Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 23 April 2020

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1. Consider the following statements about Rakhine State Development Programme.
1. It is part of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation mechanism.
2. As part of India’s plans for Rakhine province, India and Myanmar agreed to expedite 12 projects recently.
3. The program includes creation of infrastructure in the areas of education, health, agriculture and allied activities, agro-processing, community development sectors and related training in these areas.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

  1. Answer-d
    Explanation-
    Rakhine State Development Programme
    India will carry out more development projects in the Rakhine province of Myanmar, which is considered the homeland of the Rohingya community. As part of India’s plans for Rakhine province, both sides agreed to expedite 12 projects in Rakhine under the second phase of the Rakhine State Development Programme as part of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation mechanism.
    Recently, India has handed over 250 pre-fabricated houses to Myanmar for use of displaced returnees from Bangladesh.
    The Indian government had taken up the project under its Rakhine State Development Programme (RSDP).
    India signed a development programme for Rakhine State in Myanmar in late 2017 which was designed to assist the Myanmar government in Rakhine State to build housing infrastructure for displaced Rohingyas.
    The program includes creation of infrastructure in the areas of education, health, agriculture and allied activities, agro-processing, community development sectors and related training in these areas.
    More than 700,000 minority Rohingya Muslims fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine state to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017, triggering a massive refugee crisis.
    Rohingya
    Rohingya are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group, largely comprising Muslims, who predominantly live in the Western Myanmar province of Rakhine.
    They speak a dialect of Bengali, as opposed to the commonly spoken Burmese language.
    They are not recognised by the Myanmar government as an official ethnic group and are therefore denied citizenship.
    While it is claimed that there were no Rohingyas in Myanmar before the British brought Bengalis‘to Burma, there is sufficient evidence to show for the Rohingyas‘pre-existence.
    They are often said to be the world’s most persecuted minority.
    Thousands of Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar, many of whom are moving to Bangladesh and India, which is leading to a refugee crisis.

2. Consider the following statements with respect to the MH60R Multi Role Helicopters (MRH).
1. It is the most capable and mature Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) multi-mission helicopter.
2. It have equipped with anti-submarine Mark 54 torpedoes and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, along with precision-kill rockets.
3. These Helicopters are capable of airborne low frequency sonar, electronic support measures and tactical communications.
4. The United States Department of State has approved the sale of 24 MH-60R-MRH to India under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) All of the above

 

2. Answer-d
Explanation-
MH-60 Romeo helicopters
The incoming 24 multirole MH-60 Romeo helicopters are expected to boost the Indian Navy’s efforts to expand its role in the Indian Ocean Region.
These helicopters are being procured as replacement for 15 Sea King Anti Submarine Warfare helicopters and Sea King 42B MRH.
The MH-60 Romeo Seahawk, made by defence giant Lockheed Martin, is one of the most advanced naval helicopters in the world, used by the US Navy among others.
It is the most capable and mature Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) multi-mission helicopter available in the world today, the makers say.
MH-60 Romeo Seahawks have equipped with anti-submarine Mark 54 torpedoes and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, along with precision-kill rockets.
It also has an advanced system for passive detection, location, and identification of emitters. It can not only track and hunt ships but is also used by the US Navy as an anti-submarine weapon.
These Helicopters are capable of airborne low frequency sonar, electronic support measures and tactical communications.

3. Consider the following statements regarding the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
1. It was enacted for providing a higher level of protection to the forests and to regulate diversion of forest lands for non forestry purposes.
2. Prior approval of the Central Government is essential for De-reservation of forest lands and / or diversion of forest lands for non-forestry purposes is required under this.
3. The Central Government may constitute a Committee consisting of such number of persons as it in may deem fit to advise that Government.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

3. Answer-d
Explanation-
The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
The Forest (Conservation) Act was enacted for providing a higher level of protection to the forests and to regulate diversion of forest lands for non forestry purposes. FC ACT, 1980 – Prior approval of the Central Government is essential for DE-reservation of forest lands and / or diversion of forest lands for non-forestry purposes.
The Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 An Act to provide for the conservation of forests and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto. Be it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty-first year of the Republic of India.
With a view to checking further deforestation, the Forest (Conservation) Ordinance, 1980 had been promulgated on 25th October, 1980. The present Act has replaced the said Ordinance and contains similar provisions.
Restriction on the de-reservation of forests or use of forest land for non forest purpose: Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force in a State, no State Government or other authority shall make, except with the prior approval of the Central Government, any order directing-
(i) that any reserved forest (within the meaning of the expression “reserved forest” in any law for the time being in force in that State) or any portion thereof, shall cease to be reserved;
(ii) that any forest land or any portion thereof may be used for any non-forest purposes;
(iii) that any forest land or any portion thereof may be assigned by way of lease of otherwise to any private person or to any authority, corporation, agency or any other Organisation not owned, managed or controlled by Government. (iv) that any forest land or any portion thereof may be cleared of trees which have grown naturally in that land or portion, for the purpose of using it for afforestation.
Explanation:- For the purpose of this section “non-forest purpose” means the breaking or clearing of any forest land or portion thereof for- (a) the cultivation of tea, coffee, species, rubber, palms, oil-bearing plants, horticultural crops of medicinal plants; (b) any purpose other than reafforestation, but does not include any work relating or ancillary to conservation, Development and management of forests and wildlife, namely, the establishment of check-posts, fire lines, wireless communications and Construction of fencing, bridges and culverts, dams, waterholes, trench marks, boundary marks, pipelines or other like purposes.
Constitution of Advisory Committee:- The Central Government may constitute a Committee consisting of such number of persons as it in may deem fit to advise that Government with regard to- (i) the grant of approval
(ii) any other matter connected with the conservation of forests which may be referred to it by the Central Government.
(iii) Penalty for contravention of the provisions of the Act: shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a period which may extend to fifteen days.
Government departments:- (1) Where any offence under this Act has been committed. (a) by any department of Government the head of the department; or (b) by any authority, every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was directly in charge of and was responsible to, the authority for the conduct of the business of the authority was well as the authority; shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render the head of the department or any person referred to the clause (b), liable to any punishment if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence punishable under the Act has been committed by a department of Government or any authority referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (1) and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of; or is attributable to any neglect on the part of any officer, other than the head of the department or in the case of an authority, any person other than the persons referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (1), such officer or persons shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.] 4. Power to make rules: (1) The Central Government may by notification in the Official Gazette, makes rules for carrying out the provisions of this Act. (2) Every rule made under this Act shall be laid as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule. 5. -Repeal and saving:- (1) The Forest (Conservation) Ordinance, 1980 (17 of 1980), is hereby repealed. (2) Notwithstanding such repeal, anything done or any action taken under the provisions of the said Ordinance shall be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding provisions of this Act. 2

4. Consider the following statements regarding the Eastern Ghats of India.
1. It meets with the Western Ghats at the Nilgiri hills.
2. It is older than Western Ghats.
3. The highest peak of the Eastern Ghats is the Mahendragiri.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

4. Answer-d
Explanation-
Eastern Ghats
Eastern Ghats run almost parallel to the east coast of India leaving broad plains between their base and the coast. Unlike the Western Ghats, they are discontinuous in nature and are dissected by the rivers that drain into the Bay of Bengal.
Most of these rivers have their origin in the Western Ghats. It is a chain of highly broken and detached hills starting from the Mahanadi in Odisha to the Vagai in Tamil Nadu.
It must be noted that the Eastern Ghats are lower in elevation than the Western Ghats.
The highest peak of the Eastern Ghats is the Mahendragiri. The difference in the elevation levels of the highest peaks in both the ghats can also be compared.
Anaimudi which is the highest peak of the Western Ghats has a height of 2695 mts whereas Mahendragiri of Eastern Ghats is of 1501 mts. This gives us a fair idea of the differences in elevation levels of the hills in both the ghats. The main crop produced in the Eastern Ghats is the Rice, which is also the staple food of the people living in the region.
It must be noted that the Western and the Eastern Ghats meet at the Nilgiri hills.
Eastern Ghats almost disappear between the Godavari and the Krishna. They lose their hilly character and are occupied by Gondwana formations (KG Basin is here).
They are eroded and cut through by four major rivers viz. Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna and Kaveri.
Eastern Ghats are older than Western Ghats.
It receives an annual rainfall of 1200mm to 1500 mm.
Significance of Eastern Ghats
Fostering biodiversity and storing energy in trees.
In these mountains exist a reservoir of about 3,000 flowering plant species, nearly 100 of them endemic, occurring in the dry deciduous, moist deciduous and semi-evergreen landscapes.
Many animals, including tigers and elephants, and some 400 bird species are found in these discontinuous forests.
Provides ecosystem services to millions.
Modulating Climate especially during the retreat of Monsoons (North Eastern Monsoon)
Eastern Ghats faces a threat from Climate Change
Disruption of the annual average temperature and diminished rainfall would decrease the productivity of these forests, in terms of their ability to store carbon, and provide subsistence material.
It also leads to impoverishment of areas experiencing rainfall reduction in the driest quarter of the year and a rise in seasonal temperature reflected in reduced plant species diversity
By some estimates, the Ghats have shrunk by 16% over the past century, and just one region, Papikonda National Park (Andhra Pradesh), lost about 650 sq. km. in two decades from 1991.

5. Consider the following statements regarding the Public distribution system (PDS).
1. It is an Indian food Security System established under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution.
2. PDS is operated under the joint responsibility of the Central and the State Governments.
3. Food Corporation of India (FCI) has assumed the responsibility for procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of food grains to the State Governments.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

5. Answer-d
Explanation-
Public Distribution System
The Public distribution system (PDS) is an Indian food Security System established under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution.
PDS evolved as a system of management of scarcity through distribution of food grains at affordable prices.
PDS is operated under the joint responsibility of the Central and the State Governments.
The Central Government, through Food Corporation of India (FCI), has assumed the responsibility for procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of food grains to the State Governments.
The operational responsibilities including allocation within the State, identification of eligible families, issue of Ration Cards and supervision of the functioning of Fair Price Shops (FPSs) etc., rest with the State Governments.
Under the PDS, presently the commodities namely wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene are being allocated to the States/UTs for distribution. Some States/UTs also distribute additional items of mass consumption through the PDS outlets such as pulses, edible oils, iodized salt, spices, etc.
Evolution of PDS in India
PDS was introduced around World War II as a war-time rationing measure. Before the 1960s, distribution through PDS was generally dependant on imports of food grains.
It was expanded in the 1960s as a response to the food shortages of the time; subsequently, the government set up the Agriculture Prices Commission and the FCI to improve domestic procurement and storage of food grains for PDS.
By the 1970s, PDS had evolved into a universal scheme for the distribution of subsidised food
Till 1992, PDS was a general entitlement scheme for all consumers without any specific target.
The Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) was launched in June, 1992 with a view to strengthen and streamline the PDS as well as to improve its reach in the far-flung, hilly, remote and inaccessible areas where a substantial section of the underprivileged classes lives.
In June, 1997, the Government of India launched the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) with a focus on the poor.
Under TPDS, beneficiaries were divided into two categories: Households below the poverty line or BPL; and Households above the poverty line or APL.
Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY): AAY was a step in the direction of making TPDS aim at reducing hunger among the poorest segments of the BPL population.
A National Sample Survey exercise pointed towards the fact that about 5% of the total population in the country sleeps without two square meals a day. In order to make TPDS more focused and targeted towards this category of population, the “Antyodaya Anna Yojana” (AAY) was launched in December, 2000 for one crore poorest of the poor families.
In September 2013, Parliament enacted the National Food Security Act, 2013. The Act relies largely on the existing TPDS to deliver food grains as legal entitlements to poor households. This marks a shift by making the right to food a justiciable right.
How PDS system functions?
The Central and State Governments share responsibilities in order to provide food grains to the identified beneficiaries.
The centre procures food grains from farmers at a minimum support price (MSP) and sells it to states at central issue prices. It is responsible for transporting the grains to godowns in each state.
States bear the responsibility of transporting food grains from these godowns to each fair price shop (ration shop), where the beneficiary buys the food grains at the lower central issue price. Many states further subsidise the price of food grains before selling it to beneficiaries.
Importance of PDS
It helps in ensuring Food and Nutritional Security of the nation.
It has helped in stabilising food prices and making food available to the poor at affordable prices.
It maintains the buffer stock of food grains in the warehouse so that the flow of food remains active even during the period of less agricultural food production.
It has helped in redistribution of grains by supplying food from surplus regions of the country to deficient regions.
The system of minimum support price and procurement has contributed to the increase in food grain production.
Issues Associated with PDS System in India
Identification of beneficiaries: Studies have shown that targeting mechanisms such as TPDS are prone to large inclusion and exclusion errors. This implies that entitled beneficiaries are not getting food grains while those that are ineligible are getting undue benefits.
According to the estimation of an expert group set up in 2009, PDS suffers from nearly 61% error of exclusion and 25% inclusion of beneficiaries, i.e. the misclassification of the poor as non-poor and vice versa.
Leakage of food grains: (Transportation leakages + Black Marketing by FPS owners) TPDS suffers from large leakages of food grains during transportation to and from ration shops into the open market. In an evaluation of TPDS, the erstwhile Planning Commission found 36% leakage of PDS rice and wheat at the all-India level.
Issue with procurement: Open-ended Procurement i.e., all incoming grains accepted even if buffer stock is filled, creates a shortage in the open market.
Issues with storage: A performance audit by the CAG has revealed a serious shortfall in the government’s storage capacity.
Given the increasing procurement and incidents of rotting food grains, the lack of adequate covered storage is bound to be a cause for concern.
The provision of minimum support price (MSP) has encouraged farmers to divert land from production of coarse grains that are consumed by the poor, to rice and wheat and thus, discourages crop diversification.
Environmental issues: The over-emphasis on attaining self-sufficiency and a surplus in food grains, which are water-intensive, has been found to be environmentally unsustainable.
Procuring states such as Punjab and Haryana are under environmental stress, including rapid groundwater depletion, deteriorating soil and water conditions from overuse of fertilisers.
It was found that due to cultivation of rice in north-west India, the water table went down by 33 cm per year during 2002-08.
PDS Reforms
Role of Aadhar: Integrating Aadhar with TPDS will help in better identification of beneficiaries and address the problem of inclusion and exclusion errors. According to a study by the Unique Identification Authority of India, using Aadhaar with TPDS would help eliminate duplicate and ghost (fake) beneficiaries, and make identification of beneficiaries more accurate.
Technology-based reforms of TPDS implemented by states: Wadhwa Committee, appointed by the Supreme court, found that certain states had implemented computerisation and other technology-based reforms to TPDS. Technology-based reforms helped plug leakages of food grains during TPDS.
Tamil Nadu implements a universal PDS, such that every household is entitled to subsidised food grains.
States such as Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have implemented IT measures to streamline TPDS, through the digitisation of ration cards, the use of GPS tracking of delivery, and the use of SMS based monitoring by citizens.
PDS vs. Cash Transfers
National Food Security Act, 2013 provides for reforms in the TPDS including schemes such as Cash transfers for provisioning of food entitlements.
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) aims to:
Reduce the need for huge physical movement of food grains
Provide greater autonomy to beneficiaries to choose their consumption basket
Enhance dietary diversity
Reduce leakages
Facilitate better targeting
Promote financial inclusion