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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 APRIL 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 APRIL 2018


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.


Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and
Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) Examine the changes in Indian cinema brought about by economic liberalization.(250 words)

The hindu

Livement

Reference

 

Why this question

UPSC sometimes asks such questions in GS paper or even in essays. The question is related to GS-1 syllabus under the following heading-

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to trace the history of Indian cinema with a special focus on how has economic liberalization impacted it.

Directive word

Examine- we have to dig deeper into the issue and find out not only the changes but also the driving forces behind them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Introduce your answer by mentioning the arrival of cinema in India and briefly mention its link with the society.

Body- In one part, discuss the pre-liberalization Indian cinema and describe its nature- topics, audience targeted etc and why so.

In the other part, discuss how liberalization impacted Indian cinema- change in content/ themes, change in audience targeted, change in business models and opportunities, role of technology and advertisement etc.

conclusion – Give a balanced  and justified brief conclusion/ viewpoint on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation  succeeded in turning India back from the brink of economic ruin. It freed up Indian entrepreneurship and allowed the country to compete in the global marketplace. Among the beneficiaries of this process of unshackling was Indian cinema

Changes in Indian cinema brought about by economic liberalisation:-

  • Technology access:-
    • The latest technology became more easily accessible. Liberalisation made it easier for filmmakers and studios to import the latest equipment. This has led to the look of films undergoing a sea change.
    • Digital Intermediate (DI):-
      • After the arrival of DI, movie makers were able to tweak the print digitally.
    • Digital visual effects were becoming possible as technology was becoming available.
    • Hollywood opened Indian audiences to the quality of cinema and technology of a much higher standard and that automatically raised the bar for Indian movie makers too.
  • Easy loans:-
    • Until the 1990s, the norm was to receive film funding from private financiers. In the new millennium, came finance from institutions like banks
    • In 2000, the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) began to offer loans for film production at 15-20% interest per annum. This was to curb the practice of producers investing personal or underworld wealth in projects. It gave the industry encouraging stability and a sense of security.
  • Movie-going experience changed:-
    • The end of the licence-permit era has led to an explosion of new theatres in every city. Multiplex theatres cropped up.
    • Over the years, the exhibitions business was also transformed, allowing audiences to experience luxury seating and the latest movie projection and sound systems.
  • Price control has largely disappeared:-
    • Film tickets can have differential pricing for different shows or different days of the week.
  • Distribution process became organised:-
    • A process that was disorganised began to get structured. The use of statistical analysis, marketing research and audience metrics, unknown three decades ago has become standard.
  • Growing commercialization of cinema :-
    • The liberalization policy coincided with the rise of movie stars in Hindi and other film industries In addition, directors brought a globalized sensibility to their films. This facilitated audience interest overseas.
    • 1990s also saw a rise in the number of Indians travelling abroad for education or work. This resulted in a growing market for Indian films.
  • Multiple roles:-
    • Liberalization opened up this job for corporate studios. Corporations brought structure to the system.
    • Arrival of corporations also ensured greater presence in foreign markets.
    • Studios like Disney (then UTV), Reliance Entertainment and Eros International would take on the entire task from acquisition of a film to syndication, marketing, and distribution overseas, in addition to investing in the filmmaking process.
    • With established centres across the country, and overseas, these studios managed to set up the right channels to ensure smooth transfer of funds and films.
  • Governments policies also helped:-
    • Lot of state governments such as Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh came out with an entertainment tax holiday policy in order to encourage a capital-intensive business such as exhibition.
    • After 1998 government granted cinema the status of an industry.
    • National government permitted 100% foreign direct investment in the exhibition business
  • The divide between ‘art’ and ‘commerce’ has narrowed, and many filmmakers even in the ‘commercial’ space are now willing to take risks and tackle new subjects.
  • Prior to liberalization, Hollywood films used to hit the theatres in India months after their release elsewhere. Now they are part of the mainstream and arrive in India almost simultaneously with their worldwide release.

Concerns:-

  • On the flip side a lot of filmmakers are focusing more on their marketing campaigns than the content itself.
  • Entry of foreign studios has had its drawbacks, too. Indian movie makers have not cracked the science behind distribution in foreign markets. Also, most foreign studios who have entered the Indian market focus on getting the most out of Indian markets, but do not distribute Indian films overseas.

Conclusion:-

  • Therefore the role played by economic liberalisation to the cinema industry is huge. In 2015, the Indian film industry was worth Rs.13,820 crore and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 10.5% for the next five years, according to the KPMG-FICCI Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2016.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic:  Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business,
powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

2) Disruptions in parliament and state legislative assemblies are rooted in anti-defection law and money bills. Discuss(250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question

Parliamentary disruptions and low productivity of our parliament and state legislative assemblies has become a perennial problem, wanting discussion and change. The recent budgetary session was one similar abysmally low productive session. The question is related to GS-2 syllabus under the following heading-

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to describe in detail about the role of anti-defection law and money bills in disruptions in legislative assemblies and the Parliament.  We have to explain their involvement in such disruptions.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to dig deep into the issue and write in detail about how money bills and anti-defection law impact the working of the Parliament and state legislatures. Based on our discussion we have to explain how such disruptions are rooted in above two provisions. We also have to discuss the possible solutions, briefly.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- introduce your answer by documenting the low productivity of state legislatures and the Parliament, mention the severity, prevalence and history of the problem. Also, briefly mention Kihoto Hollohan case.

Body- Divide the body into three main parts. In one part discuss how anti-defection law is responsible for Parliamentary and state legislatures’ disruptions.

E.g discuss the role party whip, how it has placed the political party, and not the individual legislator, at the core of parliamentary democracy.

In the second part, discuss how money bills and their certification and loss of role of Rajya sabha lead to such disruptions.

Conclusion- present a brief conclusion of your discussion and briefly mention the way forward. E.g make necessary amendments in anti-defection law, domicile requirement for RS, amendments in money bill provisions.

Background:-

  • The lack of parliamentary discussion of the budget session is part of a trend that has been evident in state legislative assemblies for a while. Almost no legislature business was transacted and discussions and debates neglected in the Parliament is only a reflection of the larger dysfunction in the way parliamentary democracy has been working in India at the state level.
  • During the monsoon session last year, both the houses of Parliment lost about 55 hours, causing a loss of Rs 82.5 crore. Moreover, the productivity during in the Rajya Sabha had also dropped drastically to 54% from 72% in the Monsoon Session.

Disruptions due to anti defection law –

  • The hope expressed by the majority judgment of the Supreme Court in Kihoto Hollohan v Zachilhu (1992), that the speaker will prove to be an impartial and non-partisan arbiter of disqualification disputes, has been belied.
  • Political party given primacy than individual:-
    • In its present shape, the Tenth Schedule has placed the political party, and not the individual legislator, at the core of parliamentary democracy. 
    • Legislators are now accountable to the political party on whose symbol they were elected and not to their constituents.
    • Their voting behaviour in Parliament makes them answerable to the party through the disqualification process, much before they have to face the electorate in the consequent elections.
    • This anti-defection law has empowered political parties at the cost of democratic debate, particularly within Parliament, since defying a party whip can lead to disqualification from the House.
  • Misuse of whip:-
    • With legislators iron-bound to the party whip, this was played out at the state level, where legislative assemblies are functional for as few days as possible.
    • It weakens incentives of legislators to invest in developing their own viewpoints and express them freely as they cannot use their own stand on different issues to evolve or develop their own political careers.
    • The role of legislators has been reduced to merely instruments in the formation of government from the point of a party, because they are expected to follow the decisions of the party as far as legislative business is concerned.
    • Since MP’s can’t vote as per the merit of the debate, but must follow the party diktat, there is no reason for MPs to prepare for a debate.
  • Led to lesser debate:-
    • Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, far from preventing defections, has resulted in lesser debate within Parliament.
  • Affects intra party democracy:-
    • The effect of anti-defection law is not only manifest in disruptions or the nature of protest and dissent, but is also negative for intra-party democracy.
    • It also accentuates the preexisting tendency of Indian politics to be personality- and dynasty-driven
    • creates an incentive to control a party or to create one, as opposed to creating political capital out of one’s own vision or by creating a space within a party.

Disruptions due to money bills:-

  • Dilution of power of Rajya sabha:-
    • Unlike the House of Lords, membership is not inherited or based purely on nominations, but filled on the basis of elections, even if these are indirect elections.
    • Further, the Rajya Sabha was supposed to protect the interests of the states in Parliament and help strengthen the federal structure of the Constitution. But due to money bills this powerful Rajya Sabha is totally diluted.
  • Each time the ruling party wields its whip effectively and uses the money bill route for contentious legislation, the authority and importance of Parliament diminishes. Recent instances like certifying Aadhar bill as money bill raised questions.
  • By getting the speaker to decide various legislations as money bills, the constitutional scheme of the Rajya Sabha is violated.

What needs to be done :-

  • The key lesson is the importance of detailed scrutiny by Parliament:-
    • India can move to a system like that of the British Parliament where every Bill goes through the committee stage in each House. That may take more time to pass a Bill but will ensure that there is adequate deliberation by parliamentarians before they pass a Bill.
  • Restrict the party whip and invocation of anti-defection law to money bills and confidence votes.
  • Allow debate on all major issues, and extend sitting of the House where necessary to allow members to express their opinion.
  • Allow members to vote on issues and legislations as per their conscience.

Topic:  Storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related
constraints.

3)The guarantee of payment and a viable minimum wage rate, that is pegged on the prevailing market rate, are indispensable to the raison d’être of MGNREGA. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Reference

 

Why this question

MGNREGA aims to provide a basic livelihood security to the large population of unskilled workers, by providing assured 100 days of employment in a year. The scheme has been acknowledged to have multiplier effects in agricultural and more importantly rural economy. The question is related to GS-3 syllabus-

Key demand of the question

The question wants to know our understanding of the essence of MGNREGA and our opinion on why a guaranteed payment and a viable minimum wage rate is necessary to serve that purpose.

Directive word

Comment-  we have to present our personal understanding and viewpoint on the given issue. We have to back our stand/opinion by providing necessary justifications/ arguments/ facts.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- in the introduction briefly discuss the raison d’etre of MGNREGA.

E.g providing minimum livelihood security, rights based law to improve  the socio-economic condition of the rural poor, sustainable development of agriculture and participatory governance.

Body- divide the body into two main parts. In one part, discuss the problem with payment system and minimum wage rates in different parts of India.

In the other part, discuss in points, why guarantee of payment and a viable minimum wage rate, that is pegged on the prevailing market rate, are indispensable to the raison d’être of MGNREGA.

E.g guarantee of work lost, men migrate to other works while women participation increased, loss of decentralization and participatory democracy.

conclusion – present a clear and concise conclusion based on the above discussion and suggest some remedies if possible.

 

Background :-

  • Timely payment of wages is central to the rights-based realisation of minimum guaranteed income under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). 
  • NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, which tracks the implementation of the act, found that 64%, 86%, and of the orders for wages in February and March respectively remained unprocessed. 

Present wage payment issues :-

  • Problems with national electronic fund management system:-
    • In 2016–17, when there were accumulated arrears of₹ 12,000 crore  states like Jharkhand and Tripura ensured payments to workers through their resources. Now, with the national electronic fund management system, this is no longer possible.
    • A serious implication of this is the violation of the rights of workers who are entitled to receive full payment of their wages within 15 days of working in the programme.
    • Sometimes payments are not transferred to the accounts of the MGNREGA workers and suppliers for three to four months, even more in some cases, all due to pending Fund transfer orders
  • Centralised:-
    • The centralised mechanism reverses the process of strengthening panchayati raj institutions
    • In many of the states, for the first time, gram panchayats opened bank accounts, and received money on a regular basis in their accounts. These processes that empowered gram panchayats became redundant after the introduction of the NeFMS and FTOs.
  • Low wages:-
    • While the Ministry of Rural Development revises the wages on an annual basis based on the consumer price index for agricultural labourers, the minimum and actual wages for agricultural labour in many states are now higher than the MGNREGA wages.
    • MGNREGA wages were lower than minimum wages in 17 states .So people will look for alternatives .
    • Actual average wage rate in the states was lower than the mandated wage rate. In Telangana, for instance, the actual average wage rate was found to be Rs 131, as against the stipulated Rs 180, a pattern that was found across states.
  • Principal reasons for such delays were infrastructural bottlenecks, (lack of) availability of funds and lack of administrative compliance.
  • Centre-state tussle:-
    • Central government blocked funds for 19 states since many of them had not submitted audited reports to the Centre. The issue persisted and wages were delayed for several weeks before the payments finally began to trickle in. In this tussle between the Centre and states, it is the workers who continue to suffer. 
  • Rejected payments:-
    • There are cases of failed transfers to the workers account. Payments get rejected primarily due to technical reasons such as incorrect account numbers in the system, mismatch of names in the account and the Aadhaar etc.
    • For such payments, a fund transfer order has to be regenerated, which could take up to several days. 
  • There was irregular measurement of work, and that wage payment was not based on actual work, but was being done to match the average daily wage rate

 

Guarantee of payment and minimum wage payment are needed because:-

 

  • The current method by which the delays are being calculated lead to a violation of the spirit of the law. The government should take into account the entire delay until the labourer receives the wages in his/her account. To that end the delay days should be counted from the 16th day after the muster closure, until the credited date.
  • There appear to be no accountability norms on the Centre for its delays..
  • Credited but not Disbursed:
    • For an alarming number of workers, the NREGA MIS indicates that their payments have been credited but upon updating their passbook, one doesn’t notice any payments made to their accounts. This phenomena is rampant across  several states.
  • The large delays are dissuading workers from taking up NREGA work. And the meagre amount of compensation is not providing any inspiration to the labourers. This will only increase migration and stress on urban areas .
  • More recently, the NREGA budget has increased a little in money terms but it is still lower in real terms than in 2010-11 despite rapid economic growth.
  • Due to the lower budget, the wages of NREGA workers have stagnated in real terms since 2009, even as the wages and pensions of government employees went up by leaps and bounds.

Way forward:-

 

  • The payments infrastructure requires seamless coordination between the Centre, states, payment agencies and the administrative bodies. There should be clearly defined responsibilities for each one of them. 
  • Making local monitoring systems and ombudsman more effective, while ensuring the scheme remains demand-driven ,similarity in the schedule of rates across similar states with similar working conditions need to be ensured
  • The revised method of calculating the delays would mean sharing of responsibility of the compensation between the Centre and the states and the norms should be clearly specified and made available publicly.
  • Data on fund disbursal to state governments and the processes followed therein should be
    available in the public domain. Absence of such well-defined norms imply that the baton
    of accountability is being passed around from the Centre to the states and vice versa.
  • Transparency:
    • Data on rejection for compensation should be made public. It is important for the authority rejecting the compensation to provide justified reasons and evidence for the same
  • New norms” for NREGA wages based on the notion of living wage and consisted with the recommendations of the 15th labour conference as well as Supreme Court judgments on the matter need to be considered.

 

Conclusion:-

  • So timely payment is not merely a question of political or bureaucratic efficiency but a question of life and death for those on the margins of subsistence.

Topic – Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

4)Inclusive growth in India requires policy measures to address poverty more than they address income inequality. Critically analyze

The Hindu

The Hindu

Why this question
Issue of inclusive growth is of paramount importance for India. Both the gini coefficient for india and the poverty figures do not inspire much confidence. In this backdrop, the debate over the direction that policies for ensuring inclusive growth take, becomes critical.

Key demand of the question

The focus of the question is on figuring out whether the policy measures should be directed towards addressing inequality or poverty or whether addressing one would automatically take care of the other. We need to thus analyse, whether the nature, causes and way of addressing poverty and income inequality are similar, whether policy measures can be designed to kill two birds with one stone.

Directive word

Critically analyse –  We need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature, causes and policy responses of dealing with poverty and income inequality and the interrelationships between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss the relationship between  inclusive growth , poverty and inequality of income. Provide data for India to highlight the magnitude of problem that we have to address.

Body

  • Discuss status quo and past experiences
    • Examine poverty and inequality data in pre reform and post reform period (high growth period and otherwise)
    • Examine urban and rural data
    • The point of this part of your answer should be to establish that addressing one does not necessarily lead to improvement in the other, or it does (your conclusion)
  • Discuss the reasons behind income inequality and poverty and comment whether the reasons behind these issues can be resolved with the throw of a single dice.
  • Discuss some particular inclusive growth policies and assess its impact on poverty and income inequality.
  • Discuss what is a bigger challenge for India and what should be focused upon in the short and long run.

 

Conclusion – Provide a fair judgment which should flow from the summary of your arguments presented above.

Background:-

  • Inclusiveness is a multi-dimensional concept. Inclusive growth results in lowering the incidence of poverty and reducing income inequality.
  • Inequalities that include, social exclusion, discrimination, restrictions on migration, constraints on human development, lack of access to finance and insurance,  corruption – are sources of inequality and limit the prospect for economic advancement among certain segments of the population, thereby  perpetuating poverty.
  • To achieve inclusiveness in all these dimensions requires multiple interventions and success depends not only on introducing new policies and governments, but on institutional and attitudinal changes.

Inequality and poverty:-

  • Poverty ratio is equally important as the Gini coefficient in analysing issues relating to growth and distribution.
  • Since 1980, while the Chinese economy has grown 800% and India’s a far lower 200%, inequality in China today is considerably lower than in India. The share of the top 1% of the Chinese population is 14% as opposed to the 22% reported for India. India has lower per capita income, persistent poverty and by all accounts rising inequality.
  • The scale of poverty in India remains massive. The Planning Commission had estimated it at 363 million in 2011-12 .Poverty had declined rapidly since the reforms, it actually declines only after about one and a half decades from 1991.
    • In India, the situation hasn’t worked out as well for the poor. While the economy has grown, incomes have remained low for many.
  • But if growth is accompanied by reduced inequality, the impact of growth on poverty reduction will be heightened. High and rising inequality dissipates the impact  of growth on poverty; it can act as an impediment to growth and it is ethically objectionable in itself. 
  • The more impressive decline in poverty in China has been due to less initial inequality in land, reforms in land use, better health and the higher literacy. India lags behind in all these features. Disadvantaged communities, caste and gender discrimination too are impediments in mitigating poverty in India.
  • More rapid poverty reduction would require more growth, a more pro-poor pattern of growth, and success in reducing the antecedent inequalities that limit poor people’s access to economic opportunities

Focussing only on income inequality does not reduce poverty:-

  • Economic policies that encompass growth with equity and social policies that improve the capabilities of the poor and redistributive income policies are vital to reduce poverty and income inequality.
  • According to Simon Kuznets only after reaching a certain level of economic development an improvement in the distribution of income occurs. In this context, measuring inequality is not the same as measuring the changes in level of poverty.
  • Even if the Gini coefficient remains the same or picks up, the poverty ratio can be declining. This has been true of India. The decline in poverty is much higher particularly in the period 2004-05 to 2011-12 in spite of rise in inequality. Thus the changes of the poverty ratio is an equally important indicator to monitor.
  • Increasing income disparity
    • In contrast to the achievement in the reduction in poverty, income inequality has grown
    • While India’s inequality has increased from 33 per cent in 1993 to 37 per cent in 2010. Although China’s poverty is much reduced, her income inequality is higher than in India.
  • India’s vast strides in economic growth have not led to a more equitable distribution of incomes. In fact inequality has grown as the rich grew in an exponential manner, while the improvement of incomes of the poor was much less. Low literacy levels, especially inadequate primary school enrolment are reasons for the widening income disparities. Literacy and primary education, though rising is still inadequate.

Comprehensive approach is necessary:-

  • There is need to spread health and education far more widely amidst the population.
  • Economic growth while reducing poverty does not ensure equitable income distribution. The initial conditions of land ownership, education and health and social stratification have an important bearing on the impact of growth on the equitable distribution of incomes.
  • Interventionist policies that redistribute resources or entitlements have an important impact on the extent of equity in incomes that is achieved. Improvements in literacy and education reduce inequality of incomes. Public expenditure on these is very important and therefore government revenues must be adequate to enable the fiscal space for such expenditure.
  • The manner of raising tax revenue could also be important in reducing inequality. Progressive income tax systems, including recurrent property taxes, high taxes on luxury expenditure of the affluent, capital gains taxes and death duties would enable better income distribution by reducing incomes of the rich and enabling policy interventions that enhance the entitlements of the poor.
  • Diversification of agriculture is necessary as without the development of this sector poverty in India cannot be tackled and income inequality cannot reduce.

Topic – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

5) Agriculture has a huge role to play in helping India deal with its water woes. Examine.

Reference

Why this question

As India urbanizes, population increases, effects of climate change become more prominent, water issues in India is bound to become more severe. Thus efficiency of water use in water intensive sector like agriculture will go a long way in ensuring water security for India.

Key demand of the question

The focus of the question is on bringing out how agriculture can impact water shortage and how efficiency in water use in agriculture will improve the overall water situation in the country.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Bring out the magnitude of water scarcity that India faces and establish that agriculture is a major contributor to the water issue in India.

Body

  • Bring out the major issues in this issue
    • Question of water productivity
    • Issue of geographical distribution of major crops
    • Efficiency of irrigation methods – bring out issues like evaporation losses in canal irrigation etc
    • Subsidies provided for withdrawal of ground water from motorized pumps
    • Inter state water disputes – linkage to agriculture
    • Etc
  • Discuss the way forward

 

Conclusion – bring out the issue of acute water shortage and the need for quick intervention to safeguard our future.

Background:-

  • India’s biggest problem is that of rampant water-waste in agriculture that consumes around 78% of India’s total freshwater resources.
  • Just rice and sugarcane consume more than 60% of the irrigation water in the country while occupying just around 24% of the total gross cropped area

Agriculture contributes to water crisis:-

  • Rural India:-
    • In rural India, zooming agricultural production over the years has mostly been fuelled by heavy use of groundwater because not enough investment was made for using surface and rainwater through canals and reservoirs.
  • Stressed Aquifers :-
    • Studies by NASA using satellite imagery show that the Indus basin, which includes the high food producing states of Punjab and Haryana, is one of the most stressed aquifers in the world. If the current trends continue, by 2030 nearly 60% of Indian aquifers will be in a critical condition. This means that some 25% of the agricultural production will be at risk -a devastating scenario.
  • Subsidies:-
    • No crop diversification efforts will work so long as free electricity offsets the costs of pumping out groundwater
    • A survey by the Punjab agriculture department indicates that in the last eight years, more than 54 per cent of farmers have installed water guzzling submersibles, and more than 45 per cent have got their motors renewed to increase the power, or simply purchased higher capacity motors. 
  • Inefficient irrigation methods:-
    • Irrigation for agriculture alone accounts for over 80% of water use in India, more than any other sector. However, much of this water is applied inefficiently using flood irrigation, which remains the prevailing irrigation practice among farmers in India.
    • This results in considerable losses of water  around 60% of water applied  in the form of surface run off, percolation and bare soil evaporation that does not contribute to any increases in yield.
  • Paddy cultivation:-
    • Paddy cultivation is heavily water-intensive on an average, it needs more than 1,400 mm of water against, say, 600 mm for pigeon pea or 500 mm for soybean.
  • Tamil Nadu, that has done little to wean farmers in the Cauvery basin off Samba cultivation, already faces a severe water crisis
  • Water-demand varies across states given differing weather conditions. In Punjab, over 5,330 litres go into producing 1 kg, while in Bengal this needs 2,700 litres. 

Huge role to play in helping solve India water crisis:-

  • Shifting rice cultivation in water-scarce areas like Punjab to Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, etc, and sugarcane cultivation to the traditional sub-tropical regions like UP and Bihar instead of Maharashtra.
  • Using drip irrigation:-
    • The water saved through drip technology in one hectare of sugarcane area can bring an additional 2.29 ha area under conventional irrigation and double this area, if drip irrigation is adopted in cotton; this means additional output worth up to Rs 1.95 lakh.
  • It is vital for the Centre to arrive at a policy that gives constructive advice to farmers on the ideal cropping mix and help them get the cost-plus-50% margin.
  • The Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water drawn up by the Centre should be pursued scientifically, to help States with the most water-stressed blocks get adequate funds to build artificial recharge structures.
  • For those farmers who choose to continue with wheat and rice, transfer of expertise and provision of equipment that enables efficient utilisation of water is vital.
  • Farm ponds, percolation tanks, water reservoirs and small and medium-sized dams can help retain more surface water while increasing the groundwater recharge.
  • Increased water conservation and promoting cultivation of less water-intensive crops can go a long way towards coping with the crisis.
  • Adopt drought-resistant crop varieties as has been done in some parts of Odisha for paddy/rice through the help of the International Rice Research Institute. This can maintain productivity and income of the farmers and also ensure price stability to the consumers. 
  • To curb the unsustainable practice of giving free electricity, a system where power consumed at each point is accounted for needs to be put in place.
    • In Punjab if implemented properly, paddy cultivation automatically gets costlier ultimately leading to a reduction in its acreage, making the diversification plan successful. 

General Studies – 4


Topic – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment ;  developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

6) India will get buried under mountain of debris if it doesn’t address its solid waste management issues. Discuss the magnitude of the problem and ways to address it keeping global best practices in mind.

Reference

Livement

Why this question

Waste management is a lesser understood problem whose ramifications for a growing India is immense. Metros like Bengaluru are reeling under this problem and struggling to find land space to dump the monumental proportion of waste generated. This issue thus assumes significance both from GS1 and GS3 perspective.

 

Key demand of the question

The demand of the question is straightforward as what needs to be discussed is mentioned. While discussing the way forward, we have to bring out the global best practices as it is explicitly demanded by the question

 

Directive word

Discuss – we have to bring out various aspects related to solid waste management in India. Highlight it’s pros and cons. While discussing way forward, we have to comment on its applicability to India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – discuss what is solid waste and what comes under solid waste management

Body

  • Discuss the magnitude of the problem
    • Use data to highlight magnitude (status quo)
    • Bring out the various ways in which this problem is affecting us – health, land use, environmental damage, seepage of chemicals underground
    • Bring out what issues can be caused by it in the future
  • Discuss way forward
    • Global best practices and its applicability to India
    • Indian best practices
    • Governmental measures – their shortcoming and the way forward

 

Conclusion – emphasize that this problem needs to be resolved ASAP for a healthy and wealthy India

 

Background:-

  • As the Indian economy expands and material consumption rises, a major challenge at hand is the management and containment of solid waste.
  • Specific targets under the Sustainable Development Agenda also highlight proper waste management as an important pillar for development.
OECD: Municipal waste is collected and treated by, or for municipalities. It covers waste from  households, including bulky waste, similar waste from commerce and trade, office buildings, institutions and small businesses, yard and garden, street sweepings, contents of litter containers, and market cleansing. Waste from municipal sewage networks and treatment, as well as municipal construction and demolition is excluded.

 

Magnitude of the problem :-

  • Already today, 62 million tonnes of garbage is generated annually by the 377 million people living in urban India. Even worse is the fact that more than 45 million tonnes, or 3 million trucks worth, of this garbage is untreated and disposed by municipal authorities every day leading to health issues and environmental degradation.
  • The volume of waste generated in the cities is projected to reach 125 million tonnes per annum by 2031 and the disposal system today focuses on collection and transportation of this waste only.
  • Waste segregation being virtually absent has resulted in resource wastage, environmental pollution and health/safety hazards, due to leaching and methane generation from wet solid waste in the landfills.
  • Due to unscientific disposal, GHG emissions from solid waste in India increased by 3.1% yearly between 2000 and 2010.
  • Unsegregated waste also undermines the waste-to-electricity option of disposal, given high wet waste content pushes the overall calorific value to a level below the required threshold.
  • While 95 commercial composting plants exist, only 14% of the capacity is utilised.
  • Nearly 75% of the waste generated in India is not treated and openly dumped onto fallow lands, leaching lethal chemicals into the ground, toxic fumes into the air and poison into the water systems. The critical impact on public health is immeasurable and can be witnessed as a rapid rise in pulmonary diseases, cancer occurrences, birth deformities etc.
  • According to World Health Organisation, 22 types of diseases can be prevented or controlled by improving solid waste management in India.

Ways to address it :-

  • Global practices:-
    • Japan:-
      • India could learn from Japan that managed to reduce its waste generation by a fifth over 2000-2013 by promoting Extended Producer Responsibility
      • Its Containers & Packaging Recycling Act aims at reducing the generation of packaging waste by mandating thinner and lighter packaging, use of returnable containers, and even recycling packaging from imports made by a firm.
      • It also places some responsibility on consumers
        • The Automobile Recycling Act of 2002 requires automobile buyers to deposit a recycling fee and mandatorily return an end-of-life vehicle to the dealer.
      • South Korea:-
        • Ingenious approaches have been promoted across the world for reducing resource 
          consumption and increasing resource recovery from waste materials.
        • The Korean government has promoted the “SSSR Campaign” (Ahnabada Campaign), which stands for “Save, Share, Swap, and Reuse,” to bring the reuse of goods into everyday habits, and has hosted marketplaces for exchanging or trading second-hand goods.
      • The pragmatic ‘Zero Waste’ philosophy promotes absolute recycling and reuse of 
        all products, restricting the amount of dumped waste to near zero.
        • It emphasises on designing and managing products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserving and recovering all resources, and not burning or burying them.
        • Implementing Zero Waste would ideally eliminate all discharges to land, water, or air that may be a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health. The philosophy ultimately focuses on eliminating waste.
      • Indian initiatives:-
        • To maximise benefits along the waste value chain, the Solid Waste Management Guidelines 2016 have detailed the most appropriate steps to improve the waste management paradigm in the Indian context and minimise environmental impact of the same.
          • Minimum generation of waste by reusing and recycling, in tandem with proper segregation and treatment practices is the most preferred approach to tackle the challenge this sector poses.
          • 50-60% of waste generated in typical Indian cities is organic and biodegradable, concluding that composting would be the devoted method to solve half of India’s waste problems. 
        • In line with the mandate of the rules as identified, some successful initiatives being steered in the country are: 
          • Tirunelveli, a small city in the state of Tamil Nadu has been announced as the first to have achieved 100% source segregation of municipal solid waste. The organic biodegradable waste is collected by the municipality on a daily basis while plastic waste is collected only once a week on  Wednesdays. 
          • HasiruDala in Bengaluru strives to integrate marginalized informal waste workers including waste pickers in the solid waste management framework by utilizing their expertise in the  domain.
        • Propelling sanitation to the top of the policy agenda under the flagship Swachh Bharat Abhiyan programme. The Clean India Dashboard tracks programme achievements, 24×7.
        • Constraints with Indian approach:-
          • India had no operational sanitary landfill though these are mandated by the SWM Rules.
          • SWM Rules directs urban local bodies (ULBs) to fix and levy user charges but this is hobbled by the fact that most state governments have not devolved that power to local governments.
          • India’s waste predicament presents numerous social and environmental challenges for urban local bodies (ULBs), whose prerogative covers MSW management.
        • An effective waste management strategy must figure waste segregation at source and appropriate treatment of different components.
        • The wet solid waste, primarily biodegradable organic waste, can be then processed in a decentralised manner through composting and biomethanation.

Conclusion:-

  • As India’s own economy grows faster and further, the country will face an insurmountable waste crisis, unless the government puts a high priority on waste management. We must demand our right to live in a clean and healthy natural environment