Posted on August 4, 2013August 4, 2013 by INSIGHTSInsights Daily Answer Writing Challenge Day – 15QUESTIONS ASKED – DAY 15 (03/08/2013)1)Discuss the causes and consequences of desertification in India.2)Analyze the functioning of PDS in India and bring out its limitations.RESPONSES:Sahil GargAugust 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm3 VotesQ. Discuss the causes and consequences of desertification in India. Ans Desertification is a kind of land degradation characterized by the conversion of fertile and arable land into arid or dry barren earth. It reduces the natural potential of the ecosystem and has a direct impact on people in terms of vulnerability to food shortages and natural disasters, depletion of natural resources and deterioration of the environment. It has affected around 168 countries in 2012, up from 110 a decade ago and includes India as well. Causes of desertification in India are both man-made and natural. Rising population coupled with rising demand for better infrastructure has rendered country facing resource crunch and led to indiscriminate deforestation. It has further put pressure on land for sufficing the food and affluent needs of the Homo sapiens. Other factors that aggravated the situation are unsystematic mining activities in different pockets of country, improper waste disposal on the periphery of urban agglomerates, overgrazing, unsustainable agricultural practices like Jhum cultivation and shifting cultivation etc and use of pesticides. Natural factors include floods, drought, earthquake, soil erosion by wind and water, climate change etc. Desertification has economic, social, cultural, environmental implications. It increases the stress of residual agricultural land leading to its over exploitation, thus becoming a vicious cycle of land abuse. It breeds poverty and lessen the productivity of human resource. There has been increased stress on natural resources leading to permanent loss of vegetation and plant species and conversion of large tracts of land into wastelands. This has an adverse impact on biodiversity and imbalances the ecosystem equilibrium. It also leads to frequent natural disasters and adverse climate change due biodiversity loss. In a nutshell the causes of desertification rear the consequences and the consequences become the reason in the long run and it has become one of the major environmental problems of modern India.ReplyAnjali MotghareAugust 3, 2013 at 10:42 pmRate This Response!Sahil why u wrote Homo sapiens, we are developed form of them , not original homo sapiens? good answer.ReplySahil GargAugust 3, 2013 at 11:44 pmRate This Response!Homo sapiens is modern human being as a species and i used that in context of growing affluent needs of human speciesReplyAnjali MotghareAugust 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm2 VotesAs per govt report over one fourth area is undergoing desertificaton in India. Although India’s area only 2.4 per cent of World’s it supports 16.67 of the World’s population and 18 per cent of livestock. The pressure on land alone is a major factor in promoting desertification. As the human and animal population increases, these stresses will become greater and the demand on natural resources will increase leading to permanent loss of vegetation and plant species. extensive cultivation of one crop; use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides; shifting cultivation without adequate period of recovery; industrial and mining activities; overgrazing; logging and illegal felling; forest fires and unsustainable water management. Water and soil erosion lead to land degradation and such land finally converted to desert. Divergent of land for development programmes; industrial effluents; loss of vegetation due to draught; all the above factors lead to desertification. Consequences of desertification: due to desertification human habitation and farms encroach upon jungles, so not only plants and animals loose their habitat but it disturbs environment. it has severe implications for livelihood and food security; it accentuate the poverty; increasing desertification upset the ecological balance and ultimately become a danger to human as well. Imaginative land use planning, soil reclaimable agricultural practices like organic farming, management of degraded land and the efficient use of water can act as a remedy to a desertification.Replylakshmi prasannaAugust 3, 2013 at 9:21 pmRate This Response!hi, anjali mostly prefer to write in paragraph format avoid points except in cases like panchasheel fundamental rights etc where points are definite. thank uReplyAnjali MotghareAugust 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm1 Votelakshmi this is only not clear to me how to write, please clarify more on it. thanks for telling me.Replylakshmi prasannaAugust 3, 2013 at 10:39 pm1 Votesimple look at ur answer u collected all the points, now divide them into paragraphs introduction + causes + consequences + mitigation or conclusion use this formula when ever u r making answer. in this case u r asked to mention causes + consequences if not this will be replaced by body (discussion or explanation etc) of the question. while making structure please take care their should be flow just like cinema screen plays and connection b/w paragraphs. to get habituate to this practice by observing editorials for expression of views and paragraphing. i hope u understood.ReplyAnjali MotghareAugust 4, 2013 at 7:56 am1 VoteThank u very much lakshmi.ReplyINSIGHTSAugust 3, 2013 at 10:49 pm1 VoteAnjali,I wanted to write separate post on it. Ok let me give you some ideas.In your answer, there should be many ‘paragraphs’ and each paragraph must contain an ‘idea’. For example, if you are answering the desertification question – in introduction, state the stance of your answer in 2 sentences.Next move to different paragraph and give a good amount of space between two. In this paragraph, define what is desertification.Next paragraph – start explaining the causes of desertification – continue the flow and in another paragraph give an example.Next move to another paragraph and explain the consequences. again in another paragraph give an example that is striking.Finally, conclude the answer by explaining what measure have been taken by the government and what more needs to be done (this is your view).Anjali, your answers have all the content, just organize them well. The above explanation applies most of the questions.If you observe how I explained this to you in paragraphs, you will realize my point. Thank you ReplySahil GargAugust 3, 2013 at 11:46 pmRate This Response!But the question doesnot demand anything like measures needed to ward off the adverse impact and consequences of desetification.ReplyINSIGHTSAugust 4, 2013 at 12:01 am1 VoteYa you are right. That is why I mentioned it in the ‘conclusion’, may be I should have used the word ‘mention’ in the place of ‘explain’ above . In the conclusion in 1-2 sentences you can say like;” though government has ABC measures in place, they have not mitigated the problem, so ….’your view’ …is to be done to reduce/stop desertification and its adverse effects”.You need relative measures to suggest your own. If you can suggest better conclusion, that is very good. We are all learning here.In the body of the answer, anything unrelated to the question should not be there.ReplySahil GargAugust 4, 2013 at 12:04 amRate This Response!Ya, that should be a better approach. Thank youReplyAnjali MotghareAugust 4, 2013 at 8:06 amRate This Response!Thanks a lot Insight, beautifully explained, this the art. concept clear. observe my answer on PDS . I tried to apply it and tell me whether it is right or not? Thanks again. My humble request please spend 1 min on my answers and do fault finding I want to reach to five star level writing. Thanks again.ReplySahil GargAugust 4, 2013 at 12:02 amRate This Response!nice answer….Replylakshmi prasannaAugust 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm1 VoteDesertification as defined by UNEP in 1992 and adopted by UNCCD is a process of land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub humid areas from various factors including climatic various factors including climatic variations and human activities. According to the recent report submitted by ministry of environment to UN one fourth of Indian geographical area is undergoing desertification despite of combat measures. The causes of desertification are: change in frequency and amount of rainfall, reduction in vegetal cover, wrong agricultural management practices, cultivation on marginal lands, over-exploitation of the natural resources, excessive grazing, incorrect irrigation practices causing build up of salt in soil etc. Environmental consequences: Soils in arid and semi-arid regions tend to be fragile, with topsoil relatively thin compared with regions with more rainfall. Loss of topsoil is both a cause and a consequence of desertification. While over-farming removes organic matter from the soil, removing tree cover and overgrazing reduce the amount of organic matter that gets returned to the soil. As soil becomes depleted, it becomes more prone to erosion. Desertification also leads to increased flooding during heavy rains, as land fails to absorb water, further increasing erosion problems. Erosion in turn threatens remaining plant life. Human consequences: Desertification tends to occur in areas with high levels of poverty. As land becomes less productive, human societies experience higher levels of poverty, food insecurity, water scarcity and disease. As agricultural yields drop or water becomes more scarce, poor communities often react by increasing the over-exploitation of remaining resources. As environmental degradation progresses and human communities become more desperate, crises can develop, including famine, wars and mass migrations. Steps to combat include controlling wind erosion, sand dune stabilization, shelter belt plantation, management of permanent pastures and range lands etc.ReplyNirmal SinghAugust 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm3 VotesIndia constitution provides for welfare of poor through directive policies and assumes right to food (Right to Life) as fundamental right.To implement the same government initiated PDS. Being the biggest food distribution programme in the world,it has widest reach and has been proved instrumental in securing the food needs of poor section of society.Recent data suggests that states like Tamilnadu & Himachal Pradesh shown a decrease in poverty levels due to robust PDS system.Further it has hedged poor from fluctuation of free market and has ensured economic and social growth in rural areas by allocating Fair Price Shops to SHGs and other less privileged sections of society. The same is not immune to weaknesses.First,except rice and wheat other important items like pulses and oil are left out of its ambit causing malnutrition.Secondly the targeting criteria is somewhat ineffective leaving a substantial number of BPL families out of its preview .The related issue is use of Aadhar cards and other bio-metric methods to provide access without ensuring availability.Third it has been more of a entitlement rather than right on the part of poor.The recent decision to give legal effect to the same through food security ordinance is a welcome step.Fourth the leakages and corrupt practices by diversion of food to free market made it inefficient.Fifth food provided has been of abysmal Quality widely used in Mid day meals programme and ICSD. In spite of its deficiencies,it has proved a milestone in ensuring food security and require a makeover .The suggestions of food coupons with inflation indexation,use of ICT,smart cards deserve attention.The need of the hour is give force to reforms lest it becomes too late.ReplySahil GargAugust 3, 2013 at 11:55 pm1 VoteHey Nirmal, Right to food is not the only imperative of PDS system and right to consumer goods is the hallmark of PDS system. Further pulses are provided through fair price mechanisms though in a very less quantity. It provide wide ranging good like kerosene , coal, and in some cases ,even cloths at subsidized price. Thirdly Aadhar card is poised to bridge the loopholes and better tagetting by Ensuring accessibility and affordability which are the working tenets of PDS (“The related issue is use of Aadhar cards and other bio-metric methods to provide access without ensuring availability”). The issue is not availability as India has enough food grain production Fourthly, mid may meal is provided by FCI and not PDS.ReplyNirmal SinghAugust 4, 2013 at 12:57 am1 VoteDear Sahil, I appreciate you Input .I need to clarify here few things.First,here ‘availability’ is referred not to food grains but to to availability of Aadhar cards which still a substantial chunk of population is lacking .Further Aadhar card has inherent weaknesses. Second i was talking in wider context of malnutrition when referred to absence of diverse basket of different food items apart from wheat and rice, so giving clothes ,coal, kerosene will do no good in this context.Third right to consumer good can also exercised in free market but special purpose of PDS is to feed poor section of society not because of legal consumer rights but their inalienable right to life .The former can be revoked but latter can’t be as it is fundamental.The recent food security ordinance will give legal affect to the same I thank you for correction for mid day meal point which as you said is definitely right and it is good to see a healthy discussion going on and hope to continue it……………..ReplySahil GargAugust 4, 2013 at 6:29 am1 VoteHi Nirmal, You mentioned in your answer that other food items like pulses and oil are left out from the ambit of system. This is not the case. There is diversification of food items(Even the Food security bill talks about providing wheat, rice, “pulses” to people through PDS only). You are right that Aadhar cards are not available but still in many parts there is use of ration card and Aadhar card distribution should be given enough time to cover entire population. How can right to consumer goods can be exercised in free markets?Kerosene is regarded as poor man’s fuel and giving them food without providing them the energy security that is required to cook the food will render the very purpose of PDS flawed. If you mean to say that it can happen through new institutional framework, then that will add a new layer of agencies that again would be required to be strengthened. PDS is not a food distribution system(FDS) but Provision of Diversified Services. By the way, thanks for your reply and clarifying your stand on most of the things. you are right in your approach. One more point, don’t you think that substantial procurement of food grains from the market by government for PDS has led to escalation of prices in the retail market. MSP for wheat is 1350 but we are getting it at more than 2000. MSP for pulses is around 3200 per quintal but in market , the price of 1KG of pulses cost a whopping rs 80/- which will be around 8000 per quintal. Just think about it.ReplyNirmal SinghAugust 4, 2013 at 9:33 am1 VoteThanks for timely reply,Consumer rights are best practiced in perfect market i.e. free market but in PDS two things are missing First,poor have no choice but to take whatever government has to offer .There is only entitlement under monopolistic government but no right .Second the grievance readdressal mechanism in PDS is too weak to address the same.There is no effort whatsoever to improve food quality.To say PDS is Pirated(food) Distribution system(must mention here,you have good creativity with abbreviations!) would not be an exaggeration. Moreover I am not against inclusion of non food items like kerosene which as you rightly pointed out is essential for energy security but i am more concerned with non inclusion of other food items namely millets like Ragi ,Bajra. Also you mentioned pulses and oil are included,if that is the case why there is widespread malnutrition?.Except few states like Tamilnadu, Himachal and now Chattisgarh,pulses is not a priority for majority of states .Further I am not in favor of new institutional mechanisms but use of technology like ICT with universalization of PDS can be a progressive step.This will prevent unnecessary diversion. As regard to you last question ,PDS is not major reason for price escalation in free market .The rising cost of inputs like fertilizers (produced from natural gas ) ,inflation,middleman,better price by Agro processing companies like chips manufactures are main culprits here Universalization of PDS through Food Security law can be good step here.ReplySahil GargAugust 4, 2013 at 11:03 amRate This Response!Good Morning Nirmal, See free market principles and PDS are contradictory to each other as latter has a socialist tilt while former is capitalist imperative. Further providing choice to the poor to have access to all kinds of consumer goods and food grains at subsidized cost will put huge burden on fiscal management and will lead to magnanimity of the government and will not provide any incentive to the poor to climb the social and economic ladder as they will get everything for free or very low prices. Further low quality food is not because of PDS but because of poor storage standards of FCI. Malnutrition is not the product of availability but of quality. Low quality is the main reason of malnutrition. It is only a Distribution chain and not a storage facility.I think food quality should be improved at the procurement level and maintained at the storage level. Again , Food security bill also does not provide millet and ragi etc. It will not provide the right to food but a fixed entitlement of 5 Kg per person per month. PDS must be strengthened structurally and most be provided with logistical support. You are right that there is a need to leverage that ICT for better targetting and bridging the lacunae but that will take time for it requires technology to reach last mile and distribution of Aadhar cards on War footing. Universalisation of PDS must be done after overhauling the current system and establishing the technological infrastructure.ReplyINSIGHTSAugust 4, 2013 at 10:48 amRate This Response!Nirmal, Answer is Beautifully written. Liked the way how you condensed many points.Replylakshmi prasannaAugust 3, 2013 at 11:13 pm1 VoteThe PDS was institutionalized in the country in the 60s to achieve multiple objectives including ensuring stability of prices, rationing of essential commodities in case of deficit in supplies, ensuring availability of basic commodities to the poor and needy and to check the practice of hoarding and black marketing. But it failed to deal malnutrition and death due to starvation. PDS failed to translate the macro level self sufficiency in food grains achieved through green revolution by the country into household level food security to the poor. Quantum of PDS to family is low than requirement. PDS failed to serve poor in the poorer states. To address all this limitations TPDS was introduced in 1997 under which two PDS issue prices is granted for BPL at 50% of economic cost and APL families at economic cost. This is for the first time drastic increase in prices. PDS instead of insulating poor from rising open market prices it has become an instrument for pushing up prices. This act narrowed the difference between the free market and PDS price. In some cases PDS price of APL was more than market Decentralization of PDS took place in 2001-02 where centre instead of giving subsidized food grains financial assistance is given to states to procure and distribute to BPL. Most of the states opposed this pointing out lack of necessary infrastructure and financial resources at the beginning. PDS is also suffering out of leakages and diversion. This is due to inclusion of people who are not eligible, ghost cards,and shadow ownership. Recent surveys showed BPL received 84 % of PDS entitlements, where as APL quota suffering out of leakages this is due to dumping out of excess food grain stocks. Recent amendments to Food security bill helps PDS to resolve errors, leakages of APL and wastage of public resources. when the bill comes to force abolishes APL quota and gives entitlements to 75% of rural and 50% 0f urban. Despite of benefits bill has problem like per capita entitlementsReplysimranAugust 3, 2013 at 11:52 pm2 VotesDesertification process by which fertile land becomes desert typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropiate agriculture.Its a global phenomenon of land degraditiion, which reduces the natural potential of the ecosystem and has a direct impact on people interm of vulnerability to foof shortage and natural disasters, depletion of natural resources and determination of the enviroment. 7 As the human and animal population inc, these stresses will become greater and the demamd on natural resources will inc leading to permanent loss of vegetation and plant species.they lead to the conversion of large areas into wastelands and to the frequent occurence of natural disasters. 1/2 the land of India is now effected by desertification and this impairs the ability of the land to support life.its particularly devastating bczof its self reinforcing nature.Causes of desertification done by both climate variations and human activities; complex interation among physical, biological, political, social, cultural and economic factos. Some are::: ● extensive cultivation of one crop which lead to toxicity of organic matter Farmer changes crops in field as per its nutrient values like when there is pulse in field at that time soil are rich in organic matter. ● use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides its prevent our crops from insect but at same time the chemical which spray are attached to crops as well as polute land due to which its fertility get reduce. ● farming average land is causing desertification. People are cutting down trees to use them as fuel but trees are only those who bind soil particles and retain their fertility. ● industries and minning activies occur once at any place its degrade the land and thus cause desertification. ● salination in this due to lack of water for irrigation farmer use canal water which contain salt and this salt deposit in soil. ● shifting cultivation without adequate period of recovery.Consequences of desertification are:::: ● soil becomes less usable i.e. when desertification takes place its reduces the organic matter of soil like phosphorus , nitrogen ,etc. ● vegetation is lacked or damaged i.e. when its occur it reduce or loss in the fertility of soil , ● cause famine ots occirs bcz use of canal water in irrigation this water contain salt and thos salt get deposit to the soil and cause famine. ● people near areas also effect it bcz many times its happen people use land as a garbage nd due to this it degrade the landReplyecebloggersAugust 4, 2013 at 12:18 am2 Votes1)Discuss the causes and consequences of desertification in India.Desertification is a major environmental threat for India. Desertification is a phenomenon by which land becomes unfit for use. land is a precious asset for many in India since 70% of population is still dependent on agriculture. Therefore there is a need to take measures to check desertificationMajor causes and consequences of desertification are1. cause: Unscientific agricultural practicesconsequence: This results in a decline in fertility of soil and over a period of time the land becomes infertile2. Excess exploitation of waterUnregulated use of water has led to water scarcity in several places in India. In the absence of adequate moisture, soil becomes loose and paves way for desertification ex: punjab3. Illegal miningMining causes severe damage to land. After mining for few years, the land is left deserted and no measures are taken to restore the degraded land Ex: mining in aravalli hills4. DeforestationIn an era of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, the need for forest conservation has been disregarded. There have been several violations of forest norms. Forests act as a barrier against desertification. In absence of them, land desertification is spreading at a rapid paceThere is a need to address these issues to avoid deleterious consequences of desertification .ReplyecebloggersAugust 4, 2013 at 12:21 amRate This Response!@insights if possible, could you provide a facility to upload scanned answers. Since in mains writing on paper quickly and neatly is key to scoring good marks.thanksReplyNirmal SinghAugust 4, 2013 at 12:23 am1 VoteDesertification refers to process of conversion of land into desert like conditions causing its degradation. The problem is more acute in India. Chief underlying causes are two folds: Climate change and human interference. Climate change includes variability in rainfall,rising temperature ,reversal of winds like El-Niño which is further accelerated by anthropogenic changes like industrialization,use of unsustainable agricultural practices like pesticide and fertilizer use,urbanization,global warming ,forest fires ,jhum cultivation,mining,deforestation ,overgrazing and irrigation which causes water logging and eventually soil salinity. It must be emphasized here that both climate change and human interference are interrelated in a subtle way and form vicious cycle. For example industrialization leads to global warming causing temperature rise which ultimately leads to climate variations. Being a agrarian economy,desertification has huge ramification for India.The existing cultivable land is under pressure to ensure food security for rising population.This has adverse socioeconomic consequences for farmer community .More land will be under risk due to soil erosion.Water non availability will be yet another challenge as land become arid resulting in no ground water recharge.The loss in productivity will result in economic loss further intensified by import of food and inflation as MSP will increase. We need multipronged strategy addressing underlying causes.India being a signatory to convention on desertification can leverage international support.This calls for adopting sustainable approach and scientific use of land through community participationReplysimranAugust 4, 2013 at 12:52 am1 VotePDS ( public distribution system) is an Indian food security system. Established by the govt of India under the ministry of consumer affairs, fuel qnd public distribution and manage jointly with state govt in India , it distributes subsidized food and non food items to India’s poor. Major commodites distributed like staple food grains, such as wheat ,rice , sugar, kerosene, throug a network of public distribtution shop also known as RATION SHOPS established in several states across the country. Food corporation of India, a govt owned coorporation of India, a govt owned corporation, processes and maintain the public distribution system. In term of both coverage and public expenditure, it is considered to be the most imp food security network.Fuctions of public distribution system in india has provode so many facilites they are as follows:: Facilities related to the product generation – AF, FEP, PF_HS, IPFs Facilities related to the product administeration- ARF, DF Faclites related to the supervision- MCF, GSPs CMC Facilites related to the user service- INV, USF, USCF Facilited related to the suoport of operation- PQF, ESFLimitation of PDS Public distribution system support in NFS adhere to the convention used in MVS. For eg you can’t have more than 1 member of PDSopen for output at a time. If u try to create, remove , remame or write a member of PDS while another member is open for output you get a permission denied message. A PDS member stays open for the time out specified in the appropriate time out for processing attributeoruntill you try to create or write to another member.ReplySahil GargAugust 4, 2013 at 6:35 amRate This Response!What are the full forms of different abbreviations used by you in your answer?? You should have mentioned the functioning in a paragraph form. I think your limitations are limited to the extent of functioning of NFS law which is still to become reality. You should have mentioned about the hitherto limitations of PDSReplysimranAugust 4, 2013 at 9:26 amRate This Response!Thnx for rply i’ll be surely tale care of these things ehich point out by ur side thnx for the rplyReplyAnjali MotghareAugust 4, 2013 at 7:49 amRate This Response!Public Distribution System (PDS), assures food security and its objectives are i) price stability, ii)price support to farmers, iii) making grain affordable, through distribution from food surplus to food deficient region and to the people in the country. PDS offers to stabilize prices of food-grains as well by procuring after harvest when prices are low and releasing food-grain at the time of shortage in the market. PDS was set up in 1965, and operated under joint responsibility of state and central government. Central government has the responsiblity of procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of essential commodities namely wheat, rice, sugar, edible oil and kerosene to the states. These commodities are made available at fixed Central Issue Prices, which kept lower than original prices, means subsidised by the Central government. The State government has responsibility of distribution through a network of fair price shops. The PDS, however has not been very successful in providing food security to the poor. Over the years its importance has been diminished due to steep and frequent increases in procurement prices. The real beneficiaries of the large increase in procurement prices have been the surplus farmers of wheat and rice in four states. AP, Punjab, Haryana, UP, which are major rice and wheat producres. PDS also failed in its another objectives of food security of the people. The quantum of PDS supply to each household formed only a small proportion of a family’s total requirement. States with the highest incidence of poverty like MP, Orissa,Bihar, UP have lowest per capita PDS off-take. The universal PDS thus did not serve the poor well especially in poorer states. A need for targeted system arised and in June 1997 Targeted Public Distribution System launched. Govt fixed different prices for APL & BPL families. PDS prices were hiked. Most of the time market prices are lower than the APL prices, because of inefficiencies in the FCI operations, whose charges are high for handling and storage. Over the years off-take of foodgrains under PDS has been declining which is reduces market supply and push up prices. Stock of food grain is higher than required level, and extra stock maintained at an enormous cost to the nation, and somewhere lack of proper storage leads to spoilage of food grain. So nation is facing twin shock, malnutrition and semi starvation death despite of huge stock and extra subsidy burden to maintain the extra stock of food-grains.ReplyINSIGHTSAugust 4, 2013 at 11:44 amRate This Response!Anjali,In the first line itself you are giving objectives without defining what is PDS. Also, there is no need to mention 1,2,3 in the first line itself. You have also contradicted your answer in the very first sentence – you say PDS is a food security measure but its objective is to bring price stability and price support to farmers!First paragraph is very important – it tells evaluator what the rest of the answer is all about. So, play it safe. Here you would have just mentioned what is PDS and moved to next paragraph mentioning its objectives.Again, your answer has very good points – but scattered here and there. See below your modified answer (I have not added single extra word to your answer, just rearranged it – also you have crossed word limit!)“Public Distribution System, set up in 1965, and operated under joint responsibility of state and central government, assures food security and its objectives are making grain affordable, bring price stability, price support to farmers – through distribution from food surplus to food deficient region and to the people in the country. PDS offers to stabilize prices of food-grains as well by procuring after harvest when prices are low and releasing food-grain at the time of shortage in the market.Central government has the responsibility of procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of essential commodities namely wheat, rice, sugar, edible oil and kerosene to the states. These commodities are made available at fixed Central Issue Prices, which kept lower than original prices i.e, subsidized by the Central government. The State government has responsibility of distribution through a network of fair price shops.The PDS, however has not been very successful in providing food security to the poor. Over the years its importance has been diminished due to steep and frequent increases in procurement prices. The real beneficiaries of the large increase in procurement prices have been the surplus farmers of wheat and rice in four states. AP, Punjab, Haryana, UP, which are major rice and wheat producers The quantum of PDS supply to each household formed only a small proportion of a family’s total requirement. States with the highest incidence of poverty like MP, Orissa, Bihar, UP have lowest per capita PDS off-take. The universal PDS thus did not serve the poor well especially in poorer states.A need for targeted system aroused and in June 1997 Targeted Public Distribution System launched. Government fixed different prices for APL & BPL families. PDS prices were hiked. Most of the time market prices are lower than the APL prices, because of inefficiencies in the FCI operations, whose charges are high for handling and storage. Over the years off-take of food grains under PDS has been declining which is reduces market supply and push up prices.Stock of food grain is higher than required level, and extra stock maintained at an enormous cost to the nation, and somewhere lack of proper storage leads to spoilage of food grain. So nation is facing twin shock, malnutrition and semi starvation death despite of huge stock and extra subsidy burden to maintain the extra stock of food-grains.”Though your answer is not perfect, it looks little better now. Have a look at Nirmal Singh’s answer. It is very good.ReplyAsha GoudAugust 4, 2013 at 9:25 am1 VoteQ Discuss the causes and consequences of desertification in India.A: Desertification is a process where fertile land is converted into desert or an unproductive land due to land degradation. It can be due to environmental factors or human interventions. Arid and Semi arid areas are most vulnerable to desertification. India has majority land under arid and semi arid region. Causes of desertification can be deforestation, improper agricultural activities and polluting industries.Deforestation is a major cause of land degradation that makes soil vulnerable to wind and water erosion. Also land looses its moisture, useful microbes and organic content that contribute to its fertility. In India due to large demand of land forest are targeted for agriculture, industries, habitation and mining.Improper agricultural activities like over use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, over irrigation, practice of slash and burn etc. With the advent of green revolution, modern agricultural practices are adopted in an indiscriminate manner. Plains of Punjab, Haryana and eastern UP are now facing threat of land degradation. Also over grazing in arid and semi arid areas leads to desertification.Polluting industries that dispose off hazardous waste into are increasing in numbers. As a result the river bed looses fertility and turns barren.Apart from this deserts have a natural tendency to spread with wind like the Sahel region bordering Sahara Desert and the eastern Thar, if proper measures are adopted like creating a green belt on desert margins, it can be controlled.Desertification has direct impact on the fertility of soil, as a result it adversely impacts agriculture and food production. In India a majority population depends on agriculture for employment, also to provide food security to the increasing population of India it becomes imperative to bring more land under cultivation and avoid land degradation through proper intervention.ReplyAsha GoudAugust 4, 2013 at 9:26 am1 VoteQ Analyze the functioning of PDS in India and bring out its limitations.World’s largest network of Public distribution system in functioning in India. Government provides cereals (rice and wheat), sugar and kerosene under PDS. PDS starts from procurement, to storage, transportation and includes distribution. PDS works with collaboration of central and state government. The central government procures rice and wheat from directly farmers at MSP. Food grains are stored by FCI and distributed to the states according to their requirement cost is borne by the central government as food subsidy.The state governments have the responsibility to the BPL and Antayodaya beneficiaries and build a structure for effective distribution to the people, like providing ration cards and ration shops.Food distribution is of very crucial importance and therefore effective monitoring of the whole mechanism is vital.PDS system has come under criticism for lack of proper implementation. Certain states like Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Chhattisgarh are performing very well. However in many states it is found that food grains marked for PDS are sold in open market. Therefore there are leakages in the system at various stages.Government does not have a food policy and a framework in place for managing the large amount of food grains procured. Therefore Food grains rot in the open due to lack of storage and a policy for distribution.From the perspective of economics, the food subsidy that government provides under PDS becomes a huge burden on the country’s finances due to improper implementation.Identification of BPL is not carried out properly. As a result many needy remain out of BPL list and fake beneficiaries are created for diversion of food grains.States that are effectively implementing food distribution are adopting practices like geo-tagging of transport vehicles, introducing biometric ration cards, regular inspection to check quality of food grains being distributed.ReplycppcontrolAugust 4, 2013 at 10:14 amRate This Response!Discuss the causes and consequences of desertification in India.Desertification is a type of land degradation where a dry region becomes increasingly arid, thus losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife. It is caused by a variety of factors like climate change and human activities and hence is a global ecological problemIn India, desertification takes place in dry land areas where the earth is especially fragile. No rainfall and harsh climatic conditions like drought lead to destruction of topsoil followed by land’s ability to sustain crops, livestock or human activity. Also, over cultivation exhausts the soil while overgrazing of land by livestock strips the soil of its grasses. Moreover, deforestation for fuel or construction materials continues which results in soil erosion. With decrease in the ground water level due to heavy consumption for agriculture has also led to ground water depletion. Removal of livestock or wildlife from an area under human influence is also a major reason for promoting desertification.Desertification adds to and worsens the impact of climate change. Deserts in Western India are increasing at an alarming rate. Hundreds of acres of lands are becoming arid and semi arid and dry lands are becoming sand dunes. This means lesser amount of land are available for agriculture, livestock rearing and allied activities that provide livelihood to sources to many people. Desertification cuts the availability of food and water even as population of our country is increasing. It also causes sandstorms which wipe out large portion of habitual lands. Aquifers vanish and there is a great reduction in biodiversity of the region. Moreover, dusts from dry lands blows to the urban places causing a lot of health related problems when inhaled.Battle against desertification is a long term commitment and investment. Reforestation should be encouraged to mitigate the issue. Preservation of water along with its minimal use of water should be practiced. Countries like India should integrate its poverty alleviation programs along with strategies to fight the menace. The soil and land preservation issues needs to be prioritized and mainstreamed. Funds from climate change mitigation should also be diverted. Techniques like agro forestry, farmer managed natural regeneration, community programs like degraded land for grazing, growing fast growths plants, raising tall trees and to prioritise foresty programme are some of the measures required for fixing and stabilizing sands.