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MAINS Q/A 10-05-2018

Q1. The by-passing from the agriculture sector to the service sector is not an issue till the labour is made more productive.

World Economic Outlook (WEO) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) discusses the trends in manufacturing jobs and their implications. Chapter 3, by Bertrand Gruss and Natalija Novta, concludes that the decline in manufacturing jobs is not necessarily a cause of concern.


  • The belief that a smaller manufacturing sector implies slower economic growth and a scarcity of well-paying jobs for low- and middle-skilled workers—therefore contributing to worsening inequality—might not hold true.
  • The authors, in fact, provide evidence that the declining share of manufacturing jobs need not hurt growth or raise inequality, provided the right policies are in place.

The key takeaways from the chapter are the following:

* The decline in the share of the manufacturing sector in employment might not have an adverse impact on growth and income equality;

* Some services sub-sectors can match the productivity levels of manufacturing;

* Bypassing traditional industrialization and shift of employment from the agriculture sector directly to the services sector need not hurt growth; and

* Policies should aim at enhancing productivity across sectors and make gains from productivity more inclusive. This is of extreme relevance to India given that there is concern about loss of jobs and, at the same time, there is a big push towards the Make-in-India initiative.

  • In India, like in many other developing economies, workers are shifting from agriculture to services, bypassing the manufacturing sector. Compared to the 1950s, the share of agriculture in India’s GDP has more than halved, and the share of industry and services has more than doubled.
  • However, the share of agriculture in employment has not come down drastically, with the sector still accounting for almost 50% of overall employment. In the recent decades, the manufacturing sector, too, has been a laggard in capturing the share in employment and has lost it to the services sector.


This skewed labour and output distribution has implications for India’s labour productivity. Data by the Conference Board—the global business membership and research association—shows that while India’s labour productivity has improved by 70% over the last decade, the overall productivity levels still lag behind those of other developing Asian economies. The difference with the developed economies is even starker. For instance, the productivity levels in Germany and the US are 5.1 and 6.8 times of India, respectively. The pace of productivity growth, too, has stagnated.


Q2. What is the current status of Bio-mass energy production in India and what are the challenges in this sector?

India has over 5,940 MW biomass based power plants comprising 4,946 MW grid connected and 994 MW off-grid power plants. Out of the total grid connected capacity, major share comes from bagasse cogeneration and around 115 MW is from waste to energy power plants. Whereas off-grid capacity comprises 652 MW non bagasse cogeneration, mainly as captive power plants, about 18 MW biomass gasifier systems being used for meeting electricity needs in rural areas, and 164 MW equivalent biomass gasifier systems deployed for thermal applications in industries.

Considering the present status of biomass based power generation and thermal applications, it is expected that only about 30-35 million tonnes of surplus biomass is being used annually for the existing and ongoing biomass projects. According to the Biomass Resource Atlas (2002-04) prepared by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, more than 300 districts in India have biomass potential between 10-100 MW.

Major Barriers and Challenges

  • Unlike solar and wind, biomass is relatively a much reliable source of renewable energy free of fluctuation and does not need storage as is the case with solar. But it is not the preferred renewable energy source till now, mainly due to the challenges involved in ensuring reliable biomass supply chain.
  • This is because of the wide range in its physical properties and fluctuation in availability round the year depending on cropping patterns. Biomass from agriculture is available only for a short period after its harvesting, which can stretch only for 2-3 months in a year. So there is a need to have robust institutional and market mechanism for efficient procurement of the required quantity of biomass, within this stipulated short time, and safe storage till it is finally used.
  • Some of the major barriers faced in faster realization of available biomass power potential for a variety of end use applications are (i) inadequate information on biomass availability, (ii) absence of organized formal biomass markets, (iii) problems associated with management of biomass collection, transportation, processing and storage; problems associated with setting up large size biomass plants, (iv) non-availability of cost effective sub megawatt systems for conversion of biomass to energy in a decentralized manner, and (v) lack of capability to generate bankable projects on account of financial and liquidity problems, etc.
  • The major challenge in ensuring sustained biomass supply at reasonable prices are: Increasing competing usage of biomass resources, leading to higher opportunity costs; unorganized nature of biomass market, which is characterized by lack of mechanization in agriculture sector, defragmented land holdings, and vast number of small or marginal farmers. Another major challenge is the cost of biomass storage and transportation to power plants, which is consistently rising rapidly with time.
  • There is the need to evolve a robust organized biomass market through innovative business models, motivating rural entrepreneurs to take up the responsibility of supplying biomass to processing facilities. There is also the need to develop and exploit energy plantations to take up energy crops on marginal and degraded land, as a substitute for crop wastes.
  • Some of the Indian states leading the pack in establishing biomass based power supply are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Chhattisgarh. Ironically, many states with agriculture based economy, despite good biomass power potential, have not properly been able to utilize the opportunity and figure low in biomass power achievements.
  • Only Uttar Pradesh in north India has utilized large part of the biomass potential, which can be attributed to its sugarcane industry, with cogeneration power plants. There is also wide variation in tariff being offered for biomass power plants in different states. Government policy can play a big role in enhancing the viability of biomass power plants and in supporting investment growth in the biomass power sector in states with high biomass power potential.


Q3. Groundwater is the world’s most extracted raw material, supplying and sustaining a range of human activity.Comment

Yet, because it is invisible and it’s supply often taken for granted, it is often inadequately acknowledged in policy and debates about the preservation of groundwater commons and aquifers. At best, it is usually shrouded in inaccessible scientific terminology.

India is responsible for 25% of the global annual total of groundwater extracted. China and the US follow, but together they don’t account for as much as India extracts on its own.

According to a 2005 study from the International Water Management Institute, India’s groundwater use went from about 7km³ in 1940 to about 270 km³ over the past decade. There was a particularly steep rise in the late 70s and 80s; while many would attribute that to the Green Revolution, The Green Revolution was also linked with the building of big dams, which former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru called the temples of modern India. The real revolution that happened in agriculture was by our small and marginal farmers and happened parallel to what the government talked off.


India’s anomalous trajectory with groundwater has created a series of problems across several districts, particularly in the agriculture-heavy belts. Reserves are over-exploited or contaminated with chemicals like arsenic that occur at deeper levels of groundwater.


Punjab alone showed a deficiency of billions of cubic meters; to reverse the trend only enough to restore groundwater to normal levels would take up to 30 years. He compared those figures with districts in Orissa, where groundwater tables are more healthy, but warned that there has been recent talk of taking the Green Revolution to parts of eastern India that could be ‘exploited’. “We have to ask, when there is talk of taking the green revolution to eastern India, if there is a strategy for doing this,” he said. We must also consider, he said that the eastern parts of the country are the ones that in recent years have seen a depletion of rainfall.


Reliable data lacking

Giving overall figures for India’s dependence on groundwater, groundwater supply is 80% to 95% of rural drinking water, 60% to 70% of water used in agriculture, and 50% of urban drinking water. It is lamentable, he said, that that there are no reliable data sets for the percentage of groundwater used by industry, which usually clubbed along with domestic water use.

Since drilling technology and hand pumps were introduced in India in response to the drought of 1972,

Since 1950, the total share of groundwater in irrigation has nearly doubled, and that is used by 15% to 20% of all agricultural land. The situation, he said, calls for the urgent need for community-based groundwater management and an understanding of how to build and maintain the aquifers that hold and supply groundwater. “Unless a doomsday scenario is created I don’t think people will wake up.”


Q4. 20 Causes behind the Downfall of the Mughals in India

In the words of Stanely Lane-Poole, “As some imperial corpse preserved for age in its dead seclusion, crowned and armed and still majestic, yet falls to the dust at the breath of heaven, so fell the Empire of the Mughals when the great name that guarded it was no more.”

  1. A. Smith writes, “The collapse of the Empire came with a suddenness which at first sight may seem surprising. But the student who has acquired even a moderately sound knowledge of history will be surprised that the Empire lasted so long rather than it collapsed suddenly.”

There were many causes which were responsible for the downfall of the Mughal Empire; some of them were as follows:

(1) Religious Policy of Aurangzeb:

The most important cause of the downfall of the Mughal Empire was the religious policy of Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb alienated the sympathy and support of the Hindus by committing all sorts of atrocities on them. He imposed Jajiya on all the Hindus in the country. Even the Rajputs and Brahmans were not spared. He dismissed the Hindu Officials from state service and allowed only those to continue who were prepared to embrace Islam.

(2) The Deccan Policy of Aurangzeb:

The Deccan policy of Aurangzeb was also partly responsible for the downfall of the Mughal Empire. Aurangzeb was bent upon crushing the power of the Marathas. He found that the States of Bijapur and Golcunda were a source of help to the Marathas who were employed in those states in large numbers. They occupied important places of trust and authority in civil administration.

(3) Revolts in Provinces of the Empire:

Another cause of the downfall of the Mughal Fmpire was the revolts in various provinces of the Empire. During the Reign of Aurangzeb, no provincial Governor could dare to defy his authority. However, there were many who were secretly hostile to him.

(4) Size of the Mughal Empire Became unwieldy:

In the time of Aurangzeb, the size of the Mughal Empire became unwieldy. It became physically impossible for any man to govern the same from one centre when the means of communication and transport were not developed. A centralised despotic Government was not suited to the needs of the time.

(5) Weak Successors of Aurangzebs:

Another cause of Mughal downfall was the weak successors of Aurangzeb. If they had been intelligent and brilliant, they could have stopped the decline that set in during the Reign of Aurangzeb. Unfortunately, most of them were worthless they were busy in their luxuries and intrigues and did nothing to remedy the evils that had crept into the Mughal Polity. Bahadur Shah I was 63 years of age when he ascended the throne in 1707 and did not possess the energy to perform the onerous duties of the state. He tried to keep the various parties and courtiers satisfied by offering them liberal grants, titles, rewards etc.

 (6) Absence of the Law of Primogeniture in the Matter of Succession:

Another cause was the absence of the law of primogeniture in the matter of succession to the throne. The result was that every Mughal Prince considered himself to be equally fit to become the ruler and was prepared to fight out his claim. To quote Erskine, “The sword was the grand arbiter of right and every son was prepared to try his fortune against his brothers.” After the death of Bahadur Shah, the various claimants to the throne were merely used as tools by the leaders of rival factions to promote their own personal interests.

(7) Gradual Deterioration in the character of the Mughal Kings:

Another cause of Mughal downfall was the gradual deterioration in the character of the Mughal Kings. It is said that when Babur attacked India, he swam all the rivers on the way. He was so strong that he could run on the wall of a fort while carrying men in his-arms. Unmindful of the difficulties confronting him, Humayun was able to win back his throne after the lapse of many years.

(8) Degeneration of the Mughal Nobility:

There was also the degeneration of the Mughal nobility. When the Mughals came to India, they had a hardy character. Too much of wealth, luxury and leisure softened their character. Their harems became full. They got wine in plenty. They went in palanquins to the battle-fields. Such nobles were not fit to fight against the Marathas, the Rajputs and the Sikhs.

(9) Deterioration and Demoralisation in the Mughal Army:

Another cause of Mughal downfall was the deterioration and demoralisation in the Mughal Army. The abundance of riches of India, the use of wine and comforts had their evil effects on the Mughal Army and nothing was done to stop the deterioration.

(10) Mughals Suffered from Intellectual Bankruptcy:

The Mughals suffered from intellectual Bankruptcy. That was partly due to the lack of an efficient system of education in the country which alone could produce leaders of thought. The result was that the Mughals failed to produce any political genius or leader who could “teach the country a new philosophy of life and to kindle aspirations after a new heaven on earth.

 (11) Mughal Empire Faced Financial Bankruptcy:

After the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire faced financial bankruptcy. The beginning had already been made in the time of Aurangzeb and after his death; the system of farming of taxes was resorted to. Although the Government did not get much by this method, the people were ruined. They were taxed to such an extent that they lost all incentive to production.

 (12) The Mughal Rule was Alien to the Indian Soil:

It did not take its roots in the soil of the country. It failed to evoke “such feelings as those which led the people of Maharashtra to follow and fight for Shivaji, it drew no strength from ancient tradition which has always exerted so marked an influence upon Hindu ideas and sentiments.” The orthodox Muslims felt that they were in India but they did not belong to this country.

 (13) Widespread Corruption in the Administration:

Another cause of Mughal downfall was the widespread corruption in the administration. The exaction of official perquisites from the public by the officials and their sub-ordinates were universal and admitted practice. Many officials from the highest to the lowest took bribes for doing undeserved favour.


(14) The Mansabdari System Degenerated:

The Mansabdari System degenerated in the time of Aurangzeb and his successors. There was corruption and oppression on all sides. William Norris points out that “in the later years of Aurangzeb’s reign, the treasury was empty, the wars were ceaseless, the army was disorganised and officers were discontented and disloyal. Bernier says that “There were great ministers and generals but the mass of the people were human sheep.”

(15) The stoppage of Adventurers from Persia:

Another cause of Mughal downfall was the stoppage of adventurers from Persia, Afghanistan and Turkistan. While the Mughal in India ruined themselves through luxuries and pleasures, there was a death of men who could shoulder the responsibilities of the Government. It is the adventurers, particularly from Persia, a who had given able administrators and generals and when that source stopped, the Mughal Administrative machinery became like a corpse and it was not able to deliver the goods.

 (16) Invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali:

The invasion on India by Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali gave a serious blow to the already tottering Mughal Empire. The I easy victory of Nadir Shah and the repeated invasions of Ahmad Shah Abdali exposed to the world the military weakness of the Mughal state.

 (17) Neglected the Development of the Navy:

The Mughals neglected the development of the Navy and that proved suicidal for them. The later Mughals did not pay any attention to sea power and left their coast-line completely undefended. That was exploited by the Europeans who ultimately established their mastery over India.

(18) Unable to Satisfy by the Minimum Needs of the People:

Another cause of the downfall of the Mughal Empire was that it could no longer satisfy the minimum needs of the people. The condition of the Indian Peasant gradually worsened during the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 18th century, his life was “poor, nasty, miserable and uncertain”. The burden of land revenue went on increasing from the time of Akbar.

 (19) Rise of the Marathas:

Another important factor which contributed to the decline of the Mughal Empire was the rise of the Marathas under the Peshwas. They consolidated their position in Western India and then started entertaining plans for a Hindupad Padshahi or a Greater Maharashtra Empire. The dream could be realised only at the cost of the Mughal Empire. They gains of the Marathas were the loss of the Mughals.

 (20) The territorial gains of the English East India Company destroyed all chances of the revival of the Mughal Empire. The British won the Battle of Plassey and continued to expand their Empire in the Deccan and in the Gangetic Region. With the passage of time, they were able to establish their hold over the whole of India and there could be not chance for the revival of the Mughal Empire.



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