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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 10th February, 2016

  • February 10, 2016
  • 9
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Feb 2016, International, Science and Technology, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 10th February, 2016

 

INTERNATIONAL

 

TOPIC: General studies 2:

  • India and its neighborhood- relations. 
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Revisiting Pakistanbefore the window shuts again

Post-Pathankot, India and Pakistan countries have shown some maturity in keeping the rhetoric down.

Some hope has been revived, with Islamabad promising an “investigation” into any Pakistani links, the attackers of the Indian airbase may have had, and India keeping its cool.

What measures Pakistan has taken post Pathankot attack?

  • Though Pakistan has not registered a first information report in the Pathankot attack, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has promised to investigate the leads provided by the Indian establishment.
  • The proof of the investigation will, needless to say, lie in the arrest and prosecution of the militant hand in Pakistan that is likely to have guided the Pathankot attackers.

 

Failed assurance by Pakistan in the past:

  • After the Mumbai attacks too, there was a similar moment of cooperation where it appeared that none other than the chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate would travel to India, but the initiative was stillborn.
  • Arrests were made by Pakistan soon after the 26/11 terror strike, but the failure to prosecute Zaki-ur-RehmanLakhvi, believed to be the operational commander of the Mumbai attacks, and Hafiz Saeed, big boss of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), stand out as major negatives.
  • The recent deposition by LeT operative David Coleman Headley has re-opened the wounds of Mumbai.
  • If the two countries are not careful, these wounds plus Pathankot can hit the nascent process of cooperation hard.

Has anything changed in Pakistan?

  • The country has changed in some ways – though the attitude towards India remains a mix of warmth and friendliness at the individual level, but consistently hostile at the collective level.
  • It is very clear that the military is the dominant player and exercises virtual veto over policies concerning defence and security and relations with India, the US, China and Afghanistan.
  • The terrorist attack against schoolchildren in Peshawar more than a year ago and the more recent attack on the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda do appear to have brought about a change in public mood against jihadi and militant groups.

 

Way ahead:

  • For terror outfits, success lies in ensuring that all dialogue between India and Pakistan remains suspended.
  • If the neighbours want to stretch their moment of anti-terrorist cooperation to something meaningful, they must act without losing any time.
  • The forces ranged against such cooperation as demonstrated by what was attempted after Mumbai 26/11 are formidable.

Connecting the dots:

  • Critically examine the importance of a stable Pakistan in maintaining peace and harmony in south Asian region.
  • India Pakistan relations are marred with mutual distrust. Suggest a blueprint to revive good relations between the two countries.

 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

TOPIC:

  • General studies 3: Awareness in the fields of bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights. 
  • General studies 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

 

Biotech- Answer to edible oil shortage

  • The age of genetic engineering and biotechnology has enabled the humanity to save lives and make them better (upgrade lifestyles), ushering in an era of self-sufficiency and improving nutritional outcomes in many ways.
  • Ongoing research and innovations in these fields aims at diverse areas from advancing health care facilities to increasing crop production to boost food supply, undoubtedly adding to the quality of human lives.

 

Indian Edible Oil Industry

Ranking in World: Fourth-largest after the US, China and Brazil, accounting for close to 9 per cent of global oilseeds production

India’s consumption of edible oils: Witnessed a steady rise due to

  • Increasing household incomes,
  • Growing population
  • Health awareness

Is there an ‘Economic’ angle?

Yes, very much so— as this increase in demand has not been matched by an increase in production of oilseeds in the country

  • Low productivity of 1,153 kg per hectare— production from 28.53 million hectares is just 33 million tonnes
  • Thus, poor returns to farming communities in the dry lands of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra

Import Dependency

According to an estimate by the Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) of India— per capita consumption in India is expected to be closer to the global average of 26 kg per annum in about another ten years

Current per capita consumption of oilseeds in India: 15 kg per annum and is projected to reach 18 kg per annum by 2019 and 22.8 kg per annum by 2025

Government reports indicate that despite being a large producer of edible oils, India depends largely on imports:

  • Sixty per cent of the annual edible oil demand of 18-19 million tonnes is met through imports
  • Has an import bill exceeding $10 billion a year
  • Edible oil imports have increased by 24 per cent since 2014 to reach 14.42 million tonnes

Conventional Challenges:

  • Declining arable land
  • Climate change

Therefore, no alternative to boosting domestic production

 

Viable SolutionsWay Ahead

India must look at ways to increase productivity of oilseeds to bridge the demand-supply gap

Hike in import duty— Not a long-term or a durable solution

New foreign trade policy: Awards exporters of certain oils and oil-meals and has suggested plans to increase the acreage of palm oil cultivation

 

Biotechnology option:

Plant biotechnology has successfully increased yield in 29 agriculturally important countries including China, the US, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa for close to two decades.

Yields have gone up by an average of 24-35 per cent

India—

  • Applying biotechnology in the development of mustard, groundnut and soya-bean
  • A demonstrable rise in yield of cottonseed in India witnessed

Biotechnology can thus, prove to be revolutionary, expediting the journey to edible oil security

  • Yield Improvement: judicious and simultaneous application of several other methods
    • improving the planting material of oilseeds
    • adopting better agronomic practices
    • Research and commercialisation of biotech oilseeds
  • Benefits of Oilseed production— national health and wellbeing
    • Increased production of oil-meals: to feed dairy animals and poultry
    • Improvement in both the quality and quantity of protein rich foods such as milk, eggs, and poultry meat

Edible oils are a key determinant of a nation’s nutritional security and as one of the world’s fastest growing economies with rising prosperity levels, it is imperative that India takes urgent steps to become sustainable in edible oil production. Only a far-sighted approach can help India reap benefits.

Connecting the Dots:

  • In the light of the advancement of biotechnology, can the possibility of generating an offensive technology while developing defensive technology, be ruled out? Explain.

 

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1. India’s non-aligned dilemma

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