Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 2, 2018

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Q.1) Government says that it is firmly on course to achieve high growth of 8% plus as manufacturing; services and exports are back on good growth path. What are the reasons for which India is affirmative about the fact that it has potential to achieve 7-8% GDP growth? As mentioned in Economic Survey, 2018, discuss the hurdles for India in achieving its goal of 7-8% GDP growth? (GS –3)

Introduction:

  • Government says that it is firmly on course to achieve high growth of 8% plus as manufacturing, services and exports are back on good growth path.

What are the reasons for which India is affirmative about the fact it has potential to achieve 7-8% GDP growth?

The reasons for which India is affirmative about the fact it has potential to achieve 7-8% GDP growth are as follows:

Global integration:

  • The Indian economy in the last few years has become very open, it is integrated globally.

Investment made simple:

  • The government invites investments in most sectors and has made its procedures for investment extremely simple.

Government’s decision-making:

  • The government’s decision-making has made doing business in India much easier.
  • Whatever challenges and difficulties do arise, there is an extensive debate in the country as to why procedures must be further simplified and a combined national effort to move in that direction.

Encouragement of manufacturing sector:

  • The government is consciously encouraging the manufacturing sector because it is where India still has to achieve its best.

Simpler tax structure:

  • The government was able to unify taxes and bring about a relatively simpler tax structure.

Investor friendly tax structure:

  • For international investors, indirect tax structures had become extremely investor friendly.

More predictability and stability in tax structure:

  • Doubts about India’s direct tax structures in the past including some erroneous decisions have been completely eliminated.
  • Instead more predictability and stability have been added as far as taxation is concerned.

Consolidation of tax slabs:

  • Currently, there are four broad tax slabs under GST — 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent — which can be converged in the future.
  • After the thinning of 28 percent bracket, the second stage of reforms will be consolidation of other rates (12 and 28).

Programmes to uplift the under-developed regions:

  • The Government has taken up programmes to direct the benefits of structural changes and good growth to reach farmers, poor and other vulnerable sections of our society and to uplift the under-developed regions.

Direct Benefit Transfer mechanism:

  • The Government has ensured that benefits reach eligible beneficiaries and are delivered to them directly and said that Direct Benefit Transfer mechanism of India is the biggest such exercise in the world and is a global success story.

As mentioned in Economic Survey, 2018, what are the hurdles for India in achieving its goal of 7-8% GDP growth?

The hurdles for India in achieving its goal of 7-8 % GDP growth are as follows:

Ease of doing business:

  • While India saw an improvement in six out of ten indicators of ease of doing business, the country still didn’t see improvement in trading across borders, something that the government has been gunning for at various international forums like World Economic Forum.

Rising Oil Prices:

  • One of the biggest challenges evident from the survey is the rise in oil prices. The higher oil prices in Saudi Arabia could have a drastic effect on the prices in India.

India’s Agrarian Crisis:

  • The fact that the productivity growth in the agricultural sector has been stagnant reflects poorly on the Indian economy.
  • Due to unstable climatic conditions, the growth may necessarily be not on the positive route.

Banking:

  • Over the past few years, Indian banks have been struggling with the growing NPA issues.
  • According to the Economic Survey, the share of bank lending to real estate sector has fallen sharply to 17 per cent in 2016 from over 68 per cent in 2013.
  • The reason for the fall is that banks are not ready to provide credit to the real estate sector because of the rising NPAs and lower profit.

Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)

  • MSMEs which contribute to a large part of the Indian economy, still face a lack of credit from the banking sector.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT):

  • According to the Economic Survey, ICT (Information and Communication Technology) accounted for 67 per cent of India’s services exports in 2016.
  • The same has declined rapidly from 2006 to 2016, whereas during the said period countries like China, Brazil, Russia and Philippines have been marching ahead.

Q.2) What do you mean by an earthquake? What are its types and the three different types of faults associated with it? Describe the method through which large earthquakes are measured. (GS–3)

Introduction:

  • An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth, resulting from the sudden release of energy in the Earth’s lithosphere that creates seismic waves.

Types of earthquakes:

The different types of earthquakes are as follows:

  • The most common ones are the tectonic earthquakes. These are generated due to sliding of rocks along a fault plane.
  • A special class of tectonic earthquake is sometimes recognised as volcanic earthquake. However, these are confined to areas of active volcanoes.
  • In the areas of intense mining activity, sometimes the roofs of underground mines collapse causing minor tremors. These are called collapse earthquakes.
  • Ground shaking may also occur due to the explosion of chemical or nuclear devices. Such tremors are called explosion earthquakes.
  • The earthquakes that occur in the areas of large reservoirs are referred to as reservoir induced earthquakes.

Types of faults assosciated with earthquakes:

The three different types of faults associated with earthquakes are as follows:

  • There are three main types of fault, all of which may cause an interplate earthquake: normal, reverse (thrust) and strike-slip.
  • Normal and reverse faulting are examples of dip-slip, where the displacement along the fault is in the direction of dip and movement on them involves a vertical component.
  • Normal faults occur mainly in areas where the crust is being extended such as a divergent boundary.
  • Reverse faults occur in areas where the crust is being shortened such as at a convergent boundary.
  • Strike-slip faults are steep structures where the two sides of the fault slip horizontally past each other; transform boundaries are a particular type of strike-slip fault.
  • Reverse faults, particularly those along convergent plate boundaries are associated with the most powerful earthquakes, megathrust earthquakes, including almost all of those of magnitude 8 or more.

Measuring earthquakes:

The methods through which large earthquakes are measured are as follows:

  • The earthquake events are scaled either according to the magnitude or intensity of the shock.
  • The magnitude scale is known as the Richter scale. The magnitude relates to the energy released during the quake. The magnitude is expressed in absolute numbers, 0-10.
  • The intensity scale is named after Mercalli, an Italian seismologist. The intensity scale takes into account the visible damage caused by the event. The range of intensity scale is from 1-12.
  • It’s important not to confuse an earthquake’s magnitude with its intensity. They are different measures. And while the Richter scale is widely quoted, the modern magnitude measurement uses a different scale. Magnitude is a quantitative measure of the size of an earthquake, it says, while intensity is a qualitative measure of the shaking at a given location.
  • Two scales are commonly used for intensity, the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale and the MSK scale, both of which classify earthquakes from I (least perceptible) to XII (most severe). These readings are based on factors such as how people perceive the shaking. The same earthquake will have different intensity readings at different places; the farther one moves away from the epicentre, the less intense the shaking.

Q.3) Species are classified by the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature into nine groups according to their level of vulnerability. Explain this nine-fold species classification. What are the criterions for an animal to be categorised ‘endangered’? (GS–3)

Introduction:

Species are classified by the IUCN Red List into nine groups, set through criteria such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation.

Nine-fold species classification:

  • Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining.
  • Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
  • Critically endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild.
  • Near threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future.
  • Least concern (LC) – Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at-risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
  • Data deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.
  • Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.

What is the criterion for an animal to be categorised ‘endangered’?

The criterion for an animal to be categorised ‘endangered’ are as follows:

  • Reduction in population size based on any of the following.
  • Geographic range in the form of either  extent of occurrence OR area of occupancy.
  • Population estimated to number fewer than 2,500 mature individuals.
  • Population size estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals.
  • Quantitative analysis showing the probability of extinction in the wild is at least 20% within 20 years or five generations, whichever is the longer.
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