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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – March 30, 2021

Good evening dear reader

Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Daily Current affairs for UPSC brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

About Factly- The Factly initiative covers all the daily news articles regarding Preliminary examination. This will be provided at the end of the 9 PM Brief.

Dear Aspirants,

We know for a fact that learning without evaluation is a wasted effort. Therefore, we request you to please go through both our initiatives i.e 9PM Briefs and Factly, then evaluate yourself through the 10PM Current Affairs Quiz.

We plan to integrate all our free daily initiatives to comprehensively support your success journey.
Happy Learning!

 

Sustainable Agriculture demands Optimum Water Management

Source: Click Here

Syllabus: GS 3 – Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

Synopsis

The declining availability and accessibility of water necessitate strengthening the water management measures. In this regard, the focus should be drawn on Sustainable Agriculture. 

Background

  • On March 22 (World Water Day), Prime Minister launched the ‘Catch the rain Campaign’ under Jal Shakti Abhiyan.
  • The campaign focuses on robust rainwater conservation including the use of MGNREGA funds to conserve water.
  • These types of campaigns are desired as water demand is going to rise in future – 843 billion cubic metres (BCM) by 2025 and 1180 BCM by 2050.

Current Situation of Water:

  • National Estimates:
    • NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index (2019) shows 75% of Indian households don’t have access to drinking water on their premises.
    • The Central Water Commission’s reassessment of water availability using space inputs (2019) shows India utilises only 18% of its annual precipitation. This means 699 billion cubic metres (BCM) is utilised, out of the total 3880 BCM received.
  • International Estimates:
    • UN’s report on Sustainable Development Goal-6 (SDG-6) on “Clean water and sanitation for all by 2030” states that India achieved only 56.6 per cent of the target by 2019.
    • The Water Quality Index has placed India at the 120th position amongst 122 countries.
    • India is identified as a water-stressed country. As the per capita water availability declined from 5,178 cubic metre (m3)/year in 1951 to 1,544 m3 in 2011. It is expected that it will reach 1,140 cubic metre by 2050.

Why do we need to focus on the agriculture sector?

  1. High Usage of water: The Agriculture Sector uses 78% of freshwater resources and the rest is used by industry and households.
  2. Skewed Irrigation Distribution: Only about half of India’s gross cropped area (198 million hectares) is irrigated. Groundwater contributes about 64 per cent, canals 23 per cent, tanks 2 per cent and other sources 11 per cent to irrigation.
  3. Inefficient usage of water: Groundwater is the primary source of irrigation. Various subsidies and incentives are given to support it. However, it has led to over-exploitation of water especially in the north-west region. 
    • This helped the region to leverage maximum benefits of the green revolution at subsidized water and power tariffs. 
    • But today the region is amongst the three highest water risk hotspots of the world along with northeastern China and the southwestern USA (California).
  4. Two Crops use maximum water: As per a NABARD-ICRIER study on Water Productivity Mapping; rice and sugarcane alone consume almost 60 % of India’s irrigation water. 
Source: Indian Express
    • Punjab performs well inland productivity of rice but takes the last spot in terms of irrigation water productivity. This shows inefficient usage.
    • Similarly, irrigation water productivity of sugarcane in Karnataka and Maharashtra is only 1/3rd of Bihar and U.P.
      • Land Productivity means output produced per unit of land.
      • Irrigation water productivity means output produced per unit of irrigation water used.

Therefore, there is a  need to realign the cropping patterns based on per unit of applied irrigation water productivity.

Way Forward

  • Technologies like Drip irrigation, Direct Seeded Rice (DSR), drip with fertigation etc. can be adopted. 
    • Jain Irrigation has demonstrated the potential of water conservation by growing 1 kg paddy with 842 litres using drip irrigation. This is way less than the traditional flood irrigation method that uses 3065 litres.
    • Similarly, drip with fertigation method for sugarcane has given a benefit-cost ratio of 2.64 in Karnataka. 
    • Netafim, an Israel based company, has shown the potential of a family drip irrigation system at Ramthal, Karnataka. 
  • Pricing policies for agricultural inputs like water and electricity should be sustainable.
    • The “Paani Bachao Paise Kamao” initiative of the Punjab government along with the World Bank and J-PAL can be a good initiative in this regard.
    • It encourages rational use of water amongst farmers by providing them monetary incentives for saving water in comparison to their traditional usage.
  • Further, from highly subsidised policies, a paradigm change towards direct income support and greater agricultural investment is desired.

The focus should be on conserving, using and managing the water in such a way that the objective of per drop more crop is duly achieved.


Issues with UGC’s New Undergraduate History Curriculum

Source: Click Here  

Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to education

Synopsis: Recently a new undergraduate history curriculum suggested by UGC (University Grants Commission). It falls short to meet its desired objectives and requires reconsideration.

Background:

  • The UGC released a new document on the undergraduate history curriculum, named  Learning Outcomes-based Curriculum Framework (LOCF), 2021.
  • The document has been suggested changes as per the changing domestic and international scenario.

Objectives:

  • Use history as a vital source to obtain knowledge about a nation’s soul.
  • Create a conscious student body that is aware about India’s glorious past and can compete at the global level.
  • Build a new narrative about the nation through a dialogue between past and present.

About the curriculum:

  • The five units of the course cover: 
    • The concept of Bharatvarsha 
    • Indian knowledge traditions, art, and culture
    • Indian economic traditions
    • Dharma, philosophy and ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’
    • Science, environment, and medical sciences
  • First paper of course is titled ‘Idea of Bharat.’ It seeks to study the primitive life and cultural status of the people of ancient India.

Concerning Issues:

  • The idea of Bharatvarsha is portrayed as devoid of invasions. 
    • The origin is associated with the pristine ancient past. No credit is associated with Kushans, Mughals, etc. invasions in shaping the idea of Bharat.
    • Further little role focus is paid towards the contributions of the south, east, and northeast people towards nation-building.
    • The struggle of the masses in the freedom movement is also not given its due space in the creation of Bharat. 
  • The paper on medieval and early modern India (History of India, 1206-1707) shows the Hindus and Muslims as two separate entities. This would strengthen the belief in separate nations for Hindus and Muslims which led to the country’s partition in the past.
  • The use of force is projected as the main driver of change in society. It is shown in the case of Aryan, Mughal or any other invasion. This kind of narrative portrays violence as the sole reason for the change.
  • It has adopted the categorization methods of colonial historians. This simply undermines the efforts of historians to challenge the colonial way of history-writing. 
    • The colonial methods used to pose a contrast between the secular, modern Europe and the backward ‘oriental’ states (having irrational adherence to religion).
  • The curriculum is biased towards the history of North India. The rich sociocultural, economic and political changes of other regions have been given very little room. Further, some regions are only introduced as political formations.
  • Pedagogical Issues:
    • The style of pedagogy is more textbook-oriented. A less emphasis is placed on archaeological artefacts, coins, visits to monuments and museums etc. that helps in better understanding.
    • The students are not encouraged to read the diversity of opinion which would have helped in a better understanding of history. 
    • The curriculum ignores the finest writings in Indian history. The bulk of readings span from the 1900s to the 1980s, with a heavy dependence on the work of Indologists. This curtails their resource base.
    • The linkage of critical 21st-century issues like climate change, democracy, social justice etc. with the historical framework is missing.

In a nutshell, the curriculum aims to make history education space for passive rote-learning of ideas which was last popularized in the 1920s.


Issues of Vacancies in IIMs For Reserved Faculty Positions

Source: The Hindu

Synopsis: There are larger vacancies in IIMs for reserved faculty positions from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and the Other Backward Classes communities. The unavailability of deserving candidates is one of the reasons for that.

Introduction:

According to an RTI, older Indian Institutes of Management(IIMs) are lagging behind the newer IIMs in enforcing the quota rule. For example, IIM-Kolkata has no SC or ST faculty member and only two OBC faculty members.

Does IIMs oppose equality?

It is not like IIMs are not trying to fill the vacancies, there are many reasons behind that. Also, IIMs have taken many steps towards ensuring equality, such as,

  1. The IIMs fulfill the government-mandated admission quotas for SC, ST, and OBC candidates.
  2. Apart from that they also implement certain own inventions towards inclusion. For example, IIM-Banglore has taken the following measures towards inclusion. Such as,
    • The IIM-B provided reservations to the students with a disability even before the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995.
    • IIM-B set up a dedicated Office of Disability Services in 2009. This functions as a nodal support point for students with disability. This helps in studying the needs of each student and proactive recommendation for disabled students.
    • All these steps resulted in global recognition with the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Award. The award for IIM-B highlighted the pioneering work in promoting accessibility and ensuring a life of equality and dignity.

Then, why there are large no. of vacancies on reserved positions in IIMs?

But according to the recent report the IIMs also facing certain challenges. Such as shortage of qualified candidates from reserved categories. But this is not a simple thing to fill up. This is due to the following reason.

  • IIMs need to balance between the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act 2019 and the Indian Institutes of Management Act, 2017.
    (The IIM Act recognizes IIMs as Institutions of National Importance and demands their fulfilment to global standards.)
  • Admitting potential students to doctoral programmes is a challenge. The alumni discussion reveals that the reserved category students pursue MBA programmes to employ themselves in a good job. So that, they can move up the societal ladder quickly. But they don’t want to pursue the Research and not showing interest in the faculty postings.

How the IIMs can tackle the challenge?

The IIMs have to launch a specific pre-doctoral programme to fulfil the following objectives.

  1. Encourage under-privileged category students to take up research and Faculty positions.
  2. Encourage them to do research by offering financial incentives.

This can improve the necessary talents in the long run. Further, It will also improve the social positions of the under-privileged persons. For example, IIMB in 2019 launched the N.S. Ramaswamy Pre-doctoral Programme. It is a self-funded academic and mentoring initiative.

The other Higher Educational Institutions(HEI) in India have to follow the path of IIMB. It will fulfil the large vacancies in the HEI’s.

 


Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Mar 30, 2021

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