Mains Q & A 13 May 2023

Mains Q & A 13 May 2023

Q1. The National Land Monetization Corporation will streamline management of government-owned land in addition to generating income from the government's surplus land holdings. Analyse. (250 words)

Paper & Topic: GS II à Government Policies and Interventions


Model Answer:


The development of a National Land Monetization Corporation to monetize the surplus land holdings of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and other governmental organisations was recently approved by the Union cabinet. Given that various government agencies hold sizable amounts of land throughout the nation, turning their “surplus, unused and under-used non-core assets in the nature of land and buildings” into cash is a wise move because it will enable them to use these “under-utilised” assets more effectively.




The National Land Monetization Corporation’s rationale:


A thorough and accurate inventory of the state’s land holdings will not only enable it to recognise surplus land and press for its monetization, but will also enable it to build a database of possible investors.

Clarity for potential investors: Private investors will have more confidence and clarity if land parcels are accurately identified with geographic coordinates, have well defined borders, and have clear legal titles.

Land monetization: Public sector organisations are the owners of substantial amounts of underutilised and underutilised land.

According to sources, there are approximately 1.25 lakh acres of idle land accessible to the railways.

Similar to this, the defence ministry also owns a sizable amount of land outside the cantonment boundaries.

Thus, grouping them under a single organisation will enable more effective asset utilisation and a monetisation effort.

Additional resources: By monetizing these assets, money will be made available that will help the government’s coffers grow. The land in and around desirable places may yield high returns.

Reduce the “artificial” scarcity of land: It’s important to note that auctioning off surplus land will boost the supply, which could help with the “artificial” shortage of land that some regions experience. This might lower prices, which would moderate the impact on project costs.

Separate organisation to simplify management: Since land monetisation is a difficult process, it is best to leave this activity to a different organisation.

It requires “specialised skills and expertise” in fields like “market research, legal due diligence, valuation, master planning, investment banking, and land management,” as the government itself has admitted.

This task is best suited to a separate organisation with personnel with particular abilities.


Existing problems:


First, determining how much land is surplus could be a controversial topic.

The designation of land parcels as “surplus” may be resisted by ministries, departments, and other public sector organisations.

Second, the company will have to deal with problems like unclear titles, ongoing legal disputes, and weak investor enthusiasm.

Third, there is the issue of government property being encroached upon.

Although this monetisation effort should produce more effective results, it does raise concerns about the administration of commons and if the state can better serve the public interest by managing public land more effectively.


Moving ahead:


Other parties must play their proper roles for the infrastructure expansion plan to succeed.

State governments, its PSEs, and the private sector are examples of this.

In light of this, the Fifteenth Finance Commission has recommended the formation of a High-Powered Intergovernmental Group to review the Centre and State fiscal responsibility legislation.


Q2. Despite the fact that nuclear energy is a clean energy source, nuclear reactors are prone to accidents. Examine. (250 words)


Paper & Topic: GS II à Environmental Conservation related issues


Model Answer:




In order to achieve sustainable economic and social development, nuclear energy is essential. Energy is essential to daily life in modern civilisation. Energy is essential to the survival and development of the entire globe. A major contributor to job creation, revenue generation, and global commerce facilitation is nuclear energy.


During a recent armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, a fire recently started nearby the largest nuclear plant in Europe, Zaporizhzhia.




Global nuclear catastrophes include:


Following an earthquake and a tsunami in 2011, numerous reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had serious incidents.

In terms of the number of fatalities and financial costs, the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine in 1986 is the deadliest nuclear power plant accident ever.

At Mayak, a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in the Soviet Union, on September 29, 1957, a radioactive contamination incident known as the Kyshtym Nuclear accident took place. The Chernobyl Disaster and the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster (both Level 7 disasters) are the two most devastating nuclear disasters ever recorded. It measured as a Level 6 disaster on the INES.


Potential of nuclear power as a clean energy source:


With the right technology, India’s massive uranium and thorium reserves might power the country’s nuclear power plants. Natural uranium reserves in India are believed to include 70,000 tonnes of uranium and 360,000 tonnes of thorium. 25% of the world’s thorium reserves are in the nation.

Despite being the third-largest electricity producer, India still has an estimated 20% of its population without access to electricity. With a per capita consumption of 1,181 kWh annually, it is far lower than that of advanced nations and almost half the global average. Peak power and energy shortages both vary from 10% to 15%.

Demand for energy: Nuclear power is essential to India’s future energy security. Given that by 2032, India’s yearly energy demand is predicted to reach 800 GW, it is crucial to take into account all available energy sources while creating the ideal energy mix.

Energy efficiency: Nuclear power facilities require a lot less fuel than thermal power plants do. For instance, 30 to 35 million tonnes of coal would be required to generate 10,000 MW, but just 300 to 350 tonnes of nuclear fuel would be required.

Rapid economic growth is also essential for achieving developmental goals and reducing poverty. Over the coming decades, a consistent economic growth of between 8 and 10 percent is required. Apart from transmission and distribution systems, there must be a significant increase in electrical capacity because it is a major factor in economic growth.

Reduced Energy Supply: The varying weather patterns have had a negative impact on the energy supply. Hydropower and other water-intensive generation methods may be less able to produce electricity when water reservoirs get smaller as a result of less precipitation and more evaporation.

Climate change: Nuclear energy can support international efforts made in accordance with the Paris Agreement because it produces no emissions. India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) outlines goals to increase the capacity of clean energy electricity to 40% of the total installed capacity by 2030 and reduce the carbon emissions intensity of its economy by 33-35% by that time.


Nuclear energy and nuclear reactors are vulnerable:


Concerns about nuclear reactor safety exist in this situation. The devastation that a nuclear release can cause was demonstrated by the Fukushima Daiichi tragedy in Japan in 2011.

As in the case of Chernobyl, a nuclear disaster may render significant tracts of land uninhabitable or necessitate an unaffordable clean-up as in the case of Fukushima, where the ultimate costs may approach $600 billion.

The production of nuclear energy is not as environmentally friendly as frequently assumed. An example of this is the case of Kudankulam. People have been protesting for decades because they are concerned that the hot water being released from the plant will harm the nearby water sources’ marine life and, as a result, their way of life.

Capital-intensive nuclear power stations have experienced significant cost overruns in more recent nuclear construction. The V.C. serves as an exemplary example. A summer nuclear project in South Carolina (U.S.) was abandoned after spending more than $9 billion due to cost overruns.

Nuclear reactor construction also necessitates a sizable quantity of land. Local communities that might not wish to leave would be displaced as a result. Additionally, it is difficult to help them recover and give them fair recompense.

As a result, all nuclear production ceased outside of Russia, China, and India. But as the effects of global warming became more obvious, there was a rebirth.

The Duane Arnold nuclear reactor in the United States had to stop operating in 2020 due to a windstorm. Future extreme weather events are anticipated to occur more frequently.

Proliferation of nuclear weapons may result from commercial nuclear supply. There is a chance that inert uranium used as fuel in fast breeder reactors could instead transform into plutonium. But one nuclear explosive that can be utilised to make a bomb is plutonium.

International worries over China’s potential production of weapons-grade plutonium have been sparked by recent claims that China is building two more fast reactors.


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