1. Food security in India
UPSC Syllabus: Mains GS paper III : Economy
Sub Theme: Economy|UPSC
Context: With an alarming escalation in global hunger unfolding, reaching the goal of an equitable livelihood is a necessity.
WHAT IS FOOD SECURITY:
The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) states that food security emerges when all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
- UN-India: nearly 195 million undernourished people in India.
- NHFS-4: 38% of children below 5 years are stunted, 21% are wasted and 36% are underweight.
- India ranked 71st in The Global Food Security Index of EIU in the year 2020, based on four parameters- affordability, availability and quality and safety.
- As per the Global Hunger Index, 2020, India has been ranked 94th, lower than neighbours like Bangladesh and Pakistan.
- Global nutrition report: India has one-third of the world’s stunted children: • According to FAO estimates in ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2020” report, 8% of India’s population suffered from moderate or severe food insecurity in 2014-16, the proportion rose to 31.6% in 2017-19.
In urban population:
In children and mothers:
- Lack of adequate knowledge:
- Gender inequality:
In rural and tribal areas:
- Low Productivity:
- Lack of education and job opportunities-
- Climate change:
Unmonitored nutrition programmes:
- Inefficient implementation:
- Lack of intersectoral coordination:
- Lack of coherent food and nutrition policies
Faulty food distribution system:
- Inclusion and Exclusion:
- Quality issue:
WHAT GOVERNMENT/OTHERS HAVE DONE SO FAR?
- Article 47 of the Constitution of India states that it is the duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health. • National Food Security Act, 2013 and Public Distribution System (PDS).
- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY).
- The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
- Annapurna Scheme.
- The National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS).
- The National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS).
- The National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS).
Other initiatives like
- Promotion to Organic Farming.
- Door to Door delivery of ration.
- Community kitchens like Indira Rasoi (Rajasthan)
- Cheaper ration delivery to NGOs and Religious denominations.
Some private initiatives:
- World Food Programme
- Akshaya Patra
- The Hunger Project
- World Central Kitchen
- INGA Foundation
- The Carbon Underground
- The Land Institute
WHAT ELSE COULD BE DONE TO ENSURE FOOD SECURITY IN INDIA: ⮚ Implementing measures to improve agricultural productivity and food storage ⮚ Ensuring food availability and accessibility to below poverty line (BPL) candidates ⮚ Improving purchasing power through employment generating schemes
⮚ Crop diversification, establishing food grain banks and promoting household gardening ⮚ Community awareness through IEC activities and social marketing
⮚ Monitoring and timely evaluation of nutritional programmes
⮚ Community participation and intersectoral coordination
⮚ Addressing the rising cost of nutritious diets
- What do you understand by the food security? Analyze the causes behind food insecurity and state some measures to protect food security in India. (250 words).
2. Cholas and the Pallavas inscriptions
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims : Art & Culture
Sub Theme: Cholas and Pallavas | UPSC
- Inscriptions of Uthiramerur dwells upon ‘Kudavolai’ — a system to elect members to annual committee (‘variyam’), garden committee, tank committee and other committees for 30 wards. • Thenneri inscriptions laying down qualifications for candidates to village administrative committees (‘perumkuri sabai’). It also shed light on how farm produce was taxed. • They were constructed by Sembian Mahadevi, the grandmother of Chola King Rajaraja, in memory of her son Uthama Chola.
- Earliest inscriptions are from Pallava rulers.
3. NORD STEAM 2 PIPELINE
UPSC Syllabus: Mains |GS paper II International relations
Sub Theme: Geo-politics| UPSC
- Runs from Ust-Luga in Russia to Greifswald in Germany through the Baltic Sea. • The 1,200-km pipeline will carry 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year.
- In 2015, the Russian energy major Gazprom and five other European firms decided to build Nord Stream 2, valued at around $11 billion.
- It will run along with the already completed Nord Stream 1 system, and the two together will supply an aggregate of 110 billion cubic metres of gas to Germany per year.
Background: European gas prices have broken records this year, edging close to an unprecedented $1,000 per thousand cubic meters which places many industries and food supply chains under stress.
Reasons responsible: Lack of viable alternatives to gas,
Low storage levels because of a severe winter
Post-COVID-19 economic surge.
Issues and controversies :
Trust deficit between USA and Russia : USAholds Russia responsible for a series of affronts, such as the Crimean conflict of 2014 and the alleged interference in the US elections of 2016 and 2020.
Change in USA position:
Earlier – Under Trump administration, USA believed that this project will turn Germany into “hostage of Russia” and Thus USA imposed sanctions on Russia for this project. Now- Under Biden administration the position is diluted and has decided not to kill the energy system with sanctions. It has instead gone with the softer option of threatening Russia with consequences should it use the pipeline to harm Ukraine or other countries in eastern Europe.” Increased dependence of E.U over Russia:
Germany is accused, mainly by Poland and Ukraine, of weakening the EU’s political unity and strategic coherence by giving Russia greater leverage through NS2. Currently, EU countries already rely on Russia for 40% of their gas needs.
Ukrain’s major concern:
There is an existing land pipeline between Russia and Europe that runs through Ukraine. The country feels that once Nord Storm 2 is completed, Russia could bypass the Ukrainian pipeline, and deprive it of lucrative transit fees of around $3 billion per year. Ukraine also fears another invasion by Russia once the new pipeline is operational.
Nord2 pipeline project seen recently in news connect which of the following countries?
- a) Germany and USA
- b) Ukrain and USA
- c) Germany and Russia
- d) Germany and Saudi Arabia
4. NGRI proposes landslip, flood warning system
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims : Environment
Sub Theme: Flood| UPSC
- The Council Of Scientific And Industrial Research -National Geophysical Research Institute (CSIR-NGRI) has launched an ‘Environmental Seismology’ group to develop a ‘Landslide and Flood Early Warning System’ for the Himalayan region based on real-time monitoring with dense seismological networks, coupled with satellite data, numerical modelling and geomorphic analysis.
Landslide is rapid movement of rock, soil and vegetation down the slope under the influence of gravity. These materials may move downwards by falling, toppling, sliding, spreading or flowing. Such movements may occur gradually, but sudden sliding can also occur without warning. They often take place in conjunction with earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions. The extent and Intensity of
landslide depends upon number of factors- Steepness of the slope, amount of vegetation cover, tectonic activity, bedding plane of the rocks etc.
Types of Landslides
- Falls: Abrupt movements of materials that become detached from steep slopes or cliffs, moving by free-fall, bouncing, and rolling.
- Creep: Slow, steady downslope movement of soil or rock
- Debris flow: Rapid mass movement in which loose soils, rocks, and organic matter combine with water to form slurry that then flows down slope. Usually associated with steep gullies • Mudflow: Rapidly flowing mass of wet material that contains at least 50 percent sand-, silt-, and clay-sized particles
- Flows: General term including many types of mass movement, such as creep, debris flow, mudflow etc.
Causes of Landslides
- Geological Causes: Weak, Sensitive and Weathered material, Sensitive material, Presence of Joints and Fissures, Variation in physical properties such as Permeability.
- Morphological Causes: Tectonic or volcanic uplift, Erosion due to Wind and Water, Higher deposition of load on the slope or its crest, Removal of Vegetation
- Physical Causes: Intense rainfall, Earthquake/Volcanic eruption, Rapid snow melt/freeze • Human Causes: Excavation of the slope or its toe, Deposition of load on the slope, Drawdown of Reservoir, Deforestation, Mining, Irrigation and artificial vibration.
Landslide Prone areas in India
As highlighted before, as per Geological Survey of India (GSI), about 0.42 million sq.km covering nearly 12.6% of land area of our country is prone to landslide hazards. The major landslide prone areas in India include
- Western Ghats and Konkan Hills (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra) 2. Eastern Ghats (Araku region in Andhra Pradesh)
- North-East Himalayas (Darjeeling and Sikkim)
- North West Himalayas (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir).
The Himalayan mountain ranges and hilly tracts of the North-Eastern region are highly susceptible to slope instability due to the immature and rugged topography, fragile rock conditions, high seismicity resulting from proximity to the plate margins, and high rainfall. Extensive anthropogenic interference, as part of developmental activities, is another significant factor.
Similarly, the Western Ghats, though located in a relatively stable domain, experiences landslides due to number of factors- steep hill slopes, high intensity rainfall and anthropogenic activities. The Nilgiris hills located at the convergence zone of the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats experiences a number of landslides due to high intensity and protracted rainfall.
Impact of Landslides
Short run: Loss and damage to property, loss of lives, Destruction to agricultural crops, Damages to Vegetation, Obstruction of vehicular movement leading to Traffic jam, temporary loss of livelihood for the poor people etc.
- Increase in the sediment load of the river which can lead to floods.
- Reduce the effective life of hydroelectric and multipurpose projects by adding an enormous amount of silt load to the reservoirs.
- Loss of cultivable land
- Environmental impact in terms of erosion and soil loss
- Demographic Impact in terms of relocation of Population towards other areas • Frequent disruption of transportation networks leads to geographical isolation and hence perpetuates under-development
NDMA Guidelines for Landslide Disaster Management (Can be used as Points to highlight as to how Landslides can be better managed)
Landslide Hazard, Vulnerability and Risk Assessment: This includes delineating areas susceptible to landslide hazards in different areas and to assess the resources at risk.
Early Warning Systems for Landslides: This includes the continuous monitoring of movements, development of stresses and the transmission of this data at regular time intervals. Investigations for Landslide Risk Assessment: Multi-disciplinary investigations of landslide risk assessment leading to formulation of Standards to mitigate impact of landslides. Landslide Risk Mitigation and Remediation:
- Restricting Development in Landslide-Prone Areas through Land use planning. • Laying down standards to be followed for Excavation and Construction
- Protecting Existing Developments through Restraining walls and rock anchors • Slope Stabilisation measures: Generally, include works involving modification of the natural landslide conditions such as topography, geology, ground water, and other conditions that indirectly control portions of the entire landslide movement. These include drainage improvement works, soil/debris removal works etc.
- Landslide Insurance and Compensation for Losses
Regulation and Enforcement: The state governments/SDMAs will adopt the model techno-legal framework for ensuring compliance with land use zoning and landslide safety issues in all development activities and plans.
Awareness and Preparedness: Comprehensive awareness campaigns targeting different groups of people living in landslide prone areas should be carried out systematically
Capacity Development (Including Education, Training and Documentation): • Introduction of curriculum related to Disaster Management, including Landslides in the Schools • Training of the Administrators to plan, respond and mitigate the impact of Landslides • Technical institutes located in vulnerable areas should develop adequate technical expertise on the various subjects related to landslide management.
Immediate Response: Put in place Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) which should ensure coordinated and sustained action from various agencies in the aftermath of landslides Research and Development: Government should encourage, promote, and support R&D activities to address current challenges, offer solutions, and develop new investigation techniques, with the application of the latest developments in remote sensing, communications, and instrumentation technologies.