Question 1: Explain the term ‘infrastructure’.
Answer: The supporting services in agricultural and industrial production and in domestic and foreign trade and commerce are called infrastructure. Road, railways, ports, airports, dams, power stations, oil and gas pipelines and telecommunication facilities come under infrastructure. Even healthcare facilities, educational institutions and sanitation facilities are parts of infrastructure.
Question 2: Explain the two categories into which infrastructure is divided. How are both interdependent?
Answer: The two categories into which infrastructure is divided are as follows:
- Economic Infrastructure: Roads, railways, ports, telecommunication, etc. come under economic infrastructure.
- Social Infrastructure: Healthcare, educational facilities, housing, etc. come under social infrastructure.
Question 3: How do infrastructure facilities boost production?
Answer: Infrastructure facilities help in seamless availability of raw materials, energy and manpower for agricultural and industries. By doing so, infrastructure facilities boost production.
Question 4: Infrastructure contributes to the economic development of a country. Do you agree? Explain.
Answer: Infrastructure definitely contributes to the economic development of a country. In any country, the need for a particular type of infrastructure depends on the stage of development in that country. For low income countries, basic infrastructure is more important. As the economy matures, need for service related infrastructure increases more. Infrastructure not only boosts production but also helps in minimizing the morbidity of people. Thus, infrastructure ensures better economic development.
Question 5: What is the state of rural infrastructure in India?
Answer: The state of rural infrastructure is very poor in India. Some of the examples illustrate this fact. According to 2001 census, only 56% of rural households have electricity connection and 43% still use kerosene. Bio-fuels are still used by 90% of rural households for cooking. Only 24% of rural households have access to tap water. Only 20% of rural India has access to improved sanitation.
Question 6: What is the significance of ‘energy’? Differentiate between commercial and non-commercial sources of energy.
Answer: Energy is highly important for us. Energy is required for agricultural and industrial production. Energy is required by every household for cooking and heating. Energy is required for transportation. Sources of energy which are bought and sold are called commercial energy, e.g. coal, petroleum and electricity. On the other hand, non-commercial energy sources are freely available in nature, e.g. firewood, cowdung, etc.
Question 7: What are the three basic sources of generating power?
Answer: The three basic sources of generating power are; thermal power, hydel power and nuclear energy.
Question 8: What do you mean by transmission and distribution losses? How can they be reduced?
Answer: Significant portion of electricity is lost during transmission and distribution. Power theft and faulty equipments are the major reasons of distribution related losses. Transmission losses can be reduced by using better equipments and regular maintenance of transmission lines. Distribution losses can be reduced by preventing power theft and by reducing subsidies.
Question 9: What are the various non-commercial sources of energy?
Answer: Firewood and biofuels are the non-commercial sources of energy.
Question 10: Justify that energy crisis can be overcome with the use of renewable sources of energy.
Answer: A major portion of energy we are using comes from non-renewable sources of energy; like coal and petroleum. A time will come when coal and petroleum will be fully exhausted and this will be a crisis situation. The energy crisis can be tackled by developing renewable sources of energy; like solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, etc. Renewable sources of energy are not only non-exhaustible in nature, they are eco-friendly as well.
Question 11: How has the consumption pattern of energy changed over the years?
Answer: During the 1950s, transport sector was the biggest consumer of energy (44%); followed by industries (40%) and agriculture used just 1% of total energy consumed. This pattern has changed dramatically in over 50 years. In 2012-13, transport sector uses only 2% of energy, while industries are at top (45%). The share of agriculture has increased manifold to 18%. Even the energy consumed by households has grown from 10% to 22%.
Question 12: How are the rates of consumption of energy and economic growth connected?
Answer: Consumption of energy and economic growth are closely related. This can be exemplified by change in pattern of consumption of energy in India during five decades after independence. During the initial years, transport sector used to be the largest consumer of energy. This situation has changed with transport sector going to the bottom. This shows that industrial and agricultural activities have increased manifold over the years. The growth in consumption of energy is always more than GDP growth. According to economists, for ensuring 8% growth in GDP, the consumption of electricity would grow by 12%. This fact also shows the relation between consumption of energy and economic growth.
Question 13: What problems are being faced by the power sector in India?
Answer: Following are the main problems being faced by the power sector in India:
- The installed capacity is not enough to meet 7 – 8% of growth in GDP. To make matters worse, the installed capacity is underutilized and hence power production is not matching the demand.
- The state electricity boards (SEBs) incur huge loss which is to the tune of Rs. 500 billion. The losses are due to transmission and distribution losses, wrong pricing of electricity and other inefficiencies.
- The private sector is yet to participate in power sector in significant way.
- The public unrest is too much whenever the authorities try to raise power tariffs. Thus, power tariff is a politically sensitive issue.
- Thermal power plants which supply the major portion of power are facing acute shortage of raw materials.
Question 14: Discuss the reforms which have been initiated recently to meet the energy crisis in India.
Answer: Various reforms have been initiated recently to meet the energy crisis in India. The government is channelizing resources so that non-conventional sources of energy can be developed. Wind farms are coming up in a big way in various states. At present Tamil Nadu is the leading producer of wind energy in India. Government is providing solar water heater and solar lanterns at subsidized rates to encourage the general public to switch over to solar power. As the example of Thane city shows, use of solar energy can help in saving energy and environment. In some cities; like Delhi and Mumbai power distribution has been handed over to private companies so that distribution related losses could be minimized. Some new nuclear plants have also started generating electricity. The energy related reforms in India are working on two fronts; at increasing power production and at promoting a culture of energy saving.
Question 15: What are the main characteristics of health of the people of our country?
Answer: If we analyse some of the indicators of health, then India’s situation is not encouraging compared to some of the developed as well as developing countries. Infant mortality rate is very high at 47 per thousand live births. This figure is 10.5 for country like Sri Lanka and 6.4 for USA. Mortality rate among children below 5 years is even higher at 61 per thousand population. India accounts for 17% of the world population but its share in global burden of disease (GBD) is higher at 20%. In India, more than 50% of GBD is due to communicable diseases. Thus, India cannot be termed as a healthy country.
Question 16: What is a ‘global burden of disease’?
Answer: Global Burden of Disease (GBD) is an indicator which shows the number of premature deaths due to a particular disease and also the number of years spent by them in ‘disability’ due to the disease. In other words, GBD shows the number of years in which a person remain economically non-productive due to a disease and the loss to the economy because of the death of that person.
Question 17: Discuss the main drawbacks of our health care system.
Answer: The biggest problem of our health care system is the shortage of doctors; especially in rural areas. Every year, about 30,000 medical graduates are produced by various medical colleges in India. But one-fifth of these doctors leave the country in pursuit of greener pastures. A majority of those who remain in the country prefer to settle in cities rather than serving in the villages. There are only 0.36 hospitals per lakh people in rural areas. Situation is somewhat better in urban areas where there are 3.6 hospitals per lakh people. The PHCs do not provide even basic facilities like X-rays and blood test. A majority of hospitals are in the private sector but their costs are beyond reach for the majority of people.
Question 18: How has women’s health become a matter of great concern?
Answer: Although women constitute about half the population of the country but their healthcare always gets second priority in most of the families. The sex ratio has decline from 927 in 2001 to 914 in 2011; which shows the alarming situation of women’s health in India. About 300,000 girls under the age of 15 are married and most of them already have children. Incidence of anemia among women between 15 and 49 years of age is very high. Abortions are also a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in India. These facts show that women’s health has become a matter of great concern.
Question 19: Describe the meaning of public health. Discuss the major public health measures undertaken by the state in recent years to control diseases.
Answer: The science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals is called public health. This definition was given by Winslow in 1920. Thus, public health involves prevention of diseases so that health can be promoted and prolonged life can be ensured for the general public. According to this definition, public health also needs organized efforts from society, organizations, communities and individuals.
The government has taken various measures to control diseases. Diseases; like tuberculosis, small pox and malaria have been brought under control due to various steps taken by the government. Similarly, thanks to the Pulse Polio Programme, polio has been completely eradicated from India. The government has also continued various awareness campaigns to increase public awareness about issues related to health and hygiene.
Question 20: Differentiate the six systems of Indian medicine.
Answer: The six systems of Indian medicine are; ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha, homeopathy and other alternative medicines. Ayurveda is the traditional Indian medicine system in which medicines are prepared from herbs and other natural ingredients. Yoga and naturopathy are based on practicing yoga exercises and maintaining the balance in the body by a combination of right diet. Unani medicine system is based on traditional system which was practiced in middle-east and south-Asian countries. Siddha is more advanced form of yoga and is supposed to give paranormal abilities in its practitioner. Homeopathy was created by Hahnemann and works on the principle of like cures like. Any other medicine system which is practiced to cure or prevent diseases is taken under other alternate medicines.
Question 21: How can we increase the effectiveness of health care programmes?
Answer: As the definition of public health shows, any health care programme needs full participation of government and private agencies, communities and individuals. Thus, participation of all the stakeholders is important for success of healthcare programmes. Government’s role is in providing proper infrastructure and necessary finance for the programme. The private sector also needs to work in tandem with the government in providing infrastructure and finance. Communities and individuals need to participate to ensure that health care programme reaches each and every individual.