Mains Q & A 10 May 2023
Q1. Fresh water supplies suffer from water stress, which affects both quantity and quality. Provide suggestions for resolving the nation's water shortage. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS III
When demand for water exceeds supply during a specific time period or when poor quality limits use, water stress results. Water availability is considered “stressed” when it falls below 1700 m3/year per person.
Fresh water resources suffer from water stress, both in terms of quantity and quality:
India must provide for 17% of the world’s population with the 4% of freshwater it has.
In India, there are 600 million individuals who are under high to severe water stress, or around 45% of the total population.
According to the report, 21 Indian cities will run out of groundwater, which is their primary supply of water, by 2020.
By 2030, about 40% of the population won’t have any access to drinking water, and by 2050, the water crisis will have cost India 6% of its GDP.
India is currently experiencing the biggest water crisis in its history, according to an NITI Aayog report (CWMI) published in June 2019.
For years, a terrible water catastrophe has been edging closer to us. In several areas of Punjab, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh, water tables have dropped dramatically, sometimes by thousands of feet. Wells and storage tanks have run dry.
While other smaller rivers have totally dried up, some have diminished.
In many urban areas, water rationing is commonplace, but in many villages, women must go farther to obtain water.
Over 70% of the water used for surface irrigation is reportedly just squandered nationwide, according to a recent analysis.
Urban residents in cities and towns all around India are also experiencing a drinking water shortage that has never been witnessed before, making the water crisis not just a problem for farmers.
Conflicts over the distribution of water resources exist in India between states such as Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh over the Narmada, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over the Krishna, and Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the Cauvery.
Solutions to the nation’s water shortages include:
Understanding the causes of India’s impending water crisis through the lens of “urban” and “rural” not only helps one better understand the causes, but it also helps one better understand the measures that need be used to reverse the water catastrophe.
Management of urban water resources:
In metropolitan settings, where 50% of the water is derived from the ground, ground water management is of highest importance. For instance, working with ground water recharge and encroachment on flood plains.
Depletion of water sources is caused by the loss of vegetation in metropolitan areas and the heat island effect. For instance, urban woodlands should be developed, much as in Aarey, Mumbai.
The relationship between the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministries and Departments of Urban Development, Local Self-Government, and Environment needs to be changed.
In order to effectively protect urban water bodies, groundwater sources, wetlands, and green cover, as well as to improve waste water recycling and water recharge activities aimed at aquifers and wells through rainwater harvesting, effective land and water zoning regulations are required.
Management of rural water resources:
Water and food security: To achieve water and food security, the Ministries and Departments of water resources must work in tandem with those of agriculture, the environment, and rural development at the sectoral level.
g.: In Punjab, water-intensive crops like paddy and wheat have made the land salty and reduced the groundwater supply.
Whole-of-government approach: Governance and management at the disciplinary level should increasingly collaborate with and draw on the knowledge of areas like hydrology (watershed sustainability), hydrogeology (aquifer mapping and recharge), and agriculture sciences (water-sensitive crop selection and soil health).
Surface water management: It should be emphasised that protecting surface water is just as important as protecting groundwater. This includes protecting the many rivers and lakes that are in danger of drying up owing to encroachment, pollution, excessive extraction, and dams that block water flow.
Steps to Take:
Urban water bodies, groundwater sources, wetlands, and green cover would all be safeguarded by effective land and water zoning restrictions.
Improve rainfall gathering efforts to target wells and aquifers for water replenishment and waste water recycling.
The fields of hydrology (watershed sustainability), hydrogeology (aquifer mapping and recharge), and agricultural sciences (water-sensitive crop selection and soil health) should all increasingly interact with and contribute to governance and management.
Because of encroachment and pollution, rivers and lakes are in a critical condition and surface water conservation should not be neglected in favour of groundwater conservation.
The Ministry of Jal Shakti shall put equal emphasis on limiting and improving the efficiency of water use, while also safeguarding and conserving water resources.
Q2. What do you think the "Green Deal" means? In order to solve the challenges of fairness and emissions, does India need a green pact akin to that of the members of the European Union? Examine (250 Words)
Paper & Topic: GS I
Today, startups are widely acknowledged as important engines for growth and job creation. Through innovation and scalable technology, startups can generate impactful solutions, and thereby act as vehicles for socio-economic development and transformation. A startup is defined as an entity with its headquarters in India, was established less than 10 years ago, and has an annual turnover less than 100 crore.
The Prime Minister of India has declared January 16 to be National Startup Day, calling startups the “backbone” of the new India and the force behind its economic expansion as it approaches its 100th anniversary of independence.
With more than 15,000 start-ups formed in 2020, up from 5000 in 2010, India is now the third-largest start-up ecosystem globally.
By resolving difficulties that the Indian society faces, startups can serve as change agents.
In India, it’s still incredibly difficult to find trustworthy physicians:
Either patient records are kept in big files, or if they are online, they are frequently inaccessible or difficult to grasp.
Because doctors frequently lack the time to review all the findings, there may be a tradeoff in terms of health.
Many of the problems affecting India’s immediate access to healthcare can be solved by health-related companies.
Simple access to a good education:
In the past, only a few number of individuals in India who could afford training and coaching had access to higher education.
Classes and coaching facilities were intended solely for a select few.
Despite rising finances, students nowadays can only access the kind of education that is offered locally.
Thus, ed-tech entrepreneurs may advocate for access, performance, and quality.
The Indian startup ecosystem is nothing short of a revolution, with 44 unicorns contributing $106 billion in value creation and supporting 4 million employment directly and indirectly.
There are greater opportunities for innovation, growth, and employment as ancillary businesses emerge.
In developing nations like India, poor sanitation is a serious issue.
41 percent of the world’s population, or around 2.6 billion people, do not now have access to even the most basic of sanitary facilities.
Offering various sanitation goods and services at fair costs is essential to investing in solutions.
Management of waste:
India’s urban areas produce 1,88,500 tonnes of municipal solid trash annually (68.8 million tonnes), and waste production rises by 50% every ten years.
More than 80% of this waste ends up in open landfills, which harms the environment and contributes to climate change as well as public health problems.
The majority of this waste is made up of plastic and electronic debris, and there aren’t many facilities to deal with these.
To address this issue, which otherwise could have severe consequences in the near future, new and creative solutions in line with the ambitious Swachh Bharat Abhiyan are necessary.
In India, environmental issues with the air, water, land, or noise all inevitably lead to pollution.
With a more effective, people-focused approach, new technologies have the potential to transform the way air pollution research and policy are conducted.
Transport by Public:
State-sponsored public transit networks can’t keep up with demand, private companies like Ola and Uber can’t do enough, and out-of-date regulations prevent them from doing enough to fill the gap.
Because not everyone can afford these taxi services, a huge need for public transport exists. Private businesses can fill the gap left by state-sponsored infrastructure.
Only 1% of the Indian agritech market’s potential, estimated to be worth $24 billion by 2025 according to an Ernst & Young 2020 research, has been used thus far.
There are obvious weaknesses in the management of the supply chain, insufficient last-mile connection, particularly at the grassroots level, and a lack of investments to support the enterprises.
Only the past five years have seen a rise in crimes against women.
One of the issues that is becoming more and more of a worry in our nation is safety, particularly for women.
Many of the problems that women encounter on a daily basis can be resolved because to technology and access to it.
Policing and deterring crime:
In India, crime rates are surging, and criminals are exploiting technology to thwart law enforcement and criminal justice systems.
The job of policing requires long hours and many problems.
Startups can tackle other pressing issues in India with aplomb, like smart apps to aid in crime prevention, apps to aid in crime reporting, technology to swiftly resolve crimes, etc.
However, the Indian government still has a crucial role to play in positioning India as the Tech Garage of the World. It should act as a catalyst, and bring together the synergies of the private sector with the aim of innovating for India and the world. Recognising the startup sector with a dedicated observational day will undoubtedly help build awareness about the sector and also encourage more people to get involved in it.
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