SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [29th November 2017]- Day 8
Q.1) World’s oceans have huge potential to address the requirement of minerals, energy and food for the next generation. Discuss in the light of the concept of ‘blue economy’.
In introduction, mention what is Blue Economy. Then in Body, make it into two parts. One for potential and other for concerns. Write in points and try to explain each point for a line or two. Here for better understanding more explanation is given.
Blue economy is a concept for sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihood and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health. It consists of various activities like fisheries, maritime transport, renewable energy, waste management, tourism, climate change etc.
Points to be covered
Oceans cover about three quarters of the earth’s surface and have huge potential to address the requirements of
Various kinds of minerals like salt, potassium, magnesium, manganese nodules, placer deposits are extracted from continental shelves as well as deep sea floor. These minerals while essential for economic growth, also results in employment generation through their mining, extraction, enrichment, processing and other activities.
Oceans while providing for conventional sources of energy like oil, natural gas, methane hydrates, also help in generation of energy by non-conventional sources like tidal energy, ocean wave energy, ocean thermal energy, offshore windfarms etc. These sources while providing clean energy will also help in improving economy and generating employment.
Fisheries and seaweed provide a major source of food for the coastal communities and a source of great revenue, while also providing livelihood to a large chunk of population.
Despite being able to generate employment and helping in economic growth, there are concerns regarding sustainability, which is a major component of Blue Economy.
- Over extraction of resources like minerals and fisheries.
- Depleting health of oceans as seen in Great Pacific Garbage Patch, dying corals and extinction of marine species.
- Oil spills, tar balls, marine pollution, ocean bottom trawling are also impacting ocean ecology.
Other than these several geo-political factors like South China Sea dispute and other coastal boundary disputes, Japanese whaling issue and challenge of climate change and disasters are areas of concern.
Blue Economy is an area which has huge untapped potential. If utilized in proper way it can provide a huge boost to our economic growth and development. As the saying goes, one who controls the ocean controls the world. But if not explored sustainably, then it might create huge trouble for future generation.
Connecting the dots:
- Impact of climate change on marine ecosystem
- Blue Economy for India
Best Answer: Cool Monk
Oceans cover 71% of the earth surface and crucial for human livelihood, economic development, regulation of temperature, CO2 sink. Blue economy as a concept has emerged recently which seeks to utilize the marine resources sustainably & conservation of marine resources . Blue economy consists of fisheries, marine transport and trade, tourism , energy potential , minerals exploration , employment generation etc
1.Oceans have huge potential in terms of minerals, energy and food . For example:
2.Minerals : Oceans are storehouse of minerals such as Rare earth metals, Polymetallic nodules, Shale gas, Petroleum etc major part of which is still unexplored
3.Energy: Oceans can be answer to energy crisis of the world as it offers immense potential in terms of tidal energy, wave energy, ocean thermal energy. China, Canada and denmark are leading nations utilizing the same.
4.Food: Fisheries not only provide livelihood security and employment but also provides nutritious food. Fisheries contributes significantly in economy and food security for Countries like Japan, China
- Climate: Oceans maintain temperature by acting as a carbon sink.
- Disaster Protection: Coral reefs , mangroves etc acts as a first line defence in case of tsunami , shoreline protection and erosion
- More than 60-70% trade of the world pass through Ocean route . eg. China Maritime Silk route , Malacca strait etc
But oceans are facing challenges due to indiscriminate practices such as :
- Plastic pollution, industrial discharge, waste disposal , sewage etc
- Not respecting international laws and freedom of trade in oceans eg. South China Verdict and china neglect
3. Unsustainable practices like Bottom Trawling affecting fisheries potential
- No coordination between littoral nations & even coastal & marine regulation are still weak
Oceans potential have been recognized by international community and Sustainable exploitation and conservation has been added as a Sustainable development goal. Need of the hour is to strengthen international cooperation, boosting maritime trade, tackling pollution, ocean acidification problems and streamline maritime laws, rules and regulations.
2. India’s renewable resource potential remains untapped. Do you agree? Substantiate.
The question is very straight forward and many of you have written good answers for this one.
The problem with such questions is that, that we have a lot of content. And most of us know at least something about it. Here marks are given for preciseness. Statements themselves are not important. You need to back them up with some facts.
Here you had to write how do you think that renewable resources in India are untapped and what are the reasons for that.
Renewable energy in India comes under the purview of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
India was the first country in the world to set up a ministry of non-conventional energy resources, in the early 1980s. India’s overall installed capacity has reached 329.4 GW, with renewables accounting for 57.472 GW as of 14 June 2017. 61% of the renewable power came from wind, while solar contributed nearly 19%. Large hydro installed capacity was 44.41 GW as of 28 February 2017 and is administered separately by the Ministry of Power and not included in MNRE targets.
Installed capacity in India
|Installed grid interactive renewable power capacity (excluding large hydropower) in India as of 31 March 2017 (RES MNRE)|
|Source||Total Installed Capacity (MW)||2022 target (MW)|
(Biomass & Gasification and Bagasse Cogeneration)
Note: You need to use the above data to show the current under utilization of the resources and you can also use this data to show Indian efforts to tab these resources.
There is no need to take every single source of energy separately and get into its details. Many of you have taken that approach and have written an answer of 400 – 600 words.
Causes of under utilisation of Renewable resources in India –
Developing Country – India is a developing country and we have limited funds. They are being allocated in sectors like manufacturing, infrastructure etc. So we are still relying on conventional sources of energy.
High initial cost – This point is related to previous point. Installation of apparatus to generate electricity through wind, water or sunlight is very costly and hence there is reluctance.
Low research and development – In India the level of research in this field is low. We are dependent on many developed countries for technology and equipments.
Monopoly of big business houses – installation of renewable power plants is also a business opportunity. Here many big business houses like Adani and Reliance have created a monopoly and it’s difficult for small businessmen to invest in this sector.
Requirement of large area – To install a wind farm or to make hydel power project a large area is required. This may lead to loss of habitat and relocation and migration of local people.
Lack of trained professionals – Renewable energy is a new field where a lot of exploration has not been done in India. Hence skilled workforce is hard to find.
Cost benefit ratio – there are many pockets from which renewable energy can be harnessed like geothermal energy, energy from waste etc. but it is difficult to use it on commercial scale. The input cost is much higher than the benefits and there will be a long breakeven point.
You can add many more points like this keeping your answer under 200 words. Conclude the answer on a positive note.
Connecting the dots:
A question can be asked on the lines that has India set some unachievable targets for itself as far as Renewable energy is concerned. You need to justify the step of the country and how we can achieve that. So do think on these lines too.
Best Answer 1: Dusty Sergeant
Best Answer 2: Krishna
3. Many parts of the world are fighting against acute water crisis. Technology can provide a respite in such regions if made affordable and accessible. Comment.
- Introduce with some report or stats regarding the water crisis around the globe
- Which technology can bring respite in such regions
- Is it more affordable and accessible
Water is absolutely fundamental to life, which makes the increasingly loud warnings about water scarcity and an impending global water crisis so concerning for world leaders. If current patterns of consumption continue unabated, two-thirds of the world’s population will be facing water shortages as a daily reality by 2025 and global policy makers are scrambling to avoid catastrophe. The World Bank forecasts that water availability in cities could decline by as much as two thirds by 2050, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Risks Report.
Causes of global water crisis:
According to research by WWF, our daily consumption of water affects future supply due to the following reasons:
- Rapid growth of world population.
- Wasteful irrigation systems on farms consume about 70% of the world’s freshwater,
- By contrast, municipal water represents a mere 8% of global use.
- Globally, 80% of wastewater flows back into natural pools of water and the ecosystem untreated, without being reused.
- Washing pollutants into rivers, streams or other freshwater ecosystems.
- 40% of the potable water supplied by the state company is lost due to infrastructure leakages
Technological interventions to counter global water crisis:
A number of creative technologies aim to increase access to clean water in developing countries. The global water crisis has many causes, requiring many different solutions. As 1.2 billion people live in areas of water scarcity, these solutions must span policy, technology, and behaviour change to make a real difference.
- Drinkable Book -researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed this education and filtration tool
- Using Nano-technology for better results.
- WaterSeer: It looks like a well, but instead of withdrawing groundwater, the WaterSeer uses the surrounding environment to extract water from the atmosphere.
- Practice of rain water harvesting on a large scale seems to be a viable option. Water can be stored for future use as well as to recharge the aquifer.
- Installing desalination plants as we have seen in the Australia and Israel.
- Usage of sprinklers and drip irrigation in the areas facing water shortage.
- Interlinking of rivers is another crucial step that can be undertaken to reduce this menace.
- Treatment of waste water before disposing it into the water bodies can prevent degradation of the quality of the water up to some extent.
- In order to prevent the wastage of water in urban areas, the government can follow the policy of taxation of water in the countries facing water scarcity, through digital India initiatives. Those countries which charge tax on water can increase the percentage of tax charged.
- The revenue from the cess on the water can be used to build more dams, canals.
Affordability and accessibility:
The links between lack of water and sanitation access and the development goals are clear, and the solutions to the problem are known and cost-effective. Research shows that every US $1 invested in improved sanitation translates into an average return of US $9. Those benefits are experienced specifically by poor children and in the disadvantaged communities that need them most.
Best Answer: Abhishek naik.
4. India needs to adopt a sustainable pricing mechanism of its resources to face the crisis at many fronts. Substantiate with the help of suitable examples.
- Explaining the concept of sustainable pricing mechanism(SPM).
- How SPM can be help us face the crisis at different fronts in more sustainable way.
- Examples should be quoted wherever possible.
- Also, since the question is open-ended, the answer should cover multiple dimensions.
Sustainable pricing mechanism is the method of providing monetary value to a product that could be easily accessible and affordable. The concept of sustainable pricing involves not only economic costs but also environmental and social costs. The environmental costs involve GHG emissions, harm to environment, recycle/reuse/recovery value etc.
SPM can help India face multiple crises:
- It can be an effective mechanism to bridge the gap between haves and have nots.
- Environmental crisis- Over-exploitation of resources is a major reason for pollution. Thus, with sustainable pricing of resources like kerosene, which is more polluting and of CNG vehicles etc. environmental pollution can be checked.
- Resource crisis- Unsustainable pricing of resources leads to over-exploitation and misuse. Further increasing pollution is putting the stress on already scarce resources.
- Power sector crisis- Energy resources like coal, kerosene is highly polluting and thus must be priced higher than less polluting fuels. Also, the technology to produce energy from coal(thermal power plants) should be priced higher than the solar power plants.
- Agrarian crisis- Subsidies in fertilizer sector is an example of ultimate price of inputs being against the principle of sustainability. Same is the case with ground water. Overall this has resulted into issues related to soil (excess use of fertilizers). Following SPM resources which are scarce like ground water and those which are not agricultural and environmental friendly would be priced higher, thereby promoting sustainable agricultural practices.
- The dispute between economic growth and the environmental harm can get resolved as sustainable pricing would give a fair picture of growth which would be sustainable.
Thus, the issue of scarcity of resources and its misuse can be resolved through sustainable pricing mechanism. However, for such a mechanism to come in place there should be a consensus on the manner in ehich the mechanism should be evolved and it should be acceptable at the global level.
Best answer: Bob
5. What are the features of the New Mineral Policy? Will it lead to the conservation of critical minerals? Examine.
Background: The Union environment ministry has suggested to the Union mines ministry that the ‘polluter pays’ principle — which states that those who produce pollution should pay for the damage done to human health and the environment — should be included in the national mineral policy (NMP) so that the miners become “cautious” and “responsible”.
- Introduce by writing background of new mineral policy, role of Supreme Court in this regard and failure of older policy.
- Write features of draft mineral policy
- Examine the issue on conservation of critical minerals staring with benefits of new mineral policy and critical aspects in this regards
Introduction: On August 2, 2017, the Supreme Court had passed a judgment, wherein it directed the Central government to revisit the NMP, 2008, and announce a “fresh and more effective, meaningful and implementable policy” before the end of this year. The mines ministry formed a committee – which included officials from various ministries. The draft of new mineral policy 2017 retained most of the 2008 Policy but added some significance related to illegal mining, sustainable development and compensating local population
Body: Feature of Mineral Policy:
1) The auctions will be carried out for the exploration blocks for exploration by private sector on revenue sharing basis. If exploration agency doesn’t find any resources, their auction expenditure will be reimbursed on normative cost basis.
2) Creation of baseline geo scientific data as a public good for open dissemination free of charge.
3) A national geo scientific data repository is proposed to set up to collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by both central and state agencies.
4) Public private partnership is enhanced for exploration
5) Use of remote sensing satellite to curb illegal mining.
6) The collaboration with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for scientific and technology development through Public-private partnership.
7) Special initiatives for deep seated and concealed deposits i.e A national Aerogeophysical Mapping programme
Will it lead to the conservation of critical minerals?
1) Use of technology to check illegal mining
2) Policy focuses on sustainable development and mining by adding paragraph on ecologically sensitive mining and meet this challenge govt develop sustainable development framework, 2011. Regular inspection & review would reduce corrupt activities.
3) Creation of baseline geo scientific data and initiatives for deep seated and concealed deposits will further help in conservation of mineral resources.
Few points which raise concerns about effectiveness in ensuring conservation of minerals are,
1) Conservation framework haven’t been made strong.
2) Local communities development has been sidelined which needs to be focused.
3) Private sector would focus on profit maximization & can hamper the sustainable exploitation
Conclusion: New policy will boost the exploration activities and reduce our dependence of imports which causes a fiscal deficit. This will also enhance the domestic companies’ growth and employment generation.
Connecting the dots:
Various Mining and minerals related reforms have being initiated by government. You should be well versed with National Mineral exploration policy, The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 and new mineral policy yet to come in final shape.
Best Answer: Nazia