Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 14, 2019

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Q.1) What do you understand by Agriculture Extension? How Agriculture Extension can lead increased farm productivity?

Answer:

Agricultural extension is the application of scientific research and knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education.

Benefits of extension:

  1. It plays a significant role in transmitting the latest technical knowledge to farmers.
  2. It helps in providing feedback from farmers to scientists on problems and constraints in agriculture.
  3. To enhance professional competence of extension functionaries.
  4. To strengthen linkage amongst farmers, extension officers and researchers.
  5. To motivate farmers for overall development.
  6. To increase the yield with limited inputs through solutions like precision farming.
  7. To improve the overall growth rate in agriculture and its share in the economy.

 

Q.2)  Discuss India’s No First Use Policy. Analyze the effectiveness of “Credible Minimum Deterrence” in changing global scenario?

Answer:

No first use (NFU) refers to a pledge or a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. As per NFU, India will retaliate with nuclear strike, if the aggressors use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us.

Effectiveness of CMD:

It recognizes that the deterrence to be effective must be credible, which includes:

  1. Sufficient and Survivable nuclear forces both in terms of warheads and means of delivery able to inflict unacceptable damage.
  2. Nuclear Forces must be operationally prepared at all times.
  3. Effective Intelligence and Early Warning Capabilities.
  4. A Robust Command and Control System.
  5. The Will to Employ Nuclear Forces.
  6. Communication of Deterrence Capability.
  7. Should deterrence ever break down, India will have to pay an enormous price for a nuclear first strike by an adversary before launching massive punitive retaliation.
  8. In the event that an enemy initiates a nuclear strike, it will never be able to destroy all the land and air-based nuclear weapons of the target country. Again, the enemy might attack population centres and not nuclear weapon sites; in that case, all the nukes of the target country would be available for retaliation. In either case, the deterrence capability of the target country would remain intact.
  9. If the possession of the naval leg were to deter the enemy, ab initio, from initiating a nuclear launch, it would add to the deterrence value.

 

Q.3) What is Off-Budget Financing? Analyze recent CAG report on Off Budget Financing by government?

Answer:

OBF refers to expenditure that’s not funded through the budget. CAG recently flagged off the government’s increasing use of financing outside the budget.

CAG Report:

  1. The government has increasingly resorted to off-budget financing for revenue as well as capital spending.
  2. In terms of revenue spending, off-budget financing was used for covering deferring fertiliser arrears/bills through special banking arrangements; food subsidy bills/arrears of FCI (Food Corporation of India) through borrowings and for implementation of irrigation scheme (Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme) through borrowings by NABARD under the Long-Term Irrigation Fund.
  3. Government adopted off-budget means of financing the subsidy arrears, thereby deferring the payment in the relevant financial year and in the process also incurring additional cost by way of interest payments.
  4. This impacts liquidity of companies operating in the area. To overcome these liquidity issues, special banking arrangements are put in place with public sector lenders to provide funding against subsidy dues.
  5. Off-budget Funding In Fy17

a) Revenue Spending:

1. Deferred fertilizer arrears/bills through special banking arrangements

2. Food subsidy bills/arrears of Food Corp. of India through borrowings

3. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development borrowing

b) Capital Spending

1. Indian Railway Finance Corp. borrowing for railway projects

 

Q.4)Poor Learning Outcomes in elementary education is attributed to No Detention Policy under Right to Education Act. Critically Analyze?  

Answer:

Right to Education Act 2009 includes a no detention policy where no child admitted in a school will be held back in any class till Class 8.

Problems with No Detention Policy:

  1. Falling learning outcomes that translate into an over 20% dropout at Class IX.
  2. Consecutive ASER reports have found that learning outcomes remain below par.  
  3. Teachers lost leverage over students with many government schools turning into mere “mid-day meal” providers.
  4. NDP led to the undermining of the need to evaluate a school-goer’s learning outcomes.
  5. Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) that aimed to assess the child’s understanding is yet to be implemented in many schools.
  6. The already overloaded teachers were not given adequate training to undertake CCE.
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