Mains Q & A 30 May 2023
Q1. The undesirable byproducts of urban life and municipal solid trash are constantly growing along with urbanisation, and they end up in hazardous landfills where they pose risks. Examine. What possible fixes are there for this issue? (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I – Urbanization related issues
India alone produces more solid trash per day than the combined daily waste production of several other nations—more than 100,000 metric tonnes. Large cities like Mumbai and Delhi produce between 9,000 and 8,300 metric tonnes of rubbish daily, respectively. Both an inadequate and ineffective waste infrastructure and rising rates of per capita solid waste generation plague India. We must acknowledge that, in addition to the infrastructure and technologies, we have not approached the problem from a systemic standpoint.
Recently, a large fire started in the Ghazipur landfill. Even though the fire was put out, there are still a few spots at the dumpsite where you can see it smouldering.
MSW’s current state in India:
The collecting of segregated garbage, transportation of waste in covered vehicles, processing of recyclables, separation of domestic hazardous waste, and disposal of inert material in sanitary landfills are all tasks that fall under the purview of ULBs.
According to numerous studies, nearly 90% of MSW is improperly disposed of in open landfills and dumps, endangering the environment and human health.
A total of 62 million tonnes of municipal solid trash are produced annually by the over 377 million urban residents in 7,935 towns and cities.
The trash is only collected in 43 million tonnes (MT), handled in 11.9 MT, and discharged in 31 MT in landfills.
The majority of communities limit their operations to the collection and transportation of solid garbage. Only a small number of cases involve attempts at processing and proper disposal.
According to the CPCB data, only 68% of the MSW produced in the nation is collected, of which 28% is handled by local authorities. Thus, only 19% of the total trash produced is processed at this time.
Construction and demolition trash dumped illegally in urban areas is to blame for the disappearance of wetlands and urban waterbodies.
Among the most significant problems with solid waste management are:
Lack of waste separation at the source.
Lack of funding for ULBs’ trash management.
ULBs’ unwillingness to implement suitable systems for collection, segregation, transportation, and treatment/disposal.
Lack of technical knowledge and proper institutional setup.
lack of technology and infrastructure.
absence of participation by businesses and non-governmental organisations.
Citizens’ lack of awareness and lack of interest in trash management.
Lack of community involvement in trash management and maintaining hygienic conditions
No sewage management strategy.
Approximately 70% of plastic packaging products are quickly converted to plastic garbage.
Other problems affecting MSWM include the existence of slum regions, unorganised marketplaces, and corruption.
MSW remedies include:
Under various initiatives and programmes, state governments should give ULBs financial assistance so they can strengthen their waste management system.
Infrastructure for civic services should be improved with support from programmes like the Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT.
According to the 2016 Solid Waste Management Rules, the key to effective waste management is to ensure correct waste segregation at the source and that the garbage travels through several streams of recycling and resource recovery.
SWM’s main element is waste to energy. Waste-to-composting and bio-methanation plant installation would lessen the burden on landfills.
In order to reimagine India’s waste management system, research and development should be encouraged.
Recycling and resource recovery from garbage should be prioritised over landfilling. Additionally, it’s critical to promote e-waste recycling to solve the e-waste problem.
Waste management public-private partnership solutions should be promoted.
According to the Construction and Demolition trash Management Rules, 2016, construction and demolition trash shall be stored and disposed of separately.
It is now the responsibility of generators to separate waste into three streams: wet (biodegradable), dry (plastic, paper, metal, wood, etc.), and domestic hazardous wastes (diapers, napkins, empty cleaning agent containers, insect repellents, etc.). Authorised rag-pickers, waste collectors, or local authorities will then receive the segregated waste.
Sensitization of both individuals and government officials, participation of the community, and involvement of NGOs. Littering need to be outlawed.
It is advisable to imitate global best practises. One of the few nations that separates and recycles food waste is South Korea. Additionally, it has started landfill recovery initiatives, including the Nanjido recovery project, that have successfully turned hazardous waste dumps into long-term ecological attractions.
One of India’s biggest environmental issues is the management of municipal solid waste (MSWM). Scientific, environmentally friendly, and sustainable waste management is urgently required.
Q2. Examine the issues limiting the agriculture sector's expansion and production. Offer solutions to address them. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS III – Agriculture related issues
The solution to India’s food security and the reduction of rural poverty lies in the agricultural sector. The Dalwai Committee Report’s 14 volumes on doubling farmers’ income presented a roadmap for farmers to move from a purely green revolution to an income revolution, but the nation has yet to find a solution to the “Riddle of Agriculture Distress.”
An overview of the agrarian crisis:
Currently, agriculture employs around 50% of the people either directly or indirectly and produces only about 15% of the nation’s output.
The rallies currently occurring around the nation are proof that farmer misery is a significant and urgent issue.
Prior to understanding the need to increase farmer income, government strategies were primarily focused on increasing agricultural productivity and enhancing food security.
Exports have been impacted by low international pricing, and domestic prices have been impacted by cheaper imports.
Natural calamities and crop failures cause rural households to become impoverished.
The average land holding has been significantly reduced as a result of growing demographic pressure, covert employment in agriculture, and conversion of agricultural land for alternate uses.
Agriculture sector difficulties:
Institutional versus non-institutional agricultural credit: Historically, money lenders were the main source of credit for rural farmers, which resulted in significant debt.
modest land holdings: The land is dispersed, and 87% of farmers are subsistence farmers with modest land holdings.
Low productivity: Farm sizes in India are often modest (1-2 hectares), making it more difficult to obtain economies of scale.
Low mechanisation: It is comparatively low, and farmers in India do not use many of the high-yield input types used in other agri-producing nations.
High logistics costs: Compared to exporters from affluent nations like the US (9.5%), India’s logistics expenditures are currently around 14% of GDP.
Limited value addition: India ranks 10th internationally in the export of processed meat, 18th in the export of processed fruits and vegetables, and 35th in dairy. It exports more primary commodities than value-added agricultural products.
Inadequate incentives and a relative lack of private sector investment are two causes of low value addition.
69 to 73% of the rice and wheat produced over a 14-year period was not purchased by FCI or state organisations.
According to the fourth volume of the Dalwai Committee Report on doubling farmers’ incomes, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies are two of the primary platforms available to farmers for the sale of agricultural products, but these organisations cannot be a complete replacement for an effective marketing system.
Lack of APMC markets: These markets don’t exist in 5 states: Bihar, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram, and Sikkim.
Additionally, the UTs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli do not have an APMC market.
Lack of infrastructure: This market’s inadequate infrastructure is another crucial issue that is still not being addressed. Only 15% of APMC marketplaces have access to cold storage. Only 49% of the marketplaces have access to weighing facilities.
ICAR and SAUs should create farming system models for various socioeconomic and biophysical contexts by fusing all of their technologies together and putting a strong emphasis on farm income.
Combining technology and best practises for production, protection, and post-harvest value addition for each subsystem with other subsystems, such as crop sequences, crop mix, livestock, horticulture, and forestry, would be required to achieve this.
Such a transition necessitates the development of an interdisciplinary approach that draws from all disciplines.
Achieving a better price realisation, effective post-harvest management, competitive value chains, and adoption of related activities can easily account for about one third of the increase in farmers’ income.
This necessitates extensive market, land-lease, and tree-planting changes on privately owned land.
Due to a lack of contemporary resources, including capital and knowledge, agriculture has suffered.
Agriculture needs to be liberalised to draw ethical private investments in production and market.
Similar to FPOs, FPCs can significantly contribute to the promotion of small farm businesses.
Precision farming: There is mounting evidence that agronomic practises like precision farming have the potential to significantly increase farmers’ output and profitability.
Target markets for exports: Select markets with a high export potential for competitive value chains, sign advantageous bilateral or multilateral trade agreements with them, raise production levels for sanitary and phytosanitary standards compliance, and discuss the removal of non-tariff trade barriers.
Value Chain Clusters (VCC) should be resolved holistically with a focus on value addition. The clusters would also help the government to coordinate its spending and programmes and to find any additional funding needed to build the infrastructure required for value addition at competitive costs, promote research and development, and market “Brand India” internationally.
The same is true for current agricultural techniques such as SRI (system of rice intensification), direct seeded rice, zero tillage, raised bed plantation, and ridge plantation, as well as sophisticated equipment like laser land levellers, precision seeders, and planters.
However, the marketability of these publicly developed technology is extremely low.
They need to be strongly promoted in order for farmers to accept them.
The expansion of Indian agriculture has been significantly aided by technological advancements, price support policies, and the availability of subsidised critical inputs like irrigation, fertiliser, and energy.
The Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) program’s policy change from price to income support is thought to be preferable since it would encourage farmers by transferring funds directly to their bank accounts and improve the efficiency of input use, both of which are urgently needed.
In order for agriculture to become a viable source of income, the government should shift its focus from solely providing price support to farmers and instead concentrate on improving infrastructure, reducing the distance between farmers and the market, enacting land reforms, changing policy to increase the flow of credit to farmers, establishing food-processing industries for perishable goods, constructing better irrigation facilities, etc.
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