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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 4th


  1. Do you think that the introduction of judicial performance index can spur competitive reforms of the judiciary in the States? Discuss.(GS 2)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

  • The NITI Aayog has proposed the introduction of a judicial performance index to reduce delays and the outsourcing of non-core functions of the police to private agencies or other government departments, in a bid to fix justice system that is in ‘dire need of reform.’

Yes:-

  • It could help High Courts and their chief justices keep track of the performance and processes at district courts and subordinate levels for reducing delay, should be ‘the first step’ in judicial system reforms.
  • The index can also include certain progress on process steps already approved by High Courts and such an annual evaluation should give judges in High Courts ‘a sense of where they are failing and what they need to fix.
  • Since the subordinate judiciary is largely within the domain of the High Courts, this could also spur competitive reform of the judiciary in those States.
  • Functions such as serving court summons and antecedents and address verification for passport applications or job verifications can be outsourced.
  • streamlining judicial appointments on the basis of online real-time statistics on the workload of pending cases.
  • Such data will help enable “priority appointment of judges at the lower judiciary levels keeping in mind a scientific approach to assess the number of judges needed to tackle pendency.
  • check delay in trial and address the issue of pendency of cases.
  • Increasing the use of information and communication technology, and streamlining judicial appointments.
  • It would require fixing non-mandatory time frames for different types of cases as broad guidelines to benchmark when a case has been delayed, it said.
  • The index can also include certain progress on process steps that have already been approved by high courts, like burden of day-to-day activity being removed from judges and given to administrative officials.
  • Niti Aayog report has also suggested shifting some workload out of the regular court system and the introduction of an administrative cadre in the judicial system.

No:-

  • However with no changes in the police population ratio,lack of empathy of police people, corruption in judiciary the implementation of this need to be looked care of.
  • Judiciary and criminal justice reforms have been long awaited and this would be the first step in the reform process.
  1. Does making Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and PAN card violate citizen’s right to his own body? Give your opinion.(GS 3)

The Hindu 

Yes:-

  • state does not have the right to force a citizen to part with biometric details without free, informed and voluntary consent it is an encroachment of fundamental rights.
  • The petitioners said that the Aadhaar would create two types citizens – those with the UID and those without. How can those without Aadhaar face penal consequences even though Aadhaar is voluntary in the Act.
  • Aadhaar violates bodily integrity and personal autonomy, perpetuates discrimination and disallows the voluntary nature of Aadhaar (as mentioned in the Aadhaar Act) to be realised.
  • Aadhaar is insecure, riddled with leaks from government websites, prone to being hacked. Petitioners argued that massive data leaks from various public and state-owned websites, such as the Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security, which ended up displaying the UIDs and bank account numbers of over a million pensioners.

No:-

  • Taking fingerprints and iris impressions for Aadhaar is not an invasion of a citizen’s body as the right of a person to his own body is not absolute.
  • If one has to live in a collective called the ‘state’, one has to submit to its laws.
  • It is to ensure that tax money goes to serve the poor and will create a better world.
  1. Not taxing agricultural income violates horizontal and vertical equity, and encourages laundering of non-agricultural income as agricultural income. Do you think that this argument is valid? (GS 3)

Indian Express

Yes agricultural income needs to be taxed or yes,it is valid:-

  • Laws:
    • Section 2 (1A) of the Income Tax Act defines agricultural income as rent/revenue from land, income derived from this land through agriculture and income derived from buildings on that land.
    • Section 10 (1) of the Income Tax Act excludes agricultural income from a computation of total income. Neither of these sections is dispute-free and chartered accountants and lawyers have been enriched via these. But broadly, these propositions are true.
    • Conditions on the sale of agricultural land vary from state to state .thishas been misused.
  • Confusion:-
    • In the Seventh Schedule, Entry 82 in the Union List mentions taxes other than agricultural income, while Entry 46 in the State List mentions taxes on agricultural income
  • 4 lakh taxpayers claimed exemption from agriculture income in the assessment year 2014-15. The biggest were seed giants like Kaveri Seeds – which claimed Rs.186.63 crore exemption and made a profit of Rs.215 crore before tax—and multinational Monsanto India, which claimed Rs.94 crore as exemption from agriculture income.
  • According to Vijay kelkar task force it has become a conduit for tax evasion.
  • The onset of tax avoidance as mechanized farms with hired labour took advantage of the exemptions provided to cooperative farms. In assessment year 2014-15, for instance, nine of the top 10 claimants for tax exemption of agricultural income were corporations; the 10th was a state government department.

No:-

  • If India looks at the growth of its agriculture in the post-reform period, the relative contribution of agricultural income to India’s gross domestic product has shrunk at an alarming rate.
    • During the period 1991 to 2016, the share of agriculture decreased from 32% to 15%. Compared with this, the workforce dependence on agriculture is still very high, at 49.7%.
  • Given the technological and environmental constraints, the performance of the agriculture sector has not been encouraging, and consequently, the welfare of the population living in the countryside has not visibly improved. So taxing would only be burdensome.
  • The income-expenditure gap for a majority of farmers is in the negative. More than one-third of the farmers have expressed their choice to leave the non-remunerative occupation.
  • The agrarian distress has been deepening, and there has been a rise in farmer suicides. Instead of finding a viable policy to solve the crisis, floating the idea of taxing farming income is a great disservice to the sector..

What is needed?

  • There must be a unified system of taxation across states. Agricultural income taxation must be integrated with non-agricultural income taxation.
  • The Income Tax Act defines agricultural income but not who is a farmer. Since the two are intertwined, the act should be amended.
  • Incremental tax revenues (net of costs) generated from suggestions above should be assigned to the state government. This revenue should be exclusively used for the benefit of farmers.

 

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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 2nd


  1. “A One Nation One Market Model for Farmers, on the lines of GST is the panacea for agricultural marketing in India” Discuss.

Live Mint

Introduction:-

  • The Indian government is working on creating a common agricultural market that will improve the lot of farmers and the efficiencies of India’s notoriously inefficient farm-produce markets.
  • The government put out a model law proposing a fundamental reset in the way agricultural markets operate.
  • It proposes to replace existing fragmented and over-regulated markets for agricultural produce and allow farmers a wider choice of markets beyond the local mandior wholesale markets.

Yes:-

  • As more states join the reform agenda, farmers can expect prices that are remunerative and transparent.
  • The government last year launched an electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM) platform in April 2016 and later set an ambitious target of doubling farm incomes by 2022.
  • This was followed by a model law on land leasing (making it easier for tenant farmers to access credit and insurance) and another on agriculture marketing. A law on contract farming is in the works.
  • The current thrust on connecting farmers to markets complements the government’s earlier effort to reduce growing risks in agriculture through a revamped crop insurance scheme and massive funding of irrigation projects.
  • The new model law on agriculture marketing adds a range of reforms to the required amendments for joining eNAM. These include allowing setting up of private markets, direct sale of produce by farmers to bulk buyers and capping market fees and commission charges payable by a farmer.
  • Most importantly, it withdraws the power to issue trading licences from the mandis—managed by a board of traders—and vests it with the state’s director of agriculture marketing.
  • Several states seemed to be willing to sign on.

Problems:-

  • Agriculture marketing is a state subject and the centre can only propose a blueprint. The eventual rollout will depend on the state governments. A model Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) law was first proposed in 2003 but made little progress.
  • Many states have amended their marketing acts but are yet to notify rules. Maharashtra, for instance, delisted fruits and vegetables a year back but did not notify rules following pressure from the powerful traders’ lobby.

The centre can bring in enabling legislation to allow inter-state trade.It will deploy the political capital to overhaul agriculture marketing the way it did for GST.


  1. Despite emerging convergences between India and Turkey, resilient and close India Turkey ties remain a distant dream. In the light of the given statement, examine India Turkey Relations.

Link 1 | Link 2 Link 3

India turkey relations:-

High points:-

  • Terrorism:-
    • India would always have Turkey’s full solidarity in the fight against terrorism.
    • Both sides urged all countries and entities to work sincerely to disrupt terrorist networks and their financing, and stop cross-border movement of terrorists.
  • Support for membership in International agencies:
    • Turkey’s support for India’s membership of the MTCR and applications to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group” and Wassenaar Arrangement.
    • UN:-
      • supported India’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, even as he called for major reforms in the exclusive body.
  • Economy:-
    • Several bilateral agreements and institutional mechanisms, at the governmental level as well as in business-to-business (B2B) , provide the framework for strengthening economic and commercial ties, including the India–Turkey Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (JCETC) and India-Turkey Joint Business Council (JBC) between the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and the Industry (FICCI) and Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK).
    • More recently in April 2015, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) to promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation.
    • The TOBB also signed a cooperation agreement with the FICCI for establishing the India-Turkey Working Committee and Investment Forums.
    • In August 2015, State Bank of India and Turkey’s Akbank entered into a cooperation agreement to support bilateral trade and investments.
    • In December 2016, the Reserve Bank of India signed a MoU on “Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information” with the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency of Republic of Turkey.
    • Earlier, several Indian companies entered the Turkish market. Notable among them are Polyplex.
    • India is also among the major trade partners of Turkey. According to Turkish statistics, the bilateral trade volume between India and Turkey was about $6.4 billion in 2016
    • The two sides recently also discussed economic ties. The two leaders have set a target of US $10 billion, up from the existing US $6 billion, by 2020.
  • Cultural relations:-
    • India and Turkey also have a cultural overlap. The Sufi philosophy of Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi found resonance in the Indian sub-continent with its own traditions of Sufism and the Bhakti movement. There are also many common words in both Hindustani and Turkish languages.
  • Defence:-
    • Turkey military industry and the technology is in line with india’s Make in India in Defence sector.
  • Climate change:-
    • Both countries are committed to Paris Agreement

Concerns:-

  • Economy:-
  • Bilateral trade turnover of around $6 billion does not do full justice to convergences in our economies.
  • Kashmir issue:-
    • Turkey wanted a multilateral dialogue but India drew the red line that Kashmir is a “bilateral” issue between India and Pakistan and that it sees the dispute through the prism of “cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism” being perpetrated by Pakistan in the Valley.
    • Turkey hyphenated its ‘gesture’ with a similar status for Pakistan, a country with which Turkey has extremely close political and strategic relations, and supporting Pakistan’s case for NSG membership.
  • Syria issue:
    • Turkey favour the removal of Assad regime in line with NATO whereas india favour the peaceful dispute resolution
  • Russian role:
    • India has good relation with it whereas turkey has deteriorated its relation with russia over shooting its plane.

The recent meetings show India turkey relations are moving ahead in an amicable note .


  1. A robust IPR regime is necessary for growth. Discuss India’s performance at implementation of IP Laws, and suggest measures to improve India’s perception as a protector of Intellectual Property Rights.

Link 1 | Link 2

Introduction:-

  • IPRs are critical to incentivizing innovation, which, in turn, is key to sustaining economic growth and increasing living standards.
  • The International IP Index 2017 released by the US Chamber of Commerce, appropriately titled “The Roots Of Innovation”, compares India’s intellectual property environment with that of 44 other world economies. The index ranked India at a dismal 43rd position out of 45 countries.

Positive performance:-

  • The new IPR policy:
    • The Policy aims to push IPRs as a marketable financial asset, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, while protecting public interest.
    • The policy is entirely compliant with the WTO’s agreement on TRIPS.
    • Special thrust on awareness generation and effective enforcement of IPRs, besides encouragement of IP commercialisation through various incentives.
    • India will engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders. The government will examine accession to some multilateral treaties which are in India’s interest, and become a signatory to those treaties which India has de facto implemented to enable it to participate in their decision making process
    • Films, music, industrial drawings will be all covered by copyright.
    • The Policy also seeks to facilitate domestic IPR filings, for the entire value chain from IPR generation to commercialisation. It aims to promote research and development through tax benefits.
    • The IPR policy favoured the government considering financial support for a limited period on sale and export of products based on IPRs generated from public-funded research.
  • Proposal to create an effective loan guarantee scheme to encourage start-ups.

Negatives:-

  • In India, there is still a dearth of evidence-based research that can inform our laws, practice and policy-making pertaining to IPRs.
  • They do not adequately appreciate the fundamental reality that IP laws and policies are meant to incentivise innovation by establishing enforceable boundaries to protect new products, processes, and original works of expression.
  • Multiple problems are still faced by pharmaceutical, software, biotechnology, automotive, movie, music and other technology-led, IP-intensive industries.
  • Implementation of various laws has been lax. Patent or copyright infringement and piracy in India is not uncommon. It is also the fact that India has poor performance in R&D, where it accounts for meagre 2.7% of global expenditure. Poor IPR protection regime plays some part in this.
  • According to intellectual property index,Patent protection in India remains outside of international best practices.
  • Indian law does not provide adequate enforcement mechanisms to effectively combat online piracy.
  • Among India’s key areas of weakness was the use of compulsory licensing (CL) for commercial and non-emergency situations, and the expanded use of CL being considered by the Indian government.
  • Another area of weakness was poor application and enforcement of civil remedies and criminal penalties.

Measures to improve:-

  • Government needs to build upon the positive rhetoric of its IPR policy with the substantial legislative reforms that innovators need.
  • In order to have strong and effective IPR laws, steps would be taken including review of existing IP laws to update and improve them or to remove anomalies and inconsistencies.
  • Beliefs, attitudes and approaches towards IPRs in India must change for the sake of the ambitions articulated in this government’s many initiatives from Make In India to Startup India and Smart Cities.
  • Various subject matters in IPR are dealt by different departments and ministries, there needs to be some integration among these arms. This integration is prerequisite for formulating an integral IPR policy and taking stand at various international forums.

 

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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 5



  1. NITI Aayog’s Three Year Action Agenda forms part of a larger vision document which spans a seven-year strategy and a 15-year vision. Discuss the key points of the agenda.(GS 2)

Live Mint | Link

Introduction:

  • With an increasingly open and liberalized economy and given the new realities of the global economy, India needed to rethink the tools and approaches to conceptualizing the development process.
  • NITI Aayog released its Three Year Action Agenda document, a comprehensive framework for proposed policy changes to be implemented in the short term in India

Key points are:-

  • The Vision, Strategy and Action Agenda framework will allow India to better align the development strategy with the changed reality of India.
  • The Agenda is wide-ranging:
    • It covers the different sectors of the economy like agriculture, industry and manufacturing and discusses the policies necessary for urban and rural transformation and a range of growth-enabling ingredients such as transport, digital connectivity and entrepreneurship.
    • Agriculture: Doubling Farmers’ Incomes by 2022
      • Reform the Agricultural Produce Marketing to ensure that farmers receive remunerative prices.
      • Raise productivity through enhanced irrigation, faster seed replacement and precision agriculture.
    • Industry and Services: Job Creation
      • Create Coastal Employment Zones to boost exports and generate high-productivity jobs
    • Urban Development
      • Need to bring down land prices to make housing affordable through increased supply of urban land
    • Regional strategies
      • Actions targeted aimed at improving development outcomes in the (i) North Eastern Region, (ii) Coastal Areas & Islands, (iii) North Himalayan states and (iv) Desert and Drought prone states.
    • Transport and Digital Connectivity
      • Strengthen infrastructure in roadways, railways, shipping & ports, inland waterways and civil aviation.
    • Energy
      • Adopt consumer friendly measures such as provision of electricity to all households by 2022, LPG connection to all BPL households, elimination of black carbon by 2022, and extension of the city gas distribution programme to 100 smart cities.
    • Science and technology:-
      • Create a “National Science, Technology & Innovation Foundation” to identify and deliberate national issues, recommend priority interventions in S&T and prepare frameworks for their implementation
    • Governance
      • Re-calibrate the role of the government by shrinking its involvement in activities that do not serve a public purpose and expanding its role in areas that necessarily require public provision
    • Other areas include health, environment,building an inclusive society,education and skill development,rule of law,taxation and regulation.
  • Tentative medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) for the Centre is proposed.
  • Proposes reduction of the fiscal deficit to 3% of the GDP by 2018-19, and the revenue deficit to 0.9% of the GDP by 2019-20

Positives:-

  • In just over 200 pages, it manages to inform, reason, and offer a distilled sense of priorities for policy reform.
  • The agenda describes well the fundamental dilemma concerning economic transformation of India:
  • Agenda offers a number of compelling proposals ranging from the use of high-yield seeds to improved irrigation techniques to the removal of the infamous tariff inversion problem In laying out these proposals, it also underscores the critical need to enhance the scale of production in each of the sectors
  • On the issue of scale, a few proposals are especially noteworthy.
    • To deal with small and fragmented landholdings, the document proposes the use of a modern land-leasing law that balances and protects the rights of the tenant and landowners as a potential solution.
  • For manufacturing, the document proposes the development of a few Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs) operating under a liberal economic environment and with an abundance of land—much as in China, where large firms, operating in its special economic zones, sometimes each employ hundreds of thousands of workers.
  • The document’s chapters on transport and physical connectivity, as also on digital connectivity, offer a detailed picture of the existing infrastructure framework, with many specific proposals on improving efficiency and closing gaps in coverage.
  • There is considerable unevenness across the country in access to the digital network and in the ability to benefit from such services. The Agenda highlights priorities in this area and offers its thoughts on how these gaps might be bridged.
  • believe that its primary contribution will be in serving as a base of knowledge and analysis to support any future discussions on policy reform

However some concerns need to be noted like  framework document of this scope could run the risk of saying something about everything, while offering nothing specific or actionable about anything.


  1. Do you think that Section 139AA is a “chilling trajectory the state has taken to dilute civil liberties”? Give your opinion.(GS 2)

Link-1 | Link-2

What is section 139AA?

  • In March 2017, in a surprise addendum to the Finance Bill the union government introduced Section 139AA. Section 139AA requires linking the PAN card to an Aadhaar number to file income tax returns (ITRs) and allow the PAN to remain valid.

Yes it does give power to the state:-

  • The Aadhaar Act makes it clear that enrolment is voluntary. Therefore, parliament cannot enact another provision in the form of section 139AA of the Income Tax Act making Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns, as it would be contrary to the Aadhaar Act.
  • Aadhaar is considered as invasion of privacy.
  • Aadhaar contain various sensitive data like fingerprint, iris scan which can be misused hence affecting civil liberty.
  • Continued leak of Aadhaar data. Ex recently 135 million aadhaar data were leaked.
  • As an existing PAN can be declared void if the taxpayer does not link it with Aadhaar within the period that will be notified by the government.

No it doesnt:-

  • Citizens are already submitting various personal data like photograph, signature etc Biometric data is just an addition to the list.
  • Indians do not have fundamental right to privacy as pointed out by various Supreme court’s judgement.
  • Biometric identification system was an essential feature of contemporary society
  • Aadhaar linkage is aimed to stop tax evasion and black money circulation which will benefit the public at large. Slight compromise on privacy to further public good is acceptable restriction.
  • Already many safeguards are placed like restriction on sharing of data, liability for security of data etc.

  1. ISRO’s South Asia satellite not a technological breakthrough, but diplomatically very significant. Give reasons.(GS 3)Indian Express

Introduction:-

  • The satellite will provide communication service to SAARC member Nations except Pakistan who boycotted in early 2016.
  • The satellite is similar to previous communication satellites designed and launched by ISRO, and technologically does not constitute a major breakthrough. However, diplomatically, the South Asia satellite is significant for three reasons.

Why diplomatically significant?

  • It showcases India’s growing technological prowess. Along with previous missions such as Chandrayaan and the Mars Orbiter Mission, the South Asia satellite underscores the strength of Indian indigenous technological development.
  • The satellite has been launched without any specific quid pro quo shows that India is willing to use its technological capabilities as a tool of diplomacy.
  • It also serves as a marketing tool for future launches at a time when ISRO is building a strong niche for itself in the international satellite launch market.
  • It reveals both India’s ambition and capability to create what can be termed “technological commons”. By “gifting” this satellite to its neighbours, India has created an open access resource that can be leveraged by the latter to address some of their critical domestic concerns. Building such commons is essential not only to address immediate problems but also spur research, innovation and economic growth in the region.
  • South Asia satellite will boost the regional co-operation among the member countries.
  • It will reinforce the Indian policy of “Neighbourhood First” and help in increasing India’s influence on face of aggressive China.
  • It will open new avenues of engagement between India and member countries thus deepening the economic ties. Also helpful in promoting “Make in India”,
  • Since these countries are situated in disaster prone areas like Nepal and Bhutan in earthquake zone, Bangladesh in flood prone area, Services of this satellite in communication and disaster management will be of immense help.
  • The satellite will assist in the fields of natural resources mapping, telemedicine, education, IT connectivity and fostering people to people contact.
  • The South Asia satellite is emblematic of a more confident and assertive India. India must make a concerted effort to expand the range of technologies it can use as part of its diplomatic arsenal.

 

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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 3



  1. Enumerate the applications of ‘South Asia Satellite’ built by India. How can it help the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations?(GS 2)

The Hindu

Introduction:

  • The South Asia Satellite, also known as GSAT-9, is a geostationary communication  and meteorology satellite operated by the ISRO for the SAARC region

Applications and How can it help SAARC nations:-

  • The satellite will provide communication service to SAARC member Nations except Pakistan who boycotted in early 2016.
  • Diplomatically, the South Asia satellite is significant for some reasons like:-
    • The satellite has been launched without any specific quid pro quo shows that India is willing to use its technological capabilities as a tool of diplomacy.
    • It reveals both India’s ambition and capability to create what can be termed “technological commons”. By “gifting” this satellite to its neighbours, India has created an open access resource that can be leveraged by the latter to address some of their critical domestic concerns. Building such commons is essential not only to address immediate problems but also spur research, innovation and economic growth in the region.
  • South Asia satellite will boost the regional co-operation among the member countries
  • It will reinforce the Indian policy of “Neighbourhood First” and help in increasing India’s influence on face of aggressive China.
  • It will open new avenues of engagement between India and member countries thus deepening the economic ties. Also helpful in promoting “Make in India”.
  • It is also equipped with remote sensing state of the art technology which enables collection of real-time weather data and helps in observations of the geology of the South Asian nations
  • It will go a long way in addressing South Asia’s economic and developmental priorities
  • Since these countries are situated in disaster prone areas like Nepal and Bhutan in earthquake zone, Bangladesh in flood prone area, Services of this satellite in communication and disaster management will be of immense help.
  • The satellite will assist in the fields of natural resources mapping, telemedicine, education, IT connectivity and fostering people to people contact. This is an appropriate example of our commitment to South Asia

The South Asia satellite is emblematic of a more confident and assertive India. India must make a concerted effort to expand the range of technologies it can use as part of its diplomatic arsenal.


  1. Do you think that Drip-Irrigation is beneficial than conventional systems? Discuss the important features of the proposed Ramthal (Marol) Lift Irrigation Scheme.(GS 1)

The Hindu

Introduction:

  • Drip irrigationis a form of irrigation that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of many different plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves,pipes,tubing and emitters.

Yes,drip irrigation is better:-

  • The drip put in place ensures that water just sufficient to the particular variety sown is given.
  • It is chosen instead of surface irrigation for various reasons, often including concern about minimizing evaporation.
  • Fertilizer and nutrient loss is minimized due to localized application and reduced leaching.
  • Water application efficiency is high if managed correctly
  • Field levelling is not necessary.
  • Fields with irregular shapes are easily accommodated.
  • Recycled non-potable water can be safely used.
  • Moisture within the root zone can be maintained at field capacity.
  • Soil type plays less important role in frequency of irrigation.
  • Soil erosion is lessened.
  • Weed growth is lessened.
  • Water distribution is highly uniform, controlled by output of each nozzle.
  • Labour cost is less than other irrigation methods.
  • Variation in supply can be regulated by regulating the valves and drippers.
  • Foliage remains dry, reducing the risk of disease.
  • Usually operated at lower pressure than other types of pressurised irrigation, reducing energy costs.

Problems:-

  • Initial cost can be more than overhead systems.
  • The sun can affect the tubes used for drip irrigation, shortening their usable life.
  • If the water is not properly filtered and the equipment not properly maintained, it can result in clogging .
  • For subsurface drip the irrigator cannot see the water that is applied. This may lead to the farmer either applying too much water (low efficiency) or an insufficient amount of water.
  • Drip tape causes extra cleanup costs after harvest.
  • Waste of water, time and harvest, if not installed properly.

The Ramthal (Marol) Lift Irrigation Scheme :-

  • The Ramthal (Marol) Lift Irrigation Scheme – touted as the largest micro-irrigation project in Asia is slated to be launched in June.
  • Over 15,000 farmers are expected to benefit.
  • Test run in September: A joint venture of Netafim India Private Limited and Jain Irrigation, it is being run on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) model.
  • The two companies, tasked with the project’s implementation, will oversee the project for five years before it is transferred to Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited (KBJNL). It will hand over the day-to-day affairs to the 35 water users’ associations (WUA) active in the region.

Important features of Ramthal lift irrigation scheme:-

  • The scheme is being seen as a boon for farmers in the arid region, who depend almost exclusively on scanty rainfall for cultivation during the rabi season.
  • While the first stage of the scheme covered an area of 11,000 hectares, the project’s second stage will bring a further 24,000 hectares of agricultural land under its ambit, making it the world’s largest single drip irrigation project.
  • Around 15,000 small and marginal farmers in 30 villages of the taluk will benefit from the scheme.
  • It would help double food production in the following years.
  • It aims at irrigating about 60,000 acres of land in backward regions of Hungund taluk in Bagalkot district in one year.
  • Though the system is expensive, the government opted for it considering the long-term benefits, including water conservation.
  • It has many advantages such as savings in electricity (as it works mostly on gravitation), increased productivity, reduction in labour cost and expenditure on fertilizers, equitable distribution of water, prevention of water-logging and without the need for land acquisition.

  1. Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act is now in effect. Discuss its key provisions.(GS 3)

The Hindu 

Key provisions:-

  • The act regulates transactions between buyers and promoters of residential real estate projects.  It establishes state level regulatory authorities called Real Estate Regulatory Authorities (RERAs).
  • Residential real estate projects, with some exceptions, need to be registered with RERAs.  Promoters cannot book or offer these projects for sale without registering them.  Real estate agents dealing in these projects also need to register with RERAs.
  • On registration, the promoter must upload details of the project on the website of the RERA.  These include the site and layout plan, and schedule for completion of the real estate project.
  • 70% of the amount collected from buyers for a project must be maintained in a separate bank account and must only be used for construction of that project.  The state government can alter this amount to less than 70%.
  • The act establishes state level tribunals called Real Estate Appellate Tribunals.  Decisions of RERAs can be appealed in these tribunals.
  • It is to primarily protect the interests of consumers and bring in efficiency and transparency in the sale/purchase of real estate. RERA and the Appellate Tribunal are expected to decide on complaints within an ambitious period of 60 days
  • The Act seeks to assist developers by giving the regulator powers to make recommendations to State governments to create a single window clearance for approvals in a time-bound manner.
  • The Act again ambitiously stipulates an electronic system, maintained on the website of RERA, where developers are expected to update on a quarterly basis the status of their projects, and submit regular audits and architectural reports.
  • Importantly, it requires developers to maintain separate escrow accounts in relation to each project and deposit 70% of the collections in such an account to ensure that funds collected are utilised only for the specific project. The Act also requires real estate brokers and agents to register themselves with the regulator.

Concerns:-

  • Since land is a State subject under the Constitution, even after the Centre enacts the legislation, State governments will have to ratify them. States will have to set up the Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s (RERA) and the Real Estate Appellate Tribunals and have only a maximum of a year from the coming into effect of the Act to do so.
  • Some states have enacted laws to regulate real estate projects.  The act differs from these state laws on several grounds.  It will override the provisions of these state laws in case of any inconsistencies.
  • The act mandates that 70% of the amount collected from buyers of a project be used only for construction of that project.  In certain cases, the cost of construction could be less than 70% and the cost of land more than 30% of the total amount collected.  This implies that part of the funds collected could remain unutilized, necessitating some financing from other sources.  This could raise the project cost.
  • The real estate sector has some other issues such as a lengthy process for project approvals, lack of clear land titles, and prevalence of black money.  Some of these fall under the State List.
  • While consumer interests have been protected, developers find provisions of the Act to be exceptionally burdensome on a sector already ailing from a paucity of funds and multiple regulatory challenges.
  • It does not deal with the concerns of developers regarding force majeure (acts of god outside their control) which result in a shortage of labour or issues on account of there not being a central repository of land titles/deeds.

Finally, the new legislation is a welcome enactment. It will go a long way in assisting upstanding developers. More importantly, it will ease the burden on innocent home buyers who put their life’s savings into a real estate investment in the hope of having a roof over their head but often find their dreams come tumbling down.


 

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Mains Marathon

Mains Marathon – June 12



Read the following questions and answer them by clicking on the links in not more than 200 words

Time: 30 Minutes


1. Mention four attributes that are important for civil service. Justify your answer. (GS 4)


2. Is morality important to lead a happy life? Support your answer with examples. (GS 4)


3. Has the formation of linguistic States strengthened the cause of Indian Unity? (GS 1)

Previous Year Question Paper


Note: Last Minute Prelims Revision Notes


 

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Mains Marathon

Essay Test – June 10, 2017



Instructions:  Write an essay on any one of the following in about 1000-1200 words.
Time : 90 minutes

Marks : 125


1. Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.

2. Liberty, not communism, is the most contagious force in the world.


 

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Mains Marathon

Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – June 9

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Mains Marathon

Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – June 8

Categories
Mains Marathon

UPSC Current Affairs Questions and Answer Writing – Mains Marathon – June 7

Categories
Mains Marathon

UPSC Current Affairs Questions and Answer Writing – Mains Marathon – June 6