IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th May 2020
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Environment
- Three new plant species have been recently discovered by a team of scientists of the Botanical Survey of India.
- These species were found in the evergreen forest patches of the southern end of the Western Ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
These species are:
- Eugenia sphaerocarpa
- It belongs to the Myrtaceae or Rose apple family.
- A good population of Eugenia sphaerocarpa is growing in the Kakkayam area of the Malabar wildlife sanctuary in Kerala above 800m.
- ‘Sphaerocarpa’ denotes to the large, showy lemon-yellow spherical fruits.
- The fruits of Eugenia species are known for their palatability (pleasant to taste).
- Goniothalamus sericeus
- It belongs to the Annonaceae family of custard apple.
- A small number of Goniothalamus sericeus plants has been found in the Kanyakumari wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu at an altitude of 1400m.
- Mature flowers with characteristic greenish-yellow to beige petals are fragrant while the fruits are very showy and an attractive golden yellow in colour.
- Sericeus refers to the presence of dense silky hair on petals.
- Memecylon nervosum
- It belongs to the Melastomataceae (Kayamboo or Kaasavu in local parlance) family.
- A small population of nervosum was also found at the Kanyakumari wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu at an altitude between 700-900m.
- The species has showy purplish-blue flowers and mauve to purplish red fruits.
- Nervosum refers to the presence of prominently raised lateral and intramarginal veins on the lower surface of the lamina.
Image source: Click here
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Welfare Schemes; GS-III – Agriculture
- Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyaya Yojana is a new income support programme announced by the State government of Chhattisgarh.
- Farmers would get up to ₹13,000 an acre a year under the scheme.
- In the first instalment, ₹1,500 crore would be distributed among 18 lakh farmers aming whom more than 80% are small and marginal farmers.
- The annual cost of the scheme would be ₹5,700 crore.
- Initially, the scheme would cover rice, maize and sugarcane farmers.
- It would later expand to other crops as well.
- Rice and maize farmers would get ₹10,000 an acre, while sugarcane farmers would get ₹13,000.
- The money would be distributed in four instalments.
- This will help them through the agricultural cycle and help with extension activities.
- The additional income to farmers would increase rural demand and also act as a stimulus for the State’s economy.
India and Bangladesh Relations: Second Addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade signed
- Recently, the Second Addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade was signed between India and Bangladesh.
- To boost trade, economic activity and connectivity, India and Bangladesh have added five more “ports of call”.
- The protocol (water) routes have also been increased from 8 to 10.
- Inclusion of Sonamura- Daudkhandi stretch of ‘Gumti river’ (93 Km): It will improve the connectivity of Tripura and adjoining States with Indian and Bangladesh’s economic centres.
Important value additions:
Protocol on Transit and Trade
- Protocol on Transit and Trade through inland waterways between Bangladesh and India was first signed in 1972 (immediately after independence of Bangladesh)
- It was last renewed in 2015 for five years with a provision for its automatic renewal for a further period of five years giving long term assurance to various stakeholders.
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Science and Technology
- Researchers using NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) have found a fountain of high-energy particles erupting from the ice in Antarctica.
- This could be proof of a parallel universe.
Important value additions:
Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA)
- The ANITA instrument is a radio telescope to detect ultra-high energy cosmic-ray neutrinos from a scientific balloon flying over the continent of Antarctica.
- It is the first NASA observatory for neutrinos of any kind.
- Neutrinos are of great interest to astrophysicists as they are the only particle that can reach earth unattenuated (not weakened) at all energies.
- It detects these ultra-high energy neutrinos by use of the Askaryan effect.
- This effect predicts the production of a coherent radio emission from the cascade of particles produced in a high-energy particle interaction.
- ANITA-I was launched in 2006–07 and ANITA-IV was launched in 2016.
- It is also known as the Valley of the Moon.
- It is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan.
- It is the largest wadi in Jordan.
Topic: General Studies 2:
- India and its neighborhood- relations.
Context: The India-China border has been witnessed tensions during April-May 2020, with incidents reported in at least four different locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Pic Source: Times of India
Where have the incidents (army clashes) happened?
- The Pangong lake in Ladakh
- Naku La in Sikkim
- Galwan valley and Demchok in Ladakh
Why do face-offs occur?
- Non-Demarcation of LAC: LAC that has never been demarcated. As a result, India and China have overlapping claim lines along LAC which leads to such clashes
- Non-implementation of protocols: Additionally, the Protocols agreed to in 2005 and 2013 regarding rules of engagement to prevent such incidents, have not always been adhered to.
What is behind the latest tensions?
- The northern bank of Pangong lake has always been a point of contention where there are differing perceptions of the LAC.
- The stand-off in Galwan valley(not many incidents in past as LAC was thought to be settled here) was triggered by China moving in troops & equipment to stop construction activity by India
- Delhi says that construction was well within India’s side of the LAC, but China thinks otherwise.
- The broader context for the unexpected tensions in Sikkim appears to be a changing dynamic along the LAC, as India plays catch-up in improving infrastructure there.
- China has enjoyed an advantage in infrastructure as well as terrain that is more favourable to mobilisation in Sikkim area and likes to maintain status-quo.
Why has not the LAC been clarified?
- India has long proposed an exercise to clarify differing perceptions of the LAC to prevent such incidents.
- The exercise could pave the way to regulate activities in contested areas until a final settlement of the boundary dispute.
- Maps were exchanged in the Middle Sector, but the exercise fell through in the Western Sector where divergence is the greatest.
- China has since rejected this exercise, viewing it as adding another complication to the on-going boundary negotiations.
What is the state of boundary negotiations?
- In 2005, an agreement on political parameters and guiding principles completed the first of three stages of the talks.
- The 2005 agreement said both sides “shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in border areas”.
- The current, and most difficult, stage involves agreeing a framework to resolve the dispute in all sectors.
- The final step will involve delineating and demarcating the boundary in maps and on the ground.
What are the prospects of a settlement?
- The likelihood appears remote.
- The main differences are in the Western and Eastern sectors.
- India sees China as occupying 38,000 sq km in Aksai Chin. In the east, China claims as much as 90,000 sq km, extending all across Arunachal Pradesh.
- One particular sticking point appears to involve China’s claims to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, which has been increasingly raised by China in recent years
- A swap was hinted at by China in 1960 and in the early 1980s, which would have essentially formalised the status quo.
- Both sides have now ruled out the status quo as a settlement, agreeing to meaningful and mutual adjustments.
- At the same time, the most realistic solution will involve only minor adjustments along the LAC, considering neither side will be willing to part with territory already held.
What is the Strategic Calculation behind boundary dispute?
- India insists that its relations with China won’t improve fundamentally until the border dispute is resolved
- China appears to view an unsettled border as holding some leverage with India, one of the many pressure points it could use to keep India off-guard
- Until the strategic calculus — and China’s broader view of its relations with India — changes, the stalemate will likely continue
Connecting the dots:
- China’s Belt and Road Initiative & India’s Neighbourhood First Policy
- Panchsheel agreement between India & China in 1954
GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY/ AGRICULTURE
Topic: General Studies 2,3:
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
Context: Chhattisgarh government has recently launched the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana (RGKNY), an income transfer scheme for farmers
- It aims to supplement the income of the Chhattisgarh State’s 18 lakh rice, maize and sugarcane farmers through direct cash transfers
- RGKNY provides 10,000/acre for paddy farmers and Rs 13,000/acre for sugarcane farmers.
- The scheme will be extended to farmers of other crops — in fact, to landless labourers as well
- This is in addition to the Centre’s PM-KISAN scheme that provides ₹6,000 to farm families owning less than five acres of land
Did You Know about similar income transfer schemes by State governments?
- Telangana Rytha Bandu Scheme offers cash transfer scheme of Rs 5,000/acre, per season
- Odisha government launched the KALIA scheme (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation)
- West Bengal has Krishak Bandhu scheme
- Jharkhand has Mukhya Mantri Krishi Aashirwad Yojana
What are the Challenges of income transfer scheme?
- Targeting the Real Beneficiary:
- Ideally, the money should go to the real tiller. But in large parts of the country, there is no record of tenancy.
- The government data shows only 10% tenancy in the country while several micro-level studies indicate that it could be anywhere between 25-30%.
- Identification issues:
- The other issue is identifying the landless labourers working on farms as majority of them are temporary and seasonal workers.
- This leaves the task of identification to panchayats which can open doors for large leakages and corruption
- Short-term solution:
- Income transfers are only palliative and cannot address the underlying problem, which is the non-remunerative nature of farming.
- Transfer of income can lead to conspicuous consumption diverting money away from productive investments
Why is there a low record of tenancy in India?
- The current law, favouring “land to the tiller”, is loaded against the owner.
- As a result, much of tenancy in the country remains oral.
- Hence, there is a need to change the tenancy laws, and open up land lease markets, ensuring that the owner of the land has full rights to take his land back after the expiry of the lease period
- Information and persuasion campaigns:
- Fully inform the tiller that the owner has got income support and then appeal to the owner to pass on this benefit to the tiller or adjust the rent accordingly
- This would increase the chances of the benefits being passed on to the real tillers — or at least help the tenants to bargain on the terms of tenancy.
- Creation of Umbrella Scheme by merging of Various Schemes:
- Merging income support schemes, including the PM KISAN and state-level schemes, with the MGNREGA and price-subsidy schemes (food & fertilizer) to start a basic income cover for poor households
- This approach can cover landless labourers, farmers, and poor consumers
- Structural Changes to Agriculture: This includes the following
- Rectifying messy land records
- Getting rid of unscientific and unsustainable crop patterns,
- Correcting market linkages that make the farmers vulnerable to exploitation by officials and middlemen
- Ensuring adequate irrigation
- Adoption of technology
- Resolving conflict with wildlife, and
- Adapting agriculture to changing weather and climate patterns.
Connecting the dots:
- Zero Budget Natural Farming
- Cooperative Farming
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
- Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.
Q.1 Wadi Rum is located in which of the following Country?
- United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
Q.2 Consider the following Species recently found in Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu and Kerala:
- Eugenia sphaerocarpa
- Goniothalamus sericeus
- Memecylon nervosum
Which of the above was/were discovered in Malabar wildlife sanctuary?
- 1 only
- 3 only
- Both 1 and 2
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.3 Which of the following state has recently announced Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyaya Yojana for farmers?
- Madhya Pradesh
ANSWERS FOR 23rd May 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
About the need for increasing MGNREGA works:
About criticism of agricultural package recently announced:
About Criticism of Judiciary: