SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [24th January 2018]- Day 43

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  • January 27, 2018
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TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [24th January 2018]- Day 43


1. Examine the potential of horticulture as a source of sustainable livelihood. Also discuss the objectives and features of the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).


  • Introduction- What horticulture is, Its share in agricultural GDP etc.
  • Potential of horticultural sector to provide sustainable livelihood to farmers.
  • Challenges
  • Objectives and features of MIDH.
  • Conclusion

Potential of horticultural sector in providing sustainable livelihood to farmers:

  • High export value
  • High per unit area yield.
  • Higher margins on sell of produce.
  • Provision of raw materials for industries. Value addition is possible in agro-processing sector.
  • Better use of undulating lands- thus beneficial for farmers in hilly areas.
  • Best utilization of wasteland.
  • Stabilization of women’s empowerment by providing employment opportunities through processing, floriculture, seed production, mushroom cultivation, nursery preparation, etc.
  • Nutritional security- fruits, vegetables are highly rich in micro-nutrients and amino acids.
  • Less resource input- pesticides, water etc are required in little amount when it comes to horticultural crops.


  • Assured irrigation is required. While water requirement is less, timely supply is must.
  • Huge wastage while storing, because of absence of cold storage system and loss during transportation.
  • Without any skilling, it becomes difficult for the farmers to get maximum possible output.

Objectives and Features of MIDH:

A Centrally Sponsored Scheme of MIDH has been launched for the holistic development of horticulture in the country during XII plan.

  • Promote holistic growth of horticulture sector, including bamboo and coconut through area based regionally differentiated strategies, which includes research, technology promotion, extension, post harvest management, processing and marketing, in consonance with comparative advantage of each State/region and its diverse agro-climatic features;
  • Encourage aggregation of farmers into farmer groups like FIGs/FPOs and FPCs to bring economy of scale and scope.
  • Enhance horticulture production, augment farmers, income and strengthen nutritional security;
  • Improve productivity by way of quality germplasm, planting material and water use efficiency through Micro Irrigation.
  • Support skill development and create employment generation opportunities for rural youth in horticulture and post-harvest management, especially in the cold chain sector.


The potential of horticultural sector is huge not only in helping meet the objective of doubling farmers’ income but also in ensuring much required diversification in agricultural sector and providing nutritional security to millions of Indian suffering from ‘hidden hunger’.  In this light the MIDH scheme if implemented in effective manner can be a game-changer.

Best answer: MH22

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2. Ensuring physical access to water on farm, enhancing on farm water use efficiency and adopting water conservation practices are the most important focus areas for agricultural water management. Comment. Also examine the role of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) in addressing these focus areas.


  • Introduction: Give a small intro about why agricultural water management is required and what it is.
  • Body: In body, the answer should contain explanation for those three areas mentioned in first part of question. Then in 2nd part mention how PMKSY is addressing these issues.
  • Conclusion: 2-3 line conclusion.


Agriculture water management refer to using of water in such a way that provides crops and animals the amount of water they need, enhances productivity and conserves natural resource for the benefit of downstream users and ecosystem services.


The important focus areas of Agricultural Water Management are:

  1. Ensuring Physical access to water on Farm:
  • Rain fed: Majority of Indian agriculture is rain fed.
  • Monsoon: 90% of rainfall occurs only during monsoon.
  • Irrigation
  1. Enhancing on farm water use efficiency:
  • Exploitation: Ground water leading to decrease in water table.
  • Micro irrigation: Drip and Sprinkler irrigation.
  • Rational usage: Ground water and preventing weeds growth.
  1. Adopting water conservation practices:
  • Rain water harvesting: Tankas, Kunds, Wells etc.
  • Channelizing water used for washing cattle’s and cleaning to crops.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) was launched with an aim to enhance physical access of water on farm and expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on farm water use efficiency, introduce sustainable water conservation practices, etc.

How PMKSY helps in above three focus areas:

  • Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP)
  • Per Drop More Crop
  • Watershed development.

Note: Just a view of what should contain in explanation is given, based on that u need to explain each point for a line or two. 


PMKSY is a pioneering scheme which has clubbed many other schemes into it to concentrate on Agricultural water management. If properly implemented then it will reduce the dependence on rain for agriculture and also help in recharging ground water table, limit water wastage and help in sustainable development.

Connecting the dots:

  • Irrigational types around the world.
  • Water conservation practices in ancient India and around the world.

Best Answer: Maximus



3. Examine the challenges associated with agricultural marketing in India. What is e-NAM? Discuss its features. Can it address these challenges? Examine.


  • Introduction: Give small intro about what is agricultural marketing and need for same.
  • Body: In body, the answer should contain challenges in 1st part, then define what is E-NAM, then discuss its featured. Then how it can address the challenges of marketing.
  • Conclusion: 2-3 line conclusion.


Agricultural marketing refers to process which involves moving the agricultural produce from place of origin to that of consumers. There are many challenges regarding this due to which farm income is low and farmers are always under debt.


Challenges associated with agricultural marketing:

  • State APMC act.
  • Trade restriction limited to local mandi or APMC yards only.
  • Middle-men mafia.
  • Political issues and High commissions.
  • Transportation and storage facility.
  • Low price and distance from farm to market.

E-NAM is an online inter-connectivity of e-mandis, aimed at ushering in much needed agriculture marketing reforms to enable farmers to get better price of their produce.


  • A national e-market platform for transparent sale transactions and price discovery initially in regulated markets. Willing States to accordingly enact suitable provisions in their APMC Act for promotion of e-trading by their State Agricultural Marketing Board/APMC.
  • Liberal licensing of traders / buyers and commission agents by State authorities without any pre-condition of physical presence or possession of shop /premises in the market yard.
  • One license for a trader valid across all markets in the State.
  • Harmonisation of quality standards of agricultural produce and provision for assaying (quality testing) infrastructure in every market to enable informed bidding by buyers. Common tradable parameters have so far been developed for 69 commodities.
  • Single point levy of market fees, i.e on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer.
  • Provision of Soil Testing Laboratories in/ or near the selected mandi to facilitate visiting farmers to access this facility in the mandi itself. M/s. Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. is the Strategic Partner (SP) who is responsible for development, operation and maintenance of the platform. The broad role of the Strategic Partner is comprehensive and includes writing of the software, customizing it to meet the specific requirements of the mandis in the States willing to integrate with NAM and running the platform

NAM addresses these challenges by creating a unified market through online trading platform, both, at State and National level and promotes uniformity, streamlining of procedures across the integrated markets, removes information asymmetry between buyers and sellers and promotes real time price discovery, based on actual demand and supply, promotes transparency in auction process, and access to a nationwide market for the farmer, with prices commensurate with quality of his produce and online payment and availability of better quality produce and at more reasonable prices to the consumer.

Note: Explanations are required to each point. 8-10 points are enough in exam.


E-NAM can be considered as boon to farmers which addresses the problems faced by creating Pan-India market, transparency in price by auction among others. If implemented with due care it can help in achieving the dream of our prime minister by helping in doubling of farmers income.

Connecting the dots:

  • Farming practices.
  • Food processing Industries.

Best Answer: Akash



Q4. What is information asymmetry? How does it affect Indian farmers at the global level? How can e-technology address this problem? Analyse.


  • It is a 3-part question
  • In the introduction define information asymmetry
  • Then explain its impact on Indian farmers
  • Lastly, using examples mention how e-technology can play an enabling role

Definition: Information Asymmetry

Information asymmetry deals with the study of decisions in transactions where one party has more or better information than the other. This asymmetry creates an imbalance of power in transactions

Information Asymmetry in Indian Agriculture and its Impact

Agriculture system in India involves many phases. The main phases are pre-harvest phase and post-harvest phase. As the sector is vast with so many operational bodies involved in it, information is never the same within different bodies in agriculture.

At every stage of agriculture right from farm to fridge, information asymmetry exists:

  1. Land Holdings – in India the average land holding decreased from 2.5 hectares in 1970 to under 1 hectare in 2015. While the size of holdings constantly decreases with increasing sub division of land holdings, there is a need to have more precise execution of creating and storing land records. With decreasing size of land holdings, the bank’s cost of financing has multiplied and providing extension services has become very difficult.
  1. Farm Inputs – Seed is a critical and basic input for attaining higher crop yields and sustained growth in agricultural production. However, due to increasing cost of high quality seeds, small farmers often fail to afford them. Lack of quality control is another major issue where even HYV seeds do not yield desired results. Seed Testing Laboratories, seed certification standards, seed inspectors and seed germination reports of the government have not helped the farmers. The results of these experiments give better results to the farmers for sure, but farmers who are unable to cross the line of education have so less information about the modern seeds in market. There is no proper medium or an information service which explains the farmers about the importance of quality and the advantages of different variety of seeds available in the market. These kind of information services come at a price a farmer cannot afford thereby leaving him in a state where he prefers traditional selection of seeds.Similar problems arouse with fertilizer usage. Modern fertilizers are prepared according to the soil quality and the kind of crops the farmers prefer. But the diverse features of soil and climate in India make it difficult for both the farmers and fertilizer producer
  1. Irrigation – Despite having the second largest irrigation network, only 40% of cultivated area is under irrigation. Moreover, 70% of the irrigation needs are met by groundwater. As a result, water table in many states like Punjab, Haryana has been falling at an alarming rate. For decades, Punjab, Haryana, UP, and Rajasthan, the agriculture rich states, encouraged farmers to sink tube wells to get free water for agricultural use. Electricity required for pumping out this water was supplied virtually free or at heavily subsidized rates.This led to over-exploitation of groundwater and widespread environmental damage. This demands developing of proper techniques that contribute to effective irrigation systems in farms. More importantly, the main challenge here is inculcating the idea of innovative irrigation methods in the minds of farmers.
  1. Credit Supply – it is one of the most vulnerable sectors wrt information asymmetry in Indian agriculture. Due to lack of options or information, majority of the short- and medium-term credit requirements of the farmers is met by indigenous bankers or village moneylenders, co-operative credit societies and commercial banks. Such persons or organization charge a premium rate of interest forcing the farmers to get into a debt trap if there has been a crop failure. Secondly, small and marginal farmers are mostly left out of the institutional credit supply as the limited resources are usurped by peri-urban and rich farmers with more access to information. Farmers in rural India lack awareness regarding newly minted schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Yojana.

Role of E-Technology in Solving Information Asymmetry

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help boost agricultural development by improving farmers’ access to vital information so that they make the best decisions and use their resources sustainably. It can help solve information asymmetry in the following ways:

  1. Information sharing – about latest farming techniques, seed varieties, weather updates etc. through platforms like mKisan portal, Kisan Suvidha App etc.
  2. Technical and Skill Upgradation – of farmers in more scientific ways of farming, soil assessment and interaction with agriculture scientists through the wide networks of Kisan Vikas Kendras (KVK), Kisan Call Centres and Common Service Centres
  3. Digitization of Land Records – using Aadhaar framework. This will help farmers in securing formal credit and insurance against proper land records. Furthermore, with proper land records, land consolidation can be facilitated to achieve economies of scale like in more developed countries such as US, Canada.
  4. Use of Data Analytics and Big Data – which can help farmers to practice agriculture is more precise way. The Israeli model of precision agriculture is a case in point. Analytics can also help optimize resource consumption such as ground water, soil requirements etc to better suit the cropping needs of particular regions.
  5. Satellite based Sensing – can help in mapping out ground water, acquirer reservoirs, onset of droughts, early weather updates. All of it can help reduce the risk wrt farming in India

As land and water are limiting constraints in India, the focus to improve agricultural productivity lies in adopting more optimum methods. With a stated aim of doubling farming incomes by 2022, e-technology as part of the larger Digital India drive can be a game changer for Indian farmers.

Best Answer: None



National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) seeks to transform Indian agriculture into a climate resilient production system through suitable adaptation and mitigation measures in domains of both crops and animal husbandry.

NMSA as a programmatic intervention focuses on promotion of location specific integrated/composite farming systems; resource conservation technologies; comprehensive soil health management; efficient on-farm water management and mainstreaming rainfed technologies.

Its components:

Rainfed Area Development (RAD):

  • It will adopt an area based approach for development and conservation of natural resources along with farming systems.
  • This component has been formulated in a ‘watershed plus framework’, i.e., to explore potential utilization of natural resources base/assets available/created through watershed development and soil conservation activities /interventions under MGNREGS, NWDPRA, RVP&FPR, RKVY, IWMP etc.
  • This component will introduce appropriate farming systems by integrating multiple components of agriculture such as crops, horticulture, livestock, fishery, forestry with agro based income generating activities and value addition.
  • Besides, soil test/soil health card based nutrient management practices, farmland development, resource conservation and crop selection conducive to local agro climatic condition will also be promoted under this component.

Soil Health Management (SHM):

It will aim at promoting location as well as crop specific sustainable soil health management including residue management, organic farming practices by way of creating and linking soil fertility maps with macro-micro nutrient management, appropriate land use based on land capability, judicious application of fertilizers and minimizing the soil erosion/degradation.

Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture: Monitoring, Modeling and Networking (CCSAMMN):

It will provide creation and bidirectional (land/farmers to research/scientific establishments and vice versa) dissemination of climate change related information and knowledge by way of piloting climate change adaptation/mitigation research/model projects in the domain of climate smart sustainable management practices and integrated farming system suitable to local agro-climatic conditions. The dedicated expert teams of technical personnel will be institutionalised within NMSA to rigorously monitor and evaluate the mission activities thrice in a year and will inform the National Committee.

NMSA to fight against climate change:

To achieve objective to fight against climate change, NMSA have the following multi-pronged strategy:

  • Promoting integrated farming system covering crops, livestock & fishery, plantation and pasture based composite farming for enhancing livelihood opportunities, ensuring food security and minimizing risks from crop failure through supplementary/ residual production systems;
  • Popularizing resource conservation technologies (both on-farm and off-farm) and introducing practices that will support mitigation efforts in times of extreme climatic events or disasters like prolonged dry spells, floods etc.
  • Promoting effective management of available water resources and enhancing water use efficiency through application of technologies coupled with demand and supply side management solutions;
  • Involving knowledge institutions and professionals in developing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies for specific agro climatic situations and promoting them through appropriate farming systems.

Best Answer: sunayana


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