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Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 30

1. Briefly discuss about the location and significance of Mangroves in India.(GS 1)

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Introduction:-

  • mangroveis a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water.
  • . Mangroves are salt tolerant trees, also called halophytes and are adapted to life in harsh coastal conditions.

Location:-

  • The deltas of the Ganges,Mahanadi,Godavari,Krishna and Kaveri rivers are known to contain mangrove forests.
  • The following table shows the presence of mangroves in the different states of India and the total area covered by them in square kilometers.
RankStates/UTs with Highest Mangrove Cover 2013Total Mangrove Cover in km2
1West Bengal2,097
2Gujarat1,103
3Andaman And Nicobar Islands604
  • Some of the important mangroves are Sunderland,bhitarkanika,pichavaram etc..

Significance:-

  • Mangroves protect shorelines from erosion
    • Mangroves protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods.
    • Mangroves also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems.
    • They maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land.
  • Mangroves serve as valuable nursery areas for fish and invertebrates
    • Serving as valuable nursery areas for shrimp, crustaceans, mollusks, and fishes, mangroves are a critical component of commercial and recreational fishing industries.
    • These habitats provide a rich source of food while also offering refuge from predation.
  • Mangroves Support Threatened and Endangered Species
    • In addition to commercially important species, mangroves also support a number of threatened and endangered species.
  • Mangroves are utilized in many parts of the world as a renewable resource
    • In other parts of the world, people have utilized mangrove trees as a renewable resource.
    • Harvested for durable, water-resistant wood, mangroves have been used in building houses, boats, pilings, and furniture.
  • Fisheries:
    • Mangrove forests are home to a large variety of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk species.
    • These fisheries form an essential source of food for thousands of coastal communities around the world.
  • Timber and plant products:
    • Mangrove wood is resistant to rot and insects, making it extremely valuable. Many coastal and indigenous communities rely on this wood for construction material as well as for fuel.
    • Sundari tree in Sunderbans is known for its hard timber.
  • Coastal protection:
    • The dense root systems of mangrove forests trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land. This helps stabilizes the coastline and prevents erosion from waves and storms.
    • By filtering out sediments, the forests also protect coral reefs and seagrass meadows from being smothered in sediment.
  • Tourism:
    • Given the diversity of life inhabiting mangrove systems, and their proximity in many cases to other tourist attractions such as coral reefs and sandy beaches,

India witnessed the significance of mangroves during tsunami and so with government initiatives like mangroves for the future it should conserve them more.


2.  Discuss the consequences of Climate Change on agriculture and food security in India.(GS 1, GS 3)

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Consequences of climate change on agriculture and food security:-

  • Climate change affects food security in complex ways.
  • It impacts crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, and can cause grave social and economic consequences in the form of reduced incomes, eroded livelihoods, trade disruption and adverse health impacts.
  • Food production:-
    • It affects food production in many ways. For one, it may cause significant increases in inter-annual and intra-seasonal variability of monsoon rainfall.
  • The impact of climate change on water availability will be particularly severe for India because large parts of the country already suffer from water scarcity, to begin with, and largely depend on groundwater for irrigation.
  • With increased periods of low precipitation and dry spells due to climate change, India’s groundwater resources will become even more important for irrigation, leading to greater pressure on water resources.
  • Indian agriculture, and thereby India’s food production, is highly vulnerable to climate change largely because the sector continues to be highly sensitive to monsoon variability.
    • After all, about 65 percent of India’s cropped area is rain-fed.
    • Acute water shortage conditions, together with thermal stress, will affect rice productivity even more severely.
  • Climate change can slow down, and even drastically reduce, the improvements in food security and nutrition that India has managed to achieve so far.
  • Variation in the length of the crop growing season and higher frequency of extreme events due to climate change and the consequent growth of output adversely affect the farmer’s net income.
  • Climate change will also have an adverse impact on the livelihoods of fishers and forest-dependent people.
  • Landless agricultural labourers wholly dependent on agricultural wages are at the highest risk of losing their access to food.
  • Urban food insecurity is also a critical issue because poor households from rural and coastal regions typically migrate to urban areas for livelihood options.
  • Change in climatic conditions could lead to a reduction in the nutritional quality of foods (reduced concentration in proteins and minerals like zinc and iron) due to elevated carbon dioxide levels.
    • In India, where legumes (pulses) rather than meat are the main source of proteins, such changes in the quality of food crops will accelerate the largely neglected epidemic known as “hidden hunger” or micronutrient deficiency.

Suggestions:-

  • India needs to step up public investment in development and dissemination of crop varieties which are more tolerant of temperature and precipitation fluctuations and are more water- and nutrient-efficient.
  • Agricultural policy should focus on improving crop productivity and developing safety nets to cope with the risks of climate change.
  • Better management of water resources must be a key feature of sustainable agriculture.
  • India’s irrigation infrastructure needs to be upgraded; particular attention needs to be given to north-western India, the country’s food basket that is prone to climate-induced droughts.
  • To improve access to healthy food, effective public distribution systems need to be put in place.
  • Research efforts should be directed towards assessing and quantifying where possible the impact of climate change on undernutrition and food absorption.

3. How can the government ensure accountability and transparency in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in India?(GS 3)

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Introduction:-

  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) necessitates a certain degree of openness and transparency with corporate stakeholders .
  • These transparency obligations are driven by voluntary best practices, financing requirements and law – all of which tie CSR to corporate governance practices.
  • In order to streamline the philanthropic activities and ensure more accountability and transparency, the government of India made it mandatory for companies to undertake CSR activities under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The Global Reporting Initiativeis an international, multi-stakeholder effort to create a common framework for voluntary reporting of the economic, environmental, and social impact of organization-level activity.
  • Its mission is to improve the comparability and credibility of sustainability reporting worldwide.
  • As far as possible, the CSR initiatives should be designed in a sustainable manner and should be scalable
    and result oriented.

    • Therefore, creating indirect advantages
      such as brand visibility, social capital, partnerships, business opportunities, long-term community relationships and most importantly nation building.
  • KPMG’s report, also point to a geographic bias under the 2% law, with companies funding projects closer to where they are based. Consequently, more industrialised states are winning over poorer, more remote regions where development aid is acutely needed. 
  • The rise of ethics training inside corporations, some of it required by government regulation, has helped CSR to spread.
    • The aim of such training is to help employees make ethical decisions when the answers are unclear

 

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