Oil Spills

Oil Spills

Last Updated: March 2023

This article deals with ‘Oil Spills – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Environment’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles on Science and technology, you can click here.


The intentional or unintentional release of oil into ocean /coastal waters is known as an oil spill.

Scene of Oil Spill 

Impact of Oil Spills

  • Damage to fish, turtles, and crabs, among other marine animals. 
    • Decrease insulating capacity of the plumage of birds  
    • Ingestion by seabirds leads to kidney failure, dehydration, metabolic disorders etc.
    • Exposure to toxic petroleum products often results in lower reproductive rates.
Impact of Oil Spills
  • Loss of fisherman’s livelihood as venturing out into the sea is not safe. 
  • Consumers show reluctance to buy seafood, adding to the woes of fishermen.
  • Local tourism is impacted negatively as tourists avoid such places.
  • Heavy metals released along with oil starts to bioaccumulate in fishes and impact the whole food chain, including humans.
  • A variety of health effects may develop when an oil spill occurs close to where people live or work and may come in contact through breathing gaseous oil compounds.

India & Oil Spill: Response & Preparedness

  • The National Oil Spill-Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP) adopted in 1996 has routinely been updated and revised.  
  • India has ratified the Bunker Convention 2001 regarding the civil liability for bunker oil pollution in 2015.
  • The government provides a subsidy to the pollution response equipment to the tune of 50%.


Recovery from oil spills is difficult & depends on many factors 

  1. Type of oil spilled 
  2. The temperature of the water that may affect evaporation & biodegradability 
  3. Type of shoreline involved 


Bioremediation or Biodegradation is the use of natural or genetically modified microbes to degrade pollutants (pesticides or hydrocarbons) in the presence of oxygen.

The only problem with bio-remediation is that it can’t be used to break down heavy metals such as mercury, lead etc. But bioremediation is the most crucial technique to clear oil spills.

Bioremediation Techniques

1. Oil Zapper

  • It is essentially a cocktail of five different bacterial strains that feed on crude oil and change it to carbon dioxide and water. 
  • It is developed by the TERI.

2. Oilivorous – S

  • Oilivorous-S has an additional bacterial strain that is effective in destroying Sulphur. Hence, it can be used to contain oil spills in case crude oil has high sulphur content.
  • It is developed by Indian Oil’s research and development wing.

Both Oil zapper and Oilivorous can be used in situ, thus eliminating the need to transfer the pollutant to a centralized plant.


Some latest oil spills in the news

1. Mauritius Oil Spill (2020)

  • Japanese ship struck a coral reef resulting in an oil spill of over 1,000 tons.

2. Ennore/Kamarajar Port Oil spill (2017)

  • Oil Tankers collided, resulting in the Oil Spill wasn’t quickly contained, destroying marine life especially Olive Ridley Turtles and Migratory birds.

3. Sundarbans Oil Spill (2015)

  • An Oil Tanker passing through the Sela River in the Sundarbans met with an accident resulting in an oil spill. It did irreparable damage to the fragile economy of Sundarbans.

4. British Petroleum / Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2010)

  • British Petroleum’s oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, causing huge oil spills in 2010.
  • It is the biggest oil spill ever happened in the history of mankind, in which 4 million barrels of oil spilt into the Gulf of Mexico. 
  • British Petroleum had to pay $18.7 billion as a fine to the coastal states of the USA. 

Water Pollution

Water Pollution

This article deals with ‘Water Pollution – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Environment’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles on Science and technology, you can click here


Water pollution occurs when there is a change in the chemical, physical or biological quality of water that has a harmful effect(s) on living organisms that consume it or live in it.

When is water said to be polluted?

  • When it is impaired by contaminants 
  • Doesn’t support human use like drinking
  • Undergoes a marked shift in the ability to support its constituent biotic communities like fish (For example, almost all the fishes in Ulsoor Lake (Bangalore) died due to water pollution)

Sources of Water Pollution

There are two main types of sources: point sources and non-point sources 

1. Point sources

  • Contaminants that enter a waterway from a single and identifiable source.
  • Examples: from a sewage plant, a factory etc. 

2. Non-Point Sources

  • Non-Point Sources are the sources of water pollution that cannot be traced to a single source.
  • For Example, Acid rain, chemical runoff, and leaching out of nitrogen compounds from fertilized agricultural lands.

Apart from that, Groundwater aquifers are susceptible to contamination from sources that may not directly affect surface water bodies. E.g., chemical spill into the soil may not pollute any surface water body but pollute the underground water aquifer.

Causes of water pollution 

Water Pollution

1. Agricultural

  • Agricultural wastes include fertilizer and pesticide runoff from agricultural fields, food processing waste, tree and sawdust from logging operations and sewage from livestock operations.

2. Industrial Sector

  • Industrial discharge (effluents) may contain various compounds such as heavy metals (cadmium, chromium, lead) and organic and inorganic chemicals. These discharges can affect the temperatures of the water bodies and dissolved oxygen levels.

3. Domestic/Municipal Sector

  • The majority of domestic waste generation makes sewage which is dumped into water bodies without treatment. 

4. Thermal Pollution

  • When water at elevated levels of temperature used to run turbines in Power plants is discharged into rivers, streams or oceans, it increases the temperature of the water body. Also, it decreases dissolved oxygen in the water, which adversely affects aquatic life.

Why should India be worried about Water Pollution?

  • India should worry because India is already a water-deficient country. India has almost 18 % of the global population but only 4 % of freshwater.
  • Just 8% of domestic and industrial wastewater is released into the environment after treatment. It pollutes the natural waterbodies, making them unfit for human consumption.
  • The phenomenon of global warming has modified the ecology of major rivers of India. For instance, Ganga and Indus suffer significant-to-severe levels of water scarcity for 7 to 11 months in a year. 

Measurement of Water Pollution

1. Physical Testing

Standard physical tests of water include 

  1. Temperature
  2. Solid concentrations (e.g. Total Suspended Solids (TSS))
  3. Turbidity

2. Chemical Testing

Water samples may be examined using the principles of analytical chemistry. Frequently used methods include 

  • pH
  • Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD): It measures oxygen used by micro-organisms in the oxidation of organic matter. 
  • Chemical Oxygen Demand(COD): It measures oxygen equivalent to the oxidation of total organic matter present in water.
  • Metals (like cadmium and lead), oil & grease and pesticides.

3. Biological Testing

  • Involves the use of the plant, animal, and microbial indicators to monitor the health of an aquatic ecosystem. 
  • Example: Copepods 

Effects of water pollution

Water pollution strongly impacts humans, animals, vegetation, and the entire ecosystem. These effects can be classified into

On Ecosystem

  1. When sewage water and agriculture runoff containing organic material is discharged into freshwater, it increases the growth of algae, causing eutrophication and death of the whole aquatic ecosystem.
  2. If warm water is disposed of in coastal areas containing corals, it leads to the destruction of the whole ecosystem.
  3. A steep increase in Biological Oxygen Demand turns the lake or sea into a dead zone, killing all the organisms in the ecosystem.

On Animal Health

  1. Fishes and aquatic animals are poisoned by the dumping of industrial wastes in water bodies. 
  2. Oil spills kill a number of animals in the affected area.
  3. It leads to bioaccumulation and biomagnification across various trophic levels.

On Human Health

  1. Humans suffer from diseases like hepatitis by eating seafood contaminated due to water pollution.
  2. Heavy metal poisoning of the fishes due to water pollution can cause diseases in humans. E.g., Minamata disease due to mercury poisoning impacted humans as well.
  3. Consumption of polluted water results in cholera and typhoid.
  4. Nitrate contamination of water can prove to be disastrous for infants as it can restrict the oxygen to reach the brain causing the ‘blue baby syndrome.

Control of water pollution

Control of Domestic Sewage

  • It can be treated in urban areas by centralized sewage treatment plants.

Control of Industrial wastewater

  • Industrial waste can be treated with the help of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP) in industrial areas.

Control of agriculture wastewater

  • Farmers may utilize erosion controls to reduce runoff flows and retain soil on their fields. ‘
  • Farmers should use nutrient management plans to prevent the application of excess nutrients. 

3R Approach to manage wastewater

Government, organizations and individuals can adopt the ‘3R Approach’ to reduce wastewater which includes  

  1. Reduce (water wastage)
  2. Reuse (after treatment)  
  3. Recycle
3R Approach to manage wastewater

World Examples

  • In Singapore and  San Diego, residents already drink recycled water. 
  • Japan’s sewage operators use bio-solids as a carbon-neutral form of energy.

Side Topic: Waterman of India (Rajendra Singh)

  • Rajendra Singh is India’s noted environmentalist and is nicknamed the “Waterman of India” Rajendra Singh
  • He was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize in 2015 and Magsaysay Award in 2001 for community-based water management.
  • He was born in UP but worked in Rajasthan for decades to solve the drought issue in Indian villages. 
  • He runs the “Jal Jan Jodo” campaign to spread the water conservation message.
  • He is the proponent of community-based water management as the best way to manage water. 


Last Update: May 2023 (Roads)


This article deals with ‘Road (UPSC Notes).’ This is part of our series on ‘Economics’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


  • Roads are used to transport over 65% of the total goods and 85% of the passenger traffic.  
  • With about 52 lakh km of the road network, India has the second-largest road network in the world. 
  • The cost to transport with roadways is ₹ 26/ton/km.
  • Presently, India is the fastest highway developer globally, with 27 km of highways built each day.
  • Roads supplement the other modes of transport through last-mile connectivity to the country’s far-flung regions.

Bodies for Road Development

Ministry of Road Transport & Highway

  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highway is responsible for road development.
  • Issue: Why separate ministries for Road, Railway, Aviation etc. It leads to a silos approach.

National Highway Authority of India (NHAI)

  • It develops and maintains National Highways.
  • NHAI runs two main programs 
    1. National Highway Development Project (NHDP)
    2. Bharat Mala 

Border Roads Organization (BRO)

  • BRO is mainly concerned with building border roads in accordance with military requirements.
  • Apart from that, it has been entrusted with the construction of roads in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Myanmar.
  • It successfully completed 215 km Delaram-Zaranj road in Afghanistan despite the prevailing insurgency.

Types of the roads

National Highways

  • The responsibility to construct and maintain national highways is that of the Union Government.
  • Three agencies are involved in this, i.e. NHAI, BRO(under defence ministry) and State Public Works Department (PWD)  
  • National Highways connect state capitals. It consists of 1,15,455 km as of 2017 (~2%), but it serves 40% of traffic. Hence, these are highly saturated.


  • Expressways are constructed using Special Purpose Vehicles (usually made through Public-Private Partnership).
  • Expressways are 6 to 8 lane highways that are used to serve high-speed traffic using bridges and underpasses. 
  • Examples include Ahmedabad – Vadodara Highway made by SPV consisting of NHAI and IRB Infra Developers. 

State Highways

  • The responsibility to construct and maintain state highways is that of the State Government.
  • State Highways are used to connect the state capital and district headquarters.

District Roads

  • The responsibility to construct and maintain district roads is that of Zila Parishad.
  • District Roads are used to connect district headquarters with tehsil and block.

Village Roads

  • The responsibility to construct and maintain village roads is that of Gram Panchayats.
  • Village Roads are used to connect villages with neighbouring towns.
  • Village Roads constitutes 61% of all roads.

Note: India’s road density at 1.66 km/sq.km of area is the highest among BRICS countries (but the quality of roads is the main issue)

Programs to develop Road development in India

1. National Highway Development Program (NHDP)

  • NHDP started in 2000, and presently it is in phase 6 (from 2012).
  • It has the following sub-components
    1. Golden Quadrilateral connecting 4 major cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai)
    2. North-South & East-West Corridor connecting Srinagar to Kanyakumari (NH 44) and Silchar to Porbandar (NH 27) 
    1. Road connectivity of all major ports of country to National Highways 
    2. Other National Highway stretches.

Where does NHAI get money from?

  • Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) was created to fund NHAI. It gets funds from CESS imposed on Petrol and (high speed) Diesel. Apart from that, NHAI also raise funds via debt and from development agencies such as World Bank, JICA, ADB etc. From 2020, NHAI is also using Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvITs) to fund various projects. 
  • Before 2018, the fund was solely used to build National and State Highways and rural roads under PMGSY. But presently, Central Road and Infrastructure Fund is used to fund 
    1. Rural roads through PMGSY
    2. NHAI’s NHDP
    3. Inland Waterways Development 
    1. Railway infrastructure 
    2. Social infrastructure, including education institutions
National Highway Development Program ( NHDP)

2. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)

  • It was launched on 25th December 2000.
  • It works under Rural Ministry. 

Under PMGSY, all-weather road connectivity is to be given to 

Ordinary Areas Villages having a population of 500 people.
Tribal, North East, Scheduled Areas Villages having a population of 250 people or more.
Naxal Area Villages having a population of 100 people or more.
  • New in PMGSY: Emphasis is on the use of local and green technologies, e.g. waste plastic, geo-textile, iron slag, fly ash etc.
  • It is Core Scheme with Centre to State Sharing = 60:40 for ordinary states and 90:10 for the Special Category States.

3. Bharatmala Project

  • Target: constructing 35,000 km of National Highways in the next five years. 
  • It is an umbrella program that includes the development of 
    • Coastal Roads and Port Connectivity
    • Border Roads and International Connectivity
    • Feeder Routes 
    • Greenfield Expressways 
    • Roads for improving National Corridor Efficiency
    • Roads to balance NHDP works 
  • The scheme is funded via debt, private investment, central road fund and toll collection.  

Side Topic: Parvatmala / National Ropeways Development Program

  • Parvatmala Scheme was announced in Budget 2022. 
  • The Indian government has decided to develop a network of ropeways, instead of roadways, to improve connectivity in the hilly regions. 
  • It is preferred over roadways because it is an ecologically sustainable alternative in difficult hilly areas. 

4. Setu Bharatam Yojana

  • The Bharatmala project has been started to make all national highways free from railway level crossings by 2019. 
  • Under the project, 208 new railway over & under bridges will be built. 
  • Also, 1500 old bridges will be reconstructed.

5. FDI & tax reliefs

  • 100% FDI in the road sector is permitted in the road sector.
  • Private developers are given the right to collect and retain toll.

It has facilitated several foreign companies entering into partnerships with Indian players to capitalize on the sector’s growth.

6. Highways in troubled areas

Special Accelerated Road Development Program in North East (SARDP-NE)

  • It envisages road connectivity to state capitals, district HQ and remote places in the North East region.

Road Requirement Plan (RRP) for improvement of road connectivity in Left Wing Extremism (LWE)

  • The government approved the plan in March 2015 to develop road networks in the LWE affected areas of 34 Districts in 8 States in India.

7. FasTag Project

  • The system uses RFID technology to pay the toll.

North-East Infra Projects

In the recent past, many projects (road, tunnels and bridges) have been made in North East.

Some of the main projects include

1. Bogi-Beel Bridge

  • Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge connects Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The bridge is on the Brahmaputra.

2. Sela Pass Tunnel

  • Sela Pass is situated in Arunachal Pradesh and connects Twang (on Border) and West Kameng district.   

3. Dhola Sadiya

  • Dhola Sadiya is India’s longest bridge measuring 9.15 km.  
  • It is situated on the Lohit River (Tributary of Brahmaputra). 
  • It connects Assam & Arunachal Pradesh.

4. Diffo Bridge

Diffo bridge is built over Diffo River in Arunachal Pradesh.

North-East Infra Projects

Jammu – Kashmir Infra Projects 

In the past 4-5 years, a large number of projects (road, tunnels etc.) have been made in J&K.  Some of the most critical projects are

Chenani Nashri Tunnel (Connects Jammu & Kashmir)

  • It is Asia’s Longest Tunnel- 9.2 Km in length
  • It has reduced the travel between Jammu and Kashmir valley by 41 km.

Zozila Tunnel (Connects Kashmir and Ladakh)

  • Length: 14.15 Km (will be largest in Asia when completed beating Chenani Nashri Tunnel (9.2km)
  • It will connect Kashmir valley with Ladakh.

Chenab Bridge

  • Chenab is the world’s highest Railway Bridge, situated on the Chenab river in Jammu & Kashmir. 

Rohtang Tunnel

  • Rohtang Tunnel is 9 km tunnel cutting through the Pir Panjal range.
  • The tunnel has reduced the distance between Leh and Manali by 46 km and made the area accessible around the year.
Jammu - Kashmir Infra Projects

International Roads

India Myanmar Thailand (IMT)  Highway

  • IMT Highway starts from the Indian city of Moreh (Manipur) up to Mae Sot in Thailand. 

Delaram-Zaranj Highway

  • BRO has completed 215 km Delaram-Zaranj road in Afghanistan despite various threats.

Project Dantak

  • India constructs the roads in Bhutan under Project Dantak.

Other steps taken by the Government

  • The government has adopted the ‘Hybrid annuity model‘ for highway projects.
  • Infrastructure Investment Fund (InvIT): NHAI has been given the mandate to set up an InvIT to monetize its completed stretches of public-funded national highways to mobilize additional resources through capital markets.
  • PMO has started the PRAGATI program
  • The government has allowed 100% FDI in the road sector through automatic routes.
  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is planning to set up Land Acquisition cells across the country to resolve issues related to land acquisition and ensure speedy compensation disbursal.
  • NHAI has signed MoU with the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) under ISRO to use spatial technology to monitor and manage National Highways. 

National Highway numbers: Important ones only

National Highway Numbers in India
National Highway Numbers in India (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Until 2010: Old System was used as listed in the National Highways Act of 1956. 

After 2010: The government decided to rationalize numbers as old numbering wasn’t scientific and did not indicate its location and direction. In the new system,

  • east-west highways —> odd numbers —> number increases from north to south
  • north-south highways —> even numbers —> number increases from east to west 

Important National Highways in India

NH 44 Kanyakumari to Srinagar (via all major Cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Agra, Delhi, Ambala, Ludhiana, Jallandhar)
NH 27 Silchar to Porbandar
NH 48 Bangalore to Mumbai to Delhi
NH 16 Chennai to Kolkata
NH 19 Delhi to Kolkata

Note: Presently, NH 44 is the longest Highway.

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019

Why new bill?

  • 1988: Motor Vehicle Act came to force. 
  • But it has outlived its utility as 
    1. A large number of people die in road accidents because they don’t get medical help at the time.
    2. Urban areas have too many vehicles and congested roads.
    3. Lack of effective vehicle standards leads to pollution and accidents.
    4. Juvenile road rashes.
    5. No protection to good Samaritans.
    6. Entry of digital aggregators and no law to regulate them.
    7. Penalties are too small to act as a deterrent.

Provisions of the Act

1. Agency for Road Safety

  • National Road Safety Board (NRSB) has been constituted (as recommended by Sundar committee).  

2. Offences and penalties

  • Penalties have been increased. E.g., Fine for Drunk & Drive has been increased to ₹10,000  (earlier ₹2,000)

3. Juvenile

  • The act has recognized the offences committed by juveniles. 
  • The Guardian and owner of the motor vehicle are also made liable.

4. License and Registration

The act has brought the harmony of registration and licensing process by creating 

  • National Register for Vehicle registration 
  • National Register for Driving Licence

5. Protection of good Samaritans

  • Samaritans are not liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury or death of an accident victim. 

6. Care for road accident victims

  • Under the provisions of the act, the road accident victims will be provided with cashless treatment during golden hour (hour following a traumatic injury).

7. Aggregator services

  • The act requires aggregators (like Uber, Ola etc.) to obtain licenses. 

8. Transportation schemes

The act requires state governments to make transportation schemes that provide for  

  • last-mile connectivity 
  • reducing traffic congestion 

Issues with the Act

  • Anti-federal in Character (according to state parties): Although Road is in the Concurrent List and it is within the legislative jurisdiction of Union, States are raising concern over Sections 66A and 88A, which will empower the Centre to form a National Transportation Policy through a process of consultation, and not concurrence. Hence, the Centre can also make Policy on Rural Mobility, Private Bus Sector in State and Last Mile connectivity in States. But all local leaders have private bus companies, and auto drivers are big vote banks plaguing the whole system. Hence, they don’t want these subjects under Union Government. 
  • Just increasing the fine is not enough. According to IIT Delhi’s research, the deterrent impact depends upon the swiftness and probability of getting caught and penalized.  

Side Topic: Road Accidents  Deaths

Economic cost of 
World's Road 
accidents happen 
accidents to Indian 
in India 


  • Poorly designed roads and blind curves cause a large number of accidents.
  • Poorly maintained roads: A large number of potholes on highways.
  • Negligence on the part of drivers due to drunk driving & overspeeding.
  • Traffic police are unprofessional.
  • Corruption in Licensing of drivers.
  • Due to harassment by Police, Good Samaritans don’t come forward to help the victim. 
  • Hospitals lack the proper infrastructure to provide proper care during Golden Hour.
  • Lack of effective policy because India doesn’t have robust data collection systems to ascertain the causes of crashes and does not have a scientific accident investigation agency. 

Steps already taken

  • iRAD: iRAD is the central database that hosts data related to all the accidents in India gathered by various agencies. It will help in better policy formulation to improve road safety in India.: iRAD is the central database that hosts data related to all the accidents in India gathered by various agencies. It will help in better policy formulation to improve road safety in India.
  • Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 3.6) urged nations to take necessary actions to reduce road crash deaths by 50%. 
  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Sadak Yojana has been started to eliminate dangerous spots on highways.
  • Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019  has various provisions like protection to good Samaritans, Free Hospitalisation in Golden Hour etc.
  • The government has made it mandatory for all vehicles to have front seat airbags. 
  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) has been made mandatory for manufacturers.
  • 10% of the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) can be used for undertaking road safety measures.
  • India has signed the Brasilia declaration to reduce road accidents and fatalities by half. 
  • Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Centre (TRIP-C)’ with a focus to produce state-of-the-art knowledge to address road transport and traffic safety in India will be opened in IIT Delhi.
  • Stringent Vehicular Standards: The government has made stricter vehicular standards like
    1.  Trucks are prohibited from carrying protruding rods.
    2. Antilocking Brake System (ABS) made mandatory on Heavy Vehicles.
    3. Car Crash Standards to be made mandatory w.e.f. 1st April 2018
    4. AHO (Automatic Headlight On) was made mandatory to make them more conspicuous
    5. Truck Body Code for safe cabins to drivers and other road users


Briefly, the 1960s were also a period of paradigmatic change in thinking about road safety in many High Income Countries. In the US, for instance, this period was one in which the problem (and hence the potential solutions) shifted from being driver-oriented to a more balanced approach, known as the ‘Safe System’ approach. It included interventions focusing on vehicles, road infrastructure, and post-crash care in a broad view of the environment in which crashes happen.

  • Introduce road safety as part of the school curriculum. 
  • KS Radhakrishnan panel on road safety advocates the Zero tolerance policy towards drunk driving & accidents caused by speeding. 
  • Implement Supreme Court Judgement wrt Good Samaritans in letter and spirit and ensure they aren’t harassed. 
  • To get real data to make effective policy, India can learn from Cambodia that combines data from both police and hospitals to get authentic data of accidents.
  • Adopt Tamil Nadu Model: Tamil Nadu has taken the following steps to reduce road accidents.
    • Enforcement of traffic rules about using a mobile phone while driving, wearing a helmet, seat belt etc., strictly.
    • Use of ICT to dispatch ambulance & police rapidly in case of an accident.
    • Highway liquor shops have been closed.
    • The quality of roads has been increased, and warning boards at dangerous turns have been installed. 

Budgeting Process

Budgeting Process

This article deals with the ‘Budgeting Process.’ This article is part of our series on ‘Economics’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3. For more articles, you can click here.

What is Budgeting?

Budgeting is the process/strategy with which the budget is prepared.

Line Item Budget

  • Line item budget clusters proposed expenses of each department. It represents the allocation of funds to each item in a single line. It includes detailed ceilings on the amount of salaries, travelling allowances, office expenses, etc. The focus is on ensuring that the agencies or units do not exceed the ceilings prescribed.
Line Item Budget


  • This type of budget is easily understandable and implementable.
  • It facilitates centralized control and fixing of authority and responsibility of the spending units.
  • This aggregation method can easily illustrate which department and cost centre absorbs the bulk of the entity’s funds.


  • It leads to incrementalism.
  • It does not provide enough information to the top levels about the activities and achievements of individual units. 

Weaknesses of the line item budgeting were sought to be remedied by introducing certain reforms. Performance budgeting was the first such reform. 

Performance Budget

It was propounded by First Hoover Commission (USA) and implemented by President Truman in 1950. On the recommendations of the First ARC in 1968, Indira Gandhi Government tried to implement it in 1968. But this experiment doesn’t prove to be successful. Hence, Line Item Budget is still popular in India.

A performance budget reflects the resource inputs and service outputs for each unit of an organization. 

Process to make Performance Budget

  • The purpose of every Organisation / Ministry is defined.
  • Programmes, activities, projects and works are charted out to meet that purpose. 
  • It is different from Line Item Budget in the sense that it doesn’t look only into expenditure. Instead, the main emphasis is on programs, activities and works that will be carried out to achieve the stated purpose. (Eg: to increase Primary Education, Line Item Budget will tell the amount to be spent on Education whereas the Performance Budget will tell us about programs, activities and works that will be carried out to achieve that purpose.)  
Performance Budget

Line Item Budgeting vs Performance Budgeting

Line Item Performance Budget
Expenditures are arranged from Major Expenditure Item to Smaller Expenditure Items.   Itemised Expenditures are not shown. Emphasis is on showing accomplishment of program, activity and work with given expenditure.
Aim: Reducing the expenditure Aim: Achieving the purpose and objectives with given expenditure.
Old projects and programmes are continued, and new items are joined with it. The budget maker has to perform more work every year. For every financial year, he has to define purpose, programme, activity and work. Hence, new programs are seen every year.
Generalists are required for its operationalisation. Specialists are required for its operationalisation.

For a developing country like India,  reasons for failure of its implementation

  • Performance Budget requires Specialist Bureaucracy, but Generalists are powerful in India.
  • Frank Cruze, in 1964, commented that until Accounting is decentralised, it cant be implemented in India.
  • It becomes difficult to stop old programs in developing countries. In such a situation, a Performance Budget cant be implemented because, in this system, programs keep on changing every year.
  • In India, the Budget is used for political purposes. For that, Line Item Budget is more helpful as more items can be added to it.
  • Everything from purpose to work has to be defined every year. In India, it is impossible because here, even the aims of Organisations / Ministries are not defined in a proper way.

Output Budget

  • It was introduced in India in the financial year 2005-2006.
  • It is an Indian version of Performance Budget.
  • Budgeting scheme that gives program / project-wise outlays for all central ministries, departments and organisations listed against corresponding outcomes (measurable physical targets) to be achieved during the year.
Output Budget
  • The government is continuously increasing the number of departments whose Budget is made on this basis. It started with the Department of Space.
  • 2017: Delhi Government introduced Outcome Based Budgeting in 2017 Budget.

Features / Nature

  • Under Outcome Budget, Organisation’s Budget is made in such a way that it has monitorable and measurable targets. 
  • Cost-benefit analysis of every unit is carried out to yield maximum benefit at minimum cost. 
  • Benchmarking of services and goods is provided.
  • The feedback mechanism is strengthened to get feedback from customers / citizens
  • Management Information System (MIS) is operationalised to digitalise expenditure and outcomes for rapid evaluation.

Impact of Outcome Budget

More than one decade has passed since India has adopted the Outcome Budget. The number of Departments under this has increased.

  • In Winter Session (in September), every Department where Outcome Budget is operational presents their Report Card.
  • Accountability of the Executive: Linking funds to the results is a powerful tool to increase the accountability of the executive.
  • It helps in better utilisation of money.

Problems in Outcome Based Budgeting

  • Difficulty to define targets.
  • A large number of ministries are involved in achieving the target. E.g. to achieve an IMR of say 20, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Woman and Child Welfare need to work in synergy. 
  • Not only the Union but help of States and Local Governments is also needed to achieve targets.  

What more needs to be done?

  • Apart from implementing Outcome Budget in all Central Departments, it should also be implemented in all the states. 
  • Many programmes are run jointly by states and union. These programs always face the issue of ‘Match Funding’. This need to be brought under the Outcome Budget.
  • Like Performance Budget, Outcome Budget also requires decentralisation of accounts to make it a success. 

Zero Based Budget (ZBB)

  • It was invented by Peter Pyhrr in 1969 and implemented in Texas Instrument (company) for the first time. 
  • It was implemented in 1972 in the Georgia state of USA by Jimmy Carter as Governor, and in 1978-79, it was implemented in the Federal Budget of USA. 
  • In India, we tried to implement it in 1974. But it proved to be a failure.

What is Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB)

The budgeting process in which the rationale of every expense needs to be justified for a new period is known as Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB).

Process of formation of ZBB 

  • In this Budget, all the running programs and projects are zeroed at the end of each financial year, i.e. old facts and figures aren’t taken.
  • Budget maker plans for next financial year keeping in mind which programs and projects are needed for the present situation.  

Reasons for failure of ZBB in India 

  • The digitalisation of records of finances is required. But in India, all the departments are not digitalised even today.
  • Managerial autonomy is required. But in India, the enormous influence of politics can be seen on administration.
  • Citizens in India don’t like frequent changes in government programs. But in ZBB, there are chances of changing programs. 
  • For operationalisation of ZBB, Specialist Bureaucracy is required (India has Generalist Bureaucracy).

Social Influence and Persuasion

Social Influence and Persuasion

This article deals with the topic titled ‘Moral Influence and Persuasion’ This is part of our series on ‘Ethics’. For more articles, you can click here.

Attitude Change Theory 

Attitudinal change means changing someone else’s perception of what is right or wrong according to our will.

Attitudes change can manifest itself as:

  1. A person receiving new information from others or media – Cognitive change
  2. Through direct experience with the attitude object – Affective change
  3. Force a person to behave in a way different than normal – Behavioural change

Attitude change can happen through the following mechanisms.

1 . Creating Dissonance 

  • This method can be used to alter cognitive based attitude.
  • For example, a person might not have thought that not paying tax is also a form of corruption. Hence, we can change this attitude by planting an idea in a person mind that challenges his beliefs by arguing that tax evasion is the same as corruption  
  • Application for Civil Servants: In advertisements or via mass campaigns we give information to challenge the beliefs of the public.

2. Operant Conditioning

  • This method can be used to alter behaviour-based attitude. 
  • Punish when somebody does the wrong thing. He will stop doing that thing.

3. Classical Conditioning

  • It can be used to change attitude, especially of children. For example: Create phobia in children of things you don’t want them to do.

4. Social Influence

  • Explained below.

5. By Persuasion

  • Explained below.

Persuasion Theory

  • Persuasion refers to the process of changing the attitudes and behaviours of the TARGET GROUP  towards some event, idea, object, or another person (s) in the intended direction, by using written or spoken words to convey information, feelings, or reasoning, or a combination thereof.
  • It should be noted that Persuasion is a RECEIVER CENTRIC EXERCISE. It is not what the source says it is what the receiver understands.  

Persuasion involves 4 elements

  • Source / Persuader: Which is the originator of the information or message
  • Receiver / Target Group: It receives the information presented by the source 
  • Persuasive Message: Appeal issued by the source 
  • Channel / Medium through which message/information is delivered to the Receiver 

It can be summed up as – Who says, what, to Whom through what means. 

Why Public Officials are not able to Persuade the Target group?

  • The reason for this is the presence of certain barriersSemantics, Psychological and Physical Barriers. If the Public Official can overcome those barriers, only then Persuasion will be successful.
Persuasion Theory
  • To overcome these barriers, District Magistrate can use various influence tactics such as involving Sarpanch to overcome these barriers. Along with that, he/she must take feedback from the Target Audience to rectify any shortcomings.
Persuasion UPSC Case Study

Source, Receiver and Message Characteristics

1 . Source

The source will communicate the message.

It should have the following three characteristics:-

1. Expertness 
2. Trustworthiness 
1. Physical Features 
2. Communication Styl 
3.AttitudinaI Similarity 
1. Power enjoyed by 

1.1 Credibility 

  • To access credibility, we have to look into two things i.e. 
    1. Expertness (judged by the knowledge base of source). 
    2. Trustworthiness (judged by finding out whether the source has a vested interest). 
  • A high credibility source is more successful in bringing about the desired attitude change as the credibility of the source will make the Target Group listen to the message delivered by the source. 

1.2 Attractiveness

  • An attractive Source is more likely to succeed in persuasion.
  • The primary factors that decide the attractiveness of the source include 
    1. Physical Features 
    2. Communicative Versatility 
    3. Attitudinal Similarity

1.3 Power

  • Power is the potential to change the behaviour of the target group in the intended direction despite their resistance.

Power, Attractiveness and Credibility will cause behaviour change in different ways

Power Compliance
Attractiveness Identification
Credibility Internalisation

Hence, Credibility is the best way to change behaviour because it will lead internalization of values and attitudes. If all three things are present, nothing better than that.

Note:  The biggest barrier to behavioural changes in India is that the common citizen does not have an emotional connection with the chief change agent—the government. Governments are considered corrupt and inefficient.

2. Message

2.1 Message Discrepancy

  • It means the degree of inconsistency in the message the source should present to the target group. 
  • The message should be such that it should be within the zone of acceptance of the target group. 
    1. Some people have a wider zone of acceptance and they are facilitators. 
    2. Some people have a very narrow zone of acceptance and they are resistors. 
Message Discrepancy

2.2 Emotional Factor

  • The message should have emotional content in that.
  • For example, to motivate someone to stay fit or to quit smoking, one should not only cite scientific evidence to prove the point but can also convince using the fear of deadly diseases or the joy of a healthy life.

2.3 Fear Appeal

  • Mild and moderate appeals to fear generally work better than strong fear appeals. 
  • Strong fear appeals produce defensive avoidance wherein the target group insulate itself from the message.

2.4 Targeting values

  • People can manage their self-images by yielding to requests for action that fits or enhances their identities.
  • Influence professionals can increase compliance by linking their requests to the values to which people feel committed, especially when these values are prominent in consciousness.

2.5 Other factors

  • Persuasion requires a message to be presented in vivid language and backed by data.
  • The message should be such that it establishes a common ground with target people. For example- Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas Slogan used by BJP during election campaign established common ground with the public.
  • Point out the benefits: Persuader should highlight the major benefits of changed behaviour or attitude.
  • Social proof technique: People tend to follow others (bandwagon effect) more so when they don’t have sufficient information to decide on their own. This technique will involve you telling the target population that other people are getting benefits from the suggested change, with empirical evidence. For example, in campaigning against female feticide in Haryana we may invoke the examples of some female sportspersons who have won laurels like S. Nehwal in Badminton.
  • Scarcity: This involves letting people know that they stand to lose on a chance to get the benefits out of the proposed change. For example, we often see the end of the season or hoardings like Hurry!! Limited offer.

Best results are obtained when the Persuasive message has both emotional and factual element in it.

3. Receiver Characteristics

3.1 Personality factors

  • Individuals with high self-efficacy, high self-esteem, moderate level of arousal and internal locus of control are difficult to persuade but when they are presented with logical arguments supported by relevant facts, they are likely to be won over. 

3.2 Intelligence

  • Intelligence refers to the information processing ability of an individual.  
  • Intelligent people because of their superior critical thinking abilities are less likely to be influenced by appeals that are illogical or not supported by relevant facts. However, when presented with appeals that have factual backing, they are likely to be convinced. 

4. Channel Factor

  • Use appropriate channel of communication (Don’t show the picture to the blind).
Digital Marketing

Cognitive Route to Persuasion – Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)

  • It is an influential cognitive model of persuasion and it suggests that attitude change can occur either through
    • Careful processing of attitude relevant information i.e. Central Route OR 
    • In a relatively automatic manner in response to various persuasion cues i.e. Peripheral Route
  • Attitude change produced through Central Route is more lasting and has a stronger impact upon the old behaviour. 
Elaboration Likelihood Model

Central Route: When the target group finds the message interesting, important and personally relevant and when nothing else prevents them from devoting careful attention to it, they are likely to examine the message in a careful and thoughtful manner evaluating the strength and rationality of the arguments made. If they find the arguments appealing, relevant and factually supported, then they are likely to change their attitude and Persuasion occurs. 

Peripheral Route: In contrast, if they find the message uninteresting or uninvolving, they are not motivated to process it carefully but still the persuasion occurs but this time through the peripheral route. If the message contains something that induces a positive feeling or the source of a message is high in prestige and status, under these conditions Attitude change may occur without critical analysis of message content. 

Attitude Change accomplished through Central Route is more desirable because

  • It lasts longer than one achieved through the peripheral route.
  • It is more resistant to later attempts at persuasion. 
  • It is more closely related to behaviour than the attitudes changed through the peripheral route. 

Culture and Attitude Change

  • In the west, people are more individualistic (not bothered about what others feel about them). But Asian Culture is different & people are more interdependent
  • The western ad should let people feel that they are free but Indian ad should be such that you will be treated positively by the community if you do something (because here what society thinks about you is more important).

Social Influence / Peer Pressure

  • Social Influence can be defined as a change in behaviour caused by real and imagined pressure from others (in the society). 
  • It plays a very important role in  
    1. Attitude formation and change. 
    2. Removal of Prejudice 
    3. Group Decision making 
  • It gets manifested through three mechanisms
Conformity Group influence in action
Compliance Making a request
Obedience Giving orders

1. Conformity

  • Involves changing one’s behaviour to match the responses of others and to fit in with those around us.
  • Why person do this?
    • Human beings, being inherently social, desire companionship or associations. For a successful and healthy atmosphere in the group, people try to blend in.
    • They change their behaviour somewhat so that they are liked.
    • To avoid social rejection and fear of being different from the group. 

Case Study of #SelfieWithDaughter

The selfie campaign showcased examples of parents around the country who were celebrating the birth child. Most people wanted to conform, and more and more parents posted selfies with their girls. Started by one proud father in a village in Haryana, the campaign went viral and #SelfieWithDaughter became a worldwide hit.

2. Compliance

  • Act of changing one’s behaviour in response to a direct request from friends, neighbours, relatives etc.
  • In this, people appear to agree with others in public but keep their dissenting opinions private.

3. Obedience

  • Obedience is a special type of compliance that involves changing one’s behaviour in response to a directive from an authority figure.
  • One reason authorities are influential is that they are often experts, and, by following an authority’s directives, people can usually choose correctly without having to think hard about the issue themselves.
  • Reasons for Obedience 
    1. Visible Badges: Badges on the dress of General is different from Captain to remind them who is IN-CHARGE. 
    2. Transfer / Diffusion of Responsibility: Transfer of responsibility in case you are ordered to do that work by your superior or person of authority and diffusion of responsibility when a person is working in a group.

Milgram’s Experiment

  • To show that how people indulge in acts of destructive obedience. 
  • Hitler was an evil dictator. But even ordinary Germans participated in atrocities against Jews. The reason for this observation was given by Milgram’s Experiment. 
  • Prof. Stanley Milgram of Yale University (1961) did this study and experiment.


  • In this experiment, Confederate (Learner / Actor) and Subject (Teacher) were made to sit in two rooms separated by transparent glass. 
    • Subject (Teacher) was asked to give a shock to the Student if he did a mistake and increase the magnitude of shock with each mistake. 
    • Confederate (Actor) was the person implanted by the Experimenter in the experiment who deliberately committed mistakes and pretended to be hurt by the shocks and scream in pain when the button was pushed.
  • 2/3rd of the participants gave shocks to a fatal level (450 volts).
  • Reason: There was a doctor (Person of Authority) who kept saying “increase the voltage, the person will not die.”
Milgram Experiment

Moral of the story

  • Ordinary people are willing although with some reluctance to harm an innocent stranger if ordered to do so by someone in authority. They did so because of (destructive) Obedience since there was 
    • Visible badge (person of authority) 
    • Transfer of responsibility (responsibility was of a person who gave order)
    • The gradual escalation of orders by an authority figure
  • This is the reason why German Officers many of whom were not even anti-Semitic killed Jews.  

How to resist Destructive Obedience 

  • Exposure to Disobedient Morals such as Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of Civil Disobedience. A person should learn to say no to things which his/her conscience won’t allow. 
  • Making the target group members realize that it is them and not authorities that would be responsible for the harm produced. 

Successful Case Studies

Successful Case Study of Changing Attitude : Swachh Bharat Mission
Successful Case Study of Changing Attitude

Moral and Political Attitudes

Moral and Political Attitudes

This article deals with the topic titled ‘Moral and Political Attitude.’ This is part of our series on ‘Ethics’. For more articles, you can click here.

Part 1: Political Attitudes

Political Attitude and Ideologies

In Political Attitudes, the attitude object is a political party, political person or political ideology. It defines your likes or dislikes for a political person, party or ideology.

Types of Political Ideologies

Moral and Political Attitudes

1. Reactionary

  • They want to go to previous systems and can be ranked one step behind conservatives (who just want the status quo). 
  • Eg: Taliban and ISIS.

2. Conservative

  • They demand Status-quo.
  • Reason: Their interests are tied to the system.

3. Liberal / Moderate

  • Liberals are proponents of liberty, equality and democracy. 
  • Unlike Conservatives, they do want reforms in the system but not using violent methods but gradually through legal means.

4. Radicals / Extremists

  • They want immediate reforms and can even adopt violent means.
  • Eg: Communists who want to confiscate private property and are even ready to use violent means for that.

Personality Traits and their impact on Political Attitude

1 . Agreeable-ness

  • A person with a high level of agreeableness is friendly and tactful. They have an optimistic view of human nature  
  • A person who scores low on agreeableness put their interests above others. They are distant, unfriendly & uncooperative. 
  • Eg: When Modi Govt requested well offs to give off their LPG Subsidy arguing that they will use the same money to provide LPG to the poor, those who were agreeable left it but certain people who scored low on agreeableness questioned the intention and asked first MPs should give up their canteen subsidy and then ask for this.

2. Openness to experience

  • Those who are open to experience  enjoy trying new things 
    • Modi promised Acche Din  
    • AAP: Many people in Delhi gave chance to them because they were open to experience 
  • Those who are not ready for experience are Conservative & enjoy having a routine. In the UK, supporters of the Conservative Party.

3. Emotional Stability

  • Emotional Stability is a measure of how well a person can control his/her emotions 
  • Those who rank high are calm, resilient & poised.
    1. They don’t get swayed by incidents like riots or intolerance. 
    2. They cant be easily moulded by media.

4. Emotional Stability

  • Extrovert: People who speak a lot, are easily sociable & get energised by social interaction. 
  • Introvert: People who are reserved, tentative and drained by social interaction.

Those who score high in extroversion are the life of the party.

5. Religion

  • Religion impacts political attitudes as  
    1. Devout Christians in the USA vote in favour of Republicans because they are against Homosexual Marriages.  
    2. Devout Hindus vote in favour of the BJP because they talk about protecting the Hindu religion.
  • “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is” – Gandhi

6. Age

  • Young people generally vote in favour of parties that favour change as they will reap the benefits of those changes.
  • On the other hand, old age people generally vote in favour of parties calling for a Status Quo.

7. Economic Status

  • Poor vote in favour of Socialist and Communist parties calling for wealth redistribution.
  • Rich vote in favour of right-wing parties which talk about lower tax rates and protection of property right.

8. Residence

  • If a person is unemployed, he will align with parties like MNS who promise Son of the Soil Policies.

9. Family

  • The political ideology of parents is generally copied by Children.

10. Gender

  • Females favour Liberal ideology and those who talk about the emancipation of women.

11. Education

  • School curriculum and lessons taught in school plays important role in the formation of political attitudes.
  • The Soviet Union and Maoist China’s education used to glorify the teachings of Marx.  

12. Conception about human nature

Nature of human beings in general perceived by the person has an important role to play in the formation of Political Attitude

  • Hobbes Philosophy: It is of the opinion that” Person is fundamentally evil“. Advocates of such philosophy will have a political attitude favouring a strong state which can keep the evils of humans in check 
  • Locke’s Philosophy: ” Man is a good rational person. “Advocates of such philosophy will have a political attitude favouring weak state with more rights and freedom guaranteed to its citizens.

13. Social media

Media and social media can be used to mould political attitudes. Eg : 2014 & 2019 elections.

Positive Side

  • Greater Outreach: Social media allows politicians and political parties to connect directly with people at a reduced cost.  
  • It allows ‘two-way communication’ and leaders can take real-time feedback from common people.
  • Campaign management as political parties come to know about the demographics, economic and social status of the followers and manage the image of candidate with tailored messages for a particular segment.
  • Election Commission uses social media campaigns to encourage citizens to cast a vote. 
  • It is used by NGOs like ADR to increase transparency. 

Negative Side

  • It leads to the polarisation of votes.
  • Playing with Psychology as was done by Cambridge Analytica.  
  • Dissemination of misinformation at lightening speed leading to events such as the mass exodus of north-easterners from Bengaluru. 

Overall political attitude will be formed not by just one component but by the combination of all these factors.

Case Study: Cambridge Analytica

  • Cambridge  Analytica created a psychological profile of Facebook users using their likes and dislikes on Facebook.
  • Advertisements were targeted according to psychological profiles.  For example, someone who was judged to be an extrovert would see a different version of an advertisement than someone who was judged to be an introvert. 
Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Moral Attitudes

  • Attitude is the enduring predisposition to behave, either favourably or unfavourably, towards something. But not all attitudes are concerned with the question of morality. Moral Attitudes are those attitudes where the question of morality (i.e. Judgement of being right or wrong) is involved.
  • For example, A person may have a favourable attitude towards transacting in cash rather than electronically. There is nothing moral or immoral about it. However, if his motive to transact in cash arises from his desire to hide his income from the government, then it has a moral connotation.

How are moral attitudes shaped?

Moral Attitudes are made up of the same three elements i.e.

  • Cognitive: It is the knowledge of ethical rules and judgments of what is good and what is bad.
  • Affective: It involves the person’s feelings and conduct in reaction to situations that need moral and ethical decisions.
  • Behavioural: It is the person’s actual behaviour, his response to situations involving ethical considerations.

Important points about Moral Attitudes

  • Moral Attitudes are made up of amoral attitudes that are strongly influenced by society and culture. Religious beliefs, traditions, folklore, myths, legends – all have an implicit messaging in them- about what is good and what is bad. As such, they shape the moral attitudes of people. 
  • Moral attitudes vary over time and space. For example, people had a positive moral attitude wrt Sati during Medieval times. Similarly, they can also vary with gender. Men, for instance, may have a less negative attitude towards bribery than women.  
  • Moral attitudes can be both facilitative and prohibitive. They facilitate actions such as helping someone in need (altruism), social service, etc. Also, actions that are considered immoral are discouraged such as adultery, stalking, cheating, etc.

Honour Killing

Honour Killing

This article deals with ‘ Honour Killing (UPSC) .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .


According to Britannica , Honour Killing is the murder of a woman or girl by male family members. The killers justify their actions by claiming that the victim has brought dishonour upon the family name . 


Problem of Honour killing is quite complex & reasons vary in different areas.

  • Feudal Mindset  :  woman marrying outside her community brings dishonour to the family and it is better to kill them and set example for others .
  • Strike against Dalit Assertion  especially when women is from OBC caste & boy from Dalit caste .
  • Inter religious marriages : Politicisation of matter  especially in  UP  and ‘Love Jihad’ campaign by Hindutva ultra right wing.
  • Same Gotra Issue in Haryana : In Haryana, marriages between couples belonging to the same gotra  are not recognised leading to incidents of honour killing.
  • Law Commission of India observed that one of the reasons of honour killing is change in economic status of women and taking a stand against the male-dominated culture.

Law regarding this

But, inspite of the increase in the number of crimes in the name of honour there is

  • no definition of the crime
  • no protections legally afforded to  couple

Special law like Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act could render some justice to the victims of honour killings.

Judgements wrt Honour Killing

1 . Shakti Vahini Case (2018)

  • NGO Shakti Vahini filed PIL in Supreme Court.
  • Supreme Court gave various guidelines to end honour killings like
    1. State Government should identify districts where honour killing happened in last 5 years .
    2. Khaps  should not act as they are conscience-keepers .
    3. Police should help couples . 
    4. Safe Houses for couples (1 month to 1 year) .
    1. Fast Track Courts should be made to decide case within 6 months .

Earlier Judgements regarding Honour Killings

2. Supreme Court Judgement on Khap Panchayats (2011)

In 2011, Supreme Court termed

  • Khaps were termed as “kangaroo courts” .
  • They were declared them illegal .
  • Court wanted them to be stamped out ruthlessly. 

3. Lata Singh v. State of U.P.

  • Inter-caste marriages are in fact in the national interest as they will result in destroying the caste system.

4. Bhagwan Das v. Delhi  (2011)

  • Supreme Court deemed honour killings in the “rarest of rare” category of crimes that deserve the death penalty.

Contract Farming

Last Updated: Feb 2023 (Contract Farming)

Contract Farming

This article deals with ‘Contract Farming.’ This is part of our series on ‘Economics’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


It is a forward agreement between farmers & buyers  in which 

Contract Farming
Buyer Agrees to buy produce from the farmer at a predetermined price.
Usually, the buyer also provides inputs like seeds to ensure that the final product meets desired quality.
Farmer Agrees to supply the produce of predetermined quality to the buyer. 

But the problem is, this is prevalent in only a few states where APMC laws allow contract farming.   

Examples of Contract Farming in India


  1. PepsiCo is doing contract farming with Potato farmers of the Hoshiarpur district.
  2. ITC is doing contract farming for Soyabean.
  3. Mahindra Shubhlabh is doing contract farming for Basmati rice 


  • Himalaya is doing contract farming with Ashwagandha producers.

Madhya Pradesh

  • Hindustan Unilever is doing contract farming with wheat farmers.

Benefits of Contract Farming

  • Improving Farmer’s Productivity: It provides access to better inputs, scientific practices and credit facilities. 
  • Insurance to post-harvest price fluctuations: Farmers are saved from price fluctuations since the price is fixed.
  • Crop Diversification: In the absence of contract farming, farmers grow only wheat and rice, which the government procures.
  • Crop Diversification: Contract farming helps in promoting Food Processing Industry.
  • The company can get desired quality of agro products.
  • Consumers Benefit: It leads to the elimination of intermediaries that can reduce food price inflation.

Challenges with Contract Farming

  • Stockholdings limits on the contracted produce under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 act as a hindrance in contract farming.
  • Not benefiting Small Farmers: Buyers have no incentive for contract farming with a large number of small and marginal farmers due to high transactions and marketing costs, creating socio-economic distortions and preference for large farmers.  
  • It is a capital-intensive and less sustainable cultivation pattern as it promotes increased use of fertilizers and pesticides, which have detrimental impacts on natural resources, the environment, humans and animals. 
  • Encourages Monoculture Farming: It impacts soil health negatively and poses a risk to food security. 
  • Monopsony: Product is generally a particular crop and is the only buyer for that company. Hence, the farmer can be price takers only because the company is the sole buyer. 
  • Predetermined prices deny farmers the benefits of higher prices prevailing in the market.

Key Features of the Contract Farming Act

  • Mainly to address the breach of contract by the company (because the company can breach the contract if they are getting goods at a low price and then afford a lawyer to fight the case).
  • It sets up Contract Farming Authority and Recording Committees to register the contracts and implement them effectively.
  • It provides to keep contract farming outside the ambit of the APMC act.
  • The produce will be insured under the existing agriculture insurance schemes.
  • It makes provisions for making Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs). 

Humidity, Condensation, Clouds and Precipitation

Humidity, Condensation, Clouds and Precipitation

This article deals with ‘Humidity, Condensation, Clouds and Precipitation’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


  • Water vapour present in the air is known as humidity. 
  • It is expressed quantitatively in different ways like 
Actual Humidity Actual amount of the water vapour present in the atmosphere.
Relative Humidity The ability of the air to hold water vapour depends entirely on its temperature. The percentage of moisture present in the atmosphere as compared to its full capacity at a given temperature is known as the relative humidity .
Specific Humidity Ratio of weight of water vapour to weight of dry air.
Vapour pressure Part of barometric pressure that is caused by water vapour alone.
  • The air containing moisture to its full capacity at a given temperature is said to be saturated. It means that the air at the given temperature is incapable of holding any additional amount of moisture at that stage.
  • The temperature at which saturation occurs in a given sample of air is known as dew point.

Evaporation & Condensation

1 . Evaporation

  • Evaporation is a process by which water is transformed from liquid to gaseous state.
  • It can occur in three conditions
    • High temperature
    • Low Pressure conditions
    • Fast moving wind

2. Condensation

  • Condensation is process of conversion of water vapours present in air into water droplets .
  • Condensation is caused by the loss of heat. When moist air is cooled, it may reach a level when its capacity to hold water vapour ceases. Then, the excess water vapour condenses into liquid form.
  • Condensation takes place:
    • When the temperature of the air is reduced to dew point  or When moisture is added to the air  
    • Surface : Which may be natural like grass etc (making dew) or Hygroscopic Surface/ Nuclei

3. Sublimation

  • If water vapour directly condenses into solid form, it is known as sublimation.

Dew, frost, fog and clouds

After condensation, the water vapour or the moisture in the atmosphere takes one of the following forms — dew, frost, fog and clouds.

1 . Dew

  • When the moisture is deposited in the form of water droplets on cooler surfaces of solid objects such as stones, grass blades and plant leaves, it is known as dew.
  • The ideal conditions for its formation are calm air, high relative humidity, and cold and long nights.
  • For the formation of dew, it is necessary that the dew point is above the freezing point (otherwise frost will form) .

2. Frost

  • Frost forms on cold surfaces when condensation takes place below freezing point (0 C).

3. Fog

  • When temperature of an air mass containing a large quantity of water vapour falls all of a sudden below dew point, condensation happens and subsequent cloud  is formed at ground level. This is known as fog.
  • Fogs are mini clouds in which condensation takes place around nuclei provided by the dust, smoke, and the salt particles.
Radiation fog Associated with temperature inversion & formed at cold night when temperature of air near ground falls below dew point .
Most common type in winter season.
Frontal fog When cold air masses converge against warm humid air masses , cold air being heavy remains at bottom while warm air is pushed over leading to cooling & formation of fog
Famous fog of Newfoundland is formed like this.
  • In fog, visibility is less than 1 km.

4. Smog

  • Fog + Smoke = Smog.
  • In urban and industrial centres, smoke provides plenty of nuclei which help in the formation of fog . Such a condition when fog is mixed with smoke, is described as smog.
  • It is associated with very low visibility and health hazard.

There are two type of Smog

a . Sulphurous Smog

  • Aka London Smog
  • Results from high concentration of Sulphur Oxides in the air caused by use of Sulphur containing fossil fuels , particularly Coal .
  • Occur in cool humid climate
  • Chemically reducing hence called reducing smog
  • Characterised by blue coloured skies aka blue haze.

b. Photochemical Smog

  • Occurs in warm, dry & sunny climate
  • Results from the action of sunlight on unsaturated Hydrocarbons & oxides of Nitrogen produced from factories and automobiles.
  • Chemically Oxidising and hence called Oxidising Smog
  • Ozone, PAN (Peroxyacetyl Nitrate), Acrolein & Formaldehyde are produced in it which can cause serious health problems .

5. Mist

  • The only difference between the mist and fog is that mist contains more moisture than the fog.
  • In mist, each nuclei contains a thicker layer of moisture.
  • Mists are frequent over mountains as the rising warm air up the slopes meets a cold surface.
  • Visibility is more than 1 Km but less than 2 km.

Visibility Comparison : Mist > Haze  > Fog > Smog.

6. Cloud

  • Cloud is a mass of minute water droplets formed by the condensation of the water vapour in free air at considerable elevations.
  •  As the clouds are formed at some height over the surface of the earth, they take various shapes


  • Clouds are tiny water droplets suspended in the air formed due to the condensation.
  • To understand the nomenclature of Clouds, one must be aware of the meaning of some Latin words.
Cirrus Curl of hair/ high .
Cumulus Heap or pile of cotton.
Strato Sheet or layer.
Nimbo Rain.
Alto Middle altitudes.

Classification of Clouds

The clouds can be classified based on their form, height and appearance as follows:

Classification of Clouds

1 . High Clouds

Different types of Cirrus clouds are present above height of 6Km

1.1 Cirrus Clouds

  • They look like curl of hair
  • It indicates fair weather and gives brilliant sun set.

1.2 Cirro Cumulus 

  • This appears as white globular masses, forming a mackerel sky.

1.3 Cirro Stratus 

  • This resembles a thin white sheet. The sky looks milky and the sun and moon shines through this clouds and form a ‘halo’

2. Middle Clouds

Different types of  Alto clouds  are found between 2 km to 6 km above the ground.

2.1 Altocumulus

  • These are woolly, bumpy clouds arranged in layers appearing like waves in the blue sky.
  • They indicate fine weather.

 2.2 Altostratus

  • These are denser and have watery look.

3. Low Clouds

Mainly Stratus or sheet clouds below 2 km height.

3.1 Stratocumulus

  • This is rough and bumpy clouds with wavy structure.

3.2 Stratus

  • This is very low cloud, uniformly grey and thick, appears like highland fog.
  • It brings dull weather and light drizzle. It reduces the visibility and is a hindrance to air transportation.

3.3 Nimbostratus

  •  This is dark dull cloud, clearly layered, as it brings gentle rain, snow and sleet and it is called as rainy cloud.

4. Clouds with vertical extend

These are mainly cumulus clouds whose  height extend from 2 km to 10 km approximately.

4.1 Cumulus

  •  This is vertical cloud with rounded top and horizontal base, associated with convectional process in the tropical region.

4.2 Cumulonimbus

  • This is over grown cumulus cloud with great vertical extent, with black and white globular mass.
  • This is formed due to heavy convection in the tropical regions. It is accompanied by lightning, thunder and heavy rainfall


Precipitation is the process by which all forms of water particles fall from the atmosphere and reach the ground.

Conditions necessary for precipitation

  • Air parcel must be cooled below dew point.
  • Presence of condensation nuclei(i.e. minute hygroscopic particles serving as nuclei for water particles) in the air . Eg salt, smoke & dust particles=> if they aren’t present, precipitation will not occur even if relative humidity is above 100% .
  • Condensation must occur rapidly & for fairly long time . If occur for small time  , then it may not reach to earth as it would be absorbed by unsaturated air present in lower parts .

Forms of precipitation

1 . Rainfall

  • Most common type of precipitation in temperate & tropical regions.
  • When water droplets of more than 0.5 mm diameter falls from the atmosphere to the ground it is called as ‘Rainfall’.
  • If the diameter is less than 0.5mm, it is called as ‘Drizzle’.

2. Hail

  • When condensed moisture in form of raindrops is carried to great heights by strong convection currents & they get frozen due to low temp at greater heights=> when they come down they gather more water around them & size of pellets become large.
  • Ice pellets has size of 5 to 50 mm or some times more. 

3. Snowfall

  • Precipitation occurs at below freezing point and falls as thin ice flakes or powdery ice, called  ‘Snow’.

4. Sleet

  • Precipitation in the form of mixture of raindrops  & ice pellets less than 5 mm in diameter.
Forms of precipitation

Types of  Rainfall

Since rainfall is the major type of precipitation, we will look of type of rainfalls. It can be of various types depending upon process of rising up of air

1 . Convectional Rainfall

  • As a result of heating of the surface air, the warm moist air expands and is forced to rise to a great height. As the air rises, it cools, reaches dew point and condenses to form clouds.
  •  Cumulonimbus clouds are formed in this .
  • This type of rainfall occurs
    1. Throughout the year near the equator in the afternoon. It is called as 4 ‘O’ clock rainfall region.
    2. In middle latitudes, convectional rainfall occurs in early summer in the continental interiors
Convectional Rainfall

2. Orographic Rainfall

  • Air is forced to move up by landform features like   mountain, plateau , escarpment etc and air thus rising may cool below dew point causing rain.
  • Windward side gets heavy rain whereas leeward side is rain shadow area.
  • Most of rain occurring in India and world is orographic . In India, Western coast & North East India gets rainfall by this process.
Orographic Rainfall

3. Cyclonic Rainfall

  • This type of precipitation is associated with a cyclonic activity (Tropical and Temperate cyclones)
  • Cyclonic rainfall is associated with Cumulo-Nimbus  clouds. The rainfall is very heavy and accompanied with lightning and thunder and high speed winds which has the potential to cause damage.

4. Frontal Rainfall

  • ‘Frontal rainfall’ is associated with fronts which form due to collision of different air masses.
  • It can be of two types
    1. Warm Air Front Rainfall : In this , warm air invades cold air leading to formation of Nimbostratus clouds and gentle rainfall.
    1. Cold Air Front Rainfall : In this, cold air invades warm air leading to formation of Cumulonimbus cloud and violent rainfall with lightening.

Wind Systems

Wind Systems

This article deals with ‘Wind Systems’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


  • Wind is the horizontal movement of air molecules from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure to maintain the atmospheric equilibrium.
  • Nomenclature of Winds
    • Winds are named easterly, westerly, northerly etc on basis of direction of their origin.
    • Easterly wind is that which originate in east & blow from east to west.
  • Wind direction is identified by an instrument called Wind Vane and wind speed is measured by Anemometer.

Factors affecting direction & velocity of wind

1 . Pressure Gradient

  1. If pressure gradient is more, velocity will be more in magnitude because differences in atmospheric pressure produces a force.
  2. The wind always moves perpendicular to isobars.

2. Frictional Force

  • Lower is frictional force, greater will be the speed .
  • Over the sea surface the friction is minimal.

3. Coriolis Force

  • If the earth did not rotate, the winds would blow in a straight path. Then the rotation of the earth results in Coriolis effect and it deflects the direction of the wind.
Northern Hemisphere Deflect towards Right or Clockwise (NCR)
Southern Hemisphere Towards Left or Anticlockwise.
  • Coriolis force is directly proportional to the angle of latitude. It is maximum at the poles and is absent at the equator.

Type of Winds

Type of Winds

1 . Primary / Global/ Permanent Winds

Pressure belts lead to the formation of primary wind system resulting in Trade Winds, Westerlies and Polar Easterlies

1.1 Trade Winds

  • The winds blow from the sub tropical high pressure belt towards the equatorial low pressure belt.
  • Due to Coriolis Effect, these winds are deflected to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere.
  • As winds are named after the direction from which they originate they are called as the North East and South east trade winds.
  • As the winds favoured trading ships they are called as ‘Trade winds’.

Side Topic : Tropic Deserts & Trade Winds (aka Trade Wind Deserts or Trade Deserts)

  • Tropical easterlies/ Trade Winds flow from east to west  . Hence, windx becomes dry when they reaches the western coast of continent as all the moisture  is already shed in form of rainfall on eastern coast .As a result, in tropical region, deserts are found on western coasts of continents .They are also known as Trade Deserts.
  • Apart from that, Cold Currents near the western coasts of continents also provides desiccating imapct on the surrounding lands leading to more dryness .

1.2 Westerlies

  • Westerlies flow towards the Sub Polar High from Sub-Tropic Low
  • They turn towards right and left in northern and southern hemisphere respectively due to Coriolis force.
  • As they flow from West to East, they are called Westerlies
  • Ocean is dominant in the southern hemisphere between the latitudes 40º and 60ºS. Hence the westerlies are so powerful and persistent that the sailors used such expressions as “Roaring Forties”, “Furious Fifties” and “Screeching Sixties” for these high velocity winds in the latitudes of 40º, 50º and 60º respectively.

1.3 Polar Easterlies 

  • Polar Easterlies  flow towards the Sub Polar High from Polar High .
  • They turn towards right and left in northern and southern hemisphere respectively due to Coriolis force.
  • As they flow from East to West, they are called Easterlies

2 . Secondary / Regional / Seasonal Winds

Monsoon and Cyclones are considered to be Secondary or Seasonal Wind

2.1 Monsoons

  • Monsoons are seasonal winds which reverse their direction due to various reasons .
  • These winds bring rainfall in India and are the major climatic feature of climate of Indian Sub-continent.
  • We will detail with these winds in Indian Climate .

2.2 Cyclones

  • Wind blowing in circular manner around an area of low pressure 
  • Due to Coriolis effect – blow in anticlockwise direction in Northern hemisphere & clockwise direction in southern hemisphere.
  • Cyclones are of two types.
Tropical cyclones Develop over oceans in summers in tropical regions . Eg : in Bay of Bengal, China sea , Caribbean sea etc.
Temperate / Extra tropical Develop in middle latitudes in winter season

More about cyclones in separate article

3. Tertiary / Local Winds

Tertiary winds are formed due to pressure gradients which may develop on a local scale because of differences in the heating and cooling of the earth’s surface.

3.1 Sea and Land Breezes

  • Sea Breeze :  During daytime, land heats up much faster than water. The air over the land warms and expands leading to formation of low pressure. At the same time, the air over the ocean remains cool because of water’s slower rate of heating and results in formation of high pressure. Air begins to blow from high pressure over ocean to the low pressure over the land. This is called as ‘Sea breeze’.
  • Land Breeze : During night time, the wind blows from land to sea and it is called as ‘Land breeze’
Sea and Land Breezes

Note :  Sea breeze and land breeze influence the movement of boats near the coastal region and fisher men use these winds for their daily fish catching. Fishermen go for fishing at early morning along the land breeze and return to the shore in the evening with the sea breeze.

Sea and Land Breezes

3.2 Mountain and Valley Breezes

  • Valley Breeze / Anabatic Winds  : During the day, mountain hillslopes are heated intensely by the Sun, causing the air to expand and rise. This draws in air from the valley below, creating a valley breeze.
  • Mountain Breeze / Katabatic Winds  :  During the night the hillslopes get cooled and the dense air descends into the valley as the mountain wind

3.3 Warm and Cold Local  Winds

Warm and Cold Local  Winds

Cold Local Winds

  • High Pressure  conditions are created in areas situated in high latitudes due to cold weather. As a result,   air starts to come down and diverge into different directions (forming anti-cyclones) blowing as ‘Cold and Dry Local Winds’ and reducing temperature of surrounding regions as well.
  • In Siberia such anti cyclonic winds are created and diverge in different directions  . These winds are called Buran
Buran Explained above
Mistral (Europe) Cold northerly from central France and the Alps to Mediterranean
Bora (Eastern Europe) North easterly wind from eastern Europe to north eastern Italy
Blizzard (USA & Canada) Cold and dry snowy winds blowing in USA and Canada
Pampero (Argentina) Cold and dry wind blowing in Pampas of Argentina
Southern Bursters Cold and dry wind blowing in  Australia

Warm Local Winds

  • Low  pressure develops  over Deserts and low latitudes in summers due to excessive heating of land . The air starts to move upward and diverges in different directions blowing as upper tropospheric wind. They carry sand and dust with them and raises temperature of regions over which they flow. These winds are known with different names in different regions like
Loo India (Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, Delhi etc)
Sirocco From Sahara desert to Italy and Spain after crossing Mediterranean Sea
Khamsin Egypt
Harmattan From Sahara desert to Gulf of Guinea
  • Other  type of warm and local winds like Chinook winds develop when warm, moist air blows from the adjoining ocean ( Pacific Ocean in this case) towards the Mountain range situated near the coast (Rockies in this case). In such situation, dry and warm air over the mountain will descend in the adjoining valley on the leeward side of wind .  Other such type of winds are Fohn and Zonda
Chinook US and Canada Rockies
Fohn Europe Alps
Zonda Argentina & Uruguay Andes
Santa Ana California Santa Ana Mountains
Chinook , Fohn , Conda

Upper Atmospheric / Meridional  Circulations

Hadley cycle Air from equator being lighter move up & diverges toward poles & descends at subtropical areas causing higher pressure there. That wind is again carried by trade winds to equator.
Ferrel Cycle Same  thing between subtropical & subpolar pressure belts
Polar cell  Between polar & subpolar pressure belts
Meridional  Circulations

Side Topic : Upper Tropospheric Winds and Geostrophic Winds

To understand formation of Jetstreams, it is important to know what are Geostrophic winds.

  • Unlike air moving close to the surface, an air parcel in the upper troposphere moves without a friction force because it is so far from the source of friction—the surface. So, there are only two forces on the air parcel, the pressure gradient force and the Coriolis force.
  • A useful heuristic (i.e. theoretical model) is to imagine that air parcel in the upper troposphere is starting from rest under the influence of ‘Pressure Gradient Force ”  moving from point of High Pressure to Low Pressure .
  • Due to pressure gradient force and absence of friction force , speed of wind will  keep on increasing . Since, Coriolis force increases with increase in speed and acts perpendicular to Pressure Gradient Force,  situation will be reached when Pressure Gradient Force equals Coriolis Force  & these winds will deflect 90° (clockwise) . At this point, the flow is no longer  from high to low pressure, but parallel to the isobars. Such winds are called Geostrophic winds
Geostrophic Winds
  • These are also known as Upper Tropospheric Westerlies
  • Jetstreams are an example of Geostrophic winds .

Direction of Geo Strophic winds

Always move from WEST TO EAST  (hence called Westerlies)

Northern Hemisphere Geostrophic winds deflect clockwise .
Move from West to East.
Southern Hemisphere Geostrophic winds deflect Anti Clockwise.
Move from West to East.


  • Jet streams are special type of Geostrophic winds .
  •  These are strong and narrow bands of meandering wind blowing at height of 6 to 14 km ( just below Tropopause) at very high speed of upto 450 Km/hr. They occur at points where atmospheric pressure gradients are strong and friction force acting on moving air is absent.
  • Jetstreams flow in wavy fashion and create alternate   High Pressure & Low Pressure zones .

Location of Jet Streams

  • They aren’t found arbitrarily . They are situated at typical positions like  where two Meridional Circulations meet. (Reason : Point where  two air masses of different temperatures meet, the resulting pressure difference is highest.  Only in such condition, Pressure Gradient Force can increase the speed of wind to such an extend that Coriolis Force can balance the Pressure Gradient Force and rotate it by 90°) (I know it is hard to understand. To properly understand what is happening, you can refer this useful video What is the jet stream and how does it affect the weather?)
  • Hence , 4 permanent Jet streams are always found .
2 Polar Jet  Between Polar cell & Ferrel cell.
2 Sub Tropical Westerly Jet  (STWJ) Between Ferrel cell & Hadley cell.
Jet Streams

Apart from that, there are some temporary Jet-streams like

  • Tropical Easterly Jetstream
  • Somali Jetstream

Speed of Jetstreams

  • Cause of Jetstreams is the pressure difference (due to temperature difference) in the upper atmosphere. Hence , higher the pressure gradient (or temperature gradient) higher will be speed of Jetstream.
  • Temperature variations are more in winters (lowest ~ -70 C & highest ~ 15 C) compared to summers (lowest ~ 20 C & highest ~ 55 C) . Hence, Jetstreams are faster in winters of the respective hemisphere.

Importance of Jetstreams

1 . Sub Tropical Westerly Jet Stream (STWJ) & Indian Weather

  • It is centred around 25° N & S at altitude of 12 km & is strong in winter season with velocity of 40 mph.
  • It greatly determines the weather of Indian Sub continent .
    1. During summer until it is present over Indian subcontinent , High Pressure is maintained over there & monsoon can’t start. Only when STWJ moves above Himalayas & low pressure is created over Indian subcontinent  , monsoon hits India.
    2. Western Disturbances : STWJ comes to India after passing over Mediterranean Sea where rainfall occurs during  winter. STWJ bring those cyclonic disturbances to north India along with it. This results in winter rain & hailstorms in North India  & occasional high snowfall in hilly areas  .

2. Jetstreams and Frontal / Temperate Cyclones

  • Jetstreams play important role in formation of Temperate Cyclones which are important feature of the climate of temperate regions like Britain etc .

3. Tropical Easterly Jet and Somali Jetstream

  • These Jetstreams play important role in the Indian Monsoon.
  • More about this can be read in (chapter) Indian Climate .

4. Role in Aviation Industry

  • If aeroplanes moves in the direction of Jetstream, it can lead to large fuel savings and vice-versa

Impact of Climate Change on Jetstreams

Due to Climate change and Global warming, Earth’s Polar regions are warming more rapidly than other parts . This has resulted in weakening of Polar Jet Streams because temperature contrast that drives Jetstreams has decreased.