Indian Statistical Service Indian Economic Service (ISS IES) 2021 General Studies-1 Question- 2
(a) "Climate change is likely to adversely affect certain countries dependent on agriculture." Examine this statement by citing relevant examples.
Answer- Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on agriculture, particularly in countries that heavily rely on this sector for their economy. The changing weather patterns, including shifts in temperature and precipitation, can adversely affect crop yields, livestock health, and agricultural productivity. The following are examples of countries that are likely to be negatively affected by climate change due to their dependence on agriculture.
1. Sub-Saharan Africa: Sub-Saharan Africa is home to over 300 million people who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Climate change is projected to reduce crop yields and increase the frequency and intensity of droughts, floods, and heatwaves in this region. Countries such as Ethiopia, Mali, and Niger are particularly vulnerable to these effects. In Ethiopia, for example, agriculture accounts for over 80% of employment, and climate change is expected to cause significant declines in yields for crops such as maize, sorghum, and millet.
2. India: India is one of the world's leading agricultural producers, with the sector accounting for around 17% of the country's GDP and employing nearly 50% of the population. However, climate change is already having a severe impact on agriculture in India, with farmers facing frequent droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events. In 2019, a heatwave in the country caused the deaths of hundreds of people and livestock, while also damaging crops and leading to significant economic losses.
3. Australia: Australia is a significant exporter of agricultural products, particularly crops such as wheat, barley, and canola. However, the country is already experiencing the effects of climate change, including prolonged droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires. These conditions are likely to reduce crop yields and livestock production, particularly in regions such as the Murray-Darling Basin, which is one of Australia's most important agricultural areas.
In conclusion, climate change is expected to have severe consequences for countries that depend heavily on agriculture, both in terms of food security and economic growth. While some countries have already begun to implement measures to adapt to these changes, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will be sufficient to mitigate the worst effects of climate change on the agricultural sector.
(b) Many countries prefer coal rather than solar or wind energy as a source of fuel. Why ?
Answer- There are several reasons why some countries still prefer coal as a source of fuel over solar or wind energy:
1. Cost: Coal is often cheaper than solar or wind energy, particularly in countries with large coal reserves. This makes it an attractive option for countries looking to keep energy costs low.
2. Reliability: Coal-fired power plants can provide a consistent and reliable source of energy, whereas solar and wind energy production can be variable and dependent on weather conditions.
3. Infrastructure: Many countries already have well-established infrastructure for coal production and consumption, including power plants and transportation systems. Transitioning to solar or wind energy would require significant investment and changes to existing infrastructure.
4. Politics: In some cases, coal may be viewed as a symbol of national pride or identity, particularly in countries with a long history of coal mining and production.
5. Job Creation: Coal mining and power generation can provide jobs and economic benefits to local communities. In some countries, politicians may prioritize job creation and economic development over environmental concerns.
However, it's important to note that the long-term environmental and health costs of using coal as a source of energy can far outweigh the short-term benefits. Solar and wind energy, while initially more expensive to implement, offer a clean and sustainable source of energy that can ultimately lead to significant cost savings and environmental benefits over time.
(c) "Air pollution and water shortages are among the problems faced by urban centres across the globe." Examine this statement.
Answer- The statement "Air pollution and water shortages are among the problems faced by urban centres across the globe" is accurate and reflects two of the most pressing challenges faced by urban centers worldwide.
Air pollution is a significant issue in many urban centers, with sources including industrial activities, vehicular emissions, and domestic heating and cooking. High levels of air pollution can lead to a range of health problems, including respiratory diseases and cardiovascular issues, and can have broader environmental impacts such as climate change. Efforts to reduce air pollution in urban centers include promoting the use of public transportation, encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles, and implementing regulations on industrial emissions.
Water shortages are also a major issue in urban centers, particularly in regions with limited water resources or inadequate infrastructure. Urbanization can lead to increased water consumption and pollution, exacerbating water scarcity in some areas. Water shortages can have severe consequences for communities, including health problems, economic challenges, and social unrest. Efforts to address water shortages in urban centers include improving water management practices, increasing investment in water infrastructure, and promoting water conservation behaviors.
In conclusion, air pollution and water shortages are two significant problems that urban centers across the globe face. Addressing these issues will require coordinated efforts from government, industry, and civil society, and will be essential to ensuring the health, wellbeing, and sustainability of urban communities worldwide.
(d) What factors influence the location of industries in India today?
Answer- The location of industries in India today is influenced by various factors, including:
1. Availability of Natural Resources: Industries such as mining, agriculture, and forestry require natural resources like minerals, water, and timber. The availability of such resources in a particular region can attract industries that depend on them.
2. Infrastructure: The presence of well-developed infrastructure, including roads, ports, airports, and rail networks, can attract industries as it reduces the cost of transportation and enables the smooth movement of goods and services.
3. Labor Availability: The availability of a skilled and affordable workforce is a significant factor in the location of industries. Regions with high population densities and access to education and training centers can attract industries that require skilled labor.
4. Market Proximity: Industries need access to markets to sell their products. The proximity of an industry to its markets can influence its location decisions, as it reduces transportation costs and facilitates the timely delivery of goods.
5. Government Policies: Government policies, including tax incentives, subsidies, and regulations, can influence the location of industries. For example, special economic zones (SEZs) offer tax incentives to attract industries to a particular region.
6. Political Stability: Political stability and the absence of social unrest are important factors that can attract industries as it provides a conducive environment for businesses to operate.
7. Climate and Weather: The climate and weather of a region can also influence the location of industries, especially those that are weather-dependent such as agriculture and tourism.
8. Access to Finance: The availability of finance and credit facilities is crucial for the growth of industries. Regions with established financial centers and access to credit facilities can attract industries that require funding.
These are some of the factors that influence the location of industries in India today.
(e) "Degradation of forest resources and wildlife is a fallout of agriculture and urbanization." Assess this statement giving examples from India.
Answer- The statement "Degradation of forest resources and wildlife is a fallout of agriculture and urbanization" is true, and India is no exception to this phenomenon. Here are some examples:
1. Agriculture: In India, agriculture is one of the main reasons for deforestation. Forests are cleared to make way for agricultural land, and this has led to the loss of habitats for many wildlife species. For example, in the state of Punjab, large-scale cultivation of paddy and wheat has resulted in the depletion of groundwater and the degradation of soil. This has also led to the loss of biodiversity, as many natural habitats have been destroyed.
2. Urbanization: Rapid urbanization in India has led to the destruction of forests and the displacement of wildlife. As cities expand, they encroach upon forested areas, leading to the fragmentation of habitats and the loss of biodiversity. For example, in Mumbai, the construction of high-rise buildings and other infrastructure has led to the destruction of mangrove forests, which serve as a crucial habitat for many species of birds, mammals, and marine creatures.
3. Mining: Mining is another major cause of deforestation and degradation of forest resources in India. Large-scale mining operations often involve the clearing of forests and the displacement of wildlife. For example, in the state of Jharkhand, extensive mining activities have led to the destruction of vast tracts of forested land and the displacement of many indigenous communities that depend on these forests for their livelihoods.
In conclusion, agriculture, urbanization, and mining are some of the main drivers of forest degradation and loss of wildlife habitats in India. These activities have led to the loss of biodiversity, the depletion of natural resources, and the displacement of many communities that depend on forests for their survival. To address these challenges, it is essential to develop sustainable land-use policies and practices that balance economic development with environmental conservation.