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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 7 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:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

1.  India, facing the double burden of malnutrition, has taken several steps to address it and in spite of the progress made, there are still challenges facing India in the fight. Explain why and also suggest suitable steps that need to be assimilated in India’s efforts.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

India facing the double burden of both under nutrition and over nutrition has taken several steps to address the same. The article discusses the need for more evidence-based policymaking.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the double burden in detail and explain the challenges in detail as to why the progress on this front is slow. Also suggest solutions to the problem.

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:

Define Malnutrition in general. Malnutrition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), refers to deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.

Body:

The term malnutrition covers 2 broad groups of conditions. One is ‘under nutrition’—which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). The other is overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer).

Discuss the issue of malnutrition in India.

Explain programmes and policies in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting way forward.

Introduction:

Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. India’s National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) show that there has been a decline in child malnutrition numbers in the country. However, various studies show that the rate of decline is very slow, and India is still fighting a tough battle.

Body:

Initiatives taken by government:

  • ICDS:
    • High priority was accorded to reducing undernutrition in preschool children. The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) was aimed at providing food supplements to children from poor and marginalised sections to bridge the gap between requirement and actual dietary intake.
    • Another component of ICDS programme was weighing children for early detection of growth faltering and undernutrition.
  • Universal Salt Iodisation:
    • National Iodine Deficiency Control Programme (NIDDCP) was initiated in 1992 with the goal that all salt for human consumption will be iodised to ensure universal household access to iodised salt.
  • There are a number of existing programmes targeting nutrition outcomes, directly or indirectly. These include the National Health Mission – Janani Suraksha Yojana, the National Rural Drinking Water Programme, Matritva Sahyog Yojana, SABLA for adolescent girls, Mid-day Meal Scheme, Targeted Public Distribution System, National Food Security Mission, MGNREGA and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission among others.
  • National Nutrition Mission:
    • NNM has introduced a central nodal agency with extensive financial resources to coordinate various central and state government schemes and imbue them with additional financial resources.
    • The programme will cover all states and districts in a phased manner.
    • The core strategy of the mission is to create decentralised governance systems with flexibility given to states, districts and local level with robust monitoring, accountability and incentive frameworks that will encourage local solutions.
    • More than 10 crore people are likely to be benefitted by this programme.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan -PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan.
    • The programme through the use of technology, a targeted approach and convergence strives to reduce the level of stunting, undernutrition, anemia and low birthweight in children, as also, focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers, thus holistically addressing malnutrition.
    • The programme aims to ensure service delivery and interventions by use of technology, behavioural change through convergence and lays-down specific targets to be achieved across different monitoring parameters over the next few years.
  • POSHAN Atlas:
    • To map the crops and food grains grown in different regions of the country so that nutritious protein rich food in local areas can be promoted.
    • Indian Government has taken important steps, such as the release of fortification standards for five staples by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to fight micronutrient malnutrition, release of food composition tables by the National Institute of Nutrition to increase focus on dietary diversity, and now, the release of nutrition data to address the issue of malnutrition more holistically.
  • The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-2 goal, which aims to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”, is a priority area for India, which can offer key solutions for hunger and poverty eradication and also tackle the issue of malnutrition and undernourishment in the country.

Challenges still faced in fighting malnutrition:

  • Mother’s health:
    • Scientists say the initial 1,000 days of an individual’s lifespan, from the day of conception till he or she turns two, is crucial for physical and cognitive development.
    • But more than half the women of childbearing age are anaemic and 33 per cent are undernourished, according to NFHS 2006. A malnourished mother is more likely to give birth to malnourished children.
  • Social inequality:
    • For example, girl children are more likely to be malnourished than boys, and low-caste children than upper-caste children.
  • Sanitation:
    • Most children in rural areas and urban slums still lack sanitation. This makes them vulnerable to the kinds of chronic intestinal diseases that prevent bodies from making good use of nutrients in food, and they become malnourished.
    • Lack of sanitation and clean drinking water are the reasons high levels of malnutrition persists in India despite improvement in food availability.
  • Lack of diversified food:
    • With the increase in diversity in food intake malnutrition (stunted/underweight) status declines. Only 12% of children are likely to be stunted and underweight in areas where diversity in food intake is high, while around 50% children are stunted if they consume less than three food items.
  • Lack of food security:
    • The dismal health of Indian women and children is primarily due to lack of food security.
    • Nearly one-third of adults in the country have a body mass index (BMI) below normal just because they do not have enough food to eat.
  • Failure of government approaches:
    • India already has two robust national programmes addressing malnutrition the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) and the National Health Mission but these do not yet reach enough people.
    • The delivery system is also inadequate and plagued by inefficiency and corruption. Some analysts estimate that 40 per cent of the subsidized food never reaches the intended recipients
  • Disease spread:
    • Most child deaths in India occur from treatable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and complications at birth.
    • The child may eventually die of a disease, but that disease becomes lethal because the child is malnourished and unable to put up resistance to it.
  • Poverty:
    • The staff of ICDS places part of the blame of malnutrition on parents being inattentive to the needs of their children, but crushing poverty forces most women to leave their young children at home and work in the fields during the agricultural seasons.
    • Regional disparities in the availability of food and varying food habits lead to the differential status of under-nutrition which is substantially higher in rural than in urban areas.
    • This demands a region-specific action plan with significant investments in human resources with critical health investments at the local levels.
  • Lack of nutrition:
    • Significant cause of malnutrition is also the deliberate failure of malnourished people to choose nutritious food.
    • An international study found that the poor in developing countries had enough money to increase their food spending by as much as 30 per cent but that this money was spent on alcohol, tobacco and festivals instead.

Measures needed:

  • Anganwadis system is the backbone of India’s nutrition target effort and we really have to improve it.
  • Primary health infrastructure is not strong so proper steps needs to be taken in this regard.
  • Farmers should be encouraged and incentivized for agricultural diversification.
  • Innovative and low-cost farming technologies, increase in the irrigation coverage and enhancing knowledge of farmers in areas such as appropriate use of land and water should be encouraged to improve the sustainability of food productivity.
  • Public Health Management Cadre.
  • The government should improve policy support for improving agricultural produce of traditional crops in the country.
  • Improve ICDS
  • The targeting efficiency of all food safety nets should be improved, especially that of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), to ensure that the poorest are included.
  • In addition, fortification of government-approved commodities within the social safety net programmes can improve nutritional outcomes.
  • Child feeding practices should be improved in the country, especially at the critical ages when solid foods are introduced to the diet.
  • Fortification, diversification and supplementation may be used as simultaneous strategies to address micro and macronutrient deficiencies.
  • Storage capacity should be improved to prevent post-harvest losses.
  • There is a need for more robust measures that can take cognizance of all aspects of SDG 2.
  • All the major welfare programmes need to be gender sensitive.
  • The inherited dehumanizing poverty explains the persistence of malnutrition on a large scale.
  • Children born in impecunious circumstances suffer the most from malnutrition. It is all the more reason for governments to intervene to provide adequate nutrition to all.
  • Taking medical services to the door step of villages
  • Funds for food to all yield great returns and help in unlocking the full potential of citizens besides strengthening the workforce.
  • Focus to improve the hygiene and cleanliness of our surrounding.
  • Real time delivery of such schemes to the targeted beneficiaries.
  • Schools kids and their parents should be made aware about the various government programmes.

 

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

2. Why has the U.S. crippled the functioning of the WTO? Discuss in detail the reasons for US actions and efforts to revive the appellate body.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

The U.S. decisions making the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body dysfunctional. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in why the US has been crippling the functions of WTO, what are the consequences of it and what can be done to overcome 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:

Discuss the context of the question.

Body:

Explain the background of the question.

In December 2019, the U.S. cut short its share of the funding to the WTO. This move has resulted in a shortage of funds for the Appellate Body of WTO to function.

The U.S. has also stalled the selection process for filling six vacancies at the Appellate Body by virtue of the veto power it enjoys in the appointment process. Consequently, the Appellate Body is left with only one member, who will not be able to deliver any rulings on pending trade disputes since a quorum of three members is required to adjudicate any dispute.

Discuss the dispute settlement at WTO.

Explain the issue in detail and suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the strangulation of the Appellate Body is a reflection of unilateralism and protectionism that are on a sharp rise. The absence of the Appellate Body paves the way for the return of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1947 rules which many countries consider as a step back in global trade.

Introduction:

Resolving trade disputes has been one of the core functions of the WTO. When countries cannot resolve matters with their trading partners, they show up at the door of the WTO. The Appellate Body(AB), one of the highest adjudicating bodies of the international trade world, hears disputes brought by WTO members. After more than two decades, this mechanism is now under duress.

Body:

Importance of WTO Appellate body:

  • The panels and the Appellate Body have issued rulings in almost 200 disputes involving bananas, cotton, aircraft, beef, tuna, trade, ‘shrimp-turtles’, hot-rolled coils, subsidies for renewable energy, and gambling.
  • Cases involving trade remedies such as countervailing and anti-dumping measures, and the use of a controversial practice called the zeroing methodology that inflated the anti-dumping duties, dominated the disputes among the WTO members.
  • The establishment of the Appellate Body has given teeth and credibility to the rules-based multilateral trading system.
  • Moreover, it provided security and predictability in the multilateral trading system.

USA has crippled functioning the WTO:

  • The smooth and effective functioning of the Appellate Body, which is regarded as the jewel in the crown, has posed hurdles to the U.S. for adopting unilateral measures.
  • Several U.S. provisions for imposing countervailing and anti-dumping measures were found to be inconsistent with core provisions of the WTO agreements.
  • Finally, the U.S. chose to spike the Appellate Body by resorting to starving funds for its functioning as well as blocking the selection process for filling six vacancies.
  • Consequently, the Appellate Body is left with only one member, who will not be able to deliver any rulings on the pending trade disputes.
  • A minimum of three members are required to adjudicate any dispute.

Reasons for USA’s actions:

  • The independent and impartial functioning of the Appellate Body in complex trade disputes has become a problem for Washington over the past many years.
  • While the U.S. has accepted favourable rulings that served its interests in global trade, it raised intransigent concerns about adverse decisions that struck down the U.S.’s trade measures.
  • Washington has repeatedly accused the Appellate Body of allegedly straying away from the dispute settlement understanding (DSU) in several disputes involving the U.S.’ measures that were challenged by other members.
  • USA has maintained that the Appellate Body failed to issue rulings within the 90-day deadline.
  • The U.S. says the Appellate Body’s rulings failed to adhere to the provisions in the dispute settlement understanding in cases involving countervailing (anti-subsidy) and anti-dumping measures based on the zeroing methodology.
  • It argues that the Appellate Body’s decisions “assert a precedential value for its reports…”.
  • It has suggested that “some Appellate Body members view themselves as ‘appellate judges’… serving on a ‘World Trade Court’ that is the ‘centrepiece’ of the WTO dispute settlement system … rather than one component of it.”

Way Forward:

  • WTO needs to strengthen the dispute settlement mechanism as there are issues in appointment of judges in new appellate body.
  • WTO needs to enhance discussion mechanism by introducing wider consultations. It has been a long-standing complaint by the smaller participants that the consultations or decision making is limited to the green room of DG of WTO.
  • There is a need of free trade is required more by developing countries like India than developed countries.
  • There is need for the structural reform in the WTO functioning as multilateral trading system. Despite WTO being a democratic organization, there is a need to make it more effective in protecting the interests of small nations against stronger countries. The process of retaliation is ineffective and too impractical for smaller players.
  • So, developing countries must work collaboratively to strengthen WTO to collaborate effectively and learn from the past experiences when India and China led the developing countries in environmental forums, garnering funds in the form of GCF.

Conclusion:

The strangulation of the Appellate Body is a reflection of unilateralism and protectionism that are on a sharp rise. The world has changed and multilateral institutions now have to embed these changes. This WTO crisis might well be the final battle to retain control over a Western-centric organisation. The time has come for the emerging economies and the developing world to have a greater say in how to shape multilateralism and its institutions.

 

Topic:  Basics of cyber security

3. Discuss the case of Cyber bullying across the Lifespan of Education:, explain the issues and Interventions required to overcome it from family and schooling.(250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

The question is straight forward and is around discussing the case of Cyber bullying.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what cyber bullying is and discuss the importance of tackling it at the level of education and upbringing of values by the family.

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:

Define cyber bullying.

Body:

Cyber-bullying, in simple terms, may be defined as the act of harassment, intimidation, threatening of another person, via the cyber-space.

Explain the influence of social media on children in general.

Discuss the ill effects of cyber bullying, causes and effects.

Discuss what can be done to overcome the same.

Signify the role of family and schooling in overcoming the cyber bullying.

Conclusion:

In short, social media has had a mixed effect on children. Proper supervision by parents and teachers, and regulating the time spent on internet through various productive activities and hobbies might be regarded as some of the ways in which the ill effects of social media on children might be minimized.

Introduction:

Cyber Bullying:

  • Cyberbullying or cyber harassment is a form of harassment that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets.
  • Cyber bullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content.
  • It includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.
  • It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation.
  • Some cyber bullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behaviour.

Body:

Reasons for increasing Cyber bullying:

  • The increasing access to affordable data service has given rise to these faceless evil worldwide – young children, in particular teenagers, being the most vulnerable victims.
  • The language and content of Web series: The certain shows running on amazon prime or Netflix are not appropriate for teenagers. Teenagers try to adapt that language used in the TV series or shows.
  • Nuclear families and isolation of children: Most of the families in India are nuclear families and parents are going to their job regularly so the children’s get neglected and isolated. Therefore, many are not able to identify what the child is going through.
  • Cyber bullying, under the Information Technology Act, is not an offence. The Act was last amended in 2008. Since then, social media has exploded in the country. The ground reality of 2017 is vastly different
  • Cyber bullying does not qualify in the category of cognizable criminal offences. Only if it is in aggregated form for example, someone created fake profile of others and used that account for detrimental things that only qualifies as offence of impersonation.
  • Most of the time the victim is a juvenile but at the same time the person who is committing this crime is also a juvenile and therefore this is covered under juvenile justice act. So the role of police authority in the conventional manner is limited hence registering an FIR and arresting the juvenile, these scenarios are not possible
  • Under-reporting of cases. The reasons are People don’t want unnecessary media publicity; the current process is very slow; and there is low confidence in the ability of the system
  • The US has often failed to share information vital to dealing with cybercrime. It denies access to data held by companies such as Google and Facebook
  • Because Cyberbullying is difficult to track, many victims feel helpless and unable to cope with it, especially if the bullying is personal and long-drawn

Government Initiatives against Cyberbullying:

  • Guidelines by NCERT: Because of lack of awareness about cyber bullying among the children’s, teachers as well as the parents, NCERT came up with three guideline booklets one for teachers one for school and one for students. For students it’s in the form of DO’s & DON’Ts.
  • Government of India is come up with ministry of home affairs Cybercrime reporting portal gov.in.
  • For generating awareness in state of Delhi, Delhi police has come up with an initiative in which Police visits school administration to get aware of cyber bullying and also engage workshops for computer teachers.

Other measures needed:

  • Family/home measures:
    • Parents can make a vast and positive difference by talking with their children. Like sexuality education in general, the topic of pornography is not one big talk but rather a series of discussions that easily can arise from the content of songs, music videos, video games, movies and unintended or intended exposure to sexually explicit images.
    • Parents can help their children develop a critical eye when viewing media, so they see the lies, and differentiate that fiction from the joy in loving equitable and respectful relationships.
    • Parents need to explain to children that the same rules apply during interactions online, as they do in person
  • Government level:
    • National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal shall be designated as the national portal under-reporting requirements in the POCSO Act in case of electronic material
    • Union Government shall be empowered through its designated authority to block and/or prohibit all websites/intermediaries that carry child sexual abuse material
    • Law enforcement agencies should be permitted to brake end to end encryption to trace distributors of child pornography.
  • Use of Artificial intelligence:
    • Tools can be developed which can analyse the behaviour of every internet user. So it can help prevent the user from falling into cyber bullying.
    • Developing some mobile applications that can alert parents if the child is under threat of cyber bullying.
    • Prevent malware attacks by tying up with antivirus agencies.
  • Academic measures:
    • School diaries should carry an anti-bullying pledge.
    • Schools shall undertake training programmes for parents at least twice a year, making them aware of hazards for children of free access to smartphones, internet at an early age.
    • The subjects related to cyber bullying and cyber security should be made mandatory instead of only guidelines.
    • In school there should be cyber cell where one could report their grievances whether by its name or anonymously.
  • Multipronged approach to handle cases:
    • Need to handle the cases of cyber bullying through multipronged approach such as counselling through Psychiatrist, approaching police, etc.

 

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

4. Increasing the total area of forests is vital for India to meet its Intended nationally determined contributions under the ambit of Paris agreement 2015.Discuss. (250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

India, as part of its contribution to the global fight against climate change, has committed itself to creating an “additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent” by 2030. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the means and ways through which India aims to achieve its climate change targets.

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:

Briefly bring out the highlights of the State of Forest Report (SFR) 2019 relevant to the question.

Body:

Explain that while showing an increase in the carbon stock trapped in Indian forests in the last two years, the report also shows why it is going to be an uphill task for India in meeting one of its international obligations on climate change.

  • Discuss briefly relationship between the forests and carbon.
  • Explain the challenges that India is facing in meeting the targets.
  • Discuss why it is important for India to meet its INDC targets.
  • Elaborate on the efforts India is making in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward.

Introduction:

Forests, by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for the process of photosynthesis, act as a natural sink of carbon. India, as part of its contribution to the global fight against climate change, has committed itself to creating an “additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent” by 2030. The India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019 has found an increase of 5,188 sq. km in total forest and tree cover in the country. Tree and forest cover together made up 24.56% (8,07,276 sq. km) of India’s area.

Body:

Importance of increasing forest cover in India:

  • Maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and, where necessary, restoration of the ecological balance that has been adversely disturbed by serous depletion of the forests of the country.
  • Checking soil erosion and denudation in the catchments areas of rivers, lakes, reservoirs in the “interest of soil and water conservation, for mitigating floods and droughts and for the retardation of siltation of reservoirs.
  • Checking the extension of sand-dunes in the desert areas of Rajasthan and along the coastal tracts.
  • Increasing substantially the forest/tree cover in the country through massive afforestation and social forestry programmes, especially on all denuded, degraded and unproductive lands.
  • Meeting the requirements of fuel-wood, fodder, minor forest produce and small timber of the rural and tribal populations.
  • Increasing the productivity of forests to meet essential national needs.
  • Encouraging efficient utilisation of forest produce and maximising substitution of wood.
  • Creating a massive people’s movement with the involvement of women, for achieving these objectives and to minimise pressure on existing forests.
  • Conserving the natural heritage of the country by preserving the remaining natural forests with the vast variety of flora and fauna, which represent the remarkable biological diversity and genetic resources of the country.
  • Forests, by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for the process of photosynthesis, act as a natural sink of carbon.
  • Together with oceans, forests absorb nearly half of global annual carbon dioxide emissions.
  • In fact, the carbon currently stored in the forests exceeds all the carbon emitted in the atmosphere since the start of the industrial age.
  • An increase in the forest area is thus one of the most effective ways of reducing the emissions that accumulate in the atmosphere every year.

However, there are challenges:

  • An assessment by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) last year had projected that, by 2030, the carbon stock in forests as well as tree cover was likely to reach 31.87 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in the business as usual scenario.
  • An additional 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of sink, as India has promised to do, would mean taking the size of the sink close to 35 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
  • Considering the rate of growth of the carbon sink in the last few years, that is quite a stiff target India has set for itself.
  • In the last two years, the carbon sink has grown by just about 0.6%%.
  • Even compared to 2005, the size of carbon sink has increased by barely 7.5%.
  • To meet its NDC target, even with most optimistic estimates of carbon stock trapped in trees outside of forest areas, the sink has to grow by at least 15% to 20% over the next ten-year period.

Way forward:

  • There are two key decisions to be made in this regard — selection of the baseline year, and addition of the contribution of the agriculture sector to carbon sink.
  • The baseline year can impact the business-as-usual projections for 2030. BAU projections are obtained using policies that existed in the baseline year.
  • Now, there has been a far greater effort in recent years to increase the country’s forest cover.
  • So a 2015 baseline would lead to a higher BAU estimate for 2030 compared to a 2005 baseline when less efforts were being made to add or regenerate forests.
  • The FSI projections made last year used a 2015 baseline. If 2005 baseline is used, India’s targets can be achieved relatively easily.
  • India’s emissions intensity target uses a 2005 baseline, so there is an argument that the forest target should also have the same baseline.
  • But there is a strong demand for a 2015 baseline as well, so that it results in some concrete progress in adding new forest cover.
  • When India announced its NDC in 2015, it did not mention the baseline year. It has to decide on it before it reconfirms its NDC targets ahead of the next climate change meeting in Glasgow towards the end of the year.
  • At that time, India would also have to specify whether it wants to count the carbon sink in the agriculture sector in its target.
  • The NDC specifically mentions that and “additional” 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon sink would be created through “additional forest and tree cover by 2030”, but Environment Ministry officials insist that tree cover outside forest areas must include agriculture as well.

 

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. What are the different types of cropping patterns prevalent in India? Discuss the diversity of cropping pattern across the country.(250 Words)

A comprehensive geography by Khullar

Why this question:

The question is directly from the static portions of GS paper III.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the different types of cropping patterns prevalent in India and explain the diversity of cropping pattern across the country.

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 explaining what you understand by a cropping pattern.

Body:

Cropping pattern is the yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of crops and fallow on a given area.

Cropping system comprises all cropping patterns grown on the farm and their interaction with farm resources, other household enterprises and the physical, biological, technological and sociological factors or environments.

Discuss the determining factors of a cropping pattern.

Explain the spatial aspect across the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of having a suitable cropping pattern for good yields.

Introduction:

Cropping pattern is a dynamic concept because it changes over space and time. It can be defined as the proportion of area under various crops at a point of time. In other words, it is a yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of sowing and fallow on a given area. In India, the cropping pattern determined by rainfall, climate, temperature, soil type and technology.

Body:

Major important cropping patterns of India:

Rabi crops are sown in winter from October to December and harvested in summer from April to June. Some of the important Rabi crops are wheat, barley, peas, gram and mustard. Though, these crops are grown in large parts of India, states from the north and north-western parts such as Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are important for the production of wheat and other rabi crops.  Availability of precipitation during winter months due to the western temperate cyclones helps in the success of these crops. However, the success of the green revolution in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan has also been an important factor in the growth of the above-mentioned rabi crops.

Kharif crops are grown with the onset of monsoon in different parts of the country and these are harvested in September-October. Important crops grown during this season are paddy, maize, jowar, bajra, tur (arhar), moong, urad, cotton, jute, groundnut and soyabean. Some of the most important rice-growing regions are Assam, West Bengal, coastal regions of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra, particularly the (Konkan coast) along with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Recently, paddy has also become an important crop of Punjab and Haryana. In states like Assam, West Bengal and Odisha, three crops of paddy are grown in a year. These are Aus, Aman and Boro.

In between the Rabi and the kharif seasons, there is a short season during the summer months known as the Zaid season. Some of the crops produced during ‘zaid’ are watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables and fodder crops. Sugarcane takes almost a year to grow.

Diversity of cropping patterns across the country:

  • Rice-Wheat: UP, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Rice-Rice: Irrigated and Humid coastal system of Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.
  • Rice- Groundnut: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa and Maharashtra
  • Rice-Pulses: Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Bihar.
  • Maize-Wheat: UP, Rajasthan, MP and Bihar.
  • Sugarcane-Wheat: UP, Punjab and Haryana accounts for 68% of the area under sugarcane. The other states which cover the crops are; Karnataka and MP.
  • Cotton-Wheat: Punjab, Haryana, West UP, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.
  • Soya bean-Wheat: Maharashtra, MP and Rajasthan
  • Legume Based Cropping Systems (Pulses-Oilseeds): MP, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Factors affecting Cropping pattern: Cropping pattern of any region depends upon many factors

  • Physical and Technical Factors:
    • These include the physical characteristic as soil, climate, weather rainfall etc. In the dry regions where the rainfall is scanty and where there is high uncertainty of monsoons, the dependence is on jowar and bajra. Water logging areas cultivate rice.
    • Cropping pattern also depend upon irrigation facilities. Where ever water is available, not only can a different crop be grown but even double or triple cropping will be possible.
  • Economic Factors:
    • Economic motivation is the most important in determining the cropping pattern of the country. Among the various economic factors affecting crop pattern, the following are important:
    • Price and Income Maximisation: Price variations exert an important influence on acreage shifts. The variation in the inter-crop prices led to shifts in acreage as between the crops.
    • Farm Size: There is a relationship between the farm size and the cropping pattern. The small farmers are first interested in producing food grain for their requirements. Small holder therefore devotes relatively small acreage to cash crops than large holders.
    • Insurance against risk: The need to minimise the risk of crop failures not only explains diversification but also some specific features of crop patterns.
    • Availability of Inputs: Seeds, fertilizers, water storage, marketing, transport etc. also affect the cropping pattern.
    • Tenure: Under the crop sharing system, the landlord has a dominant voice in the choice of the cropping pattern and this helps in the adoption of income maximising crop adjustments.
  • Infrastructure facilities:
    • Irrigation, transport, storage, trade and marketing, post-harvest handling and processing etc
  • Government Policies:
    • The legislative and administrative policies of the government may also affect the cropping pattern. Food Crops Acts, Land Use Acts, intensive schemes for paddy, for cotton and oilseeds, subsidies affect the cropping pattern.
    • MSP – farmers shifting to wheat, rice
    • Green Revolution – skewed cropping pattern in Northern India towards wheat and rice from coarse cereals and pulses
  • Social factors
    • Food habits also play a role – East and South India prefers rice as staple food while it is wheat in North India.

Conclusion:   

The cropping pattern in India has undergone significant changes over time. As the cultivated area remains more or less constant, the increased demand for food because of increase in population and urbanisation puts agricultural land under stress resulting in crop intensification and substitution of food crops with commercial crops.

 

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.“ICT is becoming the facilitator of socio-economic development in rural India”, Elucidate.(250 words)

Insights On India

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of the GS paper III, aims to evaluate the role of ICT in the aid of farmer.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the aspects of ICT that contribute to the socio-economic development in rural India.

Directive:

Elucidate – Give 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:

Highlight that ICT is becoming the facilitator of socio-economic development in rural India with its obvious facilities by way of health, education, financial services and employment avenues, etc. It can help the bridge gaps by providing ‘e’ and ‘m’ services.

Body:

Explain that the ICT offering meant for rural sector can be classified into three categories:

  • Those solutions which aim are aimed at empowerment
  • Those which would do enablement.
  • Those for market expansion.

Quote recent case studies such as e-chaupal to substantiate your answer better.

Discuss the pros and cons of having ICT aid the farming process.

Conclusion:

Conclude that E-Agriculture; a new area of knowledge emerging out of convergence of IT and farming techniques is the future.

Introduction:

ICT can be interpreted broadly as “technologies that facilitate communication and the processing   and   transmission of   information   by electronic   means.”   ICT promises   a fundamental change in all aspects of our lives, including knowledge dissemination, social interaction, economic   and   business   practices, political engagement, media, education, health, leisure and entertainment.

Body:

Evolving Internet in India: 

  • Commercial Internet services in India were launched in August 1995.
  • The initial launch of Internet in 1995 was with dial-up access speeds of upto 9.6 kbps.
  • The initial launch of Internet services was with a rate of Rs25, 000 for a 250-hour TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) account applicable for commercial organizations (amounting to Rs100 per hour).
  • The number of Internet users in India was expected to reach 450-465 million by June, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (Iamai) and market researcher IMRB.
  • Around 72% of Internet users in India are less than 35 years of age,
  • 80% of all web traffic in India emanates from the mobile—second highest in the world, after Nigeria.
  • Total number of telephone subscribers were 1,210.84 million as of 17 June, according to Trai.
  • Wireless accounted for 1,186.84 million subscriptions.
  • Broadband subscribers stood at 301 million at the end of June, according to Trai.

Internet has emerged as a potent tool that can lead to socio- economic empowerment:

ICT and agriculture:

The vast majority of poor people lives in rural areas and derives their livelihoods directly

or indirectly from agriculture. Increasing the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of

small-scale farms are   an area where   ICT can make   a significant contribution.  Farming

involves   risks   and   uncertainties, with   farmers   facing   many   threats   from   poor soils,

drought, erosion   and   pests.  ICTs   can   deliver useful   information   to   farmers   about

agriculture like crop care and animal husbandry, fertilizer   and feedstock   inputs, pest

control, seed sourcing and market prices

  • ICT and agriculture:
    • The vast majority of poor people lives in rural areas and derives their livelihoods directly or indirectly from agriculture.
    • Increasing the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of small-scale farms is an area where   ICT can make   a significant contribution.  Farming involves   risks   and   uncertainties, with   farmers   facing   many   threats   from   poor soils, drought, erosion   and
    • ICTs can   deliver useful   information   to   farmers   about agriculture like crop care and animal husbandry, fertilizer   and feedstock   inputs, pest control, seed sourcing and market prices.
  • ICT for Education:
    • Moreover, appropriate use   of   ICTs   in   the   classroom fosters critical, integrative and contextual teaching and learning; develops information   literacy (the   ability   to   locate, evaluate and use information).
    • Thus, it improves the overall efficiency of the delivery of education in   schools   and   educational   management   institutions   at   the   national, state/provincial and community level.
    • The use of ICTs in education aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning as well as democratize the access to education.
  • ICT for Economic Development:
    • Information and   Communication   Technology   has   a   vital role in connecting   the   rural community to outside world for exchange of information, a basic necessity for economic development.
    • Effective use of ICT can demolish geographical boundaries and can bring rural communities closer to global economic systems and be of meaningful help to the underprivileged.
  • Employment Opportunities:
    • Poor people in rural localities have lack of opportunities for employment because they often do not have access to information about them.
    • One use of ICTs is to provide on-line services for job placement through electronic labour exchanges in public employment service or other placement agencies
  • ICT in e-Governance:
    • The poverty can   be   adequately   addressed   by   effective use   of   e-governance   and   ICT application in environmental management. Improved governance by using ICT can have direct impact in reducing poverty and improving the environment.
    • ICT can contribute in a large way   in   making   government   processes   more   efficient   and   transparent   by encouraging   communication and information   sharing   among rural and   marginalized people.
  • ICT in Capacity-building and empowerment:
    • Communities and   farmer   organisations   can be   helped   through   the   use   of   ICTs   to strengthen their own capacities and better represent their constituencies when negotiating input and   output   prices, land   claims, resource   rights   and infrastructure
    • ICT enables rural communities to   interact   with other stakeholders, thus reducing social isolation.
    • It widens the perspective of local communities in terms of national or global developments, opens up new business   opportunities   and allows   easier contact   with friends and relatives. A role is also played by ICT in making processes more efficient and transparent.
    • It helps in making laws and land titles more accessible. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) linked to Geographical   Information   Systems (GIS), digital   cameras   and   internet, help   rural communities to document and communicate their situation.
    • Rural communities benefit from better access to credit and rural banking facilities.
    • Recent mobile banking initiatives offer further   scope   to   reduce   costs   and   stimulate   local
    • The Indian AMUL programme automates milk collection and payments for its 500,000 members, thereby enhancing   transparency   of   the milk   volume   and   quality   collected   and   ensuring   fair payments to farmers.
  • ICT and Service delivery mechanisms:
    • There is a huge gap between information residing in agricultural knowledge centres and rural communities.
    • At local level, multi-stakeholder mechanisms are important to make relevant information accessible to end users. Intermediary organizations have to connect rural communities   to   available      Users   will   increasingly   want   tailor-made, quality answers to their questions.
    • In the Agricultural   Clinics   in   India   customers   get answers within one to   two days.
    • Mobile Q&A services are being piloted in India.
    • At national level, mechanisms   need   to   be   in place   to   ensure   learning   and   information sharing.
  • ICT and Health:
    • Health care is one of the most promising areas for poverty alleviation.
    • ICTs are being used in India to facilitate remote consultation, diagnosis and treatment.
    • Delivering health care with ICTs enables health care professionals and institutions to address the critical medical needs of rural communities, especially those in remote locations and those that lack qualified medical personnel and services.
  • Role of ICT under climate change:
    • ICTs can enable access   to the set of resources in the event of climate change related shocks or disturbances.
    • ICTs provide access to relevant data and information that is first processed at an individual level, then facilitate communication and interaction between a wide range of stakeholders, and ultimately enable cooperation, which can translate into adaptive actions   being   implemented   with   the   participation   of   a   wide   range   of stakeholders.
    • ICTs can also speed up access to information.
    • This is particularly important when an acute climate   related   shock   such   as   landslide   or   flood
    • Mobile based telecommunications networks allow rapid communication of information, thus improving the speed of disaster warning, response and recovery

Conclusion:

The   use   of   ICT   tools   help   in   strengthening   social   networks, empowerment   and participation, as well as fostering productive processes at   the   local   level   through   the provision of   employment   and   skills, as   well   as support services   for   micro-enterprise activities.   In   rural   communities of   developing   countries, with   limited   capacities   and resources to respond to the effects of extreme natural hazards, drought, landslides, floods, and to the impacts of these events on local   social systems (e.g. health, infrastructure, transportation, migration), ICT tools (the potential of telecentres for disaster preparedness and response) are emerging as an area of increasing interest.

 

Topic:  Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

7. Discuss the technological and financial challenges that India has to overcome in the translation of the successes in the unmanned space missions into manned space missions.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

Four pilots from the Indian Air Force (IAF) will leave for Russia this month to receive training as astronauts of Gaganyaan, the first Indian crewed flight to space.  Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects one to discuss the challenges that India space research organization is facing in conducting the manned and unmanned space missions.

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:

Give a brief introduction about India’s successes in unmanned space missions such as Mars orbiter mission, PSLV, GSLV etc.

Body:

Explain about India’s ambitious programme Gaganyaan.

Write about the needed indigenization policies and technological inventions in this regard.

Suggest suitable measures to increase the financial capacity, international agreements etc.

Conclusion:

Give a futuristic way forward for the same.

Introduction:

The Prime Minister of India in his Independence Day address announced that an Indian astronaut would go into space by 2022, when India celebrates her 75th year of Independence. In pursuance of this, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to fly the first unmanned test mission ahead of its ambitious crewed Gaganyaan mission by the end of 2020, according to ISRO Chairman.

Body:

Mission Gaganyaan:

  • India’s first manned space flight Gaganyaan is expected to send three persons into the space for seven days and the spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km.
  • Two unmanned Gaganyaan missions will be undertaken prior to sending humans.
  • The total programme is expected to be completed before 2022 with first unmanned flight within 30 months.
  • The mission is estimated at 9000 crore.
  • It would raise scientific and technological temper across the country and inspire youngsters.
  • When it achieves the mission, India would be the fourth nation to circle Earth after the Soviets, the Americans and the Chinese.

Technological challenges:

  • For a manned mission, the key distinguishing capabilities that ISRO has had to develop include the ability
    • to bring the spacecraft back to Earth after flight
    • to build a spacecraft in which astronauts can live in Earth-like conditions in space
  • India is yet to perfect fool-proof launch vehicle technology, the basic requirement for a manned space mission.
  • The Polar Satellite launch vehicle and the Geosynchronous Launch vehicle, the two Indian spacecraft deployed to launch satellites and modules into space, are yet to be man-rated.
  • India does not even have the facilities to train astronauts.
  • ISRO has not been able to put in place India’s own Global Positioning System in spite of completing the NavIC due to dysfunctional atomic clocks in the satellites, rendering the fleet a dud.
  • The launchpad at the Sriharikota spaceport, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, will have to be enhanced for the human mission.
  • While the launch vehicle, crew module, re-entry technology, crew escape system is in place, monitoring and tracking systems, Environmental Control & Life Support System (ELCSS), space suit and crew support systems are still in the developmental phase.
  • Although scores of landers sent by Russia, the U.S. and the Chinese have explored moon’s surface, so far, no other agency has landed in the southern hemisphere of moon. ISRO hopes to be still the first to do so.

Financial challenges:

  • Gaganyaan, announced by the Prime Minister in August 2018, is the ₹10,000-crore Indian human space flight scheduled for 2022.
  • The Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover are estimated at ₹250 crore and will go to moon on a propulsion model. The GSLV Mark III vehicle costs around ₹350 crore.
  • Chandrayaan-2 mission cost nearly ₹1000 crore, an orbiter carried the lander and the rover to a lunar orbit.

Way forward:

  •  It is important to ensure engagements at political level to obtain long term commitment for India’s human space flight missions
  • Financial implications of a long-term human space-flight programme development should be assessed and the returns and benefits should be clearly articulated
  • It is important to overcome the technological challenges to ensure a safe, successful manned space mission. International collaboration in this domain can help India ensure a robust technology for its HSF programme.
  • Selection of Indians for astronauts will be an important step. Procedures and specifications for astronauts and a rigorous selection process is suggested.
  • These developments will help ISRO in perfecting the cryogenic technology for sending up heavier and heavier payloads and will reduce India’s dependency on other countries to launch heavier satellites.