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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 November 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.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic : Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes

1. What do you understand by ‘recurving of cyclones’? Discuss with recent examples and also focus the factors supporting such events. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Recently Scientists have revealed that re-curving cyclones play an important role in sensing the movement of cyclones, thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain what you understand by ‘recurving of cyclones’ and discuss with recent examples and also focus the factors supporting such events.

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:

One can start with the definition of ‘recurving of cyclones’.

Body:

Explain in detail the key features of it; on its way to diminish if cyclone gets a sort of second wind by deflected right or eastwards is known as re-curving cyclones. This is due to air currents in the local atmosphere that push cold air from the poles towards the equator and interfere with cyclone formation.

In the southern hemisphere, the cyclones spin clockwise and therefore also re-curve in the opposite direction. During the monsoon months, cyclones in the Western Pacific move westwards towards India and aid the associated rain-bearing systems over the country. However, in the years of a re-curve, they do not give as much of a push to the rain as they do in the good monsoon years.

One can present the example of cyclone Ockhi; present details and explain the effects of recurving.

Conclusion:

Conclude by discussing its implications and suggest solutions to address the same.

Introduction:

In Northern Hemisphere, recurvature of a tropical cyclone is defined as the situation when a tropical cyclone transits from a mainly westward track to a northward and sometimes even an eastward track.

Body:

  • Recurving of cyclones:
  • On its way to diminish if cyclone gets a sort of second wind by deflected right or eastwards is known as re-curving cyclones.
  • This is due to air currents in the local atmosphere that push cold air from the poles towards the equator and interfere with cyclone formation.
  • In the southern hemisphere, the cyclones spin clockwise and therefore also re-curve in the opposite direction.
  • During the monsoon months, cyclones in the Western Pacific move westwards towards India and aid the associated rain-bearing systems over the country.
  • However, in the years of a re-curve, they do not give as much of a push to the rain as they do in the good monsoon years.

monsoon

  • Recurving of cyclones: relevance with Ockhi cyclone and Mora cyclone
  • A challenge with re-curving cyclones is that it is hard for weather models to pick them early on as was the case with Ockhi.
  • August rains in India was dampened, which was 13% short of Cyclone Ockhi.
  • The whirlwind that arose in the Bay of Bengal and revved up over Sri Lanka was expected to pass over Lakshadweep and then ease into the Arabian Sea, far away from India’s west coast.
  • However, the cyclone ended up sharply swerving into parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • It did not blow in very strongly because there it had not gained as much moisture from the Arabian Sea like it had over the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean boundary.
  • And though it wreaked havoc in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and destroyed several beaches in Goa when it curved back to the land.
  • cyclone Mora formed over the Bay of Bengal in May 2017.
  • It rapidly strengthened with the India Meteorological Department classifying it as a “depression” and eventually as a cyclonic storm.
  • It kept north, almost parallel to the Myanmar coast and then made landfall in Bangladesh and blew over Nagaland.
  • In a re-curving cyclone, the cyclone gets a sort of second wind when it is on the wane.

cyclone

  • Impact of Re-curving cyclones on monsoon
  • During the monsoon months, cyclones in the Western Pacific move westwards towards India and aid the associated rain-bearing systems over the country.
  • However, in the years of a re-curve, they do not give as much of a push to the rain as they do in the good monsoon years.
  • Long-term data suggest that while there has been an increase in the number of tropical cyclones in India’s neighborhood there is no clear trend in re-curving ones.
  • In general, cyclone activity in India peaks around November, by which time, the summer monsoon has already passed.
  • Rarely do re-curving cyclones pose a mortal threat to Indian coasts and Cyclone Ockhi raised hackles because it had already left a certain amount of damage and threatened Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Conclusion:

As climate change is projected to increase the frequency of extreme events, scientists have warned that tropical cyclones are likely to get more intense, and this could mean more scrutiny of re-curving ones. A challenge with re-curving cyclones is that it is hard for weather models to pick them early on and so they pose unique challenges in terms of hazard preparedness and disaster management.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. What explains India’s poor rank under the Global Hunger Index, and what are the solutions? And do you think focus on lack of availability of food as the main cause of hunger takes the attention away from ineffective human development policies in India? (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article brings to us deeper insights on the factors contributing to hunger – mainly the lack of food availability and in what way it has led to ignorance of ineffective human development policies in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain India’s poor rank under the Global Hunger Index, and discuss the possible solutions also explain how it has taken the focus away from the ineffective human development policies in India.

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:

Start with the fact of India’s status on global hunger index.

Body:

Two recent reports — the annual report on “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020” by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and the 2020 Hunger report, “Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow” by the Bread for the World Institute  – document staggering facts about Indian food insecurity and malnutrition. Discuss key points from them in the first part of your answer.

Then explain why focus on lack of availability of food is often the main cause of hunger.

Later explain the ineffective human development policies in India that are often shadowed by hunger.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions to the whole issue like immediate universalization of the PDS, distribution of quality food items and community kitchens etc.

Introduction:

India ranked 94 among 107 nations in the Global Hunger Index 2020 and is in the ‘serious’ hunger category with experts blaming poor implementation processes, lack of effective monitoring, siloed approach in tackling malnutrition and poor performance by large states behind the low ranking

Body:

  • Indian Scenario:
  • Performance on the Indicators:
  • Undernourishment: 14% of India’s population is undernourished (2017-19). It was 16.3% during 2011-13.
  • Child Wasting: 17.3% (2015-19), it was 15.1% in 2010-14.
  • Child Stunting: 34.7%, it has improved significantly, from 54% in 2000 to less than 35% now.
  • Child Mortality: 3.7%, it was 5.2% in 2012.

inndia stand

  • The annual report on “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020” by the Food and Agricultural Organization and the 2020 Hunger report, “Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow” by the Bread for the World Institute have stated staggering facts about Indian food insecurity and malnutrition.
  • As per PoU and PMSFI India is one of the most food-insecure countries, with the highest rates of stunting and wasting among other South Asian countries.
  • The Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU) measures the percentage of people who are consuming insufficient calories than their required minimum dietary energy requirement.
  • The Prevalence of Moderate or Severe Food Insecurity (PMSFI) identifies the percentage of people who live in households that are severely or moderately food insecure.
  • Food Insecurity Experience Scale survey, which covers almost 90% of the world’s population but not allowed to be conducted in India.
  • It indicates that between 2014-16, about 29.1% of the total population was food insecure, which rose up to 32.9% in 2017-19.
  • About 375 million of the total population was moderately or severely food insecure in 2014, which went to about 450 million in 2019.

The main cause for such high levels of child stunting and wasting in India:

  • Poor maternal health: South Asian babies show very high levels of wasting very early in their lives, within the first six months. This reflects the poor state of maternal health.
  • Mothers are too young, too short, too thin and too undernourished themselves, before they get pregnant, during pregnancy, and then after giving birth, during breast-feeding.
  • Poor sanitation is another major cause of child wasting and stunting.

Need to focus on lack of availability of food is often the main cause of hunger.

  • High incidence of malnutrition: The reduction in poverty has been substantial going but malnutrition has not declined.
  • Poor performance: In terms of percentages, the PoU has declined 24.7% between 2001 and 2018 for India; other data are China (76.4%), Nepal (74%), Pakistan (42%), Afghanistan (37.4%) and Bangladesh (18.9%).
  • Low consumption: “Hunger Watch” survey by the Right to Food Campaign says with close to one out of every three respondents reporting low food consumption and massive compromise on food quality.
  • Double-whammy: States have temporarily expanded their coverage in the wake of the crisis, the problem of malnutrition is likely to deepen in the coming years with rising unemployment and the deep economic slump.
  • Non-inclusive National Food Security Act, 2013: there is non-inclusion of nutritious food items such as pulses and exclusion of potential beneficiaries.

Ineffective human development policies in India: often shadowed by hunger.

  • Ending hunger and malnutrition will not be achieved by focusing on food security and agriculture alone.
  • Policymakers in India must acknowledge the critical need to link action in addressing food security to national strategies across sectors.
  • There is a need to pursue a “zero hunger” programme with no stunted children below the age of two.
  • This should be a multipronged strategy that focuses on improving agricultural productivity, empowers women through support for maternal and child care practices, and offers nutritional education and social protection programmes.
  • The nutrition mission must develop effective protocols for treating the acutely malnourished while ensuring better coordination between the nutrition and healthcare departments.
  • India should adopt a zero tolerance mindset in battling hunger through long-term political commitment and effective human development policies that do not see hunger as arising only out of lack of availability of food.

India’s effort to achieve food security:

  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), with its network of 1.4 million Anganwadi Centres, reaching almost 100 million beneficiaries who include pregnant and nursing mothers and children up to 6 years;
  • Mid-day meals (MDM) that reach almost 120 million children in schools; and
  • Public Distribution System (PDS) that reaches over 800 million people under the National Food Security Act.
  • The recently announced flagship program of the Ministry of Women and Child Development will be anchored through the National Nutrition Mission (NNM), or Poshan Abhiyaan, with its own specific budget of ₹9,046 crore and a proposed World Bank loan of $200 million, to ensure convergence among the various programmes of the government.
  • Additionally, NITI Aayog has worked on a National Nutrition Strategy (NNS), isolated the 100 most backward districts for stunting and prioritised those for interventions.
  • The National Nutrition Strategy (NNS) has set very ambitious targets for 2022 and the Poshan Abhiyaan has also specified three-year targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition and low birth weight by 2% each year, and to reduce anaemia by 3% each year.
  • IYCF (Infant and Young child feeding), Food and Nutrition, Immunization, Institutional Delivery, WASH(Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), De-worming, ORS-Zinc, Food Fortification, Dietary Diversification, Adolescent Nutrition, Maternal Health and Nutrition, ECCE(Early Childhood care and Education), Convergence, ICT-RTM(Information and Communication. Technology enabled Real Time Monitoring), Capacity Building.

Measures needed:

  • Governments, private actors, and NGOs should carefully coordinate their responses to overlapping food and health crises and work with community organizations to make sure interventions are culturally acceptable, reach the most vulnerable, and preserve local ecosystems.
  • Food should be priced not only by its weight or volume but also by its nutrient density, its freedom from contamination, and its contribution to ecosystem services and social justice.
  • Governments should expand access to maternal and child health care, as well as education on healthy diets and child feeding practices.
  • Supporting smallholder farmers in becoming sustainable and diversified producers; governments and NGOs must seek to improve those farmers’ access to agricultural inputs and extension services, coupling local and indigenous agricultural knowledge with new technologies.
  • Existing human rights-based multilateral mechanisms and international standards—such as the Committee on World Food Security—must be strengthened to support inclusive policy making and sustainable food systems.

Conclusion:

Prioritizing early childhood nutrition is key to ensuring India’s development rests on strong and steady shoulders. India’s ability to harness long-term demographic dividends rests on it prioritizing nutrition in its health agenda, and reforming the institutional framework through which interventions are delivered.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

3. Explain the phenomenon of Blue tide? How does it affect the marine ecosystem of the country? Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The question is based on the concept of Blue tide.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the phenomenon of Blue tide and explain with examples as to how it affects the marine ecosystem of the country.

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 what Blue-tide is.

Body:

The tide producing a fluorescent blue hue, popularly known as bioluminescence, recently made an appearance at Mumbai’s Juhu Beach and Devgad Beach in Sindhudurg, along Maharashtra’s coastline.

Bioluminescence has been an annual occurrence along the west coast since 2016, especially during the months of November and December. The spectacle occurs when phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants), commonly known as dinoflagellates, produce light through chemical reactions in proteins. A wave disturbs these unicellular microorganisms and makes them release blue light.

Explain its effects on marine ecosystem.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue and suggest way forward.

Introduction:

The phenomenon is called ‘blue tide’, and appears when luminescent marine life make the sea appear a deep shade of blue.

Body:

Factors responsible for its occurrence:

  • The main factors for its occurrence could be eutrophication – the reduction of oxygen in the water – which makes the phytoplanktons very dominant.
  • High temperature, high quantity of organic material such as sewage and effluents and increased turbulence/ wave action of the water could be the cause of this bioluminescence.
  • Apart from man-made causes, the adverse impact of climate change leading to increased seawater temperature could play a major role in such a phenomenon.
  • Bioluminescence is the property of a living organism to produce and emit light.
  • Animals, plants, fungi and bacteria show bioluminescence. A large number of marine animals and microorganisms can produce their own light.
  • It is found in many marine organisms, such as bacteria, algae, jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, starfish, fish and sharks.
  • Luminescence is generally higher in deep-living and planktonic organisms than in shallow species. This is an anti-predatory response.

blue_tide

Blue tide: Affect the marine ecosystem of the country

  • The fluorescent blue hue may also be a signal of danger.
  • Many of the species in this group are toxic. If dinoflagellates reproduce rapidly, they may cause so-called ‘red tides.
  • During this period all the animals (mollusks, fish, etc.) that feed on dinoflagellates also become toxic due to the accumulation of high amounts of toxins from dinoflagellates.
  • It is dangerous to eat such sea animals because the toxins that are contained in them may have various unpleasant effects: some merely irritate the bowel and cause food poisoning, whereas others, being neurotoxins, may even have an effect on memory.
  • Some species, such as the sea sparkle (Noctiluca scintillans) are not as toxic but may have other unpleasant effects.
  • Slow moving larger booms may have an impact on deep-sea fishing.

Conclusion:

Blue tides can be controlled through community participation, strengthening the laws related to water pollution, convergence of existing schemes towards sustainable ocean management.

 

Topic: GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

4. What has been India’s experience with FTAs in the past? Why are FTAs not working as expected for India? What are the steps taken by India to strengthen its existing FTAs? Explain. (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why the question:

Recently, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was finally signed with participation of 15 members including 10 ASEAN member countries, after over a decade of negotiations. While it is being described as the world’s largest free trading agreement, India had decided against joining RCEP last year citing several concerns.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the India’s experience with FTAs in the past and why are FTAs not working as expected for India.

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:

Start by discussing what FTA’s are.

Body:

FTAs are arrangements between two or more countries or trading blocs that primarily agree to reduce or eliminate customs tariff and nontariff barriers on substantial trade between them.

Then discuss the past experiences of India with respect to FTAs. Explain what significance do free trade/FTAs hold for India in the present global scenario.

Explain India’s experience in detail, while presenting the case of India and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Discuss the steps taken by India to strengthen its existing FTAs.

Conclusion:

Conclude with fair and balance opinion and suggest way forward.

Introduction:

A free trade agreement is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to imports and exports among them. Under a free trade policy, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with little or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions to inhibit their exchange.

Trade theory has consistently been a strong proponent of free trade of goods, services, capital and labor. However, a growing wave of protectionism has dominated global trade of late. While it is difficult to assess whether this will lead to a significant shift in the global trade paradigm, a review of India’s existing free trade agreements (FTAs) before negotiating new ones is necessary.

Body:

Review of India’s FTAs:

  • India is a fairly open economy with overall trade (exports plus imports) as a percentage of GDP at around 40%.
  • Its exports have diversified both in terms of markets and products in the past two decades.
  • Indian exports have gradually found their way into new markets and the export sector has moved up the value chain, leading the way with high-value products like industrial machinery, automobiles and car parts, and refined petroleum products.
  • Indian exports are sensitive to price changes, global demand and supply-side bottlenecks.
  • Estimates suggest that a 1% increase in the country’s international relative export price could reduce export volume growth by about 0.9% for all industries, and by about 1.1% for the manufacturing sector.
  • However, global demand operates with a factor slightly above 1.5, suggesting that, given the composition of our export basket, increase in global demand drives India’s exports much more than price cuts
  • India’s exports to FTA countries have not outperformed overall export growth, or exports to rest of the world.
    • For example, India’s trade deficit with Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), South Korea and Japan has doubled to $24 billion in FY2017 from $15 billion in FY2011 (with the signing of the respective FTAs) and $5 billion in FY06.
  • Also, India’s exports are much more responsive to income changes as compared to price changes. So, a tariff reduction or elimination does not boost exports significantly.
  • Utilization rate of regional trade agreements (RTAs) by exporters in India is very low.
  • Most estimates put it at less than 25%. Lack of information on FTAs, low margins of preference, delays and administrative costs associated with rules of origin, non-tariff measures, are major reasons for under-utilization.
  • When it comes to the India-ASEAN FTA, there is a deterioration of the quality of trade. Apart from the surge in total trade deficit due to tariff cuts, sector wise trade flows also paint a grim picture.
  • As per the UN’s Harmonized System of Product Classification, products can be grouped into 99 chapters, and further into 21sections like textiles, chemicals, vegetable products, etc.
  • India has experienced a worsening of trade balance (deficit increased or surplus reduced) for 13 out of 21 sectors.
  • This also includes value-added sectors like chemicals and allied, plastics and rubber, minerals, leather, textiles, gems and jewellery. Sectors where trade balance has improved include animal products, cement and ceramic, arms and ammunitions.
  • Sectors where trade deficit has worsened account for approximately 75% of India’s exports to Asean.
  • So, there are genuine concerns of trade asymmetry when India signs up new FTAs because of past FTA experience.
  • However, FTAs are instrumental in creating seamless trade blocs that can aid trade and economic growth.

How FTA’s have been beneficial for India:

  • The Economic Survey for 2019-20 has pointed out that generally FTAs have been beneficial for India.
  • From the perspective of trade balance, India has gained in terms of 0.7 per cent increase in the trade surplus per year for manufactured products and of 2.3 per cent increase in trade surplus per year for total merchandise
  • Between 1993 and 2018, India’s exports of manufactured products grew at an annual average of 13.4% to partners with which it has trade agreements and such imports grew 12.7%, it says.
  • In comparison, its overall goods exports grew at an average of 10.9% and imports 8.6% during this period.
  • At least seven of the fourteen trade agreements with partners including Bhutan, Singapore, Chile, Nepal, the ASEAN, the MERCOSUR and Afghanistan have benefited exports of manufactured products from the country.
  • Four of the agreements including ones with Sri Lanka, Thailand, SAFTA and BIMSTEC have not affected exports.
  • It is only in the case of Japan and South Korea that exports of manufactured goods have suffered.

Future prospects of Free Trade Agreements:

  • The government is very clear that ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ is neither protectionist nor isolationist.
  • It’s about getting our act together to improve domestic production of finished goods, gain from better integration with the global value chain and ensure fair trade.
  • After its pull-out from the China-dominated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement in November last year, New Delhi had decided to step up talks for a slew of “balanced and fair” trade pacts, in contrast with earlier FTAs that “worsened India’s trade deficit”.
  • India had aimed at a “limited” deal with the US, which had been in the works for several months, and a broader free trade agreement (FTA) after the presidential elections there in November.
  • Recently the commerce minister suggested that India and US were close to closing the limited trade deal.
  • New Delhi wants to speed up talks with European Free Trade Association members – Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – for a separate trade pact in parallel to its discussions with the EU.
  • It had also planned to launch or fast-track bilateral talks for FTAs with the UK, South Africa and Mexico.

Way forward:

  • Before getting into any multilateral trade deal, India should review its existing FTAs in terms of benefits to various stakeholders like industry and consumers, trade complementarities and changing trade patterns in the past decade.
  • Negotiating bilateral FTAs with countries where trade complementarities and margin of preference is high may benefit India in the long run.
  • Also, higher compliance costs nullify the benefits of margin of preference. Thus reducing compliance cost and administrative delays is extremely critical to increase utilization rate of FTAs.
  • Proper safety and quality standards should be set to avoid dumping of lower quality hazardous goods into the Indian market.

Conclusion:

India’s tactical shift from multilateralism to bilateral engagements comes at a time of heightened uncertainties in global trade, as countries world-over increasingly resort to protectionism to help local industries. It’s also seeking to rework its existing FTAs with ASEAN, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea to trim its trade deficit with these nations Circumvention of rules of origin should be strictly dealt with by the authorities. Well-balanced FTA deals addressing the concerns of all the stakeholders are the need of the hour.

 

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

5. Discuss the importance of Sustainable peat land management and explain in what way it has the potential to prevent future pandemics. (250 words)

Reference: Down to Earth 

Why the question:

The article explains the importance of Sustainable peat land management and in what way it has the potential to prevent future pandemics.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the importance of Sustainable peat land management and explain in what way it has the potential to prevent future pandemics.

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 Peat lands are.

Body:

Start by discussing the importance of Sustainable peat land management – Peatlands harbour a variety of disease-spreading hosts; flora and fauna in them are also being harvested, increasing contact with humans.

Peat lands are rich in biodiversity, including many potential vertebrate and invertebrate vectors, or carriers of disease. These included numerous vertebrates known to represent a risk of spreading zoonotic disease, such as bats, rodents, pangolins and primates. Zoonotic diseases are those that jump from animals to humans.

Take hints from the article and present a case study and explain the need to manage them.

Discuss in what way it has the potential to prevent future pandemics.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of Sustainable peat land management.

Introduction:

Peatlands are wetlands that contain a mixture of decomposed organic material, partially submerged in a layer of water, lacking oxygen. Peatlands, which play a crucial role in regulating global climate by acting as carbon sinks, are facing degradation and need to be urgently monitored, according to the FAO.

Body:

  • Peatlands significance:
  • Large amounts of carbon, fixed from the atmosphere into plant tissues through photosynthesis, are locked away in peat soils, representing a valuable global carbon store.
  • Peatlands are highly significant to global efforts to combat climate change, as well as wider sustainable development goals.
  • The protection and restoration of peatlands are vital in the transition towards a low-carbon and circular economy.
  • Importance of Sustainable peat land management:
  • Better sinks of Carbon
  • Damaged peatlands contribute about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions from the land-use sector.
  • CO2 emissions from drained peatlands are estimated at 1.3 gigatons of CO2 This is equivalent to 5.6% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
  • However, at the same time, peatlands are the largest natural terrestrial carbon store. Worldwide, the remaining area of near-natural peatland contains more than 550 gigatons of carbon.
  • This represented 42% of all soil carbon and exceeds the carbon stored in all other vegetation types, including the world’s forests. This area sequesters 0.37 gigatons of CO2 a year.
  • Vital ecosystem services
  • By regulating water flows, peatlands help minimize the risk of flooding and drought and prevent seawater intrusion.
  • In many parts of the world, peatlands supply food, fibre and other local products that sustain local economies.
  • They also preserve important ecological and archaeological information such as pollen records and human artefacts.
  • Draining peatlands reduces the quality of drinking water due to pollution from dissolved compounds. Damage to peatlands also results in biodiversity loss.
  • Peatlands are important for archaeology, as they maintain pollen, seeds and human remains for a long time in their acidic and water-logged conditions.
  • Many wetland species produce berries, mushrooms and fruits, often economically important to local communities.
  • Peatlands also provide fishing and hunting opportunities. It is also possible to practice wet agriculture on rewetted peatlands.

river

  • Various Threats:
  • Commercial Forestry: It is the second greatest cause of land-use changes in peatland mostly prevalent in Scandinavian countries, UK, Russia, South-East Asia etc.
  • Peat extraction and usage: Peat as a source of energy is being used on a large scale by households. It is also used as raw material for producing growing media for professional horticulture and for home gardening.
  • Infrastructure Development: Conversion of peatlands in coastal areas to meet the urban development, waste disposal needs, development of roads and other infrastructure.

patland

  • Peatlands potential to prevent future pandemics:
  • Sustainably managing peatlands — peat-swamp forests found around the tropics — can protect humans from future pandemics
  • Peatlands were rich in biodiversity, including many potential vertebrate and invertebrate vectors, or carriers of disease.
  • These included numerous vertebrates known to represent a risk of spreading zoonotic disease, such as bats, rodents, pangolins and primates.
  • These areas also faced high levels of habitat disruption such as wild or human-made fires and wildlife harvesting that were perfect conditions for potential zoonotic emerging infectious diseases (EID)
  • The study gave examples from around the world.
  • The first reported case of Ebola in 1976 was from a peatland area, as was the most recent outbreak in May 2020
  • The cradle of the HIV/AIDS pandemic was believed to be around Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, another area with extensive peatlands.
  • Wildlife harvesting for consumption and trade was common in tropical forest nations. For instance, in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, fruit bats were captured in tropical peat-swamp forest areas and transported to local markets for sale as wild meat.
  • High densities of domestic and semi-wild animals reared on peatlands could also serve as a direct or indirect zoonotic EID vector to humans
  • Example of the predominantly peatland municipality of Palangka Raya in Indonesia. The area had over 1.8 million chickens, according to the Statistics of Palangka Raya Municipality, 2018.
  • The study also talked about large numbers of naturally cave-roosting edible-nest swiftlets being reared in special buildings in many peatland areas, with most nests exported to China.
  • Sustainably managing tropical peatlands and their wildlife was important for mitigating the impacts of the ongoing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic
  • The move would also help in reducing the potential for future zoonotic EID emergence and severity

To cope with the negative consequences of peatlands unsustainable management, the following steps are recommended by FAO:

  • Conserve intact peatlands;
  • Rewet drained peatlands;
  • Apply climate-responsible peatlands management; and
  • Implement adaptive management where rewetting is not possible.
  • Paludiculture (biomass cultivation in wet conditions) can be considered a responsible management option for peatland management.
  • Raising the water table, regulating the number of grazing livestock, fencing pastures for rotational grazing and replanting or reseeding of forage species, all help to control soil erosion and reduce off-site water pollution.
  • Cultivating fish in the rewetted peatlands to support local economies is a strategy that can potentially preserve existing carbon stores.
  • To access financing for responsible peatlands management practices and policies, international programmes and mechanisms such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) can be considered.

Conclusion:

The Global Peatlands Initiative is an effort by leading experts and institutions to save peatlands as the world’s largest terrestrial organic carbon stock and to prevent it being emitted into the atmosphere. Need of the hour is to provide sustainable peatlands for future.

 

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.  India is the world’s biggest producers of jute, in this context discuss the potential of Jute industry while highlighting the issues before it and the reforms required to promote. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article presents deeper insights on the Jute industry of the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Bring out the potential and challenges faced by India in the Jute industry and present the reforms that are required to achieve its full potential.

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 with the fact that India is the world’s biggest producer of jute, a sustainable, versatile fibre, but it shows very little imagination for its promotion.

Body:

The body of the answer must capture the following dimensions in detail –

Challenges faced by jute industry in India; Shortage of Raw Material. Despite of the Government efforts to increase area under Jute, India is not self-sufficient in raw material. Obsolete Mills and Machinery; the mills and machinery in Jute sector are obsolete and need technology up gradation etc.

Jute is the second most important industry next to cotton textiles and plays a dominant role in the industrial economy of eastern India supporting nearly 40 lakh. Thus explain the potential of the Industry to the country.

Discuss the future prospects.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Jute is Known as the ‘golden fiber’. It is one of the longest and most used natural fiber for various textile applications. It thrives in tropical lowland areas with humidity of 60% to 90%. Jute is a rain-fed crop with little need for fertilizer or pesticides.

Body:

  • India is the world’s biggest producers of jute:
  • India is the largest Jute producing country with annual production estimated to be around 1.986 million tons.
  • The improvement in crop cultivation and the use of technology in jute farming has made India prominent in global production of Jute.
  • West Bengal accounts for almost 50% of the country’s total jute production. Other major jute producing regions in the country include Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya, and Orissa.
  • India, along with the major producers, is also the largest consumer of jute and jute products in the world.
  • So much so that it had to import around 337000 tons of Jute and jute products in the year 2011 to meet the domestic demands.
  • Potential of Jute Industry:
  • Jute textile industry is one of the major industries catering the eastern part of India, particularly in West Bengal.
  • This industry supports around 40 lakh farm families and provides direct employment to 2.6 lakh industrial workers and 1.4 lakh in the tertiary sector.
  • labor-output ratio is also high in spite of various difficulties being faced by the industry.
  • Capacity utilization of the industry is around 75 per cent. Jute industry contributes to the export earnings in the range of Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1, 200 crores annually.

textile_industries

  • Problems Associated in Jute Industries:
  • Producing the age old products like jute sacking and hessian as packaging material and some extent carpet backing. These products in total account around 95 per cent of the total production of the industry.
  • Only countable industries are involved in diversified product development process for commercial purposes. These products are mostly laminated jute fabric, geo-textile, industrial textiles, etc.
  • Lack of modernization and automation: Efficiency of the machines is not up to the mark (in an average within 80 per cent).
  • Due to frequent breakdowns, defective and inferior quality products are being made.
  • Requires more manpower with the cost of production is increasing day-by-day which proves to be a challenge for the industry.
  • Stiff competition with synthetic industry for similar packaging material, as the synthetic material is much cheaper in nature.
  • Different political interference, labor problem, shortage of jute fiber supply due to low rainfall among other issues leading to challenge the sustainability of the jute industry
  • Government Initiatives for Promoting Jute Industry:
  • Jute Corporation of India (JCI) procures raw jute at Minimum Support Price (MSP), fixed on the basis of recommendation of the commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices (CACP), from jute growers to safeguard their interest.
  • Incentive Scheme for Acquisition of Plants and Machinery (ISAPM): Launched in 2013, it aims to facilitate modernization in existing and new jute mills and up- gradation of technology in existing jute mills.
  • Jute-ICARE (Jute: Improved Cultivation and Advanced Retting Exercise): This pilot project launched in 2015 is aimed at addressing the difficulties faced by the jute cultivators by providing them certified seeds at subsidized rates, and by popularizing several newly developed retting technologies under water limiting conditions.
  • The National Jute Board implements various schemes for market development, workers’ welfare and promotion of diversification and exports.
  • In order to boost demand in the jute sector, the Government has also imposed anti-dumping duty on import of jute goods from Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • Reforms required to promote jute Industry:
  • Application of jute area must be increased. India needs to work on quality by adopting new technologies.
  • Jute Research organizations such as ICAR-NINFET, Kolkata, IJIRA, Kolkata, Department of Jute and Fiber Technology, Kolkata, Directorate of Jute Development, National Jute Board, etc. Must work together to utilize resources for the betterment of the industry.
  • Government must make efforts in R&D to strengthen the jute industry and implement newer technologies, diversified products and improved machinery through intensive modernization.
  • These will fetch more profit and has less market competition (synthetic counterpart) due to its eco-friendly property which has good prospects in the coming days.
  • Today with the advent of science, a lot of diversified products has been developed from jute and jute-based material, which has more cost-benefit ratio.

Conclusion:

All these problems faced by the Jute industry in India necessitates the Golden Fiber Revolution to enhance the value of India’s Golden Fiber. Need of the hour is to rejuvenate the Jute industry.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7.  What is the main difference between psychological egoism and ethical egoism? Compare and contrast. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

Why the question:

The question is about differentiating between psychological egoism and ethical egoism? Compare and contrast.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to present the main difference between psychological egoism and ethical egoism.

Directive:

Compare and contrast – provide for a detailed comparison of the two types, their features that are similar as well as different. One must provide for detailed assessment of the two.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define the two terms first.

Body:

Ethical egoism

  • It is based on premise of ‘what is good for individual is good for society.’
  • Jeremy Bentham gave this concept.
  • It forms the basis for Utilitarian theory in normative ethics (Maximum pleasure, Minimum pain’).
  • It focuses more on individual liberty, freedom and happiness.

Psychological egoism

  • It is based on premise of ‘human being is selfish brutish and self-protective.’
  • Thomas Hobbes gave this concept.
  • It forms the basis for Social Contract theory given by Thomas Hobbes.
  • Human will sacrifice some rights for sake of peace and order in society.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of the two.

Introduction:

Egoism a doctrine that individual self-interest is the actual motive of all conscious action. Egoism can be a descriptive or a normative position

Body:

  • Hobbes’s Psychological egoism
  • It states that every human action is motivated by self-interest.
  • It is commonly related to and motivated by selfishness.
  • It is descriptive in that, the theory states that it makes no claim as to how one should act.
  • Hobbes says Charity is the most general motive that we ascribe to people when we think they are acting from a concern for others.
  • It appeals to the fact that unselfish actions produce a sense of self-satisfaction in the person who does them.
    • Example: The motorist might be thinking that one day s/he, too, could need help. So, s/he supports a culture in which we help those in need.
    • Example: The person giving to charity might be hoping to impress others, or they might be trying to avoid feelings of guilt, or they might be looking for that warm fuzzy feeling one gets after doing a good deed.
    • Example: The soldier falling on the grenade might be hoping for glory, even if only the posthumous kind.
  • Ayn Rand’s Ethical egoism
  • It states that humans ought to seek the fulfilment of their wants and desires.
  • It is related to selfishness, but it is more motivated by one doing what is right.
  • It is prescriptive in that the theory states we “ought” to pursue our own self-interest.
  • For Rand, accepting the offer of Charity means they are not competent to care for themselves; and they cease to be self-reliant and become passively dependent on others.
  • It appeals that sacrificing one’s life for the good of others does not take seriously the value of the human individual.
    • Example: if I don’t work as hard as possible for my own personal success, then I might fail to accomplish many things that would be good for the world.
    • Example: Business man selling his products for above price to benefit his family and their lifestyle.
    • Example: A company wants to empty waste into a river; the people living downstream object.

Conclusion:

Even while pursuing selfish ends, people have to ensure that they can pursue such ends over the long term. If people are too brazen or aggressive in pursuing their selfish ends to the extent of riding roughshod over others, they will meet resistance, people will be wary of them and will avoid them. Then they cannot pursue their ends. Therefore, even while pursuing selfish ends, one has to be prudent and ensure that they do not lead to backlash from others.


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