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17 April 2017 Question Bank

 

17th APRIL 2017 

QUESTION BANK 

(2 Questions)

Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.

Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.

 

GS III: ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

1.      High-occupancy toll lanes will combat air pollution and foster a more disciplined driving culture, Comment.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/carpool-for-cleaner-air/article18072106.ece

Air pollution in Delhi :

  • Air pollution in Indiacauses at least a million deathsannually.
  • In Delhi alone, over 30,000 people die every year due to air pollution, the main causes of which are increasing road traffic and factory pollutants, and crop and waste burning.
  • While the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government undertook several measures at the end of 2016 such asshutting down thermal power stationsfor 10 days and prohibiting construction activities temporarily, air pollution has been on the rise.
  • This is because most of these measures were temporary.
  • Theodd-even (licence number) schemeundertaken by the government during the first half of 2016 was one of the most ambitious. However, despite the initiative, general air pollution in the city, which is measured by PM2.5 rose by 15% and 23% during the first and second phase of the odd-even rule, respectively.

High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes

  • One solution is the creation of High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes. This refers to reserving one or more lanes on selected roads and highways for cars carrying more than a single occupant.
  • This ensures that single-occupancy vehicles are restricted to the remaining lanes, thereby making the HOT lanes relatively faster (also through relaxation of speed limits for these lanes).
  • While this was pioneered in the U.S. in 1969, its effective implementation in other countries such as China and Indonesia has encouraged millions of commuters to opt for car-pooling as it ensured them a speedier and less costly journey.
  • The effective implementation of HOT lanes can provide significant incentive to fostering a more disciplined driving culture, and lane discipline.
  • In India, where most cars carry two-three people on average, it is perhaps preferred to dedicate such HOT lanes to cars carrying more than three occupants.
  • Accordingly, a toll differential system based on the number of car occupants and on the latest pollution check of the vehicle is the need of the hour.

 

GS II: BILATERAL INDIA-PAKISTAN

2.      "While India and Pakistan have been unable to resolve the Siachen dispute, the new enemy is global warming." Elucidate.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a-glacial-fight/article18072124.ece

Siachen dispute:

  • In 1984, India launched Operation Meghdoot to capture the 76.4 km-long glacier on the Saltoro ridge, narrowly thwarting Pakistan's own attempts in the process.
  • The operation continues till date, making it the longest continuing one of its kind in the world.
  • But the guns on the glacier have fallen silent following the 2003 ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) across the Siachen.
  • The LoC has flared up intermittently, but ceasefire along the AGPL has held since.
  • While the LoC was delineated and accepted by India and Pakistan up to point NJ9842, the glacier was left unmarked.
  • India claims the area based on the Jammu and Kashmir Instrument of Accession (1947) and the Karachi Agreement of 1949, which define the ceasefire line beyond NJ9842 as "running Northwards to the glaciers".

Demilitarising Siachen

  • Siachen is often referred to as a low-hanging fruit, an issue to be sorted out by both sides before addressing the Kashmir question.
  • Pakistan's calls in the recent past for demilitarising Siachen stem from a position of desperation to save the lives of its soldiers from the extreme conditions there.
  • India has shown willingness for demilitarisation conditional on first authenticating the 110-km AGPL, which is the current position on the glacier.
  • But Pakistan refuses, which means that once India vacates the posts, Pakistan may try to occupy them.
  • India currently has the advantage of height as it commands higher ground, and any demilitarisation without proper delineation and acceptance of the current positions would be disastrous.

Climate change:

  • The biggest enemy on the glacier has always been the weather. The Indian Army, which holds the highest posts at heights of 21,000 ft, has learnt to adapt and now has a well-oiled system in place.
  • However, the series of recent untimely avalanches on the glacier and the resultant spikes in casualties show that the challenge of changing weather patterns is new.
  • As status quo continues amidst attempts at demilitarisation, the pressing concern is tackling the changing weather patterns.
  • Some studies have been initiated to access the rate of glacier melt, and the Army is re-assessing the vulnerable posts in an attempt to shift some of them.
  • These need to be accelerated and technology infused to save the soldier.

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