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[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 October 2022

 

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: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent);

1. The natural resources that form ocean ecosystems can play a significant role in the socio-economic growth and development of nations. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

Why the question:

West Africa has a variety of marine and coastal ecosystems, found within the Atlantic Ocean. This is one of the most diverse and economically important fishing zones in the world and provides an income for many through fishing, shipping, logistics and mining. But unregulated and unsustainable exploitation has degraded the ecosystems severely. Threats have come from land based sources of pollution, insecurity and piracy, illegal and harmful fishing practices and climate change.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the resource richness of the ocean ecosystem and its socio-economic implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context regarding the major resources present in the ocean.

Body:

First, draw a neat diagram showing major resources across oceans of the world. Write in detail the economic implications of the resources mentioned in the introduction.

Next, write about the social importance of marine resources – Fishing, Marine Biotechnology, Minerals, Tourism & Leisure and Education and research etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

 

Introduction

The natural resources that form ocean ecosystems can play a significant role in the socio-economic growth and development of nations. But unregulated and unsustainable exploitation has degraded the ecosystems severely. Threats have come from land based sources of pollution, insecurity and piracy, illegal and harmful fishing practices and climate change.

Body

 

Importance of natural resources in ocean ecosystem

  • Oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97% of the Earth’s water, and represent 99% of the living area on the planet.
    • Oceans protect biodiversity, keep the planet cool, and absorb about 30% of global CO2
    • At least3-5% of global GDP is derived from oceans.
  • Blue economy, through sustainable use of oceans, has great potential for boosting the economic growthby providing opportunities for income generation and jobs etc.
  • It can support food security, and diversification to address new resources for energy, new drugs valuable chemicals, protein food, deep sea minerals, security etc.
  • It is the next sunrise sector.
    • Sunrise Sector is a sector that is expanding rapidlyand is expected to be increasingly important in the future.
  • Fishery: Marine fisheries wealth around Indian coastline is estimated to have an annual harvestable potential of 4.4 million metric tonnes.
  • Minerals: Oceanscontain vast amount of minerals, including the cobalt, zinc, manganese and rare earth materials. These minerals are needed for electronic industry to make smart phones, laptops and car components etc.
  • Energy resources: The main energy resources present in Indian Ocean are petroleum and gas hydrates. Petroleum products mainly includes the oil produced from offshore regions. Gas hydrates are unusually compact chemical structures made of water and natural gas.
  • Salts: Seawater contain economically useful salts such as gypsum and common salt. Gypsum is useful in various industries.
  • Manganese Nodules and Crusts: Manganese nodules contain significant concentrations of manganese, iron and copper, nickel, and cobalt all of which have a numerous economic use.

Challenges

  • The threat of sea-borne terror  such as piracy and armed robbery, maritime terrorism, illicit trade in crude oil, arms, drug and human trafficking and smuggling of contraband, etc.
  • Natural Disasters occurs every year like tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes typhoons, etc leave thousands of people stranded and property worth millions destroyed.
  • Man-Made problems : Oil spills, climate change continue to risk the stability of the maritime domain.
  • Impact of climate change: Changes in sea temperature, acidity, threaten marine life, habitats, and the communities that depend on them.
  • Marine pollution  in form of excess nutrients from untreated sewerage, agricultural runoff, and marine debris such as plastics
  • Overexploitation of marine resources  such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated extraction of marine resources.

 

Conclusion

The Ocean is one of Earth’s most valuable natural resources. It provides food in the form of fish and shellfish—about 200 billion pounds are caught each year.

Ocean resources provide jobs, goods, and services for billions of people around the world and have immense economic importance. Sustainable development is of immense importance to ensure livelihoods of billions of people.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

2. What is China’s wolf warrior diplomacy? How does it affect India? What should be the appropriate Indian response to it? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

Xi Jinping’s worldview carries with it an inherent contradiction — that of a world that is simultaneously China’s to lead and one that is apparently full of external threats. This paradox, more than any other factor, has shaped China’s diplomacy in the past decade.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the ways in which India has to deal with China.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining China’s wolf warrior diplomacy.

Body:

In the first part, address as to how China under President Xi Jingping has undergone a paradigm shift with respect to foreign policy especially in ‘wolf warrior diplomacy’ as compared Deng Xiaoping’s ‘keep low profile’.

Next, mention the essential components of ‘wolf warrior diplomacy’ such as linked to a threat perception and being victimized, agenda of indoctrination, Personality cult, Aggressive nationalism, Responsibility of saving the world and No room for dissent in the own party etc.

Next, mention as to how the ‘wolf warrior approach’ became more aggressive after the Pandemic. Bring out the impact of the policy on China and its relations with the global powers and India.

Next, write about the ways in which India should respond to it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

China’s assertive new diplomatic approach in the Xi Jinping era has come to be dubbed “wolf warrior diplomacy”, marked by a muscular posture in pursuing China’s interests.

“Wolf-warrior diplomacy,” named after famous Chinese movies, describes offensives by Chinese diplomat to defend China’s national interests, often in confrontational ways. It reinforces a presumed transition of Chinese diplomacy from conservative, passive, and low-key to assertive, proactive, and high-profile.

Body

China’s brazen display of wolf warrior diplomacy

  • India-China fault lines:At the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, China has violated the status quo intruding into territory that is clearly on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control, or LAC.
  • Taiwan-China conflict:Island encirclement against Taiwan and forceful takeover are becoming more of a reality considering Chinese navy and air force activities in the region.
  • Hong-Kong unrest: The ‘one country two systems’ in Hong Kong is dead and with it, the pretence that the same could be applied for the peaceful unification of Taiwan.
    • Eg: Extension of national security law to Hong-Kong and recent warning to Taiwan on possibility of war if it shores up defence weapons.
  • South China Sea: China claims 90% of south China sea as its sovereign territory, continuously terrorising Vietnam, Philippines wrt Paracel and Spratly islands.
  • Belt and Road initiative: It is the 21stcentury Marshall Plan, through which China aims to dominate the world.
  • String of Pearls:China has security and economic compulsions to develop its bases in India Ocean Region (IOR) to secure its communication lines. Its eagerness to establish China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is to develop strategic communication alternatives
  • Salami Slicing: Continuously nibbling at neighbours’ land, at times even claiming an entire area on some dubious historicity, it successively builds up its military control over areas vital to its overall strategic designs. The annexation of Aksai Chin in the 1950s and repeated Chinese incursions into Indian territory are the executions of the same strategy.

 

Why wolf warrior diplomacy?

  • Soaring Nationalism:Since 2010, when China’s GDP overtook Japan’s as the world’s second largest, the Chinese have become more confident and China’s foreign policy has become more assertive.
  • China as a great power:The latest diplomatic offensive is also part of the official effort to project China as a great power leading the global fight against the COVID-19. China’s image suffered during the crisis due to its bungled handling of the outbreak at the early stage.
  • With the assertive and ambitious Belt and Road Initiative and Maritime Silk Road,China has consolidated its influence over the Indian neighbours as almost all the neighbour sans Bhutan have shown the keen interests in joining.

 

India’s response

  • Military exercise:A number of joint naval and air exercises have been undertaken by regional countries not only amongst themselves, but also with other powers specially the US and the UK.
    • The aim is to practise inter-operability of fighting equipment and manpower against a common enemy along with joint tactics and cooperation to meet a common military goal.
    • The aim is to send a firm message to China, that its days of expansionism are coming to an end.
  • Countering BRI: The BRI promises economic security but not human security by providing funds to developing countries with a debt trap.
    • Herein, theQuad can play a vital role as it is a group of democratic countries.
    • It should provide a choice to the nations as to where they want to borrow the money for development purposes from and also be a part of the supply chain.
  • Indo-pacific diplomacy: India is also stepping up its strategic partnership with like-minded Indo-Pacific partnerslike US, Japan, Australia etc.
    • Thus, we will see a far greater partnership between India and the United States on issues of mutual interest—which is likely to have a substantial China component. O
    • This is seen in India being vocal about recent QUAD meet.
  • Quad-plus:India will also likely look to build greater cooperation through configurations such as the “Quad plus” (expanding the existing grouping of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States to include New Zealand, South Korea, and Vietnam).
  • Indian ocean is the key:New Delhi must invest in and develop its strategic assets—like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, for instance—to project power across the Indian Ocean.
  • To weather a potential People’s Liberation Army (PLA) attack, India has placed greater emphasis oninfrastructure hardening; base resiliency; redundant command, control, and communications systems; and improved air defence.
  • India has grown closer to the US military in recent years, with Washington calling India a “major defence partner” while increasing bi- and multilateral training.
    • In the event of an India-Chin war, US intelligence and surveillance could help New Delhi get a clearer picture of the battlefield

 

Conclusion

 

Wolf-warrior diplomacy is already hurting China’s foreign policy, since it has generated pushback, such as Australia’s calls for an independent probe into the coronavirus’ origins. China’s soft power is weak globally; a belligerent approach will further damage China’s global image.

A more powerful China should be more confident and receptive to constructive criticism. Striking a balance between firmly defending national interests and enhancing soft power is a great challenge in Chinese diplomacy today.

 

 

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government;

3. There needs to be a better, broad-based and transparent method of appointing senior judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

Once again the collegium of the Supreme Court of India is in the news, and once again for the wrong reasons. This time, it is because of the difficulty that its five judges have in getting together for one meeting.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the process of selection of SC and HC and evolution of the process of the appointment of Judges to the SC and the reforms that are needed to the existing collegium system.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate 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 by giving context of collegium system.

Body:

Frist, show evolution of appointment process. Mention, in brief, the three judges’ cases and NJAC act, 2014.

Next, write about the reasons which call for reforms to the existing collegium system. Opaqueness, lack of accountability, lack of representation from weaker sections, slow pace of appointments and lack of public faith etc.

Suggest reforms to overcome the above issues that are affecting the collegium system.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

 

Introduction

The judges of the Supreme Court and High Court in India are appointed by President as per article 124(2) and 217 of the constitution. In such appointment, the President is required to hold consultation with such of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the States as he may deem necessary for the purpose.

Body

Evolution of collegium system

Collegium system is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.

  • First judges case: In S P Gupta Vs Union of India,1981, the Supreme Court by a majority judgment held that the concept of primacy of the Chief Justice of India was not really to be found in the Constitution.
    • The Constitution Bench also held that the term “consultation” used in Articles 124 and 217 was not “concurrence”– meaning that although the President will consult these functionaries, his decision was not bound to be in concurrence with all of them.
    • The judgment tilted the balance of power in appointments of judges of High Courts in favour of the executive. This situation prevailed for the next 12 years.
  • Second judges case: In the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association Vs Union of India, 1993,a nine-judge Constitution Bench overruled the decision in S P Gupta, and devised a specific procedure called ‘Collegium System’ for the appointment and transfer of judges in the higher judiciary.
    • Ushering in the collegium system, the court said that the recommendation should be made by the CJI in consultation with his two senior most colleagues, and that such recommendation should normally be given effect to by the executive.
  • Third judges case:In 1998, President K R Narayanan issued a Presidential Reference to the Supreme Court over the meaning of the term “consultation” under Article 143 of the Constitution (advisory jurisdiction).
    • The question was whether “consultation” required consultation with a number of judges in forming the CJI’s opinion, or whether the sole opinion of CJI could by itself constitute a “consultation”.
    • In response, the Supreme Court laid down nine guidelines for the functioning of the quorum for appointments and transfers – this has come to be the present form of the collegium, and has been prevalent ever since.

 

Issues with the collegium system

  • Credibility of the SC: Controversial collegium system of judicial appointments undermines the independence of judges and raises doubts about the credibility of the highest court.
    • There is a failure to make an assessment of the personality of the contemnor at the time of recommending his name for elevation.
    • Example: The controversy over the proposed elevation of Justice P.D. Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court to the Supreme Court by the collegium of the Chief Justice and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court was criticized for overlooking apparently suitable judges by the collegiums
    • The judiciary off late has been caught in many such situations of credibility crisis off late.
    • The executive has little or no role in the appointment of judges as a result.
  • Lack of Transparency: Justice J Chelameswar once wrote a dissenting verdict, criticising the collegium system by holding that “proceedings of the collegium were absolutely opaque and inaccessible both to public and history, barring occasional leaks”.
    • The lack of a written manual for functioning, the absence of selection criteria, the arbitrary reversal of decisions already taken, the selective publication of records of meetings prove the opaqueness of the collegium system.
    • No one knows how judges are selected, and the appointments made raise the concerns of propriety, self-selection and nepotism.
    • The system often overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.
  • Lack of Consensus among Members: The collegium members often face the issue of mutual consent regarding appointment of judges.
    • The shadow of mistrust between the members of the collegium exposes the fault lines within the judiciary.
    • For instance, recently retired CJI Sharad A. Bobde was perhaps the first chief justice to have not made even a single recommendation for appointment as SC judge due to lack of consensus among the collegium members.
  • Unequal Representation: The other area of concern is the composition of the higher judiciary. While data regarding caste is not available, women are fairly underrepresented in the higher judiciary.
  • Delay in Judicial Appointments: The process of judicial appointment is delayed due to delay in recommendations by the collegium for the higher judiciary.
  • Nepotism: Unfortunately, in some cases, it has not covered itself with glory. There have been cases where the nearest relative of Supreme Court judges has been appointed as a high court judge, ignoring merit.
    • During the regime of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, judges far lower in the combined All India Seniority of High Court judges were appointed to SC, and the reason assigned was that those selected were found more meritorious.
  • Supreme court is overburdened: The Supreme Court did not realise the burden it was imposing on the collegium of selecting judges for the Supreme Court and High Courts and transferring them from one High Court to another.
    • An administrative task of this magnitude must necessarily detract the judges of the collegium from their principal judicial work of hearing and deciding cases.
  • NJAC, A Missed Opportunity: The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) could guarantee the independence of the system from inappropriate politicization, strengthen the quality of appointments and rebuild public confidence in the system.
    • The decision was struck down by the SC in 2015 on the ground that it posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary.

 

Reforms needed

  • The need of the hour is to revisit the existing system through a transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
    • The collegium members have to make a fresh start and engage with each other.
    • A transparent process adds accountability that is much needed to resolve the deadlock.
    • Individual disagreements over certain names will continue to take place, but care must be taken that the institutional imperative of dispensation of justice does not suffer.
  • The new system should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
  • The system needs to establish a body which is independent and objective in the selection process.
    • In several countries of the Commonwealth, National Judicial Appointment Commissions have been established to select judges.
    • Such judicial commissions have worked with success in the U.K., South Africa and Canada.
  • Setting up a constitutional body accommodatingthe federal concept of diversity and independence of judiciary for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary can also be thought of as an alternate measure.
  • There should be a fixed time limit for approval of recommendations.
  • As of now, instead of selecting the number of judges required against a certain number of vacancies, the collegium must provide a panel of possible names to the President for appointment in order of preference and other valid criteria.
  • New memorandum of procedure:
    • After the Second and Third Judges Cases, a Memorandum of Procedure had been formulated to govern how the process of how the Collegium would make recommendations to the Executive.
    • The government therefore suggested that a new MOP be drafted and finalised for appointment of SC judges and the Executive to get a veto over candidates for national security reasons in this new MOP.

Conclusion:

Till 1973, from appointing senior-most judge of Supreme Court as CJI to gradually developing a ‘collegium system’ through precedence established by the Supreme Court judgements in three Judges’ case to appoint judges of the Supreme Court, the ‘collegium system’ evolved so far has ensured ‘independence of the judiciary’. Further, the working of the collegium system under the protocol of MOP is hitherto the best possible way to appoint a judge of the Supreme Court of India. However, with the need of time, a more efficient system surely needs to be found so that appointment procedure could be fairer and the judiciary will have the best possible minds as judges.

 

 

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;

4. Agriculture is the key to alleviate rural poverty, stop distress migration and most importantly ensuring food security in India. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of agriculture to Indian economy.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving a brief about role of agriculture in Indian economy. Cite statistics to substantiate.

Body:

First, write about the role of agriculture in alleviating rural poverty and how agriculture plays an important in it.

Next, write as to how agriculture prevents distress migration by ensuring livelihoods and incomes to the farmers.

Next, write about the role agriculture in ensuring food security in India and cite statistics to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

 

Introduction

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’.

Background: Need for agrarian reforms

  • Agriculture currently contributes justabout 15% to the national output and about 50% of the population directly or indirectly depends on it for employment.
  • Farmer distress is a real and pressing problem, as evidenced by the protests currently taking place in various parts of the country.
  • In the past, Government strategy primarily focused onraising agricultural output and improving food security rather than recognising the need to raise farmer’s income.
  • Low global prices have affected exportsand the cheaper imports have hurt domestic prices in the country.
  • Natural disasters and crop loss leading to impoverishment of rural households.
  • Increasing demographic pressure, disguised employment in agricultureand conversion of agricultural land for alternative uses, have drastically reduced the average land holding.

Challenges faced by Agriculture sector

  • 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.
  • Small land holdings: It is fragmented and 87% of farmers are small farmers doing subsistence farming.
  • Low productivity: Indian farms are smaller (1-2 hectares on average), making it harder to achieve economies of scale.
  • Low mechanization:It is relatively low and Indian farmers do not utilise many high-yield input varieties used in other agri-producing countries.
  • High logistics costs:India’s cost of logistics is currently around 14% of GDP – higher than developed country exporters like the US (9.5%).
  • Limited value addition: India is a more prolific exporter of primary commodities than of value-added agriculture products – the country ranks 10th globally in processed meat, 18th in the export of processed fruits and vegetables and 35th in dairy.
    • Reasons for low value addition include relative lack of private sector investment and adequate incentives.
  • Procurement: 69 to 73% of the rice and wheat produced in 14 years was not procured by FCI/state agencies.
    • Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies are one of the main platforms available to the farmers for sale of agriculture produce, but these agencies cannot be a wholesome substitute for an efficient marketing system, said the 4th volume of the Dalwai Committee Report on doubling farmers income.
  • Shortage of APMC markets:In 5 statesBihar, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim—these markets do not exist.
    • Further, there is no APMC market in the UTs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli too.
  • 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.

Reforms suggested

  • ICAR and SAUsshould develop models of farming system for different types of socioeconomic and bio physical settings combining all their technologies in a package with focus on farm income.
    • This would involve combining technology and best practices covering production, protection and post-harvest value addition for each sub systems with other sub systems like crop sequences, crop mix, livestock, horticulture, forestry.
    • Such shift requires interdisciplinary approach to develop on knowledge of all disciplines.
  • Aboutone 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 comprehensivereforms 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 investmentsin 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 aslaser 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 accountsand bring in much needed efficiency in input use

Conclusion

The government should shift its focus from providing only price support to farmers and focus on building better infrastructure, minimizing the gap between farmers and the market, land reforms, policy reforms to increase flow of credit to farmers, establishing food-processing industries for perishable goods, providing better irrigation facilities etc so, that agriculture emerges as a viable means of sustenance.

Value Addition

Initiatives by the government

  • Per Drop More Crop : Centre set up a Micro Irrigation Fund under NABARD with a corpus of 2000cr and 3000crfor 2019 and 2020 respectively.
    • Assistance to states will be given at concessional rates.
    • The target is to bring 10 million hectares under Micro-Irrigation.
  • Diversification towards high value crops: IFPRI and ICAR are promoting horticulture crops such as pomegranate and mushroom farming with adequate skills training to farmers.
  • Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH): Enhance horticulture production, augment farmers, income and strengthen nutritional security; Improve productivity by way of quality germplasm, planting material and water use efficiency through Micro Irrigation.
  • Soil Health Cards: The objectives of the Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme are to issue soil health cards to farmers every two years so as to provide a basis to address nutritional deficiencies in fertilization practices.Soil testing reduces cultivation cost by application of right quantity of fertilizer. It ensures additional income to farmers by increase in yields and it also promotes sustainable farming.
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana:
    • In order to promote organic farming, the government has started the Paramparagat Krish iVikas Yojana (PKVY), under which 2 lakh hectareshas been made suitable for organic farming thereby benefitting 5 lakh farmers.
    • It is to to ensure a successful “Organic Farming Revolution” in India on the lines of “Green Revolution” so that the farming community benefits from it.
  • Ensuring Credit availability to enhance productivity
    • Kisan Credit Cardsprovides agriculture credit to farmers at subsidized rates, with a 2% interest subvention (IS) and Prompt Repayment Incentive (PRI) of 3% so as to make the effective rate of interest as 4%.
    • PM-KISAN:With a view to provide income support to all farmers’ families across the country, to enable them to take care of expenses related to agriculture and allied activities as well as domestic needs, the Central Government started a new Central Sector Scheme, namely, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)
      • The scheme aims to provide a payment of Rs. 6000/- per year, in three 4-monthly installments of Rs. 2000/- to the farmers, subject to certain exclusions relating to higher income groups.
    • Minimum Support Price wasenhanced to 1.5 times the cost of production for the year 2019-2020.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Examine the causes behind fall in crop incomes and the crisis of economic viability among the farmers across India. Comment (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about causes behind falling crop incomes and unviable agriculture.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, write about the causes for the falling crop incomes and unsustainable agriculture – Small holdings make agriculture uneconomic, Perpetual indebtedness, Inability to procure quality seeds, Lack of water and poor yields etc.

Next, suggest measures that are needed in order to overcome the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

Introduction

In 2016, the Government had set the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022-23. To achieve this goal, the government had set up a committee to recommend changes to all parts of the agricultural production and supply chain. The Committee listed its recommendations in a 14-volume report. At the time, by the government’s own calculations, a farming household in India earned an average of INR 8,059 per month, or about INR 97,000 per year. The Government is likely to miss the target as less than a year remains in the timeline. No individual state is likely to achieve it either.

Body

Causes behind fall in crop incomes

  • Decreasing Profitability in agriculture sector:Profitability has been declining in recent years due to plummeting agricultural prices and rising cultivation costs. Recently, prices of critical inputs such as fuel and fertilizers have risen sharply as well. Further there have been issues in land and labour productivity on farms, post-harvest processing, agricultural research and extension, among others.
  • Web of Middlemen: There exists a strong web of intermediaries that enjoy maximum profit and leaves bare minimum revenue for the farmers. A major share of the income is cornered by the middlemen.
  • Policy Lacunae: According to many experts, the policies to achieve the growth rates have not been clearly articulated by the Centre to the states. This becomes extremely crucial considering agriculture is a State subject. In addition, there have been issues in the implementation of policy initiatives. For example, many States have opted out of PMFBY due to implementation issues.
  • High Input costs: Land degradation has become a major challenge and cost of farming is constantly rising with usage of fertilizer, pesticides, expensive seed varieties, machinery, labour cost, rise in fuel prices, vagaries of monsoon. This further complicates the livelihood of farmers
    • In India, farmers are poor due to low productivity (yield per hectare) of all major crops.
    • Growth in rural lending has decreased and indeed most of the rural lending is indirect rather than direct.
  • Credit, finance and Insurance: Raising the MSP, price deficiency payments or income support schemes can only be a partial solution to the problem of providing remunerative returns to farmers.
    • A functional institutional credit systemwhich is accessible and accountable to all cultivators.
    • This covers not only land-owning farmers but also sharecroppers, tenants, adivasi and women farmers, and animal-rearers.
    • Credit products for agriculture need to be tailor-made based on cropping and rain cycle, specific to a particular region. The regional offices of commercial banks should contribute in this exercise. Registration of all cultivators and providing Kisan credit cards.
    • The period of crop loan should be extendable to four years, given that, on average, every second or third year the spatial distribution of rain pattern is erratic in India.
  • Land holdings: The average size of farm holdingsdeclined from 2.3 hectares in 1970-71 to 1.08 hectares in 2015-16.
    • Policies for land consolidation along with land development activities in order to tackle the challenge of the low average size of holdings.
    • Farmers can voluntarily come togetherand pool land to gain the benefits of size. Through consolidation, farmers can reap the economies of scale both in input procurement and output marketing.
  • Remunerative Prices: Extending reach of minimum support price which has been dedicated to few crops and in a narrow geographical area is important.
    • Set up of Futures and Trade markets, tie up of farmer and private companies for procurement should be looked into as alternative methods against distress sale.

 

Real reforms needed

  • Intervention of the Government:The government schemes will not help them double their income unless the government policies on agriculture are comprehensive, grant freedom of technology and market, and infuse more money into infrastructure development.
    • Ad hoc policies and schemeswill not help farmers as long as the government intervenes in the market to control prices to keep the consumers happy at the cost of farmers.
  • Need for Technology & New Practices:The country needs to increase the use of quality seed, fertiliser and power supply for agriculture. Adoption of agronomic practices like precision farming to raise production and income of farmers substantially.
    • Since India is a diverse country where the majority of agriculture is monsoon dependent therefore interventions are needed which include research, technology promotion, extension, post-harvest management, processing and marketing, in consonance with the comparative advantage of each State/region and its diverse agro-climatic features.
  • Expansion in Required Areas:Area under irrigation has to be expanded by 1.78 million hectares and area under double cropping should be increased by 1.85 million hectares every year.
    • Besides, the area for fruits and vegetables is required to increase by 5% each year.
  • Improvement in Livestock Management: In the case of livestock, improvement in herd quality, better feed, increase in artificial insemination, reduction in calving interval and lowering age atfirst calving are the potential sources of growth.
  • Need for Comprehensive Reforms: 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.
    • Thisrequires comprehensive reforms in market, land lease and raising of trees on private land.
  • Enhance Participation: Most of the development initiatives and policies for agriculture are implemented by the States. Therefore, it is essential to mobilise States and UTs to own and achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ income.
  • Need to Liberalise Agriculture:To attract responsible private investments in production and the market. Similarly, FPO (Farmers Producer Organisation)/FPC (Farmers Producer Company) can play a big role in promoting small farm businesses.

 

Conclusion

To achieve government’s goal of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022-23, the Dalwai Committee points out that farmers real incomes need to grow at 10.4 per annum, that is 2.8 times the growth rate achieved historically. To secure future of agriculture and to improve livelihood of half of India’s population, adequate attention needs to be given to improve the welfare of farmers and raise agricultural income. It is essential to mobilize States and UTs to own and achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ income with active focus on capacity building (technology adoption and awareness) of farmers that will be the catalyst to boost farmers’ income.

 

Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

6. Do you think Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985 is more punitive than reformative in its approach in dealing with drug menace in the country? Critically comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

US President Joe Biden pardoned people with federal offenses for simple marijuana possession on October 6, 2022. He also initiated a review on how the drug is classified. In India, cannabis is still a prohibited substance under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

Key Demand of the question:

To analyse the various issues associated with present NDPS act and suggest effective changes.

Directive word: 

Critically comment – 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 ‘comment’ is prefixed, we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by stating the present stringent structure of the NDPS Act.

Body:

First, bring out the arguments that the drug users are victims addicted to it and needs institutional care than going through rigorous punishments on the same lines as that of the supplier.

Next, mention the need to sensitise the investigative agencies to understand and distinguish the different motives of the supplier and user.

Next, mention the cause-effect relation that the user and supplier has in order to maintain the illicit drug supply network and the need for some kind of fear psychosis even among the users and complete benefit of doubt to the victim has the threat of more people falling into drug addiction.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stating the need for more sensitisation of the health and legal impacts of drug use and supply and also to up the institutional care of the victims.

Introduction

The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has proposed certain changes to some provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985. The recommendations have assumed importance in the backdrop of some high-profile drug cases last year as well as corruption and extortion charges alleged against the NCB.

Body

NDPS Act

  • The NDPS Act, 1985 is the principal legislation through which the state regulates the operations of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • It provides a stringent framework for punishing offenses related to illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances through imprisonments and forfeiture of property.
  • This is a stringent law where the death penalty can be prescribed for repeat offenders.

Punitive and reformative aspects: Issues with NDPS Act

  • “First arrest and then investigate”seems to be the principle for investigations under the NDPS Act.
  • Section 50 of the Act (conditions under which search of persons shall be conducted) needs to be followed scrupulously.
  • Punitive not reformative:Those addicted to drugs need to be rehabilitated rather than punished in jails. Minor offences must not lead to individuals taking up major crimes.
    • Rehabilitation centres must be opened and youth must be counselled against drug injection and consumption.
  • No distinction between end user and peddler: The Act currently views everyone as a supplier. The recent case of Aryan Khan and others is an example. High Court ultimately granted bail and rejected Special court’s orders.
    • A drug user needs to be seen as a patient.
    • The Act as of now prescribes jail for everyone, the end user and the drug supplier.

Challenges in enforcing the NDPS Act

  • Peddling: Since drug peddling is an organised crime, it is challenging for the police to catch thepersons involved from the point of source to the point of destination.
    • Identifying drugs that are being transported is a challenge since we cannot stop each and every vehicle that plies on Indian roads.
  • Transportation: Most drug bust cases are made possible with specific information leads. Unless we check every vehicle with specially trained sniffer dogs, it is difficult to check narcotic drugs transportation.
  • Production: The main challenge is to catch those producing these substances. Secret cultivation are mostly carried on in LWE affected areas.
    • Going beyond State jurisdiction, finding the source of narcotic substances and destroying them is another big challenge.
  • Delay in trials:Securing conviction for the accused in drugs cases is yet another arduous task.
    • There are frequent delays in court procedures. Sometimes, cases do not come up for trial even after two years of having registered them.
    • By then, the accused are out on bail and do not turn up for trial.
    • Bringing them back from their States to trial is quite difficult let alone getting them convicted.
  • Flaws in the legal system: The cause behind drug menace is the drug cartels, crime syndicates and ultimately the ISIwhich is the biggest supplier of drugs.
    • Rave partieshave been reported in the country where intake of narcotic substances is observed.
    • These parties are orchestrated by the drug syndicateswho have their own vested interests.
    • Social media plays an important role in organising these parties.
    • The police have not been able to control such parties.

Conclusion

There is a need to examine the root cause of the problem such as operations of drug syndicates especially in the border areas. Civil society and governments will have to work together to create an enabling environment to address the issue. Moreover, the reformation aspect must be taken up more vigorously than the punitive aspect especially for end-users falling prey to drug addiction.

Value-addition

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985:

  • India is a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 and the Convention on Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
  • They prescribe various forms of control aimed to achieve the dual objective of limiting the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes as well as preventing the abuse of the same.
  • The basic legislative instrument of the Government of India in this regard is the NDPS Act, 1985.
  • The Act provides stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operations relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • It also provides for forfeiture of property derived from, or used in, illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • It also provides for death penalty in some cases where a person is a repeat offender.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau was also constituted in 1986 under the Act.

 

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7. By devoting yourself to loving others, and to your community around you, gives your life true purpose and meaning. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Abstract Thursdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the devoting yourself to helping others gives your life true meaning.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of what devoting to others means.

Body:

Write about the advantages and impact of devoting oneself to help others and community around you. Substantiate with examples how this selfless compassion brings about a positive change in the atmosphere.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance compassion.

 

Introduction

Behind every successful person is clarity of purpose. And unless you find yours, you’ll continue to cruise through life on autopilot. You may find yourself knocked off-course and lost, uncertain how to move forward or which direction is forward. Or, life may be smooth but one day you may look back and wish you had used your time differently.

The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

Body

Your purpose in life is as unique to you as your fingerprint. We all have a particular set of talents, experiences, skill sets, and interests that light us up. Purpose is related to these, but it is your reason for being. It is why you get out of bed in the morning, even when the day is dreary, you’re tired, and you know the tasks and challenges ahead are going to be hard or even boring.

For others, finding meaning in our work and connecting it to our personal sense of purpose isn’t so easy. Between work, family responsibilities, and social expectations, we often abandon the idealistic version of ourselves that yearns to find a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

Focusing on gratitude in addition to acts of altruism strengthened the participants’ sense of purpose.  Another study revealed that gratitude activates the same reward responses in the brain as prosocial behavior.

It also found that cultivating gratitude can make you more generous and lead to acts of kindness, which we now know contributes to finding a sense of purpose. We all face struggles in life. Overcoming these challenges shapes who we become and gives us our unique strengths and perspectives.

 

Conclusion

Purpose is about feeling connected to others, so being an active member of a community can contribute to a greater sense of purpose in life.

When you find your purpose, you’ll discover that there are many others out there who share your passions, interests, and values. Identifying, acknowledging, and honoring your purpose is the foundation of a well-rounded life. It requires some courage because it opens up questions and ideas that might not be comfortable. Yet it’s worth it. Purpose provides you with an inner compass that guides every decision and leads you to the experiences that will light up your soul.

 


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