UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam 2016 General Studies Paper 1 Analysis- IASbaba

  • IASbaba
  • December 26, 2016
  • 21
UPSC Mains Questions 2016
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Hello Friends

CSM, 2016 just got over and we are sure that all the appearing candidates must have given their best. The next few days should be used to party and relax. You deserve it Friends! Nothing can be as intellectually taxing as the CSM Examination. We all agree to that. Isn’t it?

At IASbaba, our endeavour has been to probe your intellectual faculties and let you learn not by spoon-feeding but genuine self learning. Civil Services require thinking individuals who can learn quickly and adapt to any kind of a situation. It was this philosophy that inspired us to start our online and offline initiatives of Think, Learn and Perform (TLP). There, we tried to post questions of all varieties and flavour to surprise you, faux you and even make you question your level of preparedness. The intention, however, was to prepare you for all the permutations and combinations possible.

We are happy to realise that our efforts have borne fruits and this year’s CSM has proved many of our predictions and daily initiatives hitting the bullseye! Here, we provide you with the list of links containing questions from TLP and various other initiatives that were asked directly or indirectly in CSM, 2016. The intention here is not to claim anything but a simple gesture to let you know that your faith and support for IASbaba inspire us to come with quality and efficiency both!

Analysis of Paper 4- Ethics (Coming Soon)


1. Early Buddhist Stupa-art, while depicting folk motifs and narratives, successfully expounds Buddhist ideals. Elucidate.

Description: It was a straight forward repeated question. The important point to be noticed is that, that the question is not directly about Stupa. So there is no need to explain the structure of Stupa and its parts. It is about how the Buddhist ideals have been depicted through folk motifs and narratives.

Stupa – Art is the earliest art form associated with Buddhism. Buddhist art reflects very faithfully all the important aspects of Buddhism.  In primitive  Buddhism, Gautama Sakyamuni (Buddha) has been regarded as an ideal human being and quite naturally we find that the early Buddhist art of Bharhut, Sanchi, Bodh-Gaya and Amaravati and other places shows no anthropomorphic representation of the Master.  So Stupa Art uses folk motifs and narratives to expound Buddhist ideals.

One of the main interest of the Bharhut sculptures consists in the representation of the birth-stories of the Gautama Budha.  These stories (or the Jatakas) are of two main classes, those relating to the previous births of Buddha as a Bodhisattva (a Buddha potentia), and those of his last appearance as Gautama Shakyamuni when he attained Enlightenment of Buddhahood.

The scenes on the Bharhut sculptures, relating to the life of Gautama Shakyamuni include, among others, the dream of Maya (Illustrating the descent of a Bodhisattva in the form of an elephant into the mothers womb), the defeat of Mara, Gautama’s Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, the worship of  the Bodhi tree, the worship of Gautama’s hair-locks by celestial beings, the visits of  king Ajatashatru of Magadha and of  Prasenjit of Koshala, etc.

(The basic idea is that all the events of Buddha’s life were depicted by folk motifs.)


2. Krishnadeva Raya, the king of Vijayanagar, was not only an accomplished scholar himself but was a also a great patron of learning and literature. Discuss.

Description: Krishnadeva Raya was in the news indirectly after the claim of a businessman that he is an incarnation of him. So a question was expected. Also in cultural section, ‘The Hindu’ had given long article on Krishnadeva Raya. But the question asked by UPSC here is difficult as usually candidates prepare about Temple architecture of Vijayanagar or the administration. Here you had to discuss about the Vijayanagar literature in general and Krishnadeva Raya’s writings in specific.


Offline class – To prepare on Krishnadevaraya as this was in current affairs. A prominent politician from south who believes himself to be the re – incarnation of the former king was accused of spending 500 crores for his daughter marriage. Discussed in Parliament.


3. Explain how the upraising of 1857 constitutes an important watershed in the evolution of British policies towards colonial India.

Description: Here you had to show the contrast or the changes made by the British Government after the 1857 revolt. This was quite an easy and straightforward question. Below we have given some points for your information. Kindly note that it is not an answer.

The Revolt of 1857 gave a severe jolt to the British administration in India and made its re-organization inevitable. The Government of India’s structure and policies underwent significant changes in the decades following the Revolt.

Changes in Administration: By the Act of Parliament of 1858, the power to govern India was transferred from the East India Company to the British Crown. The authority over India, wielded by the Directors of the Company and the Board of Control, was now to be exercised by a Secretary of State for India aided by a Council.

Provincial Administration: The British had divided India for administrative convenience into provinces, three of which- Bengal. Bombay and Madras- were known as Presidencies. The Presidencies were administered by a Governor and his Executive Council of three, who were appointed by the Crown. The other provinces were administered by Lieutenant Governor and Chief Commissioners appointed by the Governor-General.

Local Bodies: Financial difficulties led the Government to further decentralize administration by promoting local government through municipalities and district boards. Local bodies like education, health, sanitation and water supply were transferred to local bodies that would finance them through local taxes.

Changes in the army: The Indian army was carefully re-organised after 1858, most of all to prevent the recurrence of another revolt. Firstly, the domination of the army by its European branch was carefully guaranteed. The proportion of Europeans to Indians in the army was raised. The European troops were kept in key geographical and military positions. The crucial branches of artillery, tanks and armored corps were put exclusively in European hands. The Indians were strictly excluded from the higher posts. Till 1814, no Indian could rise higher than the rank of a subedar. Secondly, the organization of the Indian section of the army was based on the policy of ‘divide and rule’ so as to prevent its chance of uniting again in an anti-British uprising. A new section of army like Punjabis, Gurkhas and Pathans were recruited in large numbers.

Relations with princely state / native states or British attitudes towards the Indian princes after the Revolt of 1857: After the Revolt of 1857 the British reversed their policy towards the Indian states. Most of the Indian princes had not only remained loyal to the British but had actively aided the latter in suppressing the Revolt. Their loyalty was now rewarded with the announcement that their right to adopt heirs would be respected and the integrity of their territories guaranteed against future annexation. The experience of the Revolt had made them decided to use the princely states as firm props of British rule in India.

Change in administrative policies: The British attitudes towards India and consequently, their policies in India changed for the worse after the Revolt of 1857. While before 1857 they had tried, however half heartedly and hesitatingly, to modernize India, they now consciously began to follow reactionary policies which were reflected in many fields.

(a) Divide and Rule; After the Revolt of 1857 the British increasingly continued to follow their policy of divide and rule by turning the princes against the people, province against, caste against caste, group against groups and above all, Hindus against Muslims. Immediately after the revolt their suppressed Muslims, confiscated their lands and property on a large scale, and declared Hindus to be their favorite. After 1870, this policy was reversed and an attempt was made to turn Muslims against the nationalist movement. The Government cleverly used the attraction government service to create a split between the educated Hindus and Muslims. The Government promised official favor on a communal basis in return for loyalty and so played the educated Muslims against the educated Hindus.

(b) Government attitudes towards educated Indians: The official used to favor the educated Indians before 1857 but their attitudes changed after the Revolt because some of them have began to use their recently acquired modern knowledge to analyse the imperialistic character of British rule and to put forward demands for Indian participation in administration. The officials became hostile to the educated Indians when the latter began to organise a nationalist movement among the people and founded the Indian National Congress.

(c) Government attitudes towards the zamindars: After the revolt, the British changed their attitudes towards the zamindars and landlords to use them as a dam against the rise of popular and nationalist movement. The lands of most of the talukdars of Awadh were restored to them. The zamindars and landlords were now hailed as the traditional and ‘natural’ leaders of the Indian people. Their interest and privilege were protected and they, in turn, became the firm supporters of British rule in India.

Offline class – How 1857 changed the polity of country?

4. Discuss the role of women in the freedom struggle especially during the Gandhian phase.

Description: Here emphasis was to be given on the role of women in freedom struggle during Gandhian phase. But note, according to the language of the question, the role of women before Gandhian phase cannot be missed, so mentioning it was required in the introduction. The article below will give you an idea of what points could have been covered in this answer.

Women started participating in the freedom struggle right from the very beginning with Rani Lakshmi Bai, Begum Hazrat mahal etc playing an important role in the revolt of 1857.

In the early phase of Nationalist movement Annie Besant emerged as an important leader and women participated on large scale in her Home Rule League.

Women participation turned into a mass participation under the Gandhian Movement. The most important women leader of this phase was Sarojini Naidu. She led many campaigns herself and invited women to participate in the Satyagraha.

Gandhiji understood the potential Indian women. One of the greatest contributions of Gandhiji to the emancipation of women is his insistence on their participation in politics. Gandhiji felt that women should have as much a share in winning swaraj for India as men. In fact, large number of women participated in India’s struggle for independence. Women could take part in the movement, and were in fact encouraged to do so, since the methods for struggle were mainly non-cooperation and non-violence.

They were active in participating in the Swadeshi movement, or the boycott of foreign goods, non-payment of taxes, picketing of liquor shops, and so on. There was mass participation of women in the non-cooperation movement of 1921 and the civil disobedience movement of 1930.

As a result of being associated with, and participating in the freedom struggle, Indian women realized the importance of living life as conscious human beings. A number of women activists also gained prominence were Kamaladevi Ghattopadhyaya, Kalpana Dutt, and Madame Bikaji Cama.

How did we help you?

Offline Question – The nature of struggle for women’s issues have been changing with time. Draw a comparison between the nature of movements centered around women in the 19thcentury India and post-independence India.


5. Highlight the differences in the approach of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom. 

Description: with the government’s declaration that it is going to make public the records of Netaji, a question on him was expected. And when we discuss about Subhash Chandra Bose, we always talk about the ideological differences between Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose. So this question was also not exactly difficult.

Netaji differed from Mahatma Gandhi’s approach of non-violent movement to oust the British. Netaji believed that non-violence could be an ideology but not a creed. The national movement should be free from violence but, if need be, people could resort to arms. Netaji recalled the Mahatma’s immediate stoppage of “satyagraha” at Chauri Choura in Uttar Pradesh where a mob killed the policemen who had fired on them till they exhausted the last bullet.

Subhas Chandra Bose died abroad in mysterious circumstances and did not return to the subjugated India. His papers probably reveal not only his differences with the Mahatma but also the cult of violence against the non-violence ideology.

Apparently, it was more than the difference in the viewpoints.

All that the public knows was that the Mahatma supported J.B. Kripalani, a leading Congress leader, against Netaji for the office of Congress president in the party election. In fact, it was a confrontation between the two ideologies, one non-violent and the other for the use of arms, if needed.

With the Mahatma jumping into the arena, the contest did not remain confined to non-violence and violence but a challenge to his authority. Netaji did not want the national movement to look divided and preferred to withdraw. But his stock did not suffer. The people began to revere him more. However, the Mahatma turned out to be right that violence could not match the strength of the British empire and that non-violence, backed by the teeming millions, was the most effective weapon.

In fact, the Mahatma’s ideology had a moral and critical side to it: you can win through love even the most tyrants, not by the gun, which he can gather in great number, but through your behaviour not to hit back even when kicked.

Netaji was popular and had a band of people, called the Forward Block, following him through thick and thin. But the mass appeal for the Mahatma had drowned their voice and a very few people cared for them. The matter would come to be reduced to his wish against a few whose base was limited.

Q.6 Has the formation of linguistic states strengthened the cause of Indian unity?

Description: A straight forward question from Post Independent History. Formation of linguistic states and their significance is an important event in the post independent history and is covered nicely in the NCERT and Bipin Chandra. Since a question was not asked on this topic before, it was bound to come this year or the next.

Here the example of Srilanka can be given, there a leader said, that “2 languages 1 nation and 1 language 2 nations” while the debate for selection of national language was going on. Srilanka chose Sinhalese and that lead to great rift between the Tamil and Sinhalese communities. This finally led to a bloody separatist movement in Srilanka.

In India, after independence the states were formed on the basis of administrative convenience but there was a demand to divide states on the linguistic basis. To get this demand fulfilled Potti Sriramulu sat on a long hunger strike which finally took his life. This created a huge uproar and in 1956 the State Reorganisation committee divided the states on linguistic basis.

The formation of linguistic states is the single most important event in the history of South Indian languages, as it provided an opportunity for these languages to develop independently, each of them having a state to support.

This also created faith in the government of India that it gives equal respect to the feelings of every linguistic community and not just the Hindi speaking population.

It was predicted by many british political thinkers that India won’t be able to contain this much of linguistic diversity and will be broken into smaller linguistic kingdoms. But this one mature step of the legislature proved everyone wrong and became a major cause for Indian Unity.

Offline class – Discussed in detail in Polity class

7. The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa were led by the new elite of Western -educated Africans. Examine.

Description: This question actually took everyone by surprise. Although colonisation in Africa was an important topic to be covered in World History, but this question was too specific to be predicted by anyone. You will always get 1-2 questions like this in every paper, they are put to create panic. This is the real test of your mental strength. If you have no idea about such questions, leave them without wasting your time in thinking about them. Once the other questions are answered properly, then you can always come back to such question.

The below link will give you an information about the colonial struggle of African countries.


8. To what extent globalisation has influenced the core of cultural diversity in India? Explain.

Description: This question is from Indian Sociology part of the syllabus. From this part dynamic questions like these are asked. Since it was the 25th year of GPL, a question on them was expected. This question was quite easy for people with sociology and geography optional. You need to remember while answering these questions, that sociological impact is the focus of the question and not globalisation. Generally people end up writing only the economic aspects.

One of the important reasons for India’s cultural diversity is its openness for new ideas and thoughts. We have always adopted the ways of foreign lands.

Globalisation has been the newest way of exposing India to the outer world once again. Social changes which it has brought:

  • Change in dressing and fashion.
  • Change in eating habits and cuisines.
  • Trend of speaking new languages.
  • Use of gadgets
  • Entertainment sector changed with inflow of Hollywood and English series.
  • Farmers turning more and more for commercial farming.
  • New ideas like feminism, animal rights are finding grip in India on western lines.
  • Consumerism is increasing.

(More points can be added. You need to remember that only social changes are asked.)

How did we help you?

Offline Question – Globalization has given rise to the culture of consumption which is not good for the society as a whole. Do you agree? Critically examine.


9. “An essential condition to eradicate poverty is to liberate the poor from the process of deprivation.” Substantiate this statement with suitable examples. 

Description: A very general question. The problem with such questions is, we all know this thing as a matter of fact, that’s why when it comes to write an answer, we have so much of content that it becomes difficult for us to articulate an answer.

Example of Vietnam can be given. It follows a socialist model. Also the measures that the Indian Government is taking to eradicate poverty can be quoted as examples here.

Kind of general question – Points from many TLP questions and current affairs analysis (DNA) based on sustainable development can be written

Key requirements for sustainable poverty reduction

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10. Why are the tribals in India referred to as ‘the Scheduled Tribes’? Indicate the major provisions enshrined in the Constitution of India for their upliftment.

Description: The question is a mix of Indian sociology, polity and post independent history. The second part of the question is very straight and most of the aspirants knew the answer. In the article below we have tried to explain the first part of the question for your information.

After independence there were 2 views to make the tribal policy.

One view was to totally isolate the tribals and let them follow their customs and government should not interfere in their matters.

The other view was to totally assimilate the tribals in the mainstream society.

Nehru rejected both the views. The problem with first view was, tribals had already got in touch with the mainstream society that their isolation was not possible. Also it would have pushed them towards backwardness.

The problem with complete assimilation of tribals was, we were showing that our life style and ways are superior to that of tribals. If something is starting from the idea of condescension it cannot travel very far.

Nehru put forward the policy of Tribal Panchsheel – 5 points to govern tribals by partially integrating them to the modern system.

In order to implement this policy the identification of tribals was important hence they were listed in a schedule. The tribes which were selected to be put into that schedule, they are called scheduled tribes.

Offline Question – Tribal identity today is centered on ideas of resistance and opposition to the overwhelming force of the non-tribal world. Comment.

11. With a brief background of quality of urban life in India, introduce the objectives and strategy of the ‘Smart City Programme.”

Description: This question is being asked every year and almost in every paper. Objectives and strategy of Smart cities can be read from the Site of Government of India. How the quality of life is deteriorating, we have explained below:

Town/ Urban area as defined by the Census of India

Two conditions:

  • A minimum population of 5000
  • 75% of male working population should be engaged in non – agricultural activities.

Quality of urban life is deteriorating:

  • Housing problem. Because of constant inmigration, problem of slums.
  • Pollution
  • Traffic problem.
  • People are not able to avail government services. Long queues in government offices, hospitals, etc.
  • With increase in population pressure, there is lack of civic amenities.
  • Crime problem
  • Average Increase in temperature of urban areas.
  • Unplanned growth

Solution of all these problems can be given through ‘Smart Cities’

How did we help you?

Offline Question – The smart cities project is faced with multiple challenges and ambiguities in terms of it’s financial model, governance and scale. Critically examine.



12. What is the basis of regionalism? Is it that unequal distribution of benefits of development on regional basis eventually promotes regionalism? Substantiate your answer.

Description: This is a typical question. Much easier for a geography optional person to answer. Here after giving some basis for regionalism, you had to focus only of developmental aspect of regionalism. Preferably a map should be included.

Regions can be classified broadly on two basis:

  • Natural
  • Anthropogenic

Natural: On the basis of climate, physical features, natural vegetation, rainfall, etc.

Anthropogenic: Religion, language, dressing, food crops, natural resources etc.

The latest regional division can be seen on the basis of development: the countries are divided into under developed, developing and developed countries.

Even in a country, because of relative deprivation different regions are being formed. The main reason of this is unequal distribution of benefits of development. For example, the new states of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Telangana were formed because of lack of development. Even broadly it is generally perceived that South Indian states are developed while the BIMARU states are under developed.

Offline Question – Regionalism in the Indian context hasn’t necessarily been a bad experience. Critically comment.


13. Discuss the concept of air mass and explain its role in macro-climatic changes.

Description: A hardcore typical technical geography question. One can also expect this question in optional paper. Basically the question was about the air masses, temperate cyclones and climatic changes brought by these cyclones.

Air mass: An air mass is a distinctive, homogenous, body of air in terms of temperature, humidity and lapse rate, that takes on the moisture and temperature characteristic of its source region. For example, if an air mass is formed over Canada it will be very cold and dry.

The most important role of air masses in macro climatic changes is the formation of temperate cyclones.

Classification of air masses:

Air masses are classified on the basis of source region, latitudinal position, temperature and moisture properties. The two main categories of air masses are:

  • Tropical or sub-tropical
  • Polar or sub- polar

The sub division of these groups is made according to whether the source region is oceanic or continental. They are also sub-divided according to what modifications the air masses experience as they move from their source regions.

To identify the different types of air masses, letter symbols are placed first in the designation. Following that the source region is indicated: Tropical (T), Polar(P), Equatorial(E), Arctic(A) and Antarctic(AA).

‘k’ (for the German kalt) for the air colder than the underlying surface or ‘w’ for air warmer than the surface.

Temperate cyclones: the temperate cyclones occur in the mid latitude of both the hemisphere. These cyclones are born along the polar front, particularly in the region of Icelandic and Aleutian sub –polar low pressure areas in the northern hemisphere.

Characteristics of temperate cyclone:

  • The temperate cyclone moves counter clockwise in northern hemisphere and clockwise in southern hemisphere.
  • It may be 1600km wide, thus a single cyclone may cover the whole Europe.
  • The isobars are elliptical in shape.
  • The cold air mass moves faster than the warm air mass.
  • These cyclones moves at a gentle pace of 5-25km per hour.
  • They give light showers which are highly beneficial for the crops and human health and efficiency.
  • In the ending part of cyclone there is thunder and lightning.
  • Each cyclone is followed by a clear weather.


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14. “The Himalayas are highly prone to landslides.”Discuss the causes and suggest suitable measures of mitigation.

Description: Easy and straightforward question. The question has been asked several times in UPSC and it has been nicely given in NCERT as well.

The basic reasons of frequent landslides in Himalayas are heavy rainfall, tectonic activity and anthropogenic activities like deforestation, formation of dams, unplanned construction of houses and roads etc.

Some of the mitigation measures are:

  • Mapping of the landslide prone areas.
  • Restricted construction.
  • Environment impact assessment of new projects.
  • Frequent checking of leakage of pipes and level of water penetration.
  • Afforestation
  • Creating awareness regarding landslides in the local population.

(More points can be added by you)

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15. The effective management of land and water resources will drastically reduce the human miseries. Explain.

Description: Again a very general question. In this question, first you had to mention about the human miseries cause due to inefficient management of land and water resource. Better if you could do it separately. Then explain with the help of examples how can they be reduced.

General Question- Can be answered using various DNA articles too.

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Offline Question – (Land resource) – Since land is a limited resource, proper land policy formulation in terms of ownership, use and management is vital to ensure sustainable economic gains. Do you agree? Substantiate by taking suitable examples.


16. South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance in the present context. Comment.

Description: With its act east policy, India’s relations with South East Asian countries are improving. Two such countries are Vietnam and South Korea. There is a territorial conflict going on between China, japan, Vietnam and South Korea in South China sea. Indian companies are invited there by Vietnam for Oil exploration; hence that area has become strategically and economically important for India. A question was expected on South China sea. Since the question is asked in paper 1, you first need to tell about its geographical importance and then how it influences the political condition in the region. It’s better if you can draw a map to enunciate.

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Points from importance of South East Asia for India can be included in this answer





17. Major cities of India are becoming vulnerable to flood conditions. Discuss

Description: After Chennai floods last year this question was expected. And UPSC has asked it in a very straight forward manner.

Some of the important reasons for urban flooding are:

  • Blocking of natural drainage because of unplanned construction. The natural path of water has been blocked (This was seen in case of Kashmir flood where there is a lot of construction on the banks of river Jhelum and around Dal lake.) also encroachment of lakes and ponds as in the case of Chennai.
  • Due to urban heat island, there are weather changes on a local scale causing erratic rainfall.
  • Because of construction and concretisation, the permeability of land has been decreased.

(Note: you can add some more reasons apart from these important ones.)

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18. Present an account of the Indus Water Treaty and examine its ecological, economic and political implications in the context of changing bilateral relations.

Description: The question could have been an open ended question, but UPSC made it specific by mentioning “in the context of changing bilateral relations”.  Again this is one question that was very much expected (in paper 2) as IWT was in the news.

The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank. The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.

According to this treaty, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, which constitute the eastern rivers, are allocated for exclusive use by India before they enter Pakistan. However, a transition period of 10 years was permitted in which India was bound to supply water to Pakistan from these rivers until Pakistan was able to build the canal system for utilization of waters of Jhelum, Chenab and the Indus itself, allocated to it under the treaty. Similarly, Pakistan has exclusive use of the western rivers Jhelum, Chenab and Indus.

The countries agree to exchange data and co-operate in matters related to the treaty. For this purpose, treaty creates the Permanent Indus Commission, with a commissioner appointed by each country. It would follow the set procedure for adjudicating any future disputes arising over the allocation of waters. The Commission has survived three wars and provides an ongoing mechanism for consultation and conflict resolution through inspection, exchange of data and visits. The Commission is required to meet regularly to discuss potential disputes as well as cooperative arrangements for the development of the basin. Either party must notify the other of plans to construct any engineering works which would affect the other party and to provide data about such works. In cases of disagreement, a neutral expert is called in for mediation and arbitration. While neither side has initiated projects that could cause the kind of conflict that the Commission was created to resolve, the annual inspections and exchange of data continue, unperturbed by tensions on the subcontinent.

With the current conflict brewing between India and Pakistan, it was indicated by India that it can use Indus water as a pressure technique if Pakistan doesn’t control the cross border terrorism.

If this is done, there can be serious ecological, economic and political repercussions.

Ecological: Creating a new dam in India, will cause large area to be flooded. This will force many animal species to migrate. Since the most of the species here are very rare, habitat loss can trigger extinction.

One the other hand, Pakistani territory will be water starved; wild there will be affected because of lack of water.

Economic: Indus is the largest river of Pakistan and its main source of water. The complete agriculture and industries are dependent upon Indus. If the flow of water is stopped, the complete Pakistani economy will crumble.

Political: If two states of the same country can fight for the river water, then the political implication between two countries will be much severe. It can definitely lead to a full-fledged war. If that happens, the economy of both the countries will be pushed back 20-30 years. Not to mention the loss of wildlife at these ecologically sensitive areas.

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19. Enumerate the problems and prospects of inland water transport in India.

Description: Direct question on inland water transport. With an aim to increase the manufacturing, cheaper and environment friendly methods are required to transport those goods. For this inland water transport can be beneficial.


  • Most of our transportation infrastructure was developed by the British. But they neglected the water transport. That’s why we have to start from the scratch.
  • Most of the rivers in the peninsular are seasonal, so there are times when water is not sufficient for navigation.
  • Heavy silting and pollution in the rivers.
  • Navigation can cause increase in oil spills and pollution impacting the wildlife adversely.
  • The current waterways are grossly underutilised.
  • Reduced flow due to diversion of water for irrigation, for instance, in the Ganga which makes it difficult even for steamers to ply.


  • The inland water transport is a cheap, fuel-efficient, environment-friendly mode with a higher employment generation potential and is suitable for heavy and bulky goods. But, the share of inland water transport in total transport in India is only around 1 per cent.
  • In India, 14,500 km of river channels are navigable, of which 3,700 km are usable by mechanised boats. But actually, only 2000 km are used. Of the total canal length of 4,300 km in India, 900 km is navigable, but only 330 km is used.
  • India has so many perennial streams and rivers that if they are connected and utilised properly, they have a huge inland water transport potential.


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Offline Question – There has been strong impetus on developing inland waterways in recent years. What are the advantages of inland waterways over other modes of transportation? Also discuss the recent initiatives taken in the direction of developing inland waterways in India.


20. In what way micro-watershed development projects help in water conservation in drought-prone and semi-arid regions of India?

Description: This is a question which could have been asked in paper 3 as well. With increase in drought conditions in semi arid areas of India, micro watershed development has become a necessity.

Micro-watershed development can be considered as one of the best programs in rural development, both in terms of immediate and targeted effects. It improves the quality of life of villagers through increased productivity of the land, availability of water—surface and ground, an increase in the vegetation cover, improving cattle health resulting in higher milk production, and improving the overall environment by tree plantation. If implemented in a technically sound manner and socially with the participation of people, this programme is capable of transforming the whole village(s).

It aims at collection and careful use of the available water (both over ground and underground). It also aims at protection of the ecology of the place as well as sustainable agriculture.

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