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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 JULY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 JULY 2019


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.


Topic: population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues.

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

1) India’s megacities have continued to remain engines of growth; however, a faster pace of spatial development is the need of the hour to enable the country to take full advantage of its demographic dividend afforded by its young population. Discuss. (250 words)

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Why this question: 

The question is to analyse the urging need for spatial development to ensure faster growth and development of the country.

Demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the effect of spatial development on various aspects of growth – ranging from job opportunities, employment, access to physical infrastructure etc. and how it in turn will lead to overall growth and realization of demographic dividend of the country.

Directive word: 

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Start with brief on the context of the question, explain what you understand by spatial development.

Body

First explain how and why India’s growth has remained concentrated in megacities of the country, then analyse why there has been no shift of it to secondary cities and small towns. Then explain why and how for India, a faster pace of spatial development is vital to enable the country to take full advantage of its demographic dividend afforded by its young population. Take hints from the answer and discuss all the aspects with suitable justifications.

Conclusion 

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Uneven spatial development refers to the concentration of industries and services in high density economically developed areas. In other words, the clusters of economic activity are concentrated in a few highly dense megacities and engines of growth have failed to spread to less dense secondary cities.

                India’s unprecedented economic growth during the last two decades has been spearheaded by lopsided spatial development.

Body:

Trends of Uneven Spatial Development in India:

  • Uneven spatial development is common in many countries, but it is much more pronounced in India.
  • A majority of the population in India still lives outside megacities, this has created huge spatial disparities.
  • Unlike in China, Europe and the US, where the engines of growth and job creation have spread to the secondary cities, in India medium-sized cities remain mired in joblessness and poverty.
  • India’s manufacturing sector is spatially spreading at a much faster pace than the services sector.
  • The low-density manufacturing districts are growing at a much faster pace than high-density districts in India.
  • High-density service clusters (Example: Bangalore, Mumbai) have continued to grow at a much faster pace than less dense areas (Example: Pune, Chandigarh) and more dense locations have become more concentrated over time.

The reasons for such uneven spatial development are

  • Infrastructure:
    • The manufacturing sector has not spread to all districts. Only those districts that have improved their physical and human infrastructure have attracted manufacturing enterprises.
  • Employment Density prioritised:
    • Spatial development in any location is determined by the trade-offs between the forces of agglomeration economies and congestion costs.
    • Usually, Agglomeration economies are concentrated in locations with employment density below 150 employees per sq. km. Example: USA
    • In India, the concentration is in regions having density around 1000 employees per sq. km, giving higher priority to availability of labour.
  • Knowledge Spillover Benefits:
    • India’s megacities suffer from severe congestion costs, they also benefit from huge agglomeration economies and knowledge spillovers.
    • This leads to growth of many ancillary industries, start-ups especially in the services industry. With the IR4.0 on the rise, the congestion costs are overlooked for knowledge spillovers.

 

  • Spatial development policies and frictions:
    • Poor developmental policies in secondary cities.
    • Poor access to telecommunication and post-secondary education in secondary cities.
    • Some states offer Tax-Holidays for companies which attract them over others.
    • Failure of models like SEZ in India vis-à-vis China.
  • Economic Opportunities:
    • Push and Pull Migration factors are still largely at play.
    • This leads to migration of a lot of people to Megacities, in search of job opportunities.

The impacts of uneven spatial development are

  • Congestion Costs:
    • Locations with employment density above 150 employees per sq. km have experienced reduced employment growth, indicating important congestion costs.
    • UN Population Fund predicts that by Urbanization in India will rise to 40% by 2030.
  • Environmental Costs:
    • Unsustainable development of cities has huge ramifications on the environment.
    • Example: India already hosts 14 out of 15 most polluted cities in the world.
    • Other impacts like depletion of groundwater, reduced green lung spaces.
  • Economic Costs:
    • Concentration of high demand in few megacities leads to high cost of rents and in turn high cost of living.
    • Real Estate Bubble leading to increased Black Money circulation.
  • Social Costs:
    • Lack of economic activity in smaller cities leads to inequality, poverty and conflicts.
    • The poor socio-economic development can lead to extremism, secessionism and other dangerous trends.

Way Forward:

  • Quick need to increase connectivity and Infrastructure of the secondary cities. Initiatives like AMRUT, Smart cities, Digital India, BharatMala, PMGSY etc. can play a big role in spreading the manufacturing sector evenly.
  • Proper planning of peri-urban areas, increased connectivity to spread out the population evenly. Example: RURBAN scheme
  • Policymakers should improve access to telecommunication and post-secondary education in secondary cities. This will help in the spread of service sector to these cities.
  • Incentivization for setting up manufacturing industries in underdeveloped areas. Example: National Industrial Manufacturing Zones can be set up.
  • Strengthening the allied activities like Food Processing through Food Parks. This will reduce the Push and Pull migration.
  • MSME’s are responsible for more than 14 crore jobs in India. Their growth must be boosted in smaller cities.

Conclusion:

                The flawed perception of Engines of Growth are tied to big cities must be shed. Secondary cities and the rural areas should be developed to reduce the lopsided spatial development currently happening in India.


Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

2) Do you think the recent G20 summits have turned into talking shops rather than getting down to brass tacks? Critically analyse.(250 words)

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Why this question:

World leaders from 19 countries and the European Union met recently in Osaka, Japan for latest edition of G20 summit. 

Key demand of the question:

The answer requires one to analyse the possible inconclusiveness of the G20 summits off late and evaluation of the causes behind it. One should also suggest as to what needs to be done.

Directive:

Critically analyzeWhen 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 ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining what is G20, quote some facts like – annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies. Its members account for 85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population.

Body:

Discussion should include the following: 

  • Discuss the key features of G20, its establishment.
  • Role played by it in ensuring world economy on right track.
  • What have been the issues facing it off late?
  • What needs to be done to resolve the current concerns/issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting its significance and need for a revamp in its functioning to ensure crisis free world economy. 

Introduction:

The G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies. Its members account for 85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population. The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”. Recently the 11th G20 Summit was held in Osaka, Japan on 28th-29th June, 2019.

Body:

After the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, it was acknowledged that the participation of major emerging market countries is needed on discussions on the international financial system, and G7 finance ministers agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in 1999.

Its relevance in changing times:

  • As globalization progresses and various issues become more intricately intertwined, the recent G20 summits have focused not only on macro-economy and trade, but also on a wide range of global issues which have an immense impact on the global economy, such as development, climate change and energy, health, counter-terrorism, as well as migration and refugees.
  • The G20 has sought to realize an inclusive and sustainable world through its contributions towards resolving these global issues.
  • The increased participation of emerging countries in global issues,
  • the reform of international financial institutions,
  • the monitoring of national financial institutions,
  • The improvement in the regulations of the economies whose problems led to the crisis and the creation of safety nets to prevent problems in the future.
  • The G20 also specifically helped to provide emergency funds during the 2008 crisis and plays an important role in financing for development.

The relevance of the G20 has been questioned for some time now. The reasons for the same are:

  • The G20 has merely meandered around important challenges to the world economy, doing precious little about it. Consequently, in the past few years, there has been persistent criticism of the G20. Many regard it as one more place to talk shop and photo-op.
  • The G20 summit faces the risk of being reduced to a G2 event. Bilateral meetings are more prominent.
  • The international media, at any rate, seems to have very little interest in the summit’s official agenda – future of work, infrastructure for development and sustainable food future – and remain focused largely on the bilateral talks like USA-China in the garb of trade wars.
  • The irony is that the single most important challenge to global economic stability today is being posed in an area that the G20 refused to include in its initial agenda at the time of its formation in 2008-09, namely, international trade.
  • While the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is an invitee to the G20, multilateral trade was consciously kept outside the G20’s ambit so that the G7 could continue to manipulate the WTO agenda.
  • Yet, when faced with the current challenge to global growth from the unilateral trade policy actions of the US, the G20 will together talk only about long-term issues like the future of work, infrastructure and food, while immediate trade-related issues arising from US unilateralism will only be discussed in bilateral on the sidelines.

Conclusion:

The G20 is small enough to allow concrete face-to-face discussions that adapt to the new challenges of the international agenda and is large enough to represent the vast majority of world economic production. In the medium term, there has to be a revival of multilateralism in trade and the G20 must be the forum that ensures this. Trade must get on to the G20 agenda. Above all, the G20 must focus on building a roadmap for mutual understanding that promotes development and cooperation among all the members.


Topic Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

3) Agriculture is possibly the most environmentally destructive human activity, high yields coupled with lower greenhouse gas emissions, which GM crops have been proven to provide, are absolutely essential for a sustainable future. Critically analyse. (250 words)

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Why this question:

The article argues for the benefits that GM crops have for India.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must weigh the pros and cons of GM crops and use of such technology in doubling farmer’s income. One must justify in what way using GM crops is more of a boon than bane.

Directive:

Critically analyzeWhen 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 ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Describe first the context of question. 

Body:

The answer discussion should have the following aspects discussed in detail:

How do GM crops increase yield?

How do GMOs benefit farmers?

Can GMOs improve food security?

What are the roles of GMO in agricultural industry?

Explain if GM Crops Increase Farmer Profits and Environmental Sustainability?

Quote facts and figures from various reports and form a balanced and fair opinion.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a positive note.

Introduction:

Agrarian distress in India is at its peak with very poor remuneration to farmers leading to increasing farmer suicides, protests and loan waivers. Farmers are now trying to find alternative solutions to their problems including the consideration of debated GM crops. Recently, in Maharashtra, the farmers’ organisation Shetkari Sanghatana (SS) announced that its members would be planting genetically modified (GM) herbicide-tolerant (HT) Bt cotton. HT Bt cotton is not allowed in India, and growing any GM crop illegally attracts five-year imprisonment and a ₹1 lakh fine.

Body:

Advantages of GM Crops other than pest resistance:

  • Food Security: Given the increased growth of global population and increased urbanisation, GM crops offer one of the promising solutions to meet the world’s food security needs. DMH-11’s yield is 25% higher than the best non-GM seeds available in India. However, activists went ballistic and the government has backed off.
  • Improved Stress Tolerance: Genes that give greater tolerance of stress, such as drought, low temperatures or salt in the soil, can also be inserted into crops. This can extend their range and open up new areas for food production.
  • Faster Growth: Crops can be altered to make them grow faster, so that they can be cultivated and harvested in areas with shorter growing seasons. This again can extend the range of a food crop into new areas or perhaps allow two harvests in areas where only one is currently practical.
  • More Nutritious Crops: Plants and animals can be engineered to produce larger amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, helping to solve nutrition problems in some parts of the world. They can also be altered to change the amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and saturated and unsaturated fats that they contain. This could lead to the production of foods designed specifically for a healthy diet for all consumers.
  • Resistance to Herbicides: Crops can be modified to be resistant to specific herbicides, making it much easier to control troublesome weeds. Farmers can simply apply the weed killer to a crop field, killing the unwanted plants and leaving the food crop unaffected. For example, GM oilseed rapeseed – the source of canola oil – is resistant to one chemical that’s widely used to control weeds.
  • Economic benefits: GM crops can increase yield and thus income. Genetically modified foods have a longer shelf life. This improves how long they last and stay fresh during transportation and storage. India imported about ₹80,000 crore worth of edible oils last year, and the bill keeps growing.
  • Case study: Bt Brinjal: Bt brinjal was approved by the GEAC in 2009 but, under pressure from activists, the government disallowed its planting. Bangladesh, using the same GEAC report, went ahead. Today, about 17% of the country’s brinjal farmers grow Bt brinjal, which has reduced pesticide costs for GM crop farmers by 61%. The Bangladeshi Bt brinjal farmer’s net returns per hectare are six times his non-Bt counterpart’s per year.
  • Environmental Benefits:
    • In 2017, 189.8 million hectares of biotech crops were planted in 24 countries (and consumed in 67).
    • To achieve the same yield standards, more than 300 million acres of conventional crops would have been needed.
    • According to UK consultancy firm PG Economics, the first 20 years of biotech crops (1996-2016) have seen a reduction of pesticide spraying by 671.2 million kg and the environmental footprint associated with pesticide use by 18.4%.
    • The figures for 2016: The drop in release of greenhouse gas emissions was equivalent to removing 16.75 million cars from the roads; the direct global farm income benefit from GM crops was $18.2 billion, equal to an average increase in income of $102 per hectare.
    • And in these 23 years of GM agriculture, there has not been a single authenticated health hazard case specific to it.

Concerns/Challenges associated with GM Crops:

  • Human Health Risks:
    • Potential impact on human health including allergens and transfer of antibiotic resistance markers.
    • The impact of growing GM crops poses risks to human health as their resistance to antibiotics can turn medicines ineffective and may result in the formation of new toxins and allergens.
    • Toxins produced by GM crops can not only affect non target organisms but also pose the danger of unintentionally introducing allergens and other anti-nutrition factors in foods.
  • Bio safety concerns:
    • They can reduce species diversity.
    • For example, Insect-resistant plants might harm insects that are not their intended target and thus result in destruction of that particular species.
    • Cross-pollination in GM crops paves the way for herbicide-resistant super weeds that can further threaten the sustenance of other crops and pests because of its uncontrolled growth
    • GM technology could also allow the transfer of genes from one crop to another, creating “super weeds”, which will be immune to common control methods.
    • Viral genes added to crops to confer resistance might be transferred to other viral pathogens, which can lead to new and more virulent virus strains.
  • Implications on Farmers and Consumers:
    • Critics claim that patent laws give developers of the GM crops a dangerous degree of control over the food supply. The concern is over domination of world food production by a few companies
    • National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research’s anticipation that Bt brinjal’s high yield and increased shelf life will benefit consumers and farmers owing to cut in retail price of brinjals ignores the scenario that companies might charge premium prices for Bt brinjal seeds, in which case farmers may not benefit at all.
  • Economic Concerns:
    • Introduction of a GM crop to market is a lengthy and costly process. It has not resulted in high yields as promised.
    • For instance, the highest yields in mustard are from the five countries which do not grow GM mustard — U.K., France, Poland, Germany and Czech Republic — and not from the GM-growing U.S. or Canada.
  • Inefficient Regulatory system:
    • Seeing the lapses in the regulatory system and irregularities in the assessment of Bt brinjal (in terms of labelling and unapproved and illegal sowing of GM crops) Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Science & Technology, Environment and Forests recommended:
    • A thorough probe by a team of eminent independent scientists and environmentalists for commercialization of GM crops.
    • Endorsed labelling GM foods to protect a consumer’s right to know.
  • Ethical Concerns:
    • Violation of natural organisms’ intrinsic values by mixing among species.
    • There have also been objections to consuming animal genes in plants

Way Forward:

  • The government must take decisions on GM technologies on the basis of scientific evidence.
  • Need to start cultivating an environment of openness and transparency to allay genuine fears
  • The government should adopt a participatory approach to bring together all stakeholders to develop regulatory protocols that restore trust in the process.
  • There is a significant uncertainty over their safety, so precautionary principle is that country shall wait till a broader scientific consensus is achieved.
  • Need for better policy, pricing and to rationalize the input costs
  • GEAC needs to be a transparent body. it should put it in the public domain that on what grounds it has approved GM mustard
  • There has to be strong liability laws if there are any environmental hazards or if something goes wrong in future
  • Agriculture is a state subject therefore, it is important for the Centre to take into consideration the views of State Governments as well.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has rightly pointed out in 2004, “Science cannot declare any technology completely risk free. Genetically engineered crops can reduce some environmental risks associated with conventional agriculture, but will also introduce new challenges that must be addressed”.

Topic:  Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

4) The progress in livestock sector of the country is directly related to a more balanced development of rural economy and upliftment of poorer sections of the society. comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is about analysing the role of livestock sector on the rural economy.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must relate the growth of livestock sector and the impact it has on rural economy and life.

Directive:

Commenthere we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin with brief introduction on current status of livestock sector in India.

Body:

Explain that Animal Husbandry Sector plays a vital role in providing household nutritional security, increased income, and employment especially of women and in rural transformation. Animals provide a diverse range of output for cultivation, irrigation, transport; fibre and leather goods, manure for fertilizer and fuel besides direct production of milk, meat and eggs for human

consumption. Livestock provide economic security and social status to the family. Thus, progress in livestock sector is directly related to a more balanced development of rural economy and upliftment of poorer sections of the society. 

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of livestock, its significant contribution to the agricultural GDP.

Introduction:

India’s livestock sector is one of the largest in the world. About 20.5 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood. Livestock contributed 16% to the income of small farm households as against an average of 14% for all rural households. Livestock provides livelihood to two-third of rural community. It also provides employment to about 8.8 % of the population in India. India has vast livestock resources. Livestock sector contributes 4.11% GDP and 25.6% of total Agriculture GDP.

Body:

Livestock resources in India: (Source: 19th Livestock Census)

  • World’s highest livestock owner at about 512.05 million
  • First in the total buffalo population in the world – 105.3 million buffaloes
  • Second in the population of cattle and goats – 140.5 million goats
  • Second largest poultry market in the world – production of 63 billion eggs and 649 million poultry meat.
  • Third in the population of sheep (72 millions)
  • Fifth in the population of ducks and chicken
  • Tenth in camel population in the world.

Role of livestock in farmers’ economy

The livestock plays an important role in the economy of farmers. The farmers in India maintain mixed farming system i.e. a combination of crop and livestock where the output of one enterprise becomes the input of another enterprise thereby realize the resource efficiency. The livestock serve the farmers in different ways.

  • Income: Livestock is a source of subsidiary income for many families in India especially the resource poor who maintain few heads of animals. Cows and buffaloes if in milk will provide regular income to the livestock farmers through sale of milk. Animals like sheep and goat serve as sources of income during emergencies to meet exigencies like marriages, treatment of sick persons, children education, repair of houses etc. The animals also serve as moving banks and assets which provide economic security to the owners.
  • Employment: A large number of people in India being less literate and unskilled depend upon agriculture for their livelihoods. But agriculture being seasonal in nature could provide employment for a maximum of 180 days in a year. The land less and less land people depend upon livestock for utilizing their labour during lean agricultural season.
  • Food: The livestock products such as milk, meat and eggs are an important source of animal protein to the members of the livestock owners. The per capita availability of milk is around 355 g / day; eggs is 69 / annum;
  • Social security: The animals offer social security to the owners in terms of their status in the society. The families especially the landless which own animals are better placed than those who do not. Gifting of animals during marriages is a very common phenomenon in different parts of the country. Rearing of animals is a part of the Indian culture. Animals are used for various socio religious functions. Cows for house warming ceremonies; rams, bucks and chicken for sacrifice during festive seasons; Bulls and Cows are worshipped during various religious functions. Many owners develop attachment to their animals.
  • Gender equity: Animal husbandry promotes gender equity. More than three-fourth of the labour demand in livestock production is met by women. The share of women employment in livestock sector is around 90% in Punjab and Haryana where dairying is a prominent activity and animals are stall-fed.
  • Draft: The bullocks are the back bone of Indian agriculture. The farmers especially the marginal and small depend upon bullocks for ploughing, carting and transport of both inputs and outputs.
  • Dung: In rural areas dung is used for several purposes which include fuel (dung cakes), fertilizer (farm yard manure), and plastering material (poor man’s cement).

Challenges faced by Livestock sector in India:

  • Productivity:
    • Improving productivity of farm animals is one of the major challenges. The average annual milk yield of Indian cattle is 1172 kg which is only about 50% of the global average.
  • Diseases:
    • The Frequent outbreaks of diseases like Food and Mouth Diseases, Black Quarter infection, Influenza etc. continue to affect Livestock health and lower the productivity.
  • Environment:
    • India’s huge population of ruminants contributes to greenhouse gases emission adding to global warming. Reducing greenhouse gases through mitigation and adaptation strategies will be a major challenge.
  • Crossbreeding of indigenous species with exotic stocks to enhance genetic potential of different species has been successful only to a limited extent.
  • Limited Artificial Insemination services owing to a deficiency in quality germplasm, infrastructure and technical manpower coupled with poor conception rate following artificial insemination have been the major impediments.
  • Livestock sector did not receive the policy and financial attention it deserved. The sector received only about 12% of the total public expenditure on agriculture and allied sectors, which is disproportionately lesser than its contribution to agricultural GDP.
  • The sector has been neglected by the financial institutions.
    • The share of livestock in the total agricultural credit has hardly ever exceeded 4% in the total (short-term, medium-term and long-term). The institutional mechanisms to protect animals against risk are not strong enough.
  • Insurance:
    • Currently, only 6% of the animal heads (excluding poultry) are provided insurance cover. Livestock extension has remained grossly neglected in the past.
    • Only about 5% of the farm households in India access information on livestock technology. These indicate an apathetic outreach of the financial and information delivery systems.
  • Livestock derives a major part of their energy requirement from agricultural by-products and residues. Hardly 5% of the cropped area is utilized to grow fodder. India is deficit in dry fodder by 11%, green fodder by 35% and concentrates feed by 28%. The common grazing lands too have been deteriorating quantitatively and qualitatively.
  • Lack of access to markets may act as a disincentive to farmers to adopt improved technologies and quality inputs.
  • Except for poultry products and to some extent for milk, markets for livestock and livestock products are underdeveloped, irregular, uncertain and lack transparency. Further, these are often dominated by informal market intermediaries who exploit the producers.
  • Likewise, slaughtering facilities are too inadequate. About half of the total meat production comes from un-registered, make-shift slaughterhouses. Marketing and transaction costs of livestock products are high taking 15-20% of the sale price.

Way forward

  • A national breeding policy is needed to upgrade the best performing indigenous breeds.
  • Buffalo breeding ought to be given more attention, while poultry breeding should be focused on conservation.
  • State governments should be encouraged to participate in national breeding policy implementation. Geographical information system-based analysis must be utilised to map production systems.
  • Animal health care should become a priority, with greater investment in preventive health care.
  • Private investment must also be encouraged. The government needs to create better incentive structures for investment in livestock.
  • State governments should sponsor research and assessment of the market, along with highlighting investment potential.

Conclusion:

With increasing population, persistent rise in food inflation, unfortunate rise in farmer’s suicide and majority of the Indian population having agriculture as the primary occupation, the practice of animal husbandry is no more a choice, but a need in contemporary scenario. Its successful, sustainable and skilful implementation will go a long way in ameliorating the socio-economic condition of lower strata of our society.  Linking the animal husbandry with food processing industry, agriculture, researches & patents has all the possible potential to make India a nutritional power house of the world. Animal husbandry is the imperative hope, definite desire and urgent panacea for India as well as the world.


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

5) “Assertion of environmental citizenship by the people of India is the need of the hour”. Analyse the statement with suitable examples.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the Hindu Vedic principle of Rta dharma – Sanskrit for “truth” or “order”. It highlights the religious thoughts of other indigenous communities in India and provides guidelines to counter the irresponsible decisions made in the name of development by governments and private stakeholders benefiting from environmental clearances.

Key demand of the question:

One has to analyse in depth the need of some kind of environmental citizenship by the people to conserve and save our environment for longer and sustainable future.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen 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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin with importance of environmental citizenship – what is it and why is it necessary.

Body:

Explain the following aspects in the answer:

Explain why assertion of environmental citizenship by the people of India is the need of the hour?

What are the means and ways people can assert their environmental citizenship? – here one can quote example, as suggested in the article one can talk about the religious beliefs of various communities, tribal communities etc.

Discuss how role of citizens is as important as role played by government, other organizations and NGOs etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Environmental Citizenship is an idea that each of us is an integral part of a larger ecosystem and that our future depends on each one of us embracing the challenge and acting responsibly and positively toward our environment. It’s about making changes in our daily lives to be environmental citizens all day, every day. Religious notions of indigenous communities in India provide an understanding of the natural order, and resources to resist its degradation.

Body:

Need for environmental citizenship to be practiced:

  • Cutting of trees, escalating construction without consideration to secure water catchment areas or aquifers.
  • The approaching national water emergency is not because of lack of rains or water bodies, but mismanagement of resources on the ground.
  • The disturbance in water, earth, vegetation, river and mountain ecology system has threatened all manner of life.
  • Increasing number of irresponsible decisions made in the name of development by governments and private stakeholders benefiting from environmental clearances.
  • The traditional wisdom in the semantics of development is marginalised — building roads, setting up industries, creating infrastructure spell short-term gains for the few and apocalypse for humanity as a whole.
  • Social groups, traditionally, create livelihoods by harnessing available natural resources. Not factoring cultural wisdom to conserve natural environment impacts geographies and, in turn, reconfigures cultural responses.

Methods of practicing Environmental Citizenship:

  • A Green Lifestyle:
    • Different parts of our website show how important it is to adopt a lifestyle that helps the environment.
    • Another way that you can engage in good environmental citizenship is to keep waste down to a minimum in your home.
    • The key to this is to reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • Culture as a tool:
    • The Hindu concept of Rta dharma, explained by Kapila Vatsyayan in her essay ‘Ecology and Indian Myth’, states that the moral duty of communities is through karma towards sustaining and maintaining Rta (cosmic natural order).
    • The same thought is reiterated in the Guru Granth Sahib: The book enunciates a concern for the environment as an integrated approach to life and nature by stating that air, water, earth, and life — all originated from the True Lord who resides in each one of us and requires protection.
    • Islamic scholar Sigrid Nökel offers similar ideas through terms such as fitra creation as natural order; tawhid — that all things in the world are related to one another and are, as aspects of God, valuable and worthy of preservation; and, that khilafa refers to the role of mankind as the trustee of creation.
  • Participate in Environmental Decision Making:
    • One good way of exercising environmental citizenship is to get involved in the environmental decision making process.
    • The community ownership expressed in the protests in Chhattisgarh requires duplication in many more areas.
    • To protect their forests and sacred hills, the indigenous forest communities organised protests initiated by the Sanyukt Jansangraha Samiti against the mining of Deposit 13 of the Bailadila iron ore mine in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district
  • Hold Businesses to Account:
    • Industries and businesses have a tremendous impact on the environment. Help them to act responsibly as you make your consumer choices on goods or services.
    • The uprising a few years ago of the Dongria Kondhs of Odisha who eventually won a David-and-Goliath battle against mining giant Vedanta Resources.
  • Access to Environmental Information:
    • It will be difficult to participate in environmental decision making, without having adequate access to environmental information.
    • Environmental information includes, information held by public bodies on air, water, soil, land, plants and animals, energy, noise, identity of polluters from the pollution registers, waste and emissions.
    • Using the RTI act, Forest Rights Act to protect the rights of the Scheduled tribes and Forest dwellers.
  • Access to Justice in Environmental Matters:
    • It involves the right of all to access legal help and to get adequate judicial redress on environmental issues.
    • The cost of taking a case to court has been identified as a major barrier to access to environmental justice.

Conclusion:

A systematic citizens’ network of environment panchayats to promote environmental sustainability is required. What is needed is the will to support, and to ensure, environmental protection for and by the people of India.


Topic: Citizen’s charter

6) What do you understand by Citizen’s Charter? Discuss in detail its importance and objectives, Also discuss the problems faced in its implementation.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the topic of citizen’s charter and its importance. One has to as well discuss the issues/concerns faced in its implementation.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail what you understand by citizen’s charter, its key objectives and challenges in its implementation.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Define what is a citizen’s charter.

Body:

Explain what is a citizen’s charter, its evolution and basic features.

Discuss in depth the principles of service delivery and its significance through CC.

Explain what are the possible shortcomings of CC in India in its implementation and how can it be overcome?

Suggest what reforms can be made to make Citizen’s charter more effective?

Conclusion:

Conclude that Citizens’ Charter cannot be an end in itself, it is rather a means to an end – a tool to ensure that the citizen is always at the heart of any service delivery mechanism. 

Introduction:

A Citizens’ Charter represents the commitment of the Organisation towards standard, quality and time frame of service delivery, grievance redress mechanism, transparency and accountability. The concept of Citizens Charter enshrines the trust between the service provider and its users.

                Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in Government of India (DARPG) initiated the task of coordinating, formulating and operationalising Citizen’s Charters.

Body:

The basic objective of the Citizens Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.

Importance of Citizen’s charter in the Governance of developing nation like India:

  • To make administration accountable and citizen friendly.
  • To ensure transparency.
  • To take measures to improve customer service.
  • To adopt a stakeholder approach.
  • To save time of both Administration and the citizen

Problems faced in implementation of Citizen’s charter:

  • One size fits all: Tendency to have a uniform CC for all offices under the parent organization. CC have still not been adopted by all Ministries/Departments. This overlooks local issues.
  • Silo operations: Devoid of participative mechanisms in a majority of cases, not formulated through a consultative process with cutting edge staff who will finally implement it.
  • Non-Dynamic: Charters are rarely updated making it a one-time exercise, frozen in time.
  • Poor design and content: lack of meaningful and succinct CC, absence of critical information that end-users need to hold agencies accountable.
  • Lack of public awareness: only a small percentage of end-users are aware of the commitments made in the CC since effective efforts of communicating and educating the public about the standards of delivery promise have not been undertaken.
  • Stakeholders not consulted: End-users, Civil society organizations and NGOs are not consulted when CCs are drafted. Since a CC’s primary purpose is to make public service delivery more citizen-centric, consultation with stakeholders is a must.
  • Measurable standards of delivery are rarely defined: making it difficult to assess whether the desired level of service has been achieved or not.
  • Poor adherence: Little interest shown by the organizations in adhering to their CC. since there is no citizen friendly mechanism to compensate the citizen if the organization defaults.

Way forward:

  • Wide consultation process: CC be formulated after extensive consultations within the organization followed by a meaningful dialogue with civil society.
  • Participatory process: Include Civil Society in the process: to assist in improvement in the contents of the Charter, its adherence as well as educating the citizens about the importance of this vital mechanism.
  • Firm commitments to be made: CC must be precise and make firm commitments of service delivery standards to the citizens/consumers in quantifiable terms wherever possible.
  • Redressal mechanism in case of default: clearly lay down the relief which the organization is bound to provide if it has defaulted on the promised standards of delivery.
  • One size does not fit all: formulation of CC should be a decentralized activity with the head office providing only broad guidelines.
  • Periodic updation of CC: preferably through an external agency.
  • Fix responsibility: Hold officers accountable for results: fix specific responsibility in cases where there is a default in adhering to the CC.

Conclusion:

Citizen’s Charter is playing a prominent part in ensuring “minimum govt & maximum governance”, changing the nature of charters from non-justiciable to justiciable & adopting penalty measures that will make it more efficient & citizen friendly.