Majority of questions in Mains examination will be asked directly from the resources that I’m providing here. You can answer 60% of the questions if you are fully aware of Current Affairs and their relation to the GS syllabus. Even in remaining 40% which are factual and traditional answers, giving relevant current examples fetches more marks. So, as its said UPSC syllabus is new every year, because current issues keep changing which make up a huge chunk of questions in mains.
I’ve provided major points and summary of the topic. Please go through the summary and if you still have doubt then open the link and read it. Will provide the next set tomorrow, so finish it today only. Thanks 🙂
GS PAPER 1
1) TOPIC – IMPORTANT GEOPHYSICAL PHENOMENA SUCH AS EARTHQUAKES, TSUNAMI, VOLCANIC ACTIVITY, CYCLONE ETC., GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES AND THEIR LOCATION- CHANGES IN CRITICAL GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES (INCLUDING WATER BODIES AND ICE CAPS) AND IN FLORA AND FAUNA AND THE EFFECT OF SUCH CHANGES.
This article talks about the climate change and its effects on the Environment, flora and fauna and on water bodies and ice caps. Its main points are –
(a) The permafrost is thawing. This results in a lot of land collapse, and thus infrastructure damage. Even 1 degree change in temperature will have a lot of effect on permafrost land. Check in Wikipedia what is permafrost.
(b) Ice and snow is melting in Alaska glaciers, and in Polar Regions. Temperature rise has caused a lot of forest fires, and thus increase in amount of CO2 producing accelerating effect on global warming.
(c) Cyclones and Hurricanes have become common since, they are originated in warmer oceanic regions getting their energy from water vapours and moistures. They are bringing flash floods, devastations, and have increased in numbers. Check how the hurricanes and tornadoes are formed.
(d) Wetter areas are getting more rains and dryer areas are getting lesser rains. Thus floods and draughts occur side by side now and have become more common.
(e) Ground water is depleting faster due to global warming and population explosion during this century where our population exploded from 2 Billion in 1950’s to 7 Billion in 2010.
(f) Second article talks about untimely rains and increase in number of cyclones in eastern coast of India. Phailin, Helen and Lehar hit last year. These resulted in loss of life and property and also of agricultural produce.
Link – (a) http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/climate-change-pushing-people-out-their-homelands-us-says-report (b) http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/untimely-rains-claims-lives-nine-persons-andhra-pradesh
2) TOPIC – DISTRIBUTION OF KEY NATURAL RESOURCES ACROSS THE WORLD.
Adani’s have got green signal for mega project of coal mining in queensland Australia. This mine is to be developed for imports to India, for supplying its coal requirements for power generation. Again debate is being done on Environment vs Development as local administration wants boost in economy by railroad and mine development, while Environmental reports suggest adverse impact on groundwater, flora, fauna of region, and Marine park of great Barrier reef.
GS PAPER 2
1) TOPIC – ISSUES RELATED TO DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF SOCIAL SECTOR/SERVICES RELATING TO EDUCATION, HEALTH AND HUMAN RESOURCE
Supreme court has ordered separate toilets for boys and girls in schools. Dropout rates are very high, and this is done to provide basic amenities of water and toilet and thus reduce dropouts. Most girls leave school after lunch due to lack of toilets. This judgement is in accordance with RTE Act.
2) Same topic as above.
Alcohol consumption results in 5.1% deaths annually around the globe. It results in violence, injury and diseases such as liver failure and cancer to the consumers. Reports suggests that alcohol consumption is rising in South East Asian countries and Wester pacific regions, whereas its constant in America, EU and Africa. Methods to curb the consumption include increasing taxes on alcohol, regulating the beverage industry and increasing the age limit for alcohol consumption.
3) TOPIC – ISSUES RELATING TO POVERTY AND HUNGER, VULNERABLE SECTIONS AND SCHEMES RELATED TO THEIR WELFARE AND UPLIFTMENT.
The Adivasis and Bengali Muslim children are facing high malnutrition and hampered growth even after Central Scheme of Integrated Child Development Programme and proliferation of Aganbadi’s in the region. The main region Is the illegal status of Bengali migrants. They don’t own land, and thus can’t produce food. For food they have to depend on other sources, and their pay is meagre in tea states and other occupations of Assam. Thus, they are unable to feed themselves fully and also not able to take government schemes help due to illegal migration. Malnutrition has resulted in Stunted heights, and Wasted bodies i.e. low height to weight ratio.
GS PAPER 3
1) TOPIC – ENVIRONMENT IMPACT ASSESMENT
Recently Government of Maharashtra has decided to charge a certain amount of fees for EIA done by the respective bodies. This is done so that –
(a) The committee is able to have enough money to provide its staff salaries, logistics, equipment’s, pay bills and other financial activities thus making it self financed.
(b) This will result in no external pressure by the EIA seeking companies in terms that earlier they were providing the facilities.
(c) Clear cut fees, will bring a sense of responsibility and transparency.
(d) Only serious companies will come out with proposals for EIA.
Opposition points –
(a) Process is already having a lot of corruption with EIA’s being sold
(b) It will bring more burdens on manufacturing and industry which is facing liquidity crunch.
(c) Present costs of getting Environment clearances are very high, and this will increase it further.
2) TOPIC – ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION AND DEGRADATION
Coal mines take lands with promise of providing job and money. Then when they are unable to keep their promises, protests arise. Coal dust creates pollution, its carrying vehicles don’t cover the coal, and land degradation is common after mining. Water logging in mines create malaria and other diseases and contaminate ground water.
Another report regarding pollution is from the Singarauli District of MP and adjoining areas, which produce 10% of countries power, by using thermal power plants. These plants have been using Mercury containing coal, which is getting mixed up in local water bodies due to fly-ash slurry, contaiminated water wastes of industry, and fly-ash ponds mixture with water bodies. Govind Vallabh Pant Sagar, also know as Rihand Reservoir is located in the area. Also, ground water contains heavy metals such as fluoride and lead, which makes it unsafe for drinking.
NGT has ordered industries to establish RO plants for providing safe drinking water to the residents. Chimneys should have working filters, and 100% fly ash to be used and not dumped in water bodies. Consistent monitoring of Air pollution and Transportation of coal through closed conveyor belts to be done. Mercury is neurotoxin which directly affects the mental ability and results in various diseases of body such as skin allergies, kidney and lung diseases and cancer.
IUCN has listed the gharials as critically endangered species. Sand mining near the river coasts in their habitat region is making their survival more difficult due to non-availability of place for laying eggs and crushing of eggs in coastal regions. Also, lack of food is a major problem. Sand miners are dangerous and use violence to evade the state authority.
4) TOPIC – DISASTER AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT – FOREST FIRES
Link 1 – Forest fires have increased due to climate change. Some areas get heavy rainfall, thus resulting in high undergrowth of grasses and which could lead to easy forest fire later. In areas of drought, accumulation of dry leaves and wood, results in quick spread of forest fires. Global warming and increased average temperature is another cause.
Historically, topography and wind movement are major causes of these fires, (triggered by lightening) but now Human induced causes such as unattended campfires, burning cigarette butt, arson, use of burning equipment could set up blaze. This resulted in burn ban in several parts.
Link 2 – Major forest fires in India this year happened in or near national parks and sanctuaries. The names of them are –
(a) Bandipur Tiger Reserve Karnataka (b) Nagarhole national park (c) Wayanad Sanctuary Kerala (d) Hastinapur Sanctuary near Meerut UP (e) Mount Japfu Nagaland’s Second Highest peak (f) Seshachalam and Nellama forest in AP (g) Koraput and Jeypore forest divisions in Odisha (h) Corbett National Park Uttarakhand.
This list is important for pre. Regarding forest fires, they took place due to uncontrolled growth of bamboo, unpreparedness of forest officials, lack of fire equipments, manpower and fire arresters such as fire line which lacks vegetation.
Impact – Other than destruction of green cover, and wastage of natural resources, it results in destruction of habitat of animals, thus forcing them to venture out of forests in open areas, resulting in man-animal conflicts.