Oman (NSTC) are members and to the Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor agreement involving India, Iran, and Afghanistan will help enhance its engagement with the region
• India has committed itself to increasing its oil off-take by 25% this year, as part of easing negotiations for the Farzad-B gas fields India is keen to buy a stake in
• India has also committed itself to investing $500 million to build berths at Chabahar’s Shahid Beheshti Port, and $2 billion to build a rail line through the Zahedan province to Afghanistan, in an effort to circumvent trade restrictions by Pakistan
• It was also was decided that India will set up ”plants in sectors such as fertilizers, petrochemicals and metallurgy in Chabahar Free Trade Zone (FTZ) on terms mutually beneficial to the concerned parties”
• People-to-People Contact: Both sides agreed to facilitate issuance of visas to promote tourism and people-to-people contacts between the two countries
• Economic: The Agreement on Avoidance of Double taxation was signed to promote bilateral trade and investment
• Politico-security: India and Iran also signed a Bilateral Extradition Treaty and it was also decided to have enhanced cooperation in the maritime domain
o The two countries “agreed to hold dialogue to look into measures for cooperation in defence sphere, including port calls by naval ships, training and regular exchanges of defence delegations
• There is also cooperation to tackle violent elements especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is largely due to the ongoing politico-security crisis, particularly in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and South Asia, where terror groups such as ISIS have penetrated in different forms—physical and ideological. For the first time after lifting the sanctions, both the navies conducted exercises in early June 2016 in the Strait of Hormuz
• Cultural factors: The Indian subcontinent borders Iran, which shared a defacto common frontier in pre-independence India with connections spanning thousands of years between the two ancient civilisations
o The Persian influence — particularly on the language (Urdu and Hindustani) and the architecture (from Lahore to Agra) — in Mughal period India are strong, tangible remnants of those ties
o Even prior to that, circa eighth century, the migration of the Zoroastrian people fleeing from persecution to western India, made India the permanent home to the world’s largest such community — the Parsis.
Challenges in the relationship
• Withdrawal of the US from P5+1
• Other Arab countries such as Saudi, Oman etc. view Iran as a hegemonic power than a friendly neighbor
• Furthermore, Tehran’s missile programme has often been viewed and analysed within the exclusive content of Iran-Israel rivalry
• Diplomacy with Iran itself is an art of its own. Much of Tehran’s approach to international diplomacy is based on survivability
o Sanctions, economic blockades, covert wars, and a race for regional supremacy more often makes Iran a difficult partner
• Political issues: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei brought up the issue of Kashmir, including Kashmiris along with Muslims in Yemen and Bahrain as among those being oppressed by tyranny. The reasons behind the timing of this event could be many, from India’s growing closeness with both Israel and Saudi Arabia to the Ayatollah offering a narrative for a domestic audience
o Protests against the Iranian government’s conservatism, as women took on laws requiring them to wear a veil
Geo-strategic reality will ensure Iran’s continued importance. But the renewal of American hostility provides India an opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Indo-Iranian relations.
Q) Whereas the British planters had developed tea gardens all along the Shivaliks and Lesser Himalayas from Assam to Himachal Pradesh, in effect they did not succeed beyond the Darjeeling area. Explain.
British were heavily dependent on Chinese imports for their tea consumption and it led to huge outflow of cash to satisfy this demand. Thus they started tea plantations across all such regions in India where climatic conditions were similar to tea growing regions in China.
Tea gardens were developed all along Shivaliks and Lesser Himalayas from Assam to Himachal Pradesh wherever the climatic conditions and terrain lent itself to plantation of tea shrubs. But the success of plantations was in limited.
The areas where tea plantation succeeded included the regions located in monsoon belt – Assam, West Bengal and the foot hills of the Himalayas in the in the North and the moist slopes and the plateaus of the Western Ghats in the south. Not much success was received in other areas such as Himachal Pradesh, Ranchi, Doon valley etc.
REASONS FOR THE SAME:
It is because of very peculiar climatic conditions which tea plantation needs and they exist only in very specific area.
CONDITIONS FOR TEA PLANTATION:
Tea cultivation requires average annual rainfall of around 150-200cm along with frequent showers well distributed throughout the year.
An ambient temperature between 13-28 degrees Celsius is conducive for growth of tea as tea grows well in moderately hot and humid climate.
Presence of high land, well-drained soil having a good depth and pH around 4.5 to 5.5 and more than 2% organic matter.
Presence of sloppy land so that water doesn’t stagnate.
Though region like Shivaliks have some of these characteristics, they lack well distributed rainfall and ambient temperature range which are needed for having a good tea crop and thus tea cultivation didn’t succeed beyond Darjeeling area.
The Ranchi gardens have poor soil not suitable for tea cultivation.
The rainfall, temperature and humidity needed by tea were not available in Himahchal Pradesh and Dehradun although soil in Dehradun is equivalent to that of Assam.
Tea needs relatively low temperature for its growth, but not very low, that can adversely affect cultivation of tea. For example, the Kangra valley lies in the foot hills of Himalayas and here climate is too cold.
While cool climate and low gradient were also available in some areas of western Shivaliks but absence of deep clayey soil and lack of year round rains led to the failure of tea plantations there.
Further, there was one more reason of failure of tea plantation in Kangra valley. The quality of the Kangra tea was readily accepted in Europe and it was even awarded. But then in 1905, this area was struck by an Earthquake, which ruined the tea plantations. This caused panic into the British planters and they sold their estates to locals and move away. The local people could not the plantations because of technical knowhow.
Moreover economic factors like presence of cheap labour through bonded labourers permitted by Plantation Act which brought labours to work on plantations from Bihar and Bengal also favoured the spread of tea cultivation in Darjeeling.
Relatively better transport facilities and proximity to ports in Bengal also favoured tea plantations in Darjeeling .
Moreover cultural factors such as the presence of large indigenous and tribal population in other areas such as Himachal Pradesh, Doon valley etc. reduced the scope of commercial activities like tea plantation.
These areas were relatively calm unlike politically charged mainland of India. Absence of bigger intermediary class like zamindars as they existed in Bengal & Bihar helped planters to work more freely
Less population in these areas helped them for carrying mass cultivation in vacant lands. Forests were cleared for plantation without much protest. Labors were easily brought from tribal areas of Bihar, Bengal and Orrisa
Therefore Whereas the British planters had developed tea gardens all along the Shivaliks and Lesser Himalayas from Assam to Himachal Pradesh, in effect they did not succeed beyond the Darjeeling area.