Archives Q.1) DNA Technology Regulation Bill 2018 is a big step toward much needed reform in Criminal Justice system of India. Comment? Answer: Provisions of the bill:
  1. It states that national and regional DNA data banks will be set up for maintaining a national database for identification of victims, accused, suspects, under-trials, missing persons and unidentified human remains.
  2. It specifies reasons for collecting DNA in a schedule. The offences under this schedule cover:

a) IPC

b) Special Laws life MTP

c) Civil disputes

d) Identification of deceased

Benefits of the bill:
  1. It creates a way for effective judicial mechanism and implementation of rights of citizens.
  2. Annually, more than 4000 FIRs are filed under Sec 302 of IPC (murder) but failing to identify the identity of the victim.
  3. Ireland, UK, US already have such legislations for effective criminal justice system.
  4. The bill has passed years of scrutiny from 2003 to DNA Profiling Committee in 2012 and finally introduced in the parliament.
  5. Reports often point out that almost 70% of the persons in jails are undertrials. This database creates a data point for identifying people in crime scenes.
  Q.2) What can be justification for introducing economic backwardness as ground for reservation in education and employment in addition to social and educational backwardness? Answer: Lok Sabha passed a Bill allowing 10% quota in employment and education for the general category candidates who belong to the economically weaker sections. Rationale:
  1. The economically deprived among the poor in the Hindus and other religions will also benefit.
  2. Often, caste-based and economic exploitations are different and not linked.
  3. Farm distress, derailed urban economy lead to huge unemployment in the traditionally upper castes which are dependent on farming.
  4. Due to reservation the representation of various groups in government jobs has increased significantly in last few years.
  5. The economically weaker sections of citizens have largely remained excluded from higher education and public employment due to their financial capacity.Therefore, there is a need to amend the constitution to give them a fair chance of getting higher education and public employment,so as to fulfill the mandate of Article 46 of the Constitution.
  Q.3) Discuss the implications of recent SC Judgment in Monsanto Case on farmer rights and farm biodiversity? Answer: Supreme Court recently restored Monsanto’s patent claim on genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton until its validity is decided by a single judge of the Delhi high court. As a result, the patent held by Monsanto over its Bollgard-II Bt cotton seed technology, a GM variant that resists the bollworm pest, will be enforceable in India for now. Impact:
  1. This could lead to monopolising private interest over the public.
  2. This creates a positive environment for agri R&D.
  3. The court has recognised that products of biotechnological processes such as man-made DNA constructs are patentable in India.
  4. Toxicity is a huge issue surrounding chemical pesticides and herbicides, used commonly with GMOs, in addition to the toxicity inherent to these plants.
  5. GMOs may be toxic to non-target organisms, bees and butterflies being the most talked-about examples currently. Bees are hugely important in the pollination of many food crops, but are unfortunately extremely endangered by modern agricultural techniques, such as GM crops.
  6. ests that are targeted by these agricultural methods can adapt to pesticides and herbicides, in addition to the DNA changes in GM plants to make them ¨resistant.¨
  7. Evidence also suggests that small genetic changes in plants may produce even larger ecological shifts, meaning that there is potential for GMO´s to become persistent and weedy in agricultural conditions, since they are modified to be resistant to some modern agricultural techniques.
  Q.4) Discuss the importance of Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program for Climate Resilient Agriculture and higher crop productivity? Answer: The Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) was launched during 1996- 1997 to give loan assistance to the States to help them complete some of the incomplete major/medium irrigation projects which were at an advanced stage of completion and to create additional irrigation potential in the country. Now it is amalgamated under the broader PMKSY. Benefits of PMKSY are:
  1. Achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level (preparation of district level and, if required, sub district level water use plans).
  2. Enhance the physical access of water on the farm and expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (Har Khet ko pani).
  3. Integration of water source, distribution and its efficient use, to make best use of water through appropriate technologies and practices.
  4. Improve on - farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage and increase availability both in duration and extent.
  5. Enhance the adoption of precision - irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop).
  6. Enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices.
  7. Ensure the integrated development of rainfed areas using the watershed approach towards soil and water conservation, regeneration of groundwater, arresting runoff, providing livelihood options and other NRM activities.
  8. Promote extension activities relating to water harvesting, water management and crop alignment for farmers and grass root level field functionaries.
  9. Explore the feasibility of reusing treated municipal wastewater for peri - urban agriculture.
  10. Attract greater private investments in irrigation.