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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 01 December 2023

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 3:

  1. Global Agrifood Systems

 

GS Paper 4:

  1. Ethical Risks of Climate Engineering

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. Sam Manekshaw

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Fast track courts
  2. Drones to the Women Self Help Groups (SHGs)
  3. Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM JANMAN)
  4. Tropicalisation
  5. Pressmud
  6. Environmental Cost of the Isreal-Palestine War

 

Mapping

  1. Pampore (Saffron Production in India)

 


 

Global Agrifood Systems

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Agriculture

 

Source: TH, FAO

 Context: A recent FAO report (The State of Food and Agriculture 2023) exposes the hidden costs of unsustainable global agrifood systems, exceeding $10 trillion and constituting 11% of GDP in middle-income countries like India.

 

Major points of the report:

Key Points Description
Economic Impact In middle-income countries like India, these costs of unsustainable agrifood systems manifest as higher poverty, environmental harm, and health-related impacts such as undernourishment and unhealthy dietary patterns, which account for nearly 11% of GDP
Unsustainable Practices The report attributes escalating costs to “unsustainable business-as-usual activities and practices,” urging a transformation in agrifood systems.
Monocropping and Chemical-Intensive Farming Mainstreaming monocropping and chemical-intensive farming practices, as seen in India’s Green Revolution, contributed to environmental harm and compromised nutritional needs.
Privatization and Deregulation The privatization and deregulation of agricultural inputs, along with a focus on rice and wheat procurement, increased indebtedness among farmers in India.
Global Trade Impact Global trade relations historically influenced food production systems in the Global South, impacting farmers’ income and local food security.
 
Recommendations
Systemic Shift from Local to Global The report emphasizes a systemic shift from local to global value chains, suggesting that local efforts, such as crop diversification, are essential.
Crop Diversification Solutions Diversified multi-cropping systems rooted in agroecology principles as a solution to revitalize degraded land, improve soil health, and enhance biodiversity.
E.g., ‘akkadi saalu’: It involves intercropping with a combination of legumes, pulses, oilseeds, trees, shrubs, and livestock
Economic Modeling Transitioning to diversified farming practices can improve farm incomes in the short and long run.
Systematic Transition The transition from high-input monoculture to diversified cropping should be systematic, allowing farmers to adjust gradually and addressing challenges related to seeds, market access, and farm labour.
Collaboration and Scaling Up Scaling up these practices requires collaboration among institutions, policymakers, and social groups to provide economic incentives for farmers and facilitate the transition.

 

Previously, in the Status of Women In Agri-food Systems, FAO had suggested:

 

  • Women need more access to and control over livestock, water, seeds, land, technology, and finance.
  • Eliminating discriminationby engaging with men and boys.

 

Some best practices from India:

  • In Tamil Nadu, women involved in fishing-related work had wider social networks and a greater adaptive capacity to seasonal stresses.
  • The MGNREG Schemestipulates the provision of crèche facilities for young children for women involved in the schemes.
  • In northern India, participatory village committees addressing water access, health and nutrition issues have facilitated shifts in discriminatory norms, enabling women to speak in front of men and take on public roles.

 

What is an agrifood system?

An agrifood system encompasses the entire process of producing, processing, distributing, and consuming food. It includes agricultural activities, food production, supply chains, and the socio-economic factors influencing food choices, aiming to ensure sustainable and equitable access to nutritious food for the population.

 

Need for adopting a sustainable agrifood system:

Need Description
1. Rising Demand for Food The increasing global demand necessitates sustainable systems for consistent food production to meet the needs of a growing population.
2. Environmental Degradation Widespread environmental harm from unsustainable practices underscores the urgency to transition to sustainable methods to mitigate further harm to the environment.
3. Climate Change Challenges Sustainable practices are crucial to adapting to these challenges and reducing the sector’s contribution to climate change.
4. Recognition of Sustainable Practices in India GIAHS-recognized practices in India, like Pokkali rice and Kuttanad Farming, highlight climate-resilient and sustainable agricultural methods, showcasing the importance of adopting such practices globally.

Government Initiatives for sustainable Agrifood system:

  1. Agriculture Infrastructure Fund: Created to build farm gates and agriculture marketing infrastructure in rural areas. It provides interest subsidies and credit guarantees to entrepreneurs, reducing post-harvest losses.
  2. Water Use Efficiency Scheme: Launched to increase water use efficiency at the farm level. Establishes a dedicated micro-irrigation fund for implementing micro-irrigation technologies.
  3. Crop Varieties Development: Developed 262 abiotic stress-tolerant varieties of different crops.
  4. Food-Based Safety Net Programs: Operates the world’s largest food-based safety net programs — Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS)
  5. International Year of Millets:
  6. Promotion of Millets: The UN recognized India’s proposal to celebrate the year 2023 as the ‘International Year of Millets.’

 

Insta Links:

Scheme for Women Farmers

 

Mains Links:

How far is the Integrated Farming System (IFS) helpful in sustaining agricultural production? ( UPSC 2019)

What are the reformative steps taken by the Government to make the food grain distribution system more effective? (UPSC 2019)

 

Prelims Links

What are the significances of a practical approach to sugarcane production known as the ‘Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative’? (UPSC 2014)

  1. Seed cost is very low in this compared to the conventional method of cultivation.
  2. Drip irrigation can be practised very effectively in this.
  3. There is no application of chemical/inorganic fertilizers at all in this.
  4. The scope for intercropping is more in this compared to the conventional method of cultivation.

 

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 1, 2 and 4 only
(c) 2, 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

 

Ans: B

Ethical Risks of Climate Engineering

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Applications of Ethics

 Context: Ahead of COP28, UNESCO’s first-ever report on the Ethics of Climate Engineering emphasizes the risks and opportunities of climate manipulation technologies.

 

About the report:

The report has been published by UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). COMEST is an advisory body and forum of reflection set up by UNESCO in 1998.

 

What is Climate Engineering?

Climate engineering, also known as geoengineering, involves deliberate modifications to the Earth’s natural systems to mitigate climate change effects. It includes techniques like Carbon Dioxide Removal (Building large-scale infrastructure to capture and store carbon emissions from industrial processes) and Solar Radiation Modification (Injecting aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight, thereby cooling the Earth’s surface temperature) to alter carbon levels and sunlight reflection.

 

Ethical Concerns in Climate Engineering:

Concerns Description
Undermining Climate Policies Potential risk of climate engineering diverting resources from crucial emission reduction and adaptation efforts.
Economic Inequalities The high costs of developing and deploying these technologies may exacerbate global economic inequalities.
Slippery Slope It could facilitate the acceleration toward deployment without any ethical framework e.g., it impacts biodiversity, and the ecosystem.
Moral Hazard It could provide polluters with an excuse to not reduce the use of fossil fuels.
Military or Geo-political Use Geoengineering tools may be exploited for military or geopolitical purposes, necessitating strengthened global governance efforts.
Knowledge Gaps and Uncertainties Lack of comprehensive understanding and potential chain reactions pose risks to humans, the ocean, temperature, and biodiversity.
Dependency and Phase-out Challenges Creating a dependency on these technologies raises questions about when and how to phase them out, impacting climate actions.
Transboundary Impact Countries must consider the potential transboundary impacts of their climate engineering decisions.

 

Suggestions:

  1. Legal Regulation: States should introduce legislation regulating climate engineering to prevent harm.
  2. Ethical Research Standards: Scientific research must adhere to ethical standards consistent with international law.
  3. Transboundary Impact Consideration: Countries must assess and consider the transboundary impact of their climate engineering decisions.
  4. Global Governance Collaboration: Open and responsible collaboration between countries is crucial for effective global governance of climate engineering.
  5. Inclusive Decision-Making: Marginalized communities impacted by climate disruption should be fully considered and involved in climate engineering policies.

 

Conclusion:

The current intergovernmental discussions during COP28 must cover the ethical aspects of climate engineering so that they align with ethical frameworks and Paris Agreement commitments.

 

Insta Links:

 

Mains Links:

Do you think that climate engineering is a good strategy to overcome the challenges posed by global warming? State ethical concerns related to it.

Sam Manekshaw

Content for Mains Enrichment

 

Source: IE

 Context: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, also known as Sam Bahadur, was the Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of field marshal.

 

Sam Manekshaw’s life exemplified ethical values, including:

  1. Integrity: He faced inquiry but maintained his integrity, eventually being cleared of all charges.
  2. Compassion: After the 1971 war, he personally ensured the well-being of Pakistani Prisoners of War, providing a Quran upon request.
  3. Loyalty: Despite facing challenges, he displayed loyalty to the Army, rising above personal vendettas when he attained higher ranks.
  4. Courage: Throughout his military career, Sam displayed courage on the battlefield and in facing political pressures during his service.
  5. Respect: Fluent in Punjabi, he showed respect to soldiers by conversing in their native language, fostering a connection with troops from different backgrounds.

Fast track courts

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of the Fast Track Special Courts (FTSC) dedicated to expediting justice in cases of sexual offences for an additional three years, extending up to March 31, 2026.

  • Launched in 2019 as a centrally sponsored scheme, the FTSC aims to swiftly dispose of cases related to rape and those falling under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
  • The Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, oversees the implementation of the scheme, which has seen the establishment of 761 fast-track courts across 30 states and union territories.
  • These courts have resolved over 1,95,000 cases, with a focus on ensuring prompt justice for victims of sexual offences.

Drones to the Women Self Help Groups (SHGs)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The Union Cabinet, has approved a Central Sector Scheme for providing drones to Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) from 2024-25 to 2025-26.

  • The scheme aims to empower 15,000 selected Women SHGs by offering drone rental services to farmers for agricultural purposes.

 

The key features of the scheme include:

Key Points Details
Holistic Interventions The scheme integrates efforts from the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Department of Rural Development, and Department of Fertilizers. Collaboration with Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Lead Fertilizer Companies is an integral part of the holistic approach.
Cluster-Based Approach Identification of economically feasible clusters for drone usage. Selection of 15,000 women SHGs within these clusters for the provision of drones.
Financial Assistance Women SHGs receive 80% of the drone cost as Central Financial Assistance. The remaining amount can be raised by SHGs as a loan under the National Agriculture Infra Financing Facility, with a 3% interest subvention.
Training Elected members of SHGs undergo a 15-day training program. Training includes mandatory drone pilot training and additional sessions for agricultural applications. Another member is trained as a drone technician/assistant for repairs and maintenance.
Role of Lead Fertilizer Companies (LFCs) LFCs act as intermediaries between drone suppliers and SHGs, facilitating procurement and maintenance. Promotion of Nano Fertilizers is emphasized.
Income Generation SHGs rent out drone services to farmers for Nano fertilizer and pesticide applications. Aim to provide sustainable business and livelihood support.
Technological Advancement in Agriculture The scheme aims to infuse advanced technology into agriculture, leading to improved efficiency, enhanced crop yield, and reduced operational costs. The technological advancements benefit farmers and contribute to overall agricultural development.

Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM JANMAN)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The Union Cabinet, has approved the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM JANMAN)

Key Points Details
Initiative Name Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan
Objectives Address socio-economic challenges faced by Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India.
Ministries Involved 9 Ministries, including the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
Focus Areas 11 critical interventions, encompassing various sectors such as housing, infrastructure, healthcare, education, and connectivity.
Key Components – Provision of pucca houses – Connecting roads – Water supply projects – Mobile medical units – Hostels – Vocational education – Anganwadi Centers – Multipurpose centres – Electrification – Solar off-grid systems – Solar lighting – Setting up Village Development Knowledge Centers (VDVKs) – Installation of mobile towers
Target Duration The mission will operate over the next three years.
Beneficiary Scope 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) communities in 18 states and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Overall Goal Improve the overall well-being of PVTG households by targeting basic facilities, including housing, water, sanitation, education, health, connectivity, and livelihood opportunities.
Contribution of Other Ministries Ayush and Skill Development ministries will establish wellness centres. Ayush facilities will be provided through mobile medical units. – Skill and vocational training will be offered in PVTG habitations.

Tropicalisation

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TOI

Context: Climate change is causing a significant global phenomenon known as tropicalisation, where tropical species in the ocean are moving towards the poles, while temperate species are retreating.

  • This mass movement of marine life is driven by rising sea temperatures and marine heat waves due to climate change.
  • The trend is observed in areas with strong currents away from the equator, leading to consequences for ecosystems, biodiversity, and potential impacts on the global economy.
  • The socio-economic impacts vary by region, influencing global fisheries, carbon storage, and tourism.

Pressmud

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 Context: India’s pressmud, a byproduct in the sugar industry, can be a valuable resource for compressed biogas (CBG) production.

 

What is Pressmud and how it is produced?

Pressmud, also known as filter cake or press cake, is a residual byproduct in the sugar industry. It is produced during the sugar extraction process from sugarcane. The sugarcane is crushed to extract juice, and pressmud is the solid residue left behind after squeezing out the juice. Other by-products are: Bagasse, molasses

 

Applications:

It has the potential use in generating compressed biogas (CBG) through anaerobic digestion and subsequent purification. With the potential to generate 460,000 tonnes of CBG valued at Rs 2,484 crore, pressmud offers advantages like a simplified supply chain, concentrated sourcing, and cost-effectiveness.

However, challenges include rising pressmud prices, competition for alternative uses, and storage issues. To fully exploit this resource, interventions such as streamlined bioenergy policies, price control mechanisms, and research on storage technologies are essential.

 

Environmental Cost of the Isreal-Palestine War

 

Source: TH

 

Context: The article highlights the environmental impact of Israel’s military actions in Gaza. The use of heavy bombs, white phosphorus, and herbicides has led to widespread environmental damage, affecting soil, water, and air quality.

Tool Purpose/Effect
2,000-pound bombs Causing large-scale destruction, creating craters, and resulting in environmental contamination
White phosphorus Illegal use in densely populated areas, causing severe burns and environmental pollution
Mk-84 bombs filled with Tritonal Release of harmful substances (aluminium and trinitrotoluene) affecting soil, water, and air
Tritonal is a mix of one part Aluminium and three parts trinitrotoluene or TNT. It is a dangerous explosive, especially when exposed to heat. Transport of Tritonal by aircraft or railways is forbidden due to its explosive characteristics.
Herbicides Destroying crops and arable land in an attempt to create a ‘buffer zone’ between Gaza and Israel
Destruction of infrastructure Disruption of water supply, targeting Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities
Reforestation with non-indigenous species Altering the landscape, affecting biodiversity, and diminishing cultural ties with olive trees

Pampore (Saffron Production in India)

Mapping

 

Source: BBC

 Context: Pampore, known as the centre of the country’s saffron (referred to as “red gold”) cultivation has seen a decline in productivity.

About Saffron:

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”. The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are collected and dried for use mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food

The main issues impacting saffron production in Pampore are:

  1. Climate change
  2. Erratic rainfall patterns
  3. Higher temperatures
  4. Expansion of urban areas onto saffron fields
  5. Insufficient investment in irrigation and farmer training, contribute to the challenges faced by saffron cultivation

Iran, India, Spain and Greece are the major saffron-producing countries with Iran occupying the maximum area and contributing about 88% of the world’s saffron production. Though, India occupies the 2nd largest area but produces approximately 7 per cent of the total world production.

 

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