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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 JULY 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 JULY 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.


General Studies – 1


Topic– Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1) Colonial exploitation and domination scarred Indian society in many ways. But paradoxically, colonialism also gave birth to its own enemy – nationalism. Comment.(250 words)

NCERT

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to discuss how colonialism divided Indian society and also how it also gave birth to nationalism. As the answer is quite simple here, it is important to be specific and concise.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few lines about the nature of Indian society before colonialism especially the caste distinctions, religious distinctions, other important socio-economic distinctions.

Body

  • Discuss the inequalities created or widened by colonialism- e.g The urban middle classes; widening of religious distinctions in the form of birth of various communal organizations like a,b,c; effect on caste distinctions.
  • Discuss how each of them affected Indian nationalism. E.g urban middle class came to know about western ideas etc., felt confident about their past and ability to govern themselves; strategically used press, assembly to portray Indian cause etc. discuss the role of communal organizations and similarly caste organizations in India’s freedom struggle.

Conclusion– Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Colonial rule unified all of India for the first time and brought in the forces of modernisation and capitalist economic change. By and large, the changes brought about were irreversible. The economic, political and administrative 
    unification of India under colonial rule was achieved at great expense.
  • Colonial 
    exploitation and domination scarred Indian society in many ways. But 
    paradoxically, colonialism also gave birth to its own enemy – nationalism. 

How colonial exploitation and domination scarred Indian society :-

  • Agriculture:-
    • The significant consequence of colonial exploitation was that India remained primarily an agricultural country with a scope for commercialisation of agriculture so as to serve the interests of Great Britain.
  • Handicrafts:-
    • British policies led to destruction of Indian handicrafts and transformed the country into an importer of manufactured goods from Britain.
  • The British followed the policy of discriminating protection and imperial preference so as to maintain complete control over the Indian market and also to provide secure avenues for British investors in India.
  • Land issues:-
    • The new land system in the form of Zamindari and Ryotwari system introduced by the British created a class of absentee landlords making way for exploitation of the peasants and concentration of economic power in the hands of the few. This had resulted total depression in agriculture and industry.
  • Divide and rule:-
    • Western invaders arrived with an express desire to colonise and exploit the indigenous people wherever they went, materially as well as spiritually. India was no exception. They had to find a way out to create further chasm in the local people to divide, rule and exploit policy.
    • Whenever the British felt threatened by Indian nationalism and saw it growing, they divided the Indian people along religious lines.
  • Famines:-
    • The last famine in India, in Bengal between 1943 and 1944, claimed over four million lives.
  • The social pyramid was truncated because the British lopped off most of the top three layers of the Moghul hierarchy, i.e. the Moghul court, the Moghul aristocracy and quasi-autonomous prices (a quarter of these survived), and the local chieftainry (zamindars who survived in about 40 per cent of India). In place of these people the British installed a modern bureaucracy which took a smaller share of national income.
  • At the bottom of society the position of sharecropping tenantry and landless labourers remained wretched.
  • In urban areas a new Westernized ‘middle class’ of Indians emerged and became the major challenge to the British raj.
  • At the end of British rule there were 3 million factory workers making cheap textiles and jute sacking, whose Mughul predecessors had worked on muslins and silks, and a million railway workers who had no earlier counterpart.

How colonialism gave birth to nationalism:-

  • Historically, an Indian nationalism took shape under British colonialism. 
  • Unified the community:-
    • The shared experience of colonial domination helped unify and energise different sections of the community.
    • Colonialism created new classes and communities which came to play 
      significant roles in subsequent history.
  • Education:-
    • The emerging middle classes began, with the aid of western style education, to challenge colonialism on its own ground.
    • Theories of philosophers like John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, Adam Smith and Voltaire instilled in the Indian mind notions of freedom, liberty, equality and democracy. As a result of the exposure to such ideas, Indians began to recognise the need for change.
  • Rediscovery of tradition:-
    • India’s rich and glorious history, as revealed by Western scholars, helped Indians to regain their lost pride and confidence and contributed to the development of nationalism.
  • Middle class:-
    • The urban middle classes were the main carriers of nationalism and they led the campaign for freedom.
  • Colonial interventions also crystallised religious and caste based communities. These too became major players. 
  • Language:
    • The imposition of English in the education system was a blessing in disguise. Indians from diverse regions speaking different languages could now communicate with each other through the medium of English.
    • English thus united the educated Indians and brought about a feeling of oneness among them. A spirit of nationalism gradually emerged.
  • Socio-religious reform:-
    • When the British came to India, they brought new ideas such as liberty, equality, freedom and human rights from the Renaissance, the Reformation Movement and the various revolutions that took place in Europe. These ideas appealed to some sections of our society and led to several reform movements in different parts of the country.
    • India’s contact with the West made educated Indians realise that socio-religious reform was a prerequisite for the all-round development of the country.
    • These reform movements sought to remove social evils which divided the Indian society.This had the effect of bringing different sections of the society together. Since many reform movements drew their inspiration from India’s rich cultural heritage, these promoted pan-Indian feelings and spirit of nationalism.
  • British rule itself:-
    • Adverse impact of the British rule on the political, economic and social spheres resulted in sharp reaction of the Indian people against the foreigners. This led to a series of the anti-British movements throughout the country. Peasants and tribes rebelled against exploitative rulers.
    • An important factor in the growth of national sentiments in India was the tone of racial superiority adopted by many Englishmen in their dealings with Indians. The reactionary policies of the British government were also responsible for the growth of political associations.
  • Communal organisations though sometimes revolutionary in nature but helped in formulating the scripts of nationalism.
  • Technology:-
    • The introduction of the railways, telegraph and unified postal systems had brought the different parts of the country together and promoted mutual contact among the people, especially .among the leaders.
  • Role of Press and Literature:-
    • With the emergence of the modern press, both English and Vernacular, the latter half of the 19th century saw an unprecedented growth of Indian-owned English and Vernacular newspapers. The Indian Press played a notable role in mobilizing public opinion, organizing political movements, fighting out public opinions and promoting nationalism.

General Studies – 2


Topic– mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

2) Discuss the provisions of Trafficking of persons Bill 2018. Critically Examine whether it would help in solving the problems faced by those being trafficked?(250 words)

Hindustantimes

Reference

Why this question

The article is quite useful in preparing critical analysis of trafficking of persons Bill which has been introduced in the ongoing session of Parliament. The problem is often in news and poses a significant challenge for government around the world. Hence this question is important.

Key demand of the question

The first part of the question is straightforward in its demand. In the second part, we have to mention the pros and cons of the along with our view from the point of view of those being trafficked.

Directive word

Critically 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – discuss data related to trafficking to emphasize the magnitude and the impact of the problem.

Body – Discuss the provisions of the Bill. Examine the provisions of the bill that seeks to improve the condition of the victim such as keeping identity anonymous, rehabilitation etc. Emphasize on the merit of these provisions. Thereafter, discuss the problems with focus on prosecution driven, raid rescue rehabilitation model.

Conclusion – give a fair and balanced view and changes required to enhance effectiveness.

Background:-

  • Anti-human trafficking Bill aims to solve the massive problem of trafficking, and the move was long overdue in India. According to the Global Slavery Index 2016 published by an Australian rights group, more than 18 million people in India are living in conditions of modern slavery.
  • According to data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), more than 8,000 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2016. More than half the victims i.e.., 54 percent were trafficked for the purpose of forced labour and sexual exploitation.

 Features of the Bill:-

  • Multiple dimensions of trafficking included:-
    • Aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical and substance on a person for early sexual maturity. The Bill also includes trafficking for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage.
  • Victim protection:-
    • The anti-trafficking Bill aims at maintaining the confidentiality of the victim/witness and the complainant. This helps in trans-border and inter-state rescue operations.
    • The Bill proposes to provide time-bound trial and repatriation of victims. It seeks to provide help within a period of one year.
    • Immediate protection of rescued victims and their rehabilitation. The victims are entitled to interim relief immediately within 30 days to address their physical, mental trauma and further appropriate relief within 60 days from the date of filing of chargesheet.
  • Rehabilitation fund:-
    • A rehabilitation fund would be created for the first time. Rehabilitation would not be based on criminal proceedings initiated against the criminal.
  • Institutional mechanisms:-
    • The Bill aims to have designated courts in each district for the speedy trial of cases.
    • The anti-trafficking Bill creates dedicated institutional mechanisms at the district, state and central levels. These will be responsible for prevention, protection, investigation and rehabilitation work related to trafficking. The National Anti-Trafficking Bureau will perform the task of international coordination.
    • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will also perform the task of Anti-Trafficking Bureau at the national level under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of person:-
    • Which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements; or commits fraud for procuring or facilitating the acquisition of clearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.
    • The new law also seeks to make way for punishment of three years for a person found to be promoting or facilitating trafficking.
    • Punishmentranges from rigorous minimum 10 years to life and fine not less than Rs. 1 lakh in cases of “aggravated” crimes
    • In order to break the organized nexus, both at the national and international level, the Bill provides for the attachment & forfeiture of property and also the proceeds for crime.

How this bill will solve the issue of trafficking:-

  • Trafficking of Persons Bill aims to look at making India a leader among South Asian nations in combatting human trafficking. It addresses the issue of trafficking from the point of prevention, protection and rehabilitation.
  • More importantly, it creates a distinction between the trafficker and the trafficked, ensuring victims are not wrongfully detained.
  • The Bill addresses one of the most pervasive yet invisible crimes affecting the most vulnerable persons especially women and children. The new law will make India a leader among South Asian countries to combat trafficking. 
  • The bill addresses the issue of trafficking from the point of view of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation(first to address the issue of victim rehabilitation).
    • Setting up of one or more special homes in each district for the purpose of providing long-term institutional supportfor the rehabilitation of victims is another feature of the Bill.
  • Unlike the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA), 1956, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, and Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code, the new Bill takes a holistic view and aims to prevent traffickingfor forced labour, beggary and organ transplant, among many others.
  • The Bill also provides for designated courts in each districtfor time-bound trial and repatriation of victims within a period of one year from taking into cognizance. This is welcome move.
  • The Bill also provides for seizing of property located in foreign landswhich is a good effort to deal with such crimes.
  • It is gender-neutral and covers transgender persons.
  • It doesn’t criminalise the victims, but instead provides them with shelter, compensation, and counselling.
  • The Bill also relies on Article 21 of the Constitution, guaranteeing that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.
  • The Bill takes note of the fact that India has ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crimeand its three Optional Protocols, including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

Criticism:-

  • Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation is left out:-
    • Sex trafficking is one such issue. Even as the number of victims of sex trafficking was as high as 16 million, the Bill does not mention the word ‘sexual exploitation’ or ‘prostitution’ anywhere.
  • Bill neither has any punishment for customers or clients nor does it have a provision to prevent the trafficking of marginalised girls and women.
  • Budget constraints:-
    • The Bill argues to prevent trafficking from the point of prevention, protection and rehabilitation. But it has has no earmarked budget to provide shelter, food, clothing and legal protection to girls and youth of backward classes who are most vulnerable to trafficking.
  • Vulnerability is a big concern:-
    • It has failed to remove Section 8 of the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA) under which women are punished for soliciting in a public place for no fault of their own. The reality is that they are vulnerable because they are hungry, homeless, and unskilled.
  • Legal Vacuum
    • The Bill also proposes to set up special courts for prosecution of offenders. But a similar plan was proposed after the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case, and the courts have not been functioning as effectively as they were deemed to. Further, the Nirbhaya Fund has also been fairly under-utilised.
  • Missing children not mentioned:-
    • The anti-trafficking Bill does not mention missing children anywhere. However, the NCRB data on missing children is startling. In the year 2016, around 2.90 lakh children were reportedly missing, of whom more than 50 percent are girls. A large number of them are drawn into trafficking.
  • Will be a setback for already marginalised groups, including bonded labourers, child labourers, migrant workers, sex workers etc.
  • The Bill also speaks of repatriation but fails to mention the psycho-socio and economic rehabilitation of the victim.
  • National investigation agency is an understaffed organisation,that is already tackling the gigantic footprint of terrorism across the subcontinent and there are doubts whether it might be in a position to take on and investigate cases of human trafficking.
  • According to experts most of the trafficking is taking place in small towns so focus should be on policing and not NIA.

Suggested amendments that are needed:-

  • Improving Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code’s definition of trafficking of persons. The definition should be based on the UN Protocol that addresses the issue of vulnerability.
  • Prohibiting the purchase of sex and servitude. If the buyers of sex are not punished then the supply will never stop. This industry is a highly demand-driven industry; thus, to solve the problem, even buyers of sex workers should be punished.
  • Section 8 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956 criminalises women who are made to stand in public spaces by the traffickers. These women should be treated as victims and not offenders
  • The government must refer the Bill to a standing committee for comprehensive consultations with Indian trade unions and workers groups.

Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “Centre State Legislative Relations”

3) Examine whether Article 246 is the cornerstone of centre state legislative relations? Discuss whether Concurrent list created confusion with respect to extent of legislative power of centre and states?(250 words) 

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what Article 246 of Constitution entails, examine whether it is the defining feature of the legislative relations between centre and state. In the next part, we need to analyze whether the provision of CL creates ease of legislation or leaves room for confusion.

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 .

Discuss – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain Article 246 of Indian constitution.

Body

  • Examine how the division of subjects into Union List, state list and concurrent list helped immensely in ironing our potential disputes in centre state legislative relations
  • Examine whether creation of concurrent list creates confusion or it helps in knowing what subjects to legislate on. Discuss the suggestion given by various committees on centre state relations like Punchhi, 2nd ARC etc

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view and discuss way forward.

Background :-

  • Article 246 deals with the distribution of the subjects of legislation between the Centre and the States. The Constitution under this article provides for a threefold distribution in the form of the following three lists:-
    • Union List or List I consists of 97 subjects on which the Parliament alone can legislate. All subjects of national interest such as foreign affairs, defence and so on are included in this list and the subjects are exclusive to the centre .Under any given circumstances states cannot legislate on the subjects in this list
    • State List of List II consists of 66subjects on which the states can legislate. All subjects of local interest such as law and order are placed in this list.
    • Concurrent List of List III consists of 47 subjects on which both the states and the centre can legislate.

Concurrent list created confusion :-

  • It is used without consultation, that it is not exercised to deepen inter-dependence and co-operation but to stress dominance of the Union point of view.
  • There is, however, no formal institutional structure that requires mandatory consultation between the Union and the States in the area of legislation under the Concurrent List which covers several items of crucial importance to national economy and security. 
  • The autonomy of states is affected as states and centre can both legislate in such matters and ultimately centre’s law prevails.

Concurrent list did not create confusion and shows how article 246 os the cornerstone of legislative relations between centre and states :-

  • Concurrent List provides a fine balance between the need for uniformity in the national laws and creating a simultaneous jurisdiction for the States to accommodate the diversities and peculiarities of different regions.
  • This also provides a distinguishing feature in the federal scheme envisaged by the framers of the Constitution.
  • This is further reinforced by placing a mode of altering the provisions in lists I,II and III in the 7th schedule among other matters of provisions substantive in nature and basic to the structure of the Constitution that fall within the purview of the proviso to clause (2) of Article 368.  
  • Clear provisions set:-
    • Bill for amending the list in the 7th schedule has to be passed by Parliament by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than 2/3rd of the members of the House present and voting – and followed by ratification of legislatures of not less than ½ of the States.  
  • This mechanism provides a statutory tilt in favour of consultation and cooperation with the States in matters pertaining to the Legislative sphere and inherent balance between flexibility and rigidity.  
  • In particular, the Concurrent List, List III in the Seventh Schedule under article 246 (2), has to be regarded as a valuable instrument for consolidating and furthering the principle of cooperative and creative federalism that has made a major contribution to nation building.
  • Sarkaria Commission observed that there has been a pervasive trend towards greater centralization of powers over the years and narrow personal interests have been given priority over larger national interest. It did not favour limiting of the powers of the union or transfer of various subjects to state or concurrent lists. However, it recommended a process of consultation by the centre on all concurrent subjects, which is not being done at present. 
  • Punchi commission further clarified that there should be a mechanism whereby the centre consults states before introducing a bill on concurrent list items. This consultation mechanism should be through inter-state council.Centre should occupy only that much of subjects in concurrent list or any other overlapping jurisdiction which is absolutely needed to achieve uniformity of policy in national interest.

Suggestions:-

  • Individual and collective consultation with the States should be undertaken through the Inter-State Council established under article 263 of the Constitution. Further, the Inter-State Council Order, 1990, issued by the President may clearly specify in 4(b) of the order the subjects that should form part of consultation in the Inter-State Council.
  • Suggestion for a new entry in the Concurrent List – Management of Disasters and Emergencies, Natural or Man-made are made.

General Studies – 3 


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

4) Both investment and its productivity should pick up, in order to boost India’s economic growth. Critically analyze. (250 words) 

Livemint

Why this question

Economic growth is one of the most essential determinants of socio-economic development. It is important to know how to boost it and discuss it in the context of present situation. Here you can show your economic SKILLS to get extra marks.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to discuss why investments and their productivity should increase in order to boost India’s economic growth. We have to examine why one or both of them has decreased and also express our opinion on how should we proceed further.

Directive word

Critically analyze- Here we have to dig deep into the issue and identify and discuss about all the related and important aspects and correlate them to satisfy the key demand of the question. We have to form an opinion based on our analysis and discussion.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few lines about India’s present investment scenario- e.g India’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is also called the investment rate, averaged 31% in fiscals 2015-2018, compared with 33.6% in fiscals 2010-2014.

Body

  • Discuss why the investments have been low- e.g decreased capacity utilization; Focus on capital restructuring by private entities; GST implementation; demonetization shock; Upcoming elections etc.
  • Discuss ICOR and then how investments and their productivity can be increased. E.g bring out the importance of public investment here.

Conclusion– Based on your discussion form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the issue.

 

Background :-

  • India’s present investment scenario for instance India’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is also called the investment rate, averaged 31% in fiscals 2015-2018, compared with 33.6% in fiscals 2010-2014

Current state of investment and productivity :-

  • Fixed investment growth in all the three quarters of last fiscal was revised downwards. As a result, growth in fixed investments last fiscal year was 7.6% compared with 10.1% in fiscal 2017

Why boost in these areas is needed for better economic growth :-

  • Reason for the decline in investments are:-
    • The sticky share of private corporate sector investments in GDP
    • A secular decline in household investments.
    • CSO data shows private non-financial corporate investments have remained subdued, barring some improvement in fiscal 2017.
  • Broad-based pick-up in private corporate investments was elusive for three reasons:-
    • Capacity overhang:-
      • Data from the RBI suggests overall capacity utilization declined to 74% at the end of December 2017 from 81% at the end of March 2011.
      • Capacity utilization in some large industrial sectors, such as thermal power, two-wheelers, tractors, cars, cement and steel, remains below the peak, though we expect improvement in fiscal 2019.
    • High leverage has also been concerning the corporate sector and has been a deterrent for fresh investments in the economy.
    • The transitory shocks from demonetization and implementation glitches in the roll out of the goods and services tax (GST) added to the uncertainty, which further delayed investment decisions.
    • Pre-election year uncertainty, too, discourages private sector investments. The election season is generally marked by uncertainties over regime-change and policy.
  • Household sector was the biggest contributor to investments in fiscal 2012 (share of about 45%), but its share has declined consistently since then and was about 31% in fiscal 2017. 
  • Purchase of houses is generally the largest part (more than three-fourths) of household investments, but construction of dwellings/houses has slowed in three of the past four fiscals.
  • Government investments improved from 3.7% of the GDP in fiscal 2015 to 4.2% as of fiscal 2017. But the government does not have the fiscal muscle to offset the sluggishness in household and private corporate investments, which pulled down the overall investment ratio.

Productivity :-

  • Productivity of investments, as measured by incremental capital output ratio (ICOR), has shown some improvement in the last four years.
  • Government has initiated a number of steps to ease the business environment: big moves such as the GST and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and others, such as introducing online single-window model for providing clearances and filing compliances, fast-tracking foreign investments, surpassing the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, have helped.
  • So, both investment and its productivity should pick up as the deleveraging phase gets over, crowding-in benefits of public investment kick in and efficiency-enhancing reforms start taking action. That will lead to faster economic growth.

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;

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

5) Water crisis is an impending catastrophe, likely to hit India. Critically analyze,in the context of India’s present  water crisis. (250 words)

Economic times

Economic times

Why this question

As the question itself says, India is under a threat of an impending water crisis across the country. There are certain main factors behind the present situation and only a few possible solutions available presently.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into India’s present water crisis, identify and discuss the factors behind. It also wants us to express our opinion on the issue in the form of what should be done in this regard.

Directive word

Critically analyze- Here we have to dig deep into the issue and identify and discuss about all the related and important aspects and correlate them to satisfy the key demand of the question. We have to form an opinion based on our analysis and discussion.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Write a few lines about the state of india’s present water crisis- per capita availability trends, likely demand in future, etc.

Body-

  • Discuss the factors behind the present situation- climate change, pollution and poor farming practices. Bring out the role of each factor.
  • Discuss what should be done in this regard- e.g better water-management practices, technologies like precise irrigation; wastewater treatment; sustainable agriculture; redirecting subsidies; watershed management; use of technology and best practices across the world.

Conclusion– Mention India’s recent efforts in this direction like CWM-Index; stress upon the imperative to employ more resources, gather more public support; ground level monitoring etc.

Background:-

  • India has long undervalued one of its most precious resources, water. The country’s chronic mismanagement of water is staring at it now. Over 600 million Indians rely on the monsoon to replenish their water sources, and the unpredictable nature of rain leaves them vulnerable. 
  • The NITI Aayog report on Composite Water Management Index said that India is facing its ‘worst’ water crisis in history

Water crisis in India:-

 

  • Taps in Shimla went dry this summer, posing an unprecedented water crisis in the hill town. 
    • Reasons for water crisis can be :-
      • A combination of population explosion, unplanned growth of the city and its expansion to some traditional catchment areas (a region from which rainfall flows into a river, lake, or reservoir) have led to a reduction in the natural flow of water, and large-scale deforestation.
      • Climate change, leading to much lower precipitation during the winter months. As a result, the natural flow and recharge of water in the region has fallen sharply
      • The water demand in Shimla during peak tourist season is very high
    • Failure of State governments to check unplanned development and exploitation of water resources. There is no attempt at the central or state levels to manage water quantity and quality
    • The vegetation pattern has changed, tree cover is shrinking and unscientific dumping of debris in  water streams is rampant. 
    • The debris blocks the natural course of water bodies. 
    • Increasing number of tube wells resulting in depletion of groundwater. 
    • Changes in farming patterns lead to consumption of more water for irrigation and also change the soil profile because of the use of fertilizers
    • The states ranked lowest like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Jharkhand – are home to almost half of  India’s population along with the majority of its agricultural produce. 
    • There is also a lack of interest in maintaining India’s traditional water harvesting structures.
    • Increase in population, reduced rainfall, encroachment of water bodies, poor handling of industrial waste water,exploitation of natural resources, change in food consumption pattern etc. have all come together to deplete the amount of water available

Implications 

  • India’s water crisis has implications for the health of the entire population. 
  • Farmers suffer crop losses. 
  • Decrease in tree cover, shrubs and grass in the catchment areas. 
  • Queues for government water tankers and public taps are already a common sight in Indian slums. 
  • Policies like giving free electricity to farmers or financial support for groundwater extraction results in uncontrolled exploitation and wastage of resource. 

Measures being taken:-

  • Solid waste management rules 2016 for effective  management of waste in urban areas.
  • Mihir shah committeewas appointed and the following main recommendation was made.
    • In the new water resource governance scenario facing the country, there is a need to envisage a high-level central organisation like National water commission that is forward looking, strategic, agile and transdisciplinary in its skill set.
      • It can look in the multiple areas like River rejuvenation, Aquifer mapping and participatory groundwater management, Urban and industrial water management,knowledge management and capacity building etc .
    • Rain water harvesting was made mandatory in Tamilnadu so the precedent can be followed in other states as well.
    • With Pradhan mantra krishi sinchayi yojanagovernment is focussing on irrigation reforms as well.
    • The National Water Policy (2012), with an emphasis on the need for appropriate ground water planning, development and management was formulated. Additionally, a ‘Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water in India’ was introduced and circulated to State Governments in 2013, envisaging construction of artificial recharge and rainwater harvesting structures

 

 Concerns / Challenges

  • Primarily water is not valued in India
  • There is great awareness now about air pollution; however, India’s water crisis does not get that kind of attention. 
  • Inter-State river disputes. 
  • Adverse climatic conditions are believed to be the main factor for reduced flow in streams. 
  • Drying up of the streams and increasing erratic pattern of rainfall. 
  • In cities and towns, lack of infrastructure to deliver piped water to homes. 
  • Poor data management and an abject failure to properly price water. 
  • Where data is available, it is often unreliable due to the use of outdated collection techniques and methodologies. 

Way Forward:-

  • Deepen our understanding of our water resources and usage and put in place interventions that make our water use efficient and sustainable. 
  • Augmentation of watersheds that can store more good water, for use in agriculture and to serve habitations. 
  • Strict pollution control enforcement.
  • Decentralisation of irrigation commands, offering higher financial flows to well-performing States through a National Irrigation Management Fund. 
  • Groundwater extraction patterns need to be better understood through robust data collection. 
  • Pollution can be curbed by levying suitable costs. 
  • Poor maintenance of pipelines, consistent leakage and illegal tapping of water are some of the issues that need to be addressed on a war-footing. 
  • Adopting rainwater harvesting techniques is the need of the hour. 
  • A legal mandate will work better than just competition and cooperation; it would make governments accountable. 
  • These forward-looking changes would need revamped national and State institutions, and updated laws.
  • Urban India needs to focus on recycling and harvesting water, havingbetter testing and purification facilities and increase public awareness on the need to conserve water. 
  • Large catchment areas need to be developed around water bodies so that natural recharge of groundwater takes place. A good example is the Seog catchment area which has been denoted as a wildlife sanctuary and where no construction is allowed.
  • Greywater recycling, a method of recycling wastewater from kitchen sinks, showers and laundry fixtures.
    • Greywater recycling helps reduce household water usage by about 50% .
  • This year’s World Water Development Report makes it clear that nature-based solutions which are also aligned with the principles and aims of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can offer answers to our most pressing water-related challenges. 
  • International examples:-
    • Israel has been a role model for the world in matters of water management with its innovation of drip irrigation. The country has also set the template for reusing wastewater in irrigation. It treats 80 percent of its domestic wastewater, which is recycled and constitutes nearly 50 percent of the total water used for agriculture. Israel now saves as candlelight for countries like India.
    • Israel’s drip and micro-irrigation solutions rapidly spread worldwide. Just one recent example of how this method has impacted food supply in foreign countries is Tipa, literally “Drop,” an Israeli-developed kit that has allowed 700 farming families in Senegal to reap crops three times a year instead of just once, even on infertile land.
  • Comprehensive water budgeting :-
    • Water budgets at the watershed level will inform communities about how much water they have, so it can be equitably shared within communities. This needs a strong water governance system based on awareness building, science and a commitment to fairness and sustainability.

Conclusion:-

  • Participatory approach to water management that has been successfully tried all over the world, as also in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, needs to be adopted.
  • Groundwater and surface water must also be viewed in an integrated, holistic manner. An integrated approach and the awareness by the people that if water is saved today then there will be more available tomorrow is very necessary.

Topic– Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

6) India needs to recognise that addressing farmers’ woes by raising procurement prices is going to have limited effectiveness. Critically analyze.(250 words) 

indian express

Economic times

Why this question

One of the key steps taken by the current government to improve the status of farmers is to increase procurement price. A recent OECD ICRIER report “Agricultural Policies in India” suggests a different way forward. Discussing the merits of the step taken by the government will help us in analyzing how the health of farm sector can be improved.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the merits of increasing the procurement price from a short term and a long term perspective. It expects us to analyze whether this is the most optimum utilisation of resources to improve the already stressed agricultural sector. Alternatives should be suggested along with reasons why they are better.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the recent step taken by the government and how it has been a long standing suggestion starting from Swaminathan Committee recommendation.

Body

  • Discuss the merits of enhancing procurement price from a short and long term perspective. Good in the short term, but underline the challenges even in the short term (mostly the same as challenges with MSP, highlighted by Shanta Kumar Committee)
  • Discuss how the optimum step would be to focus on improving backward and forward linkages along with other suggestions as made in the ICRIER study.
  • Discuss why this would would make more sense (can also disagree and give reasons accordingly)

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view along with way forward.

Background:-

  • One of the key steps taken by the current government to improve the status of farmers is to increase procurement price.

Higher procurement prices will benefit farmers in the short term:-

  • Incentivise production of a specific food crop which is in short supply.
  • Protects farmers from any sharp fall in the market price of a commodity.
  • Ensures that the country’s agricultural output responds to the changing needs of its consumers.
    • Ex: The government hiked the MSP of pulses to expand sowing of pulses.
  • Higher farm profits will encourage farmers to spend more on inputs, technology etc
  • Protect farmers from the unwarranted fluctuation in prices, provoked by the international level price variations.

Why raising procurement prices will have limited effectiveness:-

  • The government has increased the MSPs of 14 kharif crops to at least 50 per cent above paid out costs of farmers, including the imputed cost of family labour (Cost A2+FL). There is no economic rationality in fixing MSPs at 50 per cent plus cost A2+FL
  • Many a times, the government of the day overrules the CACP’s recommendations and announces a “political price”. This is routinely done in the case of sugarcane, where the CACP recommends Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP), but states like Uttar Pradesh announce a much higher state-advised price. Such actions lead to mounting arrears for cane farmers and make the sugar industry vulnerable.
  • Market prices of most kharif crops are well below the announced MSPs.
  • There is an absence of a robust procurement mechanism to procure the crop, which will cause a financial burden for state government.
  • Also as MSP and Inflation are highly co-related and any increase in MSP will eventually resulted into price hike of many agricultural products.
  • Higher MSP’s over incentivize production leading to supply glut.
  • Hikes in MSP’s also adversely affect exports by making Indian farm goods uncompetitive especially when international market prices are lower.
  • Government procurement at MSP is benefiting the large traders than farmers.
    • More than three fourths of farming households don’t produce any marketable surplus and hence cannot really benefit from price support.

What is needed:-

  • Coordination is needed amongst Union ministries that deal with agriculture, food, food processing, fertilisers, water, rural development and trade. This will enable a holistic approach to agriculture and farmers’ incomes. The process can start with the creation of an agri-council/cabinet.
  • Focus on long overdue agri-marketing reforms and revisiting the Essential Commodity and APMC Acts to get the markets right. 
  • Government needs to allow agro trading companies to buy more in the Indian market, especially given the limitations of the Food Corporation of India.
  • Procurement system of the government needs to be streamlined.
    • There need to be reforms in APMC acts to ensure farmer selling directly to farmers
  • Based on Telangana experience it is time to consider a transparent ,crop neutral and easier to implement income support programme.
    • The state government gives a payment of Rs.10000 per hectare of cultivable land to all farmers irrespective of the crops they raise.
  • The ambitious projects like e-NAM, doubling farmer’s income by 2022,PDPS, price stabilisation fund, implementation of Swaminathan and Shanta Kumar committee is required.
  • Recommendations by NITI aayog:-
    • The awareness to farmers and timely dissemination of information till the lowest level so that it would increase the bargaining power of the farmers.
    • Timely payment should be ensured.
    • MSP should be announced well in advance of the sowing season so as to enable the farmers to plan their cropping.
    • Improved facilities at procurement centres, such as drying yards, weighing bridges, toilets, etc.
    • More godowns should be set up and maintained properly for better storage and reduction of wastage.
    • The criteria for fixing MSP should be current year’s data and based on more meaningful criteria rather than the historical costs

 


General Studies – 4


TopicPart of the ethics case studies.

7) Mahesh, a pre-med. student, works two part-time jobs while attending Prestigious University. Mahesh finds his course load for the spring semester very challenging and he struggles to keep up with the assignments in his anthropology course. Mahesh knows anthropology instructor, Dr. B., thinks highly of him and that Dr. B has a reputation of being somewhat of a softy when it comes to “good” students. So, having missed the deadline for submission of an important paper, Mahesh goes to Dr. B with the story that he and his twin brother were in a serious car accident over the weekend. Mahesh explains that he didn’t hand in the assignment because he has been at the hospital sitting at his brother’s bedside in the intensive care unit where his brother is now on life support. Dr. B is of course very sympathetic and grants Mahesh an extension on the assignment. Later in the semester Mahesh once again finds himself behind the eight ball on an assignment…

 

Consider each of the following questions and evaluate the case study:

  1. What is the action or inaction that is the cause for concern?
  2. Who or what may be affected?
  3. How will they be affected? (i.e., what are the possible consequences?)(250 words)
  1. What is the action or inaction that is the cause for concern?

The action taken by Mahesh by lying to the professor is a cause of concern as instead of saying the truth he made a story up to exploit the sympathetic nature of the professor.

If he continues lying when ever he is unable to finish the work on time he might get caught by the professor.

Professor needs to verify the facts before permitting the student to submit the assignment later. Without adequate verification students can take this as an excuse and lie to him.

  1. Who or what may be affected?

The relationship between the professor and the students can be affected if professor finds out that Mahesh is lying. Then Professor might stop considering the difficult situations of the students.

Mahesh grades might be affected as he is submitting the assignment late and his chance of getting into medical school might be affected too if he keeps repeating similar excuses in future which shows his insincerity.

  1. How will they be affected? (i.e., what are the possible consequences?)(250 words)

Relationships build on trust. So with the lie by Mahesh to the professor and when professor finds the truth that trust is broken and it is very difficult to repair and mend it.

The way professor performs his duty might be different if he finds out the truth and he can be more careful and check the facts before permitting extension of dates for assignments.

  1. What actions might be taken and what would the consequences of these actions be?

Mahesh need to stand up for himself by conveying the truth to the professor as he has a genuine reason of working very hard which led to him unable to manage time properly. The professor might consider his condition, might even help him with time management  and extend the submission of the assignment.

However if he keeps continuing in the path mentioned in the case study where he is making excuses to gain lenient attitude from the professor he might ultimately lose the trust of the professor which can harm other students as well. In this case he might be relegated from the institution which can harm his career in future as well.