SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [14th Oct] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

  • October 25, 2016
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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [14th Oct] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]


1. Discuss the challenges being faced by the agricultural sector in the area of marketing of agricultural produce. Can the eNAM project address these challenges? Examine.


A line intro about agriculture sector like they are backbone of economy employing around 50% of our force and they are deep sinking in many problems, marketing being one among those and one of the most important.


PART1:- Challenges faced by marketing

-You need to write 4 to 5 points here about the problems faced like:-

-Pricing, clout of middle men’s, APMC acts, Supply chain management issues which includes warehousing, transportation etc., access to credit and technology literacy among few.

-Also u can mention about AGMARK and its results in marketing.

PART2:- How E-NAM can solve.

-Write about the changes E-Nam can bring in like transparency, abolition of APMC act and bringing all country wide mandis into one, liberty for farmers to sell it to whomever they want, information on pricing.

-Also a point or two about the drawbacks in them like technology literacy of farmers, long time needed to make food parks start providing services, need for all states to come in and agriculture being state subject, can lead to another war cry about break down in federal principle among others.


End with giving a remedies like bringing in NGO’s, farmer’s union into decision making and making them force the state government to join rather than center asking states to implement. Also talk about clubbing future trading in agri products with NAM to bring in a revolution in agriculture.

BEST Answer:-

MANNU Kumar:-


2. FDI in the farm sector can be a game changer for its backward and forward infrastructure. Do you agree? Critically examine.


In order to understand the impact of FDI on backward and forward infrastructure, we need to know the problems faced by agricultural sector:

Lack of capital, poor yields, lack of irrigation facilities, lack of Research and development, storage facilities, almost negligible quality checks, no standerdisation of agricultural goods, lack of rural infrastructure-roads, electricity, finance etc., Lack of food processing facilities etc.

A major chunk of these problems can be solved by the help of FDI in agricultural sector:

Backward infra:

  • Big multinational giants can adopt several villages and provide a desired capital.
  • Quality checks can ensure international standards and that will help in boosting exports.
  • Better seeds, fertilizers and pesticides will be provided.
  • Best international farming practices can be introduced to increase the yield of Indian farms.
  • Sowing of crops will become demand based so goods will have an assured market.
  • Farmers will earn better income as they will be directly linked with the companies.
  • Better infra in agriculture will help in controlling rural-urban migration.

 Forward Infra:

  • Better connectivity of rural area by development of road transport.
  • Better storage facility will decrease the wastage.
  • Cold storage trucks and trains will be helpful in transporting more perishable crops.
  • More investment in research and development.
  • More private companies will be ready to provide agricultural insurance.
  • Food processing industries will get a boost. Value addition in goods will not only increase their shelf life, but it will also fetch better price.

(Note: these are some specific points. More points can be added by you.)


You can mention some drawbacks of FDI in conclusion like:

  • Farming will be commercialized. That will give a blow to subsistence agriculture.
  • More commercial crops will be promoted which can be alarming for our food security.
  • Big farmers will be getting more benefit. Small farmers are likely to remain marginalized.
  • If proper regulatory measures are not taken by the government, foreign companies can be exploitative.

(More points can be added depending upon the demand of the question)

Best Answer: Bhawana (More points could have been added, but considering the word limit articulation is good.)

Farm sector in India is still growing with a speed of just 2% against the target of 4%. in which India has largely lagged behind the middle east who has been the star performers with 9-10%growth inspite instability in the region.

FDI is often said to be the remedy for the quick growth of farming in India to improve the overall infrastructure as-

  1. Backward linkages like seed availability, fertilizer usages and machinery can be made modernized and standardized.
  2. Forward linkages like food preservation, food transportation, food processing and food export can be better channalized.
  3. Rise in Investment opportunities in horticulture, floriculture, animal husbandry and in fishery which are more promising and labour intensive industries.
  4. Incentivisation to farm practices like food fortification, micro irrigation, organic farming, collective farming and diversied farming which are more investment demanding.

FDI is certainly good for advancement of Indian economy but agriculture in India has great importance which require proper analysis of any decision before implementation .

challenges regarding FDI are-

  1. Apprehensions of small scale farmers and traders before introducing in retail sector.
  2. It goes against the MII and employment generation too is not a guarantee as modernization would lead to mechanization of India agriculture cutting on jobs.
  3. Sustenance profile of Indian agriculture would change into commercial type with greater emphasis on cash crops and would threaten food sufficiency in the country.
  4. Traditional methods and tribal farming practices would further face challenges as they would be neglected and undermined.

India has a land which can produce three to four types of crop in a year unlike any other country but it needs recognization of indigenous agricultural attributes and some govt incentivization which can surely by coulped with foreign investment to amplify the outcome.

3. Discuss the role of remote sensing in agriculture. How can farmers take advantage of this technology? Discuss.

Introduction: –

In your Introduction, you should mention about remote sensing in brief. Also mention the damages/ challenges faced be Agriculture sector in brief.


Body: –

  • Role of remote sensing in agriculture


  1. Soil Moisture.Determining soil moisture content using active and passive sensors from space.
    Soil moisture contributes so much to understanding Earth sciences… the water cycle, weather forecasting, drought and floods.
  2. Mapping with laser precision using Light Detection and Ranging technology.
    Digital surface models, digital elevation models and light intensity models can all be derived from LiDAR.
  3. Crop Insurance.Doing the detective work for fraudulent crop insurance claims.
    As climate becomes less predictable and more destructive (such as droughts and floods), farmers have to adapt to this new reality. In these cases, crop insurance can help farmers supplement their income when their fields don’t get seeded.
  4. Forest Stands.Identifying forest stands and tallying their area to estimate forest supplies.
    Global forest supplies are being monitored because they not only provide valuable materials (think construction, paper, packaging…) but they also absorb roughly one-third of carbon dioxide emissions.
  5. Wind Speed.Measuring wind speed and direction for wind farms, weather forecasting.
  6. Weather Forecast.Forecasting weather to warn about natural disasters.
  7. Land Cover/Use.Detecting land cover/use types for decision making.
    ‘Land cover’ is the physical property of the surface. ‘Land use’ explains how land is being utilized.
  8. Vegetation Conditions.Quantifying forage and crop conditions with Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).
    The global food supply is being monitored with satellite imagery and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Near-infrared radiation is being used to detect healthy vegetation in agriculture. Healthy vegetation reflects green light and absorbs red and blue light. The green light that our eyes see is chlorophyll created by plants during photosynthesis. Chlorophyll will reflect more light in the green and near infrared spectrum compared to other wavelengths. This is why near infrared radiation in combination with NDVI is one of the primary remote sensing applications in agriculture and the environment.
  9. Sediment Transport.Tracking sediment transport into rivers, lakes, oceans.
    Sediment loading is one of the most profound anthropogenic factors on aquatic systems. It affects industries like tourism, fisheries and ecological functioning. It would be useful to understand exactly where suspended solids enter and leave. The reflectance of water in satellite imagery increases with more suspended solids. But in order to monitor nutrient loading, there needs to be repeated coverage and temporal analysis.
  10. Wetland Location and Extent.Preventing the degradation and loss of wetland ecosystems.
    Once seen as a nuisance in agriculture, wetlands were being drained and lost. Now, they have become a rare precious resource. Wetlands serve many purposes. They help purify water, control flooding and improve shoreline stability. This is why remote sensing applications to inventory wetlands have grown so much over the years.

Major Highlights of Remote sensing program under Govt. of India – ( for knowledge purpose)

  • Establishment of Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre in Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, for operational use of space technology to provide in-season crop forecasts and assessment of drought situation
  • Crop production forecasting for 8 major crops
  • National agricultural drought assessment and monitoring
  • Country-wide agricultural land-use mapping
  • Horticultural crop inventory
  • Agro-meteorological parameter retrieval and inputs to agro-advisory services
  • Methane emission inventory & carbon accounting

Major Benefits: –

  • Agricultural policy decisions
  • Declaration of drought and shortfall in food grain and contingency planning
  • Support to crop damage-assessment
  • Advance crop planning and diversification
  • Timely tailoring of agronomic practices
  • Demand-based irrigation scheduling
  • Explain how can farmers take advantage of remote sensing.
  • Major Satellites – IRS, Cartosat, Oceansat, Resourcesat, Megha – tropiques, RISAT-1, SARAL.


Conclusion: –

You should conclude it by saying that technology can become a boon for stressed agriculture. Use of remote sensing will provide the necessary push and it will also improve the efficiency and productivity of Indian farmers against the changing climatic conditions.

Best Answer1: –Dreamz Unlimited



Best Answer2: –ManojTanajiMane 

Remote sensing is the satellite based technology that enables making detailed study of the landforms without the need of conducting ground level studies. For agriculture sector and farmers, it brings following advantages:

  1. Land use pattern studies that would help in planning production beforehand.
  2. Soil moisture content estimation.
  3. Details about crop failure, success that may be used for claiming insurance benefits (as in PMFBY).
    4. Forest/Aspect estimation would help in designing efficient wind breakers.
  4. Timely information of wind pattern changes, threat of natural disasters that would help the farmers in taking timely action.
  5. Scientific land proof-> case against possible eviction.
  6. With large scale sensing, an environmental baseline database would be ready -> would help in SIA and EIA for projects -> protecting livelihoods.
  7. Possibility of acting against illegal mining because of data of remote sensing that erodes the land of its fertility.
  8. Arresting the damage of pests/vermins by realtime daily updates.

However, to make full use of the technology it is important that the farmers are connected via Green tablets, have the capacity to understand information (digital literacy) and have the opportunities to make interventions. (Capacity development). Thus, coupling the technology with insurance, irrigation and APMC reforms would be necessary.

Best Answer3: -Yogesh Bhatt

Remote sensing is about assessing anything without any physical contact with the object. It has multiple uses in agriculture as following

1- Area and production estimation- it helps policy makers to assess to area coverage under crops and for food production projection in advance.

2- Base line data –for total irrigation area, weed infestation, paste and disease attack, crop harvest status and so on. Coconut root wilt was identified by it first time

3- Weather forecasting helps to take advance decisions regarding crop management.

4- Farm insurance- now under agriculture insurance policy to access farmers lose, remote sensing technology promoted by government.

5- Crop monitoring- it used by agriculture university and scientists for crop monitoring and regular important information dissemination

Farmers at individual level also can use it for many purposes-

1- It can be used to understanding the nutrient deficiency symptom for effective plant treatment.
2- Soil mapping can be done based on this so farmers will get idea of soil type and nutrient availability which will help for crop selection.

3- Farmers group, produce companies, or cooperatives take help of remote sensing to utilize above mention benefits of remote sensing.

4- Precise agriculture- is new innovative agriculture which uses remote sensing for making farm decisions at micro level.

Now with protective agriculture, use of GIS technology, agriculture insurance coverage, and precision agriculture concept, remote sensing use has been multiplied for farmers and policy makers. Its success will be multiplied when its benefit passes to last mile farmer.

4. India desperately needs an effective and sustainable water pricing regime. Do you agree? Why? Examine.

  • Introduction:

India currently supports 18% of world population on merely 4% of the world water resources. Given the size of the population the supply always falls short of supply, though there are regional variations.

  • Body:

Necessity for a Water pricing policy: scarcity of water + wastage.

  1. Scarcity of water: currently 11 states are facing severe drought conditions. Water is essential for the producing food and for the economy, but the availability is highly variable across time and space.
  2. Wastage: while some part are struggling to meet the basic water demands, there is huge wastage is areas
  3. The average household uses 150-200 liters per head per day, others use as high as 6oo liters per head per day. There is huge wastage inn high income households.
  4. Agriculture: It is the highest consumer of water, but there is excessive wastage is areas with canal and bore well irrigation, which has not only caused fall in water table but has also had adverse impact on the agriculture itself.eg., water logging in parts of Punjab and Haryana.
  5. Industry: water requirement of the industry also presents a mixed picture with both shortage and wastage of the water.
  6. Water distribution Boards are struggling to upgrade the technology and expand their operations because of the administered pricing model which results in huge losses.
  • Steps to be taken:
  1. Rational Pricing: progressive fee structure-higher consumption=higher user fee.
  2. Mandatory rain water harvesting in water scare areas and in buildings beyond certain area.
  3. Compulsory water recycling in industries that use large amounts of water, this will lead to “more use per drop”.
  4. Metering of all water connections for collection of data for Spatio-Temporal comparison and for effective levy of the fee.
  • Conclusion:

Water pricing is the only long-term, sustainable solution to promote efficient and equitable use of this precious natural resource.

Best answer: Meiji

Agriculture needs inputs of land, seeds, fertilizers, water and labour. Indian agriculture is monsoon dependent and irrigation is available only to 45% of the cultivated lands. Resources like seeds, fertilizers are to be brought and are subsidized by the Govt. to an extent and water being a free natural resource is taken for granted. This has led to many controversies in the past and present too.

The recent Cauvery water dispute between states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has brought the issue of sustainable water pricing in picture. There is no proper planning of crops – acreage and cultivation taking the monsoons into consideration. Cultivation of water intensive crops in water deficient regions twice/thrice a year has led to these disputes.
Sustainable water pricing will help governments in taking steps like –

  1. educating farmers to cultivate crops on basis of water availability.
  2. Pricing water will lead to efficient use of water in field. This will help farmers to adopt technologies like – drip irrigation, water guns, micro irrigation, etc. for efficient use of water instead of flooding of fields which is harmful for fields in a long run leading to salination.
  3. Water being a scarce resource is costly and annually 95% of the available water is used in agriculture. Govt. programmes like ‘Make in India’ encourage industries which require water as input in coming years. Pricing water will lead to efficient water use and will help in providing water to industries.
  4. The income generated can be employed in providing irrigation to the rest 55% of the farms
    Though a noble idea – sustainable pricing water shouldn’t add additional burden to farmers who are already broken due to high input costs. The policy framed should take interests of the farming community, mainly small farmers for a sustainable and effective water pricing regime.

5. What is reusable launch vehicle technology? Has India acquired this capability? Examine.


Introduction: –

Explain what is reusable launch vehicle technology.

Body: –

  • Mention about the steps taken / progress made by ISRO in achieving success in reusable launch vehicle prototype.


        In the first flight, critical technologies such as

  • autonomous navigation
  • guidance & control
  • reusable thermal protection system
  • re-entry mission management

been successfully validated.

  • Also mention the challenges present.
  • Good short video explaining RLV technology and India’s program in brief.


  • Infographics: –


  • Basic information about RLV’s: –



Best Answer: – Karan J

Typical launch vehicles for satellites are for one-time use; they disintegrate during launch. However, Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLV) can be used multiple times to launch multiple satellites, thereby saving costs in the long term.

India is aiming to develop a 2 stage RLV-based launch

Stage 1: RLV will carry the satellite up and achieve required acceleration

Stage 2: boosters and satellite will separate and launch from RLV while RLV safely lands back on Earth

India successfully performed a technology demonstration of the RLV recently using a prototype. We were able to test critical aspects such as autonomous navigation, thermal insulation and wear and tear at hypersonic speed.

However, we are still a decade away from perfecting an RLV that can be used. Here are some pending challenges:

  1. achieve higher acceleration
  2. increase payload capacity
  3. lower wear and tear to minimize replacement of parts

Way forward

India can integrate the recently tested scramjet engine into the RLV to achieve higher speed and payload capacity. We must maintain the momentum gained with the success of the RLV-TD so as to be a forerunner in this technology.

Best Answer2: -naadan parinda

Reusable launch vehicle technology is technology which helps launch vehicle to be used in further missions without getting dismantled or wasted into debries.Satellites require launching systems to escape out of earth’s gravitational zone and be placed in space sections as required.Launch vehicles have the throttle system sufficient enough to do this job.
Recently ISRO successfully experimented with its technology demonstrator for ambitious RLV mission.It got launched in conventional style from Satish Dhavan base station.However after reaching prefixed height and hypersonic speed it followed its trajectory to return to earth and land as airplanes do.

ISRO mentions that wholesome development and usage of technique would be possible in coming decade.This feat leads us to multiple advantages as-

>It will make launch missions cheaper and hence helpful scientific explorations->in line with our fundamental duty too.

>will help to generate robust space industry->help make in India

>will help develop multiple useful applications for farmers,navigation,disaster management etc-

>inclusive and sustainable

>help augment soft power diplomacy by providing such cheaper options to other nations

>opens the door for new arenas like space tourism and manned missions

The mission can prove to be a watershed moment provided we are able to overcome difficulties like coping high temperatures while re-entry and fixing proper launch mechanism without loss of lives or property on ground.

Though we haven’t yet obtained the technique but ambitions are high and ISRO has already proven its calibre by sophisticated missions like MOM,Chandrayaan-1.Therefore initiation of this futuristic step gives us a true moment to celebrate.

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