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Monuments of National Importance


GS Paper I


Context: Important monuments and archaeological sites were neglected as a result of the decolonization push launched by the current administration in India to alter the British attitude of individuals responsible for authoring history books. The report on Monuments of National Significance by the Economic Advisory Council, which he views as a significant step in the right direction for the preservation and classification of monuments that reflect the history of India, is what he refers to. The list of national significance monuments has certain inconsistencies that point to potential changes in India’s approach to monument preservation.

What are the recommendations given by the report?
  • Rationalize and develop criteria for India’s list of monuments: The study emphasised the urgent need for India to rationalise its list of national importance monuments and suggested that the ASI develop substantial criteria and a thorough process for designating sites as such.
  • Book of detailed information: ASI should publish a book of notifications containing information in-depth about the provenance of each MNI, transfer responsibility for the protection and upkeep of local-importance monuments to the appropriate states, and, to the greatest extent possible, denotify all standalone artefacts like cannons and statues.
  • Money: More money should be allocated for the maintenance of MNI, and ASI should keep the cash from things like ticket sales, events, fees, and other revenue streams.
Neglect of Monuments and Archaeological Sites in Post-Independence India:
  • Insufficient attempts were made to change the British attitude of individuals who wrote history books after India gained independence, which led to the disregard for monuments and archaeological sites.
  • History textbooks continued to educate about India’s losses and its opponents’ successes, which helped to maintain the British perception of India.
The Decolonization Drive under the present Government:
  • National Heroes: The decolonization push was initiated by the current administration, which is led by PM Modi, to publish the sagas of people like King Suheldev, Rani Durgavati, and Lachit Barphukan, among others.
  • For instance: The neglected Anang Tal was designated a monument of national importance, and the government emphasised the life of Delhi’s first monarch, Anangpal Tomar.
  • Names, locations, and insignia of national significance were also celebrated by the government at the Sindhu-Saraswati site of Dholavira, where a new navy emblem with influences from the Shivaji era was also displayed.
Significance of this Report:
  • The report on Monuments of National Significance by the Economic Advisory Council is a big step in the right direction.
  • The study will infuse some new ideas into the process of protecting and identifying historical sites in India.
  • Without changing the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, all of the report’s recommendations may be put into effect with just a few executive orders.
Anomalies in the List of Monuments of National Importance:
  • The list of national significance monuments has a few oddities.
  • No monument related to the struggles of Dalits or the life of B. R. Ambedkar has been designated a national monument.
  • There are certain sites without a known past, such as Tota-Maina ki Qabar and Dadi Poti ka Gumbad, and it is unknown if these should be designated as Monuments of National Significance.
  • Thus, it is imperative that all organisations involved in monument-related activity be liberated from the British slave mentality and placed in the hands of experts.

There is optimism that the Bibek Debroy-Sanjeev Sanyal study may inspire some new ideas on the preservation and designation of monuments that reflect the history of India. A foundation for archaeology is required to protect India’s cultural and revolutionary landmarks.

Source: The Hindu


Operation Greens Scheme


GS Paper III


Context: The Operation Greens programme attempted to increase farmer realisations and increase their part of the consumer rupee while eliminating excessive price swings in the three primary crops (tomatoes, onions, and potatoes). Nevertheless, as seen by recent demonstrations about low pricing by onion and potato producers, the strategy has not been successful in accomplishing its aims.

What is Operation Greens scheme?
  • The current administration introduced the Operation Greens programme in the 2018–19 Union budget.
  • It seeks to create a value chain to lessen the drastic price swings of the three staple vegetables, which are tomatoes, onions, and potatoes (TOP).
  • Later, the programme was extended to 22 perishable crops in the budget for 2021–2022.
  • The government believes that by creating a viable value chain for these perishable goods, customers would have access to high-quality goods at affordable costs and farmers will realise higher prices.
Limited Success of Operation Greens Scheme:
  • Retail tomato pricing: While wholesale tomato costs have greatly decreased, retail tomato prices have not decreased as much, showing limited progress.
  • Low onion pricing: Farmers of onions and potatoes are complaining low prices, emphasising the ineffectiveness of the plan.
  • For instance, onion farmers in Maharashtra are protesting poor prices with 200-kilometer marches to Mumbai, relay fasts, and the suspension of auctions at significant mandis. Similar to this, producers of potatoes in Uttar Pradesh have asked the government to buy their tubers at a price of Rs 10 per kg rather than the current Rs 6-6.5/kg market price in Agra.
Reasons behind its limited success:

The issue is not a lack of processing or storage capacity because the UP alone has several cold warehouses with plenty of room for perishable items like potatoes. The producers in Maharashtra have constructed enough kandha chawls to hold onions for 4-6 months. The price volatility in milk and cane payment arrears to farmers continues despite the development of storage capacity.

Price Volatility: Agricultural crop prices have fluctuated, which has had a negative impact on both farmers and consumers. Due to seasonality, weather, and other variables, the prices of various commodities frequently experience abrupt fluctuations, which causes market uncertainty and instability.

Problems with Implementation: The execution of the programme has been hampered by delays, administrative roadblocks, and a lack of cooperation among the numerous players, which has led to low participation and limited success.

Absence of Market Linkages: The absence of market links between producers and customers is another factor contributing to the limited success. Due to their inability to reach markets directly, farmers become dependent on middlemen who influence prices, which causes price volatility.

Need for Price or Income Assurance for Farmers:
  • Investment: It is important to promote investment in farm-gate, agri-logistics, and storage/processing infrastructure.
  • Price or income certainty is required for farmers, particularly for those in the horticulture, dairy, and poultry industries who do not get advantages from minimum support prices.
  • The future of Indian agriculture depends on crop diversity, which will encourage more people to eat meals high in proteins (such as pulses, milk, eggs, and meat), as well as micronutrients (such as fruits and vegetables), as opposed to just those high in calories and carbs.
  • Deficiency price payments or per-hectare direct income transfers may be the best course of action.

It is obvious that the Operation Greens program’s modest success highlights the urgent need for a more all-encompassing strategy to solve the difficulties encountered by TOP farmers. It is necessary to take a more comprehensive strategy that places an emphasis on infrastructural development, agricultural diversity promotion, and farmer empowerment. By taking such a course of action, the government may both lessen the effects of price volatility on farmers and accomplish its larger objective of creating a robust and sustainable agricultural system that benefits both farmers and consumers.

Source: The Hindu




GS Paper III


Context: Undernourishment is a significant problem in public health that has a negative impact on health and the economy, particularly in India. Infants and young children that get early stimulation and nutrition treatments have better results in adulthood. India has high rates of stunting, anaemia, and malnutrition and receives poor marks on the Human Capital Index. There is evidence that spending money on maternal and infant nutrition yields great returns.

Undernutrition leads to adverse health consequences and affects the economy:
  • Undernutrition is responsible for 3.1 million child deaths per year, or 45% of all child fatalities.
  • Pronounced stunting for India: India still maintains unacceptable high rates of stunting (35.5%) despite little progress over time.
  • Two-thirds of India’s workforce are currently stunted, which has significant economic implications in terms of a decline in per capita income. Due to the high rates of stunting, the average drop in per capita income for developing nations is 7 percent, reaching a high of 13 percent for India.
  • Waste in India: In terms of lifetime lost productivity, the economic costs paid by India as a result of wastage are projected to be greater than US $48 billion.
  • Anaemia: Another compounding factor is anaemia among young women, at 57 percent, which has lasting effects on their future pregnancies and childbirth. The situation further worsens when infants are fed inadequate diets, and there is inadequate sanitation and hygiene.
  • Investing in the well-being of women and children is an effective strategy:
  • Early childhood investment: According to the available data, every additional dollar spent on high-quality early childhood programmes generates a return of between US$6 and US$17.
  • Future higher income: Infants that receive early stimulation are known to earn 25% more in the future. Childhood stunting affects brain development, lowers cognitive abilities and schooling, and lowers future earnings.
  • For illustration: It’s estimated that stunted children earn 20% less as adults than children who are not stunted.
Increased investment in human capital brings economic growth:
  • The richness of a country is its human capital, which depends on its citizens’ well-being, education, skills, and knowledge.
  • Research points to improving women’s and children’s well-being as a successful technique for enhancing child outcomes.
  • According to the Human Capital Index, India is ranked 116th out of 174 nations, with a score of 0.49, indicating that a kid born in India will be 49 percent productive if given access to a comprehensive education and good health.
  • Children’s education is essential for the development of human capital, increased productivity, and the economy. It has been suggested that in order to improve birth and nutritional outcomes, the 1000-day window between conception and age two should be the focus.
Coupling nutrition-specific interventions with nutrition-sensitive programs:
  • Interventions that take into account nutrition: Interventions that take into account nutrition, such as water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions, concentrate on the underlying causes of stunting.
  • An integrated water and sanitation development programme may reduce diarrhoea occurrences in rural India by between 3 to 50% over the long and short terms, according to the available data. WASH are substantial contributors to stunting and can result in considerable improvements in the fight against childhood undernutrition.
  • Improved nutrition for expectant mothers and early children may have long-term advantages for adult health and human capital, according to studies.
  • For instance: Poor nutrition can have long-term negative effects during the first 1000 days of life, a period of tremendous growth and development. Stunting begins at this time and becomes more severe by the time a child is two years old, making this a crucial window of opportunity.
Disparities in Undernutrition Prevalence:
  • According to data (NFHS 5), India has more stunted children in rural regions than in urban areas, potentially as a result of socioeconomic disparity.
  • The frequency of stunting varies according to the mother’s educational level and family income.
  • There is a significant difference in areas, with Meghalaya (46.5%) and Bihar (42.9%) having the highest rates, and Sikkim and Puducherry having the lowest rates at 22.3% and 20%, respectively.
  • There is a noticeable difference in the frequency of stunting between states and districts.
Way Forward:
  • India has to invest in healthcare facilities if it wants to increase productivity, economic growth, and security.
  • For India to produce and sustain a healthy, highly competent workforce, undernutrition must be addressed.
  • For India to improve its public health and experience economic growth, cost-effective investments in children’s health, nutrition, and education are vital.

The ultimate riches of any country is its healthy human capital. Undernutrition is a serious public health issue in India that not only has a negative impact on the wellbeing of mothers and children but also has negative economic ramifications. To ensure economic prosperity and security in India as well as a healthy, trained workforce, undernutrition must be addressed.

Source: Indian Express




GS Paper III


Context: Under the PM MITRA (Mega Investment Textiles Parks) Program, the Center has chosen seven Indian states where new textile parks would be established.

What is PM MITRA Scheme?
  • The parks would be operational by 2026–2027, according to the plan, which was revealed in October 2021.
  • The goal of MITRA is to make it possible for the textile sector to compete on a worldwide scale, draw significant investment, and increase exports and job creation.
  • In order to develop exporting champions on a global scale, it will build infrastructure of the highest calibre with plug-and-play capabilities.
  • Together with the Production Linked Incentive Program, it will be introduced (PLI).
  • It would level the playing field for our local textile makers on the global market and open the door for India to lead the world in textile exports across all categories.
Its implementation:
  • For each park, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) owned by the federal and state governments will be established, and it will be in charge of managing the project’s execution.
  • The Park SPV would get financial assistance from the Ministry of Textiles in the form of Development Capital Assistance up to 500 crore per park.
  • To encourage prompt implementation, units in PM MITRA Park would also get Competitive Incentive Support (CIS) up to 300 crore per park.
  • Convergence with other Government of India initiatives will also be encouraged to provide Master Developer and investor units with extra incentives.
Envisaged Benefits:
  • In keeping with the 5F (Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign) goal, the parks will strengthen the textile industry.
  • The Center plans to invest close to 70,000 crore in these parks, creating jobs for roughly 20 lakh people.
  • The parks will serve as hubs for creating an integrated textiles value chain, which will include everything from spinning, weaving, processing, dyeing, and printing, to producing clothing, all in one place.
Need for such scheme:
  • India’s textile sector, which generates 7% of GDP and employs 4.5 crore people, is vital to the country’s economy. Despite its promise, there are issues in the sector that must be resolved.
  • The country’s disorganised textile industry raised waste and logistical expenses, which had an effect on the textile sector’s ability to compete internationally.
Challenges Faced by India’s Textile Industry:
  • High input prices as a result of exorbitant taxes and tariffs, poor infrastructure, and a shortage of competent workers.
  • A booming informal industry and cheaper imports, such as those from Bangladesh, are competitors.
  • Environmental issues stem from the industry’s heavy reliance on water, pollution, and the disposal of hazardous waste.
  • Supply networks were further hampered by the epidemic, which further decreased demand.

PM MITRA Parks offer a unique paradigm where the Centre and State Governments will work together to enhance investment, foster innovation, generate employment opportunities and ultimately make India a worldwide centre for textile manufacture and exports.

Source: Indian Express


Western Ghats


GS Paper III


Context: The Environment Ministry was recently ordered by the Supreme Court to submit a counter-affidavit in response to a petition asking for judicial action to save the Western Ghats from extinction.

  • The Western Ghats are a 1600 km long mountain range that runs from Kanyakumari in the south to the river Tapi in the north along India’s west coast.
  • Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu are among the states they pass through (6 in number). They go by a number of local names, including Sahyadri and Nilgiris.
  • Tropical, humid weather is typical of the Western Ghats.
  • Due to the windward effect, the western side of the Ghat experiences more rainfall than the eastern side.
  • In 2012, the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization designated the Western Ghats as a place worthy of preservation as a world heritage site (UNESCO).
  • Many perennial rivers in peninsular India are nourished by the western ghats, including the three significant eastward-flowing rivers Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri. The majority of the water used in peninsular India comes from rivers that originate in the Western Ghats.
  • The Indian monsoon weather patterns are influenced by the Western Ghats.
  • Along the western coast, they are to blame for the significant rainfall.
  • A significant quantity of carbon is stored in the Western Ghats’ forest eco systems.
  • They are thought to offset about 4 million tonnes of carbon annually, or 10% of the emissions offset by all of India’s forests.
  • One of the eight biodiversity hot areas on earth is the Western Ghats.
  • There is a lot of plant and animal endemism in the Western Ghats. According to estimates, 65% of the frog species and 52% of the tree species in the western Ghats are endemic.
  • Mining: The mining industry has expanded quickly and frequently in violation of all rules, causing significant environmental harm and social unrest.
  • Unsustainable mining has harmed water sources, crops, and landslides, which has had a detrimental impact on local residents’ quality of life.
  • Extraction of Forest Produce: In the Western Ghats, human populations that are located inside or close to protected areas frequently rely on this activity to support a variety of subsistence and economic needs.
  • Livestock Grazing: Across the Western Ghats, livestock grazing within and next to protected areas is a severe issue that results in habitat degradation.
  • Plantations: Tea, coffee, rubber, and monocultures of other species, including the recently imported oil palm, are replacing native endemic species in the Western Ghats’ agroforestry systems.
  • Human settlement encroachment: Across the Western Ghats, human settlements are prevalent both inside and outside of protected areas, and they pose a serious hazard.
  • Hydropower Projects: The construction of large dams in the Western Ghats has a significant environmental cost.
Committees and Recommendations:

Gadgil Committee Report, 2011:

  • In order to identify and suggest management strategies for Western Ghats environmentally sensitive regions, the Ministry of Environment & Forests established the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) in 2010. Prof. Madhav Gadgil served as the panel’s chairman.
  • In order to maintain the ecosystem, the committee set the Western Ghats’ limits.
  • It was suggested that the whole region be recognised as an environmentally sensitive area (ESA) and that smaller areas within the region be divided into ecologically sensitive zones (ESZ) I, II, or III depending on their current state and the magnitude of the danger.
  • It was suggested to split the land into around 2,200 grids, of which 75% would be classified as ESZ I or II or existing protected areas like animal sanctuaries or natural parks.
  • A Western Ghats Ecological Authority was suggested by the committee to oversee these operations in the region.
  • The Gadgil Committee’s proposals were rejected by all six of the affected nations.
Kasturirangan Committee 2012:
  • A High-Level Working Group on the Western Ghats was then established by the Environment Ministry under the leadership of Kasturirangan to “examine” the Gadgil Committee report “in a holistic and multidisciplinary fashion in the light of responses received” from states, central ministries, and others.
  • Only 37% of the Western Ghats were intended to be included in the Kasturirangan report’s Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) zones.
  • It made a distinction between the cultural landscape, which occupies 58% of the Western Ghats and includes human settlements, agricultural areas, and plantations, and the natural landscape, which should be covered by ESA in 90% of cases.
  • Mining, quarrying, and sand mining are all prohibited.
  • There can be no new thermal power projects, however there are certain limits on hydropower projects.
  • A restriction on new industries that cause pollution.
  • Townships were to be prohibited, but building and construction projects up to 20,000 square metres were to be permitted.
  • The Western Ghats Kasturirangan Committee Report was implemented by the Environment Ministry, which designated 37% of the Western Ghats as ESA under the 1986 Environment Protection Act.
Way Forward:

By making sure human behaviours that support livelihoods but compromise biodiversity conservation are kept in check, it is necessary to strike a balance between conservation efforts and development.

Source: Indian Express

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