1.Analyze the challenges and constraints faced by coal sector in India? (GS Paper-1, Geography) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Briefly introduce about the coal sector in India
· Highlight the main issues faced by the coal sector and steps needed to overcome them
· Bring out the future prospects of the sector
· Conclude appropriately
Coal use currently accounts for more than 50% of total primary commercial energy consumption in the country and for about 70% of total electricity generation. It is likely to remain a key energy source for India, for at least the next 3040 years, as India has significant domestic coal resources (relative to other fossil fuels) and a large existing installed base of coal based electricity capacity, although recent experiences have thrown into sharp relief the uncertainties and concerns regarding the adequacy of coal supplies to satisfy the growing hunger for power.
The Indian coal sector faces two key challenges for the future:
1) Meeting the high demand for coal, particularly in the power sector; and,
2) Resolving current and past environmental and social issues.
Coal production has increased nearly sixfold since the sector was nationalized between 1971 and 1973, with an annual production of 431 MT (raw coal) and 30 MT (lignite) in 200607.
The production has been mostly from the stateowned collieries of Coal India Limited (CIL) and Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) – CIL and SCCL account for about 95% of current coal production.
The demand for coal in the country is expected to continue to increase, especially driven by the power generation sector. Other energy resources are uneconomical (as in the case of naphtha or LNG), have insecure supplies (diesel and imported natural gas), or simply too complex and expensive to build (nuclear and hydroelectricity) to make a dominant contribution to the neartomid term growth.
- Recent scenariobased projections of coal demand indicate that coal consumption in the power sector could be in the range of 380500 MT by 2015 end.
- Longerterm scenarios have indicated that annual coal consumption by the power sector might range between 1 to 2 billion tons (BT) by 203132, with the total coal demand varying anywhere between 1.5 and 2.5 BT.
The increasing demand for coal (particularly for power generation) requires an expansion and speeding up of coal exploration, production, and processing in the country. Although the Indian coal sector does have significant exploration and resource assessment capacity, this capacity is increasingly under strain.
The key limiting factors for increasing exploration capacity at present are the limited domestic technological capacity and low availability of suitable human resources. Further, there has been very little investment for upgrading drilling machines and associated technologies, adapting and deploying new exploration technologies, and carrying out more indigenous exploration R&D.
- Expanding production from existing and new mines has been constrained by a lack of investment in underground mining and inability to resolve appropriately socioenvironmental problems associated with opencast mining.
- Environmental damage from open cast mining is a key constraint for future open cast mining projects, and so many analysts have called for more investments and planning in underground coal production in the country. However, increase of underground mining requires significant new investment in manufacturing and human resources.
Finally, not only is there a high demand for coal, but it is increasingly for consistent, high quality of coal. The quality of coal in India has been worsening over the decades because of increased opencast mining combined with disincentives inherent in the grading structure used to characterize quality of coal.
Therefore, improving coal quality is an important issue, as better and consistent coal quality improves the performance of coal power plants.
2.SHGs are one of the most potent tool of the participatory development and democratic decentralization. Discuss with relevant examples. (GS Paper-2, Social Justice) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Highlight the significance of SHGs in India
· Enumerate the present weaknesses in government programmes & policies
· Illustrate with relevant examples
Reference– M Laxmikant
The participatory development and democratic decentralization is no more the responsibility of the state alone, but a collective responsibility of the society and the state. The state is to act as development facilitator in this process and the society is the real development propeller.
In this new development context SHGs have become a potent tool for participatory development and democratic decentralization. SHGs bring the marganalised people together to mutually help each other in empowering themselves. They become informed citizens and take part in development process.
- Present weaknesses in government programmes and policies are:
- a) Lack of involvement of people in development, resulting in marginalization of nonagricultural workers and landless labourers in economic development.
- b) Disregard of local resources, knowledge, skills and collective wisdom.
- c) A ‘superior’ attitude in government machinery at various levels and a ‘passive’ and ‘servile’ attitude among the rural poor.
- d) Imposition of development programmes without understanding local conditions; technology disseminators not tuned to local socioeconomic and cultural realities.
- Decentralization essentially entails redistribution of power political, economic, social and cultural and is not possible without reforms in the existing power structure.
- Whereas participation of people results in appropriate delivery of services, particularly in water and sanitation sectors. People’s participation also opens an opportunity for local contribution.
- SHGs are “membershipbased organizations”, i.e. organizations whose members provide each other with mutual support while attempting to achieve collective objectives through community action. They act as a helping hand to marginalize by providing them financial support.
- They help in trickling down development and finances to the ground level and enhances democratic decentralization which is crucial to poverty alleviation initiatives.
3.Critically examine the need for Rainbow Revolution in India. (GS Paper-3, Economy) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
• Briefly explain what is Rainbow Revolution;
• Highlight its importance of it in maintaining foodsecurity and the impediments related to it.
• Conclude appropriately.
India attained food security in 1982 with cereals production stabilizing around the annual requirement of the population. It was a milestone in national history. However, India has to look beyond excelling in one particular domain and should focus on crops diversification which include main crops, cereals, milk, fish, fruits and vegetables, and poultry and meat and so on, to achieve comprehensive growth.
The rainbow revolution was first announced as part of National Agricultural Policy 2000 and its objective is to bring a broader change in both production and consumption pattern of Indians, while earlier agricultural revolutions aimed at increasing production in the respective sectors. While there has been an emphasis on controlling the calorific malnutrition and lack of proteins in diet.
The micronutrient deficiencies have assumed public health importance in children, over 50 per cent of apparently healthy (at par or above normal weight) children have subclinical deficiencies of Vitamin A, B2, B6, folate and Vitamin C. Iron deficiency remains a major nutritional problem among infants and children. Other micronutrients that have found a focus lately include zinc, copper and Vitamin B12. Thus, diversifying the food consumption basket away from cereal dominated diet is an important way to deal with the micronutrient deficiency. Thus, a focus on production of fish, fruits and vegetables, and poultry and meat is very important.
However, the focus of rainbow revolution should not only be at increasing the production, but also to create an overall infrastructure and environment towards increased consumption and price stability as it is good for both farmers and consumers. It is not that we do not produce enough of fruits and vegetables but, much of it, almost 30 per cent of vegetables, fruits, and fish especially, goes waste as we do not have the required postharvest technology and skill to process, package, transport, and market them.
- While farmers in south routinely dump tomatoes on the highways to protest dip in prices, potato growers in Uttar Pradesh turn their potatoes into manure by not extracting them when production exceeds the demand. • Similarly, on the other side, whenever there is slight dip in production or even the doubt regarding the same, the prices suddenly double and quadruple, creating problems for the consumer. This problem is there, because of the very small shelf life of these products compared to grains and cereals.
The problem is not merely regarding the absence of cold storages. It is also about the insufficient development of the food processing industry. Thus, unless food processing industry develops sufficiently, it would be difficult to meet the objectives envisaged by the rainbow revolution.
Similarly, a renewed focus on the transport sector is required as for fast perishable commodities, reducing transport time; especially loading and unloading time is key, which is infrastructure dependent.
Thus, the farm productivity, though a necessary factor, is not sufficient and requires intervention in many other areas and a coordinated policy for the successful implementation of Rainbow Revolution.
4.Highlight the nature, role and important aspects Media Ethics. (GS Paper-4, Governance) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Illustrate the significance and power of mass media
· Discuss the need for media to be guided by a code of ethics
· Conclude appropriately
Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics
The press is an indispensable pillar of democracy. It purveys public opinion and shapes it. Parliamentary democracy can flourish only under the watchful eyes of the media. Media not only reports but acts as a
bridge between the state and the public.
With the advent of private TV channels, the media seems to have taken over the reigns of human life and society in every walk of life. The media today does not remain satisfied as the Fourth Estate, it has assumed the foremost importance in society and governance.
Media ethics tries to prevent any monopoly over information diffusion; upholds pluralism instead of the uniform gloss over media content that is typically brought on by authoritarian regimes; maintains objectivity by providing different sides of an issue, which empowers audiences to formulate their own judgments and increases levels of truthfulness in reporting.
The following codes are formulated to regularise the media in general.
- Responsibility: The right of a newspaper to attract and hold readers is restricted by nothing but considerations of public welfare. A journalist who uses his power for any selfish or otherwise unworthy motive is not trustworthy. We shall elaborate on this elsewhere.
- Freedom of the Press: Freedom of the press is guarded as a vital right of media. It is the unquestionable right to discuss whatever is not explicitly forbidden by law including the wisdom of any restrictive statute.
- Independence: Freedom from all obligations except that of fidelity to the public interest is vital.
- Sincerity, Truthfulness, Accuracy: These enable media have a good rapport with the reader.
- Impartiality: news reports and expression of opinion are expected to be free from bias of any kind.
- Fairplay: question of private rights and public interest distinguished from public curiosity, is discussed in fairplay of the media. Secondly, it is the privilege as well as the duty, of media to make prompt and complete
correction of its own serious mistakes of fact.
The media is a great power; but just as unchained torrent of water submerges the whole countryside and devastates crops, even so an uncontrolled pen serves but to destroy. If the control is from without, it proves more poisonous than want of control. It can be profitable only when exercised from within.
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