Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 1st

1. How far would the Real Estate (regulation & Development) Act, be helpful in bringing reforms to the real estate sector of India. Also suggest some measures to improve it.

The Hindu


  • The aim of the act is to primarily protect the interests of consumers and bring in efficiency and transparency in the sale/purchase of real estate.

Key provisions:-

  • The act regulates transactions between buyers and promoters of residential real estate projects.  It establishes state level regulatory authorities called Real Estate Regulatory Authorities (RERAs).
  • Residential real estate projects, with some exceptions, need to be registered with RERAs.  Promoters cannot book or offer these projects for sale without registering them.  Real estate agents dealing in these projects also need to register with RERAs.
  • On registration, the promoter must upload details of the project on the website of the RERA.  These include the site and layout plan, and schedule for completion of the real estate project.
  • 70% of the amount collected from buyers for a project must be maintained in a separate bank account and must only be used for construction of that project.  The state government can alter this amount to less than 70%.
  • The act establishes state level tribunals called Real Estate Appellate Tribunals.  Decisions of RERAs can be appealed in these tribunals.
  • It is to primarily protect the interests of consumers and bring in efficiency and transparency in the sale/purchase of real estate. RERA and the Appellate Tribunal are expected to decide on complaints within an ambitious period of 60 days
  • The Act seeks to assist developers by giving the regulator powers to make recommendations to State governments to create a single window clearance for approvals in a time-bound manner.
  • The Act again ambitiously stipulates an electronic system, maintained on the website of RERA, where developers are expected to update on a quarterly basis the status of their projects, and submit regular audits and architectural reports.
  • Importantly, it requires developers to maintain separate escrow accounts in relation to each project and deposit 70% of the collections in such an account to ensure that funds collected are utilised only for the specific project. The Act also requires real estate brokers and agents to register themselves with the regulator.


  • Since land is a State subject under the Constitution, even after the Centre enacts the legislation, State governments will have to ratify them. States will have to set up the Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s (RERA) and the Real Estate Appellate Tribunals and have only a maximum of a year from the coming into effect of the Act to do so.
  • Some states have enacted laws to regulate real estate projects.  The act differs from these state laws on several grounds.  It will override the provisions of these state laws in case of any inconsistencies.


The following need to be looked into:

  • The act mandates that 70% of the amount collected from buyers of a project be used only for construction of that project.  In certain cases, the cost of construction could be less than 70% and the cost of land more than 30% of the total amount collected.  This implies that part of the funds collected could remain unutilized, necessitating some financing from other sources.  This could raise the project cost.
  • The real estate sector has some other issues such as a lengthy process for project approvals, lack of clear land titles, and prevalence of black money.  Some of these fall under the State List.
  • While consumer interests have been protected, developers find provisions of the Act to be exceptionally burdensome on a sector already ailing from a paucity of funds and multiple regulatory challenges.
  • It does not deal with the concerns of developers regarding force majeure (acts of god outside their control) which result in a shortage of labour or issues on account of there not being a central repository of land titles/deeds.

Finally, the new legislation is a welcome enactment. It will go a long way in assisting upstanding developers. More importantly, it will ease the burden on innocent home buyers who put their life’s savings into a real estate investment in the hope of having a roof over their head but often find their dreams come tumbling down.

2. ‘If the government wants to restore peace to the Valley, it cannot do it by force — talks with dissidents is the only option’. Critically analyse the statement.

The Hindu

Yes,talks are needed :-

  • When India stops talking, it create problems for the country. Dialogue must never be interrupted and must talk with everyone because everyone is a stakeholder.There is a need to with both mainstream parties and separatists.
  • Government needs to form a committee of parliamentarians who would engage with all the stakeholders with the purpose of arriving at a lasting political solution.
  • The first talks should be with the dissidents in the Valley, who have already suffered two months of violence and curfew.
    • This would cover immediate confidence-building measures and trust building between the government and dissidents; it would also explore options for a lasting political solution.
  • When it comes to a lasting political solution, however, the stakeholders are a much wider group that includes representatives of all regions and political parties of the state, refugees and those in exile, as well as special interest groups such as SCs and STs, who would need to be on board with the solution.
  • Treating it as a purely law and order problem; trying to quell the uprising of the last 10 months with muscular force without understanding the psychological complexities and problems of Kashmir is not going to help India.
  • In the Kashmiri perception what is basically wrong is India’s ‘approach’ to Kashmir. Consequently, the Kashmiri feels alienated; under siege. His ultimate fear is that he could be reduced to a minority in his own land.This feeling needs to be eliminated.

It is not the only option :-

  • There is also the problem of void of leadership in Kashmir. The state government barely exists. The J&K Police is hardly in control.the people should be brought into confidence.
  • The Kashmiri suffers from a deep disempowerment complex this needs to be well dealt with.
  • Lack of development and providing employment opportunities helps Kashmir have a good motive about India and inturn helps Kashmir itself.

3. Enumerate the different types of irrigation systems that can be helpful for conservation of water and yield improvement of farms in India. What are the challenges facing farmers in India, in adopting these systems and also suggest some measures to tackle them.

The Hindu

Irrigation systems:-

1.Drip irrigation:-

  • Drip irrigationis a form of irrigation that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of many different plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves,pipes,tubing and emitters.

Yes,drip irrigation is better:-

  • The drip put in place ensures that water just sufficient to the particular variety sown is given.
  • It is chosen instead of surface irrigation for various reasons, often including concern about minimizing evaporation.
  • Fertilizer and nutrient loss is minimized due to localized application and reduced leaching.
  • Water application efficiency is high if managed correctly
  • Field levelling is not necessary.
  • Fields with irregular shapes are easily accommodated.
  • Recycled non-potable water can be safely used.
  • Moisture within the root zone can be maintained at field capacity.
  • Soil type plays less important role in frequency of irrigation.
  • Soil erosion is lessened.
  • Weed growth is lessened.
  • Water distribution is highly uniform, controlled by output of each nozzle.
  • Labour cost is less than other irrigation methods.
  • Variation in supply can be regulated by regulating the valves and drippers.
  • Foliage remains dry, reducing the risk of disease.
  • Usually operated at lower pressure than other types of pressurised irrigation, reducing energy costs.


  • Initial cost can be more than overhead systems.
  • The sun can affect the tubes used for drip irrigation, shortening their usable life.
  • If the water is not properly filtered and the equipment not properly maintained, it can result in clogging .
  • For subsurface drip the irrigator cannot see the water that is applied. This may lead to the farmer either applying too much water (low efficiency) or an insufficient amount of water.
  • Drip tape causes extra cleanup costs after harvest.
  • Waste of water, time and harvest, if not installed properly.

2.Sprinkler irrigation:-

  • The sprinkler irrigation system is effective for irrigation on uneven lands and on shallow soils.
  • It is also suitable to coarse sandy terrain where the percolation loss is more and where as a consequence, the frequency of irrigation required is more.
  • The sprinkler irrigation system is appropriate in rising and falling land where land shaping is expensive or technically not practicable.
  • The elimination of fertile soil cover by land shaping is not advisable.
  • Sprinkler irrigation system can also be espoused in hilly regions where plantation crops are grown.
  • Advantages of sprinkler irrigation:
  1. It is Suitable to all types of soil apart from heavy clay.
  2. It is most suitable for oil seeds and other cereal and vegetable crops.
  3. It saves water.
  4. With this technique of irrigation, there is control of water application convenient for giving light and frequent irrigation and higher water application efficiency.
  5. Sprinkle irrigation increases in yield.
  6. It saves land as no bunds are required.
  7. Areas located at a higher elevation than the source can be irrigated.
  8. In this method of irrigation there is less problem of clogging of sprinkler nozzles due to sediment laden water.
  9. The overall cost of labour is generally reduced in this method of irrigation.
  10. Erosion of soil cover which is common in surface irrigation can be reduced.
  • Disadvantages of sprinkler system:
  1. In this technique, initial cost of implementation is high.
  2. High and constant energy requirement for operation.
  3. Under high wind condition and high temperature distribution and application efficiency is poor.
  4. When lands have been already levelled and developed for surface or other irrigation methods sprinkler irrigation is not so economical.
  5. There is loss of water due to evaporation from the area during irrigation.

3.Surface Irrigation:

  • In this technique water flows and spreads over the surface of the land. Varied quantities of water are allowed on the fields at different times. Therefore, flow of water under surface irrigation comes under wobbly flow.
  • Furrow irrigation:-
    • Large areas can be irrigated at a time.
    • It saves labour since once the furrow is filled, it is not necessary to give water a second time.
    • It is a reasonably cheaper method.
    • Plants get proper quantity of water by this system.
    • Furrow irrigation is also beneficial for growing of tree crops.
    • Major drawback of furrow system of irrigation is ensuring uniform dispersal of water over a given field.
    • Other problem with furrow irrigation is the increased potential for water loss due to runoff.
  • Free flooding:-
    • In free flooding method, water is applied to the land from field ditches without any check or guidance to the flow.
    • The land is divided into plots or kiaries of suitable size depending on porosity of soil. Water is spread over the field from watercourse.
    • The irrigation operation begins at the higher area and proceeds towards the lower levels.
    • The flow is stopped when the lower end of the field has received the desired depth of water.
    • The field watercourse is properly spaced, the spacing depends on the topography, oil texture, depth of soil and size of stream..
    • This technique is beneficial for newly established farms where making furrows is very expensive.
    • This method is economical and can be effectively used where water supply is in plenty.
    • This method is suitable for the fields with irregular surface in which other techniques are difficult to apply.
    • Major drawback of this method is that there is no perfect control over the flow of water to attain high efficiency.
    • Sometimes the flow of water over the soil is too rapid to fulfil soil moisture deficiency. On the other hand, sometimes water is retained on the field for a very long time and consequently the water is lost in infiltration or deep percolation.
  • Border strip method:-
    • The water is diverted from the field channel into the strips. The water flows gradually towards lower end, wetting the soil as it advances.

4.Well and tube well irrigation:-

  • Well irrigation is more popular in those regions where ground water is in ample and where there are few canals.the greater part of the Penisnular India is not appropriate for well irrigation due to stony structure, rough surface and lack of underground water.
  • Advantages of Well and Tube Well Irrigation:
    • Well is simplest and cost effective source of irrigation and the poor Indian farmer can easily afford it.
    • Well is an independent source of irrigation and can be used as and when the necessity arises.
    • Several chemicals such as nitrate, chloride, sulphate, etc. are generally found mixed in well water.
    • They make soil fertility when they reach the agricultural field along with well water.
    • It is more reliable during periods of famine when surface water dries up.
  • Disadvantages of well and Tube Well Irrigation:
    • With these methods, only limited area can be irrigated.
    • Normally, a well can irrigate 1 to 8 hectares of land.
    • The well may dry up and may be rendered ineffective for irrigation if excessive water is taken out.
    • In the drought situation, the ground water level falls and enough water is not available in the well when it is needed the most.
    • Tube wells can draw a lot of groundwater from its neighbouring areas and make the ground dry and not suitable for agriculture. Well and tube well irrigation is not possible in areas of salty groundwater.

5.Canal irrigation:-

  • Canals are most effective techniques of irrigation in areas of low level relief, deep fertile soils, perennial source of water and extensive command area.
  • Therefore, the main concentration of canal irrigation is in the northern plain of India, especially the areas comprising Uttar Pradesh Haryana and Punjab.
  • The digging of canals in stony and uneven areas is difficult and unprofitable. Thus the canals are practically absent from the Peninsular plateau area.
  • Advantages of Canal Irrigation:
    • Most of the canals provide perennial irrigation and supply water as and when required.This saves the crops from drought conditions and helps in increasing the farm production.
    • Canals carry a lot of residue brought down by the rivers. This sediment is deposited in the agricultural fields which make soil more fertile.
    • Some of the canals are parts of multipurpose projects and, therefore, provide inexpensive source of irrigation.
    • Although the initial cost involved in canal irrigation is more, it is quite cheap in the long run.
  • Drawbacks of Canal Irrigation:
    • The canal water soaks into the ground and results in water-logging along the canal route.
    • Excessive flow of water in the fields raises the ground water level. Capillary action brings alkaline salts to the surface and makes large areas unfit for agriculture.
    • Huge areas in Panjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh suffer from the problem caused by canal irrigation.
    • The muddy areas near the canals act as reproduction grounds of mosquitoes which result in widespread malaria.
    • Many canals overflow during rainy season and flood the surrounding areas.
    • Canal irrigation is suitable in plain areas only.

6.Tank Irrigation:-

  • A tank act as an irrigation storage system which is developed by constructing a small bund of earth or stones built across a stream.
  • Advantages of Tank Irrigation:
    • Most of the tanks are natural and not expensive for their construction.
    • Even an individual farmer can have his own tank.
  • Tanks are normally constructed on rocky bed and have long life. In many tanks, fishing is also done. This supplements both the food resources and income of the farmer.
  • Drawbacks of Tank Irrigation:
    • Major problem with tanks water storage is that tanks dry up during the dry season and fail to provide irrigation when it is needed the most.
    • Silting of the tank bed is a serious problem and it requires de-silting of the tank at regular intervals.
    • Much water is evaporated from the large expanse of shallow water and is therefore not available for irrigation.
    • Tanks cover large areas of cultivable land. In many areas, other sources of irrigation have been adopted and the dry beds of tanks have been reclaimed for agriculture.
    • Furthermore, lifting of water from tanks and carrying it to the fields is a tiring and expensive effort which discourages the use of tanks as a source of irrigation.

Other challenges:-

  • Water availability:
    • Though the average water availability in India remains more or less fixed according to the natural hydraulic cycle, per capita availability is reducing progressively owning to the increasing population.
  • Incomplete projects: 
    • There has been an increase in the number of projects awaiting completion since the end of IV Plan.
  • Time and Cost overruns:
    • Worst part of the inordinate delay in completion of projects has been the time and cost overruns.
  • Underutilization:
    • Inadequate provision of budget provision for operation and maintenance of the irrigation system is significantly responsible for under-utilization followed by non-completion of dis-tributaries, minors, field channels and on-farm development.
  • Groundwater: 
    • Over-exploitation of groundwater and widespread environmental damage.
  • Management: 
    • Integrated Water Resource Management [IWRM]in agriculture is a concept of sustainable development, allocation and monitoring of water resource and its use in agriculture has not been successful in India.
  • Water Users Associations:
    • Apart from the institutional aspect, WUAs need small but critical incentives to motivate them manage irrigation system.

Measures needed are:

  1. The policy and programs related to water should focus on equitable sharing of water; integrated management of surface water, soil water and groundwater;  participation of an enlightened public in decision making and welfare of socially, economically and politically weak segments of society, among others.
  2. Calls for focused attention to promote improved water management practices in irrigation projects suffering from operational deficiencies and integrated water resources development and management approach.
  3. Area-suitable water conservation measures have to be explored and adopted. Also it is necessary to strengthen existing irrigation infrastructure, increase water use efficiency and productivity, raise crops requiring less-water, make rainwater harvesting mandatory for all and provide shading with trees the banks of canals and other reservoirs.
  4. The use of computers, communication and information to control irrigation systems will yield many benefits, resulting in obvious economic savings and in intangible benefits whose value cannot be measured in monetary terms.
  5. Rehabilitation and modernization of the existing water resource projects can be carried out under three main headings, engineering, agronomy and administration.
  6. The engineering side includes modernization and rehabilitation of all headwork and their replacement where they have outlived their usefulness, and modernization of canals, canal structures, in particular the regulating devices, provision of additional cross regulators, permanent outlets and on-farm development works such as field channels, field drainage and land levelling.
  7. The agronomic side includes the review of current cropping patterns, scientific assessment of crop water requirements to upgrade the system to meet the new demand, adoption of high-yielding varieties, propagation of proper cultural practices and so on.
  8. The administrative side includes the consolidation of land, volumetric supply of irrigation water, changes in water rate policy and the like.

All of this can be achieved by improved water management at farm level, keeping in mind the existing constraints of the physical system and its operational constraints.


  • In 2010, only about 35% of total agricultural land in India was reliably irrigated.


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