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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 MAY 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 MAY 2018


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:  The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors
/contributions from different parts of the country.


1)Examine the role that All India Trade Union Congress played in labour movements in the country?(250 words)

Bipan Chandra – India’s struggle for independence Pg 201

 

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to explain in depth the role AITUC played in furthering the labour movements in the country.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a brief into the history of AITUC

Body

  • Mention about the leadership, aims and objectives of AITUC
  • Mention how AITUC was instrumental in the labour movements taking place in the country . Bring out the impacts like supply of leadership, intellectual heft, organising protests etc
  • Mention where AITUC fell short in developing a sharp labour consciousness

Conclusion – Summarize the role that AITUC played in shaping the labour movements of the country.

 

 

Background :-

  • The national movement after home rule league and Rowlatt satyagraha reached a crescendo in the Non- Cooperation and Khilafat Movement in 1920-22. It was in this context that there occurred a resurgence of working class activity in the years from 1919 to 1922.
  • The working class now created its own national level organisation to defend its class rights. It was in this period that the working class also got involved in the mainstream of nationalist politics to a significant extent. 
  • The most important development was the formation of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) in 1920.

All India trade union congress :-

  • The All India Trade Union Congress (A.I.T.U.C.) was set up in 1920
    • To represent and protect the interest of workers and to make necessary co-ordination between the activities of different labour organisations
    • To penetrate into the unorganised areas of the country.
    • To represent India at the League of NationsInternational Labor Organization (ILO). 
  • In 1926, the government passed the Trade Union Act to provide legal status to the registered trade unions.
  • The leadership included  Lala Lajpat Rai, Joseph Baptista,  M. Joshi, Diwan Chaman Lalland a few others and, until 1945 when unions became organised on party lines, it was the primary trade union organisation in India.

Role it played :-

  • The manifesto issued to the workers by the AITUC urged them not only to organize themselves but also to intervene in nationalist politics.
  • It ushered in an unprecedented upsurge of working-class struggles and organization. Strike struggles became better organized than ever with the worker elements taking their rightful place in the leadership.
  • Trade unions  became stable organizations with worker-leaders beginning to come into their own. 
  • The workers under Communist and radical nationalist influence participated in a large number of strikes and  demonstrations all over the country between 1922 and 1929.
  • The AITUC in 1927 took a decision to boycott the Simon Commission and many workers participated in the massive Simon boycott demonstrations.
  • There were also numerous workers meetings organized on May Day, Lenin Day, the anniversary of the Russian Revolution, and so on.
  • When the campaign for the 1937 elections began, the AITUC, barring a few centres, gave its support to the Congress candidates. The Congress election manifesto declared that the Congress would take steps for the settlement of labour disputesand take effective measures for securing the rights to form unions and go on strike.
  • During the tenure of the Congress Provincial Governments the trade union movement showed a phenomenal rise. Between 1937 and 1939 the number of trade unions increased from 271 to 362 .

Criticism :-

  • During 1930s, trade union movement in India faced unfavourable situation aggravated by economic depression leading to further split in the movement.
  • Although, little bit of unity was restored in the movement before the second world war but the emergency during the war again confused the trade unionist, leading to further split in the movement.
  • Government launched a-two-pronged attack on the labour movement.
    • It enacted repressive laws like the Public Safety Act and Trade Disputes Acts and arrested virtually the entire radical leadership of the labour movement and launched the famous Meerut Conspiracy Case against them.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 2)Centre’s draft scheme to monitor Cauvery water sharing is insufficient to ensure equitable distribution of water. Examine while suggesting alternative paradigms for river water management.(250 words)

The hindu

Reference

Why this question

The submission of the draft scheme is another step in the never ending saga of inter state river water disputes and needs to be prepared.

Key demand of the question

Following points are required in the answer

  • The details of the scheme
  • The pros and cons of the draft scheme and the impact of creation of overseeing body
  • Alternatives to resolving this intractable dispute

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any. Centre’s draft scheme brought out recently is to be examined here.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention in brief about the long history of the dispute and explain what prompted the centre to come out with this scheme

Body

  • Mention the details of the scheme, compare and contrast it with the tribunal’s recommendation
  • Highlight the pros and cons of the body in terms of its effectiveness and efficiency in monitoring the implementation of the award. Talk about the composition, mandate, decision making etc
  • Explore some alternatives like decentralization committee, community participation etc which would help resolve this dispute in a better manner (take ideas from the down to earth article)

Conclusion – Mention the need of urgently resolving this long pending issue and paint a picture of how this body can help in resolution of this long pending issue.

Background:-

  • Inter-state river water disputes are a symptom of poor water management practices. India is a water stressed country with per capita water availability reducing from 1,820 to 1,545 cubic metres between 2001 and 2011. 
  • Supreme Court recently approved the Centre’s draft Cauvery Management Scheme for smooth distribution of water among the four southern riparian states/UT viz. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. It ordered Central Government to notify the scheme before the monsoons.

Centre draft scheme to monitor Cauvery water sharing:

  • Authority that implements :-
    • It will be a two-tier structure, with an apex body charged with the power to ensure compliance with the final award
    • It will also have a regulation committee that will monitor the field situation and water flow.
    • The powers and functions of the authority are fairly comprehensive. Its powers would extend to apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters, supervision of operations of reservoirs and regulation of water releases.
    • The draft makes the authority’s decisions final and binding.
  • Only three clauses have been added in the draft scheme.
    • They refer to the proposed mechanism, which the draft scheme calls “authority,”
    • Maintaining an account of cropping pattern, area cropped and area irrigated
    • The provision for the authority to seek the Centre’s help in the event of non-cooperation by any State and the authority having to abide by “directions” of the Central government.
  • Court finds draft scheme in conformity with Section 6A of Inter-State River Water Disputes Act.

Issues with this approach:-

  • There is an ambiguous clause:-
  • if the authority finds that any one of the States is not cooperative, it can seek the Centre’s help, and the Centre’s decision will be final and binding.
  • The draft scheme has included secretaries of Water Resources Departments of each constituent of the basin at the cost of chief engineers from the respective States and the Union Territory who were suggested by the Tribunal
  • Already rampant ground water extraction has direct impact on the flow and pace the river. Thus the water reservoir will have less water to store with the passing year failing to meet the future demands . The scheme seems less aware about such serious distress.
  • Another point to notice is that the draft only focuses on the conflict and the administration deviating from the real problem .it may fail to prove the ground of equitable distribution as very less water availability will be there.
  • The scheme doesn’t talk about constituting a single tribunal providing a single way to every state .

 

Suggestions for river water management:-

  • International examples give lessons to focus on decentralisation:-
    • The Good Water Neighbors Project involving Israelis, Jordanians, and Palestinians is an example of how political differences can be ironed out by bilateral cooperation.The larger objective was to convince local decision makers and public that such cooperation, especially pertaining to shared resources, is in their interests.
    • Similarly in the Nile Basin Initiative the focus was on developing the Nile Basin water resources in an equitable way to ensure prosperity and peace in the region
    • All these initiatives indicate that water solutions cannot be long-lasting if it is not adapted locally. This is precisely why water experts have been advocating for decentralisation of powers: involving districts, blocks, municipalities, panchayats, and gram sabhas and making them the owners of water resources, rather than vesting all powers with the Centre or a state.
  • It is important for the states to reduce industrial uses of water and focus more on water harvesting and use the water intellectually.
  • Indian states intiitatives:-
    • Mission Kakatiya of Telangana – Restoring tanks:-
      • Desilting and restoring village tanks. It also uses remote sensing satellites for geo-database and dedicated website for transparency.
    • Haritam Kerala – for greener and cleaner Kerala:
      • Intends to clean and remove waste from all the water bodies. It also envisage removal of waste by people’s participation and also literary water conservation awareness.
    • River basin commissions, which work in a cooperative manner to manage trans-boundary conflicts, might offer a more workable solution.
    • National data gathering agency proposed under the Inter-State Water Disputes Tribunal bill 2017 has its task cut out.
      • It should take surface and groundwater into consideration. Besides improving data on water availability, it is also necessary to align demand for water with what rivers can bear.
    • Agriculture, the largest consumer, is unfortunately characterised by wasteful usage on account of agricultural and electricity subsidy policies that refuse to account for declining water availability. These must change to incentivise prudent usage.
      • Governments also need to handhold farmers to facilitate introduction of superior micro-irrigation methods such as drip irrigation.

Conclusion:-

  • Centre’s proposal to set up a single, permanent tribunal, subsuming all existing ad hoc tribunals, to adjudicate on inter-state river water disputes could be a major step towards streamlining the dispute redressal mechanism.
  • But it alone will not be able to address the different kinds of problems legal, administrative, constitutional and political that plague the overall framework. Institutional mechanisms should be backed by the political will to make them work.

TopicRole of civil services in a democracy.

3)Critically analyse the reasons behind the rise in importance of All India Services vis a vis other Group A services.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

This question is related to GS 2 syllabus under the following heading-

Role of civil services in a democracy.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to put forth the reasons behind rise in importance of AIS vis a vis other similar services. We have to probe deeper into the issue and present our personal opinion.

Directive word

Critically analyse- we have to identify the key reasons behind the above situation and ,discuss their worthiness and  present our personal opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Mention the reappearing of candidates from other services, for AIS.

Body-

  1. Discuss the reasons behind the trend. e.g hierarchy of civil services with respect to seniority and empanelment rules, more social recognition and public interaction in AIS etc.
  2. Discuss the veracity/ worthiness  and implications of the factors responsible for the rise in importance of All India Services vis a vis other Group A services. e.g veracity- it denotes concentration of power with respect to a common man, growing incomes, awareness and role of technology will dilute the significance of all the services and larger public demand will infuse more transparency and accountability in them etc.

Conclusion– form a fair, balanced and concise opinion on the above issue and suggest a way forward (e.g limiting attempt limits, facilitating lateral entries and movement etc

 

Background:-

  • Article 312 provides for the creation of All India Services. All India Services, by their very nature, are instruments of national integration and national unity. They ensure the maintenance of common standards all over the country in certain vital fields of administration. India has created a number of Central Services as well but All India services have dominated.

Reasons behind rise in importance of All India services vis Vis other group A services:-

  • Because of people’s perception that the real “power” lies in these All India services.
    • These services will be part of high political and bureaucratic circles so people believe so they have enormous power
  • Many young Indians feel that joining the IAS, IPS or IFoS provides them the best opportunity to serve the country
  • There is wider interaction with the common man in these posts so there are greater opportunities to make an impact.
  • Indian society considers the people in these jobs with status, respect etc
  • In these services mostly there is an opportunity to work in multiple domains and not be confined to a single subject.
  • The attractiveness to the uniformed service like IPS is a sense of pride to people.

Implications of the factors responsible for the rise in importance of All India Services vis a vis other Group A services:-

  • Positive:-
    • Larger public demand will infuse more transparency and accountability in them
    • These services create a sense of responsibility to act in public interest and ensure country moves in a forward direction
  • Negative:-
    • It denotes concentration of power with respect to a common man
    • Role of technology can dilute the significance of all the services
    • There are many instances of corrupted officers who misuse their positions
    • There is need for wider knowledge but the ministries at the centre are mostly dominated by All India services.

Way forward:-

  • 7th Pay Commission has recommended parity between IAS and other services when it comes to empanelment under central staffing schemes. 
  • Lateral entry into the higher civil services should be welcomed but with some caveats.
  • Credit performance:-
    • If someone is not found suitable in the IAS/IRS/IPS/IFS after about 15 years, i.e. at the Joint Secretary level, shift them out to non-crucial posts .
  • Technology:-
    • Infuse more and more technology into every touch point where a citizen interacts with the government.
    • Today with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), global technology leaders such as IPsoft use virtual assistants to deliver citizens services in the U.K. and U.S.
    • In the context of government service delivery, cognitive intelligence can deliver it with greater superiority, accuracy, consistency and at lower cost than humans can.
  • Specific clauses under All India Services and Central Services Conduct Rules need to be invoked to sack officers on grounds of incompetence and/or corruption. 
  • Limiting attempt limits.

 


Topic – India and its bilateral relations

4) Improving India Nepal relations requires greater focus on implementation and less on optics. Analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The completion of PM Modi’s visit to Nepal provides an opportune time to discuss the significance of the visit and chalking out the way forward.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to focus on following points

  • Status quo of India Nepal relations
  • Why optics – religious diplomacy, talk of historical and religious brotherhood etc – will not go a long way in resolving the teething issues in India Nepal relations
  • How the focus should be on implementation of projects
  • Way forward

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When you are asked to analyze, you have to examine each part of the problem. It is a broader term than ‘Examine’.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention about our PM’s visit to Nepal and the important agreements signed

Body

  • Bring out the status quo in India Nepal relations with more emphasis on bringing out the issues that plague the relationship
  • Highlight why merely focussing on optics like historical linkage, religious similarity etc will hardly resolve the issues that affect our relationship
  • Highlight the pending projects in infrastructure, hydro projects etc which needs to be completed soon to ensure meaningful progress of the relationship
  • Highlight how China is waiting in the wings to fill in the gap that lackadaisical attitude on part of India can create

Conclusion – mention that Nepal is crucial for India’s foreign policy and mention what should be the way forward.

 

Background :-

  • There have been mutual visits by PM’s of both Nepal and India in 2018.With that the relations have gained some positive vibe and the 2018 statement prioritises cooperation in agriculture, inland water-ways, a survey for a railway line from Raxaul to Kathmandu and increasing air connectivity.

Implementation needs to be the focus:-

  • Issues with the projects:-
    • Only one of the earlier commitments, the 900 MW Arun III hydel project, has progressed
    • Of the four planned Integrated Check Posts, one is now functional after over a decade.
    • India has been Nepal’s most significant development partner. Yet the pace of project implementation has been slow, leading to significant time and cost over-runs
    • The idea of four Integrated Check Posts (ICP) on the India-Nepal border to facilitate movement of goods, vehicles and people was mooted 15 years ago and an MOU signed in 2005.
    • While preparation of surveys and project reports moved slowly on the Indian side, acquisition of land by the Nepali authorities got held up leading to delayed construction.
    • As a result, only the Raxaul-Birgunj ICP has been completed .During this time, the cost of the project went up fourfold.
    • Misperceptions about the unequal agreements relating to the Kosi barrage (1954) and Gandak barrage (1959) have grown over the years preventing any development in this sector. There are also long-pending hydel projects like Pancheshwar
  • More emphasis on bringing out the issues that plague the relationship
    • Political:-
      • India’s openly stated reservations on the new constitution in support of the Madhesi cause fuelled resentment.
    • Economic:-
      • Nepal blamed India for imposing an economic blockade which was causing acute shortages of essentials such as petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and medical supplies. 
    • Difficult issues, including a review of the contentious 1950 Treaty, recruitment of Nepali nationals in the Gurkha regiments of the Indian Army, resolving the fallout of the 2016 demonetisation exercise which has left the Nepal Rastra Bank holding a stock of Indian currency, resumption of the SAARC summit process which remains stalled since 2016.
    • Border:-
      • There are border disputes pending between the two countries at Susta, Kalapani and the ‘tri-junction’ of Lipulekh
    • India has age old unique, time tested ties of friendship with Nepal. The relationship between the two countries is deeply and intricately intertwined by geography, civilisational bonds, and cultural and social enmeshing.  Merely focussing on optics like historical linkage, religious similarity etc will hardly resolve the issues that affect the relationship
    • China factor :-
    • Above Kalapani, there is no demarcation (of the boundary) between India and Nepal till China border. This could lead to problems in the coming time. After Doklam, Bharat is very concerned about Kalapani dispute. It may provide an opportunity for China to flare up the issue along with a Communist government in Nepal.
    • Military:-
      • China invested heavily in Nepal’s security forces, particularly in its police and paramilitary forces. It even opened up a police academy to train the APF, the Nepali paramilitary force deployed to guard the Nepal-Tibet border, in order to check the possible infiltration of “Free Tibet” activists into Nepal.
      • China’s activities have been steadily expanding in Nepal after Kathmandu’s support for OBOR materialized
    • Economic:-
      • Recently 10 agreements were signed between the two countries.The one related to trade and transit and the other on connectivity have attracted international attention for their security implication in the South Asian region.
      • As per the transit treaty with China, Nepal has now secured transit rights for trade with third countries through the Chinese territory
      • China decided to supply petroleum products to Nepal, apart from building petroleum storage facilities in this country.

Way forward:-

  • Completion of the ongoing process of updating the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship:-
    • India must recognise that as in all other developing economies, Nepal’s aspirational young population is also looking beyond the open Indian border for opportunities, and its  desire to turn his “land-locked” country into a “land-linked” country with a merchant navy must be considered positively. 
  • People-to-people inter-dependence must lead the relationship along with civil society and business-commercial level interactions.
  • India’s major foray should be in innovation and technology transfer, multidisciplinary dialogues, educational and technical institutions, local and global migration management and skills and capacity-building.
  • India needs to finish the infrastructure projects on time for instance Pancheswar project has been pending for over 20 years now. 
  • Nepal could be the fountainhead of climate change knowledge and connect to India’s larger dynamics of the management of the ecology of hills and mountains.
  • Effective delivery on the pending projects, the remaining ICPs, the five railway connections, postal road network in the Terai and the petroleum pipeline so that connectivity is enhanced and the idea of ‘inclusive development and prosperity’ assumes reality.
  • India needs to formulate a comprehensive and long-term Nepal policy.

 


General Studies – 3


TOPIC: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.;Inclusive growth.

5)Examine the causes behind India’s decreased merchandised exports and depreciating currency. Also discuss various options available to India.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

India is presently grappling with a depreciating rupee and weakened merchandise exports. The issue is complicated by several other factors and there are a only a few and as usual controversial options available. The question is related to GS 3 syllabus under the following heading-

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.;Inclusive growth.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to bring out the reasons behind depreciating Indian rupee and weakened merchandise exports and then discuss the options available to manage the present situation.

Directive word

Examine- we have to describe the causes/ reasons  behind the depreciating rupee and decreased merchandise exports.

Discuss- we have to mention various feasible and available options for India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Present some statistics about India’s recent rupee depreciation and decrease in value of merchandise exports, despite depreciating currency.

Body-

  1. discuss the reasons behind depreciating rupee. e.g rise in oil prices, capital outflows due to US policy etc.
  2. discuss the reasons behind decreased merchandise exports. e.g competition from apparel sector of Bangladesh, Vietnam; GST and delayed refunds etc.
  3. Discuss in points various options available to India. e.g hastening of GST refunds, diversifying energy basket, higher benchmark interest rates, counter exports from developed countries etc.

Conclusion- mention the most appropriate and effective option that should be deployed.

 

 

Background:-

  • The rupee, already one of the worst performing Asian currencies, has now weakened 6.2% in 2018. despite a depreciating currency, India’s merchandise exports are stumbling instead of gaining from the opportunity. 

Causes behind India’s decreased merchandised exports and depreciating currency:-

  • Depreciation of Indian rupee:-
    • Rise in crude oil prices through this year, amidst rising geopolitical tensions in West Asia and dwindling global supply, have obviously hurt the rupee and the trade balance. 
      • Global oil prices are continuously increasing on the back of tight output controls marshalled by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Brent crude futures have gained almost 12% through 2018
      • This in turn has bloated India’s crude import bill and widened the trade deficit appreciably
    • The tightening of U.S. monetary policy has almost always spelled trouble for emerging market economies hooked to Western capital inflows.
    • The Indian rupee will continue to be affected by factors such as position of balance of payments, relative inflation and growth differential with the US and nature of capital flows.
    • The spectre of fresh tensions(of the US) involving Iran over the nuclear agreement with Tehran is also almost certain to prevent any significant softening in oil prices
    • Signals from the dollar index too offer little reassurance to the rupee
    • Continued selling of local equity and debt by jittery foreign institutional investors, and a weak stock market further weighed on the rupee.
  • Merchandise exports:-
    • The recent downturn is largely a consequence of the funds crisis faced by apparel manufacturing and exporting units, a situation created by a combination of delays in processing of refund of taxes and curtailment of duty drawback with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax in 2017.
    • Competition from apparel sector of Bangladesh, Vietnam
    • Some relief of duty drawback came when the Union government increased the drawback rate to four cent for Central taxes under the Merchandise Exports from India scheme when the mid-term export policy was announced. However, a status quo on rebate for State levies is worrisome for apparel units.
    • In the past two years, India has not been able to take advantage of rising world trade. The disruptions caused by demonetisation and later the hiccups during the roll out of GST, have been blamed by experts for hitting small exporters in a number of sectors.
    • The bigger problem is India’s failure to get become globally competitive in manufacturing.
      • So far, most countries that have grown rapidly have depended on globally competitive manufacturing to power them to high growth.
    • SMEs are generally not globally competitive when it comes to production of high value products. Economies of scale and productivity problems plague them. But merchandise exports will not go up unless the products are globally competitive and can take a bite out of the global market.

Various options:-

  • India will have to find means to spur exports whether by facilitating swifter GST refunds or taking on tariff and non-tariff barriers from the developed world.
  • Efforts to diversify India’s energy basket also need greater stress.
  • Some important measures for improving export figures
    • Banks should reassess working capital requirements for exports and meet them on a priority.
    • Items for which merchandise export incentive scheme (MEIS) was not granted so far may be revisited.
    • And attention may be focused on assistance to states for export-related infrastructure through assistance to states for development of export infrastructure.
    • The inverted duty structure must be attended to and negotiations of items getting hit under current free trade agreements (FTAs) should be focused upon.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

6)Recently mooted Draft Forest Policy (DFP) will significantly undermine the provisions of Forest Policy, 1988 and hasten diversion of forest land for developmental projects. Analyse.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question

Recently mooted DFP of India has been severely criticized for its attempts to undermine the statutory powers of FP, 1988. This will have huge implications on the future of our forests. The issue is related to GS 3 syllabus under the following heading-

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to discuss the   statutory provisions of DFP, and how the FP attempts to undermine the DFP provisions.

Directive word

Analyse- we have to identify the key aspects of the question-  provisions of DFP, their statutory nature and how they will be affected by FP.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Discuss the Forest (conservation) Act and its power to grant permissions .

Body

  1. Discuss the SC judgements which confer statutory backing to the DFP
  2. Discuss the provision of DFP which requires prior careful examination by specialists for the social and environmental costs and benefits associated with any diversion of forest land.
  3. Discuss the provision mandating total safeguard of Tropical rain / moist forests.

Conclusion- Mention the need to revise the DFP and involve all stakeholders in framing a scientifically backed, socio-economically sensitive,  and long term FP.


 

Background:-

  • Forests are very important economically, ecologically and even for the survival of the human kind. The new draft policy seeks to replace the country’s 30-year-old national forest policy.
  • In the light of the contemporary challenges like climate change, human-wildlife conflict, intensifying water crisis, increasing air and water pollution and deteriorating environment a new policy is necessary.

 

Forest policy 1988:-

  • One of the strongest provisions in the existing NFP is with respect to restrictions on diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes. Diversion of forest land for any-non-forest purpose should be subject to the most careful examinations by specialists from the standpoint of social and environmental costs and benefits
  • In addition, the policy also says that tropical rain/moist forests, particularly in areas like Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, should be totally safeguarded.
  • The NFP 1988 was enacted with the aim of preserving the remaining natural forests and for increasing substantially the forest/tree cover in the country.
  • It debarred the private sector from raising plantation on forestland and encouraged them to source raw materials directly from farmers.
  • It promoted substitution of wood with other materials.
  • It also envisaged vesting in individuals, particularly from the weaker sections, certain ownership rights over trees for protecting and enhancing forests.
  • The goal of increasing tree cover outside Recorded forest area and promoting agroforestry has been notable, though much more needs to be done to realise the full potential of agroforestry.
  • Similarly, the policy of substituting wood with plastic and metals has been successful.

Draft forest policy :-

  • The overall objective and goal of the present policy is to safeguard the ecological and livelihood security of people, of the present and future generations, based on sustainable management of the forests for the flow of ecosystem services.
  • Features:-
    • Public private participation for afforestation in degraded forest areas
      • Public-private participation models will be developed for undertaking afforestation and reforestation activities in degraded forest areas and forest areas available with forest development corporations and outside forests
    • Measures to safeguard ecosystems from forest fire (map the vulnerable areas; develop and strengthen early warning systems)
      • It proposes to restrict schemes and projects which interfere with forests that cover steep slopes, catchments of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, geologically unstable terrain and such other ecologically sensitive areas
    • Afforestation in catchment areas for river rejuvenation and water recycling
      • The ecologically sensitive catchment areas shall be stabilized with suitable soil and water conservation measures, and also by planting suitable trees and grass like bamboo
    • Promote agro-forestry and farm forestry

How Draft forest policy hastens diversion of forest land?

  • Draft policy has completely deleted the section on safeguards to be followed for diversion of forest land.
    • Before diversion of forest land there is no requirement of cost-benefit analysis, no examinations by specialists, no requirement of alternatives and no mention of the fact that tropical moist evergreen forests as well as forests in hilly States such as Arunachal Pradesh should be totally safeguarded.
  • Instead of specialists, Central and State Boards for Forestry are envisaged, which are to be headed by the respective Forest Ministers with a specific mandate for ensuring “simplification of procedures”.
  • Draft policy looks like an attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court’s judgment in Lafarge
  • The draft NFP 2018 mentions major forestry issues ailing the forest sector, but it doesn’t provide answers to them as to how these objectives will be achieved considering the competitive demands for forestlands.
  • New draft also says efforts will be made to achieve harmonization between policies and laws like Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006.People may see it as an attempt to weaken role of gram sabhas (village councils)
  • While the role of forests as climate change mitigation factor has been recognised, the draft NFP is vague on the issue of forests rights for forest dwelling communities as it reasserts the control of the forest department over the forests by undermining the Forest Rights Act. 
  • Continues to speak about private participation in forest management, which was criticized in 2016.
  • This policy is in direct conflict with the policy of promoting social/farm forestry.
    • As industries get forestlands cheap, they will raise captive plantations of monoculture species, bringing down their production costs. Farmers growing the same tree species will not be able to compete against such low prices. Bringing the private sector into production forestry will completely undermine farmers.
  • There is ample evidence to show that Community forest resourcecan transform the livelihoods of communities and conserve and regenerate forests.
    • The draft policy has chosen to undermine CFR by proposing a new community-forest-management mission. This parallel mission will control the CFR process, taking power from the communities and vesting it with the forest department.

Way forward:-

  • A production forestry system in place in the form of Forest Development Corporations (FDC), is needed
    • With close to 1.3 million ha of forestland under their control, FDCs need technical and financial support to improve the productivity of their plantations. The private sector can partner with FDCs and increase the productivity of this land.
  • Agroforestry can be further scaled up by removing restrictive regulations and providing incentives and operational support systems. FDCs and agroforestry can meet India’s wood demands.
  • International experiences :-
    • In Brazil and Colombia the deforestation rate has been reported to be two times lower in community controlled forestsas compared to those not under community management.
    • The forest departments in these countries have reversed their roles from being owners and regulators of forests to becoming facilitators in community-managed forests. This is the paradigm shift required in India’s forest administration.

Topic – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

7)Agriculture is being severely impacted by climate change and extreme weather events. Discuss ways of mitigating this challenge.(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

Agriculture is critical for the economy and food security but is coming under immense pressure on account of climate change. Understanding the pressure and suggesting adaptation and mitigation steps is important from mains perspective.

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to highlight the ways in which climate change impacts agriculture and what steps in terms of policy, scheme etc can be taken to mitigate the negative impacts.

Directive word

Discuss – Here the main impact of climate change on agriculture is to be brought out along with steps for addressing the situation.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – highlight the numerous instances of extreme weather events which have led to crop losses etc and how the frequency and severity of such events are increasing.

Body

  • Explain that climate change indeed impacts agriculture – highlight the view of experts and IPCC
  • Highlight the ways in which climate change is impacting agriculture
  • Discuss the various adaptation and mitigation steps we can take to ensure that the negative impacts can be allayed and we are better prepared of handling the adverse impacts

Conclusion – Mention the criticality of the issue and conclude with a way forward.

Background:-

  • Climate change, which for India is predicted to result in higher and more erratic precipitations, will have negative impacts on the productivity of important crops such as rice and wheat. Beyond general climate change trends, what is more critical is the need to address the impact of climate variability and extreme weather events.
  • The Economic Survey for 2017-18 stressed upon the adverse impact of climate change (or global warming) on agricultural production in India. It has brought greater urgency to tackle this issue, which has driven nearly 3 lakh poor farmers to commit suicide in many states of our country.

Climate change and extreme weather events impact on agriculture:-

  • Crops:-
    • The production of major crops (rice and wheat) could reduce by 7% and 10%, respectively, by 2030, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report of 2014.
    • Crops like rice, wheat, maize and sorghum are the worst hit by extreme weather events
    • Crops like soybean and gram are likely to benefit from higher level of CO2 in atmosphere, which helps in CO2 fertilisation
    • India is inching closer to become a water-stressed region as it is already surviving with around 1700-1800 cubic metres of water per capita per year
  • Economic losses:-
    • Further, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture has asserted that losses due to climate change account for overall GDP loss of 1.5% of agricultural economy.
    • Immediate impact on supply, causing price shocks and volatility that spread across sectors and borders.
  • Groundwater:-
    • Climate change is also affecting groundwater in India and contributing to its depletion. A study by the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, shows that variable monsoon precipitation, linked to climate change, is likely to be the key reason for declining groundwater levels.

Ways government is trying:-

  • Important policy measures such as the minimum support price (MSP) and the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) are suffering from tardy implementation and face numerous challenges
  • National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA),  covers 151 villages in different regions of the country that are vulnerable to climate change. NICRA has also been projected as an integral part of India’s INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) under the Paris climate agreement (2015), and to fulfil its obligations under the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the agricultural sector.
    • Paucity of funds allocated, as a paltry sum of Rs 900-1,000 crore has been sanctioned under the scheme during the last seven years of its operation Further, of this, only about Rs 500 crore has been spent so far.
    • There are not enough strong institutions to increase the availability of inputs such as seeds, fodder, farm machinery and tools, and access to market for ease of transactions
    • Kisan Vigyan Kendras do not have suitable and sufficient trained staff to teach farmers about various innovative interventions and give demonstrations to them
    • There is no linkage of NICRA with several agricultural and rural programmes of the government and which are meant to provide additional sources of income to farmers and also to increase agricultural production.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is another well-known programme, among others, to boost rural incomes in which asset creation is one of the main thrust areas.
  • One such programme is the government’s flagship scheme, the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), which is to cover 1 crore households across states.
  • There are many things farmers can do themselves to cope with climate change:-
  • Practices can range from shifting planting dates in response to changing monsoon onset dates, choosing varieties with different growth duration and adopting zero tillage to cope with climate shocks (Haryana).
  • One critical responsibility for the Indian government to help farmers deal with current climatic risks is to strengthen weather services. A market-based instrument that proved attractive to many farmers in India is the weather index insurance.
    • However, weather insurance is not a panacea for all problems faced by farmers and its effect can be limited in the absence of reliable local information to support insurance decisions.

What more is needed:-

  • Technology:-
    • Government should increase the yield per hectare by using science and technology
    • Integrated farming has immense potential to make farmers climate smart through the cultivation of different crops on the same land and using farm resources sustainably:
    • Climate smart agriculture involves integrated resource management for maximum productivity
    • Identifying cost-effective methane emission reduction practices in ruminants and in rice paddy
  • Need to supplement farmers income by other means so that he doesn’t depend only upon farm income.
  • Merging schemes:-
    • Some coordination among all these programmes so that they can be implemented in the most beneficial manner for the poor farmer.
    • The policy-makers should also examine whether the number of such programmes can be reduced for better monitoring.
    • In addition, it is suggested that NICRA and NRLM may be merged as the main focus in both the schemes is to ensure better income to the farmer by adopting similar innovations..
  • Drought monitoring and management, especially critical for areas under water scarcity.
  • Crop diversification is one of the central pillars of climate resilience that enables smoothing out climate impacts on food production and income. 
  • Collect data and predict:-
    • To facilitate decision-making by user communities, predictability and prediction studies of extreme weather events at lead times from one day to two weeks and extreme climate events from one season to one decade should be carried out.
    • To meet stakeholder needs, developing countries need improved data from better observation networks (more stations, denser networks, complete data, near-real time data), and coordinated action across regions and continents. 
    • Standardised criteria and methodologies for defining weather and climate extremes, and more consistent reference periods are urgently needed by both research and applications communities
    • Ocean and satellite data of consistent quality should be operationalized and maintained. Systematic efforts should be made to collect soil moisture and groundwater data worldwide.
  • Priority should be given to systematic monitoring of the impacts of weather and climate extremes
  • Efficient water and nutrient management options to enhance use efficiency
  • Evaluation of carbon sequestration potential of different land use systems
  • Understanding opportunities offered by conservation agriculture and agro-forestry
  • Better land management practice is one of the ways to fight climate change and increase resilience of farming systems in the continent.
  • Reusing of agricultural wastes rather than incineration also reduces greenhouse gases. 
  • Every climate-smart farmer would incorporate practices like farm ponds, bundings, trenching, mulching and other practices for conservation of soil moisture, use appropriate seeds and on-farm inputs (to avoid debt situations) and to have better access and control over required water resources