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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 16th March, 2017

  • March 16, 2017
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Mar 2017, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 16th March 2017

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ENVIRONMENT

TOPIC: General Studies 3

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

The inter-related security

  • Water, energy and food are essential for human well-being, poverty reduction and sustainable development. Global projections indicate that demand for freshwater, energy and food will increase significantly over the next decades under the pressure of population growth and mobility, economic development, international trade, urbanisation, diversifying diets, cultural and technological changes, and climate change.
  • The prime concern currently has been- achieving food, water and energy security.
  • By 2050, India is expected to be the world’s most populous country with 1.7 billion people. Also it shall be world’s second largest economy with a GDP of $42 trillion (in PPP terms).
  • This puts the food estimate in 2050 at 333 million tonnes, which can be achieved by increasing annual food production by 30%.
  • In addition to it, more than 880 GW of new power generation capacity would be required by 2040.
  • These gigantic statistics determine the need of a paradigm shift in managing the resources better.

The interlinked FEW

  • In many ways, food, energy and water (FEW) are interlinked with complex and dynamic interactions. Any vulnerability in one of these directly translates into vulnerabilities of the others.
  • For instance, agriculture and food production is the largest consumer (about 80%) of freshwater resources in India. Irrigation is primarily dependent on groundwater extraction, which requires electricity. Simultaneously, poor agricultural practices have lead to inefficient use of energy and water.
  • Given that 60% of India’s total power production capacity is thermal power, energy production is water-intensive. In fact, 50% of industrial water used in India is for energy production.
  • There are other major issues as well, such as the increasing water pollution due to industrial effluents or fertiliser run-offs and erratic weather patterns.
  • The problems faced here are carry forward in the food crops being produced which has presence of unhygienic components due to bad water and excess fertilisers.
  • Thus, making decisions without considering the impact of one on the other has limited positive impact. This can be seen in power subsidies in agriculture with overuse of ground water. Now rising water stress has raised doubts over sustenance of agriculture.
  • Thus, managing FEW independently is no longer a wise option and they should be seen collectively in an environment.

Holistic approach

  • A holistic approach would reduce negative externalities and trade-offs, build synergies and increase overall resource-use efficiency and improve productivity.
  • ‘Climate smart agriculture’ in several States has demonstrated the possibility of saving water and energy while raising yields in a cost-effective manner.
  • For example, a technique of rice cultivation without flooding the fields, has benefited farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, West Bengal, among several others, with a higher yield while requiring 30 to 50% less water.
  • The Integrated Watershed Development Programme launched by the Government in 2008 and led by NABARD, played an important role in recharging groundwater as well as achieving crop yield improvement in several States.
  • Revised tariff, metering systems and improving technical efficiency of pumps is the best solution to use them for groundwater pumping. This will result in less dependency of farmers on energy subsidies and sustainable groundwater level.
  • Such examples can boost the cases for integrated approach of having food-water-energy security.
  • Adopting energy and resource-efficient technologies and processes in manufacturing and agriculture could be the best possible areas to begin with.
  • Here, the role of industrial and financial sectors towards such integrated approach is vital in the face of growing competition to access limited resources.
  • Sector-wide adoption of risk assessment tools and reporting structures linked to resource use, such as natural capital accounting, would be essential. Also, there is need for enterprises, investors and lenders to push for greater adoption of such frameworks.
  • Investors and financial institutions can play a catalytic role in promoting the FEW nexus approach for project design and development, and mainstreaming it across the economy.

IASbaba’s views

The effective management of food, energy and water, three crucial elements in the economy, is necessary for India to achieve its developmental objectives.

The Water-Energy-Food Nexus describes the complex and inter-related nature of global resources systems It is about balancing different resource user goals and interests – while maintaining the integrity of ecosystems. Often decisions on how to intervene are made without cross-sectoral coordination, targeting sector-specific optima and, thereby, resulting in risks and uncertainties across sectors and scales.

The synergistic approach towards managing FEW as an inter-dependent ecosystem provides this opportunity and would support India’s shift towards a low-carbon economic growth trajectory.

Connecting the dots:

  • What do you understand by food-water-energy nexus? Do they provide for new solutions to growing demand for security in each sector? Analyse.

 

NAXALISM AND INTERNAL SECURITY 

TOPIC: General Studies 3

  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  • Role of external state and non?state actors in creating challenges to internal security
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, [NP]; basics of cyber security; money laundering and its prevention.
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Sukma Killings

Introduction

Internal security is a grave threat for a country like India. Especially with diverse society and regional imbalances along with divisions based on ideologies it is important that India counters the threat effectively. Recent killings of security forces have been disturbing and a part of long running history.

Issue:

  • It would be tempting, but dangerous, to see the deadly ambush by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Saturday as just a desperate act of a fading insurgent group.
  • It must, instead, serve as a wake-up call for the security forces to beef up their standard operating procedures, especially intelligence-gathering capabilities, in the Maoist heartland in central India.
  • Twelve personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed in Sunday’s attack, and four others sustained injuries.
  • A road-opening party of the CRPF’s 219 battalion was ambushed about 450 km from the State capital Raipur.
  • The insurgents used improvised explosive devices, country-made mortars and arrows mounted with explosive heads, and made off with some weapons and radio sets of the force.
  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha that extremist groups were restless because of the “unprecedented success of the forces against them” in 2016, especially in Chhattisgarh where there was a 15% drop in left-wing extremist incidents.
  • However, the precision and scale of the attack are an indication that the Maoists continue to hold formidable sway in Sukma, their long-time stronghold.
  • In 2013 they ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Sukma district, killing more than 25 persons, including former Union Minister V.C. Shukla.

Long history of ambushes:

There have been periodic Maoist attacks in the region. It is estimated that over the last two decades at least 15,000 people have been killed in Maoist-related violence.

  • More than 3,000 of them were security personnel. And while violence is down from its peak in 2009-10, in 2016 official estimates put the toll at 213 civilians, 65 security force personnel and 89 Maoists.
  • The government has over the past decade taken a patchy approach to bringing the so-called “red corridor” under its writ.
  • The only presence of the state consistently visible across the region has been of the security forces, not of the civil administration.
  • Counter-insurgency operations by the security forces have often been undermined by poor intelligence, flagging alertness of the security forces and the absence of a multi-layered political strategy.
  • The Maoists do not survive merely on ideology;
    • They have a well-oiled machinery providing protection to various interest groups in the absence of a robust state responsive to the security and welfare needs of the civilian population.

Conclusion:

Ultimately, any fight against non-state actors will be effective only when the state puts forward its combined might to exhibit what it can and indeed what it must provide to the people. The solution should be holistic and long term oriented.

Connecting the dots:

  • Internal security is a grave threat to the nation as said by a former prime minister. Critical discuss a rational and holistic solution to the issue of maoist and naxal violence in India.

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