April 30, 2023
Mains Daily Question
April 30, 2023
Briefly explain important provisions of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and how they impact the rights of indigenous communities and the conservation of forests.
Introduction: Briefly write about the FR Act 2006.
Body: Write important provisions of the act and show how they impact the rights of indigenous communities and the conservation of forests.
Conclusion: Conclude by showing challenges and the way forward
The Forest Rights Act, 2006 (also known as the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act) is a landmark legislation in India that seeks to recognise and vest forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers. The Act aims to rectify historical injustices done to forest-dwelling communities and recognise their role in forest conservation.
Important provisions of the Act and their impact:
- Rights of forest dwellers: It recognises the rights of forest-dwelling tribal communities and other traditional forest dwellers to forest resources, on which these communities are dependent for a variety of needs, including livelihood, habitation, and other socio-cultural needs.
- This has helped to improve the livelihoods of forest-dwelling communities by enabling them to access forest resources for traditional livelihood activities. For example, the Kattunayakan tribe in the Silent Valley National Park in Kerala has been granted community forest rights and has been able to access bamboo resources for making baskets and other handicrafts.
- Rights of self-cultivation and habitat: The Act encompasses rights of self-cultivation and habitat, which are usually regarded as individual rights; community rights such as grazing, fishing, and access to water bodies in forests; habitat rights for PVTGs; traditional seasonal resource access for nomadic and pastoral communities; access to biodiversity; community rights to intellectual property and traditional knowledge; recognition of traditional customary rights; and the right to protect, regenerate, conserve, or manage any community forest resource for sustainable use.
- It recognises the traditional rights of forest-dwelling communities, including many indigenous communities, to their ancestral lands and resources. This has helped to secure their rights and livelihoods and enabled them to have a greater say in the management of forests.
- The Khasi tribe in Meghalaya, which traditionally practised shifting cultivation and depends on the forests for their livelihood, has been granted community forest rights under the FRA.
- Conservation and management of forests: It also provides rights to the allocation of forest land for developmental purposes to fulfil the basic infrastructural needs of the community. In conjunction with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Settlement Act of 2013, the FRA protects the tribal population from eviction without rehabilitation and settlement.
- The FRA has also enabled forest-dwelling communities to play a greater role in the conservation and management of forests. For example, the Soliga tribe in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka has been recognised as a community forest rights holder under the FRA. The tribe has implemented a successful community-based forest management model that has helped to reduce deforestation, increase biodiversity, and improve the livelihoods of community members.
- Power of Gram Sabha: The Act further enjoins upon the Gram Sabha and rights holders the responsibility of conservation and protection of biodiversity, wildlife, forests, adjoining catchment areas, water sources, and other ecologically sensitive areas, as well as stopping any destructive practises affecting these resources or the cultural and natural heritage of the tribals.
- The Gram Sabha is also a highly empowered body under the Act, enabling the tribal population to have a decisive say in the determination of local policies and schemes impacting them.
However, the implementation of the act has been challenging due to the slow pace of recognition of forest rights and the lack of awareness and capacity among forest-dwelling communities to exercise their rights. To address these challenges, efforts are needed to increase awareness and capacity among forest-dwelling communities and to address conflicts between different stakeholders over land use and resource extraction.
April 28, 2023
Mains Daily Question
April 28, 2023
Elaborate upon the impact of the rising sea level on the coastal regions of India. Also, mention the measures taken by the Government of India to mitigate the repercussions of this sea-level rise.
Introduction: Briefly mention the reasons for rising sea levels with some data showing the rise.
Body: Mention the implications of rising sea levels on coastal regions of India. Also, mention the government initiatives in this regard.
Conclusion: Conclude with a positive way forward to combat the overall menace of climate change.
Rising sea levels are a global phenomenon that is caused by various factors such as climate change, melting of polar ice caps, and thermal expansion of ocean water. The possibility of sea level rise in the next ten years is about 3.2 cm in the north Indian Ocean if the sea level acceleration remains similar to 3.2 mm per year. The coastal regions of India, which are home to millions of people, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of this phenomenon.
The overall impact of rising sea levels on the coastal regions in India can be multidimensional and multi-faceted like,
- Climate-change-induced displacement: Coastal erosion due to rising sea levels has led to the displacement of thousands of people living in low-lying areas along the coast. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Nearly 50 lakh people in India were internally displaced due to climate change and disasters in 2021.
- Impact on Fisheries Sector: This displacement has resulted in the loss of livelihoods for fishermen and other coastal communities, who are heavily dependent on the sea for their sustenance. This would lead to an overall downturn in the Marine and fisheries sector.
- Coastal tourism, which is a major contributor to the economy of many coastal states, has also been adversely affected due to beach erosion and flooding caused by rising sea levels.
- Economic loss: The destruction of infrastructure and property due to flooding and erosion has resulted in significant economic losses for the affected communities.
- Impact on Agriculture: Increased saltwater intrusion into groundwater reserves has impacted agriculture, leading to lower yields and increased irrigation costs.
- Could widen existing socio-economic disparities: The impact of rising sea levels on coastal areas can also exacerbate existing socio-economic disparities, as poorer communities are often more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
- Impact on Coastal Ecosystem: Rising Sea levels have resulted in the loss of important coastal ecosystems, including mangroves and coral reefs, which serve as breeding grounds for marine life and help protect coastal communities from storms and floods. For example - Hazardous living conditions were caused by unusually high tides post the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 When water displaces natives from the "sinking island" of Kerala.
- Impact on Habitat: Increased flooding and erosion have also led to the destruction of habitats for several endangered species of flora and fauna. The loss of coastal ecosystems can have a cascading effect on marine biodiversity, which in turn can have significant implications for fisheries and other industries dependent on the sea.
- Impact on freshwater ecosystems: The melting of glaciers due to rising temperatures is also contributing to rising sea levels, which could have a significant impact on freshwater ecosystems, particularly in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta.
- Loss of freshwater habitat: Increased salinity in groundwater can also lead to the loss of important freshwater habitats, which can impact terrestrial ecosystems as well.
Measures taken by the Government:
- National Coastal Zone Management Program (NCZMP): It was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2015 to promote sustainable coastal development and adaptation to climate change.
- Coastal Protection Infrastructure: The government has constructed several coastal protection structures, such as seawalls, groynes, and breakwaters, to reduce the impact of waves and erosion on coastal areas.
- Disaster Preparedness: The National Disaster Management Authority has developed guidelines for coastal states to prepare for and respond to disasters related to climate change, including sea-level rise.
- Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM): The Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has been implementing an Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Plan for India instead of a uniform Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) framework. This has led to better preparedness of India's coasts to deal with sea level rise.
- India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) - It outlines a strategy that aims to enable the country to adapt to climate change and enhance the ecological sustainability of our development path.
- Updated NDCs: In August 2022, India updated its NDC according to which India has an enhanced target to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45 per cent by 2030 from the 2005 level, and achieve about 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. India aims to reach net zero by 2070.
To address these impacts, we need to effectively implement the Climate Disaster Resilient initiative and the updated NDCs of the Paris Agreement. As rising sea level is a global phenomenon thus governments, businesses, and communities must work together towards developing sustainable coastal development strategies and towards increasing resilience to climate change.
April 27, 2023
Mains Daily Question
April 27, 2023
What do you understand by Left Wing Extremism (LWE)? Elucidate the major factors behind the occurrence of LWE and the governmental action to root out the menace.
Introduction: Define Left Wing Extremism
- Give a few points on major factors behind LWE
- Give a few points on steps taken by the government
Conclusion: Conclude by telling about the success of the government in reducing LWE-related violent incidents.
Left-wing extremism in India refers to the ongoing Maoist insurgency in parts of India, also known as Naxalism. It is a far-left radical communist movement that began in 1967 in the village of Naxalbari, West Bengal. Its aim is of overthrowing current capitalist systems and replacing them with communist or socialist societies.
The movement has since spread to several other states including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh.
Major Factors Behind LWE:
- Tribal dissatisfaction arises from the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980, which prohibits tribes who rely on forest resources for their livelihood from even harvesting bark.
- The implementation of development projects, mining operations, and other factors has resulted in significant displacement of tribal populations in states affected by LWE.
- Vulnerable individuals lacking sustainable means of support become susceptible to joining the Naxalite movement. Maoists exploit this situation by providing weapons, ammunition, and financial assistance to these individuals.
- The country's socio-economic system exhibits gaps wherein the government measures its success based on the number of violent attacks in Naxal-affected regions, rather than focusing on developmental efforts.
- Insufficient technical intelligence hampers effective strategies against Naxalism. Challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, including the lack of proper communication networks in some villages, impede actions against Naxalites.
- Following the police's control over a region, the administration often fails to deliver essential services to the local population, leaving them without the necessary support.
- There is confusion regarding how to approach Naxalism, whether as a social issue or a security threat. State governments tend to perceive Naxalism as the responsibility of the central government, resulting in a lack of proactive initiatives to combat it.
Government’s approach against Naxalism:
- The commencement of "Operation Green Hunt" took place in 2010, involving a significant deployment of security forces in Naxal-affected regions.
- The aspirational Districts Programme aims to address LWE comprehensively. This includes addressing security concerns, promoting development, safeguarding the rights and entitlements of local communities, improving governance, and managing public perception.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) initiated "Operation SAMADHAN" to tackle the Naxal problem. SAMADHAN stands for Smart leadership, Aggressive strategy, Motivation and training, Actionable intelligence, Dashboard Based KPIs (key performance indicators) and KRAs (key result areas), Harnessing technology, Action plan for each theatre, and No access to financing.
- The MHA has recommended employing technological interventions such as weapon trackers and biometrics for smart guns. It also suggests assigning Unique Identification numbers (UIDs) to gelatine sticks and explosives.
- To enhance coordination and intelligence sharing, Joint Task Forces are to be established for operations along inter-state boundaries.
Various measures taken by the government address both security and development issues, such as the Aspirational District Program. The occurrence of violent incidents related to left-wing extremism in India has decreased in recent years. Consequently, the Indian Home Ministry has removed several districts from the list of those affected by left-wing extremism.
April 26, 2023
Mains Daily Question
April 26, 2023
Universal health coverage(UHC) is the best prescription for the healthcare sector of India. In light of this statement, discuss the potential advantages and challenges of implementing Universal Health coverage in India.
Introduction: Explain the concept of Universal health coverage in the Indian context.
Body: Discuss the potential advantages and challenges related to implementation.
Conclusion: WHO approach and steps taken by Indian Government towards UHC.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) refers to a system where all individuals and communities have access to the quality health services, they need without facing financial hardship. In the context of India, this includes health promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care, without experiencing any financial hardship or risk of impoverishment.
UHC can help to address the current health disparities that exist in India, as it would ensure that everyone, regardless of their social status, has access to essential health services.
Potential advantages of Universal health coverage in India:
- Improved access to health services: UHC would ensure that all Indians have access to necessary healthcare services, including preventive care, treatment, and rehabilitation, regardless of their financial status or geographic location.
- Reduced financial burden: UHC would protect individuals and families from catastrophic healthcare expenses, reducing the financial burden on households and preventing them from falling into poverty due to healthcare costs.
- Better health outcomes: Access to healthcare services will improve health outcomes and reduce mortality rates by diagnosing and treating illnesses and diseases at an earlier stage
- Increased productivity: Improved health outcomes would lead to increased productivity and economic growth as a healthy workforce is more productive.
- Increased government accountability: UHC would increase government accountability in healthcare, as the government would be responsible for ensuring that all citizens have access to essential health services.
Challenges related to universal health coverage in India:
- Lack of adequate funding for healthcare- It's just only 1.5% of the GDP resulting in insufficient infrastructure, staff, and medical supplies in many areas.
- Unequal distribution of healthcare resources with urban areas often having better facilities and medical staff than rural areas. In rural areas, Primary health care centres (PHC) are short of more than 2900 doctors, with the shortage up by 200% over the last 10 years to 27,120.
- High out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare- According to government reports around 68% of the health spending is from patient pockets. Which can be a barrier for people living in poverty or with limited financial resources.
- Inadequate health insurance coverage- India has one of the lowest insurance coverage, government contribution is roughly 32% as compared to 84% in the UK.
- Limited access to specialized healthcare, with many people in remote areas having to travel long distances to access specialized medical care. Example- Tribal areas of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
- Poor quality of healthcare services, with issues such as understaffing, lack of training, and corruption leading to low-quality care in some areas. Example-Doctor density ratio in India is just 8 per 1000 as per WHO report.
- Limited awareness and education about health and healthcare, with many people in India lacking basic knowledge about health and disease prevention.
UHC is based on the principle that good health is a fundamental human right and a key component of sustainable development. WHO has identified UHC as a critical target for achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Aayushman Bharat Mission of the Government of India is a positive step in this regard. India has already taken several steps like National Health Policy 2017, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna, and recent steps to incentivise the private sector to open hospitals towards Universal Health Coverage.
April 25, 2023
Mains Daily Question
April 25, 2023
Analyse the impact of nutrient-based subsidy policy on fertiliser usage in India. Also, give some suggestions to improve the nitrogen use efficiency to reduce urea consumption.
Introduction: Briefly mention the NBS policy and its goal.
Body: Write about the positive and negative impacts of the policy. Give some measures to improve NBS.
Conclusion: Give a forward-looking holistic conclusion to optimize fertilizer usage.
The Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) policy in India was introduced to promote the balanced use of NPK fertilizers in the optimal ratio of 4:2:1 (the current NPK ratio of fertilizer usage is approximately 6.7:2.4:1) and encourage farmers to use the right type and quantity of nutrient-based fertilizers for specific crops and soil types.
The goal of the policy is to promote sustainable agriculture, enhance crop yields, and increase the efficiency of fertilizer use while reducing the fiscal burden of fertilizer subsidies.
Positive impacts of NBS:
- Encourages balanced fertilizer use: The NBS policy incentivizes the production and use of fertilizers that contain a balanced mix of nutrients, which can help promote soil health and increase crop yields. It encourages the use of phosphatic and potassic fertilizers by providing subsidies to manufacturers based on nutrient content. Since its implementation, the production of phosphatic and potassic fertilizers has increased significantly.
- Reduces overuse of fertilizers: The subsidy is provided based on the nutrient content rather than the quantity of fertilizer produced. This can lead to a reduction in fertilizer use which can minimize the negative environmental impact of excess fertilization. Thus it has improved soil health too.
- Promotes the use of eco-friendly fertilizers: These fertilizers are less polluting and can lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Increases affordability of fertilizers: The NBS policy helps reduce the cost of fertilizers for farmers, which means that they can purchase fertilizers at more affordable prices. The subsidies allocated for urea-based fertilizers have also been reduced.
Criticisms of NBS:
- Inadequate subsidies for certain nutrients: A study by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations found that the actual subsidy received by farmers was much lower than the officially announced subsidy rates, due to high market prices of fertilizers.
- Poor implementation: Some critics argue that the implementation of the policy has been poor, leading to disparities in subsidy distribution and inadequate monitoring and evaluation of the impact of the policy.
- Crowding out of private sector investment: The government subsidy may discourage private companies from investing in the sector.
- Impact on small farmers: The policy may have a disproportionate impact on small and marginal farmers who may not have access to sufficient credit to purchase fertilizers, even with subsidies.
- Interference with market dynamics: The policy may interfere with market dynamics, leading to distortions in the pricing of fertilizers and affecting the competitiveness in the fertilizer sector.
Suggestions to improve the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) policy:
- Increase subsidies for certain nutrients that are currently under-represented in the NBS policy to encourage their usage.
- Improve implementation by ensuring equitable distribution of subsidies, better monitoring and evaluation, and more transparency in the subsidy process.
- Facilitate access to credit and farming inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, and machinery for small and marginal farmers, who may not have the resources to purchase fertilizers even with subsidies.
- Promote research, development and innovation in the fertilizer industry to create new, more effective fertilizers that are eco-friendly, cost-efficient, and tailored to the specific needs of Indian soil and crops.
- Promoting soil testing to determine the nutrient content of their soil and identify the specific types of fertilizers needed for optimal crop growth. Government and private institutions can promote the use of soil testing and provide guidance to farmers on how to use the results effectively.
- Encouraging the use of organic fertilizers: Compost, natural manure etc. to reduce the reliance on chemical fertilizers and improve soil health.
- Strengthening extension services: Provide farmers with information on good agricultural practices and the efficient use of fertilizers.
- Leveraging technology: Mobile apps, Remote sensing, to improve fertilizer distribution and monitor its usage.
Improving nitrogen use efficiency can be achieved by implementing several strategies, including:
- Soil Testing and Monitoring: Soil testing can help determine the nutrient status of the soil and determine any nutrient deficiencies. Soil health monitoring can help determine the effectiveness of the fertilization program and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Use of Slow-Release Fertilizers: A slow-release fertilizer can gradually release nutrients over an extended period, helping reduce nutrient leaching and enhancing nutrient uptake by plants.
- Crop Rotation and Cover Crops: Crop rotation involves growing different crops in a sequence, which can help improve soil health, reduce nutrient leaching, and enhance nitrogen fixation by certain plants. Cover crops can also help reduce erosion, maintain soil health, and provide a source of nitrogen for the subsequent crop.
- Integrated Pest Management: It involves using a combination of techniques to manage pests, diseases, and weeds. Implementing IPM practices can reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and enhance nitrogen fixation by certain plants.
- Precision Agriculture: Using modern technologies such as GPS, remote sensing, and data analytics can optimize the use of fertilizers and other inputs. Implementing precision agriculture practices can help enhance nutrient use efficiency and reduce the negative environmental impact of fertilizers.
Overall, these suggestions can help improve the NBS policy's effectiveness in promoting the balanced use of fertilizers, reducing the negative environmental impact of fertilizers, and improving agricultural productivity while also minimizing costs for small farmers.
April 24, 2023
Mains Daily Question
April 24, 2023
Discuss the significance of the landmark Kesavananda Bharati case and comment on its implications for Indian parliamentary sovereignty.
Introduction: Define basic structure doctrine and its origin in the Kesavananda Bharati case
Body: Highlight the significance of the Case
Explain how the case impacted the Indian parliamentary sovereignty.
Conclusion: Mention the need for a balanced and nuanced approach that respects individual rights and societal values.
The Supreme Court’s 13 judges bench in the Kesavananda Bharati case, 1973 articulated the “doctrine of basic structure”. According to this doctrine, the Parliament cannot use its amending power under Article 368 to destroy the basic structure of the Indian constitution such as democracy, secularism, federalism, judicial independence, etc. The basic structure doctrine is a judicial principle that limits the power of the Parliament of India to amend the Constitution.
In this case, a 13-judge bench of the Supreme Court held that while the Parliament has the power to amend any part of the Constitution under Article 368, it cannot use this power to destroy or emasculate the basic structure or framework of the Constitution.
The significance of this case can be highlighted in the following points:
- Established Supremacy of the Constitution: It established the supremacy of the Constitution over the Parliament and the executive and limited their power to amend the Constitution without affecting its basic features.
- Protected Fundamental Rights: It preserved the democratic and federal nature of the Constitution and protected the rights and freedoms of the citizens from arbitrary or authoritarian amendments.
- Judicial Review: It asserted the judicial review power of the Supreme Court to examine the validity of any constitutional amendment and strike it down if it violated the basic structure doctrine.
- Primacy of Fundamental Rights over DPSPs: It resolved the conflict between the fundamental rights and the directive principles of state policy, and harmonized them by giving primacy to the former over the latter.
- Judiciary power to define “basic structure”: It paved the way for subsequent judgments that expanded and enriched the basic structure doctrine, such as the Minerva Mills case (1980), which added secularism and judicial independence as basic features, and the Indira Gandhi case (1975), which invalidated the 39th Amendment that sought to immunize the election of the Prime Minister from judicial scrutiny.
Implications of the Case on Indian parliamentary sovereignty:
- Asserted limited Parliamentary Sovereignty - It limited the power of Parliament to amend any part of the Constitution, including the fundamental rights, by ruling that it cannot alter or amend the basic structure or essential features of the Constitution. This prevented the possibility of tyranny or dictatorship by Parliament, by ensuring that the core values and principles of the Constitution are preserved and protected.
- The 42nd Amendment Act (1976), which inserted clauses (4) and (5) in Article 368 to make constitutional amendments beyond judicial review and give unlimited power to Parliament, was struck down by the Supreme Court in Minerva Mills (1980), as it violated the basic structure.
- It gave the Supreme Court the authority to decide whether a constitutional amendment violated the basic structure or not, on a case-by-case basis.
- No exhaustive list -It listed some of the basic features of the Constitution, such as democracy, secularism, federalism, republicanism, independence of the judiciary, and power of judicial review by superior courts, but did not provide an exhaustive list.
- It affirmed the dissenting opinions of Hidayatullah and Mudholkar in Sajjan Singh, who had questioned whether fundamental rights could be taken away by Parliament and had introduced the phrase "basic features" of the Constitution. (Not required)
- Synthesis b/w Parliamentary Sovereignty & Judicial Supremacy - It established a balance between parliamentary sovereignty and judicial review, by recognising that Parliament has vast powers to amend the Constitution for public welfare, but not at the cost of its basic structure.
- The 99th Amendment Act (2014), which established a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) to replace the collegium system for the appointment of judges, was struck down by the Supreme Court in the NJAC case (2015), as it violated the basic structure by compromising judicial independence.
The basic structure doctrine is still an evolving concept in Indian constitutional law. It has been praised as a safeguard of constitutional values and democracy and condemned as a judicial usurpation of legislative power and an obstacle to social reform. The Keshavananda Bharati case is an important landmark in Indian constitutional law, and it highlights the need for a balanced and nuanced approach that respects both individual rights and the larger public interest.
April 22, 2023
Mains Daily Question
April 22, 2023
Enumerating the main reasons behind the rapid melting of glaciers around the world, explain its impact on global climate change and human life. Also, give some effective strategies to combat glacier melting.
Introduction: Briefly mention the current status of the melting of glaciers by showing a report.
Body: Write the reasons behind the melting of glaciers briefly. Elaborate on the impact and give some strategies to tackle the problem.
Conclusion: Give a forward-looking holistic conclusion.
Glaciers worldwide are losing mass at an accelerating rate. As per IPCC between 2000 and 2019, glaciers lost an average of 267 billion metric tons of ice per year, which is enough to raise sea levels by around 0.74mm annually. Melting glaciers have contributed to around 21% of sea level rise over the past two decades.
Examples of melting of glaciers:
- Greenland Ice Sheet - losing about 280 billion tons of ice per year;
- Himalayan glaciers could disappear entirely by 2100.
- Glaciers in the European Alps have been in retreat since the mid-19th century,
- Glaciers in the Andes Mountains of South America lost up to 80% of their mass since the 1970s.
- Antarctic Ice Sheet
Reasons for melting of glaciers:
- Global warming: Rising temperatures cause glaciers to melt faster than they can accumulate new snow.
- Human activities: Deforestation, burning of fossil fuels, and industrial processes etc. contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases, which are a key driver of global warming, which in turn leads to the melting of glaciers.
- Changes in precipitation: Changes in the amount, timing, and form of precipitation can also affect the extent and thickness of glaciers.
- Natural factors: Natural factors such as volcanic activity and changes in solar radiation can also affect glacier melting.
Impact of melting glaciers on climate change & human life:
- Rising sea levels: Melting glaciers contribute to rising sea levels, which can have devastating effects on coastal communities and infrastructure.
- Water scarcity: Glaciers are an important source of freshwater for many communities around the world. As glaciers melt and retreat, it can lead to water scarcity and affect agriculture and other industries.
- Changes in weather patterns: Melting glaciers can affect weather patterns, leading to changes in temperature, precipitation, and other weather-related phenomena. When glaciers melt, the resulting freshwater enters the ocean, which can destabilize the salinity balance of the North Atlantic and weaken the AMOC. This weakening can cause changes in regional climate patterns, such as cooler temperatures in Europe and increased hurricane activity in the North Atlantic.
- Ecosystem disruption: Melting glaciers can cause ecosystem disruption, leading to changes in biodiversity, food webs and other ecological systems.
- Potential for natural disasters: Melting glaciers can create the potential for natural disasters, such as flash floods or landslides, which can have catastrophic effects on human life and infrastructure.
- Reduced albedo effect: As glaciers melt, they reduce the earth's ability to reflect sunlight back into space, leading to increased absorption of solar radiation and warmer temperatures.
Strategies to reduce glacier melting generally focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of global warming. Some strategies include:
- Reduce carbon emissions: This can be done by increasing the use of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power, and by implementing policies to reduce energy consumption. e.g. fulfilling the net zero emission targets.
- Promote energy efficiency: This includes measures such as improving building insulation and promoting the use of energy-efficient appliances. e.g. Green Housing Scheme by National Housing Bank.
- Encourage public transportation: This can reduce the use of private cars and consequently the emission of greenhouse gases. e.g. Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme in Hong Kong.
- Plant more trees: Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so planting more trees can help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the air.
- Reduce waste and recycle: This can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released through landfill and other waste disposal methods.
- Reduce deforestation: Deforestation causes a loss of natural carbon sinks, decreasing the earth's capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. e.g. REDD+
- Implement sustainable agriculture practices: These practices can help reduce emissions from agricultural activities and preserve water resources. e.g. conservation tillage.
- International agreements: Governments can work together on international agreements to limit carbon emissions and combat global warming. e.g. Paris Agreement, Montreal protocol etc.
- Adaptation measures: It is also important to plan and implement adaptation measures to address the impacts of melting glaciers, such as flooding, water resource management and infrastructure protection.
Overall, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the most important long-term solution to tackling melting glaciers. Governments, businesses, and individuals all have a role to play in reducing emissions and addressing the impacts of climate change.
April 21, 2023
Mains Daily Question
April 21, 2023
Discuss the potential of SCO as a platform for regional cooperation and stability, with a focus on its economic, security, and cultural dimensions.
Introduction: Give a brief overview of SCO.
Body: Discuss Economic, Security and Cultural dimensions in detail and give some challenges faced by them.
Conclusion: Give a forward-looking conclusion concerning India.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising eight member states, including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, and Pakistan. The SCO was founded in 2001 to promote cooperation and stability in the region through economic, security, and cultural dimensions.
- Economic dimension:
- The SCO has the potential to become a platform for economic cooperation and development in the region. The SCO member states have a combined population of over 3 billion people and account for around 20% of the world's GDP.
- The SCO has been working to promote economic cooperation through initiatives such as the SCO Business Council and the SCO Development Bank. These initiatives aim to enhance trade, investment, and economic development in the region. The SCO also promotes connectivity and cooperation in the areas of energy, transportation, and infrastructure development.
- Security dimension:
- The SCO also has the potential to enhance regional security through cooperation and coordination among member states. The SCO has a Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) that aims to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism in the region. The SCO also conducts joint military exercises and shares intelligence to enhance security cooperation among member states.
- The SCO's security dimension also aims to address transnational security threats such as drug trafficking and organized crime. The SCO has the potential to play a role in resolving conflicts in the region. For example, the organization has been involved in efforts to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.
- The SCO can use its diplomatic channels to facilitate dialogue and cooperation among member states to prevent and resolve conflicts.
- Cultural dimension:
- The SCO also has the potential to promote cultural cooperation and understanding among member states. The SCO's cultural dimension aims to promote people-to-people exchanges, education, and tourism in the region.
- The SCO also promotes the preservation of cultural heritage and the development of cultural industries in the region. SCO can provide a platform for member countries to exchange ideas, traditions, and values, which can help in fostering better relations among them.
- The organization can also promote joint cultural events, exhibitions, and festivals, which can showcase the cultural richness of member states.
Despite its growing influence, the SCO faces a number of challenges, including:
- Divergent interests: The SCO member states have different economic, political, and strategic interests, which can make it difficult to reach a consensus on important issues.
- Limited scope: The SCO's mandate is primarily focused on regional security and economic cooperation, which can make it difficult to address issues beyond the region, such as global terrorism and climate change.
- External pressures: The SCO is often seen as a counterweight to Western influence in the region, which can lead to external pressures and accusations of being an anti-Western alliance.
- Uneven development: The SCO member states have varying levels of economic development and political stability, which can hinder cooperation and exacerbate tensions.
- Border disputes: Several member states, including China, India, and Pakistan, have ongoing border disputes, which can potentially undermine the stability and unity of the organization.
- Limited institutional capacity: The SCO's institutional capacity and decision-making processes are relatively weak, which can make it difficult to implement agreements and respond to crises effectively.
To overcome the challenges, the SCO needs to continue promoting dialogue and cooperation among member states and to enhance trust and understanding among them.
India has a key role to play in the SCO's efforts to promote regional security, economic cooperation, and cultural exchanges. India's engagement with the SCO has helped to expand its diplomatic and economic reach in the region and has provided it with a platform to engage with other major powers such as China and Russia.
April 20, 2023
Mains Daily Question
April 20, 2023
In light of the recent findings of the World Population Report analyze the impact of population explosion on the development prospects of India. What are the potential measures that can be adopted to prevent India’s demographic dividend from becoming a demographic disaster?
Introduction: Highlight the current context i.e., the World Population Report's findings of India becoming the most populous country.
Body: Write briefly the causes of the population explosion in India, then enumerate the negative and positive consequences of having a high population. Thereafter write down the measures that can be taken to utilize the population for development in India by giving government efforts as examples.
Conclusion: Conclude by mentioning how demographic dividend can be utilized to ensure it doesn't become a disaster for India.
According to the UNFPA’s State of World Population Report 2023 India’s population is estimated to reach 142.86 crores by the middle of this year overtaking China to become the world’s most populous country. Hence arises the need to evaluate India’s population growth to enable her development prospects.
The causes of a high Population are improvement in health conditions and control of diseases, increase in the economic status of families, ‘son meta preference’, advancement in science to avert natural calamities and cultural barriers against the use of contraceptives.
Negative impacts of Population Explosion on development prospects:
- Overcrowding: Rapid population growth can lead to overcrowding, which can cause a strain on resources and infrastructure. It can also increase crime rates.
- Environmental degradation: Large populations can lead to the overuse of natural resources, such as forests and water sources, leading to deforestation, desertification, and scarcity of water. This can also cause pollution, including air, water, and soil pollution.
- Reduced quality of life: Population growth can lead to a reduced quality of life due to a lack of resources, a high cost of living, and inadequate infrastructure. Example: Slum sprawls like Dharavi.
- Strains on the economy: A rapidly growing population can create a strain on the economy, including increasing government spending on social services and infrastructure, reducing the availability of resources for research and development, and making it more difficult for individuals to find work. Example: Venezuela crisis, 2017.
- Increased competition for resources: As populations grow, competition for resources such as food, housing, and medical care can increase.
But population growth has some positive impacts too:
- A larger workforce: A growing population means a larger workforce, which can represent a source of productivity and economic growth, as long as the workforce is employed and trained with the corresponding skills.
- Innovation and entrepreneurship: A growing population can lead to more innovation and entrepreneurship, as more people means more ideas, and can also represent a larger market for new businesses to thrive.
- Increased demand: A growing population means an increase in demand for goods and services, which can stimulate economic growth, as long as there's enough production capacity to meet such demand.
- Greater economies of scale: As the population grows, the cost of producing goods and services may decrease, allowing companies to lower prices and still maintain their profit margins.
Measures to Utilize Demographic Dividend:
- Investing in education: Education is essential for empowering young people to be productive members of the workforce. Example: New education policy,2020, Skill India mission
- Improving access to healthcare: This can help ensure that people are healthy and able to work, reducing absenteeism and disability. Example: Janani Suraksha Yojana, Integrated Child Development Scheme, Universal Immunization Programme.
- Creating job opportunities: Job creation is crucial for ensuring the growing working-age population can find employment. Example: MGNREGA.
- Promoting entrepreneurship: Encouraging entrepreneurship and providing support for small and medium-sized enterprises can help create jobs and drive economic growth. Example: StartUp India. StandUp India schemes.
- Investing in infrastructure as the overpopulation regions demand more resources, can help create an enabling environment for economic growth, including transportation and communications infrastructure. Example: PM Gati Shakti scheme.
- Encouraging savings and investment: Countries can encourage savings and investment through policies that encourage people to save and invest, such as tax incentives.
- Strengthening governance and institutions: This can help create a favourable policy environment that encourages family planning. Example: National population policy 2020, Family planning programme,1977.
Due to these governmental efforts, the decadal growth of India has declined from 21.54% (1991-2001) to 17.6% in 2001-11.
India is on the right side of a demographic transition which could aid its rapid socio-economic development. To reap this golden dividend, the government needs to invest more in human capital (education, skill development, healthcare) for India to develop sustainably. India needs to become rich before it gets old.
April 19, 2023
Mains Daily Question
April 19, 2023
The recently released NCRB’s ADSI report indicates that the number of student suicides has increased substantially in India. In this context, enumerate the possible reasons behind this increasing trend of student suicide in India. Also, discuss some potential solutions to deal with this issue.
Introduction: Define suicide as a complex sociological behaviour and give the data showing the increase in suicide cases.
Body: Enumerate the possible reasons and give the potential solutions for the same.
Conclusion: Give a holistic summary.
Suicide is a complex issue that can have multiple underlying causes, and it is difficult to pinpoint a single factor that can account for the prevalence of suicide among educated youth in India. The recent report from NCRB’s ADSI indicates that the number of student suicides increased by 32% between 2017 and 2021. E.g., Suicides in IITs, IISCs etc.
Possible reasons for this trend:
- Pressure and competition that young people face in India's education system, can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety. E.g., Students preparing for IIT JEE, NEET, UPSC CSE etc
- Lack of social support and stigma surrounding mental health issues in India may discourage young people from seeking help when they are struggling. E.g., isolating and making a mockery of health issues like depression.
- Rapid socio-economic changes in India have created a stressful and uncertain environment for young people, particularly in urban areas, where social isolation, lack of job opportunities and economic hardship are rampant.
- Influence of social media and online activities can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and social comparison, leading to low self-esteem, depression, and suicidal thoughts. E.g., the Fear of Missing Out effect of Instagram etc.
- High Social Expectations: Expectations of parents for a Crore plus placement in IITs and IIMs.
- Other Issues: Online Gaming, Debt Pressures, Relationship Discords, Poor Sex Ratio in Top Institutions, Drug Prevalence, Abuse and overuse of liquor, poor work-life Balance etc.
Possible solutions to the issue:
- Raise awareness about mental health issues: Learn the warning signs of suicide and take them seriously. Ask the youth directly if they are thinking about suicide.
- Stable, safe physical and emotional home environment: E.g., Proper communication about stress.
- Spend quality time with young people: E.g., Listen to them, not only to what is being said but also to what is not being said.
- Provide access to treatment for mental health. physical health, and substance abuse disorders. E.g., suicide prevention programs, counselling and therapy.
- Provide peer support and familial and community support. E.g., Student Welfare Group in IIT Kharagpur.
- Educate youth and parents about suicide prevention, including the warning signs, and how to seek help when needed.
- Build resilience among youth by helping them develop coping skills that can help them deal with stress and difficult times.
- 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
- Reform in the education system: competition and pressure can be reduced and alternate career paths can be explored. Finally, social media literacy and awareness of online risks and cyberbullying should also be emphasized.
Initiatives taken by the Government for Mental Health promotion are:
- Mental Healthcare Act, 2017;
- Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched KIRAN, a toll-free 24/7 mental health helpline;
- India National Suicide Prevention Strategy for prevention of suicide cases across the country;
- National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) since 1982,
- Issuance and dissemination of detailed guidelines by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Online capacity building of health workers by NIMHANS in providing psychosocial support and training through (iGOT)-Diksha platform.
Reducing suicide in youth involves taking a multifaceted approach that addresses underlying social, psychological and situational factors that can contribute to suicidal ideation. Thus, as a society, we must be much more open about mental health issues, make cumulative efforts to solve them and eventually turn our students and youth into a demographic dividend.