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Highlights of Reforms Measures in the Economic Survey 2016-17 Volume-2 

Agriculture and Food Management Reforms

Managing and reducing the various risks in agriculture activities can make the sector resilient, increase profitability and can ensure stable income flows to the farmers. The following reforms are suggested for increasing productivity in agriculture and allied sector:
·         To address the price risks in agriculture and allied sectors, marketing infrastructure along the entire value chain needs to be built and strengthened.

·         To address production risks, the share of irrigated area should be expanded by increasing the coverage of water saving irrigation systems like micro irrigation systems.

·         To increase productivity of crops, standards should be set and enforced for better quality, pest and disease resistant seeds.

·         Trade and domestic policy changes should be announced well before sowing and should stay till arrivals and procurement is over.

·         To enhance women’s involvement in the dairy projects, funds should be earmarked through appropriate mechanisms.

·         Providing timely and affordable formal and institutional credit to the small and marginal farmers is the key to inclusive growth.

·         Regime based on timely interventions needs to be adopted.


Industry and Infrastructure

·         Railways should go for more non-fare sources along with station redevelopment and commercially exploiting vacant buildings at the station, monetizing land along tracks by leasing out to promote horticulture and tree plantation, and through advertisement and parcel earnings.

·         During the last few years the non-major ports are gaining more share of cargo handling compared to major ports. It is required to develop non-major port and also enhance their efficiency and operational capacity.

·         Reforms such as privatization/ disinvestment of Air India, creation of aviation hubs and reconsidering the 0/20 rule are some suggestions to improve Indian airlines’ share in the international market.


Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development

·         India, is emerging as a knowledge based economy, poised for double digit growth, and needs to strengthen social infrastructure by investing in health and education.

·         The education policies need to be designed with focus on learning outcomes and remedial education with interventions which work and maximize the efficiency of expenditure. There is need for bio-metric attendance of school staff, independent setting of examination papers, neutral examination and for DBT for schools. There is need to adopt outcome measures for the education and skilling activities to ensure improvement in delivery of schemes/ programmes.

·         In order to make the labour market system dynamic and efficient, the government has taken several reforms/initiatives, both legislative as well as technological such as notification of ‘Ease of Compliance to maintain Registers under various Laws Rules, 2017’ and introduction of e-Biz Portal. These registers/forms can also be maintained in a digitized form.

·         Government has been imparting short term skill training through Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and long term training through Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). Model Skill Centers are being set up in every district of the country under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra Scheme. The emphasis is on enhancing the quality of skill training programmes and making a competency-based framework with giving individuals an option to progress through education, training, prior learning and experiences.

·         There has to be concerted efforts by the Central and State governments to reform the health sector, by addressing quality issues, standardising rates for diagnostic tests, generating awareness about alternative health systems and introduction of punitive measures like fines on hospitals and private health providers for false claims through surgery, medicines etc. For more equitable access to health services, government should provide health benefits and risk cover to poorer sections of the society.

·         Towards addressing the challenges in health sector, the Government has formulated the National Health Policy, 2017, which aims at attaining the highest level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services, without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.

·         Addressing the social security of large number of vulnerable workers in the informal economy should be prioritized by the Government along with ensuring the safety and security of women to raise their participation in economic activities.

Commerce Strategy: Raj Karan Agarwal, IRS, 1st Attempt, Rank 474

Commerce Option: To Opt or not to opt?

Commerce is one of the technical optional and provides an advantage to commerce graduates as your college and professional studies are utilized in both paper 1 & 2. There are about 150 marks worth numerical, which can fetch very good marks. Besides, a large portion of the syllabus is static in nature.
However, Commerce is also one of the lengthy optional in terms of time required for preparation & revision.
The biggest hurdle is that commerce requires vast reading and then integration from different sources, for a comprehensive coverage in paper 1 and 2.
Since UPSC numericals are very unpredictable, it requires a high level of competence.
In this scenario, there is no harm in taking coaching if you’re uncomfortable. For example, I did join coaching for Paper-II, since the basics are taught in class and regular test provide a check. Besides, time is saved since you don’t have to refer to material from different sources
But a word of caution: coaching helps only around 20-25%, rest is application and hard work of student itself.

Commerce Paper 1

For CA students who have not joined any coaching classes- refer to your CA PCC/IPCC material, instead of putting time in different standard books.
You can also rely on coaching class, but only after prudently analyzing past year questions.

Topic & Prep. Source Remarks

Financial Accounting : JR Monga & DS Rawat(For AS) OR Material of CA PCC.
Focus more on Accounting Standards and presentation (for numericals) should be taken care of properly with working notes.
No need to practice again & again. Just mark the important adjustments/questions and refer them only in subsequent revisions.
Cost Accounting: Maheswari & Mittal plus theoretical part from either book itself or some compilation like CA PCC scanner. Also material of RANKER’s CLASSES (RC) provides very good compilation of numericals and theory. OR Material of CA PCC can be referred. Emphasis should be given on theory equally.
Taxation: Girish Ahuja OR CA PCC. One can go in depth initially and mark important adjustments and later on focus on basics itself. Again theoretical portion is important like exceptions to any section/rule etc. Overall questions are of graduation level only.
Auditing : CA PCC notes for relevant topics or Aruna Jha or Compilation from RC.
Financial Management : RP Rastogi OR CA PCC notes plus relevant topics from CA Final can also be seen. FM has been the most wicked portion for past few years but don’t try to control this part as question have wide range. Just see you’re aware of different models/concepts/terms that come along.
Financial Markets and Institution :Relevant Chapters from Indian Financial system by Bharati V Pathak or any other book and newspaper cuttings provided by RC. Keep track of steps/initiatives by RBI,SEBI,IRDA etc.
I did not prepare this section in detail, since it is highly unpredictable and I suggest not to waste much time in it.
For paper 1, exam day revision is impossible and therefore make chaperwise notes of important formulae and adjustment which are tricky especially for Acct,FM and Cost.For tax,one can go in slight details also.

Capsule for Exam Hall

In exam hall patience & calmness holds the key since there will definitely be bouncers (unpredictable & unexpected questions). You’ve to smartly avoid them in Choice and for compulsory questions don’t beat around the bush if you don’t know the answer.
Rather invest the time in known questions & numericals.
Even if 25-40 marks questions are unanswered, still you can achieve 140 easily. Try to attempt more numerical than theory.

Commerce Paper 2

I followed Rankers material and class notes sincerely for paper 2 together with good reading of basic books mentioned below and compiled all of them in around 80 pages Organization Theory and Behavior, Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations.
Organisation Theory & OB : SP Robbins OT book (for different models/terms/concepts),Singh & chhabra. SP Robbins OB book(only relevant chapters) PLUS RC notes and answers.
Human Resources Management (HRM) : CB Gupta,RC notes and answers.
Industrial Relations : RC notes are sufficient.


Here preparation should start with a general reading & developing the conceptual clarity with subsequent reading focusing upon important definition by authors/thinkers, establishing links with other topics/chapters and current corporate practices.
After reading the definition & basic explanation try to think before studying in detail.

Notes making for Paper 2
Note making is very important here wherein diagrams, verbatim defintions (by thinkers), examples & only core points should be noted without explanation.
Topics from all sources should be integrated at one place.
Important lines from class notes should be on the lips like NR Murthy says “ our most important assets walk out everyday and we have to make sure they return” in context of HRM.

Capsule for Exam Hall

For compulsory question same as for Paper 1.Choice here is more important as little knowledge of every question shall be there.
So, after choice careful reading of question is needed before writing & while writing also.
Make use of all chapters and topics in your answers but basic tone of answer should be maintained like for HR answers, focus more on such dimensions and less of OB etc. Also avoid GS type and general answers.

Answer writing

For Long answers-Introduction can be either indirect through some lines or quotes or direct with general explanation followed by exact definition.
Thereafter topic need to be explained in short followed by establishing links with other chapters and focusing on the question again. Here give a pause, read the question again & think again. Diagrams can be used effectively.
Ending of the answers should always be visionary/positive and solution based with example if needed or with some lines.
There should be mixed use of paras and points. Examples should be quoted wherever possible but refrain from using one enterprise again & again.
For short answers, write the basic definition and then directly hit the core.
Ending should be solution based. For merit/demerit/feature use diagram or points.
Test series can be joined for practice.

Article link:

Sociology Strategy: Chandra Mohan Garg, Rank 25 CSE – 2015


Book List

  1. Upendra Class Notes – Available in Delhi Book stores
  2. Aditya Mongra Printed Notes– Available on his Fb Page(
  3. Vikash Ranjan Book ( Fundamentals of sociology): Available in Book Stores
  4. Haralambos (small one) – Also called Haralambos and Heald, small orange coloured. Available in bookstores
  5. Haralambos (the new one) – Selected pages photocopy version available in the market but a little bulky, I preferred small old one. Only initial chapter 2,3 need new one exclusively that can be photo stated from friends or use some other source.
  6. IGNOU BA– Can be downloaded from Mrunal website
  7. Ritzer – Printed copy in market

For Each chapter, I have told two or three books or sources due to few reasons. Since each chapter has many topics and one particular source won’t have all the topics covered or even if they are covered then they won’t be very good. So out of the sources mentioned you can figure out which one explain which topic in the best way and read it .Don’t try to read one topic from multiple resources until they have something extra or you lack clarity. Another reason for telling more resources is you might not have all of them; in that case, you can refer to other resources.

P.S – This is my personal Book list. Please don’t abuse me if it doesn’t suit you J . Refer it at your own risk. 😀 It is better to follow your own resources/booklist. Eg- If you are studying from Mahapatra coaching follow it/his notes. For topics there is lack of clarity or not covered you can glance my book-list.


Topics General List Additional Source for Reference
1. Sociology – The Discipline:  Fundamentals of sociology
(a) Modernity and social changes in Europe and emergence of sociology. IGNOU BA
(b) Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences. Aditya Mongra Notes/ Bottomore
(c) Sociology and common sense. Anthony Giddens
2. Sociology as Science: Haralambos and Holborn (new)* / Fundamentals of sociology
(a) Science, scientific method and critique. Aditya Mongra Notes
(b) Major theoretical strands of research methodology. Aditya Mongra Notes
(c) Positivism and its critique. Aditya Mongra Notes
(d) Fact value and objectivity. Aditya Mongra Notes
(e) Non- positivist methodologies. Aditya Mongra Notes
3. Research Methods and Analysis: Haralambos and Holborn(new)* / Fundamantals of sociology
(a) Qualitative and quantitative methods. Aditya Mongra Notes
(b) Techniques of data collection. Aditya Mongra Notes
(c) Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity. Aditya Mongra Notes
4. Sociological Thinkers: Upendra Class Notes + Ritzer and Fundamentals of sociology ( if you missed something). If you find ritzer difficult than Ignou is a good alternative.
(a) Karl Marx- Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation, class struggle.  IGNOU BA
(b) Emile Durkheim- Division of labour, social fact, suicide, religion and society.  IGNOU BA
(c) Max Weber- Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.  IGNOU BA
(d) Talcolt Parsons- Social system, pattern variables.  IGNOU BA
(e) Robert K. Merton- Latent and manifest functions, conformity and deviance, reference groups.  IGNOU BA
(f) Mead – Self and identity.  Aditya Mongra Notes
5. Stratification and Mobility: Haralambos (small) + Fundamentals of sociology /Upendra Notes
(a) Concepts- equality, inequality, hierarchy, exclusion, poverty and deprivation. Aditya Mongra Notes
(b) Theories of social stratification- Structural functionalist theory, Marxist theory, Weberian theory. Haralambos mainly
(c) Dimensions – Social stratification of class, status groups, gender, ethnicity and race. Aditya Mongra Notes / IGNOU
(d) Social mobility- open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility. Aditya Mongra Notes
6. Works and Economic Life: Fundamentals of sociology
(a) Social organization of work in different types of society- slave society, feudal society, industrial /capitalist society.
(b) Formal and informal organization of  work.
(c) Labour and society.
7. Politics and Society:
(a) Sociological theories of power. Haralambos(small one) + Upendra Notes
(b) Power elite, bureaucracy, pressure groups, and political parties. Haralambos(small one)+ Upendra Notes
(c) Nation, state, citizenship, democracy, civil society, ideology. Fundamentals of sociology+ Upendra Notes Aditya Mongra Notes
(d) Protest, agitation, social movements, collective action, revolution. Fundamentals of sociology + Upendra Notes Aditya Mongra Notes
8. Religion and Society:
(a) Sociological theories of religion. Haralambos (small one)
(b) Types of religious practices: animism, monism, pluralism, sects, cults. some part haralambos + Fundamentals of sociology
(c) Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularization, religious revivalism, fundamentalism. secularisation in haralambos(small one) + fundamentals of sociology Aditya Mongra Notes
9. Systems of Kinship: Upendra Notes + Fundamamentals of sociology + Haralambos(selectively)
(a) Family, household, marriage. Aditya Mongra Notes
(b) Types and forms of family. Aditya Mongra Notes
(c) Lineage and descent. Aditya Mongra Notes
(d) Patriarchy and sexual division of labour. Aditya Mongra Notes
(e) Contemporary trends. Aditya Mongra Notes
10. Social Change in Modern Society: Upendra Notes + Fundamantals of sociology
(a) Sociological theories of social change.
(b) Development and dependency.
(c) Agents of social change.  Sindhuri Mam notes
(d) Education and social change.  Haralambos (small one)
(e) Science, technology and social change.


PAPER – 2 Book List

  1. Mahapatra Notes: Class notes available in market or Flavido
  2. Sindhuri Mam Notes: Available in market or on Flavido
  3. Applied Sociology(Vikash Ranjan) – Available in Market
  4. IGNOU MA Mainly- Download from Mrunal website
  5. Aditya Mongra Notes – Fb Page. Link is above
  6. Dynamic Part – Newspaper, EPW, Yojana periodically for case studies and contemporary examples
  7. If you want you can selectively read Veena Das Essays, Ram Ahuja, B.K Nagla, Nadeem Hussain ( I did not read them)

P.S – Paper 2 is very confusing; you will need to refer to many resources. I am only mentioning what I referred. You may have your own resource list. Please follow it. For topics you don’t find a resource, you can take a look here. But follow your own strategy, in sync with your coaching/self-preparation.



Topics General List Additional Source for Reference
A. Introducing Indian Society:
(i) Perspectives on the study of Indian society: Mahapatra Sir Notes + Sindhuri Mam Notes Applied Sociology
(a) Indology (GS. Ghurye).
(b) Structural functionalism (M N Srinivas).
(c) Marxist sociology (A R Desai).
(ii) Impact of colonial rule on Indian society: Mahapatra Sir Notes + Sindhuri Mam Notes Applied Sociology
(a) Social background of Indian nationalism.
(b) Modernization of Indian tradition.
(c) Protests and movements during the colonial period.
(d) Social reforms.
B. Social Structure:
(i) Rural and Agrarian Social Structure: Mahapatra Sir Notes + Sindhuri Mam Notes IGNOU MA* /Applied Sociology
(a) The idea of Indian village and village studies.
(b) Agrarian social structure – evolution of land tenure system, land reforms.
(ii) Caste System: Mahapatra Sir Notes + Sindhuri Mam Notes + IGNOU MA Applied Sociology
(a) Perspectives on the study of caste systems: GS Ghurye, M N Srinivas, Louis Dumont, Andre Beteille.
(b) Features of caste system.
(c) Untouchability – forms and perspectives.
(iii) Tribal communities in India: Mahapatra Sir Notes + Sindhuri Mam Notes + IGNOU MA Applied Sociology
(a) Definitional problems.
(b) Geographical spread.
(c) Colonial policies and tribes.
(d) Issues of integration and autonomy.
(iv) Social Classes in India: Mahapatra Sir Notes + Sindhuri Mam Notes + IGNOU Applied Sociology
(a) Agrarian class structure.
(b) Industrial class structure.
(c) Middle classes in India.
(v) Systems of Kinship in India: Mahapatra Sir Notes + Sindhuri Mam Notes + IGNOU MA Applied Sociology
(a) Lineage and descent in India.
(b) Types of kinship systems.
(c) Family and marriage in India.
(d) Household dimensions of the family.
(e) Patriarchy, entitlements and sexual division of labour.
(vi) Religion and Society: IGNOU (selectively) + Applied Sociology
(a) Religious communities in India.
(b) Problems of religious minorities.
C. Social Changes in India:
(i) Visions of Social Change in India: Mahapatra Notes +Applied Sociology + IGNOU MA Sindhuri Mam Notes
(a) Idea of development planning and mixed economy.
(b) Constitution, law and social change.
(c) Education and social change.
(ii) Rural and Agrarian transformation in India: Mahapatra Notes + Sindhuri Mam+ IGNOU MA Applied Sociology
(a) Programmes of rural development, Community Development Programme, cooperatives, poverty alleviation schemes.
(b) Green revolution and social change.
(c) Changing modes of production in Indian agriculture .
(d) Problems of rural labour, bondage, migration.
(iii) Industrialization and Urbanisation in India: IGNOU MA + Mahapatra + Sindhuri Mam Applied Sociology
(a) Evolution of modern industry in India.
(b) Growth of urban settlements in India.
(c) Working class: structure, growth, class mobilization.
(d) Informal sector, child labour.
(e) Slums and deprivation in urban areas.
(iv) Politics and Society: Mainly in sync with Paper-1 Applied Sociology
(a) Nation, democracy and citizenship.
(b) Political parties, pressure groups , social and political elite.
(c) Regionalism and decentralization of power.
(d) Secularization
(v) Social Movements in Modern India: Mahapatra + Sindhuri Mam + Aditya Mongra/Praveen sir Notes Applied Sociology
(a) Peasants and farmers movements.
(b) Women’s movement.
(c) Backward classes & Dalit movement.
(d) Environmental movements.
(e) Ethnicity and Identity movements.
(vi) Population Dynamics: Sindhuri Mam + IGNOU MA+ Applied Sociology
(a) Population size, growth, composition and distribution.
(b) Components of population growth: birth, death, migration.
(c) Population policy and family planning.
(d) Emerging issues: ageing, sex ratios, child and infant mortality, reproductive health.
(vii) Challenges of Social Transformation: Sindhuri Mam + IGNOU MA+ Applied Sociology
(a) Crisis of development: displacement, environmental problems and sustainability.  Can Refer Ram Ahuja, Articles of EPW here
(b) Poverty, deprivation and inequalities.
(c) Violence against women.
(d) Caste conflicts.
(e) Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism.
(f) Illiteracy and disparities in education.



  1. Break the syllabus into parts: Chapters – Topics – Sub-topics.

Now refer to your booklist. One book/source will not have all the topics and even if they are present it will lack exhaustiveness. So out of the sources mentioned you can figure out which one explain which topic in best way and read from it .Don’t try to read one topic from multiple resources if you are able to get clarity after reading from one source, until and unless there is some value addition stuff.

  1. Please refer to last year questions topic wise they will help in guiding you what to cover from a topic. Also try to answer them once the chapter is over to check is you able to tackle them. That is the simplest way to check if you are on right track.
  2. In the initial stages it will be very difficult to understand sociology especially if you do not have a background. So be patient. Initially focus on understanding thinkers they are the base of sociology. Once you have clarity here, sociology will not be difficult.
  3. Sociology will require 2-3 readings of the topic before you will start understanding it. Once you are able to grasp things, it is better to consolidate and make notes of it.
  4. Making notes is very important since you are trying to collate information from multiple sources at one place. It will always help you.


If you can join a coaching it is good since subject is technical needs some help. If not possible to join than too no issues, with some initial efforts you will start getting things.

Most renowned teachers are Mahapatra and Upendra Sir. Other good teachers include Aditya Mongra, Praveen Kishore, Vikash Ranjan Sir and so on. I am not going to compare and tell who is better. Take your own judgement since it is a very personal decision.

Test Series for sociology

Check out here –

P.S – it’s my own point of view.

Answer Writing

  1. Learn the syllabus topics and sub-topics .It helps a lot in making linkages.
  2. Once you complete a chapter please do write some last year questions and get them evaluated.
  3. Once you complete the syllabus completely do join a test series.
  4. In sociology first and foremost thing is knowledge without it nothing will happen, second is using it in context of question, third is structuring your answer properly (you have to have an Intro – Critical Analysis – Conclusion) if the question demands.
  5. Do not mind even linking paper 1 with contemporary examples. That will help in enriching answers
  6. In Paper -2 try to link theory and examples in your answers. Also you can use paper -1 thinkers. Q- Impact of privatisation on educational disparities. Here you could present both sides. Use Marxian Perspective, Aser Data, some Indian thinker/activist perspective etc. Same with the functionalist perspective.
  7. For GS type questions Like MNREGA. You need to relate it to topics of the syllabus. MNREGA is linked with rural transformation, poverty, women upliftment, migration, social change/development, environmental change, rural development, rural labour etc. You can easily frame your answers once you know how it links to my syllabus. Try to write some social reports/analysis on MNREGA. Or some perspective if you can give. ( eg- Role of state in social development , Policy as a tool of social change etc. Just for example I sighted)
  8. The only way to improve answer writing is firstly knowledge and then its presentation. This will happen when u are well versed with complete syllabus. Have consolidated it and done enough answer writing practice. Do self evaluation and evaluation by teachers/friends. This helps in knowing where you are missing and accordingly you can improve.

Any queries still?

You can ping me on my Fb Page –

Great India Bustard vs Development

Bijli-sadak-paani are the basic needs for a decent quality of rural life. Villages in the remote grasslands and deserts of India have long suffered and lacked these amenities. But times are changing. The Great Indian Bustard, an ambassador of grasslands and deserts, and could-be national bird (if not for the objections that its name was open to misinterpretation) was once widespread across the dry rural landscapes of India. It has now disappeared from 90 per cent of its former range.

Justifiably, electricity, road and water facilities for rural households are the main agenda for development programmes. The present government has a target of electrifying seven lakh power deprived villages with mazes of power lines. About 1.7 lakh villages will be connected by constructing and upgrading 7.5 lakh kilometres of roads. The water needs of 80,000 sq km of agricultural land will be quenched through funding for irrigation projects. Bijli-sadak-pani will finally reach remote rural households.

However, this change has come at a cost to wildlife conservation. Many remote rural landscapes are also important wildlife habitats. The influx of infrastructure has modified these lands and wildlife is not amenable to such rapid changes. The expanding infrastructure in grasslands and deserts has been a death knell for the Great Indian Bustard. With just 200 bustards left, they are precariously close to extinction. Why is the bustard disappearing? The devil is in the details. Those who have travelled the interiors of Kutch or Thar about a decade ago will now find these landscapes transformed by bijli-sadak-pani. First, there is a change in farming practices as a perennial water supply (brought by the Indira Gandhi Nahar Project in Thar and by bore-well irrigation in Kutch) ensures land is cultivated intensively all through the year. Earlier, farming was only done during monsoons and this spared lands for bustards, antelopes and foxes.

Second, mazes of power lines are laid along aerial corridors. Bustards are on a collision course as they have narrow frontal vision that does not allow easy spotting of wires and being not very agile flyers they have poor manoeuvring skills.

The only breeding male in Nannaj Sanctuary that was radio-tracked by Wildlife Institute of India is one of the many birds that succumbed to electrocution and/or the impact of a collision. This is not only about the death of an individual bird but mathematical projections based on the bustards’ demography found that these accidental deaths are sufficient to cause bustards to go extinct. Yet, prime bustard habitats between Sam and Mokla in Thar and between Naliya and Bitta in Kutch are allocated for wind and solar power projects. These renewable power projects, touted as “green energy”, are actively pursued by the present government. An ambitious target of generating 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2020 means that about 2,000 sq km of land will be lined with solar panels that will be placed mostly in grasslands and deserts. In a final effort to save the bustard, conservation agencies have joined hands to restore its habitats and secure a captive bred population as an insurance against extinction. But reviving the bustard requires the importance of grasslands and deserts to be recognised.

Indian environmental laws mandate that infrastructure projects be scrutinised on the basis of environment impact assessments before granting clearances. Safeguards are suggested to reduce ecological damage, and their implementation is monitored. The problem is that forest-centric environmental governance does not recognise grasslands and deserts as worthy of conservation attention. This is an imprinted notion that is derived from an archaic colonial policy. Grasslands and deserts were not regarded as resources for the British economy — the notion of unproductive “wastelands” that are better diverted to “more productive” uses continues to this day. But grasslands and deserts support biodiversity that is so unique that their loss cannot be compensated by conserving forests. The 11th Five-Year Plan recommended that grasslands and deserts be brought under the ambit of environment impact assessment and consolidation of these habitats as “protected areas”. The second policy shortfall was the sole focus on “protected areas”, wherein efforts to protect the bustard inside sanctuaries went kaput as the same birds were dying outside during their wide expeditions. Many voices call for conservation policy to transcend “protected areas” and to manage land uses in “unprotected” biodiversity-rich areas. This transition is necessary since ecological processes are spatially interlinked and small protected areas lose their functions when processes are disrupted in surrounding rural landscapes.

The way forward need not be viewed through a lens of “this or that” — whether bijli-sadak-pani or conservation; development or environmental laws; protected or unprotected. It is more often a question of where and how to implement infrastructures in rural-wildlife habitats while trying to meet wildlife concerns. Rajasthan has pioneered the initiative of participatory land-use planning in bustard habitats. In a recent meeting, officers from the state forest department, revenue department, energy department and wind and solar power firms have agreed to avoid new power lines and renewable power projects from coming up on prime bustard habitats.

There is no doubt that balancing rural development and bustard conservation is one of the most formidable challenges we face. By confronting this challenge, we are at the tipping point for how land-use planning and environmental stewardship is possible in other parts of India.

A B C of Shale Gas

What is Shale Gas?

Shale gas is natural gas contained within a commonly occurring rock called shale. Shale rocks are characterised by low permeability, so gas flows through them with more difficulty than through a conventional gas reservoir. Shale gas resources are also less concentrated. Compared to conventional gas, shale wells have short lives and developing a shale field requires drilling many holes over a short period. Shale gas is part of unconventional gas resources that have traditionally been considered difficult or costly to produce. These resources were known for decades but it is only due to recent technological developments, mainly horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, that they are now being recognised as an important source of energy.

How is it Produced ?

After a patch of land is cleared, a hole, some 2000-3000 m deep, is dug vertically till it reaches the shale rocks. Steel tubes called casings are inserted and cemented in the hole to isolate the well from the surrounding rocks and aquifers. Now horizontal holes ranging from 1,000-3,000 m are dug to access the rocks at various points. Next step is to fracture the rocks to free the gas trapped within. For this water mixed with sand and chemicals is pumped into the ground at high pressure to force it through the perforations. This creates cracks in underground rocks. Hydraulic fracturing of rocks is also called fracking. Sand holds the cracks open, allowing the gas to flow into the bore well. Given the length of horizontal wells, hydraulic fracturing is often conducted in 10-20 stages, where each stage focuses on a limited linear section and may be repeated numerous times. This multi-stage fracturing requires large volumes of water. A standard single-stage hydraulic fracturing may pump down several hundred cubic metres of water together with proppant and a mixture of chemical additives. In multi-stages the total volume of water used might reach up to 20,000 cubic metres per well and the amount of proppant up to 4,000 tonnes.

Some of the fracturing fluid injected into the well will return to the surface along with water that occurs naturally in the rocks. This is brought to the surface, collected, treated and reused or disposed of. Along with this, natural gas is also released, which is collected and treated.

Where is it found and how much?

International energyAgency estimates that the remaining technically recoverable resources of unconventional gas worldwide are similar in size to the remaining conventional gas resources. Advanced Resources International, Inc. (ARI), a consultancy firm, did the most comprehensive assessment of shale gas for the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

It estimated the shale gas and shale oil resource in 26 regions consisting of 41 countries. According to the assessment, 7,795 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas resources exist. Two-thirds of these are concentrated in six countries–USA, China, Argentina, Algeria, Canada and Mexico. The top 10 countries account for over 80 per cent of the currently assessed resources.

Why the interest in shale gas?

The global energy mix, in the absence of a strong climate policy, is likely to remain highly fossil fuel-dependent. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), even in 2035 about 75 per cent of the energy demand will be met by fossil fuels. But within the fossil fuels, IEA predicts, the share of coal and oil will reduce and that of gas, which is comparatively cleaner, will increase in the next 20 years under the pressure to curb local pollution and greenhouse gases. The global demand for gas can increase by 50 per cent by 2035 compared to the 2010 level. The increase in gas demand will make many large countries increasingly import-dependent. China’s dependence on imported gas is likely to increase to 40 per cent by 2035; India’s to 45 per cent and the European Union’s to more than 80 per cent.

Much of the shale resource exists in countries with limited endowments of conventional oil and gas supplies, such as South Africa, Jordan and Chile; or in the countries which are net gas importers and face increasing import dependency, such as the US and China; or in regions where conventional hydrocarbon resources have largely been depleted, such as Europe. The exploitation of shale gas is, therefore, likely to reduce prices and import dependencies of countries for natural gas.

History Optional Strategy – Books to follow



  1. UPINDER SINGH- A history of ancient and early medieval India: The most important book, according to the current trend of questions being asked on socio-economic aspects of history
  2. IGNOU B.A notes- very crisply written
  3. IGNOU M.A NOTES – helpful in understanding various political, economic and socio- cultural aspects
  4. Romila thapar- Early India( only a very selective reading)
  5. NCERT Class 6, NCERT Class 11


  2. Satish Chandra is another important source to compliment IGNOU.



  1. SHEKHAR BANDOPADHYAY- From Plassey to partition
  2. SUMIT SARKAR- Modern India:
  4. IGNOU B.A and M.A


  1. IGNOU BA and MA
  2. RANJAN CHAKRABARTY- A history of modern world
  4. DAVID THOMSON (Selective reading)
  5. NCERT CLASS 9 and 10

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (KMY) is known for its religious importance, cultural significance and arduous nature. The trek through high altitudes in freezing temperature entails hard labour and courting danger. The annual pilgrimage holds religious importance for Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.

Yatra involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet, under inhospitable conditions, including extreme cold and rugged terrain. It may prove hazardous for those who are not physically and medically fit.

Mansarovar Lake is located at an altitude of 14,950 ft (4,558 m) is said to be the highest freshwater lake in the world. It is located in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China, 940 kilometres (580 mi) from Lhasa. To the west of it is Lake Rakshastal and to the north is Mount Kailash.

The yatra is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) annually. The Yatra is organized in close cooperation with the Government of the People’s Republic of China. State Governments of Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Delhi, and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (KMVN) are other major Indian partners of the Ministrny organizing the Yatra.

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