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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 7 December 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: World Geography – Interior of the earth

1. Discuss in detail the various Sources of Information about the interior of the earth. (250 words)

Reference: Class 11 Geography Chapter 3 Interior of the Earth

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss in detail the various sources of information about the interior of the earth.

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 briefly that understanding the basic structure of earth is very important to learn higher concepts well. Also, the origin of many phenomena like earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami etc. are linked with the structure of earth’s interior.

Body:

The question is straightforward from the basics and there isn’t much to deliberate, one is expected to ponder upon the sources of Information about the interior of the earth.

Talk about the direct; Rocks from mining area, volcanic eruptions etc. and indirect sources (Meteors, Gravity anomaly, magnetic sources etc.); use a schematic to present them.

Explain in detail how they help us understand the Earth’s interior.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

The radius of the earth is 6,370 kms. Thus, it is impossible to reach the center of the earth and find out about the composition. Also, this composition is changing in nature. The rapid increase in temperature is also one of the factors that put a limit to direct observation of the earth’s interior. However, through some direct and indirect sources, the scientists have a fair idea about how the earth’s interior look like.

Body:

Direct Sources of information about the Earth’s Interior

  • Deep earth mining and drilling reveal the nature of rocks deep down the surface.
  • But as mining and drilling are not practically possible beyond a certain depth, they don’t reveal much information about the earth’s interior.
  • Mponeng gold mine(deepest mine in the world) and TauTona gold mine (second deepest mine in the world) in South Africa are deepest mines reaching to a depth of only 3.9 km.
  • And the deepest drilling is only about 12 km deep hole bored by the Soviet Union in the 1970s over the Kola Peninsula.
  • Volcanic eruption forms another source of obtaining direct information.

Indirect Sources of information about the Earth’s Interior:

  • By analysing the rate of change of temperature and pressurefrom the surface towards the interior.
  • Meteors, as they belong to the same type of materials earth is made of.
  • Gravitation, which is greater near poles and less at the equator.
  • Gravity anomaly, which is the change in gravity value according to the mass of material, gives us information about the materials in the earth’s interior.
  • Magnetic sources.
  • Seismic Waves: the shadow zones of body waves (Primary and secondary waves) give us information about the state of materials in the interior.

Importance of studying interior of the earth:

  • We rely on Earth for valuable resources such as soil, water, metals, industrial minerals, and energy, and we need to know how to find these resources and exploit them sustainably.
  • We can study rocks and the fossils they contain to understand the evolution of our environment and the life within it.
  • We can learn to minimize our risks from earthquakes, volcanoes, slope failures, and damaging storms.
  • We can learn how and why Earth’s climate has changed in the past, and use that knowledge to understand both natural and human-caused climate change.
  • We can recognize how our activities have altered the environment in many ways and the climate in increasingly serious ways, and how to avoid more severe changes in the future.
  • We can use our knowledge of Earth to understand other planets in our solar system, as well as those around distant stars.

Conclusion:

Studying the interior structure of Earth provides us with a better understanding of Earth, helps us to understand earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, how the atmosphere formed, and to study earth’s magnetic fields.

 

Topic: World Geography – Geological Time Scale

2. Account for Anthropocene as Earth’s new epoch and discuss its salient features. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu  , The Hindu 

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I; World Geography – Geological Time Scale.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to account in detail – Anthropocene as Earth’s new epoch and discuss its salient features.

Directive:

Account – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you are in agreement with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with a brief definition of geological time scale (GTS); it divides and chronicles earth’s evolutionary history into various periods from the beginning to the present based on definite events that marked a major change in earth’s physical, chemical and biological features.

Body:

The answer body must analyse what Anthropocene age is, what is its significance and what are geological markers and evidences of the same in discussing the Anthropocene epoch.

The term ‘Anthropocene’ was coined in 2000 by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer to denote the present geological time interval in which human activity has profoundly altered many conditions and processes on Earth. The word combines the root “anthro”, meaning “human” with the root “cene”, the standard suffix for “epoch” in geologic time.

The Anthropocene is distinguished as a new period either after or within the Holocene, the current epoch, which began approximately 10,000 years ago (about 8000 BC) with the end of the last glacial period.

Then move onto discuss its key features.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its significance.

Introduction:

The term ‘Anthropocene’ was coined in 2000 by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer. Anthropocene denotes the present geological time interval in which human activity has profoundly altered many conditions and processes on Earth. The word combines the root “anthro”, meaning “human” with the root “cene”, the standard suffix for “epoch” in geologic time.  A 34-member panel of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) has voted 29-4 in favour of designating a new geological epoch — the Anthropocene.

Body:

The Anthropocene is distinguished as a new period either after or within the Holocene, the current epoch, which began approximately 10,000 years ago (about 8000 BC) with the end of the last glacial period. Anthropocene Epoch, unofficial interval of geologic time, making up the third worldwide division of the Quaternary Period (2.6 million years ago to the present), characterized as the time in which the collective activities of human beings (Homo sapiens) began to substantially alter Earth’s surface, atmosphere, oceans, and systems of nutrient cycling.

According to the AWG, the salient features associated with the Anthropocene include:

  • increase in erosion and sediment transport associated with urbanisation and agriculture,
  • rapid environmental changes
  • global dispersion of many new ‘minerals’ and ‘rocks’ including concrete, fly ash and plastics, and the myriad ‘technofossils’ produced from these and other materials.
  • Although the scale of humanity’s influence over Earth is large in modern times, there is much debate in the scientific community surrounding when human activities began to dominate the planet’s natural systems.
  • Extinction of large Pleistocene mammals:is considered as the first signs occurred approximately 14,000 years ago. Though the incontrovertible proof linking humans to the demise of those mammals is lacking.
  • Rise of agriculture:Others note that the rise of agriculture between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago might mark the onset of the Anthropocene. however, this start time may be problematic since it roughly coincides with the beginning of the Holocene Epoch.
  • Dawn of the Industrial Revolution:a period of rapid change that brought about the advances in medicine, food production, and other technologies that fueled the recent growth in the world’s human population is also considered as the popular views among those who push for the formalization of the Anthropocene Epoch.

Significance of the Anthropocene Epoch:

Some of the geological markers used in declaring Anthropocene epoch are:

  • Artificial radionuclides: spread across the world by atomic bomb tests from the early 1950s would serve as the golden spike. The radionuclides are present almost everywhere from marine sediments to ice layers and even stalagmites and stalactites.
  • The rate of soil erosion: increased from intensive agriculture and the land-use conversion will leave a mark in rock strata.
  • Global warming: The rising air temperatures have caused glaciers and polar ice to melt and seawater to expand, both of which have contributed to a measurable rise in global sea level. Rising waters will change the stratigraphy in some places by submerging low-lying areas and allowing the ocean to deliver sediments farther inland than they do at present.
  • The decline in seawater PH: the depth at which carbonate minerals (e.g., limestone and chalk) form in the ocean will be shallower than it was during preindustrial times. Many pre-existing carbonate formations will dissolve in response to increases in ocean acidity, leaving a signature of striking dark layers of carbonate-depleted rock.
  • The rapid extinction rate: It is the most significant evidence of the Anthropocene in rock strata. Several ecologists have noted that the rate of species extinction occurring since the middle of the 20th century has been more than 1,000 times that of the preindustrial period, comparable to the pace of other mass extinctions occurring over the course of Earth’s history.
  • Deterioration of Forests: The ongoing conversion of forests: and other natural areas to agriculture and urban land and accelerated climate change resulting from alterations to the carbon cycle.

Conclusion:

Anthropocene highlights the scale of our impact on Earth. It shows that the impact of our activities is global and irreversible which has generated a new geological epoch. It is necessary to think about the global issues which affect our planet like climate change, loss of biodiversity, environmental degradation, deforestation etc. which are being affected by human influence. The Anthropocene allows us to re-examine the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic :Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3. What is Mahaparinirvan Diwas? Why is it celebrated? Discuss its significance. (250 words)

Reference: News on Air

Why the question:

December 6 is observed to commemorate Dr B R Ambedkar’s unfathomable contribution to society and his achievements.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail what is Mahaparinirvan Diwas, its significance and why it is celebrated.

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:

The term ‘parinirvan’ has a deep meaning in Buddhist traditions and refers to someone who has attained nirvana in his lifetime and after death.

Body:

December 6 is observed to commemorate his unfathomable contribution to society and his achievements. Millions of people and followers assemble at the Chaitya Bhoomi (Dadar Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai), on this day.

Explain his contributions; His relentless effort in shaping the Directive Principles, the formulation of the Reservation system for the upliftment of the backward sections of the society, the voicing of the equal right of the Dalits Buddhist have earned him an irreplaceable position in Indian political history. The historic Poona Pact of 1932 was signed by him who gave the Dalits a place in the general electoral list.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance that such day held in the past and would hold in the future.

Introduction:

Mahaparinirvan Diwas is observed on the 6th of December every year to mark the death anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar. It was the 64th Dr. Ambedkar Mahaparinirvan Divas observed in 2020.

Dr BR Ambedkar was the chief architect of the Constitution of India. He was also an eminent Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement as well as the rights of women and labour.

Body:

In Buddhism, ‘parinirvana’ which means nirvana-after-death occurs upon the death of someone who has attained nirvana during their lifetime. It implies a release from the world, karma and rebirth as well as the dissolution of the skandhas.

Chaitya Bhoomi, the place where Dr Ambedkar was cremated, is a revered place of pilgrimage for all Ambedkarites and Buddhists in the World. Millions of people and followers assemble at the Chaitya Bhoomi (Dadar Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai), on this day.

Significance of Mahaparinirvan Diwas:

  • This day is celebrated every year by organizing a function by the city corporation and SCs and STs State Government Employees Association to commemorate the great contribution of the Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar towards the country.
  • His great efforts help a lot to keep the country united.
  • The constitution of India written by Dr. Ambedkar is still guiding the country and helps it in emerging out safety even after he has passed through several crises.
  • The foundation of Dr. Ambedkar has been set up by the Indian government on 24th march 1992 so, that the people all over the country can get his message of social justice.
  • His relentless effort in shaping the Directive Principles, the formulation of the Reservation system for the upliftment of the backward sections of the society, the voicing of the equal right of the Dalits Buddhist have earned him an irreplaceable position in Indian political history.
  • The historic Poona Pact of 1932 was signed by him which gave the Dalits a place in the general electoral list.
  • A revolutionary freedom fighter, Ambedkar had led from the front along with Jawaharlal Nehru and Gandhi and played a pivotal role in the upliftment of the poor and backward classes of the society.
  • Ambedkar led the Dalit Buddhist campaign from the front and worked relentlessly for their equal human rights and betterment.
  • Thus it becomes inevitable that such an enigmatic personality be paid the highest tribute on his death anniversary.
  • In 1956 he published his book Annihilation of Caste which vehemently criticised the then practice and laws regarding the untouchables and Dalits.
  • Dr BR Ambedkar was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour of India, posthumously in 1990.

Conclusion:

After a brief illness, Dr Ambedkar passed away on this day in 1956. As the most recognised leader of Dalits and the chief architect of the Constitution of India, Dr Ambedkar’s contributions to the country’s social polity are unparalleled.

 

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

4. Discuss the challenges before our country in the task of vaccine distribution; Also, suggest solutions to address such challenges. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The article brings to us India’s vaccine distribution challenge amidst the current covid-19 challenge.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the challenges before our country in the task of vaccine distribution; also, suggest solutions to address such challenges.

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 context of the question in general.

Body:

Students must understand the question is not specific to Covid-19 vaccination challenge, Therefore keep the challenges open to the entire task of vaccine distribution. Take examples of diseases such as polio in the past, covid-19 in the present.

Present the issues related to vaccine distribution; it will be influenced by three factors or three Cs (Convenience, Complacency, and Confidence).

Take cues from the article and elaborate upon the challenges, present solutions to address them.

List down the efforts of the government in this direction.

Conclusion:

Suggest way forward; explain the importance of collaborations with private players, need to adopt technologies like cold chain infrastructure etc.

Introduction:

As the private sector is leading the research for Covid-19 vaccine, the role and independence of vaccine manufacturers and free-market become very crucial. However, being a welfare state, while ensuring adequate profit to private researchers/developers, the Indian government needs to frame a policy that ensures the fastest delivery of a vaccine for the largest number of people.

Thus, the government needs a policy which can ensure both acquisition of vaccines for poor people and pricing strategies so that the private sector remains motivated to deliver safe and effective vaccines.

Body:

Present scenario for vaccine development:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has created a very large market for the vaccine, and the incentives of vaccine developers are well-aligned with society at large.
  • Indian manufacturers, frontrunners at mass-producing vaccines, have struck deals with most vaccine developers and global pharmaceutical companies. This places India in a unique position to get early access to a vaccine.

Issues related to vaccine distribution:

Utilization of Covid-19 vaccine will be influenced by three factors or three Cs (Convenience, Complacency, and Confidence)

  • Convenience: It implies the physical proximity or availability of vaccination to the masses.
    • A recent Lancet study pointed out, some wealthy nations have secured more than 2 billion doses of potential future Covid-19 vaccines using advance purchase agreements. This would certainly create a scarcity for developing countries like India.
    • Further, distributing the vaccine across India will need a sophisticated cold chain system.
  • Complacency: With respect to diseases, a lot of people tend to think that their personal risk is low.
    • “Optimism bias,” as it is called, makes vaccination seem unnecessary to them. However, this behaviour can prove fatal in battling a pandemic like Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Confidence: Public trust in the efficacy and safety of the vaccine is crucial whenever a new vaccine is launched.

Way forward:

  • Working for Availability of Vaccine:Once a safe and effective vaccine is available, it should be a high priority to ensure that it is easy for everyone to have access to it. In this pursuit:
  • India should consider joining the COVAX platform(Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access advance purchase agreement). It offers a diversified portfolio of vaccines to all participating countries.
  • Collaboration with the private sector will also help, in this direction the government is already working with pharmaceutical companies like the Serum Institute of India.
  • Market Pricing Along with Direct Benefit Transfer:This would mean lower immediate cost of rollout (due to competition and high demand) and targeted subsidy to the needy.
  • In this, vaccines for the poor should be paid for by the government at cost and a free market for the vaccine should operate for those who can afford it.
  • As any vaccinated person, rich or poor, will inadvertently protect others. Even if the rich get vaccinated first by buying it at a market price, this will ease the burden on the medical system and high prices will also incentivize greater supply of vaccines swiftly to locations where they are most in demand.
  • Further, the government by paying for the vaccine doses will ensure India doesn’t destroy its own long-term private vaccine production capacity and is promoted as a pharmaceutical hub in the world.
  • Launching an Awareness Campaign:Government should launch a massive awareness campaign highlighting the flaw in optimism bias in some sections of society. It can also help to emphasize that vaccination protects not only those who get vaccinated but also others whom they might otherwise infect.

Conclusion:

The Covid-19 vaccine is certainly a social good but its development largely depends on the hands of the private sector. Therefore, the government must cautiously frame vaccine distribution policy to ensure the greatest good to the greatest number.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5.  How should India, an economy dependent on fossil fuels, navigate future energy transitions? Discuss with special focus on Technology as an answer to such a transition. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article brings to us insights on a new map that India must pave for the end of Oil Age.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the transition that India must peddle to move towards future energy transitions, explain with special focus on technology.

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 context of the question.

Body:

Before venturing into the possible energy transition, explain the factors that shape the ongoing transitions such as – first is the US shale revolution, leveraging by Russia of its gas exports, China’s assertion of its rights over the South China Seas, sectarian strife (Sunni/Shia) in the Middle East etc.

Then explain the state of India’s energy sector, explain the dependence of it on fossil fuels.

Discuss the importance of technology and explain how it will reshape the map for the new energy transition that India would tread.

Conclusion:

Conclude with multi-faceted options available before India for its upcoming energy transition.

Introduction:

India has committed in the 2015 Paris Agreement to reduce GHG emissions intensity by 33-35% below 2005 levels. It also committed to achieve 40% of installed electric power capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030. At the UN General Assembly in 2019, we announced a target of 450 GW of renewable energy (RE) by 2030.

Body:

Current scenario:

Findings of CEA study:

  • The optimal electricity mix study of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), estimated 430 GW non-hydro renewables (280 GW solar + 140 GW wind + 10 GW bio) by 2030.
  • Study put thermal capacity at 266 GW by 2030.
  • So, it puts the percentage of non-fossil fuel (RE + hydro + nuclear) in installed capacity by 2030 at 64%, which is much higher than India’s Paris commitment.

Coal contradiction:

  • The target for coal production at 1.5 billion tonnes, which was set in 2015, has been reinforced recently to be achieved by 2024.
  • Privatisation of coal mining and recent auctions have given a meaningful thrust to this.
  • Looked at the target set for renewable energy, targets for cola production convey contradictory signals.
  • The targeted coal production of 1.5 billion tonnes, even by 2030, would mean thermal generation capacity could double over the current 223 GW.
  • In that case, even with targeted RE capacity, we will not achieve our emissions intensity Paris commitment.
  • Can a global green champion announce doubling its coal production in five years?

Problems with renewables

  • Policy Issues
  • Continuous changes in duty structure.
  • Renegotiation of PPAs.
  • Curtailment of solar power.
  • Extremely delayed payments in some states.
  • Policy flip-flops on open access and net metering.
  • Delays by state agencies and regulators.
  • Land possession difficulties.
  • Transmission roadblockseven in solar parks.
  • Solar cell manufacturing constraints
  • Our capacity for cell manufacture is3 GW, though workable capacity is actually around 2 GW.
  • Domestically manufactured cells are more expensive and less efficient.
  • There is little upgrade in a rapidly changing world of technology.
  • 90% of cells and 80% modules are imported largely from China or Chinese companies elsewhere.
  • Wafer imports are 100%as we don’t manufacture ingots/wafers.
  • For every GW with an average cost of Rs 5,000 crore in 2019, more than half goes to China.
  • Storage constraints
  • Hydro pump storageis limited in quantity and there will be an issue of costs.
  • The other project is a solar-wind hybrid with batteries installed after a few years.
  • Neither intends to meet peak power demandor even the baseload.
  • Forecasts suggest lowering of battery costs by 50% by 2030.
  • It makes sense to wait before we go for large-scale storage.
  • Manufacturing domestically
  • At the least plan to make5 GW of ingot/wafer manufacturing capacity urgently.
  • We may require electricity supply at about Rs 3 per unit, and dedicated power plants.
  • The risk oftechnology obsolescence would need to be factored in.
  • Policy, fiscal and financial support prescriptions should aim at creatingglobally competitive industry.
  • We need to develop batteries suitable for extreme Indian weather conditionsbut globally benchmarked.
  • This demands a mission approach,getting our best people and institutions together, properly funded and tasked to get a battery out in the next three years.
  • We must also simultaneously launch a hydrogen mission—target heavy vehicle mobility through fuel cells.
  • It may become a solution for RE storage, too.

Suggested pathways

  • Build thermal capacity as per CEA estimates and quickly. None after 2030. Retire inefficient plants. Plan for miner rehabilitation.
  • Accelerate RE after 2030 with storage. Aim for 10 GW solar and 5 GW wind annually.
  • Develop 5-10 GW ingot/wafer manufacturing capacity urgently and diversify import sources even at some extra cost.
  • Develop a battery for Indian conditions in three years; full battery manufacturing in India in five years.
  • Revisit the manner of solar generation. Prioritise decentralised and solar agriculture.
  • Plan for hydrogen economy with pilot projects and dedicated highways for long and heavy haul traffic.
  • Put a strong energy demand management system into place with much stronger energy efficiency and the conservation movement.
  • India must develop its own world-scale, competitive, manufacturing systems for photovoltaics (PVs) and battery storage.
  • India must prepare a clean energy technology strategy. Technology is the answer to the energy transition

Conclusion:

Embracing the RE will help India economically and strategically. It will also help it achieve its targets in its fight against climate change.

 

 

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

6. “In the ongoing farm debate in the country, the green reality check seems to be missing”, in this context discuss the need and importance of recognising agroecology and equity at the core of techno-scientific model of farming sector in the country. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article from Indian Express brings to us importance of recognising agroecology and equity at the core of techno-scientific model of farming sector in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain how and why in the ongoing farm debate green reality check seems to be missing in 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:

First, explain the ongoing farming related uproar in the country, put forth the demands being made by farmers.

Body:

Start by explaining the fact that neither government nor protesting farmers recognise the challenge of depleting natural resources and climate crisis.

Discuss the factors that have led to such a situation. The recognition that agriculture is embedded in nature and that the agrarian economy is constrained by the limits imposed by nature and by social rules is fundamental to making policies that can benefit farmers.

Explain that instead of a resource-based approach, the need is to develop a relationship-based approach towards the environment. The challenges towards adopting such an approach have ecological, sociocultural, political, techno-scientific and economic dimensions. Reducing this complex maze to either economic or techno-scientific or a combination of both is highly problematic.

Conclusion:

Conclude on a note that salient recognition that any sound economic and techno-scientific model must have agroecology and equity at the core and, must indeed, be guided by them.

Introduction:

The recognition that agriculture is embedded in nature and that the agrarian economy is constrained by the limits imposed by nature and by social rules is fundamental to making policies that can benefit farmers. Instead of a resource-based approach, the need is to develop a relationship-based approach towards the environment.

Body:

The challenges towards adopting such an approach have ecological, sociocultural, political, techno-scientific and economic dimensions. Reducing this complex maze to either economic or techno-scientific or a combination of both is highly problematic. This reductionism is the primary reason we are now suffering the consequences of runaway climate change, to which the contribution of modern agriculture is significant.

Need and importance of recognising agroecology:

  • The destruction of our rich agricultural biodiversity, the growing toxicity of our air, water and soils, the over-extraction of groundwater and growth in pesticide resistance have led to farming becoming a high-risk venture, in addition to threatening human health.
  • The link between factory farming of animals and the growth of zoonotic diseases is now well-known, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Modern agricultural practices emphasise maximising crop yields, farm incomes and global competitiveness.
  • The single-minded pursuit of such goals has remade our land and farms into monocultures. This has led to increasing doses of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, causing widespread soil degradation.
  • The extent of degraded land in India is 12 crore hectares or about 38 per cent of our total geographical area.
  • While modern science and technology have made monoculture farms possible, it is the economics of modern supply chains that has accelerated their growth.
    • For example, crop varieties of wheat (and later rice), highly responsive to chemical fertilisers and water, along with the advent of mechanisation and agrochemicals, made wheat and paddy monoculture farms possible in the 1960s. But the Green Revolution did not take off until the Indian government provided input subsidies and set up the MSP-based procurement regime for these two crops.
  • Similarly, it is the economics of soybean meal as cattle-feed that has driven the growth of soybean monoculture farms around the world while the demand for sweeteners and biofuels made from corn and sugarcane have promoted their fast growth.
  • Unfortunately, the scientific paradigm of single-crop productivity has promoted an agricultural system with ecologically unsustainable cropping patterns.
  • It has contributed significantly to climate emissions, and threatened farmer livelihoods and the natural resource base they depend upon.
  • Moreover, it has also distorted our food consumption patterns, replacing nutritious millets with polished rice and wheat and negatively affected our nutritional security.

In attempting to offer a new deal to farmers, the new farm laws don’t seem to recognise or address any of these fundamental concerns. The farmer organisations pressing demand for continued MSPs and subsidies shows the in-built reproduction of these problems in this model.

Measures needed:

  • By promoting greater corporatisation of agriculture (through contract farming, higher stocking limits and private marketplaces), the laws will, in all probability, accelerate the growth of long supply chains of monoculture commodities.
  • An expanded MSP regime might support the livelihoods of farmers growing the crops being procured and who have the wherewithal to access the mandi/procurement centres, but it will necessarily be limited by the government’s ability to purchase.
  • Moreover, guaranteed procurement in the past has incentivised monoculture farming, with huge ecological and social costs.
  • This is not to ignore the critical importance of a system of public procurement to promote less favoured crops like millets and pulses.
  • In either case, the pressing problems of natural resource exhaustion, adverse climate impacts, unstable markets and undemocratic governments will eventually force farmers off the monoculture treadmill as farming becomes riskier and more expensive with a continuously degrading natural resource base.

Conclusion:

If we truly want to ensure the livelihoods of our farmers and provide safe, healthy, nutritious food for our consumers, it is imperative to make policies that go beyond the productivity trope and populist posturing. This can begin with the salient recognition that any sound economic and techno-scientific model must have agro ecology and equity at the core and, must indeed, be guided by them.

 

 

 

Topic : Intellectual property Rights

7. Discuss the importance of Intellectual property cooperation between India and US.  (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The Government of India and the United States of America (USA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Intellectual Property Cooperation. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the importance of Intellectual property cooperation between India and US. 

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 and the background that India and the US recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on intellectual property cooperation.

Body:

First start by explaining what Intellectual property rights are, present their significance briefly.

One is expected to explain in detail how will the MoU increase IP cooperation between India and the US? How will it be implemented? – present the importance of it.

Explain that the cooperation will go a long way in fostering cooperation between India and USA, and provide opportunities to both countries to learn from the experience of each other, especially in terms of best practices followed in the other country. It will be a landmark step forward in India’s journey towards becoming a major player in global innovation and will further the objectives of National IPR Policy, 2016. List down more advantages and discuss concerns if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 

Introduction:

India and the US recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on intellectual property cooperation. It is considered as a landmark step forward in India’s journey towards becoming a major player in global innovation and will further the objectives of National IPR Policy, 2016. The MoU was between the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Body:

The MoU is of great value as India has always been on the watchlist of the countries on the US Special Report 301.

Importance of IP cooperation between India and the US:

  • Facilitate the exchange and dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP among the public as well as between and among the industry, universities, research and development (R&D) organisations and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
  • This will happen through their participation in programs and events that are singly or jointly organised by the participants.
  • It is also expected to encourage collaboration in training programs, exchange of experts, technical exchanges and outreach activities.
  • The MoU provides for the exchange of information and best practices on processes for registration and examination of applications for patents, trademarks, copyrights, geographical indications, and industrial designs, as well as the protection, enforcement and use of IP rights.
  • It also provides for the exchange of information on the development and implementation of automation and modernisation projects, new documentation and information systems in IP and procedures for management of IP office services.
  • It is also expected to foster their cooperation to understand various issues related to traditional knowledge and the exchange of best practices, including those related to traditional knowledge databases and awareness raising on the use of existing IP systems to protect traditional knowledge.

Way forward:

  • Government’s effort to strengthen National IPR policy, IP appellate tribunal, e-governance and commitment to abide by the TRIPS agreement of WTO in letter and spirit will help in improving perception of India globally.
  • An efficient and equitable intellectual property system can help all countries to realize intellectual property’s potential as a catalyst for economic development and social & cultural well-being.

Conclusion:

India has made a number of changes in its IPR regime to increase efficiency and has cut down the time required to issue patents. The culture of innovation is taking centre stage in the country. India is well poised to focus on R&D. This has been reflected in its improved ranking in Global Innovation Index over the years.


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