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SYNOPSIS [11th February,2021] Day 28: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. How did India manage to tackle the food crisis after independence? What were the key long term reforms undertaken by the government then? Discuss.
Approach- candidate is required to give brief analysis of the situation prevalent at the time of independence. In the next half, reforms like green revolution to irrigation infrastructure can be given and its long term impact on India’s food security can be stated.
Independent India was born in hunger, hunger lay at the roots of much of its public policy in its early years, and over 70 years later, we are still a hungry nation. The nature may have shifted a bit malnourishment rather than stark famine is the real problem today, but at a basic level, this is still a country that struggles to feed its people adequately.
Food security after independence.
- Food security concerns can be traced back to the experience of the Bengal Famine in 1943 during British colonial rule, during which about 2 million to 3 million people perished due to starvation.
- Since attaining independence, an initial rush to industrialize while ignoring agriculture, two successive droughts in the mid-1960s, and dependence on food aid from the United States exposed India’s vulnerability to several shocks on the food security front.
- The country went through a Green Revolution in the late 1960s and early 1970s, enabling it to overcome productivity stagnation and to significantly improve food grain production.
- Despite its success, the Green Revolution is often criticized for being focused on only two cereals, wheat and rice; being confined to a few resource abundant regions in the north western and southern parts of the country that benefited mostly rich farmers; and putting too much stress on the ecology of these regions, especially soil and water.
- The Green Revolution was followed by the White Revolution, which was initiated by Operation Flood during the 1970s and 1980s. This national initiative has revolutionized liquid milk production and marketing in India, making it the largest producer of milk.
- Of late, especially during the post-2000 period, hybrid maize for poultry and industrial use and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton have shown great strides in production, leading to sizeable exports of cotton, which made India the second largest exporter of cotton in 2007–2008.
Some major steps taken by government.
- Green revolution with high yielding crops and efficient irrigation system in northern parts of India especially in Punjab, Haryana and western U.P. proved to be effective in providing necessary staple diet for growing population in the short period of time. This was an important event accompanied with land reforms made India an example of success story overcoming hunger.
- In the mid-1970s, the Government of India launched three important food intervention programmes for food security. They include Public Distribution System (PDS) for food grains; Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) (introduced on an experimental basis) and Food-for-Work (FFW). Over the years, several new programmes have been launched and some have been restructured with the growing experience of administering the programmes.
- The food procured by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is distributed through government regulated ration shops among the poorer section of the society. This is called the Public Distribution System (PDS). This is the most important step taken by the Government of India towards ensuring food security.
- The Government of India introduced Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) in 1,700 blocks in the country in 1992. The target was to provide the benefits of PDS to remote and backward areas. From June 1997, in a renewed attempt, Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) was introduced to adopt the principle of targeting the poor in all areas.
- With a five-fold increase in food grain production from 50 million tonnes in 1950-51 to about 250 million tonnes in 2014-15, India has moved away from dependence on food aid to become a net food exporter.
- Since 1980’s there was an increasing acknowledgement that physical and financial access to food had a determining role in achieving food security in the country.
- Further, Amartya Sen’s Nobile Prize winning theory (Poverty and famine, 1998) highlighted that hunger and starvation result from some people not having access to enough food – what he called entitlement. This implied inspite enough food being available in the country people suffered from hunger and starvation because they were physically or financially unable to reach to food. The approach shifted from food production to access to food and from charity to a rights-based approach.
Food security of a nation is ensured if all of its citizens have enough nutritious food available, all persons have the capacity to buy food of acceptable quality and there is no barrier on access to food. The right to food is a well established principle of international human rights law. Though India crossed many barriers, road is just half travelled. India is still home to largest number of malnourished children, our record on hunger index is poor. A fulfilled diet for our population will drive us toward realising full potential of our dividend.
2. Examine the issues that affected the integrity of India’s social fabric post-independence. What was the response of the leadership to those challenges?
Since question is asking you to examine, it necessitates you to probe deeper.
15th August 1947 marked the end of colonial rule in India and the country found itself standing on the threshold of a new era wherein the task was to build a strong nation. While India found itself independent from the British, it was still to find independence from social, economic and political problems that had started to become a rock in the way of its growth.
THE ISSUES THAT AFFECTED THE INTEGRITY OF INDIA’S SOCIAL FABRIC POST- INDEPENDENCE
- Boundaries of the British Indian provinces had been drawn and redrawn in a haphazard manner without any thought to cultural and linguistic cohesion. Most provinces were multilingual and multicultural and after independence, many former princely states were absorbed into them. There was a demand for linguistically homogeneous provinces.
- When India gained Independence, its population numbered about 340 million. The literacy level then was just 12% or about 41 million.
- The partition of India gave way to the refugee problem. By mid-1948 about 5.5 million non-Muslims had moved into India and a very large number of Muslims had left India for Pakistan.
- At the time of Independence, the incidence of poverty in India was about 80% or about 250 million. Famines and hunger pushed India to take external help for its food security.
- The Naxalite Movement was a revolutionary movement that was started by the Naxalbari in Bengal another group of Maoist themed activity in Andra Pradesh the Andra Naxalitess were mainly active in two regions Telangana and Srikakulam bordering Odisha in both the regions the area of dispute was land and forest. The main victims were the tribal and the peasants.
- The oil crisis of the mid 70’s had also contributed to the crisis and all of these developments together led to riots and large-scale unrest and strikes and erosion of support for the Congress from the poor and the middle class.
- There was violence between Hindus and Muslims. The difference in ideologies paralyzed the government both at the centre and the states.
- The terrorist movement led by Bhindranwale and Amrik Singh was started by the murder of the head of the Nirankari sect.
THE RESPONSE OF THE LEADERSHIP TO THE SOCIAL CHALLENGES POST-INDEPENDENCE
- The Indian Constituent Assembly adopts Article 370 of the Constitution, ensuring special status and internal autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir.
- Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru introduces India’s first five-year plan, which defines the Nehruvian model of centralized economic planning and development. The Soviet-style five-year plan also creates a typically Indian model of mixed economy and big government.
- States of India were reorganized in 1955 on the basis of the recommendations made by the States Reorganization Commission. Since this was done on the basis of the language spoken by the people, each state has some cultural cohesiveness.
- The government abolished such patrimonial feudalism, and subsequently also abolished the privy purses and compensations granted to the rajas.
- Education has promoted migration of people from villages to towns and cities. There is an increased emphasis on Hindi and other national languages. The policy of learning three languages at the school level has been implemented in all the states of the Union of India.
- The Community Development Programmes (CDPs) were started on 2 October 1952 for the uplift of the rural people. To overcome some of the impediments in the implementation of these schemes, the Panchayati Raj scheme was introduced on 2 October 1959″, initially in the states of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
- The elected leaders of the rural people at three levels, viz., the village, the block and the district, were given the responsibility of implementing the developmental schemes in view of the ‘felt needs’ of the rural classes.
- Several schemes were executed for the welfare of the urban people and of those working in industries.
- The Government of India passed the Hindu Marriage Act in 1955 and the Hindu Succession Act in 1956. Legislation also was enacted to discourage child labour.
It is to be noted that, Indian constitutional principles of secularism and federalism are the foundational keystone of Indian democracy. Indian democracy is a heterogeneous model with a vast socio-religious and cultural diversity. It was predicted by western political analysts that the Indian model of democracy would not last long. However, it was due to India’s strong commitment to its constitutional principles that led India to not only survive as a nation but also to emerge as the leader of the newly independent countries.
3. How did insurgency develop in the state of Punjab? How was the insurgency tackled? Discuss.
Approach is very straight forward and simple, students are expected to write about how insurgency developed in Punjab stating the reasons and how it tackled mentioning reasons in a detailed manner and conclude by mentioning the changes happened in Punjab thereafter.
Post independent India stood up as a united nation in the face of extreme diversity and forces stretching her indifferent directions. One of the strongest movements for “self-determination” was the Khalistan movement in the late 20th century to carve out an independent state from the erstwhile India and some parts of Pakistan with predominant Sikh population. Punjab insurgency was overtly and covertly supported by Pakistan, however the ground was laid by certain other factors like Punjabi speaking feeling neglected, Sikh demanding a separate state and other issues like Satluj Yamuna Link issue and chandigarh as a capital of Punjab only.
Factors which led to emergence of insurgency in Punjab-
- 1947 Partition of India –Independence of India was not a joyful event for Sikhs, partition left Sikhs in a lot of discontentment with regard to their traditional lands being lost to Pakistan.
- The fight for a separate Sikh state owes its origins to the Punjabi Suba Movement. The Akali Dal – a Sikh-dominated political party – sought to create a separate Sikh Suba or Province.
- When the States Reorganization Commission, constituted to assess the demand for separate states by linguistic groups, made its recommendations, it rejected the Akali Dal’s demand.But after a series of violent protests, the Indira Gandhi government relented in 1966.
- The state was trifurcated into Punjabi-majority Punjab, Hindi-majority Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Some hilly regions of the state were merged into Himachal Pradesh.
- However, the Anadpur Sahib resolution reignited the passion of Sikhs and sowed the seeds of Khalistan movement. The resolution demanded autonomy for the state of Punjab, identified regions that would be part of a separate state, and sought the right to frame its own internal constitution. This was the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. the Anandpur Sahib resolution found an admirer in Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale – a religious scholar who’d been travelling across Punjab advocating a return to the Khalsa or a more orthodox form of Sikhism.
- Initially, the movement helmed by Akali leader Sant Harchand Singh Longowal and party chief Parkash Singh Badal adhered to the principle of non-violence. But gradually, as the talks lingered without any breakthrough, radicals led by Bhindranwale started dominating the agitation.
- Demands for separate nation-hood for Punjab was carried out through violent protests and killings of high profile persons in Indian government.
- Finally, the spiral of violence led to Operation Blue Star that was launched to flush out militants from the Golden Temple in June 1984. Bhindranwale was killed in the operation. Four months later, Indira Gandhi was shot dead by two of her Sikh bodyguards to avenge the operation.
How this violent insurgency was tackled-
- The first phase of insurgency was treated as a law and order situation by both union and the state government, until 1984 they refused to entertain the idea of a rising Sikh insurgency. This stage saw low violence low base situation which calls for pre-emptive multi-pronged initiatives employing various elements of national power failing which its progression is a possibility. The political leaders from both Akali and Congress jostled for political supremacy, blaming each other for the woes of people and failed to address the political, economic or social causes of the dissent.The dynamic created a political void which was filled by Sikh religious extremists.
- In the second phase Strengthening of the counter insurgency measures took place at a larger scale police apparatus in Punjab was strengthened and focus on border areas was increased to counter cross border movement and supply of weapons, also diplomatic measures were initiated to counter any external support to terrorists.
- But with the increasing violence and terrorists occupying the golden temple operation bluestar was initiated to flush out the terrorists and curb the increasing violence. In 1984 Army was given a go ahead to enter the temple which neutralized the terrorists inside but the collateral damage was huge with large number of civillians were killed in the operation and the Akhal Takht was also damaged, this alienated the sikhs further which resulted in massive demonstrations against the government which culminated in the assassination of Prime inister Indhira Gandhi by her two sikh bodyguards and subsequently violence against sikhs took place at a large scale in and around Delhi.
- Later Rajiv-Longowal accord was signed which set the base for peace but all the promises coud not be fulfilled due to the disagreements which led to the assassination of longowal by the sikh militant groups.
- Violence continued till 1995 when chief minister Beant singh was killed in a suicide bombing,with increasing public support security forces effectively eliminated anti-state combatants through intelligence based operations thus paved the way for peaceful Punjab.
India continues to fight a lone, painfully slow, but successful battle against terrorism that is funded and supported by Pakistan. The Indian Security Forces, with their vast experience, have developed new counter insurgrncy techniques. Nowhere are the results of these techniques more visible than in the spectacular peace dividend in the State of Punjab. The Punjab campaign stands out among the most recent, successful and victorious counter insurgency campaigns in the world. This was largely made possible by a coherent grand strategy and tactical innovations on the ground.Sikh masses played an important role in helping to curb the violence in the state and in later times Punjab emerged as one of the most prosperous states in India.
4. What were the key provisions of the Shimla agreement after the 1971 Indo-Pak war? Was it a lost opportunity for India? Critically comment.
We need to list down key provisions of Shimla agreement and comment on whether it was a lost opportunity or not. We have to present both sides of argument.
The Shimla Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan on 2nd July 1972 in the aftermath of the 1971 Indo-Pak War. It was much more than a peace treaty and intended to establish peaceful Indo-Pak and regional relationship in the long run.
The Shimla Agreement contains following guiding provisions, mutually agreed to by India and Pakistan, which both sides would adhere to while managing relations with each other:
- A mutual commitment to the peaceful resolution of all issues through direct bilateral approaches.
- To build the foundations of a cooperative relationship with special focus on people to people contacts
- To uphold the inviolability of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, which is the most important confidence building measure (CBM) between India and Pakistan, and a key to durable peace.
- To always respect each other’s national unity, territorial integrity, political independence and sovereign equality;
- To take all steps within their power to prevent hostile propaganda directed against each other and to encourage the dissemination of such information as would promote the development of friendly relations between them.
- Progressively restore and normalize relations between the two countries by resuming communications, promote economic and trade relations.
However, Shimla agreement is claimed to be a lost opportunity for India due to following reasons:
- Recently, Pakistan unilaterally made Gilgit-Baltistan its 5th province, which was a grave violation of Shimla agreement.
- Wars and Terrorist attacks: Kargil War (1999), Mumbai 9/11, Pathankot, Uri, Pulwama, etc. Pakistani state sponsored terrorist attacks continue to cause escalations and casualties.
- The Shimla Agreement, and the subsequent Delhi Agreement, gave Pakistan everything it wanted: the territory it lost to India in the war (15000 sq. km.) and the safe return of all its soldiers (93000) without anyone of them being held responsible for the genocidal campaign unleashed in what is now Bangladesh.
- India missed a golden opportunity to resolve the Kashmir issue: Captured territory and soldiers could have been used to resolve Kashmir dispute.
- Nothing in the Agreement pinned Pakistan down to future good behaviour, which led to continued violations of agreement.
- Ceasefire violations: According to security officials, there were 5,100 instances of ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in 2020 in Jammu and Kashmir, the highest in nearly 18 years that claimed 36 lives and left more than 130 people injured.
- Pakistan-China nexus: India today faces a possibility of two front war on its western and eastern borders.
- Radicalization and Propaganda: It is misguiding Indian youth especially Kashmiri youth and causing violence, radicalism and disharmony in the Kashmir valley.
- Internationalization of Kashmir issue: Pakistan continues to raise Kashmir issue at various international forums like UN General Assembly, SAARC, etc. which is against agreed provision of ‘resolution via direct bilateral approaches’.
- Bangladeshi migrant issue was neglected and today the migrant issue continues to disturb India’s social and security fabric. E.g.: Assam, Tripura, West Bengal, etc.
- Disturbed and Least Integrated region: South Asia hosts a 25% of world’s population but accounts only around 4% of the global economy.
- Restricted Connectivity: Continuing tensions have restricted India’s as well as South Asia’s connectivity with West and Central Asia.
Still, Shimla agreement is an important milestone in Indo-Pak relations as following opportunities were or can be seized:
- Pakistan recognized Bangladesh, as a newly independent democratic country which today forms a vital component in India’s ‘Act East Policy’.
- Isolating Pakistan at global forums: India reiterates provisions of Shimla Agreement to maintain bilateral nature of the issue and highlights Pakistan’s non-adherence to mutually agreed treaty.
- Prevented internationalization of Kashmir issue by Pakistan to some extent.
- It continues to be comprehensive blue print for good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan, which can be adopted to revive peaceful bilateral resolution of pending issues.
India has faithfully observed the Shimla Agreement in the conduct of its relations with Pakistan and expects same form Pakistan. India is firm on its stand of ‘talks and terror cannot go together’, so Pakistan has to create an enabling environment for talks and both countries need to work towards the establishment of durable peace, friendship and cooperation.
5. India’s journey towards the status of a responsible nuclear power was full of challenges and roadblocks. Do you agree? Substantiate your views.
Students are expected to write about India’s nuclear power and highlight on challenges of India as a responsible nuclear power with substantiating your view.
India has a largely indigenous nuclear power programme.The Indian government is committed to growing its nuclear power capacity as part of its massive infrastructure development programme. Because India is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty due to its weapons programme, it was for 34 years largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant and materials, which hampered its development of civil nuclear energy until 2009.
Challenges and roadblocks for India towards its status of responsible nuclear power:
- The NSG was created in response to India’s first nuclear test ‘Smiling Buddha’ (Pokharan-I) in 1974. The NSG first met in November 1975 in London, thus popularly referred to as the “London Club”.
- India was left outside the international nuclear order, which forced India to develop its own resources for each stage of the nuclear fuel cycle and power generation, including next generation reactors such as fast breeder reactors and thorium breeder reactors.
- As India is not a signatory of NPT and NSG, nuclear supply is severely contained by sanctioned against India. This situation has changed after 2009 waiver and bilateral civil nuclear energy agreements with many countries.
- To address the issue of nuclear liability, India has ratified the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage and set up an insurance pool of Rs.1,500 crore ($225 million) for liability risks that may arise from the construction and operation of nuclear power plants in the country.
- It is uncertain, however, if this amount will effectively assuage supplier concerns. Just as an example, after the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984, the Indian government claimed $3.3 billion in damages. The proposed insurance pool is measly in comparison.
- Land acquisition and selection of location for Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is also major problem in the country. NPP’s like kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh have met with several delays due to the land acquisition related challenges.
- Genuine problems of Nuclear technology includes safety and waste management. Incidents like Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima are serious case of concern.
- The idea of no-first-use (NFU) of nuclear weapons has been rejected by some nuclear weapons states and accepted only at the declaratory level by most, if not by all of the others. Nuclear weapons are often seen as an antidote to conventional inferiority as the inferior party will seek to deter conventional attack by threatening a nuclear response.
- India has low reserves of uranium. But this changed a bit recently with the discovery of the Tummalapalle uranium mine in Andhra Pradesh, which has the potential to be among the largest uranium mines in the world. India has also entered into uranium supply agreements with various countries such as Russia, France and Kazakhstan to import the majority of its uranium needs.
- Regulatory challenges with respect to AERB as noted by the parliamentary Public Affairs Committee (PAC) report on the AERB, regulatory oversight too faces a huge manpower shortage.
- In Human resource India currently faces a shortfall in nuclear scientists and engineers. In 2006, Department of Atomic Energy stated that it would be necessary to train and recruit about 700 scientists and engineers every year in R&D units.
- It is the duty of the Governments to ensure the safety and security of using nuclear power as a source to meet growing energy challenges. Nuclear technology suffers from genuine problems of safety and waste management.
India is blessed with aplenty of sunshine and a nearly inexhaustible resource of Thorium. Our future depends on how efficiently these two resources are utilised. With India’s entry into international nuclear cooperation, the opportunity for a rapid growth in the installed capacity helps in accumulating fissile inventory at a faster pace. In the meantime, several enabling indigenous technologies have been developed for thorium utilization. Focused developments in solar and Thorium energy can lead to a stage when India do not have to look onwards for meeting its energy demands for several centuries, in harmony with environment.