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Q.1) Discuss the challenges faced by the silk industry in India. What are the government initiatives to revive the silk industry in India? Answer: India is the 2nd largest producer of Silk in the world and employs large number of skilled and unskilled tribal women. Challenges:
  1. Urbanization in Traditional Sericulture Areas - along with the rapid economic development in the traditional areas of the country, the industrialization and urbanization process has accelerated significantly. This, clubbed with the rising land and labour costs, are hampering the horizontal expansion of sericulture there.
  2. The bivoltine breeds alone can produce the gradable raw silk with the strength and tenacity required for our power looms. However, we are unable to produce appreciable quantity of import substitute bivoltine raw silk, even to meet our own domestic demand.
  3. Silkworm seed is a basic input for the production of quality raw silk. While we are aiming for accelerating the production of import substitute bivoltine raw silk in the country, the requirement of commercial bivoltine seed will also increase proportionately.
  4. Sericulture in India is practiced in select areas that depend largely on rain. Hence, water resource for irrigation has been a major concern and depleting water table is a big threat for the industry.
  5. Though India is the second largest producer of silk in the world, India is yet to find a top place in the international silk trade and global recognition for want of brand image as China and Thailand possess for their silks.
Initiatives taken:
  1. Setting up Integrated Textile Parks - to assist small and medium entrepreneurs in the textile industry to clusterize investments in textile parks by providing financial support for world class infrastructure in the parks.
  2. Central Sector Scheme "Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry". The Scheme has four components:

a) Research & Development (R&D), Training, Transfer of Technology and IT Initiatives

b) Seed Organizations and farmers extension centres

c) Coordination and Market Development for seed, yarn and silk products and

d) Quality Certification System (QCS) by creating amongst others a chain of Silk Testing facilities, Farm based & post-cocoon Technology Up-gradation, and Export Brand Promotion

Q.2) ‘Groundwater is a common property resource and should be used for greater good’. In the light of the statement, do you think recent guidelines of Central Ground Water Authority to levy a water conservation fee will work in reducing exploitation of groundwater in India? Answer: India is a groundwater economy. At 260 cubic km per year, our country is the highest user of groundwater in the world—we use 25% of all groundwater extracted globally, ahead of the US and China. Water is a common resource: Often this aspect is ignored in India and borewells became the norm for household consumption and also for agricultural lands. Guidelines:
  1. The government will levy a fee on groundwater extraction to discourage misuse of water by industries and ensure a more robust groundwater regulatory mechanism in the country. The fee payable varies with the category of the area, type of industry and the quantum of ground water extraction and is designed to progressively increase from safe to over-exploited areas and from low to high water consuming industries as well as with increasing quantum of ground water extraction.
  2. Encouraging use of recycled and treated sewage water by industries, provision of action against polluting industries, mandatory requirement of digital flow meters, piezometers and digital water level recorders.
  3. Mandatory water audit by industries extracting groundwater 500 cubic metre per day or more in safe and semi-critical and 200 cubic metre per day or more in critical and over-exploited assessment units, mandatory rooftop rainwater harvesting except for specified industries and measures to be adopted to ensure prevention of groundwater contamination in premises of polluting industries/ projects.
  4. Agricultural users, users employing non-energised means to extract water, individual households using less than 1 inch diameter delivery pipe and armed forces establishments during operational deployment or during mobilisation in forward locations have been exempted from the requirement of no-objection certificate (NOC).
Benefits:
  1. The high rates of WCF are expected to discourage setting up of new industries in over-exploited and critical areas as well as act as a deterrent to large-scale ground water extraction by industries, especially in over-exploited and critical areas.
  2. It would also compel industries to adopt measures relating to water use efficiency and discourage the growth of packaged drinking water units, particularly in over-exploited and critical areas.
Challenges:
  1. Lack of sufficient enforcement mechanism on ground.
  2. It requires investments to setup recycling and treatment plants.
  3. Without the changes in cropping patterns, reducing water consumption remains a challenge.
  Q.3) Critically analyze the proposal to amend the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Features of the bill:
  1. The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
  2. Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years.  The Bill relaxes this 11 year requirement to 6 years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.
Issues:
  1. States like Assam consider the Bill to work against the cultural and linguistic identity of the indigenous people of the State.
  2. There is an opposition to the idea of granting citizenship to an individual on the basis of religion.
  3. Bill is designed to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees persecuted in neighbouring countries. NRC does not distinguish migrants on the basis of religion. If the Bill becomes an Act, the non-Muslims need not go through any such process, thus it will clearly be discriminating against Muslims identified as undocumented immigrants.
  4. States sharing borders with Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan are likely to be affected.
Q.4) ‘Act East Policy’ can become harbinger of economic transformation for the north-eastern states of the India. Comment. Answer: The aim of 'Act East Policy' is to promote the country's economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Benefits to North Eastern states:
  1. Trade - as NE states are located at the junction of India and rest of ASEAN nations, they will benefit from the growing trade ties with these countries.
  2. Infrastructure - India’s plans to develop connectivity projects with the countries of this region will help in infrastructure growth in these states Eg., Kaladan, BCIM
  3. Socio economic development - the growth and infrastructure will create more jobs in the states
  4. It will reduce the security problems from the area as the benefits of development reach grassroots
  5. It will help in further integration of these states with rest of the country