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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 April 2022

 

 

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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. Groundwater plays a major role in both hydrologic and human systems. The existing approach for utilising groundwater is flawed and unsustainable. Hence, there is need to have a new paradigm for groundwater management. Discuss.  (250 words)

 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: the Hindu

 

Why the question: The theme of this year’s World Water Day was ‘Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible’. The primary focus is to draw attention to the role of groundwater in water and sanitation systems, agriculture, industry, ecosystems, and climate change adaptation.

Key Demand of the question: To write importance of ground water, the limitations in the present approach of its utilisation and changes required to it.

Directive word: 

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin the answer by writing about the importance of groundwater.

Body:

First, write about the issues in the present approach towards utilisation of ground water – Overexploitation of groundwater and intensive irrigation in major canal commands has posed serious problems for groundwater managers in India. Depletion of water tables, saltwater encroachment, drying of aquifers, groundwater pollution, water logging and salinity, etc. are major consequences of overexploitation and intensive irrigation.

Next, write about the changes that are needed to be taken in the new approach in order to ensure sustainable use of groundwater.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

Introduction

With an annual groundwater extraction of 248.69 billion cubic meters (2017), India is among the largest users of groundwater in the world. Almost 89% of the groundwater extracted is used for irrigation and the rest for domestic and industrial use (9% and 2%). India is on the threshold of a very serious groundwater crisis, which needs mitigation both in the fields and at the policy corridors of the country.

Body

 

Importance of Groundwater

  • Groundwater helps reduce the risk of temporary water shortage and caters to the needs of arid and semiarid regions.
  • Due to its high storage capacity, groundwater is more resilient to the effects of climate change than surface water.
  • More than 90 percent of groundwater in India is used for irrigated agriculture.
  • The remainder — 24 billion cubic meters — supplies 85 percent of the country’s drinking water.
  • Roughly 80 percent of India’s 1.35 billion residents depend on groundwater for both drinking and irrigation.
  • Current statistics also show that nearly 50% of urban water supply comes from groundwater.

Problems with groundwater depletion

  • Lowering of the water table
  • Reduction of water in streams and lakes
  • Land subsidence: A lack of groundwater limits biodiversity and dangerous sinkholes result from depleted aquifers.
  • Increased costs for the user
  • Deterioration of water quality
  • Saltwater contamination can occur.
  • Crop production decrease from lack of water availability (40% of global food production relies on groundwater).
  • Groundwater depletion interrupts the ‘natural’ water cycle putting disproportionately more water into the sea.
  • As large aquifers are depleted, food supply and people will suffer.

Measures needed

  • The government should develop policies to determine which crops should be grown in which region according to the water availability, which “has not been the focus.” For instance, Punjab has a semi-arid climate but it grows rice, which depletes groundwater and is “highly unsustainable.”
  • The traditional flood irrigation in India accounts for huge water loss through evapotranspiration. Drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation must be used for efficient utilisation of water.
  • There should be restrictions to cut off the access to groundwater in areas identified as “critical” and “dark zones”, where the water table is overused or very low.
  • There is a need to treat water as common resource rather than private property to prevent its overexploitation
  • Problems and issues such as water logging, salinity, agricultural toxins, and industrial effluents, all need to be properly looked into.
  • Government has initiated schemes like DRIP programme, more drop per crop, Krishi Sinchai Yojana to ensure economical water use practices in agriculture.
  • Bottom-up approach by empowering the local community to become active participants in managing groundwater.
  • Creating regulatory options at the community level such as panchayat is also one among the feasible solutions.
  • Traditional methods of water conservation should be encouraged to minimize the depletion of water resources.
  • Artificial recharge of tube wells, water reuse, afforestation, scientific methods of agriculture should also be done.

Conclusion

Sustainable management of groundwater in India is vital for tackling growing challenges related to water availability. The effective answer to the groundwater crisis is to integrate conservation and development activities, from water extraction to water management, at the local level; making communities aware and involving them fully is therefore critical for success.

 


General Studies – 2


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

 

2. Marital rape has no place in modern social jurisprudence and is inconsistent with the constitutional rights of women. It is long overdue to criminalise martial rape in India. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: the Hindu

Why the question: Over the last several months, arguments challenging the constitutionality of the marital rape exception in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had gripped the Delhi High Court. While the judgment in those petitions is still awaited, in one clean swoop Justice M. Nagaprasanna of the Karnataka High Court on March 23, 2022, in the case of Hrishikesh Sahoo vs State of Karnataka, pronounced the end of the marital rape exception.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the need to criminalise marital rape in India.

Directive word: 

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin the answer by giving context regarding criminalisation of marital rape.

Body:

First, mention the need to criminalise marital rape – against right to dignity under Article 21, Gender violence, against article 14, marital rape has adverse and long-term consequences on women’s health and well-being etc.

Next, write about the factors which creates obstacles for criminalisation of marital rape.

Suggest reforms to overcome the above issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

Marital rape is the act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the consent of the other spouse. Although it was once widely unrecognized by law and society as wrong or as a crime, it is now recognized as rape by many societies around the world. Criminal Law in India has been amended multiple times for the protection of the women. However, the non-criminalization of marital rape in India undermines the dignity and human rights of women.

Over the last several months, arguments challenging the constitutionality of the marital rape exception in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had gripped the Delhi High Court. While the judgment in those petitions is still awaited, in one clean swoop Justice M. Nagaprasanna of the Karnataka High Court on March 23, 2022, in the case of Hrishikesh Sahoo vs State of Karnataka, pronounced the end of the marital rape exception.

Body

Current scenario:

  • Marital rape has been impeached in more than 100 countries but, unfortunately, India is one of the only 36 countries where marital rape is still not criminalized.
  • In 2013, the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) recommended that the Indian government should criminalize marital rape.
  • The JS Verma committee set up in the aftermath of nationwide protests over the December 16, 2012 gang rape case had also recommended the same.
  • As per the NCRB report, in India, a woman is raped every 16 minutes, and every four minutes, she experiences cruelty at the hands of her in-laws.
  • An analysis of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16 data indicates that an estimated 99.1 per cent of sexual violence cases go unreported and that the average Indian woman is 17 times more likely to face sexual violence from her husband than from others.

Marital Rape: inconsistent with the law as well as the constitutional rights of women:

  • Rape laws in our country continue with the patriarchal outlook of considering women to be the property of men post marriage, with no autonomy or agency over their bodies.
  • They deny married women equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Indian constitution.
  • Lawmakers fail to understand that a marriage should not be viewed as a licence for a husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity. A married woman has the same right to control her own body as does an unmarried woman.
  • The concept of marital rape in India is the epitome of what we call an “implied consent”.
  • Marriage between a man and a woman here implies that both have consented to sexual intercourse and it cannot be otherwise.
  • The centre argues that criminalising marital rape would destabilise the institution of marriage and be an easy tool for harassing the husbands.
  • It has cited the observations of the SC and various HCs on growing misuse of Section 498A (harassment caused to a married woman by her husband and in-laws) of IPC.
  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860, also communicates the same. Section 375 defines the offence of rape with the help of six descriptions. One of the exceptions to this offence is “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape”.
  • Earlier, Section 375 (Exception) created a classification not only between consent given by a married and unmarried woman, but also between married females below 15 years of age and over 15 years old. This was rightfully struck down by SC and made it 18 years.

Need to criminalize Marital Rape in India

  • The SC judgment was only a small step towards striking down the legalisation of marital rape.
  • It is high time that the legislature should take cognisance of this legal infirmity and bring marital rape within the purview of rape laws by eliminating Section 375 (Exception) of IPC.
  • By removing this law, women will be safer from abusive spouses, can receive the help needed to recover from marital rape and can save themselves from domestic violence and sexual abuse.
  • Indian women deserve to be treated equally, and an individual’s human rights do not deserve to be ignored by anyone, including by their spouse.

Conclusion

Rape is rape, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator, and age of the survivor. A woman who is raped by a stranger, lives with a memory of a horrible attack; a woman who is raped by her husband lives with her rapist. Our penal laws, handed down from the British, have by and large remained untouched even after 73 years of independence. But English laws have been amended and marital rape was criminalised way back in 1991. No Indian government has, however, so far shown an active interest in remedying this problem.

Value Addition: Important cases and Committee reports

  • The government defended exception to marital rape in Independent Thought v. Union of India (2017) saying it against the institution of marriage.
  • However, rejecting this claim, the Supreme Court observed, “Marriage is not institutional but personal – nothing can destroy the ‘institution’ of marriage except a statute that makes marriage illegal and punishable.”
  • In Joseph Shine v. Union of India (2018), the Supreme Court held that the offence of adultery was unconstitutional because it was founded on the principle that a woman is her husband’s property after marriage.

Way forward:

  • What constitutes marital rape and marital non-rape needs to be defined precisely before a view on its criminalisation is taken.
  • Defining marital rape would call for a broad based consensus of the society.
  • States should intervene in the matter, since criminal law is on the concurrent list and implemented by states —and given the vast diversity in cultures across states.
  • Factors like literacy, lack of financial empowerment of the majority of females, mindset of the society, vast diversity, poverty, etc., should be considered carefully before taking any decision.
  • The need for “moral and social awareness” to stop such an act.
  • The recent privacy judgment by the Supreme Court is also set to play an important role. The right to bodily integrity is a crucial facet of Article 21.
  • Timely medical care and rehabilitation, skill development and employment for facilitating economic independence of victims.
  • Need for undertaking both legal and social reforms to deal with the menace of marital rape

 

 

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

 

3. The relaxation of AFSPA is welcome, but gradual efforts should be made towards its repeal by ensuring that law and order is maintained by normal means in disturbed areas. Examine. (250 words)

 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express 

 

Why the question: In what is clearly a nod to the vociferous demand for the repeal of the unpopular Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from several States in the northeast, especially after 13 civilians were killed in Mon district in Nagaland in December last year, the Union Home Ministry has decided to considerably reduce the number of “disturbed areas” under the Act in three States.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the reasons to repeal AFSPA completely and steps needed to achieve it.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must 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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin the answer by giving context regarding relaxation of AFSPA.

Body:

First, write about the reasons as to why AFSPA considered draconian – AFSPA allows civilian authorities to call on the armed forces, de facto immunity from prosecution, AFSPA has uncanny similarities with emergencies and effectively suspends fundamental freedoms etc.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to restore normal law and order mechanism in disturbed areas.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act commonly (AFSPA) came in to force decades ago in the context of increasing violence in the North Eastern states. Passed in 1958 for North East and in 1990 for Jammu and Kashmir , the law gives armed forces necessary powers to control disturbed areas which are designated by the govt.

AFSPA, which gives sweeping powers to the armed forces, has been fully or partially withdrawn from parts of three Northeast states — Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. Still, AFSPA remains in force in parts of these three states as well as in parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

Body

 

 

 

AFSPA – a draconian act

  • It has been dubbed as a license to kill. The main criticism of the Act is directed against the provisions of Section 4, which gives the armed forces the power to open fire and even cause death, if prohibitory orders are violated.
  • Human rights activists object on the grounds that these provisions give the security forces unbridled powers to arrest, search, seize and even shoot to kill.
  • Activists accuse the security forces of having destroyed homes and entire villages merely on the suspicion that insurgents were hiding there. They point out that Section 4 empowers the armed forces to arrest citizens without warrant and keep them in custody for several days.
  • They also object to Section 6, which protects security forces personnel from prosecution except with the prior sanction of the central government. Critics say this provision has on many occasions led to even non-commissioned officers brazenly opening fire on crowds without having to justify their action.
  • Critics say the act has failed to contain terrorism and restore normalcy in disturbed areas, as the number of armed groups has gone up after the act was established. Many even hold it responsible for the spiralling violence in areas it is in force.
  • The decision of the government to declare a particular area ‘disturbed’ cannot be challenged in a court of law. Hence, several cases of human rights violations go unnoticed.

Should AFSPA be repealed?

  • The Army clearly sees AFSPA as a capstone enabling Act that gives it the powers necessary to conduct counter-insurgency operations efficiently.
  • If AFSPA is repealed or diluted, it is the army leadership’s considered view that the performance of battalions in counter-insurgency operations will be adversely affected and the terrorists or insurgents will seize the initiative.
  • Many argue that removal of the act will lead to demoralising the armed forces and see militants motivating locals to file lawsuits against the army.
  • Also, the forces are aware that they cannot afford to fail when called upon to safeguard the country’s integrity. Hence, they require the minimum legislation that is essential to ensure efficient utilization of combat capability.
  • AFSPA is necessary to maintain law and order in disturbed areas, otherwise things will go haywire. The law also dissuades advancement of terrorist activities in these areas.
  • Also, extraordinary situations require special handling.

Way forward

  • Security forces should be very careful while operating in the Northeast and must not give any chance to the militants to exploit the situation.
  • Indiscriminate arrests and harassment of people out of frustration for not being able to locate the real culprits should be avoided. All good actions of the force get nullified with one wrong action.
  • Any person, including the supervisory staff, found guilty of violating law should be severely dealt with.
  • The law is not defective, but it is its implementation that has to be managed properly.
  • The local people have to be convinced with proper planning and strategy.

Conclusion

The practical problems encountered in ensuring transparency in counter-insurgency operations must be overcome by innovative measures. The army must be completely transparent in investigating allegations of violations of human rights and bringing the violators to speedy justice. Exemplary punishment must be meted out where the charges are proved.

Value addition

Key features of act

  • In simple terms, AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.
  • They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
  • If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
  • Under the provisions of the AFSPA armed forces are empowered with immunity from being prosecuted to open fire , enter and search without warrant and arrest any person who has committed a cognizable offence.
  • As of now this act is in force in Jammu and Kashmir , Assam , Nagaland and parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.

Expert recommendations

  • A committee headed by Justice Jeevan Reddy was appointed in 2004 to review AFSPA. Though the committee found that the powers conferred under the Act are not absolute, it nevertheless concluded that the Act should be repealed.
  • However, it recommended that essential provisions of the Act be inserted into the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967.
  • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission headed by then Union law minister M Veerappa Moily also recommended that AFSPA should be repealedand its essential provisions should be incorporated in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

 


General Studies – 3


Topic: Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

4. Food processing industry in India is increasingly seen as a potential source for driving the rural economy as it brings about synergy between the consumer, industry and agriculture. Elaborate. (250 words)

 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: InstaPedia

 

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the potential of food processing in driving rural economy and linking it with consumer and industry.

Directive word: 

Elaborate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the context. You must be defining key terms wherever appropriate and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving statistic regarding the extend of food processing industry in India is

Body:

First, write about the scope of food processing in India – A well-developed food processing industry is expected to increase farm gate prices, reduce wastages, ensure value addition, promote crop diversification, generate employment opportunities as well as export earnings.

Next, write about various bottlenecks faced by the industry and the steps that are needed to ensure its growth.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

 

Introduction

Food processing generally includes the basic preparation of foods, the alteration of a food product (usually raw) into another form (as in making preserves from fruit), and preservation and packaging techniques. Food processing typically takes harvested crops or animal products and uses these to produce long shelf-life food products.

Body:

Significance of the food processing industries as a potential source for driving the rural economy:

The Food Processing Industry (FPI) is of enormous significance as it provides vital linkages and synergies that it promotes between the two pillars of the economy, i.e. agriculture and industry.

  • Employment Opportunities: Food processing industries can absorb a major share of workers from the agriculture sector, who face disguised unemployment. It can lead to better productivity and GDP growth.
  • Doubling of farmers’ income: With contract farming, farmers can get better technological inputs from industries as well. There is income security and proportionate value for produce. They are also protected against price shocks.
  • Crop-diversification: Food processing will require different types of inputs thus creating an incentive for the farmer to grow and diversify crops.
  • Farmer Beneficiaries: The SAMPADA scheme is estimated to benefit about 37 lakh farmers and generate about 5.6 lakh direct/ indirect employment (ES 2020 data).
  • Curbing Distress Migration: Provides employment in rural areas, hence reduces migration from rural to urban. Resolves issues of urbanization.
  • Prevents Wastage: Nearly one-third of the food that is produced each year goes uneaten, costing the global economy over $940 billion as per report by World Resources Institute (WRI)
    • India is biggest producer of numerous fruits and vegetable. Most of these are perishable and have very low shelf life. This is the major reason for high percentage of wastage. Their shelf life can be increased through food processing.
  • Value Addition: Products such as tomato sauce, roasted nuts, de-hydrated fruits are in high demand.
  • Reduce malnutrition: Processed foods when fortified with vitamins and minerals can reduce the nutritional gap in the population.
  • Boosts Trade and Earns Foreign exchange: It is an important source of foreign exchange. For e.g. Indian Basmati rice is in great demand in Middle Eastern countries.
  • Make in India: Food processing is one of the six superstar sectors under the GoI’s, Make in India initiative and has the potential to transform India as a leading food processing destination of the World.
  • Curbing Food Inflation: Processing increases the shelf life of the food thus keeping supplies in tune with the demand thereby controlling food-inflation.
    • For e.g. Frozen peas/ corn are available throughout the year.
    • Similarly, canned onions under Operation Greens can achieve price stability.

Challenges facing food processing industry in India

  • Demand of processed food is mainly restricted to urban areas of India.
  • Major problems are listed below:
    • Small and dispersed marketable surplus due to fragmented holdings
    • Low farm productivity due to lack of mechanization,
    • High seasonality of raw materials
    • Perishability and lack of proper intermediation (supply chain) result in lack of availability of raw material.
    • This in turn, impedes food processing and its exports.
  • More than 30% of the produce from farm gate is lost due to inadequate cold chain infrastructure.
  • The NITI Aayog cited a study that estimated annual post-harvest losses close to Rs 90,000 crore.
  • Lack of all-weather roads and connectivity make supply erratic.
  • The food processing industry has a high concentration of unorganised segments, representing almost 75% across all product categories. Thus, causes the inefficiencies in the existing production system.
  • Further, most processing in India can be classified as primary processing, which has lower value-addition compared to secondary processing.
  • Due to this, despite India being one of the largest producers of agricultural commodities in the world, agricultural exports as a share of GDP are fairly low in India relative to the rest of the world.

Solutions to address the challenges

  • The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is implementing PMKSY (Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana). The objective of PMKSY is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease agri-waste.
    • Mega Food Parks.
    • Integrated Cold Chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure.
    • Creation/Expansion of Food Processing/Preservation Capacities.
    • Infrastructure for Agro Processing Clusters.
    • Scheme for Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy: FDI up to 100%, under the automatic route is allowed in food processing industries.
  • Agri Export Zones: To give thrust to export of agro products, new concept of Agri Export Zones was brought in 2001. APEDA has been nominated as the Nodal Agency to coordinate the efforts
    • cluster approach of identifying the potential products;
    • the geographical region in which these products are grown;
    • Adopting an end-to-end approach of integrating the entire process right from the stage of production till it reaches the market (farm to market).

Conclusion

Food processing has a promising future, provided adequate government support is there. Food is the biggest expense for an urban Indian household. About 35 % of the total consumption expenditure of households is generally spent on food. As mentioned, food processing has numerous advantages which are specific to Indian context. It has the capacity to lift millions out of undernutrition. Government has its work cut out to develop industry in a way which takes care of small scale industry along with attracting big ticket domestic and foreign investments.

 

 

 

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.

 

5. What are the underlying reasons for agrarian distress in India? There is urgent need to address the problem of agrarian distress on a war footing. Suggest measures. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: InstaPedia

 

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the reasons for agrarian distress and to suggest measures to overcome them.

Introduction: 

Start by giving statistic regarding role of agriculture in India’s economy.

Body:

In the first part, explain the reasons for agricultural distress – unviable agriculture, ineffective Minimum Support Prices (MSP) system, adverse terms of trade, rural indebtedness and inefficient value chain in agriculture.

Next, suggest measures to overcome the above – Invigorating Procurement operation in major crops, Strengthen Forward Markets, Widening Crop Insurance, Integrating Agricultural Markets and Promoting Smart farming etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

Introduction

Agriculture is the key to alleviate rural poverty, stop distress migration and most importantly ensuring food security in India. While the 14 volumes of the Dalwai Committee Report on doubling farmers’ income provided a road map for transition from a mere Green Revolution to an Income Revolution for farmers, the country is yet to solve the ‘Riddle of Agriculture distress’.

Body

Underlying reasons for agrarian distress in India

  • Economies of scale and operations: India has very small average land holding size (2.66 acres as per Agri Census, 2015-16) and that too is scattered over different places in small parcels. This is making individual ownership of agriculture machinery economically unviable.
  • Low income level of farmers: 86 percent of farmers in India are small and marginal and earns on an average Rs 6,426 per month as per 2016 NSSO report
  • Institutional vis-à-vis Non-Institutional Agricultural Credit: Traditionally, rural agrarian credit needs were met primarily through money-lenders, which led to large scale indebtedness.
  • High logistics costs: India’s cost of logistics is currently around 14% of GDP – higher than developed country exporters like the US (9.5%).
  • Infrastructure shortage: The poor state of infrastructure in these markets is another important aspect which continues to be ignored. Just 15 per cent of the APMC markets have cold storage facilities. Weighing facilities are available in only 49 per cent of the markets.
  • MSP largely benefited wheat and paddy farmers: The procurement of other MSP notified commodities has not been very encouraging. For instance, procurement of oilseeds remained at abysmally low 0.66 percent of the total production.
  • Poor operation of the Price Support Scheme as can be seen with total procurement of pulses being at only 10 percent of the marketed surplus.

Addressing agrarian distress on war footing

  • About one third of the increase in farmers’ income is easily attainable through better price realization, efficient post-harvest management, competitive value chains and adoption of allied activities.
    • This requires comprehensive reforms in market, land lease and raising of trees on private land.
  • Agriculture has suffered due to absence of modern capital and modern knowledge.
    • There is a need to liberalise agriculture to attract responsible private investments in production and market.
    • Similarly, FPOs and FPCs can play big role in promoting small farm business.
  • Precision farming: Evidence is growing about scope of agronomic practices like precision farming to raise production and income of farmers substantially.
  • Target markets for export: Identify markets with high export potential for competitive value chains and sign beneficial bilateral or multilateral trade agreements with them, raising sanitary and phytosanitary production levels to meet their quality standards and negotiating with them to remove non-tariff barriers.
  • Solve Value Chain Clusters (VCC) holistically with focus on value addition: The clusters would also serve to converge the government’s spends and schemes, as well as seek any additional funding required, for building the necessary infrastructure at competitive costs for value addition, promoting research and development and promoting “Brand India” in global markets.
  • Similarly, modern machinery such as laser land leveller, precision seeder and planter, and practices like SRI (system of rice intensification), direct seeded rice, zero tillage, raised bed plantation and ridge plantation allow technically highly efficient farming.
    • However, these technologies developed by the public sector have very poor marketability.
    • They require strong extension for the adoption by farmers
  • Technological innovations, along with price support measures and the supply of subsidized key inputs like irrigation, fertilizer, and electricity, have played an important role in the growth of Indian agriculture.
  • A policy shift from price to income support under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) program is deemed better as it would incentivize farmers as money is transferred to their bank accounts and bring in much needed efficiency in input use.
  • Credit schemes: Direct benefit transfer can act as a blessing in disguise for small farmers, tenants etc. Eg: Rythu bandhu scheme in Telangana, Kalia in odisha

Conclusion

Hence besides chalking new plans and announcements, this is the right time to take pragmatic steps to address the fault lines in India’s agricultural and farming sector, to bring rural prosperity and dispel agrarian distress.

 

 

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

6. Tariff competitiveness offered by the solar and wind power projects are major factor determining its profitability and extent of investment in it. Discuss the steps that are needed to ensure tariff competitiveness of solar and wind power. (250 words)

 

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

 

Why the question: The switch from a single to a two-part tariff structure for renewables has to be made right now as we are at the cusp of ramping up our renewable generation and it takes time for matters to get streamlined as we have seen in the past.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the steps to make solar and wind power tariff competitive.

Directive word: 

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by giving the extent of solar and wind power in India and further potential in India.

Body:

First, Write about the existing tariff structure in brief.

Next, mention as to how tariff competitiveness affects solar and wind power – profitability, investment potential, adoption and losses mitigation.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to ensure tariff competitiveness in solar and wind power.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

The complex tariff structure for solar and wind power projects makes them less lucrative to attract investments and capital. This directly affects the renewable energy targets set by India. The switch from a single to a two-part tariff structure for renewables has to be made right now as we are at the cusp of ramping up our renewable generation and it takes time for matters to get streamlined as we have seen in the past.

Body

Existing tariff structure for power

  • Power generation tariffs in India comprise two parts.
    • The first part is a fixed component – the cost that a generator incurs. This is not linked to the amount of power generated.
    • The second part varies with the quantum of generation.
  • The two-part tariff has been in vogue since 1992. It applies to thermal and hydro generation.
  • It does not apply to renewable generation — solar, wind, and also nuclear.
  • With a single part tariff for renewable generation, the entire cost is variable and at Rs 2.5 per unit for solar generation, it is not the cheapest source.
  • There are several NTPC coal-fired pit head plants whose variable costs are far lower, for example, Simhadri (Rs 1.36), Korba (Rs 1.36), Sipat (Rs 1.43), Vindhyachal (Rs 1.70), and Talcher (Rs 2.00).
  • The renewable sector has been given a “must run” status. This means that any generation from renewables needs to be dispatched first. The logic is that if we do not use the sun’s rays or for that matter the wind velocity, it is lost forever. The state load dispatch centres (SLDCs) are under instructions to adhere to this principle.
  • SLDCs often flout the principle of “must run”, since the distribution companies would save money by asking the renewable generator to back down while keeping the tap on for a coal-based generation.

Tariff competitiveness affecting solar and wind power

  • Profitability: Tariffs should be such, that it incentivises the power generators and distributors to keep continuing the usage of renewables. India has promised zero carbon emissions by 2070 and profitability to generators of renewables is the key.
  • Investment potential: A good tariff policy can help attract investments and capital from big global players. This can also lead to better technological know-how and employment generation. But an uncertain tariff can dampen such investment opportunities.
  • Adoption: A good tariff structure can affect generation, distribution and consumption. Even end customers should be incentivised to use renewables, especially big industries.
  • Losses mitigation: There must be a mechanism to have a hybrid model so that any losses due to natural causes can be mitigated.

Conclusion and way forward

  • Two-part tariff for solar: The solution to this problem is to apply a two-part tariff for solar and wind generators as we do for hydro plants today.
  • Lowest variable cost: The overriding principle is that the percentage allocated as variable cost should ensure that renewable generation has the lowest variable cost so that there is no violation of the “must-run” principle.
  • At the same time, the fixed cost component should not be kept so high that it hurts the consumers.
  • A fine balance between the proportion of the fixed and variable costs will have to be maintained.
  • It would also ensure a certain minimum return to developers even if they are not generating during certain hours, as in the case of coal and hydro plants.
  • Proper environment: If we are serious about having a renewable generating capacity of 450-500 GW by 2030, we need to create a proper environment and ensure adequate returns to invite fresh investments into renewable generation.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic:  strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance

7. What are the ways of strengthening and improving the moral character of civil servants? (150 words)

 

Difficulty level: Easy

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Philosophical Mondays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the ways to strengthen moral character among civil servants.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining moral character.

Body:

With examples, write ways to strengthen moral characters in civil servants – training, creating a value system, rewards and punishment etc.

Conclusion:

Mention the importance of having civil servants of high moral character in administration.

 

Introduction

Moral character is perhaps best described as the totality of a person’s dispositions or characteristics that play a role in how the person, morally speaking, behaves.  To put it another way, to have a particular moral character is to have or to lack certain virtues and vices of character.

Body

Ways of strengthening and improving the moral character of civil servants

  • Avoid conflict of interests-Setting accountability clearly demarcates area of one’s actions where he or she is required to act.
  • Civil Servant needs to take pride in integrity such as procedural integrity where there is a lot of discretion. This will help in valuing taxpayer’s hard-earned money and ensure proper utilisation of funds.
  • There is need to create a sense of responsibility amongst Civil Servants, wherein they understand that power is not a privilege and need to keep away from usurpation of power.
  • There is also a need to promote values learned from the lives of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Swami Vivekananda, to become the true steel frame of the country.
  • Civil Servant also needs to follow the principle of sustainable development and trusteeship so as to help India achieve ‘common future’ or ‘sustainable future’ targets.
  • The techniques of attitude and behavioural change like cognitive appeal, emotional appeal needs to be adopted.
  • Further, serving Civil Servant need to be advised to practice code of ethics and code of conduct. Training in this regard must be given due importance.
  • Improve the emotional intelligence quotient of an officer by more field visits and understanding the hardships of the people.

 

Conclusion

Ethics, whether in an entire society, or in a social sub-system, evolves over a long period of time. Different institutions impact the ethical behaviour of individuals in different manner. Thus, value based education, good governance, self-realization, just laws, code of ethics and code of conducts are essential to build an ethically just society and state.

 

 


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