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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 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: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent);

1. Discuss in detail the key landforms formed due to groundwater. (250 words)

Physical geography by Savindra Singh

Why this question:

6 people were killed and 10 are believed to be missing after a bus and some pedestrians were swallowed by a sinkhole in China’s Xining city on January 13, 2020.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the erosional and depositional landforms of groundwater.

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 explain the significance of landforms formed by the action of water.

Body:

In detail explain what actions the groundwater performs.

Define groundwater- The part of rain or snow-melt water which accumulates in the rocks after seeping through the surface is called underground water or simply groundwater.

Explain the features like; Sinkholes and caves are erosional landforms formed due to the action of ground water.

Then move onto explain depositional landforms of groundwater.

Discuss with diagrams the karst landforms associated with groundwater.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such action of ground water in creation of landforms.

Introduction

The part of rain or snow-melt water which accumulates in the rocks after seeping through the surface is called underground water or simply groundwater

Body

Erosional Landforms due to Groundwater

Sinkholes and caves are erosional landforms formed due to the action of ground water.

Karst_features

Sinkholes

A sinkhole is an opening more or less circular at the top and funnel-shaped towards the bottom.

  • Small to medium sized rounded to sub-rounded shallow depressions called swallow holes form on the surface of rocks like limestone by the action of the solution.
  • Solution sink: When as sinkhole is formed solely through the process of solution, it is called as a solution sink.
  • collapse sink : Sometimes a sinkhole starts its formation through the solution process but later collapses due to the presence of some caves or hollow beneath it and becomes a bigger sinkhole. These types are called as collapse sinks. The term Doline is also used.
    • Solution sinks are more common than collapse sinks.
  • Uvalas: When several sink holes join together to form valley of sinks, they are called as Uvala

Caves

  • In the areas where there are alternative beds of rocks (non-soluble) with limestone or dolomite in between or in areas where limestone are dense, massive and occurring as thick beds, cave formation is prominent.
  • Caves normally have an opening through which cave streams are discharged
  • Caves having an opening at both the ends are called tunnels.

Depositional Landforms

A region with a large stretch of limestone is called a Karst Region. Groundwater and limestone together make a spectacular landform inside the caverns like the stalactites, stalagmites and pillars.

  • Stalactites, Stalagmites and Pillars

They are formed when the calcium carbonates dissolved in groundwater get deposited once the water evaporates. These structures are commonly found in limestone caves.

  • Stalactites are calcium carbonate deposits hanging as icicles while Stalagmites are calcium carbonate deposits which rise up from the floor.
  • When a stalactite and stalagmite happened to join together, it gives rise to pillars or columns of different diameters.

cave

Conclusion

 Groundwater dissolves minerals, carries the ions in solution, and then deposits them. Groundwater erodes rock beneath the ground surface, especially carbonate rock. The landforms by groundwater take a long time to form, due to repeated action of water and region specific parameters.

 

Topic:  Social empowerment, Role of women

2.  No country can realize its full potential without the equal participation of women and men. Achieving gender equality is not only the right thing to do but the key to a country’s growth and development. Elaborate in the backdrop of recently released “Women, Business and the Law 2020” report. (250 words)

World Bank

Why this question:

A woman, Business and the Law 2020, the sixth edition in a series, has been released recently.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the importance of gender equality for the overall growth and development of the country. One has to explain the relevance of the facts established by the report and justify answer.

Directive:

Elaborate – 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:

Start with the facts pointed by the report- Women, Business and the Law (WBL) is a World Bank Group project collecting unique data on the laws and regulations that restrict women’s economic opportunities.

Body:

  • First discuss why a country should focus on gender equality.
  • Comment on the aspects brought out by the report, such as the index analyzes laws and regulations affecting women’s economic inclusion in 190 economies.
  • Explain the importance of factors such as Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension and their essence to Women.
  • Discuss the performance of India with examples if possible.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Gender equality is when women and men enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision-making, and when the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favoured.

Women, Business and the Law (WBL) 2020 report,  measures how laws and regulations affect women’s economic opportunity in 190 economies. The global average score in 2019 is 75.2, up from 73.9 in 2017 but the overall pace of reform has been slow. According to the report, women still have just three-fourths the legal rights of men. Middle East and North Africa remains the region with the lowest average score.

Body

India’s Score

  • India has taken the top spot in the South Asian region in the World Bank’s Women, Business and Law (WBL) Index 2020. The country gained 4 per cent year-on-year with a score of 74.4 out of 100.
  • While scoring 100 in the indicators of mobility, workplace and marriage, India scored poorly with respect to pay (25).
  • Compared to other BRICS countries, India’s scorewas second-to-last.

Why a country must focus on Gender Equality ?

  • Gender equality is a fundamental and inviolable human right and women’s and girls’ empowerment is essential to expand economic growth, promote social development.
  • India could boost its growth by5 percentage points to 9 percent per year if around 50% of women could join the work force.
  • To enable women to participate fully in society and contribute to the health and prosperity of the society.
  • Equality at work goes hand in hand with gender equality in society.
    • Economically empowered women boost demand, have healthier and better-educated children, and raise human development levels
  • Enabling her to lead a life of dignity.
  • Preventing their socio-economic exploitation and lowering violence against women.
    • The crimes against women rose from 3,793 per million in 2016 to 3,886 per million in 2017, as per NCRB Report
  • It is estimated that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organizational performance.

Findings of WBL 2020 Report

  • Laws matter for women’s economic inclusion.
  • Eight countries this year achieved a perfect score – Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden.
  • Canada joined the group by reforming parental leave.
  • Reforms related to the indicator of Parenthood were the most popular, with 16 countries implementing some change to their maternity, paternity or parental leave policies.
    • Reforms are urgently needed in the area of Parenthood, which scored just 53.8 on average.
  • In Africa, countries updated old laws from the 1950s and 1960s, and new labor codes were adopted in countries transitioning out of conflict.

India’s position on gender equality

  • Education enrollment :
    • With the enactment of Right to Education Act in 2009, girl child enrollment in primary school is nearly cent percent.
    • Furthermore, secondary school enrollment is at 80.9% in 2015-16 from 76.4% in 2013-14. This is mainly due to better sanitation in schools under Swachh Bharat.
  • Women centric development
    • Ujjwala Scheme has provided LPG gas connection to 8 crore women, giving them respite from drudgery of indoor pollution and mortality.
    • Nutrition based programmes targeting women such as POSHAN, Laqshya (Labour room Quality improvement Initiative) and institutional deliveries has decreased MMR to 122 per lakh (26.9% reduction from 2013)
  • Entrepreneurship
    • Women SHG’s are given loans of upto 1 Lakh under the MUDRA scheme.
    • NITI Aayog has created Women Entrepreneurship Portal wherein it has handholding programme for women.
  • Women and science
    • Women-centric programmes under the Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN) initiative.
    • ‘Women Scientists Program’ provides fellowship to women who have had a break in the career to pursue research in science and engineering.
  • Reproductive health
    • Maternity Benefit Act has increased the maternity leave to 26 weeks.
    • Pradhan Mantri Matritva Yojana provides cash transfer to women at certain intervals during their pregnancy.

Conclusion

SDG Goal 5 aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women in the public and private spheres and to undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources and access to ownership of property.

Gender equality is a human right which entitles all persons irrespective of their gender to live with dignity and with freedom. Gender equality is also a precondition for development and reducing of poverty. Gender shouldn’t be an unreasonable determining factor curbing the  potential of women.

 

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

3. Along with immunization, a comprehensive approach has to be designed for dengue cases for efficient and effective vector control management. Comment.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the need for having a holistic approach to control and manage the vector borne diseases such as Dengue.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the urgency to adapt to a holistic approach to control and manage the vector borne diseases.

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:

Discuss first what vector borne diseases are and why are they so prevalent in the country.

Body:

Discuss with some key facts to highlight the urgency to change the current policy of handling the diseases.

First discuss why immunization alone can’t suffice the requirement to eradicate the disease burden and onset.

Explain what should be a comprehensive strategy? Discuss from the article steps that need to be taken to prevent and better manage the cases of vector borne diseases such as Dengue.

Briefly present the case of Dengue in the country and justify.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria that are transmitted by vectors. Dengue is a vector-borne disease because the transmission of dengue requires mosquitoes (Aedes Egypti) as vectors(carriers). Currently there is no concrete and effective vaccine (except Dengvaxia in US) against dengue and no specific treatment for the disease, controlling and preventing dengue fever outbreaks are essential steps for keeping the majority populace healthy.

Body

Urgency to fight against vectore-borne diseases

  • According to WHO vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 700 000 deaths annually. They can be caused by either parasites, bacteria or viruses.
  • The burden of these diseases is highest in tropical and subtropical areas, and they disproportionately affect the poorest populations.
  • Since 2014, major outbreaks of dengue, malaria, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika have afflicted populations, claimed lives, and overwhelmed health systems in many countries.
  • Other diseases such as Chikungunya, leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis cause chronic suffering, life-long morbidity, disability and occasional stigmatisation.

Immunization alone is not sufficient

The primary preventative measure to reduce dengue infections or any other vector-borne disease is the control of mosquito (or other vector) populations. WHO promotes the strategic approach known as Integrated Vector Management (IVM) to control mosquito vectors, including those of dengue.

India has reported 6,210 cases and six deaths from dengue until June 9, 2019.

Effective Vector Management

Aedes aegypti uses a wide range of confined larval habitats, both man-made and natural. Some man-made container habitats produce large numbers of adult mosquitoes. Consequently, control efforts should target the habitats that are most productive and hence epidemiologically more important rather than all types of container, especially when there are major resource constraints.

Environmental Management

  • Solid waste management: In the context of dengue vector control, “solid waste” refers mainly to non-biodegradable items of household, community and industrial waste.
  • Street cleansing: A reliable and regular street cleansing system that removes discarded water-bearing containers and cleans drains to ensure they do not become stagnant and breed mosquitoes will both help to reduce larval habitats of aegypti and remove the origin of other urban pests.
  • Building structures: During the planning and construction of buildings and other infrastructure, and through legislation and regulation, opportunities arise to modify or reduce potential larval habitats of urban disease vectors, including aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus and An. stephensi.

Chemical Management

  • Larvicide: Larviciding should be considered as complementary to environmental management and – except in emergencies – should be restricted to containers that cannot otherwise be eliminated or managed.
  • Adulticide: Methods of chemical control that target adult vectors are intended to impact on mosquito densities, longevity and other transmission parameters. Adulticides are applied either as residual surface treatments or as space treatments.
  • Space spraying is recommended for control only in emergency situations to suppress an ongoing epidemic or to prevent an incipient one. The objective of space spraying is the massive, rapid destruction of the adult vector population.
  • Indoor residual spraying (IRS) is the application of long-acting chemical insecticides on the walls and roofs of all houses and domestic animal shelters in a given area, in order to kill the adult vector mosquitoes that land and rest on these surfaces

Bio-control

Against Aedes, a selection of larvivore fish species and predatory copepods (small freshwater crustaceans) are effective against the immature larval stages of vector mosquitoes.

Wolbachia: Wolbachia are extremely common bacteria that occur naturally in 60 per cent of insect species. This method stops the virus from replicating inside the mosquitoes. This is called as population replacement strategy.

Conclusion

The “Global Vector Control Response (GVCR) 2017–2030” was approved by the World Health Assembly in 2017 for urgent strengthening of vector control as a fundamental approach to preventing disease and responding to outbreaks. To achieve this a re-alignment of vector control programmes is required, supported by increased technical capacity, improved infrastructure, strengthened monitoring and surveillance systems, and greater community mobilization. Ultimately, this will support implementation of a comprehensive approach to vector control that will enable the achievement of disease-specific national and global goals and contribute to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.

 

Topic:  Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

4. Discuss the key objectives of industrial policy in India and explain how does it impact on the economy and industry?(250 words)

India Year Book 2019

Why this question:

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

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail key objectives of industrial policy in India and explain its impact on the economy.

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:

Explain that Industrial Policy is a typical character of a mixed economy. It is policy of government intervention which is sector specific and is aimed at giving preferential treatment to a particular sector over others.

Body:

First explain why an industrial policy is desirable.

Present arguments for and against industrial policy.

Discuss the key objectives.

Explain the impact on the economy and industry in specific aspects.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of a strong Industrial policy for the growth and development of the country.

Introduction

In 1991, when India faced a severe economic crisis, the government passed a new Industrial Policy resolution. The Industrial policy of 1991 set out directions for industrialization in an economy that began its journey in liberalization. It dealt with liberalizing licensing and measures to encourage foreign investments.

The Government of India will be introducing a New Industrial Policy that will replace the 27-year-old existing policy and pave the way for the promotion of new technology and reduced regulations. The policy aims to create jobs over the next two decades, promote foreign technology transfer and attract $100 billion FDI annually.

Body

Objectives of Industrial Policy in India

  • Liberalizing the industry from the regulatory devices such as licenses and controls.
  • Enhancing support to the small scale sector.
  • To maintain a sustained growth in productivity;
  • To enhance gainful employment;
  • To achieve optimal utilization of human resources;
  • To attain international competitiveness; and
  • To transform India into a major partner and player in the global arena.
  • Increasing competitiveness of industries for the benefit of the common man.
  •  Ensuring running of public enterprises on business lines and thus cutting their losses.
  • Providing more incentives for industrialization of the backward areas, and
  • Ensuring rapid industrial development in a competitive environment
  • Promoting workers participation in management, enhancing their welfare and equipping them to deal with inevitability of technological change.

Impact on economy and industry

  • Opening up of Industry: Sectors that were earlier exclusively reserved for public sector were reduced. Presently, only two sectors- Atomic Energy and Railway operations- are reserved exclusively for the public sector.
    • This has led to efficiency of markets and increased India’s competitiveness.
  • De-licensing: Abolition of Industrial Licensing for all projects except for a short list of indus­tries.
    There are only 4 industries at present related to security, strategic and environmental concerns, where an industrial license is currently required-
    • Electronic aerospace and defence equipment
    • Specified hazardous chemicals
    • Industrial explosives
    • Cigars and cigarettes of tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes
  • Disinvestment of Public Sector: Government stakes in Public Sector Enterprises were reduced to enhance their efficiency and competitiveness. Government in Budget 2020 announced raising Rs 1.20 lakh crore through disinvestment.
    • The idea is, for the government to play the role of facilitator and a regulator.
  • Liberalization of Foreign Investment: This was the first Industrial policy in which foreign companies were allowed to have majority stake in India. In 47 high priority industries, upto 51% FDI was allowed. For export trading houses, FDI up to 74% was allowed.
    • Today, there are numerous sectors in the economy where government allows 100% FDI through automatic route.
    • It has increased our ease of doing business and India stands at 63rd position from 100th position in 2017.
  • Foreign Technology Agreement: Automatic approvals for technology related agreements.
  • MRTP Act was amended to remove the threshold limits of assets in respect of MRTP companies and dominant undertakings. MRTP Act was replaced by the Competition Act 2002.

Significance of Industrial Policy for India

  • The 1991 policy made ‘License, Permit and Quota Raj’ a thing of the past. It attempted to liberalize the economy by removing bureaucratic hurdles in industrial growth.
  • Limited role of Public sector reduced the burden of the Government.
  • The policy provided easier entry of multinational companies, privatization, removal of asset limit on MRTP companies, liberal licensing.
    • All this resulted in increased competition, that led to lower prices in many goods such as electronics prices. This brought domestic as well as foreign investment in almost every sector opened to private sector.
  • The policy was followed by special efforts to increase exports. Concepts like Export Oriented Units, Export Processing Zones, Agri-Export Zones, Special Economic Zones and lately National Investment and Manufacturing Zones emerged. All these have benefitted the export sector of the country.

The Government of India will be introducing a New Industrial Policy that will replace the 1991 policy and pave the way for the promotion of new technology and ease of doing business.

Conclusion

  • It is time for enabling accelerated reforms for greater strategic engagement and ensure that India is integrated into the global value chains. It is time to Reform, Perform and Transform.
  • A comprehensive, actionable, outcome-oriented industrial policy will enable Industry to deliver a larger role in the economy; to fulfil its role as the engine of growth and to shoulder the responsibility of adding more value and jobs.

 

Topic:  Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

5. What is liberalization in education? Discuss the impact of it on Indian Education system. (250 words)

Indian economy by Dutta and Sundaram

Why this question:

The question aims to discuss the impact of liberalization upon the education system of India.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the impact of liberalization on education in general and specifically present the Indian education system scenario.

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 highlight the concept of liberalization.

Body:

Liberalization refers to relaxing certain reforms and policies in India.

Our policy in terms of education is focused more on only expanding the system with no focus on for quality education. One of the basic problems today is the inability of the university system to provide higher education to all who aspire for it.

Discuss its importance to education.

Expand upon the impact it rendered to Indian education system.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Body

Liberalization in India

Liberalization refers to relaxing certain reforms and policies in India. Usually, the term is used in reference to Economic Liberalization. Though India is Economically Liberal, the Education System is not Liberal. There are many reasons, one of them is that the national education should become a commodity that only a few can afford.

According to the Article 25 of the Companies Registration Act, educational institutes in India can be set up by trusts, societies and charitable companies, but the profits cannot be taken out of the institution and have to be reinvested. However, the government does not define and clarify rules for foreign universities to set up campuses in India. Interested parties have been hesitant about moving forward until they are clear about the degree of regulation, funding, and other issues.

Positive Impact

  • Liberalisation will bring a constant stream of funding which will also facilitate a research-based career and make it a viable option for the future of Indian teachers and students.
  • It will expand the supply which is in shortage and the competition among educational institutions will ensure that they do not charge an excessive premium for education. Increase in the supply of education will automatically result in the fall in education expenditure.
  • The Indian economy which is majorly fueled by the service industry will get a boost with the education sector becoming a large chunk of the economic source.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Indian students study abroad at an annual estimated cost of around US$ 1 billion and it can even stem the exodus of thousands of students who left the country to study abroad. It also curbs brain drain which is also a nation’s loss.
  • Allowing corporates would ensure the development of better industry-oriented graduates with specific skill sets.
  • Increased in educated population implies rapid developments in technology and communications. It also implies the shift of society from industrialization based towards an information-based society.
  • Liberalisation offers students an option of studying close to home with the added benefit of a degree which will be valid worldwide.

Negative Impact

  • The international higher education is largely an unregulated market. While no doubt that there are prestigious universities hoping to build links overseas, recruit top students to their home campuses and strengthen their brand abroad.
    • But there is no dearth of mere sub-prime and low-end private institutions which are seeking to stave off bankruptcy through the export market and there are even a few respectable universities which have been forced by government funding cutbacks to raise cash elsewhere.
  • Students and local institutions in developing countries are also similarly unregulated. At many times ill-informed and often naive.
    • Students tend to avail such services without much information or understanding.
    • Uninformed or simply dubious institutions in developing countries may form partnerships with low-quality colleges and universities in India. Students may be falsely tempted under the guise of foreign label.
  • There is also the risk of fake institutes which are looking to stuff their pockets whenever the opportunity arises.
  • Local institutes which have limited capital will not be able to survive, rendering many jobless. Even the reputed ones will face competition as their national certificates will be less valued as compared to the world recognized certificates.

Conclusion

  • A possible solution to this policy is that the government should regulate the sector. Foreign universities can be regulated by giving them a limited period trial, a probation period. And it would on the basis of performance in the trial period, that these universities will be allowed to set up long-term operations. To ensure that national interests are served and the students do not receive an inferior service from unscrupulous providers, there needs to be transparency. This will also help universities think about their motivations for entering the market.

 

Topic:  Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, And Railways etc.

6. What is National Infrastructure Pipeline? Elucidate upon the key benefits of National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) (250 words)

Live mint

Why this question:

The question aims to discuss the National Infrastructure Pipeline and its benefits.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the objectives, significance and contributions of such a project to the economy of the country.

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:

It is estimated that India would need to spend $4.5 trillion on infrastructure by 2030 to sustain its growth rate. The endeavor of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), is to make this happen in an efficient manner.

Body:

Discuss that NIP will enable a forward outlook on infrastructure projects which will create jobs, improve ease of living, and provide equitable access to infrastructure for all, thereby making growth more inclusive.

NIP includes economic and social infrastructure projects.

Explain in what way such infrastructure projects would ensure ease of living: safe drinking water, access to clean and affordable energy, healthcare for all, modern railway stations, airports, bus terminals and world-class educational institutes etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Infrastructure investment has a special role to play as it aids to revive economic activities.

Introduction

To achieve the GDP of $5 trillion by 2024-25, India needs to spend about $1.4 trillion (Rs. 102 lakh crore)over these years on infrastructure.The objective of NIP is to create bouquet of well-prepared projects would attract investment from Central and State Governments, Urban Local Bodies, Banks and Financial Institution, PE funds, and private investors, both local and foreign.

  • The NIP has projected total infrastructure investment of Rs. 102 lakh crore during the period FY 2020 to 2025 in India.
  • NIP is expected to enable well-prepared infrastructure projects which will create jobs, improve ease of living, and provide equitable access to infrastructure for all.

Body

Key Benefits of NIP

  • NIP includes both economic and social infrastructure
    • Economic infra includes: Roads, energy, railways,shipping, steel etc.
    • Social infra includes: Education, health, sports etc.
  • Sustaining the Virtuous Cycle: Economic Survey 2019 argues that growth can be sustained by a virtuous cycle approach where investment is the key driver that drives demand, creates capacity, increases labour productivity, improve ease of living, generates jobs etc.
    • NIP is prepared as a pipeline of projects based on viability and cost considerations to enable such investments.
  • Employment Generation: Going ahead, share of urban employment will be higher than rural employment. To sustain this, infrastructure under NIP will be vital in the coming years.
  • Increasing urbanization: 42 per cent of population is expected to live in urban areas in 2030 as opposed to 31 per cent now. Infrastructure to provide transport, housing, public spaces are vital for human development. This will be addressed by NIP.
  • Reviving the economy: According to the latest estimates, the Indian economy will grow at 5% in the current fiscal year ending March. The growth projected is slower than the 6.8% recorded in 2018-19. In the quarter that ended in September 2019, growth had hit a six-year-low at 4.5%.
    • NIP will help in reviving the investment cycle and spur growth through capital formation.
  • The greenfield and brownfield projects are across power, urban development, irrigation, mobility, education, health, water and digital sectors across 18 states and Union territories.

Challenges

  • Fiscal constraint: In FY 2019, India’s total infrastructure investments were about Rs. 10 lakh crores only. And given the challenges like high debt-to-GDP ratio, fiscal deficit and increasing twin balance sheet problem, it would be very tough to finance these projects.
  • Bank Credit: Infrastructure financing is the cause of a major part of the bad loans in banks. So, banks would be apprehensive to finance such a large scale of investment.
  • Cooperation from States: Centre and the states have to work together to sort issues like land acquisition and environmental clearances which have imposed huge time and cost delays on several key projects nationally.
  • Lack of new projects: About 42% of identified projects under NIP are already under implementation, 19% are under development.

Conclusion

The road map for infrastructure creation has never been easy. The answer possibly lies enhancing private investment through a combination of measures like credit enhancement which is conditional upon specific reforms in areas like user- charges, land aggregation & monetization, deepening of municipal bond markets among others.

 

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

7. How far do you think privatizing multi-use forest areas is a viable option to ensure contributions to commitments made to mitigate climate change? Critically examine in the backdrop of recently proposed Green Credit Scheme .(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

The Forest Advisory Committee, an apex body tasked with adjudicating requests by the industry to raze forest land for commercial ends, has approved a scheme that could allow “forests” to be traded as a commodity. If implemented, it allows the Forest Department to outsource one of its responsibilities of reforesting to non-government agencies. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the pros and cons of privatizing multi-use forest areas in the country. Also highlight the opportunities and obstacles pointed out by the Green Credit Scheme.

Directive:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. 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:

First discuss basic statistics of the forest area available in the country and the quantum of area required by the Industries.

Body:

Discuss that the Green credit scheme allows “forests” to be traded as a commodity. It allows the Forest Department to outsource one of its responsibilities of reforesting to non-government agencies.

Then move onto present the advantages and disadvantages of such a move.

Explain that such a scheme will encourage plantation by individuals outside the traditional forest area and will help in meeting international commitments such as sustainable development goals and nationally determined contributions.

Also explain that Forests are treated as a mere commodity without any social or ecological character and that could pose a major challenge in meeting the goals of the policy.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a balanced approach is the need of the hour.

Introduction

The Forest Advisory Committee, an apex body tasked with adjudicating requests by the industry to raze forest land for commercial ends, has approved a scheme that could allow “forests” to be traded as a commodity. If implemented, it allows the Forest Department to outsource one of its responsibilities of reforesting to non-government agencies.

The total forest cover of the country is 7,12,249 sq km which is 21.67% of the geographical area of the country. The 2019 survey has found an increase of 5,188 sq km in total forest and tree cover in the country. The nation’s tree and forest cover has largely hovered from 21-25% and is short of the National Forest Policy, 1988, which envisages 33% to be under such cover.

Body

  • Green Credit Scheme

Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has recently proposed to overhaul the compensatory afforestation process by introducing the Green Credit Scheme.

  • It will allow agencies to identify appropriate non-forest land and begin growing plantations These agencies could be private companies, village forest communities or NGOs.
  • After three years the land would be eligible to be considered as compensatory forest land.
  • An industry needing forest land could then approach the agency and pay it for parcels of such forested land.
  • The participating agency will be free to trade its asset, that is plantation, in parcels, with project proponents who need forest land.

The concept of privatizing is thus introduced with this idea.

  • Privatizing of forest as a Viable Option

Advantages

  • The FAC believes that such a scheme will encourage plantation by individuals outside the traditional forest area.
  • It will help in meeting international commitments such as sustainable development goals and nationally determined contributions.
  • It will also help in solving various industries’ complain that they find it hard to acquire appropriate non-forest land, which has to be contiguous to existing forest.
  • The scheme will also supplement the Green India Mission, which is one of India’s initiatives to combat climate change.
    • It aims to sequester 2.523 billion tonnes of carbon by 2020-30 and this involves adding 30 million hectares in addition to an existing forest.

However, it does not solve the core problems of afforestation or even compensatory afforestation.

Disadvantages

  • It will allow the Forest Department to outsource one of its responsibilities of reforesting to non- government agencies. These agencies may not realize the ecological value of forest, nor have resources to manage them effectively.
  • This could allow for “forests” to be traded as a commodity. It could lead to the privatization of multi-use forests into monoculture plantations, and even their destruction, along with loss of biodiversity and violation of land rights.
  • If the economic value of these plantations becomes lucrative, it can pose a serious threat to agricultural land, by diverting the latter for plantations.
  • If the company raising the plantation does not wish to trade, it can retain and harvest the plantation for timber, once ready. This goes against the rehabilitative principle of compensatory afforestation which seeks to restore the ecological imbalance.
  • The crisis of fragmentation of forests and the spike in man-animal conflict will augment.
  • Plantations cannot replace biodiversity integral to natural forests.

Conclusion

The value of forests must be reimagined, pushing the policy discourse on nature beyond the narrow confines of profiteering. But if policy is to reflect this change in perspective, the apparatus of forest management must be made inclusive. The forest advisory committee, (the green credit scheme is its brainchild) must work in tandem with all stakeholders, including independent voices, so as not to miss the wood for the trees.