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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 March 2017

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 March 2017

NOTE: Please remember that following  ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

General Studies – 1;

Topic : Population and associated issues; Salient features of Indian society

1) Discuss the important findings of the Tamil Nadu Migration Survey 2015, the first comprehensive study on emigration from the state, carried out by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in Thiruvananthapuram. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Tamil Nadu Migration Survey 2015, the first comprehensive study on emigration from the state, carried out by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in Thiruvananthapuram is first of of its kind survey which through important light on immigration pattern, demography and social effect of this in Tamil Nadu states.

Major Highlights:-

  • Roughly every tenth household in Tamil Nadu has one or more workers abroad. (The ratio is higher in Kerala, where every fifth household has an emigrant worker.)Of the more than 2.2 million emigrants from the state, almost 75% are Hindu, 15% Muslim, and 10% Christian. Roughly 15% of emigrants are women.
  • The largest number of emigrants from Tamil Nadu — 4.1 lakh — are in Singapore, says the study, quoting official figures. The Gulf, comprising the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, has 1.1 million emigrants in all — about half of all Tamil Nadu emigrants.
  • SOURCE OF REVENUE: with nearly 85% of emigrants are spreading across evenly in gulf and south east Asia , providing the sure supply of significant remittances to the state exchequer.
  • SOCIAL COST: the prevailing gender inequality is being visible in the migration pattern too, where only 15% of women are emigrants (from economically more developed and thus socially less stigmatic places) and left behind for daily chores, it has huge affect not only on mental and physical strength of women but also deprives the children of their parental need.
  • Survey noted that 70% of the remittances are thru “BLOOD MONEY” ie money earned via working in harsh conditions specially in extreme weather conditions in Gulf and Middle east.
  • INTERNAL MIGRATION: the distance and state economy interfere in the pattern , where people prefer to migrate economically developed and job fertile places like karnataka(software hub).


Tamil Nadu emigrant survey accords an opportunity for Tamil Nadu to use these findings in its state planning for better socio-economic and employment opportunity for its state population, a healthy balance is required to be maintained between the emigration pattern and state social strata to reap best out of two.


 General Studies – 2

Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests 

2) In your opinion, what steps, if taken by China, might convince India to join B&R project (then called OBOR or One Belt, One Road)? Also examine what should India do if it wants to be part of B&R project. (200 Words)

The Hindu

One Belt one Road(OBOR)or what is now known as BELT AND ROAD PROJECT is a china led initiative which will join the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe with the stated objective of founding open and inclusive economy.

What should china do to make India join b&r initiative ?

1.SOVEREIGNTY ISSUE – needs to be resolved first. As the CPEC project(part of B&R) passes through POK. China can put CPEC on an alternate route through Afghanistan.

2.FURTHER ASSURANCE -needs to be given to India by China that it won’t meddle into the Kashmir problem through this project.

3.JOINT PATROLLING OF CONSTRUCTION OF ROADS – which faces security threat from many non-state actors. It will enhance trust between two armies.

4.EDUCATE the Indian side that how they stand to gain from this project in terms of development of N-E states and overall prosperity. To have equal rights over OBOR and these rights should not be taken away even in adversities between India and China.

What India should do to join the project –

Firstly, India must realize the potential gains from the projects are huge in terms of connectivity to central Asia (energy security and trade).
secondly, it needs to review its NEIGHBORHOOD FIRST POLICY in context of changing geopolitical realities.If Afghanistan and Bangladesh- the biggest victims of terrorism emanating from Pakistan can join it, why can’t India ?
Thirdly,uncertainty due to Retreat of USA from its PIVOT TO ASIA.
India must seize the opportunity once its genuine grievances are addressed and look at the future the project hold otherwise India fears ISOLATION IN SOUTH ASIA.

Steps needed to be taken –

-India don’t have to do much as China is already insisting India to be member.

-India should put disputed aspects with China on one side to be solve in future n takes OBOR with different angle.

-strike a deal with China that neither of our countries will object to the other’s (or to third-party) investments in PoK or Arunachal Pradesh, while reserving legal claims to the territories in question.


The B&R initiative rekindles the historic trade route which once thrived making the region’s wealth. Isolating itself from such an intiative would cost dear to India and it makes necessary for India to be a part of it without compromising its sovereignty at any case.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,

3) Analyse the merits and demerits on the new National Health Policy (2017). (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Indian Express

India recently released its National Health Policy (2017 ) in order to fulfill her aspirations to achieve a healthy society. NHP have immense potential to solve health problems of the country if executed with full vigour.

Its provisions have following merits:

  1. Aspire to improve its spending from current 1.6% to 2.5% of GDP by 2025.
    2. provision of Health card to families for basic medications in PHCs
    3. Involvement of Private sector for Secondary & tertiary health sectors.
    4. Upgradation of District hospitals & expansion of institutional capacity
    5.State based public health management cadre will be established.
    6. New courses will be included in medical education.
    7.Target based Elimination of HIV, TB etc
    8.Focus on Male sterilization 
    9. AYUSH will be integrated into research component of health systems.


  1. India is renowned for its Medical Tourism but NHP have not incorporated any provisions for boosting the same.
    2. NHP still lacks proper regulation & licensing of private sector. Integration of Private & public sector is must to reduce OOP expenditure.
    3. Less emphasis on doctors with fake degrees in rural areas, less focus on skill development of nurses etc.
    4. ‘Health as a right’ provision have been done away with as it was incorporated in previous policy.


Though there are some demerits but merits outweigh them & hence its success implies on the implementation & enforcement. As Economic survey 2015-16 points out, spending on health is primary factor to reap long term benefits demographic dividend. So, the governments focus on health should improve along with participation of private sector, NGOs, people to make Indian health sector an example around world.
Healthy citizens are crucial for socio-economic growth of the country hence NHP should be followed with full spirit.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Economic growth and development; Inclusive growth

4) In your opinion, what should India do to improve its HDI ranking? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

HDI is a composite index meant for comparing the well being of people across countries which was introduced in 1990 by UNDP. It is a composite measure of life expectancy, education and per capita income to assign ranks to countries which indicate the level of human development.

India slipped down one place from 130 of last year to 131 among the 188 countries this year. It is ranked third among the SAARC countries, behind Sri Lanka (73) and the Maldives (105).

Challenges –

1) SOCIETY – patriarchal mindset, preference for male child, inequality between men and women, poverty etc.

2) HEALTHCARE – poor condition of health-care infrastructure, lack of medical experts, malnutrition, disability, high IMR, MMR, low life expectancy.

3) ECONOMIC – low female labour force participation rate, inefficient labour markets, corruption & tax evasion, accumulation of black money etc.

4) EDUCATION – poor skill development causing unemployability, high school -dropout rates etc.

Measures to increase HDI –


-Address problem of shortage of doctors especially in rural areas, paramedic staff; setup more medical colleges; incentivise rural postings.
-More hospitals, pathology labs, testing centers, PHCs etc.
-Awareness campaigns for importance of hygiene, prevention of communicable diseases such as malaria, TB, cholera etc.
-Increase spending on healthcare sector (2.5% increase according to National Health Policy 2017)
-Boost to existing schemes such as Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana, PM Janani suraksha yojana, Navjat shishu suraksha karyakram, etc to reduce MMR and IMR.


-Extensive campaigning to convince parents to send their children to school especially girls and differently abled children
-Setup more teachers training institutes, training teachers for special children.
-Improving educational infrastructure, smart classrooms, access to internet in schools especially rural areas; improve accessibility to educational institutions under Sugamya Bharat abhiyan.
-Incentives to children to attend school such as Mid day meal scheme, scholarships to girls, students from weaker sections etc.
-Encourage FDI in multiple sectors, foreign entrepreneurs by providing hassle free environment
-Boost local entrepreneurs through Startup India, Stand up India; (generates employment, reducing poverty)
-Improve skill level of youth under Skill India mission, availability of more vocational courses, ITIs etc.
-Bridging inequality gaps between rural and urban populations.
-Social protection through poverty alleviation programs (such as MGNREGA), efficient labour markets, reducing exposure to risk (unemployment, sickness, disability or old age).
-Improve female workforce participation rate (lowest among all BRICS nations).


– improved access to justice, reduce corruption, prevention of tax evasion, ratification of UN conventions on torture, rights of migrants etc.


Low HDI ranking of India despite following the ‘welfare approach’ has not yielded the desired results. This serves as an eye opener that a lot needs to be done in terms of political will and boosting up bureaucratic efficiency apart from effective and adaptive policy making.

Recently new National Health Policy 2017 has been adopted by the govt which has the potential to help India to improve its rankIing in the coming years if implemented properly along with well hyped Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and inclusive governance which is built on cooperative attitude between the govt and the common people.


Topic:  Land reforms

5) Define land reforms. Comment on the land reforms measures enforced by various governments till date. (200 Words)

ICSE Class 10 Environmental Science

Land reform in India refers to institutional efforts to reform the ownership and regulation of land in India. Land-reform policy in India had two specific objectives: “The first is to remove such impediments to increase in agricultural production as arise from the agrarian structure inherited from the past. The second object, which is closely related to the first, is to eliminate all elements of exploitation and social injustice within the agrarian system, to provide security for the tiller of soil and assure equality of status and opportunity to all sections of the rural population.”

There are four main categories of reforms:

  • Abolition of intermediaries (rent collectors under the pre-Independence land revenue system);
  • Tenancy regulation (to improve the contractual terms including security of tenure);
  • A ceiling on landholdings (to redistributing surplus land to the landless);
  • Attempts to consolidate disparate landholdings.

After Independence, attempts had been made to alter the pattern of distribution of land holdings on the basis of four types of experiments, namely;

  • Land reforms “from above” through legislation on the lines broadly indicated by the Central Government, enacted by the State legislators, and finally implemented by the agencies of the State Government.
  • Land reforms “from above” as in the case of Telengana and the naxalite movement also to some extent in the case of the “Land Grab” movement.
  • Land reforms through legislative enactments “from above” combined with peasant mobilisation “from below” as in the case of controlled land seizure in West Bengal and protection of poor peasants in Kerala.
  • Land reforms “from below” through permission of landlords and peaceful processions by peasants as in the case of Bhoodan and Gramdan.

Land reforms measures enforced by various governments-

  • Abolition of intermediaries- Soon after independence, measures for the abolition of the Zamindari system were adopted in different states. The first Act to abolish intermediaries was passed in Madras in 1948. Since then, state after state passed legislation abolishing Zamindari rights.

Consequences- As a result of the abolition of intermediaries, about 2 crore tenants are estimated to have come into direct contact with the State making them owners of land. The abolition of intermediaries has led to the end of a parasite class. More lands have been brought to government possession for distribution to landless farmers. However this reform had some drawback. The total numbers of beneficiaries were fraction of total number of farmers requiring state help. It also led to large-scale eviction. Large-scale eviction, in turn, has given rise to several problems – social, economic, administrative and legal.

  • Tenancy reforms-

Security of tenure- To protect tenants from ejectment and to grant them permanent rights on lands, laws have been enacted in most of the states. They have three essential features. (a) Tenants cannot be evicted without any reason. They can be evicted only in accordance with the laws.

(b) Land can be resumed by the landlord only on the ground of personal cultivation. But the land-lord can resume the land only up to a maximum limit.

(c) The landlord should leave some area to the tenant for his own cultivation. The tenant in no case should be made landless.

However, tenancy legislations in India are not uniform throughout the country. Each state has its own legislation. In Orissa, a limit has been imposed on the landlords for resuming land for personal cultivation.

Right of ownership- So far as right of ownership is concerned, tenants have been declared as the owners of the land they cultivate after independence. They have to pay compensation to the owners. The amount of compensation should not exceed the level of fair rent. As a result of these measures about 40 lakh tenants have already acquired ownership rights over 37 lakh hectares of land. They have become better-off economically and socially.

In several states, in the matter of tenancy reform, legislation falls short of the accepted policy. What is even worse, the implementation of the enacted laws has been half-hearted, halting and unsatisfactory in part of the country. The legal protection granted to tenants has often been ineffective.

  • Ceiling of land- The third important step of land reforms relates to the imposition of ceiling on land holdings. Ceiling on land holdings implies the fixing of the maximum amount of land that an individual or family can possess. Land ceiling has two aspects: one, the fixation of ceiling limit and two, the acquisition of surplus land and its distribution among the small farmers and landless workers.

Up to end September 2001, the total amount of land declared surplus was 73.67 lakh acres, 64.95 lakh acres of land have been taken over by the states. A total of 53.79 lakh acres of land have been distributed among 54.84 lakh tenants. This amounts to saying that about 12 lakh acres of land could not be distributed because of variety of reasons, of which litigation is considered to be the most inhibiting factor.

The operations of the ceiling law made virtually no impact on the agrarian structure. The enforcement of the ceiling law was preceded by a public debate spread over several years. This enabled landowners to manipulate land records leading to fictitious (benami) and fraudulent partitions of lands among their relations, friends, fictitious trusts, etc.

Appraisal of the Land Reforms-

Land reforms have been half-heartedly attempted at various times and this has proved to be a case of the remedy being worse than the disease. By and large land reforms in India enacted so far and those contemplated in the near future are in the right direction; and yet due to lack of implementation the actual results are far from satisfactory.

The Indian Government was committed to land reforms and consequently laws were passed by all the State Governments during the Fifties with the avowed aim of abolishing landlordism, distributing land through imposition of ceilings, protection of tenants and consolidation of land-holdings. One of the significant achievements of these acts was the abolition of absentee landlordism in several parts of India. However, land reforms were half-hearted with regard to the imposition of ceilings and security of tenure. Consequently, the skewness in land distribution was not reduced in any significant manner. Further, a very large number of tenants were actually evicted in the name of self-cultivation. In spite of it, land reforms brought about a significant change in land relations in so far as self-cultivation, rather than absentee landlordism, became a predominant mode of production.

The efficacy of the legislation was, however, considerably reduced for the following reasons;

  • The act did not benefit sub-tenants and share croppers, as they did not have occupancy rights on the land they cultivated.
  • Intermediaries were abolished, but the rent receiving class continued to exist.
  • Many landlords managed to retain considerable land areas under the various provisions of the laws. Benami holdings became the order of the day in many States.
  • The problems of transferring ownership rights from the actual cultivators of the land, the tenants, the sub-tenants, share croppers, therefore, remained far from resolved.

All these did not mean that it had no positives. It abolished exploitative the land tenure systems prevalent in agrarian society. It provided security of tenure i.e. the tenants are assured that they can cultivate the land for long time period. In some cases tenants even had given ownership rights. It brought fundamental changes in the agrarian economy, rural social structure, and rural power structure. It moved Indian society towards the egalitarian society.


It is time the government and civil society thought seriously of land reforms when especially a “humble farmer” is on top. If in the new century we still talk of reforms without effective implementation we will surely miss the bus.


Topic: storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce 

6) What do you understand by Integrated pest management. Discuss its advantages and disadvantages. (200 Words)

ICSE Class 10 Environmental Science

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)-

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an eco-friendly approach which aims at keeping pest population at below economic threshold levels by employing all available alternate pest control methods and techniques such as cultural, mechanical and biological with emphasis on use of bio-pesticides and pesticides of plant-origin like Neem formulations. The use of chemical pesticides is advised as a measure of last resort when pest population in the crop crosses economic threshold levels (ETL). IPM is aimed at suppression of pest population below economic threshold level through the adoption of feasible and affordable Good Agricultural Practices and causing least disturbance to the eco system and environment. 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) emphasizes the healthy growth of crops with the minimal usage of pesticides and encourages the use of biological pest control methods. IPM focuses on the long term application of ecologically-friendly biological methods such as natural predators, resistant plant strains, sterile male technique, and so on. The main reason that the FAO has started implementing the IPM in several regions was largely due to the hazardous impact of the certain chemicals contained in commercial pesticides. Some studies show that the use of DDT in Africa to control malaria has given some adverse side effects such as breast cancer, diabetes, spontaneous abortions, decreased semen quality, and impaired child neurodevelopment. Thus, IPM aims to slowly reduce the use of pesticides via biological control methods.

Advantages of IPM-

  • Slower development of resistance to pesticides

Pests can develop a resistance to pesticides over time. When the applications of the chemicals are used repeatedly, the pests can develop a resistance to the pesticides via natural selection, where the pests that survive the application of the chemicals will pass on their genes to their offspring. This leads to the creation of “superpests”. IPM reduces the risk of this occurring as the methods adopted by IPM are natural.

  • Maintaining a balanced ecosystem

The use of pesticides may eradicate the pest population. However, there is a risk that non-target organisms are also affected, which can result in species loss. IPM can eradicate pests while maintaining the balance of the ecosystem.

  • Better cost vs. value margin

The reduced usage of pesticides is more cost effective in the long term, as IPM controls pests when there are surges, as opposed to the regularly timed application of pesticides.

Further its advantages include reduced,

  • Number of broad-spectrum pesticide applications.
  • Risk of pests developing resistance to pesticides.
  • Risk to farm workers/operators.
  • Chemical and labour costs.
  • Damage to the environment.
  • Risk of spray drift.
  • Risk of pesticide residues on marketed products, with consumer confidence and satisfaction and market access opportunities.

Disadvantages of IPM-

  • More involvement in the technicalities of the method

Individual farmers and all those involved in IPM have to be educated about their options in the various methods available, which often take time.

  • Time and energy consuming

Application of IPM takes time and has to be closely monitored, as the practice of IPM has many different methods integrated in order to provide the most effective pest control methods. Different pests have different control methods, and it is necessary to monitor which methods are the best for specific pests.

  • Initially complicated decision-making.
  • Crop monitoring results that can be difficult to interpret.
  • Lack of market rewards for IPM grown product.
  • Limited market tolerance to blemishes.


However, the disadvantages are easily offset with the establishment of organizations that actually provide training and education to IPM practitioners. In Malaysia, the Ministry of Agriculture actually provides support and training to farmers who apply IPM to control the pests in their farms. As the practice grows, the application of the IPM process can become easier over time. 



Topic: Conservation

7) Critically analyse the objectives and effectiveness of conservation strategies adopted at national and international level. (200 Words)

ICSE Class 10 Environmental Science

Environmental protection/conservation is a practice of protecting the natural environment on individual, organisation controlled or governmental levels, for the benefit of both the environment and humans. Due to the pressures of over consumption, population and technology, the biophysical environment is being degraded, sometimes permanently. Various efforts at both national and international level are being taken.

Conservation at national level:-

  • National governments are vital to the preservation of biodiversity through the passing of laws requiring protection of species and habitats. If national laws do not protect species, then there is little hope of preserving them.
  • However, it is not enough just to have laws, there must also be the will and the resources to enforce them. Even in economically developed nations, the necessary resources to properly enforce laws are not always made available.
  • In under-developed nations, even the most basic resources for enforcement may be lacking. In addition, national laws may not in the end translate into local action, in which case they do not accomplish much.
  • In democratic nations, national laws are also driven to a large extent by public opinion. They may in some cases be drafted more as a response to emotion than by actual scientific need.
  • Several international conventions exist for the preservation of biodiversity. These include such conventions as the Ramsar Convention (1976) which provides for the conservation of internationally important wetlands and the Bern Convention (1979) which requires the protection of endangered and vulnerable species of flora and fauna
  • There are many others. Signatory nations to these conventions must ratify national laws to ensure compliance with the conventions.
  • In addition to the enforcement of laws, the Environment Agency is also responsible for data collection and monitoring.
  • Environmental monitoring and biodiversity surveys at national level are important because they provide information on the condition of ecosystems and the changes that are taking place within them.
  • They therefore provide the scientific information on which to base environmental policy decisions. Similarly, assessments of the environmental impact of large development projects are vital before relevant authorities can either grant permission to proceed, or require that changes be made to development designs.


International level conservation:-

  • Species and ecosystems are seldom neatly confined within national boundaries. Many species roam across countless national borders and the oceans are owned by none.
  • Trade in endangered species (or parts thereof) is international and pollution produced on one side of the world may wind up affecting regions on the other side of the globe. Biodiversity conservation is thus an international problem requiring international solutions.
  • The role of international conservation organizations is a vital one, particularly in terms of brokering international agreements between governments concerned with protecting their national interests.
  • The most far-reaching agreement on biodiversity in recent years is the Convention on Biodiversity, signed by 156 nations at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development ( the Earth Summit ) in Rio in 1992.
  • Many others have signed since, and as they ratify the convention, governments accept responsibility for safeguarding biodiversity in their nations. Many international conservation organisations includingWRI ( World Resources Institute ) and IUCN ( The World Conservation Union ) contributed to the formulation of the documents signed at the convention.
  • International conservation organisations play an important role in the wide publicising of environmental information.IUCN was responsible for the idea of compiling lists of threatened species as a means of drawing attention to the plight of species faced with extinction. These lists became known as Red Data Books ( RDBs ). In these, species are placed into one of several categories which range from ‘extinct’ to ‘vulnerable’ or ‘rare’, depending on the degree of threat to their existence.
  • Organisations such asWWF, founded in 1961 by Sir Peter Scott, the eminent naturalist, are highly effective in publicising the plight of endangered species world-wide. They also play a large role in raising charitable funds towards projects concerned with saving wildlife in various areas of the globe. 

The objectives of these strategies are to:-

  • increase public awareness through media, government agencies, NGOs, etc
  • implement strict restrictions on export of rare plants and animals.
  • preserve all varieties of old and new flora, fauna and microbes.
  • protect natural habitats.
  • protect all critically endangered, endangered, and rare species.
  • reduce pollution.
  • maintain ecological balance.
  • utilize the natural resources in a sustainable way.

The effectiveness in positive way can be seen in following results:-

At National level

  • Increase in Tiger count due to extensive ‘Tiger Project’ effectively implemented by NTCA
  • Similarly increase in count of Gir Lions, Assam Rhino, etc.
  • Increased Arrival of Olive Ridley Turtle – Odisha Coast.
  • Increase in renewable energy production to 45GW and Target of 175 GW
  • Increase in Forest Cover and Target to Increase Carbon Sink.

At international level

  • Montreal Protocol is a Success – Healing of Ozone.
  • Push for renewable energy – Costa-Rica (100% Renewable) and Germany producing Excess Wind Energy
  • World Network of Biosphere Reserves and Ramsar Sites being Intensively Protected.
  • Recent Signing of Paris Deal.

The effectiveness at negative front can be seen as:

At national level

  • Numerous laws on same subject – Creates confusion of Authority and Accountability.
  • Conflicting Interests – Tribal Population vs Govt responsibility, Livelihood vs Conservation, Development vs Environment. 
  • Implementation flaws – fund shortage, no clear guidelines, lack of accountability and love for nature. 
  • Participation – people’s participation is must for success of such strategy which is lacking.

International level 

  • Taking Responsibility – Historical emission of developed countries and developmental needs of developing countries
  • Trans-boundary sites – lack of cooperation and coordination among nations.
  • Funding – with developing nations stuck with poverty the developed nations hesitation to funding have created major hurdles
  • Cooperation and Consensus – among nations is lacking, developed countries not taking lead


Topic: Food security; Biotechnology

8) Examine the role of biotechnology in achieving global food security. (200 Words)

ICSE Class 10 Environmental Science


The population of world today stands at 7.5 bn. Population in the world is currently (2017) growing at a rate of around 1.11% per year (down from 1.13% in 2016). The current average population change is estimated at around 80 million per year. With growth in population the scarcity of resources, urbanization is increasing with inverse relation to deterioration of cropland quality highlighting the problems of food security.

Food security thus has three dimensions :-

  1. Availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality, supplied through domestic production or imports;
  2. Access by households and individuals to appropriate foods for a nutritious diet; and
  3. Optimal uptake of nourishment thanks to a sustaining diet, clean water and adequate sanitation, together with health care.

BIOTECHNOLOGY in food security:- Genetically-modified (GM) crops or any other breeding methods on their own cannot solve the challenges related to food quality, access to food, nutrition or stability of food systems. But their role cannot be dismissed

The benefits of genetic engineering in the fight for food security:


  • The spectrum of potential benefits from the application of genetic engineering and biotechnology to food crops in developing countries ranges from diagnostic aids, for example in plant diseases, through to gene mapping
  • The main objective of research and development for food security is to find improved seed varieties, that enable reliable high yields at the same or lower tillage costs through qualities such as resistance to or tolerance of plant diseases (fungi, bacteria, viruses) and animal pests (insects, mites, nematodes) as well as to stress factors such as climatic variation or aridity, poor soil quality.
  • Equally important objectives are the transfer of genes with nitrogen-fixing capacity on to grains, and the improvement of food quality by overcoming vitamin or mineral deficiencies

All these crucial and basic needed expectations can be satisfied with the use of biotechnology. The big edge that recombinant genetics has over conventional breeding is that the desired properties can be systematically sought, identified, extracted (‘snipped’) from a plant or almost any other organism, and within a relatively short time transferred (‘spliced’) to another plant. The result is the same as that achieved with conventional methods, but without the costly and time-consuming cross-breeding they involve.

Food without biotechnological improvements is highly susceptible to wastage:-

  • Fungal diseases destroy 50 million metric tons of rice per year; varieties resistant to fungi could be developed through the genetic transfer of proteins with antifungal properties.
  • Insects cause 26 million tons loss of rice per year;
    the genetic transfer of proteins with insecticidal properties would mean an environmentally friendly insect control.
  • Viral diseases devastate 10 million tons of rice per year; transgenes derived from theTungro virus genome allow the plant to develop defense systems.
  • Bacterial diseases cause comparable losses–transgenes with antibacterial properties are the basis for inbuilt resistance.
  • Vitamin A deficiency is the cause of health problems for more than 100 million children – transgenes will provide provitamin A with the rice diet
  • Iron-deficiency in the diet is a health problem for more than one billion women and children – transgenes will supply sufficient iron in the diet.
  • Which is staple food for 500 mn people.The African Mosaic Virus causes immense damages in cassava; transgenes interfering with the life cycle of the virus could lead to virus-resistant varieties.
  • Food Processing – The self life of the food materials can be extended so as to reduce wastage and increased security during crisis. 
  • Gene technology has the capability to provide growers with a greater diversity of hardy plant varieties by transposing properties from one species to another – a further advantage it has over conventional methods.


  • Environment – GM crops can become invasive species and destroy the gene pool of crops.
  • Resistant Pest – The pests become eventually resistant to these crops and might threaten food security.
  • High Cost – of seeds which are sterile will put small farmers into debt.
  • Super Weeds – which become resistant to all weedicides and suck nutrients from soil turning soil infertile for crops.


The developing countries are faced with the formidable task of doubling their food output over the next 25 years, and this – in contrast to how it has so often been done in the industrial countries – in ways sparing of the environment and resources. Population pressure has already begun to affect the environment in large parts of the developing world. Because of intensive land use and widespread biomass shortage, cultivated soils are being depleted of essential nutrients and organic matter. Fisheries, livestock and forestry resources are also under increasing strain. There is still time – and there is the knowledge as well as financial resources – to reverse the social and ecological trends that threaten food security in the developing world. Biotechnology is the one of the important way out for this.