Mains Current Affairs Important Question with model answers
GS: I: Social Issues
GS: III: Environment
Q1. How far do you think that climate change leads to more violence against women?
Climate change leads to more violence against women. In light of this statement, discuss the impact of climate change on women
  • Climate change is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. Its impacts vary among regions, generations, age, classes, income groups, and gender.
  • Based on the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is evident that the poor, primarily in developing countries, are expected to be disproportionately affected and consequently in the greatest need of adaptation strategies in the face of climate variability and change. Both women and men working in natural resource sectors, like agriculture, are likely to be affected.
Why women?
  • They represent the majority of the world's poor and are proportionally more dependent on threatened natural resources.
  • Women have limited access to and control of environmental goods and services; they have negligible participation in decision-making, and are not involved in the distribution of environment management benefits.
  • During extreme weather such as droughts and floods, women tend to work more to secure household livelihoods. This will leave less time for women to access training and education, develop skills or earn income.
  • In many societies, socio-cultural norms and childcare responsibilities prevent women from migrating or seeking refuge in other places or working when a disaster hits. Such a situation is likely to put more burden on women, such as travelling longer to get drinking water and wood for fuel. Women, in many developing countries suffer gender inequalities with respect to human rights, political and economic status, land ownership, housing conditions, exposure to violence, education and health. Climate change will be an added stressor that will aggravate women's vulnerability.
Way Ahead
  • Adaptation initiatives should identify and address gender-specific impacts of climate change particularly in areas related to water, food security, agriculture, energy, health, disaster management, and conflict.
  • Important gender issues associated with climate change adaptation, such as inequalities in access to resources, including credit, extension and training services, information and technology should also be taken into consideration.
  • Women's priorities and needs must be reflected in the development planning and funding.
  • Women should be part of the decision making at national and local levels regarding allocation of resources for climate change initiatives. It is also important to ensure gender-sensitive investments in programmes for adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer and capacity building.
  • At national levels, efforts should be made to mainstream gender perspective into national policies and strategies, as well as related sustainable development and climate change plans and interventions.
GS: III: Environment
Q2. Rather than engaging in unsustainable dam-building activities, India and China must seek ways of transforming this ‘roof of world’ into a ‘natural reserve for the sake of humanity’. Comment
Do you think that engaging in unsustainable dam-building activities by India and China is a viable option from the perspective of environment?
  • China is planning to build a major hydropower project as a part of its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), on the Yarlung Zanbo River, in Tibet.
  • The project will help the country realise its goal of reaching a carbon emission peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060.
  • India is also considering a 10-GW hydropower project in an eastern State.
  • Both countries ignore how unviable such ‘super’ dams projects are, given that they are being planned in an area that is geologically unstable.
  • It is high time that India and China sat together to deliberate on the consequences of such misadventures in an area where massive earthquakes are bound to take place.
  • Over the past 20 years, both China and India have been competing with each other to build hydroelectric dams in this ecologically fragile and seismically vulnerable area.
  • There are two hydropower projects in the works in Arunachal Pradesh on the tributaries of the Brahmaputra: the 600 MW Kameng project on the Bichom and Tenga Rivers and the 2,000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectricity Project.
  • On the other side of the border, China has already completed 11 out of 55 projects that are planned for the Tibetan region.
  • In executing these hydroelectric projects at a maddening pace, the two countries overestimate their economic potential and grossly underestimate the earthquake vulnerability of the region.
  • High seismic zones coincide with areas of high population concentration in the Himalayan region where landslides and glacial lake outburst floods are common.
Impact of the fast-developing hydro projects
  • About 15% of the great earthquakes of the 20th century (with a magnitude of more than 8) occurred in the Himalayan region.
  • The earthquake killed thousands, and caused extensive landslides, widespread land level changes and gaping fissures.
  • It resulted in water and mud oozing in the Himalayan ranges and the upper Assam valley. This dammed the rivers.
  • Later the dams were breached generating flash floods in the downstream sides, seriously silting the drainage systems.
  • The earthquake was felt over an extensive area comprising parts of India, Tibet, erstwhile East Pakistan and Myanmar.
  • Rather than engaging in unsustainable dam-building activities, India and China, the major players in the region, would be well advised to disengage from military adventurism and seek ways of transforming this ‘roof of the world’ into a natural reserve for the sake of humanity. Carbon neutrality should not be at the expense of the environment.
GS Paper : II and III: Agriculture and Governance
Q3. What are the issues with Agriculture Sector which led to crisis like situation India? Discuss what steps should be taken to tackle this situation.
Agriculture in India is undergoing a structural change leading to a crisis situation. In light of this statement, what are the causes behind the agricultural crisis in India and what measures should be taken to address this situation?
  • The farmers of Punjab, Haryana and some parts of UP have come up to protest against the three agri-marketing farm laws. The three laws were recently passed through an ordinance and this has become a bone of contention among the farmers of the country.
  • According to some farmers the system would ruin the occupation of 'arhtiyas' as they have friendly relations with many weak farmers. They provide loans and help farmers sell there produce at the Mandi.
  • Rising incidences of farmer’s suicides in rural India are also getting to be a cause of major concern.
Issues with Agricultural Sector
  1. Increasing Rural-Urban gap
  • In 2008, the rural-urban gap was at 45% in terms of average revenue — versus 10% for China and Indonesia.
  • Rural monthly per capita expenditure declined from Rs 1,430 in 2011-12 to Rs 1,304 in 2017-18
  • In 2013-2019, the average agricultural GDP growth rate (driven by livestock) was 3.1%, much lower than the average GDP growth rate — 6.7%
  • The average growth of the crop sector, which accounts for two-thirds of the agricultural sector GDP, was 0.3 per cent.
  1. Declining Landholding Size
  • Farmers complaining that compensation for land acquired for industrial projects was not in tune with market rates –
  1. Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020: aims to provide government with the tool to regulate agri commodities.
  2. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020: aimed to provide a legal contract for farmers to enter into written contracts with companies and produce for them.
  3. Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation),(FPTC) bill 2020: aims to Break the monopoly of government-regulated mandis and provide farmers and traders freedom of choice of sale and purchase of Agri-produce.
  1. Irrigation has stagnated, with less than half of Indian farmland irrigated.
  2. Rural India suffers from “urban consumer bias”: Government has kept food prices very low to spare urban consumers of price rise
  3. minimum support price (MSP) for various crops has been a major grouse.
  4. Degradation in agricultural quality
  • Rise of monocultures based on the intensive use of chemical pesticides has reduced soil productivity
  • The level of water tables fell by 65 per cent in 10 years.
  • Nearly 30 per cent of India’s land has been degraded due to deforestation, intensive farming, soil erosion and groundwater depletion.
  1. Increasing indebtedness of farmers
  2. Rural Poverty
  • NSS data show that rural poverty rose about 4 percentage points between 2011-12 and 2017-18 to 30 per cent
Way Forward
  • MSP assurance should be given especially when CCAP has recommended to make it a legal system.
  • APMC should strengthen its infrastructure.
  • Awareness about the opportunities that the law provides should be explained candidly.
  • Agricultural sector should witness more investment to reduce the rural-urban gap
  • Need for agro-ecological transition as it is more bio-diverse in nature, makes the system more resilient, strengthen food security and provide a safety net for farmers.
  • Farmers should be taken into confidence before applying this laws.
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