SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2017 : UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [3rd Aug, 2017]- Day 19

  • August 4, 2017
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IASbaba's Think Learn and Perform 2017, UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2017 : UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [3rd Aug, 2017]- Day 19



1. Discuss the locational factors of various service sector industries. Take at least examples each from North America, Europe and Asia.



The tertiary sector or service sector is the third of the three economic sectors of the three-sector theory. The others are the secondary sector (approximately the same as manufacturing), and the primary sector (raw materials).

The tertiary sector of industry involves the provision of services to other businesses as well as final consumers. Services may involve the transportdistribution and sale of goods from producer to a consumer, as may happen in wholesaling and retailing, or may involve the provision of a service, such as in pest control or entertainment. The goods may be transformed in the process of providing the service, as happens in the restaurant industry. However, the focus is on people interacting with people and serving the customer rather than transforming physical goods.

Main Body

Factors Influencing Location of Service sector

Several factors that influence location of service sector are,

  1. Availability of Skilled Manpower.
  2. Infrastructure development like Internet facilities, Roads, Transport etc
  3. Availability of capital for employment and office set up.
  4. Government friendly policies to encourage the service sector.
  5. Presence of large land area for the development of SEZ and IT parks.
  6. Level of economic development, It has been seen that countries normally transform structurally from primary to secondary to tertiary economy.
  7. Presence of Market.
  8. Historical reasons.
  9. Suitable weather and overall climate

Hence a culmination of these factors have played a crucial role in setting up of service sector industries in different parts of the world get regional variances exist for example,

– In the US, software Industries exists in the West coast near California. This is due to large scale skilled labour in the region with many universities along with venture and angel capitalist ready to fund the industry.

– In Europe, London has emerged as the financial capital. Availability of large scale credit due to big banks along with huge market of the European Union and present very near to the GMT line which enables round the clock service availability has been major factors.

– In Asia, Indian cities like Bengaluru and NCR region has emerged as IT and BPO hub due to cheap labour availability and presence of large space for establishing office and government friendly policies like Start up India. Tourism in Middle East countries is on the rise due to governmental promotions and large scale investment.

Hence the interplay of various factors have resulted in highly specialized development of cluster of service sector industry in different parts of the world

Best Answer: Pranoti



2. Examine the global significance of petroleum resources of the Middle East.


The Middle East region compromising of the Arab states, Iran, Iraq have a significant proportion of the global petroleum resources. The Persian Gulf region is one of the richest region in terms of petroleum reserves and it is this advantage that has given the power and prestige to the Gulf nations.

Global significance:

1) Economic Significance:

  • Oil being a major driver of growth for a country, many countries of the world are directly dependent on middle east countries for their energy resources. The prices of petroleum products have a direct impact on the current account deficit of the nation.
  • OPEC has significant control in the movement of oil prices. Fluctuations in oil prices greatly affect national economies of both major oil importing and exporting countries. Eg: Recent slump in oil prices has boosted Current Account Deficit of India(importer) whereas it has resulted in severe contraction in economies of Venezuela and Russia(exporters).
  • Global Remittances: Due to high economic development by selling of oil, the. Middle east region has emerged as one of the largest employers in the world and plays crucial role in global remittance market.
  • The booming oil economy has resulted in large investment in tourism in these countries.
  • The discovery of oil in the region coincided with the initial days of automobile industry. Availability of oil resources helped the industry to boom within no time.

2) Energy security:

  • It caters to nearly 80-90% of the global oil and energy demands. Oil from this region is transported to majority of the nations of the world for meeting their oil related demands. This region thus forms the source of energy security of the world.

3) Geopolitical significance:

  • Due to heavy economic dependence, the middle east nations play an important role in world geo-polity. All major countries of the world including U.S.A wants to have cordial relationship with middle east countries.
  • Oil boom has made the Middle East strategically important. As a result, the major powers want to either be on friendly terms with these countries or have de facto control over their oil resources. It has even resulted in some wars like Kuwait War, Iran- Iraq War. The ongoing conflict in Syria shows how the region sometimes becomes battleground for proxy wars between powerful countries.
  • The money earned and the power and prestige established from petroleum resources have made the Arab nations a significant world power. They control the global oil prices and are thus able to manipulate economic, political and diplomatic relations worldwide.

Negative repercussions:

  • Terrorism Support- The presence of oil has resulted in large scale capital availability to many of the terrorist organizations like ISIS. The region is a hotspot for radicalization and extremism. The growth of terrorist groups in the region is a threat to the world. Hence the money cooperation and power of the Arab nations is needed to counter the threat of terrorism
  • Large scale human rights violations- Due to huge support from many countries which are dependent on the middle east nation on their energy needs, human rights violations towards women and minority are often overlooked.
  • Environment- The heavy depletion of petroleum reserves results in large scale burning and increase in global warming of the world.


It is the need of the hour to preserve the safety and peace in the region to maintain global energy and human safety. Any instability in the region creates rise in oil prices which adversely effects economies of nations. Hence energy security should be complemented by territorial and political stability. The thriving Islamic fundamentalism poses security threats. Even though oil plays major role in shaping the social and political relations yet recently due to large scale importance being given to renewables and new resources like shale gas, the importance of oil from middle east is on the decline.

Best answer: uma sarma



3. What are rare earth metals? What are their applications? Also discuss their distributional patterns and associated global politics.

  • What are rare earth metals:

Rare earth elements or rare earth metals are a group of seventeen elements in the Periodic Table including Scandium, Yttrium and 15 Lanthanoids with Z ranging continuously from 57 to 71.

Rare earth elements are not as “rare” as their name implies. these metals are very difficult to mine because it is unusual to find them in concentrations high enough for economical extraction.

Because of their unique magnetic, luminescent, and electrochemical properties, these elements help make many technologies perform with reduced weight, reduced emissions, and energy consumption; or give them greater efficiency, performance, miniaturization, speed, durability, and thermal stability.

  • Applications:
  1. Electronics: Television screens, computers, cell phones, silicon chips, monitor displays, long-life rechargeable batteries, camera lenses, light emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), baggage scanners, marine propulsion systems.
  2. Manufacturing: High strength magnets, metal alloys, stress gauges, ceramic pigments, colorants in glassware, chemical oxidizing agent, polishing powders, plastics creation, as additives for strengthening other metals, automotive catalytic converters
  3. Medical Science: Portable x-ray machines, x-ray tubes, magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) contrast agents, nuclear medicine imaging, cancer treatment applications, and for genetic screening tests, medical and dental lasers.
  4. Technology: Lasers, optical glass, fiber optics, masers, radar detection devices, nuclear fuel rods, mercury-vapor lamps, highly reflective glass, computer memory, nuclear batteries, high temperature superconductors.
  5. Renewable Energy: Solar panels, Hybrid automobiles, wind turbines, next generation rechargeable batteries, biofuel catalysts.
  6. In Defence: Rare earth elements play an essential role in our national defense. The military uses night-vision goggles, precision-guided weapons, communications equipment, GPS equipment, batteries and other defense electronics. These give the United States military an enormous advantage. Rare earth metals are key ingredients for making the very hard alloys used in armored vehicles and projectiles that shatter upon impact.
  • Distribution:

Rare earth minerals occur in the form of bastnaesite, monazite and xenotime and some other minerals. As shown in the U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, February 2014, REE reserves worldwide total 140 million tonnes. They are distributed mainly in China (55 million tonnes), the United States (13 million tonnes), India (3.1 million tonnes), Australia (2.1 million tonnes), Brazil (2.2 million tonnes), Malaysia (30,000 tonnes), Russia, Egypt, Canada, South Africa and other countries.

  • Geo-politics:
  1. China which produces over 97% of the world’s rare earth metals enjoys monopoly and is actively exploiting this to maintain its lead position.
  2. In 2012, China restricted the export of rare earth metals to japan in response to the islands dispute. Japan which is one of the largest users of rare earth metals had to look for other suppliers at significantly hogher prices.
  3. Excessive supply by china had led to closing of rare earth mines in USA, which were also facing environmental restrictions, less environment laws and supply of labour propelled China to leadership position.
  4. India has been importing rare earth metals form china, but it is also looking for other suppliers to ensure supply if china imposes any trade restrictions. In this regards it has signed a supply agreement with Mongolia.
  5. USA is planning to re-open its mines, for reasons of national security, as some of these minerals are used in nuclear and space applications.
  6. Australia and Canada are also working on opening local mines to extract these minerals.
  7. Many countries have complained to the WTO against China for following unfair trade practices which are detrimental to mining and trade of other countries.

Best Answer: Dhruv.



4. There has been an impetus on commissioning high speed trains in the country. Why high speed trains are required? Discuss. Also enumerate the steps taken by the government in this regard.


India has the fourth-largest rail network in the world. Considering the size, scale of operations and technology, it is appropriate that the high speed trains are introduced. High speed rail has operational speeds in excess of 200 km/h.The Indian government is planning to introduce high speed trains. At the same time, it intends to raise the average speed of the existing trains by diverting the freight traffic to the dedicated corridors.

Main Body

Why high speed trains are required?

  1. Travelling is often considered as unproductive. Reduction of travel time can allow people to do more work in a given period of time. It can also decrease freight time considerably. This will make our industries and plants more efficient and demand responsive.
  2. Increasing the rail speed can allow more trains on the same track. It will result in better capacity utilization.
  3. This can attract more consumers which have migrated to other means of transportation like roads. This will enhance railway revenues in the future.
  4. This can also solve the congestion issues in the big cities. Now the people can travel from peri-urban areas to urban conglomeration on a daily basis.
  5. Any such move will increase our overall productivity and make India more attractive to beneficial foreign investments. This in future will increase our export potential.
  6. Technology absorption will also require large-scale skill upgradation hence more jobs
  7. Increased connectivity with high speed acts as a catalyst for various industries like perishable food industries.
  8. Given the low density of highways and low development of airway infrastructure, the onus falls on developing high speed railways.

Government Initiatives

Government is taking multiple initiatives as investment in infrastructure and railways; this will have a multiplier effect.

  1. As part of the high-speed train project, a high-speed training centre is proposed
  2. high speed rail corporation to undertake feasibility studies and techno-economic investigations and prepare Detailed Project Reports and Bankability Reports of selected corridors for introduction of High Speed trains in India
  3. collaboration with Japan for high speed trains Gatiman express is India’s first semi highspeed train ,Tejas trains
  4. Mission Raftar :measures are being taken to raise average speed of both passenger carrying trains and freight carrying trains

5.Proposal for Maglev train a magnetic levitation train

However the steps have been criticized as well due to the following reasons,

  1. Existing railways infrastructure and conditions of passenger trains have to be improved before thinking of high speed railways
  2. Existing schemes in other transport sectors like UDAN in airways will make the use of high speed railways redundant
  3. The bullet train project will be too costly for India in the long run
  4. Entire country needs to be connected with railways before thinking of high speed railways e.g no railway connectivity to many of the the North eastern states.


The implementation of high speed trains have few issues as the existing tracks are not suitable for such high speeds and replacing them will require more funds and suitable alternative transport mode till the construction is done. Implementation while addressing these issues will reap more benefits for demographic dividend.

Best Answer: Gayatri



5. The Government recently cancelled the registration of NGOs which violated the FCRA act 2010. Though illegality of conduct must be punished, the need of the hour is a structured dialogue between the Government and Civil society. Elucidate.


The recent crackdown on NGOs for allegedly violating provisions of FCRA act 2010( which monitors foreign contribution to voluntary sector) has resulted in cancellation of licences of more than 20,000 NGOs. Though the act has been termed hasty, arbitrary and discriminatory by prominent personalities, the Home ministry under whose aegis the FCRA is implemented mentions the IB report in which the bureau terms many NGOs are involved in stalling of developmental projects etc.

Prominent amongst them is Compassion International which is allegedly involved in forceful conversions which can cause communal tensions impacting the internal security.

Similarly the CBI says though there are about 29 lakh NGOs registered only 2.1 lakh of them file annual financial statements, similarly many NGOs are registered under FEMA but continue to disburse money to other sub groups which is gross violation of law.

Even Supreme Court has lamented lack of Uniform law to regulate the voluntary sector and has asked the Law Commission to look into it.


But the blanket ban of NGOs including many prominent ones like Green Peace,  Ford foundation as has been done by MHA is not the way to go as pointed out by many of them are involved in filling out development lacunae . Many are involved in strengthening democratic process eg: ADR, Women and Child welfare like CRY, Help age India. Many are involved in formulating reports used by Government for monitoring eg: ASER by Pratham, rural indebtedness survey by CDS etc. P.Sainath opines that the misunderstanding is due to trust deficit.

Civil society is important for any dialogue in a nation. In the present situation, every Government needs to look into what is in the in the larger interest of the states and the nation. Every case should be measured in accordance with the rules and regulations which are in place. Public interest has lot of grey areas. Who decides public interest is a matter of concern. These are the times when Government spokesperson should come forward and clarify why these decisions were made. This ambiguity and lack of information is something which ferments all kinds of wrong information.

NGOs are not above scrutiny. FCRA cancellation only means that the NGOs cannot get foreign funds. They do not cease to exist. All NGOs cannot be painted with the same brush. There are organizations which are also doing good work. There needs to be selfregulation and a body which takes care of monitoring staffed by people from civil society as well.(This idea was mooted as a National Accreditation council under National policy on voluntary sector, 2007)  There should be a discourse working towards nation building.


NGO’s play an important role in democracy as – service provider, value generation, community building and as an advocacy group.

NGO’s are playing an important role in areas like Human Rights, Environment, Social Service etc. However there are a number of problem in the functioning of NGO’s:

  1. Accountability -not filing annual returns. As per CBI, out of 30 lakh NGO’s, 8-10% have filed their returns.
    2. Misuse of Funds – like Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation .
    3. Regulation – (i) strict rules under FCRA (ii) conflict between FEMA Act and FCRA Act – NGO’s are registered under both act and it bring conflict between Finance and Hime Ministry.
    4. Change in Definition of Public Servant under Lokpal Act to include NGO’s has been criticised.
    Government has taken certain measures like -amending FCRA rules, bringing NITI Aayog Darpan portal to register them and has proposed new rules to regulate NGO’s.

Can Dialogue work?
1. Above measures were one sided and there is a need for structured dialogue. For e.g, in 2002, Planning Commission had an extensive discussion with NGO’s and the result was National Policy on Voluntary Organisation(NPVO),2007.
2. A very important recommendation of NPVO was to set up a National Accredition Council(NAC) on the lines of Bar Council of India. This was recommended again by Second ARC which has not been implemented. NAC would have representatives from both Government and NGO’s there by promoting a dialogue with the objective to promote norms, best practices, protect autonomy of NGO’s.
3. NITI Aayog through its DARPAN portal can start a comprehensive dialogue on similar lines what Planning Commission did in 2002 and bring measures to solve above cited problem. For e.g. comprehensive law for NGO’s just like firms have Companies Act.
4. Again it is only by dialogue that some self-regulatory bodies can emerge which is important as NGO’s work in diverse sectors like Human rights, environment, social service and it is impossible to have single approach to regulate all.
5. Another good example is the National Advisory Council of UPA-I which had civil society members where Government and NGO’s worked together on many issues. Such body can be reactivated.

A vibrant civil society is important for democracy to flourish and can only happen if Government and NGO’s work together.


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