Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 8, 2019


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Q.1) What are the possible implications of climate change on agriculture in India? Suggest some measures to increase agricultural resilience to climate change effects.

Answer:

Agriculture accounts for 16% of gross domestic product and 49% of employment in India, making it crucial in the overall economy.

Impact of climate change:

  1. Crops are impacted by rainfall variability and heat stress.
  2. Milk yield in livestock to be impacted during heat waves
  3. Changes in breeding season in marine fisheries with shift in seasonal catch
  4. High rainfall leads to greater loss of topsoil due to erosion
  5. Rise in sea level may lead to loss of farmland by inundation and increasing salinity of groundwater in coastal areas
  6. The major impacts of climate change will be on rain fed or un-irrigated crops
  7. Increase in the mean seasonal temperature can reduce the duration of many crops and hence reduce final yield
  8. Climate change has a direct impact on crop evapotranspiration

Measures to address the same:

  1. Crop insurance
  2. Micro irrigation
  3. Integrated watershed management programme
  4. Adopting sustainable agriculture practices
  5. Income transfer to small and marginal farmers

 

Q.2) Do you think press briefing on ongoing cases by advocates to media leads to undermining of justice. Give reasons.

Answer:

Problems with press briefing by advocates:

  1. freedom carries with it a responsibility; some lawyers even used air time to attack judges, whose code of conduct did not allow them to go public
  2. The judiciary should be protected
  3. some lawyers rushed to the media as soon as their petition was filed. While the petition may contain all sorts of allegations and was even likely to be later withdrawn in court, the damage, however, would be done
  4. In the R Muthukrishnan vs Madras HC case, SC criticised lawyers attributing political colour to judges in important cases. This amounts to denigrating the judiciary.
  5. It will also tarnish the image of judiciary as a neutral democratic institution and erode the credibility of justice.

 

Q.3) India is not included in the Afghan deliberations taking place between US, Russia and Taliban. Why do you think India should be a party to deliberations and what can India do to influence decision-making?

Answer:

Why India should be a party?

  1. India has huge stakes in the security of Afghanistan
  2. India invested hugely in infrastructure creation within Afghanistan
  3. The role of Chabahar port to give access to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries is linked to Afghanistan
  4. India wants to assume the role of leadership within South Asia

What India can do?

  1. Mobilise public opinion in Afghanistan because our biggest asset is the goodwill India has in the Afghan mind
  2. We must engage Afghanistan through SAARC and evolve a policy for post-U.S. pullout
  3. Once the Taliban agrees to speak to other groups in Afghanistan, India should be willing to host a Jirga (grand council meet)
  4. any dialogue with the Taliban must not come at the cost of the hard-fought victories of the Afghan people in the past two decades: on establishing constitutional democracy and the rule of law, and securing the rights of women and minorities

 

Q.4) Although e-NAM has been launched by the government but it has not addressed the problem of fragmentation of markets in agriculture. Analyse the reasons behind subdued performance of e-NAM and suggest measures.

Answer:

eNAM is pan-India electronic trading portal for farm produce which aims to create unified national market for agricultural commodities by integrating existing Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets.

Challenges facing e-NAM:

  1. infrastructure available for NAM at local markets varies from state to state
  2. running costs of the software at the local level, staff costs for quality check, etc, will be met with the transaction fee to be generated through the sale of produce.
  3. The rules which were framed few decades back to protect farmers are now hindrance in development and growth of farmers in this digital age.
  4. Since agriculture is a state subject, state governments enacted separate APMC Acts. APMCs levy multiple fees of substantial magnitude that are non-transparent and hence a source of political power.
  5. Fruits and vegetables are kept outside the purview of NAM
  6. Barriers hampering interstate transfer of agricultural commodities also have to be removed.

Measures to address the same:

  1. as long as fruits and vegetables are kept outside the purview of NAM, the volatility in prices would continue, thus depriving farmers from getting better prices.
  2. Barriers hampering interstate transfer of agricultural commodities also have to be removed. High taxes and levies imposed by states such as Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh on agricultural commodities trade have to be brought down; this would boost interstate trade and farmers’ income.
  3. With very few big buyers likely to be interested in buying the small lots that farmers will have to offer, aggregators will be needed and ensuring it is not the same aggregators who control the mandis that get to dominate NAM.
  4. Care will have to be taken to ensure markets do not get cornered by speculators or cartels that drive prices up or down.
  5. Considerable effort will also be needed for the clearance mechanism to work
  6. success of NAM will depend upon whether farmers get a higher price for their produce or not and whether this reduces price volatility
  7. bringing in large retail chains will help
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