Feb. 26, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Feb. 26, 2021

  1. Floods are the most commonly occurring natural disaster in India. What are the reasons for frequent floods in India? Suggest steps that need to be taken for proper flood management.

Approach:

  • Brief Introduction to floods in India.

  • Mention reasons for floods.

  • Discuss measures for flood management.

  • Conclude Appropriately

The Model Answer will be displayed at Feb. 27, 2021, 9 a.m.

Feb. 24, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Feb. 24, 2021

  1. Land reforms which began after independence continue even in the present time. Examine how they land reforms have evolved with changing component and substance.

Approach

  • Introduce why there was a need for land reforms and why it is still relevant

  • Bring out various components of land reforms taken from time to time by dividing in phases: Post Independence reforms, Reforms post 1970s and Present-day reforms.

  • Conclude with success and failures in brief and a way ahead

Model Answer

In Aug 1947, India won political independence but social and economic independence was yet to be achieved with most of the population being either small or marginal farmers or tenant cultivators. The land reforms which began post-independence have been a continuous process ever since. The main components of land reforms over the years include Tenancy reform, Abolition of intermediaries, Restructuring of agriculture land (land ceiling, consolidation, land records etc.) with various measures being taken during different periods.

 Land reforms (1947 to 1970)

  • Abolition of Intermediaries: Following the recommendation of Kumarappa Committee, all the states in India enacted legislation for abolition of Zamindars, Jagirdars etc. By 1960 nearly 20 million cultivators were brought under the direct contact with the government.

  • Tenancy Reforms: The tenant farmers were provided with security of rights and those cultivating land for a fixed period were given ownership of rights.

  • Ceiling on land holdings and land consolidation: State government passed legislation to limit the maximum amount of land that could be held by an individual. Excess land was to be distributed to the landless farmers.

  • Voluntary donation: Bhoodan and Gramdan movement were started to persuade big land lords to renounce their land properties in the name of the village.

Land reforms (1970 to 1991)

  • Redistribution of land ceiling surplous land: The ceiling limits of about 4 hectares of irrigated land cultivable twice a year was set by Union government in consultation with state governments.

  • Updation of land records: During 7th and 8th Five year plan, a centrally sponsored scheme was launched for this purpose.

Land reforms (1991 to present)

  • After the Economic reforms of 1991, liberal land reforms like land leasing, cooperative farming, contract farming were promoted.

  • Recent land reforms include digitization of land records, creation of land banks, land pooling, etc.

Land records have been a continuous phenomenon since independence but its nature has changed based on need of time. Some reforms have been successfully implemented like abolition of intermediaries. Other components have seen limited success with West Bengal doing well on land redistribution and Telangana etc. taking lead in digitizing land records. Mandataory digitization along with measures for welfare of small and marginal farmer and tenants will go a long way in ensuring socio-economic equity among people in India.

 

Subjects : Modern History

Feb. 22, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Feb. 22, 2021

  1. Discuss the applications of biotechnology in the agriculture and allied sectors.

Approach

  • Introduce by mentioning the need for biotechnology in agriculture and allied sectors

  • Explain how biotechnology can be used in agriculture and allied sectors.

  • Conclude appropriately.

Model Answer

Agriculture along with its allied sectors is the largest source of livelihood in India. Biotechnology can be instrumental in improving productivity and modernising these sectors. The National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020 has a special focus on the agriculture and the allied sectors.

The applications of biotechnology are manifold in this regard:

  • Crop farming:
    • Productivity of the crops is enhanced using genomics information and interfaces with wide hybridisation, molecular mapping, etc.

    • Crops can be made less input intensive and less prone to biotic and abiotic stresses.

    • Nutritional value of the crops can also be enhanced.



  • Animal Rearing:
    • The health and productivity of Livestock and Poultry can be enhanced.

    • Biotechnology can ensure good breeding and reproductive technologies.

    • Disease resistance in indigenous stocks e.g. cattle, chicken, buffalo, sheep pigs etc. is being enhanced.

    • Feed and fodder enrichment can be done by enhancing its nutritional value.



  • Aquaculture:
    • Micro-diets being developed for larviculture, which is used as food for fish stock.

    • Enrichment of aqua-feed with microbial enzymes which is cost effective at the same time.

    • Ensuring the health of the aquaculture environment and of the aquatic animals

    • DNA marker technology is being used in various species for trait characterisation related to growth, disease resistance and salinity tolerance and could be exploited for enhancing productivity



  • Medicinal and Aromatic Plants:
    • Biotechnology helps in understanding the mechanism of action of medicinal plant based drugs, understanding the biosynthesis pathways for commercial application, botanical pesticides & insecticides and studies on genetic diversity.

    • Genomic resources on medicinal and aromatic plants can be generated to enhance the content of the therapeutically important products.

    • Medicinal and aromatic plants based products can be developed for human and animal healthcare.



There are a number of more applications of the biotechnology in the agriculture and the allied sectors which can significantly contribute towards the goal of doubling the farmers’ income in near future. The need to the hour is efficiently leveraging the present technology and adequately investing for innovative research in this area.

 

Subjects : Current Affairs

Feb. 19, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Feb. 19, 2021

  1. Discuss the role played by Indian women in the Indian national movement led by Mahatma Gandhi.

Approach:

  • Introduce with women's participation in freedom struggle and the fillip under Gandhi

  • Discuss the role of women - can subdivide into phases (like initial days, CDM, Quit India)

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

While women participated in India's struggle for Independence right from the revolt of 1857, Swadeshi movement etc., their participation got mainstreamed with the entry of Gandhi on the Indian political scene. Gandhi believed in the power of the masses and his mass movements actively encouraged the participation of women in large numbers. Women actively participated in various activities including pamplet distribution, picketing, practicing satyagraha, and civil disobedience. 

Women's participation under Gandhi's leadership:

Involvement of women in the initial days:

  • During the Rowlatt Satyagraha of 1919, he invited women to participate in the nationalist campaign.

  • In the Non Cooperation Movement, Gandhiji initially prescribed a limited role for women of boycott and Swadeshi, but women claimed for themselves a greater active role.

Civil disobedience movement:

  • It was during the Civil Disobedience movement that women got involved in large numbers.

  • In north India, hundreds of women from respectable families shocked their conservative men folk by openly participating in nationalist demonstrations. While the women's participation was more organized in Bombay and limited in Madras, it was the most militant in Bengal.

Quit India movement:

  • Women activism was visible most significantly in the Quit India movement of 1942 at the start of which all the front-ranking male congress leaders were put in prison. In that situation, prominent woman leaders took upon themselves the responsibility of coordinating the movement in the face of unprecedented police repression.

  • Sucheta Kripalini co-ordinated the non-violent resistance, while Arunaa asaf Ali gave leadership to the underground revolutionary activities.

  • The most important aspect of this movement was the participation of a large number of rural women taking their own initiative to liberate their country.

Gandhiji initially encouraged limited participation of women through spinning, picketing at foreign cloth and liquor shops etc. But once they entered the movement in large numbers, women took part in all aspects of the movement, even taking leadership when needed. Women won respect for their courage and mass participation in the freedom struggle.

 

 

Subjects : Modern History

Feb. 17, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Feb. 17, 2021

  1. What do you understand by the term 'sustainable agriculture'? Suggest strategies to make agriculture in India sustainable.

Approach:

  • Introduce with explaining sustainable agriculture

  • Suggest various strategies like appropriate production systems, ZBNF etc.

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

Sustainable agriculture is that form of agriculture which attempts to produce sufficient food to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, say by exhausting soil fertility or irreversibly damaging the environment. It integrates three main goals - environmental health, economic profitability, and social equity.

 

Strategies That Can Be Used To Make Agriculture Sustainable:

  • Appropriate production systems: A shift in policy for agricultural production system to match the agro-ecological resources is critical for sustainability. For example, promotion of dry land agriculture rather than input-intensive farming in arid and semi-arid areas and promoting less water-intensive crops like pulses and millets. Similarly, crops like rice needing large amount of water can be shifted to other regions that are relatively more endowed with water.

  • Poly-cultures and Crop Rotation: Moving farmers from mono-cultures to poly-cropping and the rotation of crops can lead to reductions in the need to apply fertilizers and pesticides. Such diverse systems are likely to be more productive, labour intensive and provide enhanced ecosystem services and, therefore, much more sustainable.

  • Emphasis on nurturing the soil: Greater emphasis on nurturing the soils rather than plants will provide higher benefits on sustaining yields, improving ecosystem health and sequestering carbon.

  • Promotion of Zero Budget Natural Farming: Initiatives such as Zero Budget Natural Farming, with low external input and production costs, could help restore ecosystem health and diversified livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

  • Reducing Food waste and promoting sustainable consumption patterns: To reduce food wastage, greater investments are needed in improving post-production infrastructure, including storage space in rural areas, and improved harvesting techniques and transportation.

With growing population, depleting resources and the increasing threat of climate change, it will be impossible to fulfill the needs of the future unless we transition to sustainable food and agricultural systems that would ensure world food security, provide economic and social opportunities, and protect the ecosystem services on which our future depends.

 

 

 

Subjects : Geography

Feb. 15, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Feb. 15, 2021

  1. How is climate change changing the disaster profile of India?

 Approach

  • Show types of disasters India is vulnerable to.

  • Discuss change in disaster profile due to climate change.

  • Write a way forward.

Model Answer

Natural disasters and climate change are fast emerging as the most defining challenges of the 21st century. India`s diverse and unique geo-climatic condition makes it highly susceptible to climate change and natural disasters.

India is vulnerable, in varying degrees, to a large number of disasters such as, earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity; floods and river erosion; cyclones and tsunamis, droughts; and its hilly areas are at risk from landslides and avalanches. For Indian subcontinent, the projected temperature changes by IPCC, based on the General Circulation Model, projects warming of 2-4.7°C, with the most probable level being around 3.3°C by the year 2100.

Impact Of Climate Change On Disaster Profile Of India

  1. Floods

In India, the Brahmaputra and the Indo-Gangetic basin are the most flood prone areas. Floods are a perennial phenomenon in at least 5 states – Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Climate change has influenced stream flow patterns through changes in the precipitation, which can be manifested from the flood-like situation in Rajasthan in 2017.

  1. Cyclones

Most of the devastating category-level cyclones make landfall between October and November. But since 2011, Thane and now Phethai impacted the coasts in December. This shows that there is a shift in the cyclonic season and its intensity, which is a clear indication of climate change, due to global warming.

  1. Landslide

The Indian mountains are also warming and thus attracting more clouds and torrential rains, which brings massive landslide in these areas. Studies suggest considerable increase in frequency and magnitude of landslides in recent times over the subcontinent, especially in Himalaya and Nilgiris region.

  1. Extreme Heat

India is already experiencing a warming climate. Under 4°C warming, the west coast and southern India are projected to shift to new, high-temperature climatic regimes with significant impacts on agriculture.

  1. Drought

About 6% of the land area of the country is currently in the Exceptionally Dry category, which is nearly four times the 1.6% area at the same time in 2018. Droughts are expected to be more frequent in some areas, especially in north-western India, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

Conclusion

Thus, while natural variability continues to play a key role in climatological disasters, climate change has shifted the odds and changed the natural limits, making certain types of

disasters much more frequent and more intense.

Technology may provide a ―silver bullet to cope the consequences of climate change and increasing disasters in the country. The catastrophic weight of these events on society can also be reduced through effective disaster management, and in formulating the management and mitigation policies, a composite disaster lethality index will be worth practicing.

 

 

Subjects : Environment

Feb. 12, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Feb. 12, 2021

You have been posted as a District Magistrate (DM) in a drought-prone district infamous for recurrent droughts. There have been some recent cases of farmers‟ suicides too. Upon some enquiry, you realize that due to successful cooperative sugar mills in the past and assured market price today, every farmer wants to grow sugarcane, disregarding the local soil and water resource condition. Sugarcane is a highly water-intensive crop. You think that the annual rainfall here, though below average, could be enough if properly managed. However, the local politics in the district revolves entirely around the issue of sugar pricing.

a) Enlist the challenges in front of you.

b) Elaborate your course of action.

Model Answer

The case involves many issues to be tackled simultaneously. And they are not mutually exclusive. Broadly there are 4 major responsibilities I need to work on. 1. Draught mitigation, 2. Farmers suicide, 3. Water management, 4. Reduce political misuse of the situation. As

DM, all these responsibilities have to be shouldered, keeping in mind the overall responsibility of maintaining law and order and development of the district.

  1. a) Challenges:

To fulfil the responsibilities there are many challenges to be tackled.

  1. Water scarcity (less rainfall): As overall rainfall in the district is low, availability of water is very less. This has many reasons, mostly natural like the geographical location of the district. Very less can be done to increase the rainfall. But use of water can be regulated judiciously

  2. Farmers preference to sugarcane: This has historical reason as cooperative sugar mills provide for better infrastructure to improve income of the farmers. As sugarcane is water intensive crop it is very crucial to convey to the farmers about shifting to alternative less water intensive crops. And this task will be easy if we can suggest alternate sources of income to farmers in areas of agri-allied activities.

  3. Political vested interests: This plays very crucial role at ground level. As in sugar bowls of India e.g., Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, the sugar cane monitoring suddenly takes political tone. This hampers the chances to adopt more mature solutions.

 

  1. b) Course of action:

The responsibilities can be classified into two major groups- Short term(urgency) and long term (sustainability). And accordingly, the course of action will also have similar two groupings.

  1. Short-term (urgency):

  2. First and foremost is to follow SOP for drought relief. The efforts against draught include both –preventive as well as curative, as per the situation.

  3. Dependents of those farmers who committed suicides will be provided with immediate compensation followed by consolation visits by the administration.

  4. Water tankers will be sent to the most affected areas.

  5. DMs of nearby districts, having better source of water, will be requested for supply of water. And relevant arrangements will be done to receive this water.

  6. State and central government will be requested for special funds for the relief works.

  7. Cattle camps will be initiated in the areas where they are required.

 

  1. Log-term (sustainability):

  2. All the local political leader will be called to have discussion upon reducing cultivation of sugarcane crop. They will be persuaded about ill impact of water intensive crop like sugar cane in the draught-prone area like this.

  3. Awareness among the farmers will be initiated though workshops, advertisement etc. to communicate to them about alternative less water-intensive crop.

  4. Forward market linkages will be subsidized and strengthened for alternative crops which are less water intensive viz-pulses, vegetable etc.

  5. Cooperative food processing units will be set up with government support for other such crops.

  6. All the collective water bodies will be revived with the help of NGOs and public participatory groups working in that area. Every waterbody will be looked after by a local elders committee. This will be done to create sense of stewardship among locals about the water bodies.

  7. Water harvesting efforts will be initiated, mainly before monsoon starts, so that maximum quantity of water can be collected and held in order to use it for rest of the year.

  8. Drip irrigation will be made compulsory for sugar cane. Purchase of the drip irrigation systems will be subsidized thorough financial assistance to farmers.

Subjects : Ethics

Feb. 10, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Feb. 10, 2021

  1. Critically examine the potential of the BIMSTEC grouping for regional economic cooperation and growth.

 

Approach:

  • Introduce with the BIMSTEC grouping

  • Examine BIMSTEC potential as enabler of economic growth in the region - trade, connectivity etc.

  • Highlight the challenges faced by the BIMSTEC in realizing its potential

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

The Bay of Bengal region hosts one-fourth of the world’s population and several high-growth economies, and is attracting growing attention as the strategic heart of the Indo-Pacific. BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal initiative for Multi sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), comprising 7 nations of the South and South East Asia, is a sector driven cooperative organisation with focus on sector such as- trade, technology, energy, transport etc.

The BIMSTEC has immense potential for economic growth for the region:

  • BIMSTEC by acting as a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia can help in economic development in the region.

  • The project such as Kaladan Multimodal project, IMT Highway will boost connectivity and economic cooperation in the region.

  • The Motor vehicle Agreement signed between India, Myanmar and Thailand can facilitate movement of goods, services and boost productivity and trade in the region.

  • Several geostrategic connectivity initiatives are now converging and competing in the region, including China’s BRI, India’s Act East policy, the AAGC, and ASEAN’s new Western focus. This comes with huge potential for trade and economic growth.

  • The Free trade agreementbeing negotiated, when concluded, will help in elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers and give further push to the trade in the region.

  • The untapped potential of BIMSTEC in form of natural and human resources can benefit the regional economy.

But at the same time, the BIMSTEC faces various challenges, which may inhibit it in realising its full potential. Some of these challenges are as follows:

  • Little tangible progress: BIMSTEC has achieved very little in 20 years, with no Vision Statement or a BIMSTEC Charter.

  • No FTA: There's been little movement forward towards agreement on Free Trade Area (FTA).

  • Fragile nature of the countries in the region: South Asian states remain politically fragile and the economic projects in the region have failed to take off as a result.

  • Resentment against India's dominance: India’s structural dominance of South Asia makes it a natural target of resentment and suspicion.

A successful BIMSTEC can promote regional economic integration and connectivity, which will also help in countering China's influence in the region. India must take on an informal BIMSTEC leadership role in securing the removal of the formidable physical and regulatory obstacles to the free flow of goods, capital, services and people between its member-states.

 

Subjects : Economy

Feb. 8, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Feb. 8, 2021

  1. The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of the term of Justice G. Rohini Commission to examine the issue of Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes, by 6 months i.e. upto 31.1.2021. Discuss the significance and limitations of such an exercise.

Approach:

  • Introduce with what sub-categorization means

  • Identify the merits of sub-categorization

  • Highlight the limitaitons in the exercise

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

Sub-categorization of OBCs seeks to divide the central OBC list into sub-groups in accordance with their socio-economic parameters in order to arrive at a correct perspective on the social status of different OBC population in the country. To this end,  the Union govenrment has constituted a Commission under article 340 of the Constitution to examine the issue of sub-categorization of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

Significance for sub-categorization

  • Equitable distribution of benefits: The exercise of sub-categorization will help sub-categories within the central OBC list apportion the 27% reservation benefit in proportion to their share in the OBC population. Sub-categorization of OBC population essentially reduces the eligible population, thereby helping in equitable distribution of reservation benefits.

  • Identification of right beneficiaries:While the OBC population constitutes 44% of the population, the reservation policies extended to them are limited in scope, requiring the identification of right beneficiaries.

  • The benefits of the reservation in OBCs are being cornered mostly by the dominant OBC groups over the years so there is a need to recognise sub-quotas for the extremely backward classes within the OBCs.

Limitations

  • Data: The data on OBC headcount, necessary for sub-categorization exercise is unavailable. The data from Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 is full of anomalies with more than 46 lakh distinct caste and sub-caste names, making it difficult to interpret.

  • Can only benefit a few: While the number of disadvantaged form a very large segment of Indian society, government jobs and seats in education will always be limited. Reservation benefits, even after the exercise, can only help a few people.

Way Forward

It is more important to eliminate caste-based disadvantages, with focus on eliminating discrimination and ensuring benefits of reservation are wide spread among the disadvantaged groups. Improvement in social services can help address the impact of discrimination from early stage of life. The sub-categorization exercise could potentially lead to ensure better data on caste-based disadvantages so that benefits of reservation can be more widely spread.  

 

Subjects : Social Issues

Feb. 5, 2021

Mains Daily Question
Feb. 5, 2021

  1. Constitutionalisation of Panchayati Raj paved the way for grass root empowerment in India. In this regard discuss the salient features of the 73rd amendment Act, 1992.

Approach

  • Introduce with how 73rd Amendment Act, 1992 was significant

  • Discuss the salient features of this act

  • Conclude Appropriately

Model Answer

The 73rd amendment Act, 1992 has given practical shape to the Directive Principles of State Policy by constitutionalizing the local governance through establishment of Panchayati Raj in India, which transformed the representative democracy into a participatory one.

Its salient features are:

  1. Three tier system: In every state, the panchayat will be at three levels i.e, village, intermediate and district level.

  2. Gram Sabha: Village assembly comprises of all registered voters in the area of a panchayat and serves as the foundation of Panchayati Raj. The powers and functions of a Gram Sabha are determined by the respective state legislatures.

  3. Election of representatives: All members at all levels are directly elected by people. The chairperson of panchayat at village level is elected as per provisions of the state legislature and chairperson of panchayat at remaining two tiers are elected indirectly by and from amongst elected members.

  4. Reservations: There is proportionate reservation for SCs and STs at every level of the Panchayati Raj. Also, women are provided with minimum one-third reservations at all the levels of panchayats. The state legislature may also make provisions for reservations of OBCs.

  5. Duration: A panchayat is given a five-year term, but it can be dissolved before its completion of the term. A definite timeline is given for holding fresh elections and if a panchayat is dissolved prematurely, then the reconstituted panchayat will hold office only for the remaining period.

  6. State Election Commission: The conduct of Panchayati Raj elections is vested in the state election commission consisting of a state election commissioner appointed by the Governor of the state.

  7. State Finance Commission: The Governor of a state will, after every five years, constitute a finance commission to review the financial position of panchayats. 

However, the performance of Panchayats has lot left to be desired, especially in light of limited powers and financial autonomy provided to them by the States. A lot can be done to improve the performance of panchayats, including greater financial autonomy, capacity building, infrastructure improvement and less bureaucratic control. To make it truly participatory, the 3Fs (Functions, Funds, And Functionaries) of Panchayati Raj needs to be strengthened.

Subjects : Polity
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