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
Answer the following questions in 150 words:
General Studies – 1
1. Critically evaluate the 28-month long rule of Congress in the provinces. Do you think they took substantial measures and reforms to provide adequate reprieve to people of the country?
Reference: Insights on India
The 28 month congress rule based on the provisions of Government of India Act, 1935 was significant. During July 1937, it formed Ministries in six provinces: Madras, Bombay, Central Provinces, Orissa, Bihar and U.P. Later, Congress Ministries were also formed in the North-West Frontier Province and Assam.
Paradigm shift witnessed in the Indian politics between 1936-1939:
- There was an immense increase in the prestige of the Congress as an alternative power that would look after the interests of the masses, especially of the peasants.
- It was a novel experiment because a party which was committed to liquidate British rule took charge of administration under a constitution which was framed by the British and which yielded only partial state power to the Indians;
- This power could moreover be taken away from the Indians whenever the imperial power so desired.
- The Congress was now to function both as a government in the provinces and as the opposition vis-a-vis the Central Government where effective state power play.
- It was to bring about social reforms through the legislature and administration in the provinces and at the same time carry on the struggle for independence and prepare the people for the next phase of mass struggle.
- Thus, the Congress had to implement its strategy of Struggle-Truce-Struggle (S-T-S’) in a historically unique situation.
Evaluation of the 28-month long rule of Congress in the provinces:
Congress ministries tried to bring a lot of reforms in their sphere of jurisdiction. The reforms brought in with the achievements and limitations are as follows:
- Civil liberty:
- Emergency powers related laws repealed.
- Restrictions and ban on press, certain books, newspapers, and illegal organisations was lifted.
- In Congress provinces, police powers were curbed and the reporting of public speeches and the shadowing of political workers by CID agents stopped.
- Thousands of political prisoners were released and many revolutionaries involved in kakori & other conspiracies released
- Yusuf Meherally and S.S.Batliwala were arrested for inflammatory and seditious speeches.
- M.Munshi used CID against communist and leftist.
- Agrarian Reforms:
- Legislated a number of laws relating to land reforms, debt relief, forest grazing fee, arrears of rent, land tenure sect.
- In Bihar, Congress signed pact with Zamindars regarding the provisions of the Tenancy Bill .
- Kisan Sabha launched number of movements at regional level to remind congress to implement Faizpur Agrarian Programme
- In Bombay, They were able to restore lands to original owners which were confiscated due to no rent campaign of congress
- Most of these benefits went to statutory and occupancy tenants while sub-tenants did not gain much.
- Agricultural labourers did not benefit as they had not been mobilised.
- Social welfare reforms:
- Measures for welfare of Harijans taken-temple entry, education, etc.
- Encouragement was given to khadi and indigenous enterprises.
- In 1938 national planning committee set up under congress president Subhash Chandra Bose.
- Reforms in education, public health, sanitation as well as in prisons were undertaken.
- Economic Reforms:
- Encouragement given to indigenous enterprises
- Develop planning through National Planning Committee set up under Congress President Subhash Bose in 1938.
- Goodwill sought to be created between labour and capital with mediation of ministries.
- Efforts were made to improve workers condition and secure wage increase for them.
- Labour Committee appointed by Congress accepted a programme with Holidays with pay, Employment insurance, to devise a way to fix minimum wage, leave with pay during sickness.
- Ministries failed in Bombay as mediator.
- Leftist critics were unsatisfied.
- Ministries took recourse to section 144 and arrested the leaders.
Congress ministries resigned in October 1939 after the outbreak of the Second World War. Indian self-government was necessary for radical social transformation got confirmed. It weakened the myth that Indians were not fit to rule. It did good work with minimum financial resources.
2. The Census provides population data for every village and town, data for the delimitation of constituencies and for determining the quantum of reservation. Discuss.
Reference: The Hindu
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. Census provides information on size, distribution, socio-economic, demographic and other characteristic of countries population.
The Census was first started under British Viceroy Lord Mayo in 1872. It helped in framing new policies, government programs to uplift areas of improvement in the community. The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Every ten years: Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
The decennial census exercise has been postponed till September 2023. The government informed States that the date of freezing of administrative boundaries has been extended till June 30.
Need for census
- The census provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population.
- The data collected through the census are used for administration, planning and policy making as well as management and evaluation of various programmesby the government, NGOs, researchers, commercial and private enterprises, etc.
- Census data is also used for demarcation of constituencies and allocation of representation to parliament, State legislative Assemblies and the local bodies.
- Researchers and demographers use census data to analyze growth and trends of population and make projections.
- The census data is also important for business houses and industries for strengthening and planning their business for penetration into areas, which had hitherto remained, uncovered.
Importance of Census
- Utility in Administration and Policy
- The population census provides the basic data for administrative purposes. One of the most basic of the administrative uses of census data is in the demarcation of constituenceis and the allocation of representation on governing bodies. Detailed information on the geographic distribution of the population is indispensable for this purpose. The Census also gives information on the demographic and economic characteristics of the population at the district level.
- Utility of Census data for Research Purposes:
- The population census provides indispensable data for scientific analysis and appraisal of the composition, distribution and past and prospective growth of the population.
- Utility of Census data in Business and Industry:
- The census data has many important uses for individuals and institutions in business and industry. It is very difficult to make a full assessment of the multiplicity of ways in which trade and business make use of the census data.
- Census as frame for Sample Surveys:
- The rapidity of current changes in the size and other characteristics of populations and the demand for additional detailed data on social and economic characteristics which are not appropriate for collection in a full-scale census, have brought about the need for continuing programmes of intercensal sample surveys to collect current and detailed information on many topics which are usually investigated at ten-year intervals in the population censuses.
- Utility of Census data in Planning:
- The census data is indispensable for social and economic planning of the Country. The Planning Commission utilises the Census data on the distribution of population by age, sex classified by rural and urban regions, cities, town areas and social groups to analyse the growth of consumer demand and savings in the process of development.
- Utility of Population Census to Electoral Rolls:
- Some countries have taken advantage of the enumeration for a population census to collect, at the same time, information needed for the establishment of electoral rolls. This procedure is not generally advisable because of the deleterious effect the secondary purpose might have on the quality of the census results.
- Utility of Population Census to other types of Censuses:
- Certain information collected as part of a population census, or incidential to it, can be most useful in conducting and/or utilizing the results of housing, agricultural or establishment censuses taken at about the same time or near about as the population census.
- Utility of population census to civil registration and vital statistics:
- Census data serve as denominators for the computation of vital rates, especially rates specific for characteristics normally investigated only at the time of the census.
Challenges and Experiences:
- Cost of Conducting Census
- One of the biggest challenges associated with conducting census in poor countries is the enormous financial costs of conducting the exercise. It is no secret that it is extremely costly to conduct a census.
- High Illiteracy Rate in a Nation has a Negative Impact on the Conducting of Census
- Countries with large proportions of their populations being illiterates face a great challenge during the conducting of censuses.
- Inadequate Infrastructural Facilities in Certain Areas
- There are certain places in the world where it is very difficult undertaking efficient population census because of poor infrastructural facilities such as bad roads, inaccessible roads or insufficient roads that connect various towns and villages.
- Traditional and Religious Beliefs can Interfere with the Census Exercise
- In many underdeveloped parts of the world where traditional beliefs are the order of the day, census officers face serious challenges when they reach these places and try counting the people.
- Corruption Interferes with Census
- Corruption during census can make it difficult to have an efficient population census exercise that provides accurate population figures.
- Insufficient Census Experts
- Another problem associated with conducting censuses in certain parts of the world is the insufficient number of professionals with the knowledge and experience of conducting census.
- Insufficient and Ineffective Census Educational Campaign
- How effective an educational campaign on census is prior to the census taking place determines how successful the census exercise eventually becomes.
- Poor Demographic Maps
- Because of demographic maps that aren’t reliable, it becomes very difficult for the authorities to know all the remote areas (especially the very remote areas) in the country and go there to conduct the census exercise.
- Census data is first time being collected by mobile hence specific training should be given to the collectors
- Also public must be aware about the methodology
- Method must be developed to tackle the problem faced in earlier phases
Census is a major pillar for development and hence, Centre, States as well as local bodies must help for smoother process of Collection of data.
General Studies – 2
3. The basic structure doctrine prevents the abuse of power by the executive and legislature, preventing it from becoming a majoritarian regime. Examine.
Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India
The Doctrine of Basic structure, one of the most important examples of judicial activism is the result of the creative interpretation of the constitution by the judiciary. It was given by the 13-judges bench of the Supreme Court in the Keshavananda Bharti case (1973), and was aimed at defining the scope of the amending power of the Parliament. It is a doctrine to examine the constitutional validity of constitutional amendment.
Interpretation and relevance of Basic Structure Doctrine
- The emergence of doctrine of ‘Basic structure’ marked asignificant shift in the role of judiciary from practice of constitutional interpretation to a creative role where judiciary go beyond the written provisions of the constitution.
- As per the Indian constitution, Parliament has been given the constituent power to amend the constitution according to the changing needs & aspirations.
- Being a dynamic or organic constitution, aimed at achieving a certain goal of social revolution the Indian constitution mentions special procedure for its amendment.
- It means that there is no explicit limitation on the amending power of the Parliament; expect procedural limitations as given in Art 360.
- However, in the Keshvananda Bharti Case (1973), on the question whether the amending power of the Parliament isunlimited and absolute,the Supreme Court held that the amending power is limited to the extent that it doesn’t alter the ‘Basic Structure’ of the constitution.
- The court held that the word ‘amend’ under Art 368 means only changes other than altering the basic features of the constitution,which would amount to making or writing a new constitution.
- In this way, the Supreme Court, whilegiving primacy to the unwritten feature of the constitution introduced a ‘substantive limitation’ on the amending power of the Parliament.
- However, the judgment of the Supreme Court inventing a new doctrine of the ‘basic structure’ has been subjected to intense academic debate.
- The opponents of the judgement claimsthat the judiciary has gone for the metaphysical approach rather than the legal approach of what is written.
- They argue that if the government was destroying the constitution, the judiciary has gone to the extent of creating the constitution.
- On the other hand, the proponents of the decision argue that judiciary has protected the sanctity of the constitution.
Significance of Basic Structure Doctrine
- The basic structure doctrine is a testimony to the theory of Constitutionalismto prevent the damage to essence of COI by brute majority of the ruling majority.
- The basic doctrine saved the Indian democracyas it acts as a limitation of constituent power or else unlimited power of parliament might have turned India into a totalitarian
- It helps us to retain the basic tenets of our constitutionso meticulously framed by the founding fathers of our Constitution.
- It strengthens our democracy by delineating a true separation of power where Judiciary is independent of other two organs. It has also given immense untold unbridled power to Supreme Court and made it the most powerful court in the world
- By restraining the amending powers of legislative organ of State,it provided basic Rights to Citizens which no organ of State can overrule.
- Being dynamic in nature,it is more progressive and open to changes in time unlike the rigid nature of earlier judgements.
Zia Modi, in her book ‘The Ten Judgments that changed India’, has given following arguments- Although the judiciary was wrong from the academic point of view, but from the practical point of view, it was the need of the time in the Indian context. (ii) It has proved to be a blessing in disguise as it has checked authoritarianism of the government. This has stopped India from going on the path of the other Third World countries.
- Origin of debate: The question whetherFundamental Rights can be amended by the Parliament under Article 368 came for consideration of the Supreme Court within a year of the Constitution coming into force.
- Shankari Prasad case (1951): The constitutional validity of theFirst Amendment Act (1951), which curtailed the right to property, was challenged. The Supreme Court ruled that the power of the Parliament to amend the Constitution under Article 368 also includes the power to amend Fundamental Rights. The word ‘law’ in Article 13 includes only ordinary laws and not the constitutional amendment acts (constituent laws).
- Therefore, the Parliament can abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights by enacting a constitutional amendment act and such a law will not be void under Article 13.
- Golak Nath case (1967): The Supreme Court reversed its earlier stand. In that case, the constitutional validity of theSeventeenth Amendment Act (1964), which inserted certain state acts in the Ninth Schedule, was challenged.
- The Supreme Court ruled that the Fundamental Rights are given a ‘transcendental and immutable’ position and hence, the Parliament cannot abridge or take away any of these rights.
- A constitutional amendment act is also a law within the meaning of Article 13 and hence, would be void for violating any of the Fundamental Rights.
- 24thAmendment Act 1971: The Parliament reacted to the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Golak Nath case (1967) by enacting the 24 th Amendment Act (1971). This Act amended Articles 13 and 368.
- It declared that the Parliament has the power to abridge or take away any of theFundamental Rights under Article 368 and such an act will not be a law under the meaning of Article 13.
- Kesavananda Bharati case: However, in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973), the SupremeCourt overruled its judgement in the Golak Nath case (1967). It upheld the validity of the 24th Amendment Act (1971) and stated that Parliament is empowered to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights.
- At the same time, it laid down a new doctrine of the ‘basic structure’ (or ‘basic features’) of the Constitution.
- It ruled that the constituent power ofParliament under Article 368 does not enable it to alter the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.
- This means that the Parliamentcannot abridge or take away a Fundamental Right that forms a part of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.
General Studies – 3
4. Agritech is at the forefront of solving and organizing the fragmented agricultural industry with tech-first approach which can steer investment to build new markets and create high-quality jobs. Discuss.
Reference: Down to Earth , Insights on India
Agricultural technology, or agri-tech, is the use of technology in agriculture based on agricultural science, agronomy, and agricultural engineering. It aims to improve yield, efficiency, profitability, and sustainability of agricultural operations.
In over 120 countries, investments in agritech, edtech and energy-related technologies are considered the most strategically important over the next 10 years. Green and social sectors, including agriculture, education, health and energy, need to create an additional 76 million jobs by 2030, stated two new reports released by the World Economic Forum.
Agri-tech in India and their potential
- Globally, India is competing with the US and China in the agri-startup space. According to Agfunder, India witnessed an increase in funding from $619 million in H1 2020 to $2 billion in H1 2021, behind the US ($9.5 billion) and China ($4.5 billion)
- High potential in terms of value: An Ernst & Young 2020 study pegs the Indian agritech market potential at $24 billion by 2025, of which only 1 per cent has been captured so far.
- Supply chain segments: Among various agritech segments, the supply chain technology and output markets have the highest potential, worth $12.1 billion.
- Currently, it is estimated that there are about 600 to 700 agritech startups in India operating at different levels of agri-value chains.
- Modern technology to agriculture: Many of them use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), internet of things (IoT), etc, to unlock the potential of big data for greater resource use efficiency, transparency and inclusiveness. Eg: Ninjacart, Dehaat, and Crofarm (Otipy) are a few of the many startups that are redefining the agrifood marketplace.
- Establishing an ecosystem: The novelty of startup-led value chain transformation is not limited to empowering farmers but also co-opting local grocery, mom-and-pop, and kirana stores as well as small agrifood businesses that are an integral part of the agri-food ecosystem.
- Expanding economy around agri economy: At the same time, the start-up network is able to leverage the bigger front-end players who demand bulk quality produce and have challenges in directly linking with farmers.
Issues faced by the startups
- Government policies: Although government has made a shift in their policies related to agriculture but we still have a long way to go. Today we have Digital India, Make in India, Start-up India, Skill in India but nothing converges at the farm level.
- Many agtech firms are grappling with their own set of issues. These include rigid business models that are at times difficult to scale up and lack of insights and expertise on the subject matter which is essential in network build-up.
- Resistant farmers unwilling to adopt technology and most farmers being small and subsistent makes it difficult to introduce technology in agriculture.
- There are glaring gaps in the supply chain management and also poor last-mile connectivity especially at grass-roots level as well lack of investments to drive the businesses.
- Farming companies are also impacted by limited traceability and visibility. Agri input companies still struggle with inefficient field force management and operations along with lack of centralised database that causes huge losses along the value chain.
Hence, it becomes imperative for the government, agritech businesses and food supply chain companies to collectively fix these loopholes and create a transparent system which, in the long-term, will benefit all the stakeholders involved including the investors.
- The startup-FPO partnership can be further strengthened by incentivising the FPOs under the central government’s programme to add 10,000 new FPOs by 2024.
- Collaboration across sectors: The network of agritech start-ups, incubators, accelerators and investors need to work closely with policymakers, academia, think tanks, and government departments to develop a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of the agrifood sector.
- This will also enable the government and policymakers to leverage the existing agritech pool and co-create solutions for shared value.
- If policies, institutions and partnerships can harness the current momentum, the startup ecosystem can be the next-generation technology revolution in the agrifood sector.
- Experts, agritech entrepreneurs and investors believe that new approaches and new institutions are required which can really pull farmers from lifelong penury. This can be achieved if both private and public companies work together in unison to boost the agriculture space in a massive way.
- Skilling farmers to infuse technology in agriculture will not only lead to better agri-incomes, it will also make agriculture more efficient. Government aids are available to buy machineries and these can be made available to ensure start-ups can scale their reach to farmers.
The Indian agriculture industry, pegged at $39.1 billion as on 2019, is poised for huge growth and contribution to the world food trade. Startups have a crucial role to play in helping farmers harness technology, which will increase crop yield and double the income of farmers. With the infusion of technology in the sector, agriculture is set to make big gains and move towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
5. Land subsidence is a silent disaster that is taking hold of the Himalayan region. Examine the causes behind it, its impact and measures need to prevent this silent disaster.
Reference: Indian Express , Down to Earth
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), subsidence is the “sinking of the ground because of underground material movement”. It can happen for a host of reasons, man-made or natural, such as the removal of water, oil, or natural resources, along with mining activities. Earthquakes, soil erosion, and soil compaction are also some of the well-known causes of subsidence.
- Joshimath, Also known as Jyotirmath, it is a town (of over 20,000 population) in the Garhwal Himalayas in Chamoli District in Uttarakhand, located on the NH-7 (Rishikesh-Badrinath) at an altitude of 1890
- It is situated in the middle slopes of a hill bounded by the Karmanasa and Dhaknala streams on the west and the east and the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers on the south and the north.
- Due to land subsidence, Joshimath – a key transit point for tourists travelling to Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib – developed cracks, causing panic and protests among the local population.
- Joshimath has been declared alandslide-subsidence zone and over 60 families living in uninhabitable houses in the sinking town have been evacuated to temporary relief centres.
Causes behind land subsidence
- As per reports, the Uttarakhand government’s expert panel in 2022 found that several pockets ofJoshimath are “sinking” owing to man-made and natural factors.
- It was found that a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the earth’s surface dueto the removal or displacement of subsurface materials — has induced structural defects and damage in almost all wards of the city.
- According to the 1976 Mishra Committee report, Joshimath lies on a deposit of sand and stone, it’s not on the main rock. It lies on an ancient landslide.
- The report added that undercutting by river currents of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga are also playing their part in bringing landslides.
- Scattered rocks in the area are covered with old landslide debris comprising boulders, gneissic rocks, and loose soil, with a low bearing capacity.
- the area is a seismic zone, which makes it prone to frequent earthquakes.
- These gneissic rocks are highly weathered and have a low cohesive value with a tendency of high pore pressure when saturated with water, especially during monsoons.
- Increased construction, Overpopulation, hydroelectric projects, obstruction of the natural flow of water and the widening of the NH have made the slopes highly unstable in the last couple of decades.
- residents have blamed NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Power Project for the incident. They allege that the tunnel had water seepage from a punctured aquifer, leading to the drying of water sources in Joshimath.
- Due to the running streams from Vishnuprayag and sliding along the natural streams are the other reasons behind the city’s fate.
- Cracks appeared in many roads and hundreds of houses of Joshimath.
- 68 families have been evacuated to temporary relief centres and around 90 more will be evacuated soon, according to officials.
- It could affect the Char Dham project
- It could affect the tourism which was one of the major revenue generator for Uttarakhand.
- Livelihoods of many families involved in Tourism and allied activities could be impacted.
Way forward & Conclusion
- Experts recommend a complete shutdown of development and hydroelectric projects in the region.But the urgent need is to relocate the residents to a safer place and then reimagine the town’s planning to accommodate the new variables and the changing geographical factors.
- Drainage planning is one of the biggest factorsthat needs to be studied and redeveloped. The city is suffering from poor drainage and sewer management as more and more waste is seeping into the soil, loosening it from within. The irrigation department has been asked by the state government to look into the issue and create a new plan for the drainage system.
- The committee had recommended that restrictions be placed on heavy construction work, blasting or digging to remove boulders for road repairs and other construction, felling of trees.
- Experts have also suggested replantation in the region, especially at the vulnerable sites to retain soil capacity.
- While the state already has weather forecasting technology that can warn people of local events, its coverage needs to be improved.
- The state government alsoneeds to take scientific studies more seriously, which clearly spell out the reasons for the current crisis. Only then will the state put an end to its development frenzy.
- There is a need for a coordinated effort between the government and civil bodies with the aid of military organizations like the Border Roads Organisation (BRO)to save Joshimath.
Answer the following questions in 250 words(15 marks each):
General Studies – 1
6. The British termed the prevailing political situation in the country as the ‘Indian Unrest’. Lord Minto denounced the extremists but felt it was imperative to engage with the moderates and provide some political concessions – which came to be packaged as the Morley-Minto reforms. These reforms were the basis of the Indian Councils Act 1909. Examine.
Reference: Insights on India
The Morley-Minto reforms named after the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs Lord John Morley and the Viceroy Lord Minto was the alternative name given to Indian Councils Act 1909. It introduced for the first time the method of election, an attempt to widen the scope of legislative councils, placate the demands of moderates in Indian National Congress and to increase the participation of Indians in the governance. The Act amended the Indian Councils Acts of 1861 and 1892.
Background of the Act
- In October 1906, a group of Muslim elites called the Shimla Deputation, led by the Agha Khan, met Lord Minto and demanded separate electorates for the Muslims and representation in excess of their numerical strength in view of ‘the value of the contribution’ Muslims were making ‘to the defence of the empire’.
- The same group quickly took over the Muslim League, initially floated by Nawab Salimullah of Dacca along with Nawabs Mohsin-ul- Mulk and Waqar-ul-Mulk in December 1906.
- The Muslim League intended to preach loyalty to the empire and to keep the Muslim intelligentsia away from the Congress.
- John Morley, the Liberal Secretary of State for India, and the Conservative Viceroy of India, Minto, believed that cracking down on uprising in Bengal was necessary but not sufficient for restoring stability to the British Raj after Lord Curzon’s partitioning of Bengal.
- They believed that a dramatic step was required to put heart into loyal elements of the Indian upper classes and the growing Westernized section of the population.
Features of the Act
- It considerably increased the size of the legislative councils, both Central and provincial. The number of members in the Central Legislative Council was raised from 16 to 60. The number of members in the provincial legislative councils was not uniform.
- British retained official majority in the Central Legislative Council but allowed the provincial legislative councils to have non-official majority.
- The elected members were to be indirectly elected. The local bodies were to elect an electoral college, which in turn would elect members of provincial legislatures, who in turn would elect members of the central legislature.
- It enlarged the deliberative functions of the legislative councils at both the levels. For example, members were allowed to ask supplementary questions, move resolutions on the budget, and so on.
- It provided for the first time for the association of Indians with the executive Councils of the Viceroy and Governors. Satyendra Prasad Sinha became the first Indian to join the Viceroy’s Executive Council. He was appointed as the law member. Two Indians were nominated to the Council of the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs.
- It introduced a system of communal representation for Muslims by accepting the concept of ‘separate electorate’. Under this, the Muslim members were to be elected only by Muslim voters. Thus, the Act ‘legalized communalism’ and Lord Minto came to be known as the Father of Communal Electorate.
- It also provided for the separate representation of presidency corporations, chambers of commerce, universities and zamindars.
Evaluation of the Reforms:
- The reforms of 1909 afforded no answer and could afford no answer to the Indian political problem. Lord Morley made it clear that colonial self-government (as demanded by the Congress) was not suitable for India, and he was against introduction of parliamentary or responsible government in India.
- The position of the Governor- General remained unchanged and his veto power remained undiluted and the Act was successfully maintained relentless constitutional autocracy.
- The ‘constitutional’ reforms were, in fact, aimed at dividing the nationalist ranks by confusing the Moderates and at checking the growth of unity among Indians through the obnoxious instrument of separate electorates.
- The Government aimed at rallying the Moderates and the Muslims against the rising tide of nationalism.
- The officials and the Muslim leaders often talked of the entire community when they talked of the separate electorates, but in reality, it meant the appeasement of a small section of the Muslim elite only.
- Congress considered separate electorate to be undemocratic and hindering the development of a shared Hindu-Muslim Indian national feeling.
- Besides, system of election was too indirect and it gave the impression of infiltration of legislators through a number of sieves.
- And, while parliamentary forms were introduced, no responsibility was conceded, which sometimes led to thoughtless and irresponsible criticism of the Government.
- Only some members like Gokhale put to constructive use the opportunity to debate in the councils by demanding universal primary education, attacking repressive policies and drawing attention to the plight of indentured labour and Indian workers in South Africa.
- The reforms of 1909 gave to the people of the country a shadow rather than substance.
The Act of 1909 was important for the following reasons:
- It effectively allowed the election of Indians to the various legislative councils in India for the first time, though previously some Indians had been appointed to legislative councils.
- The introduction of the electoral principle laid the groundwork for a parliamentary system even though this was contrary to the intent of Morley.
- It also gave recognition to the elective principle as the basis of the composition of legislative council for the first time.
- It gave some further avenues to Indians to ventilate their grievances. They also got opportunity to criticize the executives and make suggestions for better administration.
- After Jinnah’s death in September 1948, Pakistan lurched towards Islamic orthodoxy and Dalits faced mounting attacks.
Indian Council Act of 1909 was instituted to placate the moderates and appeasement to the disseminate Muslims from National Movement by granting them separate electorate. The people had demanded self-government but what they were given was ‘benevolent despotism’.
General Studies – 2
7. The new integrated food security scheme Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) is a crucial step in eliminating hunger and malnutrition. But the concerns associated with the distributions free foodgrains must be adequately addressed. Analyse.
Reference: The Hindu , pib.gov.in
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana scheme (PMGKAY) was part of the Centre’s initial COVID-19 relief. The scheme aimed at providing each person who is covered under the National Food Security Act 2013 with an additional 5 kg grains (wheat or rice) for free, in addition to the 5 kg of subsidised foodgrain already provided through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
It was initially announced for a three-month period (April, May and June 2020), covering 80 crore ration cardholders. Later it was extended till September 2022. Its nodal Ministry is the Ministry of Finance. The benefit of the free ration can be availed through portability by any migrant labour or beneficiary under the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) plan from nearly 5 lakh ration shops across the country.
Achievements of NFSA and PMGKAY
- It was the first step by the government when pandemic affected India.
- The scheme reached its targeted population feeding almost 80Cr people.
- It has proven to be more of a safety net to migrant people who had job and livelihood losses.
- This has also ensured nutrition security to children of the migrant workers.
Limitations of NFSA and PMGKAY
- Expensive: It’s very expensive for the government to sustain and increases the need for an abundant supply of cheap grains. In 2022, India has had to restrict exports of wheat and rice after erratic weather hurt harvest, adding to pressure on food prices, and rattling global agricultural markets.
- Increase Fiscal Deficit: It could pose a risk to the government’s target to further narrow the fiscal deficit to 6.4% of gross domestic product.
- Inflation: The decision on the program could also affect inflation. The prices of rice and wheat, which make up about 10% of India’s retail inflation, are seeing an uptick due to lower production amid a heatwave and patchy monsoon.
- Study of scheme: The central authorities should commission a study and make its findings public. Just as it did in the initial months of the pandemic.
- It should be the basis for updating the database of foodgrain-drawing card holders, scrutinizing the data critically and zeroing in on the needy.
- Need to go beyond the mandate of the NFSA: as is being done under the PMGKAY, the government can supply the foodgrains at a reasonable price.
- Ration on regular basis: Centre should consider providing 1 kg pulses free to States on a regular basis, or at least at highly subsidized rates.
- Rules on quota: To keep the budgetary allocation under control, rules on quota for rice or wheat can be changed suitably.
- Diversion from PDS: central and State authorities need to ponder over the scheme’s continuance, given the chronic problem of diversion from the Public Distribution System (PDS).
There should be an all-encompassing database for migrant workers and their family. This should accurately capture the data on migration. The One Nation One Ration Card should be implemented in true spirit by all the states. Along with food security, there should be a sustainable income support through schemes like MGNREGS accompanied by free vaccines in nearest future. The leakages in PDS should be minimized through modernize PDS. To avoid leakages, there should be food-token system.
8. There is a need for building capacity in planning, implementing, and evaluating these interventions in order to make people adopt healthier lifestyle choices to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases in the country. Discuss.
Reference: The Hindu
Non communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors. The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
Burden of NCDs
- Rise of deaths during productive years (30-70 years)
- Loss of demographic dividend
- NCDs can become bigger problem than being malnourished
- NCDs threaten progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.
- Poverty is closely linked with NCDs. The rapid rise in NCDs is predicted to impede poverty reduction initiatives in low-income countries, particularly by increasing household costs associated with health care.
- Vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people get sicker and die sooner than people of higher social positions, especially because they are at greater risk of being exposed to harmful products, such as tobacco, or unhealthy dietary practices, and have limited access to health services.
- In low-resource settings, health-care costs for NCDs quickly drain household resources. The exorbitant costs of NCDs, including often lengthy and expensive treatment and loss of breadwinners, force millions of people into poverty annually and stifle development.
Measure to tackle Non Communicable diseases burden as well as Covid Pandemic
- Increase health expenditure up to 8% of GDP.
- This will ensure a well-functioning of tertiary and secondary care in government hospitals.
- Also, there is a need for improving sanitation and hygiene, provisioning of equipment, toning up of laboratory facilities, and recruiting the additional staff to meet the workload.
- Provided basic health facilities to all section of people in viable costs
- Increase rural health infrastructure
- Outreach Clinics:To reduce crowding at hospitals, outreach clinics (for example Mohalla clinics in Delhi) should be organised in communities to treat minor illnesses.
- Built upon a robust early screening system
- New Health Policy 2016 need to give due priority to it
- All necessary equipment such as PPEs should be provided to the healthcare staff in accordance with the requirements of their station of work.
- Shorter duty hours with rotation and periodic duty offs to relieve stress should be instituted for minimising the attrition of the workforce.
- Issue Effective Guidelines to Private Hospitals:The central and the state governments may issue necessary guidelines seeking cooperation from the private sector.
- This will ease the burden of public hospitals and help in availing treatment to all the patients suffering from Covid-19.
from Non-Government entities:
- Business house should create policy of health working conditions
- Create awareness about stress related disorders in their offices
- NGOs must campaign for healthy working conditions in all sectors of employment
- Eat Healthy diet
- Don’t become prone to addictions
- Remain fit by any of means viz. Yoga, Meditation, Exercise, etc.
- Share your problems and tensions with family and friends to keep depression away.
from Doctors and Researchers:
- Robust mechanisms for data collection, data sharing, and knowledge transfer
- Primary and secondary level health facilities ought to be made fully functional and frontline health workers need to be trained and fully geared up for disease surveillance work.
- Systems for monitoring and evaluation
- Share knowledge in all sectors of community
- Enabling Research:Rigorous research on the epidemiological, clinical, social, economic, and political aspects of the pandemic should be undertaken to ensure real time decisions to a rapidly evolving pandemic situation.
The strategies to tackle the Non-communicable disease burden need to evolve. Increasing testing and tracing capabilities, lowering the load of the healthcare system; all of us have to play our part and put efforts individually as well as in a community.
General Studies – 3
9. Growing population, rapid urbanisation, shifting consumption pattern and changing lifestyles have resulted in the mismanagement of plastic waste, which is causing severe marine pollution and growing burden of marine debris. Examine.
Reference: Down To Earth , Insights on India
Oceans are the largest water bodies on the planet Earth. Over the last few decades, surplus human activities have severely affected marine life on the Earth’s oceans. Ocean pollution, also known as marine pollution, is the spreading of harmful substances such as oil, plastic, industrial and agricultural waste and chemical particles into the ocean. Since oceans provide the home to wide variety of marine animals and plants, it is the responsibility of every citizen to play his or her part in making these oceans clean so that marine species can thrive for a long period of time.
A recent study found that the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean from land each year exceeds 4.8 million tons (Mt), and may be as high as 12.7 Mt. The quantities of plastic entering the ocean are growing rapidly with the potential for cumulative inputs of plastic waste into the ocean as high as 250 Mt by 2025.
Plastic pollution in marine areas
- The main sources of marine plastic are land-based, from urban and storm runoff, sewer overflows, beach visitors, inadequate waste disposal and management, industrial activities, construction and illegal dumping.
- Ocean-based plastic originates mainly from the fishing industry, nautical activities and aquaculture.
- Under the influence of solar UV radiation, wind, currents and other natural factors, plastic fragments into small particles, termed microplastics (particles smaller than 5 mm) or nanoplastics (particles smaller than 100 nm).
- In addition, microbeads, a type of microplastic, are very tiny pieces of manufactured polyethylene plastic that are added as exfoliants in health and beauty products, such as cleansers and toothpastes. These tiny particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in the ocean and lakes.
- Plastic particles washed off from products such as synthetic clothes contribute up to 35% of the primary plastic that is polluting our oceans.
Impact of marine plastic pollution:
- On Marine Environment:
- Affects movement of marine organisms:
- Ghostnets, a term coined to describe purposely discarded or accidentally lost netting, drift through the ocean, entangling whales, seals, and turtles.
- An estimated 100,000 marine animals are strangled, suffocated, or injured by plastics every year.
- Direct harm to species:
- Of the 1.5 million Laysan albatrosses that inhabit Midway, nearly all are likely to have plastic in their digestive system.
- Approximately one-third of their chicks die, and many of those deaths are due to being fed plastic by their parents.
- Fish and whales may also mistake the plastic as a food source.
- Spreading invasive species:
- Marine plastics also facilitate the spread of invasive species that attach to floating plastic in one region and drift long distances to colonize other ecosystems.
- Research has shown that this plastic marine debris affects at least 267 species worldwide
- On Food and Health:
- Affects Food-chain:
- Because the garbage blocks sunlight, algae is not growing as it should. With less algae, the entire food chain is experiencing a negative disruption.
- In addition, the plastics floating in the ocean are leeching harmful chemicals into the water, which are likely entering the food chain.
- Affects Food-chain:
- Affects movement of marine organisms:
- Indirect harm to species via the food chain:
- Besides the particles danger to wildlife, on the microscopic level the floating debris can absorb organic pollutants from seawater, including PCBs, DDT, and PAHs.
- These toxin-containing plastic pieces are also eaten by jellyfish, which are then eaten by fish.
- Many of these fish are then consumed by humans, resulting in their ingestion of toxic chemicals
- Toxic contaminants accumulate on the surface of plastic materials as a result of prolonged exposure to seawater. When marine organisms ingest plastic debris, these contaminants enter their digestive systems, and overtime accumulate in the food web.
- The transfer of contaminants between marine species and humans through consumption of seafoodhas been identified as a health hazard, but has not yet been adequately researched.
- On Climate Change:
- Plastic, which is a petroleum product, also contributes toglobal warming.
- If plastic waste is incinerated, it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thereby increasing carbon emissions.
- On Tourism:
- Plastic waste damages the aesthetic value of tourist destinations, leading to decreased tourism-related incomes and major economic costsrelated to the cleaning and maintenance of the sites.
- Existing international instruments should be further explored to address plastic pollution. The most important are:
- The 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Wastes and Other Matter (or the London Convention).
- The 1996 Protocol to the London Convention (the London Protocol).
- The 1978 Protocol to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
- Recycling and reuse of plastic materials are the most effective actions available to reduce the environmental impacts of open landfills and open-air burning that are often practiced to manage domestic waste.
- Governments, research institutions and industries also need to work collaboratively redesigning products, and rethink their usage and disposal, in order to reduce microplastics waste from pellets, synthetic textiles and tyres.
- Implement renewable energy sources,such as wind or solar power, to limit off-shore drilling.
- Limit agricultural pesticides and encourage organic farming& eco-friendly pesticide use.
- Proper sewage treatmentand exploration of eco-friendly wastewater treatment options.
- Cut down on the industry and manufacturing waste and contain it into landfillsto avoid spillage.
- Use of Biotechnology:Bioremediation (use of specific microorganisms to metabolize and remove harmful substances) to treat oil spills.
- At individual level reduce carbon footprint by adopting a “green” lifestyle.
- Have a global treatyon banning single-use plastics and collaborated effort to clean up the ocean.
- Identify chemical pollutants hotspots, control the use and release of chemicals in mining, promote recycling of used oil in urban areas.
- Increase funding for marine pollution prevention and control by introducing market-based incentives, applying the “polluter pays” principle.
- Public-private partnerships should also be established to provide financing, improve public awareness and develop innovative approaches to reduce marine pollution.
Measures to tackle marine plastic pollution:
- Local actions are required for mitigating plastic pollution, using mechanisms such as bans on plastic bags, maximum daily limits for emissions into watersheds, and incentives for fishing gear retrieval.
- Countries should come together to establish measurable reduction targets for plastic waste. A meaningful international agreement—one with clearly defined waste reduction targets is the need of the hour.
- Effective policies must take into account all stages of the lifecycle of plastic—connecting producers to users and ultimately to waste managers.
- Nonprofits like 5 Gyres are now pushing an agenda toward public awareness, corporate responsibility and the idea of a circular economy — an economy that focuses on keeping waste to a minimum while maximizing materials’ use.
- Fossil fuel subsidies incentivise the plastic market. Hence, Countries should end fossil fuel subsidies. Annually, 4–8% of oil is used to produce raw plastic.
- India has a major problem dealing with plastics, particularly single-use shopping bags that reach dumping sites, rivers and wetlands along with other waste.
- The most efficient way to deal with the pollution is to control the production and distribution of plastics.
- Banning single-use bags and making consumers pay a significant amount for the more durable ones is a feasible solution.
- Enforcing segregation of waste will retrieve materials and greatly reduce the burden on the environment.
- Waste separation can be achieved in partnership with the community, and presents a major employment opportunity.
- Eco-friendly substitutes (cloth/paper/jute bags, leaves/areca leaf plates, paper straws) should be developed. For this, scientific and financial support (soft loans and subsidies) is required.
Marine plastic pollution is a “planetary crisis,” and we should hope for a “Paris-style” global treaty aimed at tackling it. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. In this context, ocean health must be treated as a global issue and all nations should act in concert to implement Sustainable Development Goal 14 i.e. to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. We cannot transform our world into a ‘plastic planet’. What is needed is collective public effort to stop plastic pollution and safeguard our ecosystem/biodiversity.
10. Discuss the major reasons for an increase in man-animal conflict in recent years. What have been the major steps undertaken by the government for abatement of the conflicts?
Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India
Man-animal conflict is an existential crisis not only for the animals, but for human beings as well with data showing that about one person has been killed every day for the past three years by roaming tigers or rampaging elephants. India is a unique country with respect to wildlife conservation. Despite a billion people we still have most of our large wildlife species. Compared to relatively lower human density countries in south-east Asia, India today has the largest population of the tiger, Asian elephant, leopard, sloth bear, gaur and many others.
Wild elephants in Odisha face imminent danger from live electric wires. Several tuskers have fallen prey to low-hanging naked wires and even traps with live conduction by poachers, raising a serious question regarding their safety.
Major causes of man animal conflict
- Unsustainable development:
- Tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries exist only as islets in a vast sea of human, cattle and unsustainable land use.
- People are increasingly encroaching into the country’s traditional wild spaces and animal sanctuaries, where people compete with wildlife for food and other resources.
- These conflicts have increased as elephants increasingly find their usual corridors blocked by highways, railway tracks and factories
- Urbanisation and growth agendas alter landscape dynamics, which has a cascading effect on the ecological dynamics of wildlife. This results in ecological dislocation of sorts, wherein endangered wild animals like tigers either cause distress or land themselves in trouble
- Failure of government measures:
- ‘Human-Wildlife conflict mitigation’ said most of the measures are dysfunctional, haphazardly implemented and therefore not effective
- Elephants are used to travelling long distances, most of which fall outside the protected areas.
- Wildlife experts claim that territorial animals do not have enough space within reserves and their prey do not have enough fodder to thrive on. This is forcing the wild animals to move out and venture close to human habitation in search of food.
- Primary reason for the increasing human-animal conflicts is the presence of a large number of animals and birds outside the notified protected areas. Wildlife experts estimate that 29 per cent of the tigers in India are outside the protected areas.
- Road kill of wild animals is the new enemy to India’s wildlife
- There is no proper land use planning and management, cumulative impact assessments or wildlife management
- There is no buffer zone between wildlife and human settlements
- Monkeys along with grey langurs have adapted to urban habitats over the years.
- Continued destruction and divergence of forest lands.
Government Initiatives to reduce the man-animal conflicts are:
- Awareness programmesto sensitize the people about the Do’s and Don’ts to minimize conflicts
- Training programmes for forest staffand police to address the problems of human wildlife conflicts
- Approach by wildlife protection act, 1972is that the model of conservation enshrined in is premised on creating human-free zones for the protection of rare species based on the erroneous notion that local people are the prime drivers of wildlife decline. This approach has been successful in protecting certain species, not all species.
- Providing technical and financial supportfor development of necessary infrastructure and support facilities for immobilization of problematic animals.
- Providing LPG to villagers: LPG should be provided to those villagers who frequently go to the forest areas specially wildlife habitats to fetch fuel wood for their chullahs so that they may stop penetrating into forest and stop inviting Man- Animal Conflicts.
- State governments:
- Assistance to state government for construction of boundary walls and solar fences around the sensitive areas to prevent the wild animal attacks
- Supplementing the state government resources for payment of ex gratia to the people for injuries and loss of life in case of wild animal attacks
- Encouraging state government for creation of a network of protected areas and wildlife corridors for conservation of wildlife.
- Eco development activities in villagesaround protected areas to elicit cooperation of local community in management of the protected areas.
- Supporting involvement of the research and academic institutions and leading voluntary organisations having expertise in managing human wildlife conflict situations.
- To control poaching: Poaching of wild animals should be stopped so that the no of wild animals can stabilize at its carrying capacity which would reach equilibrium in the ecosystem and this equilibrium between the numbers of prey animals and predators in the forest ecosystem would be maintained.
- Information technology like radio collars, GPS, satellite uplink facilities are used by research institutions to monitor the movement of wild animals
- Centrally sponsored schemes of project tiger, project elephant and integrated development of wildlife habitats
- Solar Fencing around agriculture fields:Agriculture fields situated near wildlife habitat/forest areas can be protected by stone fencing or solar fencing. Solar fencing has been tried with quite good effect in Wardha District of Maharashtra.
- Forest corridorslinking protected areas must be maintained where they exist.
- Existing habitats have to be surveyed and improved to provide food for the elephants
- Local communitiesneed to be educated to have reduced stress levels in elephants during conflict mitigation, no fire, no firecracker and no mob crowds.
- There is a need for a monitoring mechanismwhich will record and disperse information on such conflicts
- Experts suggest the other way to reduce the man-animal conflict is to increase the population of wild ungulates, namely hares and the wild boars, both of which are prolific breeders, as a prey for wild carnivores. Separate big enclosures can be made in the jungles to breed them. The excess stock can be released in the jungles at regular intervals for the wild carnivores to prey upon.
- The draft National Forest Policywill be an overarching policy for forest management. Also there is a proposal for National Community Forest Management (CFM) Mission which will be launched soon.
- In order to be truly effective, prevention of human-wildlife conflict has to involve the full scope of society: international organizations, governments, NGOs, communities, consumers and individuals. Solutions are possible, but often they also need to have financial backing for their support and development
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