Gist of Editorials

Gist of Editorials: Farming in a Warming World (The Hindu) | GS – III

Gist of Editorials: Farming in a Warming World (The Hindu) | GS – III

Relevance : GS Paper III (Ecology and Environment)

[850 words reduced to 150]


  • The world has become 1°C warmer because of human activities.
  • Indian agriculture amid increasing warming
    • high monsoon dependence and 85% small and marginal landholdings make it highly sensitive
    • less than normal rainfall during the last four years
    • 2014 and 2015 were drought years
    • escalation in heat waves is affecting crops, aquatic systems and livestock.
    • farm income losses could rise to 20%-25% for unirrigated areas
  • Steps needed to build climate resilient agriculture
    • reshaping both the micro- and macro-level decision-making.
    • Corroborating traditional wisdom with climate assessments
    • promoting climate resilient technologies
    • practices such as inter cropping , crop-rotation; shift to non-farm activities; insurance covers
    • educating farmers by reorienting Krishi Vigyan Kendras and other grass-root organisations
    • mainstreaming climate adaptations in the developmental framework
    • improving irrigation efficiency, satellite-enabled agriculture risk management, providing customised real time data, etc.
    • interventions such as the PMKSY, PMFBY, Soil Health Card, PKVY, e-NAM
    • greater expertise and consultations
  • Efforts to make agriculture climate-resilient must be scaled up and consolidated.

 

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Gist of Editorials: Anchored in Human Rights (The Hindu) | GS – II

Gist of Editorials: Anchored in Human Rights (The Hindu) | GS – II

Relevance : GS Paper II (Indian Economy)

[900 words reduced to 100]


  • TB has become one of the leading cause of adult deaths although it is curable and preventable.
  • Signs of change
    • Use of microchips to track patients
    • short course (DOTS) strategy, which requires reporting every day to a health authority
    • use of tablets, phones and drones for surveillance of TB patients.
  • Way forward
    • availability of affordable generics of bedaquiline and delamanid.
    • Deployment of trained community health-care workers in sufficient numbers
    • Community-based structures to ensure accountability and foster partnership
    • Participation of grassroots civil society
  • We can only beat TB using a human rights approach which does not control people with TB, rather treat them as partners.

 

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Gist of Editorials: Quick Fix for the Farmer (Indian Express) | GS – III

Gist of Editorials: Quick Fix for the Farmer (Indian Express) | GS – III

Relevance : GS Paper III (Indian Economy)

[1000 words reduced to 150]


  • Recently, thousands of farmers held protest in Delhi.
  • Demands of farmers:
    • debate in Parliament on farm distress;
    • one-time loan waiver; and
    • raising MSPs and making them legally binding on private traders
  • Rationality of these demands:
    • debate would help understand and address farm distress better
    • loan waivers will largely help the well-off farmers, and will also hit public investments in agriculture adversely
    • an MSP formula based on just cost and ignoring demand would be inefficient
    • making MSP legally binding will turn out to be anti-farmer as it will discourage private traders
  • Way forward
    • need of reforms in agri-markets
    • encouraging contract farming, futures trading, etc.
    • investments to improve the functioning of markets
    • thinking of a sustained income support for farmers.
    • financial inclusion of small and marginal farmers
    • implementation of PM’s AASHA by state govts.
  • Quick fix of loan waivers is not a solution of farm distress.

 

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Gist of Editorials: Death in the Air (The Hindu) | GS – III

Gist of Editorials: Death in the Air (The Hindu) | GS – III

Relevance : GS Paper III (Ecology & Environment)

[500 words reduced to 150]


  • Air pollution has killed an estimated 1.24 million people in India in 2017.
  • Extent of air pollution
    • Millions face premature death
    • PM2.5 is at 40 micrograms per cubic metre
  • Paying greater attention to air quality can increase life expectancy by approx. 2 years in worst affected areas.
  • Way forward
    • Sustainable solutions for stubble-burning and use of solid fuels in households
    • Ensure that the machinery to handle agricultural waste is in place and working in Punjab and Haryana
    • A mechanism for rapid collection of farm residues has to be instituted.
    • New approaches to recover value from biomass should be explored.
    • The potential of domestic biogas units, solar cookers and improved biomass cookstoves has to be explored.
    • India’s commitments under the Paris Agreement need to be modified.
    • real-time measurement of pollution should be ensured.
  • Rapid progress on clean air now depends on citizens making it a front-line political issue.

 

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Gist of Editorials: A Shot in the Arm (Indian Express) | GS – II

Gist of Editorials: A Shot in the Arm (Indian Express) | GS – II

Relevance: GS Paper II (Development & Welfare)

[850 words reduced to 250]


  • The under-five mortality rates In India have declined considerably from 126 in 1990 to 39 in 2017.
  • The journey of Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) has been further bolstered by Mission Indradhanush.
  • The importance of vaccines in India
    • Around 27 million children are born every year in India.
    • India also has the largest burden of under-five mortality.
    • 0.1 million children die due to rotavirus-induced diarrhoea .
    • Unimmunised and partially-immunised children are most vulnerable to diseases and disability.
  • Challenges to vaccination programme
    • Low full immunisation coverage (65 per cent),
    • limited basket of vaccines and,
    • quality and logistics of vaccine management
  • Mission Indradhanush
    • To hasten the coverage to at least 90 per cent till 2020, the Mission Indradhanush was launched in 2014.
    • seven vaccines would be given to all children and pregnant women who have missed out.
    • It would cover all far-flung areas.
    • To focus onto the least vaccinated areas, MI has been transformed into “Intensified Mission Indradhanush” (IMI)
    • There is a sharper focus on surveillance activities
    • It has led to increase to 7 per cent in full immunisation coverage in one year from 1 per cent in the past.
    • aims to achieve 90 per cent immunisation by December 2018.
    • aims to achieve SDG-3 by 2030
  • An immunisation programme is the most cost-effective public health intervention.

 

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Gist of Editorials: An Invitation to Corruption (The Hindu) | GS – II

Gist of Editorials: An Invitation to Corruption (The Hindu) | GS – II

Relevance : GS Paper II (Polity & Governance)

[1300 words reduced to 125]


  • The government recently introduced an Electoral Bond Scheme to cleanse the mechanism of funding to political parties.
  • Problems with the scheme:
    • There is no ceiling on party expenditure and the EC cannot monitor it
    • The scheme permits “every artificial juridical person,” to purchase bonds
    • The scheme allows for complete anonymity of the donor
    • Now, even loss-making entities can make unlimited contributions
    • Now, even shell companies can donate
  • Violation of the constitution
    • The legislation was passed as a money bill under Article 110, which it does not seem to be.
    • The scheme subverts the fundamental rights since due to anonymity of the donor, a citizen cannot meaningfully participate in politics.
  • The electoral bonds scheme, unless improved, may damage India’s democratic edifice.

 

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Gist of Editorials: Still on the Last Chance Saloon (The Hindu) | GS – III

Gist of Editorials: Still on the Last Chance Saloon (The Hindu) | GS – III

Relevance : GS Paper III (Ecology & Environment)

[1200 words reduced to 200]


  • Average global temperatures have crossed a degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • Purpose of the COP 24 is to agree on a rulebook to implement pledges made by the Paris Agreement.
  • In the NDCs each country described the actions it would for mitigation and adaptation and the financial and technological support it needed.
  • Article 9 of the Paris Agreement calls for financial support from developed countries and article 9.5 requires them to communicate their levels of support.
  • The Hurdles
    • Estimate of adaptation is complicated and has not yet developed.
    • Little progress on finance, technology transfer and capacity development.
    • Multilateral funds pledged until 2017 are less than $30 billion,.
    • Double counting and counting of development aid.
    • Inability to have any agreement between developing and rich countries.
    • occupation of atmospheric carbon space by rich countries, leaving little room for poor nations.
    • the Kyoto Protocol has not been ratified yet
    • developed countries are not doing their duties much better
    • Developed nations are still reliant on oil and coal.
  • Way forward
    • Reliable climate flows required from developed countries.
    • Rich countries must alter their lifestyles considerably
    • support to poor countries experiencing losses from climate change events.
  • Earth is heading to be 3-4º C warmer by the end of the century. Drastic steps are needed to prevent the destruction of ecosystems and the mass extinction of species.

 

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Gist of Editorials: Short on Nuance (Indian Express) | GS – III

Gist of Editorials: Short on Nuance (Indian Express) | GS – III

Relevance : GS Paper III (Science and Technology)

[1000 words reduced to 250]


  • B N Srikrishna committee has prepared a draft data protection bill.
  • Pros of the committee
    • inclusive functioning style
    • recommendations such as setting up of an independent data protection authority
    • suggestion that the Aadhaar Act requires several modifications
    • recognition given to data portability.
  • Cons of the committee
    • Suggestion that the UIDAI be both the data fiduciary and the regulator for Aadhaar.
    • suggestion that even though personal data can be transferred outside India, data fiduciaries will be required to store a local copy.
    • cliched vocabulary and superficial treatment of several important issues, for example, data quality and data storage limitation
    • failure to define clear-cut guidelines for the safe use of artificial intelligence and big-data analytics
    • has not carefully evaluated the data processing requirements of the diverse private sector
  • Way forward
    • investigation of the nuances of digital identity and guidelines
    • analysis of the extent to which personal information needs to be revealed
    • understanding of the possible pathways of information leaks
    • analysis of the possibilities of privacy preserving tools, techniques and protocols from computer science
    • improved data processing methods for tax compliance, corruption control, etc.
    • digitisation, surveillance and processing of large-scale personal transactional data
    • analyses of how such surveillance can be achieved without enabling undesirable mass surveillance
    • balancing the conflicting requirements of individual privacy and the benefits of large-scale data processing
    • defining the requirements and standards of access control, and protection against both external and insider attacks
    • availing the benefits from computer science
    • participation of civil society

 

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Gist of Editorials: Cutting through the Smog (The Hindu) | GS – III

Gist of Editorials: Cutting through the Smog (The Hindu) | GS – III

Relevance : GS Paper III (Ecology & Environment)

[900 words reduced to 150]


  • Air pollution in north India has largely been attributed to stubble burning.
  • Farmers are held responsible for the crisis but policies of the Central and State governments are at fault.
  • How to tackle stubble burning?
    • crop diversification towards less water-intensive crops
    • strengthen the production and marketing of alternative crops
    • providing farmers an investment support and withdraw price-based support
    • an app-based support system, to rent out tractors and farm implements
    • effective use of paddy straw
    • framers should be given options such as biomass generation
    • use of geospatial techniques to identify areas where stubble burning is severe
    • encourage installation of biomass plants in areas of high stubble burning
    • Incentivize farmers to sell the residual for additional income
  • Incidents of stubble burning can be averted by long-term vision and strategic policy interventions.

 

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Gist of Editorials: Rethinking the Gulf (Indian Express) | GS – II

Gist of Editorials: Rethinking the Gulf (Indian Express) | GS – II

Relevance : GS Paper II (International Relations)

[900 words reduced to 200]


  • India’s relations with Gulf countries have considerably improved:
    • growing volumes of energy imports
    • substantive investments from the Gulf
    • there are 7 million Indian migrant workers in the region
    • Gulf is among India’s top trading partners.
    • high-level engagement between has blossomed
    • growing security cooperation, especially on counter-terrorism
    • Increasing defence cooperation.
  • The roadblocks:
    • India’s too strong focus on the bilateral relations
    • Delhi is paying too little attention to the growing weight of the Gulf in regional affairs
  • Significance of Gulf nations
    • Saudi Arabia has played a critical role in shaping the world energy markets
    • The UAE has become a small but important cosmopolitan centre.
    • construction of a moderate Arab centre envisaged by UAE is very much in India’s interest
    • growing impact of the Gulf countries in the Indian Ocean region.
    • recent success of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in brokering peace between Ethiopia and
    • Eritrea
    • shaping the geopolitics of their neighbouring regions.
    • eager to collaborate with India on development and strategic infrastructure
    • taking greater responsibility for managing the regional order
  • India needs an integrated regional strategy to secure its ever-rising stakes in the Middle East and the Western Indian Ocean.

 

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