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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 April 2017

 


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 April 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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) What is gharana system? Discuss their significance and contributions of some of their proponents. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction:-

 In Hindustani music, a gharānā is a system of social organization linking musicians or dancers by lineage or apprenticeship, and by adherence to a particular musical style. A gharana also indicates a comprehensive musicological ideology. This ideology sometimes changes substantially from one gharana to another. It directly affects the thinking, teaching, performance and appreciation of music.

The word gharana comes from the Hindi word ‘ghar’ which is derived from Sanskrit for Griha, which means ‘house’. It typically refers to the place where the musical ideology originated; for example, some of the gharanas well known for singing khyals are: Agra, Gwalior, Indore, Jaipur, Kirana, and Pattiala.

Significance of Gharana

  • AGRA GHARANAis a tradition of Hindustani classical vocal music descended from the Nauhar Bani. So far, Nauhar Bani has been traced back to around 1300 AD, during the reign of Emperor Allauddin Khilji of Delhi.The first known musician of this tradition is Nayak Gopal. The style prevalent then in the Gharana was “DhrupadDhamar”. Ustad Ghagghe Khudabuksh (1790-1880 AD) introduced the “Khayal” style of Gwalior Gharana into Agra gharana which Khudabaksh learnt from Natthan Paribaksh of Gwalior. Furthermore, the Khayal style of Atrauli gharana was added in the late 19th century.
  • KIRANA GHARANA:- In the 19th-century the kirana gharana coalesced around UstadMiyan Bande Ali Khan a player of the rudra veena. The gharana’s style was further developed, and established as one of the prominent styles in modern Indian classical music in the late 19th / early 20th centuries by the musicians Abdul Karim Khan and Abdul Wahid KhanAbdul Karim Khan was an extremely popular musician, and was thus highly influential in popularizing the gharana. Some trace the gharana’s roots back farther to the 13th-century musician Gopal Nayak, a Hindu musician (of the dhrupad style) who later converted to Islamic Sufism and in the process assimilated the predominantly Muslim khyal musical style.

The name of this school of music derives from Kirana or Kairana, a town and tehsil of Shamli District in Uttar Pradesh. It is the birthplace of Abdul Karim Khan (1872–1937), who was one of the most important musicians of this gharana and of Hindustani music in general in the twentieth century. A frequent visitor to the Court of Mysore, Abdul Karim Khan was also influenced by Carnatic music, and roots of the tradition can also be traced back to his great-grandfather Ghulam Ali and Ghulam Maula, the brother of Ghulam Ali.

  • GWALIOR GHARANA: It is one of the oldest and the most elaborate Khayal Gharana. It is very rigorous as there is equal emphasis on melody and rythm. Although the singing is very comlplex, they still prefer to perform simple ragas. the most popular expounder of this Gharana is Nathu Khan and Vishnu Paulushkar.

The significance of the Gharana system is that it:-

  • Allowed for evolution of music into various styles.
  • Produced several supremely talented musicians (eg: the Dagar brothers from the Dagarwani gharana)
  • Helped spread music into hitherto untouched areas.
  • Helped intermingling of established music forms with local traditions.

 


Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

2) Discuss the contributions made by Jayaprakash Narayan to pre and post independent India. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

 Jayaprakash Narayan (11 October 1902 – 8 October 1979), popularly referred to as JP or Lok Nayak (Hindi for The People’s Hero), was an Indian independence activist, social reformer and political leader, remembered especially for leading the mid-1970s opposition against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, for whose overthrow he called a “total revolution“. His biography, Jayaprakash, was written by his nationalist friend and an eminent writer of Hindi literatureRamavriksha Benipuri. In 1999, he was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in recognition of his social work. Other awards include the Magsaysay award for Public Service in 1965. The Patna airport is also named after him.

Contributions of Jai Prakash Narayan to pre-Independence India

  • Jaya Prakash was a believer of the Communist school of thought. For him it was not enough that the nation attain political freedom. To him, the definition of freedom was freedom from hunger, poverty and ignorance.
  • Following the 1930 Dandi March, most of the top Congress leaders were arrested. Jaya Prakash immediately set up an underground office at Bombay to continue Congress work. He traveled all over the nation, printing, distributing and organizing secret meetings.
  • In the Nasik jail, he met politicians and reformers like Ram Manohar Lohia, Ashoka Mehta, Minoo Masani, P. Dantawala and Achyut Patwardhan. They all were impatient for freedom and agreed to steer the Congress toward the goal of socialism. Jaya prakash was released from jail in 1933.
  • In 1934, Jaya prakash and his friends formed the Congress Socialist Party under the Presidentship of Acharya Narendra Deva and secretary ship of Jaya Prakash himself. The group intended to function as the Socialist wing within the Congress party and aimed to make socialism the goal of the Congress.
  • In a book “Why Socialism?”(1932), Jaya Prakash explained why socialism would be right for India. He was adored by the youth for his idealism.
  • He was imprisoned by the British again in 1939 for his opposition to Indian participation in World War II on the side of Britain, but he subsequently made a dramatic escape and for a short time tried to organize violent resistance to the government before his recapture in 1943, And participated in Civil Disobedience Movement.

Contributions of Jai Prakash Narayan to Post – Independence India-

  • The Socialists lost to the Congress in the 1952 elections. Nehru invited Jaya prakash to join the Cabinet. When Nehru could give no assurances on the implementation of Jaya prakash’s 14 point plan to reform the Constitution, the Administration and Judicial system, nationalize the banks, redistribute land to the landless, revive Swadeshi, and setup cooperatives, Jaya prakash refused the offer.
  • Jaya prakash believed that every village should be like a small republic – politically independent and capable of taking its own ecisions. It was a marriage of Gandhian-Indian concepts and modern Western democracy. His thoughful, well-researched and brilliant book, “The Reconstruction of Indian Polity,” won him the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
  • After independence and the death of Mahatma Gandhi, Jaya prakash Narayan, Acharya Narendra Dev and Basawon Singh (Sinha) looked after the CSP out of Congress to become the opposition Socialist Party, which later took the name, Praja Socialist Party.
  • On April 19, 1954, Jaya prakash Narayan declared in Gaya that he was dedicating his life (Jeevandan) to Vinoba Bhave`s Sarvodaya movement and its Bhoodan campaign, which promoted distribution of lands to Harijans (untouchables). He gave up his land, set up an ashram in Hazaribagh, and worked towards uplifting the village.

 

CONCEPT OF TOTAL REVOLUTION

The clarion call for ‘Total Revolution’ was the last revolutionary quest of Jayaprakash Narayan. It is the only indigenous revolution in the post-independence era. Though a Sarvodaya activist, a revolutionary Jayaprakash could not remain indifferent to the crumbling of Indian polity. Corruption, manipulation, exploitation, social discrimination, unemployment and rise of authoritarianism provoked an old guard of freedom movement like Jayaprakash to launch a total revolution in post-independence polity. 

Meaning of Total Revolution

On 5th June, 1974 addressing a mammoth gathering of 5 lakh people in Gandhi Maidan at Patna, he launched the revolutionary programme called Total Revolution. He defined total revolution as a combination of seven revolutions –

  • Social Revolution– Establishing equality and brotherhood in the society.
  • Economic Revolution– Decentralization of economy and making efforts to bring about economic equality by taking village as the unit of development.
  • Political Revolution– Ending political corruption, decentralization of  politics and making public partner by giving them more rights.
  • Cultural Revolution– Defending Indian culture and regeneration of cultural values in common man.
  • Educational Revolution– Making education occupation based and changing of education system.
  • Spiritual Revolution– Developing moral and spiritual values, and turning materialism towards spirituality.
  • Thought Revolution– Revolution in the way of thinking.

Conclusion:-

 Narayan spent the first 25 years of independence as the patron saint of lost causes: the Praja Socialist Party, the Sarvodaya movement, even self-determination for Kashmir. His most enduring contribution to the life of the Republic was the movement he led to unseat Mrs Gandhi, which provoked the Emergency. As the eminence grise of the Janata Party, the first non-Congress party to run the central government, he can take credit for catalysing the political forces that set in train the Congress’s political decline. Narayan also wrote several books, notably Reconstruction of Indian Polity. He promoted Hindu revivalism, but was initially deeply critical of the form of revivalism promoted by the Sangh Parivar.

In 1998, he was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in recognition of his social work. Other awards include the Magsaysay award for Public Service in 1965. Narayan is sometimes referred to with the honorific title Lok nayak or ‘guide of the people’. A university (J P University in Chhapra, Bihar) and two Hospitals (L N J P Hospital in New Delhi and Jai Prabha Hospital in Patna) have been opened in his memory. The capital’s largest and best-equipped trauma centre, the Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, also honors his contributions.

He was a crusader and visionary. No doubt critics have assailed him as a man with inconsistencies. Some view him as a Utopian thinker, an ideal dreamer and too liberal internationalist. His ideas on Sarvodaya and participatory democracy may be relevant for simple and small society, but can’t be applicable to modern complex society. His views on socialism, sarvodaya and total revolution bear testimony to his humanitarian goals. In post-independent Indian polity Jayaprakash’s call to the people was like that of charmer. He was a self-less dedicated revolutionary that mother India has produced. Vinoba Bhave said after Jayaprakash’s death that Jayaprakash considered himself only a “Lok-sevak,” or servant of the people.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic:  Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary 

3) What are the consequences of delays in constitutional judgments by the Supreme Court? With reference to pending Aadhaar judgements, critically comment on the powers and responsibilities of the Supreme Court and its Chief Justice. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

        Delays in constitutional judgment can have deep and perilous consequences on fundamental rights. K M Munshi had said “It is of the highest importance that the question whether a law is valid or not must be decided at the earliest moment,”. “Any uncertainty about its validity will lead to great hardships. The object of the fundamental law will be frustrated if people have to serve sentences, pay fines or deny themselves the privileges given by the Constitution for a long time under an invalid law.”

The consequences resulting from it are as follows:

  • Passage of Unjust Legislation: Failure to give judicial pronouncements in time often leads to passage of unjust legislation. Ex like Sec-66 of IT Act
  • Irreversible Damages:Late judicial judgements result in non-effectual outcomes. Often the damage done is not redeemable. Ex Delay in Judgement led to misuse President Rule. S.R Bommai vs U.O.I
  • Deprives Citizen of the power conferred by the Constitution such as Right to privacy as in case of Aadhaar Bill
  • Ambivalent Executive: Contentious legislation which may be overturned by SC in future often makes the executive ambivalent in executing in the present and result in policy paralysis. Ex delaying in upholding Entry Tax as constitutional
  • It appears to be a backhand support to misgivings by the government, thus diluting necessary checks & balances.
  • It leads to rampant distortion of our constitutional meanings with unbridled government and delayed justice.
  • It gives tacit approval to controversial government policies by not adjudicating on the matter. for example, the damage done by demonetisation has become fait accompli.

Power and Responsibility of SC with respect to Aadhaar:

 

  • Power of Judicial Review:According to KB case, the SC has the power of judicial review. It is the responsibility of SC to judicial review if the Aadhaar legislation violated the constitutional underpinnings.
  • Avoiding Gross Injustice:Under A.142,the SC has the power to ensure complete justice is done. It is the responsibility of the SC to see that no injustice is meted out due to mandatory Aadhaar.

However, SC may restrain itself from passing judgement on Aadhaar because

  • Separation of Powers:
    Under A.50,the judiciary should not encroaches upon the prerogative of the legislature by directing it the manner in which legislation should move.
  • Premature judgement:Digitisation through Aadhaar is relatively new territory to charter and it would be inappropriate for the judiciary to set the terms of legislation without understanding the impacts of digitisation completely.

 


Topic:  Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions

4) Imposing restrictions on the location of liquor outlets, applying them in a differential manner to vends, hotels and standalone bars is undoubtedly an executive decision. Should the judiciary impose norms in this executive domain? What are the consequences of the Supreme Court’s recent order banning liquor shops on highways? Critically discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

The Supreme court ordered that liquor sales be prohibited within 500 metres from national and State highways. In a different sense, it only underscores how much the executive is, and ought to be, involved in policy-making on the subject. It is possible to argue that the executive will be lax in enforcement, corrupt in licensing or too revenue-centric to worry about the social costs of its decisions. However, that reason is not enough for the judiciary to impose norms without regard to the problems that they may give rise to.

The court’s ill-considered order is wholly concerned with the availability of liquor — to the point that it bans sale of liquor on highway stretches even within city and town limits, where police checks are quite common — and does not touch upon strengthening the enforcement of the law against drunk driving. 

Judiciary keeps a restraint on Legislature and Executive misadventures through ideas of “judicial activism” . Positive examples of this are ruling on 2G Scam, Commonwealth scam etc.

However in recent time the line between “judiciary activism” and “judicial overreach” is thinning. The Recent order of SC ordering closure of liquor vends and banning sale of liquor in Hotels, restaurants etc. within 500m reach of National & State Highway is recent addition of that.

Consequences of this move are
Negative:

  • Enormous loss tobusiness and tourism which translates into jobs loss.
  • Huge revenue loss for State Government which taxes alcohol highly. The states might not be able to offset the cost offreebies and other state run social-programmes.
  • Uncertainty of India’s business environment will deter investment coming to India.
  • Illegal Liquor Vends will proliferate into city & towns interior which can have huge implication onpublic health and livelihood ex hutch tragedies.
  • Huge administrative burden in implementing the order with already state department under strain.
  • Affects the fundamental right of citizen to choose what to drink and eat.

Positive

  • Less road accidents in highways: Majority of road accidents is due to drunken driving. average 28 people die a day due to drunken driving and majority of victims are pedestrians, women and children.
  • Social benefit from less health expenditure related to liquor consumption diseases like cancer, liver sclerosis etc in the long run.
  • It will promote growth of healthy society in long run.

Conclusion:-

This radical judgment though in larger public interest won’t solve just solve the problem which leaves many questions like why only liqour shops and exempt bars which serves wines , whisky which has 50 % alcohols & if not roads then alcohol safe elsewhere ?. Policing should improve in highway to tackle drunk driving . States should be directed to allocate more resources for this purpose. Only constant checking of drivers and punishing the offenders will deter those who drink and drive.

 


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

5) In your opinion, what are the three areas of relationship between India and Australia that show great potential? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

Recently Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited India and outlined three areas of special relationship. They are economy, knowledge and strategic partnerships. The relationship has grown in strength and importance since India’s economic reforms in the nineties and has made rapid strides in other areas too.

However the relationship between Economy, Knowledge and Strategic partnership stands out on following accounts-

Economy-

  • As of 2016, bilateral trade between the two countries totaledA$ 9 billion, having grown from A$4.3 billion in 2003. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia and India’s $20 billion two-way trade was “a fraction of what we should aspire to, given the many points of intersection between our economies”.
  • Trade is highly skewed towards Australia. Australia mainly exports Coal, services (mainly education), vegetables for consumer consumption, gold, copper ores and concentrates, while India’s chief exports are refined petroleum, services (professional services such as outsourcing), medicaments, pearls, gems and jewelry.
  • Key interests and benefits:
    1. A comprehensive agreement would assist in broadening the base of merchandise trade by addressing tariff barriers and behind the border restrictions on trade in goods.
    2. There is significant potential to expand trade in services between India and Australia. An FTA could facilitate growth in services tradeby reducing barriers faced by Australian service suppliers and by increasing regulatory transparency.
  • An FTA could facilitate and encourage investmentby reducing barriers, increasing transparency and enhancing investment protections.
  • In the recent visit of Australian PM, both Prime Ministers agreed to draw on the strengths of each country to create jobs and investment and raise living standards. Prime Minister Turnbull and Prime Minister Modi agreed that Australia’s resources and experience could support India’s ambitious economic reform path and that India’s strong growth offered opportunities for Australian investment looking for long term stable returns.

Knowledge-

  • Noting the centrality of knowledge and economy to the bilateral relationship, both countries welcomed the growing numbers of students in each other’s countries. Australia is the second most popular destination for Indians studying overseas. An increasing number of Australians are coming to India to study, including under the New Colombo Plan, through which more than 1790 undergraduates have sought the opportunity to study and intern in India since 2015.
  • Both countries great potential and growing opportunities to partner in the skills sector. Prime Minister Turnbull emphasized the role Australia’s industry-led vocational education and training system, qualifications and training providers could play in India’s program to train 400 million people by 2022.
  • Both countries celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Australia India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF). Since its establishment, the two governments have committed over $100 million (Rs 500 crore) to the AISRF and the program has supported some 300 collaborative activities including joint projects, workshops and fellowships. Its projects have delivered practical outcomes to improve agricultural productivity, develop vaccines for infectious diseases and advance work on quantum computing.
  • Recognizing the need for innovation in reaching shared aspirations in productivity and efficiency, the two countries have huge potential to continue fostering of collaboration between entrepreneurs developing innovative products for commercial application. Both Australia and India were pursuing Smart Cities agendas and had expertise and experience to share.
  • Both countries could collaborate to address water management challenges, including sustainable water use. With India launching large-scale infrastructure projects in water, strong existing bilateral cooperation has laid the foundation for building commercial partnerships.
  • India and Australia can also cooperate in Space sector. Recently two Implementing Arrangements were signed between Indian Space Research Organization and Geoscience Australia on cooperation in space technology.

Strategic partnership-

  • Both countries are commitment to a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific, based on mutual respect and cooperation. Australia and India share a commitment to democratic values, rule of law, international peace and security, and shared prosperity. The strategic interests of both countries are converging which opens up opportunities for working together in a rapidly changing region.
  • Both countries agreed that the bilateral maritime exercise first held in the Bay of Bengal in 2015 (AUSINDEX) will be repeated off Western Australia in the first half of 2018.
  • Both countries remain strongly committed to the breadth of their defence ties, including through ongoing annual staff talks for Army, Navy and Air Forces. They also welcomed a decision for the first bilateral Army-to-Army exercise to take place in 2018. They looked forward to the inaugural secretaries’ defence and foreign affairs dialogue in the “2+2” format as a new mechanism to build on the deep strategic partnership.]
  • Recognizing that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and stability, both countries reiterated their strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever. They asserted that the fight against terrorists, terror organisations and networks should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues. ]
  • Both the countries welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime. This overarching security understanding will allow links between Australian and Indian law enforcement, border and intelligence agencies to grow – ultimately improving both countries’ ability to address global and regional security threats.
  • They also welcomed the Indian Ocean Rim Association’s (IORA) Declaration on Countering and Preventing Terrorism and Violent Extremism, adopted at the IORA Leaders’ Summit.
  • The two Prime Ministers expressed their support for peace, stability, prosperity, security and integrity of Afghanistan. They emphasized the need for an early peace and reconciliation through Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process; and called for ending external support for terrorism.

Conclusion-

India-Australia ties are growing from strength to strength and have great potential for mutual cooperation on account of their shared cultural and historical links.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic:  Environmental pollution; Science and Technology

6) In the light of recent events, critically analyse merits and demerits of governments seeking to build nuclear arsenals and generate energy from nuclear weapons. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

Nuclear energy has proved to be double edged sword. On one hand it has provided alternative to fossil fuels (albeit with some risks) and on the other hand nuclear weapons have destabilized the world (in the quest of stabilizing the world). Some of the recent events are reflection of this dichotomy. They are-

More than 120 nations in October 2016 voted on a UN General Assembly resolution to convene the conference to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination. Britain, France, Russia and the U.S. voted no, while China, India and Pakistan abstained. 

Japan and South Korea are debating acquisition of nuclear weapons when North Korea has embarked on the path of acquiring nuclear weapons.

Fukushima nuclear disaster has created fear psychosis in other nations for encouraging the nuclear power use.

In this scenario merits and demerits of governments seeking to build nuclear arsenal and energy are-

Merits-

  • Nuclear arsenal-
    1. Nuclear weapons are considered to be important for creating minimum deterrence for a country in cases of hostility with other nations.
    2. It puts negotiation first.
      Nations would think long and hard before attacking a country armed with nuclear weapons. This means that conflicts that need to be resolved will be done through a more peaceful manner rather than risking lives.
  • Nuclear Energy-
    1. The generation ofelectricity through nuclear energy reduces the amount of energy generated from fossil fuels (coal and oil). Less use of fossil fuels means lowering greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 and others).
    2. Another advantage is the required amount of fuel: less fuel offers more energy. It represents a significant save on raw materials but also in transport, handling and extraction of nuclear fuel. The cost ofnuclear fuel (overall uranium) is 20% of the cost of energy generated.
  • The production of electric energy is continuous. Anuclear power plant is generating electricity for almost 90% of annual time. It reduces the price volatility of other fuels such as petrol.
  1. This continuity benefits the electrical planning. Nuclear power does not depends on natural aspects. It’s a solution for the main disadvantage ofrenewable energy, like solar energy or eolic energy, because the hours of sun or wind does not always coincide with the hours with more energy demand.

Demerits-

  • Nuclear arsenal-
    1. Nuclear weapons have ceased to be viable as instruments of war because of the unpredictability of the consequences of a nuclear war. No one can trust even the use of tactical nuclear weapons without collateral damage for the user. 
    2. It is expensive and high maintenance.
      Nuclear weapons cost a lot of money to build and maintain. North Korea is not considered as one of the richest countries in the world and they continue to threaten with nuclear weapons. By focusing too much on developing these kinds of weapons, they leave nothing much for the citizens of a nation. Resources that could be for the welfare of people are put into building weapons of mass destruction.
  • It comes with lots of risks.
    The effects of nuclear experiments can remain long after the tests have completed. As such, the risk to human life is very great. For instance, nuclear weapons can lead to radiation disaster. Plus, tests leave negative impact on the environment as well.
  1. Further there is always risk of falling nuclear weapons in wrong hands like terrorist organizations particularly in highly vulnerable countries like Pakistan.
  • Nuclear energy-
    1. Much of the consumption offossil fuels is due to road transport, used in heat engines (cars, trucks, etc.). Savings in fossil fuel for power generation is fairly low.
    2. Despite the high level of sophistication of the safety systems of nuclear power plants the human aspect has always an impact. Facing an unexpected event or managing a nuclear accident doesn’t have any guarantee that decisions we took are always the best. Two good examples are Chernobyl andFukushima.
  • One of the main disadvantages is the difficulty in the management ofnuclear waste. It takes many years to eliminate its radioactivity and risks.
  1. Nuclear plants have a limited life. The investment for the construction of a nuclear plant is very high and must be recovered as soon as possible, so it raises the cost ofelectricity  In other words, the energy generated is cheap compared to the cost of fuel, but the recovery of its construction is much more expensive.
  2. Nuclear power plants generate external dependence. Not many countries haveuranium mines and not all the countries have nuclear technology, so they have to hire both things overseas.
  3. Nuclear power plants are objectives of terrorist organizations.

 


TopicAgriculture

7) Do farm loan waivers by state and union governments solve agrarian crisis? What are the economic costs of loan waivers and long term solutions for addressing farm crisis? Critically examine. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction-

Indian government has announced ambitious target of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022. However present agricultural distress and populist measures like loan waivers by governments can prove as impediments in this quest.

Do farm loan waivers solve agrarian crisis?

  • As Xavier Giné and Martin Kanz of the World Bank have shown in their study—The Economic Effects Of A Borrower Bailout: Evidence From An Emerging Market—Bank lending moves away from districts with greater exposure to the loan waiver as happened after 2008 loan waiver. Such outcomes can affect agricultural output in the medium to long run as banks may get more selective in extending credit.
  • In the case of repeated waivers, it makes sense for borrowers to default strategically in anticipation of a waiver. But this can become a self-fulfilling cycle with long-term consequences—defaults would warrant loan waivers, and waivers will lead to more defaults.
  • Loan waivers act like punishment to farmers who have been diligent with repayments and encourage all sorts of wrong behaviour—lax credit discipline and the use of borrowed funds for non-agricultural purposes.
  • The money waived could be invested for creating infrastructure that makes farmers independent of cartel of traders and help them to reap maximum economic benefit of their produce.

Loan waivers may offer the short term solution to farmers on humanitarian ground but they are not the solution of present agricultural crisis in India.

Economic costs of loan waivers-

  • The recent announced loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh will cost about Rs27,420 crore, or about 8% of the state’s revenue.
  • It is a relief only for one season with the farmers going back to grind in the next. Giving such sop is also not economically viable as it reduces government’s fiscal power to intervene when needed the most.
  • A 2015 ICRIER paper said the massive write-off of loans in 2008 took its toll on the banks, increasing the non-performing assets of commercial banks threefold between 2009-10 and 2012-13.

Long term solutions for addressing farm crisis-

  • Thus government should focus on following dimensions of the agriculture to find long term solution to the crisis.
  • Shifting public investment towards modernisation of surface irrigation works (to facilitate higher yield per unit of water used) and for watershed development.
  • Prioritising incomplete irrigation projects after strict cost-benefit analysis and monitor implementation.
  • Limiting government’s role to laying down the broad principles and institutional framework. Entrust direct management of land, water, and common service facilities to autonomous organisations functioning within well-specified rules.
  • Enforcing better preventive and punitive measures to contain gross violations of rules governing access to and use of resources.
  • Conducting a critical review of the research system in public institutions to make it more effective.
  • Changing policies relating to pricing of yield and input to avoid waste.
  • Connecting the lab to the field: agriculture cannot grow without the aid of modern scientific research.
  • Restructuring the marketing framework to allow free movement of farm products. There is need to follow the example of how a highly perishable commodity like milk travels across the country.
  • Undertaking the long-term research on how the crop cycle can be aligned with the changing monsoon. There is need to improve availability of early maturing, drought resistant and short duration crops that can handle weather uncertainties.

Conclusion-

To be sure, the agriculture sector needs government support but loan waivers are not the solution. On the contrary, expenditure on loan waivers will eventually leave less fiscal space for public expenditure in agriculture. India needs massive investment in areas such as irrigation, water conservation, better storage facilities, market connectivity and agricultural research. The problems in Indian agriculture are structural. They need long-term solutions. Loan waivers will only end up complicating the problem. The Indian economy has suffered a lot due to competitive populism in the past. It’s time parties and governments addressed the real issues.