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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 6 January 2020


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

1. Discuss in detail the contributions of Savitribai Phule on women’s education  and establishing equality in India.(250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

The article captures Savitribai Phule’s impact on women’s education in India

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the contributions of Savitribai Phule to Indian education system and upliftment of women in the society.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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 by highlighting Who was Savitribai Phule? Importance of her work.

Body:

Savitribai was a pioneer who is remembered for advocating big changes in caste-based Indian society too. Born on January 3, 1831 in Naigaon Maharashtra, Savitribai played an important role in improving women’s rights in India during British rule. She worked for the upliftment of women in terms of education.

Discuss key aspects of her work.

Explain why she was claimed to be a crusader of gender justice.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting her contributions in the greater development of the society.

Introduction:

Savitribai Phule, the social reformer who is considered to be one of India’s first modern feminists, was born on January 3, 1831. Among her accomplishments, she is especially remembered for being India’s first female teacher who worked for the upliftment of women and untouchables in the field of education and literacy.

Body:

Contributions to women’s education:

  • In the 19th century, public education was limited and there were only a few missionary schools which were “open to all”.
  • During this time, Jyotiba, at the age of 21, and Savitri, 17, opened a school for women in 1848. It was the country’s first school for women started by Indians.
  • She also took teacher’s training course at an institute run by an American missionary in Ahmednagar and in Pune’s Normal School.
  • She then started teaching girls in Pune’s Maharwada.
  • By the end of 1851, the Phules were running three schools in Pune with around 150 girl students.
  • In the 1850s, the Phules initiated two educational trusts viz. the Native Female School, Pune and The Society for Promoting the Education of Mahars, Mangs and etc., which came to have many schools under them.
  • She published Kavya Phule in 1854 and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar in 1892.
  • In her poem, ‘Go, Get Education’, she urged the oppressed communities to get an education and break free from the chains of oppression.

Contributions to establishing equality:

  • In 1852, Savitribai started the Mahila Seva Mandal to raise awareness about women’s rights.
  • Savitribai called for a women’s gathering where members from all castes were welcome and everybody was expected to sit on the same mattress.
  • She simultaneously campaigned against child marriage, while supporting widow remarriage.
  • In 1863, they started a home for the prevention of infanticide in their own house, for the safety of pregnant, exploited Brahman widows and to nurture their children. It was called “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha”.
  • After Jyotiba’s death in 1890, Savitribai carried forward the work of the organization Satya Shodhak Samaj and also chaired the annual session held at Saswad in 1893.
  • She initiated the first Satyashodhak marriage—a marriage without a dowry, Brahmin priests or Brahminical rituals in 1873. Her adopted son, Yashwant, too, had a Satyashodhak inter-caste marriage.

Conclusion:

Her achievements were diverse and numerous, but they had a singular effect—posing a brave and pioneering challenge to the caste system and patriarchy. In her honour, University of Pune was renamed Savitribai Phule University in 2014.

Because of the role Phule played in the field of women’s education, she is also considered to be one of the “crusaders of gender justice,” as one paper published in the International Journal of Innovative Social Science & Humanities Research has said.

 

Topic:  Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

2. Where college is the first step towards a bigger political role, Should politics be allowed in university campuses? Discuss in the context wherein campus politics are hailed to serve and uphold a tradition of dissent which is in line with protecting the rights of free speech and promoting the values of democracy. (250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

Students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Sunday late night took out a peaceful candlelight march inside the varsity premises in solidarity with students of JNU who were attacked by a mob of masked men.

Key demand of the question:

The question aims to discuss the aspects of politics in the university and seeks to answer how far it is just to allow the same.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

Discuss the incidence of violence recently witnessed in JNU campus.

Body:

Explain that politics is necessary within the campus as it gives a space to voice political opinions; at the same time explain the need to have a barricade at the quantum of politics as against the educational centre.

One can substantiate by stating that Jawaharlal Nehru University campus reaffirms the crucial contribution of the institution’s diverse and democratic base to Indian politics.

Discuss pros and cons with suitable justifications.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a diverse yet inclusive campus, gives space to radical voices not only from the organizational left movement but across the political spectrum, and finally upholds a tradition of dissent which is in line with protecting the rights of free speech and promoting the values of democracy.

Introduction:

Students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Sunday late night took out a peaceful candlelight march inside the varsity premises in solidarity with students of JNU who were attacked by a mob of masked men. The intrusion by political parties has negated the essential concept of universities as autonomous spaces, where freedom of expression, exploration of ideas and advancement of knowledge are an integral part of the learning process.

Body:

Necessity to have political activities inside universities:

  • It is a serious mistake to think of universities as campuses or classrooms that teach young people to pass examinations, and become employable, where research is subsidiary or does not matter.
  • Universities are about far more.
  • For students, there is so much learning outside the classroom that makes them good citizens of society.
  • For faculty, apart from commitment to their teaching and their research, there is a role in society as intellectuals who can provide an independent, credible, voice in evaluating governments, parliament, legislatures, or the judiciary, as guardians of society.
  • These roles are particularly important in a political democracy.

Campus politics and Right to free speech:

  • Article 19 of Indian constitution gives all Indian citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to assemble peacefully and right to form association.
  • politics is necessary within the campus as it gives students a space to voice our political opinions.
  • The lack of politics in college campuses tends to make them authoritarian and undemocratic, which is not healthy.
  • Student activism/politics has kept the spirit of questioning alive and also fights for inclusion.
  • Student politics is making campus inclusive, where students belonging to diverse backgrounds bring their unique perspectives, which give rise to original thinking.

Way forward:

  • Differences in views are natural, but these must be addressed through discussion, with open minds.
  • There must be respect, not contempt for the other.
  • Political organisations inside the universities have a right to disagree.
  • It should pose questions, engage in debate, or organize events to articulate its views, but it cannot and must not seek to silence others.
  • The best model to be followed in a university would be a board of governors, to which governments could nominate at the most one-third the total number.
  • The other members, two-thirds or more should be independent, of whom one-half should be distinguished academics while one-half should be drawn from industry, civil society or professions.
  • The chairman should be an eminent academic with administrative experience.
  • Members of the board should have a term of six years, with one-third retiring every two years.
  • The VC, to be appointed by the board with six-year tenure, would be an ex-officio member.
  • Except for nominees of governments, the board should decide on replacements for its retiring members.
  • Such institutional mechanisms are necessary but not sufficient.
  • Governments and political parties must stop playing politics in universities and stop turning them into arenas for political battles.

 

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. Do you think ‘Anti-defection law’ succeeded in meeting its intended objectives? Explain. Suggest suitable measures, if any, to be taken in this regard.(250 words)

PRS India

Why this question:

Last week the Chairman of Rajya Sabha disqualified two Members of Parliament (MPs) from the House under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (better known as the anti-defection law) for having defected from their party. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The question is aimed at a critical examination of Anti-defection law.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Give a brief introduction about the provisions of Anti defection law.

Body:

Explain about the loopholes that political parties are using for the defection of parties.

Write about the landmark cases that are related to the case and the Supreme court’s pronouncements.

Suggest suitable steps to be taken in this regard.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Defection is “desertion by one member of the party of his loyalty towards his political party” or basically it means “When an elected representative joins another party without resigning his present party for benefits”.

The Anti-Defection Law was passed in 1985 through the 52nd Amendment to the Constitution, which added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution.  The main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections” which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations.  The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies. However, there are several issues in relation to the working of this law.

Body:

Grounds for disqualification:

  • If a member of a house belonging to a political party:
    • Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party, or
    • Votes, or does not vote in the legislature, contrary to the directions of his political party.
    • However, if the member has taken prior permission, or is condoned by the party within 15 days from such voting or abstention, the member shall not be disqualified.
  • If an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
  • If a nominated member joins a party six months after he becomes a member of the legislature.

Exception:

  • Merger: A person shall not be disqualified if his original political party merges with another, and:
    • He and other members of the old political party become members of the new political party, or
    • He and other members do not accept the merger and opt to function as a separate group.
  • This exception shall operate only if not less than two-thirds of the members of party in the House have agreed to the merger.

Power to disqualify:

  • The Chairman or the Speaker of the House takes the decision to disqualify a member.
  • If a complaint is received with respect to the defection of the Chairman or Speaker, a member of the House elected by that House shall take the decision.

Advantages of anti-defection law:

  • Provides stability to the government by preventing shifts of party allegiance.
  • Ensures that candidates remain loyal to the party as well the citizens voting for him.
  • Promotes party discipline.
  • Facilitates merger of political parties without attracting the provisions of Anti-defection
  • Expected to reduce corruption at the political level.
  • More concentration on governance is possible.
  • Provides for punitive measures against a member who defects from one party to another.

Challenges posed/Shortcomings of anti-defection law:

  • The anti-defection law raises a number of questions, several of which have been addressed by the courts and the presiding officers.
  • The law impinges on the right of free speech of the legislators:
    • This issue was addressed by the five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 1992 (Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachilhu and others). The court said that “the anti-defection law seeks to recognise the practical need to place the proprieties of political and personal conduct…above certain theoretical assumptions.” It held that the law does not violate any rights or freedoms, or the basic structure of parliamentary democracy.
  • Doubts regarding “voluntarily” resigning from a party:
    • According to a Supreme Court judgment, “voluntarily giving up the membership of the party” is not synonymous with “resignation”.
    • It has interpreted that in the absence of a formal resignation by the member, the giving up of membership can be inferred by his conduct.
    • In other judgments, members who have publicly expressed opposition to their party or support for another party were deemed to have resigned
  • Regarding Whips:
    • Political parties issue a direction to MPs on how to vote on most issues, irrespective of the nature of the issue.
    • It restricts a legislator from voting in line with his conscience, judgement and interests of his electorate.
    • Such a situation impedes the oversight function of the legislature over the government, by ensuring that members vote based on the decisions taken by the party leadership, and not what their constituents would like them to vote for.
  • Challenging the decision of the presiding officer in the courts:
    • The law states that the decision is final and not subject to judicial review. There are several instances that presiding officers take politically partisan view.
    • The Supreme Court struck down part of this condition. It held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the presiding officer gives his order. However, the final decision is subject to appeal in the High Courts and Supreme Court.

Various Recommendations to overcome the above challenges:

  • Dinesh Goswami Committee on electoral reforms: Disqualification should be limited to following cases:
    • A member voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party
    • A member abstains from voting, or votes contrary to the party whip in a motion of vote of confidence or motion of no-confidence. Political parties could issue whips only when the government was in danger.
  • Law Commission (170th Report)
    • Provisions which exempt splits and mergers from disqualification to be deleted.
    • Pre-poll electoral fronts should be treated as political parties under anti-defection
    • Political parties should limit issuance of whips to instances only when the government is in danger.
  • Election Commission
    • Decisions under the Tenth Schedule should be made by the President/ Governor on the binding advice of the Election Commission.

Conclusion:

The anti-defection law seeks to provide a stable government by ensuring the legislators do not switch sides. The true objective to enhance the credibility of the country’s polity by addressing rampant party-hopping by elected representatives should be pursued rather than using it as a political tool to pursue narrow interests of party.

 

Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4. “A multi-sectorial and community-led approach driving a national movement is the need of the hour to end TB by 2025 in the country”, Comment on the above statement in the backdrop of India still acclaimed to host highest TB burden in the world. (250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

The article discusses the need for a multilingual, multi-stakeholder awareness effort to ensure that every single Indian knows about the challenges of TB and where to seek treatment.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the scenario of TB hazard in the country and highlight the urgency and need to create a mass movement to end the menace of TB facing India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Quote some key facts to highlight the impact of TB in the country.

Body:

India still has the highest TB burden in the world and despite the disease being fully curable, people still die from it.

Discuss what steps are required to be taken, how should the approach change from past to present scenario.

Explain the significance of creation of awareness and empowering of communities.

Conclusion:

Conclude that As long as our people continue to die every year from this preventable and treatable disease, we are failing in our duties as citizens, doctors, administrators and public health professionals. We must join hands to ensure a TB-free India. Each one of us can make a difference.

Introduction:

Tuberculosis (TB) remains the biggest killer disease in India, outnumbering all other infectious diseases put together — this despite our battle against it from 1962, when the National TB Programme (NTP) was launched. The Global Tuberculosis (TB) report by WHO provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic and progress in the response at global, regional and country levels for India.

Body:

TB Situation in India:

  • Tuberculosis incidence rate in India has decreased by almost 50,000 patients over the past one year (26.9 lakh TB patients in India in 2018).
  • Incidence per 1,00,000 population has decreased from 204 in 2017 to 199 in 2018.
  • Number of patients being tested for rifampicin resistance has increased from 32% in 2017 to 46% in 2018.
  • Treatment success rate has increased to 81% for new and relapse cases (drug sensitive) in 2017, which was 69% in 2016.

India’s efforts to eliminate TB:

  • In 2018, Indian government launched Joint Effort for Elimination of Tuberculosis (JEET), to increase the reporting of TB cases by the private sector.
  • National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB Elimination (2017-2025) was launched in 2017. The government also called for the elimination of TB by 2025, five years prior to the international target (2030).
    • The NSP plans to provide incentives to private providers for following the standard protocols for diagnosis and treatment as well as for notifying the government of cases.
    • Further, patients referred to the government will receive a cash transfer to compensate them for the direct and indirect costs of undergoing treatment and as an incentive to complete treatment.
  • Nikshay,” (2012) an online tuberculosis reporting system for medical practitioners and clinical establishments was set up. The aim is to increase the reporting of tuberculosis, especially from the private sector.
  • In 1992, the WHO devised the Directly Observed Treatment-Short Course (DOTS) strategy and advised all countries to adopt the strategy to combat the menace of tuberculosis. The DOTS strategy is based on 5 pillars:
    • political commitment and continued funding for TB control programs
    • diagnosis by sputum smear examinations
    • uninterrupted supply of high-quality anti-TB drugs
    • drug intake under direct observation
    • accurate reporting and recording of all registered cases
  • The Indian government has been implementing Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant TB (PMDT) services, for the management of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and TB-HIV collaborative activities for TB-HIV

Challenges to achieve TB free India by 2025:

  • Poor socio-economic conditions:
    • Poverty remains a stark reality in India with associated problems of hunger, undernourishment and poor and unhygienic living conditions.
    • According to GTB Report, 2018, a majority of TB patients (6lakhs) in India are attributable to undernourishment.
  • Underreporting and misdiagnosis:
    • According to GTB Report 2018, India is one of the major contributors to under-reporting and under-diagnosis of TB cases in the world, accounting for 26% of the 3.6 million global gap in the reporting of tuberculosis cases.
    • Biomarkers and other diagnostics that identify individuals at highest risk of progression to disease are inadequate.
  • Treatment:
    • Inequitable access to quality diagnosis and treatment remains a major issue in combating tuberculosis. Further, the private sector which contributes a major part of TB care is fragmented, made up of diverse types of healthcare providers, and largely unregulated.
    • Standard TB treatment is not followed uniformly across the private sector, resulting in the rise of drug resistance.
  • Follow-up treatment:
    • Though the reporting of TB cases has increased lately, the reporting of treatment outcomes has not been robust.
    • The absence of consistent follow-up of treatment regimens and outcomes may result in relapse of cases and MDR-TB and XDR-TB. India has already been facing the problem of increasing MDR-TB cases
  • Drugs:
    • The drugs used to treat TB, especially multidrug-resistant-TB, are decades old. It is only recently that Bedaquiline and Delamanid (drugs to treat MDR-TB) has been made available. However, access to such drugs remains low.
  • Funds:
    • The RNCTP remains inadequately funded. There has been a growing gap between the allocation of funds and the minimum investment required to reach the goals of the national strategic plan to address tuberculosis.
  • Issues with RNCTP:
    • Weak implementation of RNCTP at state level is another major concern. The Joint Monitoring Mission report of 2015 pointed out that the RNCTP failed to achieve both the main goals of NSP 2012-2017- Providing universal access to early diagnosis and treatment and improving case detection.
    • Major issues with RNCTP include: human resource crunch, payment delays, procurement delays and drug stock-outs
  • R&D:
    • R&D for new methods and technologies to detect the different modes of TB, new vaccines, and new drugs and shorter drug regimens have been slow, as compared to other such diseases like HIV/AIDS.
  • Social Stigma:
    • According to a study which assessed social stigma associated with TB in Bangladesh, Colombia, India, India had the highest social stigma index.
    • Patients often hesitate to seek treatment or deny their condition altogether for fear of social discrimination and stigmatization.

Way forward:

  • The first step towards ending TB is ensuring that people are empowered with the necessary information to identify and recognise TB symptoms, and seek diagnosis and treatment.
  • The second step is ensuring that we provide every Indian with access to correct diagnosis and treatment for TB, regardless of their ability to pay for it.
  • It is important to address the social conditions and factors which contribute to and increase vulnerability to tuberculosis. Concerted efforts should be made to address the issues of undernourishment, diabetes, alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Increased political will, financial resources and increasing research to develop new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent TB will help achieve the goal.
  • Private sector engagement in combating TB needs to be strengthened. The private sector should also be incentivised to report TB cases. Example: The Kochi Model– Increasing TB cases reporting from private sector
  • There is an urgent need for cost-effective point-of-care devices that can be deployed for TB diagnosis in different settings across India.
  • Universal access to drug, susceptibility testing at diagnosis to ensure that all patients are given appropriate treatment, including access to second-line treatment for drug-resistant TB.
  • To ensure public participation — a missing element in the RNTCP —in public-private participation mode.
  • Mass awareness campaigns like ‘TB Harega Desh Jeetega’ can play an important role in breaking social taboos regarding TB.

 Conclusion:

India has the highest TB burden in the world. Given our inter-connected world and the airborne spread of TB, we need collective global action. Ending TB in India will have massive global impact in addition to saving the lives of tens of millions of India’s people over the next 25 years. Even if ending TB by 2025 is not complete, pulling the TB curve down by 2025 and sustaining the decline ever after is a possibility.

 

Topic:  Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

5.  Massive inefficiency in the grain management system under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) of the country calls for pressing attention. Discuss the needs for urgent reforms in grain management system. (250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

The article provides for a detailed analysis as to how Reforms in grain management system could free up resources for infrastructure investment.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must bring out the existing issues with grain management and in what way newer reforms are the need of the hour.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

Suggest few facts highlighting the importance of grain management to the output of Agriculture. Agriculture still engages about 44 per cent of India’s workforce.

Body:

First highlight massive inefficiency in the grain management system under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

Use data from the article and highlight the inefficiencies in the system.

Discuss the role of FCI in management of grains in the country.

Explain what needs to be done? Suggest measures to overcome the situation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The National Food Security Act (NFSA) gives certain quantities of wheat and rice to 67 per cent of the population at Rs 2/kg and Rs 3/kg respectively, while the economic cost of these to the Food Corporation of India is Rs 25/kg and Rs 35/kg respectively.

The FCI had pending bills of Rs 1.86 lakh crore that have not been cleared by the government, and that it has been asked to borrow more and more to finance its operations. The grain stocks with the FCI are far more than double the buffer stock norms as on January 1, every year.

Body:

Need for urgent reforms in grain management system is due to the following:

  • Issues with procurement:
    • Open-ended Procurement: All incoming grains accepted even if buffer stock is filled creating a shortage in the open market.
    • The recent implementation of Nation food security act would only increase the quantum of procurement resulting in higher prices for grains.
    • The gap between required and existing storage capacity.
    • The open market operations (OMO) are much less compared to what is needed to liquidate the excessive stocks.
  • Issues with storage:
    • Inadequate storage capacity with FCI.
    • Food grains rotting or damaging on the CAP or Cover & Plinth storage.
    • The money locked in these excessive stocks (beyond the buffer norm) is more than Rs 1 lakh crore.
  • Issues with allocation of food grains:
    • Inaccurate identification of beneficiaries.
    • Illicit Fair Price shops: The shop owners have created a large number of bogus cards or ghost cards (cards for non-existent people) to sell food grains in the open market.
  • Issues with transportation:
  • Leakages in food grains distribution to be reduced as most leakages in PDS takes place in initial stages.

Important recommendations made by Shanta Kumar Committee.:

  • Reduce the number of beneficiaries under the Food Security Act—from the current 67 per cent to 40 per cent.
  • While the poor under the Antyodaya category should keep getting the maximum food subsidy, for others, the issue price should be fixed at, say, 50 per cent of the procurement price (as was done under Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the BPL category)
  • Allow private players to procure and store food grains.
  • Stop bonuses on minimum support price (MSP) paid by states to farmers, and adopt cash transfer system so that MSP and food subsidy amounts can be directly transferred to the accounts of farmers and food security beneficiaries.
  • Limit the procurement of rice particularly in the north-western states of Punjab and Haryana where the groundwater table is depleting fast, and invite private sector participation in grain management
  • FCI should involve itself in full-fledged grains procurement only in those states which are poor in procurement. In the case of those states which are performing well, like Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, the states should do the procurement.
  • Abolishing levy rice: Under levy rice policy, government buys certain percentage of rice (varies from 25 to 75 per cent in states) from the mills compulsorily, which is called levy rice. Mills are allowed to sell only the remainder in the open market.
  • Deregulate fertiliser sector and provide cash fertiliser subsidy of Rs 7,000 per hectare to farmers.
  • Outsource of stocking of grains: The committee calls for setting up of negotiable warehouse receipt (NWR) system. In the new system, farmers can deposit their produce in these registered warehouses and get 80 per cent of the advance from bank against their produce on the basis of MSP.
  • Clear and transparent liquidation policy for buffer stock: FCI should be given greater flexibility in doing business; it should offload surplus stock in open market or export, as per need.

Conclusion:   

The Committee recommendations however was criticized due to suggestions like limiting NFSA, cash subsidy, privatization of FCI despite suggesting useful reforms to reform FCI, PDS. A closer scrutiny in the recommendation is needed today in times of agricultural distress & drought prone years.

 

Topic:  Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

6. Irrigation is pivotal to agricultural, social, economic growth of nation. Discuss in detail the benefits and concerns associated with Irrigation systems in the country.(250 words)

 A Comprehensive Geography by Khullar

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of the GS paper 3.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the significance of Irrigation system and the concerns associated with it.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

Quote first the significance of irrigation system to agriculture of the country.

Body:

Irrigation has provided stability to food production. It is critical, yet a vital input of agriculture production process. Civilizations have risen and fallen with the growth and decline of their irrigation systems, while others have maintained sustainable irrigation for thousands of years. Many of the problems in irrigated agriculture can be mitigated or avoided by improved technology and management, and by adequately addressing cultural, social, and environmental aspects.

Discuss the benefits of Irrigation in detail and the challenges/concerns posed.

Suggest what needs to be done to overcome such challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Irrigation is pivotal to agricultural, social, economic growth of nation. Irrigation has provided stability to food production.

Introduction:

Irrigation is the process of applying water to the crops artificially to fulfil their water requirements. Nutrients may also be applied to the crops through irrigation. The various sources of water for irrigation are wells, ponds, lakes, canals, tube-wells, and even dams. Irrigation offers moisture required for growth and development, germination, and other related functions.

Body:

Types of Irrigation:

There are different types of irrigation practised for improving crop yield. These types of irrigation systems are practised based on the different types of soils, climates, crops and resources. The main types of irrigation followed by farmers include:

  • Surface Irrigation:
    • In this system, no irrigation pump is involved. Here, water is distributed across the land by gravity.
  • Localized irrigation:
    • In this system, water is applied to each plant through a network of pipes under low pressure.
  • Sprinkler irrigation:
    • Water is distributed from a central location by overhead high-pressure sprinklers or from sprinklers from the moving platform.
  • Drip Irrigation:
    • In this type, drops of water are delivered near the roots of the plants. This type of irrigation is rarely used as it requires more maintenance and
  • Centre Pivot Irrigation:
    • In this, the water is distributed by a sprinkler system moving in a circular pattern.
  • Sub-irrigation:
    • Water is distributed through a system of pumping stations gates, ditches and canals by raising the water table.
  • Manual Irrigation:
    • This a labour intensive and time-consuming system of irrigation. Here, the water is distributed through watering cans by manual labour.

Benefits of Irrigation:

  • Insufficient and uncertain rainfall adversely affects agriculture. Droughts and famines are caused due to low productivity. Irrigation helps to increase productivity even in low rainfall.
  • The productivity on irrigated land is higher as compared to the un-irrigated land.
  • Multiple cropping is not possible in India because the rainy season is specific in most of the regions. However, the climate supports cultivation throughout the year. Irrigation facilities make it possible to grow more than one crop in most of the areas of the country.
  • Irrigation has helped to bring most of the fallow land under cultivation.
  • Irrigation has stabilized the output and yield levels.
  • Irrigation increases the availability of water supply, which in turn increases the income of the farmers.

Threats posed by Irrigation:

  • Delays in completion of projects: In most of the projects, there have been delay in construction of field channels and water courses, land levelling and land shaping.
  • Inter-state Water disputes: Irrigation is a state subject in India. As a result, difference with regard to storage, priorities and use of water arise between different states. Narrow regional outlook brings inter-state rivalries over distribution of water supply.
  • Regional disparities in irrigation development: The Ninth Five Year Plan Document estimated that the water resource development in North Eastern region through major, medium and minor schemes is only at the level of 28.6 per cent whereas in the Northern region it has reached about 95.3 per cent.
  • Water-logging and salinity: Introduction of irrigation has led to the problem of water logging and salinity in some of the states.
  • Increasing cost of irrigation: The cost of providing irrigation have been increasing over the years from the first five-year plant to tenth five-year plan.
  • Decline in water table: There has been a steady decline in water table in the recent period in several parts of the country, especially in the western dry region, on account over exploitation of ground water and insufficient recharge from rain-water.

Measures needed:

  • Large public and private investment for expanding the irrigation system to accelerate agricultural growth and to meet the needs of food security;
  • More efficiency in managing the irrigation system;
  • Speedy exploitation of irrigation potential from major and medium sources;
  • Completion of on-going projects, improvement in the utilisation of irrigation potential and expansion of rural electrification in the eastern region and replacement of high-cost diesel pump sets;
  • Ensuring a conjunctive use of surface and ground water;
  • The original Gadgil formula, which, earmarked 10 per cent of the total resource to the State Plans for major and medium irrigation and power projects should be revived;
  • A major part of saving of fertiliser subsidy be given to States as grant for irrigation expansion; Suitable incentives be extended for advancing hi-tech irrigation systems like the microprocessor-based drip irrigation technology that has proven ability to save 25 per cent chemical fertilisers, halve the water used and nearly double the yields;
  • Farmers stakes in irrigation work be raised by conferring on them some degree of. co-ownership the irrigation system; and
  • A comprehensive watershed management plan need be formulated and effectively implemented.

Conclusion:

The farmers should be acquainted with the type of soil moisture, quality of irrigation water, frequency of irrigation for the proper implementation of irrigation systems.

 

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

7. Climate change is bound to increase the risk of forest fires further and the case for vice-versa also holds true, with suitable case studied critically analyse the statement.(250 words)

The Guardian 

Why this question:

The question is from the context of the 2019-20 bushfire crises that coincided with Australia’s hottest year on record.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the impact of forest fires frequently being witnessed in the world and in what way climate change has been at the centre of causes leading to such fires. Also explain the interlinkages between the two.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, 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 judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Discuss the incidence of recent forest fires witnessed in Australia.

Body:

Forest fires have a significant impact on global atmospheric emissions, with biomass burning contributing to the global budgets of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide.

Discuss the concept of forest fires, causes and consequences; both positives and negatives.

Explain then the effect of climate change upon the forest fires.

And the vice-versa impact of it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suggestions as to what should be done to overcome the threats posed by forest fires.

Introduction:

Australia is fighting one of its worst bushfire seasons, fuelled by record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought. Australia has declared a state of emergency for the state of New South Wales (NSW) along with a catastrophic fire warning.

Body:

Current scenario of Bushfire in Australia:

  • Wildfires have affected more than 12 million hectares of land in Australiaand the tragedy of the bushfires is still unfolding.
  • The wildfires have caused large scale loss to life and propertyleading to the displacement of many residents.
  • The wildfires have destroyed the native flora and fauna, killing thousands of wild animals. Australia is home to many endangered and rare species.
  • New South Wales has been the most severely hit, with more than 1.65m hectares razed, an area significantly larger than suburban Sydney.
  • Tourism which constitutes a major source of revenue for Australia has been affected by the raging bushfires.

Climate change and Forest fires are interlinked:

  • The link between rising greenhouse gas emissions and increased bushfire risk is complex but, according to major science agencies, clear.
  • Climate change does not create bushfires but it can and does make them worse.
  • A number of factors contribute to bushfire risk, including temperature, fuel load, dryness, wind speed and humidity.
  • This year a natural weather phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean Dipolehas meant a hot, dry spell across the country.
  • But the overwhelming scientific consensus is that rising levels of CO2 are warming the planet. And Australia has been getting hotter over recent decades and is expected to continue doing so.
  • Australia recorded its hottest month in January 2019, its third-hottest July and its hottest October day in some areas, among other temperature records. That comes on top of a long period of drought.
  • Scientists have long warned that this hotter, drier climate will contribute to fires becoming more frequent and more intense.
  • The more extreme weather patterns and higher temperatures increase the risk of bushfires and allow them to spread faster and wider.
  • Complex computer models have not found a consistent climate change signal linked to rising CO2 in the decline in rain that has produced the current eastern Australian drought.

Measures to fight forest fires:

  • There are four approaches to fighting forest fires.
  • The first is what may be called technological, where helicopters or ground-based personnel spray fire retardant chemicals, or pump water to fight the blaze.
  • The second is to contain the fire in compartments bordered by natural barriers such as streams, roads, ridges, and fire lines along hillsides or across plains. A fire line is a line through a forest which has been cleared of all vegetation.
  • The third is to set a counter fire, so that when a fire is unapproachable for humans, a line is cleared of combustibles and manned.
  • The fourth approach, which is the most practical and most widely used, is to have enough people with leafy green boughs to beat the fire out. This is practised in combination with fire lines and counter fires.

Conclusion:

As evidenced, the Great Barrier Reef “is dying”, the “world-heritage rain forests are burning”, giant kelp forests have disappeared, “numerous towns have run out of water or are about to, and now the vast continent is burning on a scale never before seen.