GS Paper 1: Geography
SALIENT FEATURES OF WORLD’S PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY
Rivers form deltas when the flow(speed) of the river water slows to the extent such that the silt it carries gets heavier and the water cannot carry it forward to the sea. For this condition to be satisfied we need the following to click:
- Is the river long enough?. The length (of the river) from the point of its origins to the sea should be long enough.
- How fast does the water drain into the sea?. If the water from the river drains too fast , then it probably takes the silt along with it into the sea.
- How flat is the land?. If the land incline is too high, then the silt will be taken into the sea because it cannot fight against the gravitational force. Water falling down an incline is much faster than water flowing on plain ground.
In the case of Eastern Ghats (or east flowing rivers), all the three conditions are satisfied.
- The Eastern Ghats are far away from both the seas (Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal). Thus the rivers originating from the Eastern side of the Eastern Ghats are long enough. Or simply said, the East flowing rivers are longer in length compared to those which flow west. The length of Ganga is 2525 km while that of Narmada or Tapti is less than half of what Ganga is.
- The Narmada’s average speed is higher compared to Ganga’s or Kaveri’s. Because the former travels a smaller distance over a more inclined terrain, and the latter covers a larger distance over a more flat terrain. The silt from Narmada flows directly into the Arabian sea,, while the silt from Kaveri and Ganga remains on the land (thus forming deltas- fertile lands for agriculture).
The Western Ghats are closer to the sea. This also explains why Mumbai and Mangalore receives much higher average rainfall compared to Chennai and Nellore. The clouds easily precipitate over Mumbai because the Western Ghats are much nearer to Mumbai. Any hill station like Matheran or Mahabaleshwar is much nearer to Mumbai compared to any popular hill station like Ooty or Munnar is from Chennai. This means that the incline of the land is larger in the Western coast. Thus the river directly drains faster into the Arabian Sea. Whereas Kaveri and Ganges flow very slowly as they near the coast. Thus the silt they carry becomes heavier and gets deposited in the delta region.
GS Paper 2: Polity & Governance
PARLIAMENT AND STATE LEGISLATURES- STRUCTURE, FUNCTIONING, CONDUCT OF BUSINESS, POWERS AND PRIVILEGES AND ISSUES ARISING OUT OF THESE.
Privilege means a special right, advantage or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. Our Indian Constitution under Article 105 and 194 provide such privileges to legislatures in order to maintain its independent nature, debate and discuss any matter to any extent and to criticize the opinion of others only for positive outcomes while codifying a law. However, what constitute the privilege is left undefined by our constitution framers and left on the fate of legislatures to define from time to time.
This undefined nature has made our legislatures to use it for self gain in the name of protecting sovereignty. One such case has been in Karnataka assembly where two tabloids editors are punished for criticizing its legislative members. This undermines the freedom of speech and expression provided under Article 19(1). This necessitates the codifying of privileges and possible punishment under it to maintain the sovereignty of people and not of legislators.
Article 19(2) puts reasonable restriction on the citizen in matters of freedom of speech and expression but there is no such restriction on our legislatures. They have been granted immune from arrest while session in progress with 40 days window period before and after session and also during meetings. This immune provides them the ground to remain free throughout the year.
However, the codification of privileges is basically resisted because it would make the privileges subject to fundamental rights and hence to judicial scrutiny and evolution of new privileges would not be possible. Legislators have been arguing that codification of privileges will harm the sovereignty of Parliament but to note that our parliament is not supreme, it’s our constitution.
This necessitates bringing balance among Fundamental Rights (freedom of speech), legislative privileges and sovereignty. Parliament can involve expertise from across and with effective debate and discussion should seek the answer of this urgently needed vexed question.
GS Paper 3: Indian Economy
ISSUES RELATED TO DIRECT AND INDIRECT FARM SUBSIDIES AND MINIMUM SUPPORT PRICES
Farmer suicides, recurring debts, loan waivers and rallies are testimony to the extreme livelihood risks and distress that farming in India today entails. Farming has become mired in risks from sowing to marketing to price realization. While the focus on production in the initial years has ensured self-sufficiency in food grains, demand side risks continue to make agriculture unsustainable.
The production risks (limited irrigation infrastructure, costly inputs like HYV seeds, fertilizers) besides weather vagaries have been taxing on the farmer on the supply side. But demand side risks are bigger and concerning.
The various demand side risks associated to farmer distress have been discussed below:
- Inadequate Agriculture Marketing:
The farmer is forced to sell in the nearest mandis at pre-determined rates due to flawed and non uniform APMC acts forcing farmers towards distress sale and poor price realization.
The recently launched e-NAM to integrate markets giving farmers a choice to sell his produce across markets is a positive step.
- Poor Agro-Credit/Finance:
The existing exorbitant rates of interests of money lenders and poor credit flow from formal institutions has made farming cycle debt ridden.
- Lack of Cold Storage facilities:
The post harvest produce is often rotting and wasted due to lack of cold chain storage facilities and poor forward and backward linkages.
- Pricing and Procurement Problems:
The MSP is an essential driver for farmer motivation to sowing and to deal with a crash in markets. The government’s timid MSP support in specific crops (23 only) and untimely procurement has only aggravated the farming risks.
While few state governments have put e-procurement systems in place like e-upanjana in MP and Karnataka but remains to be intermittent and inadequate.
- Poor insurance cover:
The untimely and inadequate compensation at the advent of a crop loss is another issue. The recently launched PM Fasal Bima Yojana has also not yielded good results.
6. Other risks:
The slow adoption of technology, poor dissemination of critical information, poor research and education has only made the situation more vulnerable.
NITI Aayog recently proposed a system called Price deficiency payment to counter the pricing risk. It means government would compensate the farmer through a Direct Benefit Transfer if prices fall below a pre-determined threshold levels. This would ensure a minimum guaranteed return to farmers even when bumper harvest is there. DBT will be 10% of threshold without buying the product. Meaning, farmer can still sold it at market price with lesser 10% less risk. Hence it will help him managing his risk. It is a marked move away from the subsidies and thus in line with WTO regulations. Taking it further MS Swaminathan’s suggestion on quantum of compensation (1.5 times MSP) can be considered too.
The existing and new schemes be it SAMPADA, Mera GAON Mera GAURAV, PDS replication of Chattisgarh, PM Fasal Bima, e-NAM along with integration of Digital India and GST has to be implemented on war footing pan India to tackle above risks.
As there are multiple socio-economic factors at play, managing both production and demand risks simultaneously is required to reduce vulnerability. To achieve 4% growth as envisaged in 12th FYP and doubling farmer’s income, multiple mechanisms of agriculture risk management is the need of the hour.
GS Paper 4: Ethics and Integrity
APTITUDE AND FOUNDATIONAL VALUES FOR CIVIL SERVICE, INTEGRITY, IMPARTIALITY AND NON-PARTISANSHIP, OBJECTIVITY, DEDICATION TO PUBLIC SERVICE, EMPATHY, TOLERANCE AND COMPASSION TOWARDS THE WEAKER-SECTIONS
Civil servant has the power to change the lives of millions. It is Tolerance and Compassion that brings a civil servant closer to the common people. Compassion is the feeling of empathy for others. Compassion motivates a civil servant for helping someone who is needy. Tolerance and compassion make a civil servant to lead with not only head but also heart. They are the fundamental components of character and positive relationship which will be helpful to deliver the services and requirements fulfilling the needs of weaker sections.
In the services of daily needs, like provision of essential items to the common man especially from weaker sections, has become one of the challenging task before a civil servant. It is very essential that civil servants should listen to the complaints, queries and suggestions in an empathetic manner. While resolving the issues, a civil servant needs to find solutions in an impartial and objective manner while adhering to the law of the land. People especially from weaker section of society, may sometimes lose their patience and display some annoyances or anger, hence civil servants are required to maintain their cool and tolerance.