SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP GS Mains 2017 [12th July]: Day 3

  • July 13, 2017
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IASbaba's Think Learn and Perform 2017, UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP GS Mains 2017 [12th July]: Day 3



1. What are ocean currents? Discuss their effects on climate by taking suitable examples (the examples should be one each from North America, South America, Africa and East Asia).

  • Ocean Currents:
  1. Ocean currents are body of water mass with a slightly different thermophysical characteristic viz temperature, density and salinity from the surrounding water body. They move in a well-defined path like a river in the ocean and is influenced by the direction of wind and the coastal features.
  2. An ocean current is any more or less permanent or continuous, directed movement of ocean water that flows as both surface as well as sub-surface currents. The speed with which the currents flow is called the drift.
  3. Types of ocean currents: Depending on the driving mechanism ocean currents are classified as Surface Currents and Subsurface Currents.
  4. The surface circulation of the world’s oceans is mostly wind driven. Thermohaline currents are driven by differences in heat and salt and are associated with the sinking of dense water at high latitudes; the currents driven by thermohaline forces are typically subsurface.


  • Effects of Currents on Climate:
  1. Warm current increases the temperature and humidity of the coastal area through which it passes, such as the Norwegian current which increase the temperature of the coastal areas of North Sea make the port workable and climate cool and moist
  2. Most of warm current are found in eastern margin of continent in lower latitude and influencing the coastal climate such as North Atlantic drift in eastern USA, Florida current in gulf of Florida etc.
  3. Cold current brings the temperature down and creates a desiccating effect and foggy condition in the coastal area through which it passes.
  4. Most of the cold current are found in the western margin of the continents in lower latitude which is associated with the desert landforms in these latitudes eg California current in western USA, Peru current in western south America etc.
  5. Places where cold currents meet warm currents are characterized by Fog conditions which make navigation difficult. These areas are also characterized by fishing grounds due to abundance of nutrients to support marine life.
  6. Ocean currents act as global conveyor belts which transfer heat from one part of the earth to another. They regulate the coastal climate thereby indirectly regulating the vegetation, fauna and the lifestyles of the people.
  7. In E. Asia meeting of the warm Kuroshio and the cold Oyashio current provides ideal conditions for rich fishing grounds in Japan. However, navigation becomes difficult due to thick fog

Best answer: yNA



2. What is isostasy? How does isostasy explain mountain building? Illustrate. 


What is Isostasy?

The term Isostasy is derived from the Greek word ‘Isostasions’ meaning the state of being in balance. Isostasy is a phenomenon which explains the relative stability of the different landform features on the surface of the earth viz mountains, plateaus and plains. It is the equilibrium that exists between large upstanding mountains and the lowlands on rotating Earth.

How isostasy explains mountain building?

As per the isostasy concept, when the agent of gradation works on the different landform features there occur a compensation i.e when the height of a mountain is decreased by erosion then a upward compensation occur and when the height of a plain or valley increases there occurs a downward compensation.

When the balance between gravitational and buoyancy forces is removed the isostatic equilibrium gets disturbed and hence isostatic readjustment takes place.

Melting of ice sheet over a mountain and denudation of mountain will result into decrease in weight of the landform, thus the downward acting gravitational force will decrease. Positive feedback loop will be generated. Denudation lowers the height of mountains and the denuded material gets deposited in the sea floor. As the equilibrium gets disturbed, there is flow of material from ocean floor to beneath the mountain. Due to the flow upliftment occurs in proportion to the denudation. This is how global isostatic adjustment occurs. Arthur Holmes concept of ‘Global Isostatic Adjustment’ explains mountain building due to the phenomenon of isostasy.

Isostasy is thus important for understanding the formation of various landforms.


Best answers: Palash Luthra



3. Discuss the concepts of volcanism and earthquakes. Also identify the major regions of the world that are affected by these phenomena.

Volcanism can be termed as the volcanic activity, which includes eruption of magma; formation of extrusive and intrusive rocks in the region; and eruption of gases through vents in the volcano or nearby region.

Earthquakes refer to violent shaking of earth surface, due to shift in the tectonic plates or due to volcanic action.
Both these phenomenon are inter-related, as a shift in tectonic plates can gradually lead to formation of volcanoes in case of convergence of oceanic-continental plate or oceanic-oceanic plates; and a violent volcanic eruption can also lead to violent shaking of nearby surface.

Most earthquakes are directly beneath a volcano and are caused by the movement of magma. The magma exerts pressure on the rocks until it cracks the rock. Then the magma squirts into the crack and starts building pressure again. Every time the rock cracks it makes a small earthquake.

The major areas of the world experiencing this phenomenon include:
1. The Pacific Ring of Fire: The periphery area of the Pacific Ocean is said to be the most volcanic region in the world. As the Pacific Ocean plate is expanding over the adjoining plates, the regular collisions lead to frequent volcanoes and earthquakes, as can be seen during the Indonesian Tsunami; Fukushima earthquake, etc.
2. The Medittaranean region: The region has been broken into multiple blocks/ plates, leading to frequent massive Andesitic eruptions. And consequent earthquakes. For example, Mount Stromboli is called the lighthouse of the Medittaranean, due to its highly active nature.
3. Mid Oceanic region: The continuous sea-floor spreading movement leads to basaltic eruptions and minor earthquakes in the region.
4. Hot Spot volcanoes: In the Pacific ocean,also a site of ancient sub-terranean volcanic activity, which can be observed at present as a string of volcanic islands. For ex: The Aleutian, Hawaii, Reunion and Kurile Islands.

Best Answer: Neil


4. The recent visit to Israel by the Indian Prime Minister is indicative of the realisation that national interest is paramount in international relations? Critically comment.


India’s new found pragmatism in form of de-hyphenation of relations with respect to Israel and Palestine comes as a break from the past. India has now moved from politically correct position with reference to Israel-Palestine settlement conflict.

The recent visit of the Indian PM to Israel is historically unprecedented. It indicates a move away from the idealism in India’s foreign policy, towards a more action oriented transactional foreign policy.


Many reasons warrant closer India-Israel ties:-
a) Israel’s defense technology like Iron-dome anti missile system and Israel’s knowledge of counter-terrorism tactics could be a game changer for India, considering India’s volatile neighborhood.
b) Cooperation in dryland agriculture can be used in drought prone regions such as Saurashtra and Vidarbha and for mitigating Climate Change.
c) Technological collaboration in Solar energy and desalination to address energy and water security respectively.
d) Support to India by Israel at International forum like NSG, UNSC etc.

e)India needs Israel to gain a stable ally in volatile west asia besides deepen its traditional arms trade, and open new avenues for investment in areas like agriculture.

f)The jewish lobby is the strongest in US. India’s closeness to Israel also aligns it more closely with the US(India caucus), and will help in its efforts to influence US policy.

g)Joint concerns regarding terrorism will help India in its push for CCIT, besides corner Pakistan further.

h) Make in India:- Israel is keen on supporting India’s “Make in India” with its policy of “Make with India”.


However, the Move can also be counter productive to our national interest as:

a)Greater closeness with Israel ties India further with US, and may limit India’s strategic space(especially wihile dealing with China)

b)A failure to balance the optics in West Asia may undermine India’s already limited support in the Islamic world. This may lead to Internationalisation of the Kashmir Issue, besides jeopardising India’s energy security.

c)Failure to criticise Israels actions in Palestine, and in light of growing criticism of Israel’s expansionist policies, may undermine Indias global aspirations, and also its role as a principled leader of the third world.

d)Indias own neighbourhood includes many islamic nations that have no ties with Israel(Pak and Bangladesh). Growing majoritarianism and India Israel closeness may have implications on these ties.


Thus, there is a need for cautious optimism with regards to Indias closeness to Israel. Care must be taken to assuage old friends,and not create a zero sum game.

Best Answer: Pallavi Verma



Q.5 What are institutes of national importance?should they be getting autonomy in their functioning? Critically analyse.


Introduction: Institute of National Importance (INI) is a status that may be conferred to a premier public higher education institution in India by an act of parliament, an institution which “serves as a pivotal player in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country/state”.Designated by UGC under the aegis of MoHRD. Eg: IISER, IITs, AIIMS, etc.


Educational experts are of the opinion that mere designation without autonomy is a hollow promise an analysis of world education rankings in 2017 has only IISC among top ten adds to the chorus of more autonomy.


1)Financial and administrative autonomy can help in making appointments free of political interference and ability to attract global best talents and also ability to raise grants from external sources.

2) Curriculum and pedagogy can be at breast with global best practices.

3)Bureaucratic and procedural delays can be minimised .

4)Industrial academicia interface can be improved further to create adequate human capital and more inclusive growth.

TSR Subramaniam committee also mooted setting up of HEFA and also to minimise interference of UGC thus adding to weight of  more autonomy in Higher education sector

But autonomy without accountability is fraught with challenges,


1)Inclusive character of India’s educational policy and examination atmosphere can be eroded (scrapping of reservation, higher fee may make it bastion of rich and powerful )

2)Doubts on nepotism and clout of few may occur

3) Autonomy does not necessarily mean higher learning outcomes unless International assessment is done in free and fair manner.

4) INIs designation many fear may be just symbolic over a shambolic and crumbling India’s higher education structure.


Autonomy with proper oversight and screening mechanism by an independent body (like HEFA) can work like a magic potion and can create a truly world class INIs which can raise India’s stature and garner much needed recognition along with creating globally skilled Human capital with cross cultural competency.


Institutes of national importance are institutes which has been created by an act of parliament or any other public higher education institute that has been accorded such status by an act of parliament. The institutes like IIT, NIT, IISER, are institutes of national importance.

These institutes are some of the finest in the country but their international ranking leaves a lot to be desired and time and again the question of their autonomy arises.

Benefits of autonomy

The institutes will be better able to design the curriculum and add or subtract the courses being offered with the exigencies of time .

They will be able to heir the best of subject experts and foreign experts without restriction on remuneration and procedural delays.

The academia and industry partnership will improve leading to market based learning outcome and industry sponsored research and development, which will improve the employablity of the graduates and capacity to innovate.

The universities can adopt Global best practises, tie up with international universities without bureaucratic delays .

All these can improve the quality of higher education in the country which indian institues are grappling with.

But the autonomy may affect the inclusive character of these institutes as the educational institutes may demand unsustainable fees which will make these institute out of reach of many students from vulnerable groups and economically weaker sections.
The autonomy may also erode the nationalistic character of the institutes where the institutes may refuse to oblige governments request on certain account, which will be against the spirit behind the formation of these institutes.

Thus autonomy is not one stop solution to all the problems in these institutes, but sufficient autonomy must be provided to remove the bureaucratic delays and improve the quality of outcomes maintaining the inclusive and national character of these institutes.


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