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Effect Of Global Warming On Agriculture

 

Relevancy

  • GS Paper-1, 3 (Geography, Environment)

Why in news?

  • As carbon dioxide rises due to the burning of fossil fuels, rice will lose some of its protein and vitamin content, putting millions of people at risk of malnutrition, scientists have warned.

What are the consequences of rising carbon dioxide?

  • Global warming, climate change and particularly greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide — can have an impact on the nutrient content of plants we eat.
  • This can have devastating effects on the rice-consuming countries where about 70% of the calories and most of the nutrients come from rice.
  • Protein and vitamin deficiencies can lead to growth-stunting, birth defects, diarrhoea, infections and early death.
  • Researchers found that iron, zinc, protein, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9 — which help the body convert food to energy — were all reduced in the rice grown under higher CO2 conditions.
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine) levels were also found decreased by 17.1%; average Vitamin B2 by 16.6%.

Which are countries that will be most affected by this?

  • The change could be particularly dire in Southeast Asia where rice is a major part of the daily diet.
  • This can have devastating effects on the rice-consuming countries where about 70% of the calories and most of the nutrients come from rice.
  • Countries at most risk include Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. that consume the most rice and have the lowest gross domestic product (GDP).

Where and how was the study conducted?

  • The findings were based on field studies in Japan and China, simulating the amount of CO2 expected in the atmosphere by the second half of this century 568 to 590 parts per million.
  • Current levels are just over 400 ppm.
  • For the experiments, 18 different strains of rice were planted in open fields, surrounded in certain areas by 56-foot wide octagons of plastic piping that released extra CO2.

New Amendments In Insolvency And Bankruptcy Code

 

Relevancy

  • GS Paper- 3, 2 (Economy, Polity & Governance)

Why in News?

  • The Union Cabinet decision to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), gave relief to home buyers.

What is the ordinance about?

  • The Union Cabinet has cleared an ordinance amending the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), a law which came into force in November 2016 to hasten the process of winding up failed businesses.
  • The government has refused to give details of the amendment.
  • The amendment is expected to offer better treatment to homebuyers when it comes to recovering their dues from bankrupt companies.
  • A 14-member panel formed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs had recommended last month that homebuyers should be treated as financial creditors during the bankruptcy resolution process.
  • But economically, homebuyers are not like traditional creditors such as banks and institutional investors, they do not offer their money in expectation of excess returns.
  • Homebuyers are only customer to real estate developers who want the delivery of their house that was promised to them.

What is the amendment expected to do?

  • The amendment is expected to reduce the inconsistencies between the IBC and the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA).
  • RERA was introduced with the goal of protecting the rights of buyers by ensuring the timely and honest delivery of homes.
  • RERA have had a relatively low status among the various stakeholders in a bankruptcy proceeding.
  • The removal of this inconsistency can help courts deliver better justice to homebuyers in the future.
  • In Jaypee Insolvency Case SC had to intervene in the Bankruptcy resolution Process to uphold the right of homebuyers.
  • Upholding the right of homeowner could impact the real estate developers and large creditors like banks. But it will help in the development of a transparent and more efficient real estate market.
  • The Union Cabinet has cleared an ordinance amending the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), a law which came into force in November 2016 to hasten the process of winding up failed businesses.
  • The change to the law is expected to help offer better treatment to homebuyers when it comes to recovering their dues from bankrupt companies.
  • A 14-member panel formed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs had recommended last month that homebuyers should be treated as financial creditors during the bankruptcy resolution process.

Ayushman Bharat Scheme- Issues and Objectives

 

Relevancy

  • GS Prelims
  • GS Mains Paper- 1, 2 (Schemes and Policies of Government, Health issues in India)

Why in news?

  • The government has launched Ayushman Bharat,a national health protection scheme (NHPS) in the last stretch of this its tenure.
  • However social policies in the areas of education, health and the welfare of the disadvantaged or farmers almost always get announced before elections.
  • No political party is an exception to this rule since such ‘feel good’ welfare policies are useful in conferring a sense of legitimacy and caring on the government seeking another term.

What are the Issues?

  • Despite these political motivations, those working in these neglected sectors welcome such policy announcements as the crisis are acute in these sectors.
  • The first is the massive shortages in the supply of services (human resources, hospitals and diagnostic centres in the private/public sector), made worse by grossly inequitable availability between and within States.
  • The strategy for negotiating/containing prices being charged for services needs to be spelt out.
  • The capacity of this infrastructure to take on the additional load of such insured patients from other States, growing medical tourism (foreign tourists/patients) as a policy being promoted by the government, and also domestic patients, both insured and uninsured.

What are the objectives of the health policy?

  • To enhance the health of the population and reduce the financial risk for those accessing treatment.
  • Reduced spending or getting impoverished when seeking health-care measures the second.

What are the components of the scheme?

  • Upgrading the 150,000 sub-centres (for a 5,000 population level) into wellness clinics that provide 12 sets of services;
  • Providing health security to 40% of India’s population requiring hospitalisation for up to a sum assured of Rs. 5 lakh per year per family.

Water Management Reforms

 

Relevancy

  • GS Mains Paper- 1,2 (Geography, Governance)

Why in news?

  • On the cusp of the southwest monsoon, several arid States are hoping to revive their rivers and reservoirs with bountiful
  • One of them is Gujarat, which is roiledby the long-tail effect of a deficit monsoon between August and November last year.
  • The State government has embarked ona labor-intensive programme to desilt rivers and water bodies ahead of the rains.

What does this reflect?

  • Its predicamentreflects the larger reality of drought in India, aggravated by heat waves and significant rain deficits in different regions.
  • This year’s fall in reservoir storage levels to below-average levels has affected farmers who depend on the Sardar Sarovar dam, and 27 other reservoirs including those in Madhya Pradesh.

What is the stand of other political parties?

  • A reinvigoratedCongress in the opposition has turned the heat on the BJP government in Gujarat, which is hard put to defend itself against the charge that dam waters were depleted merely to fill the Sabarmati River for a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December when he undertook a seaplane journey on the river.
  • Its response has been to roll outa campaign to deepen water bodies on the one hand and arrange religious events to propitiate the gods on the other.
  • But it has had to prioritize drinking water needs over farming and suspend irrigation supply from the dam on March 15.
  • This year, Delhi has been at loggerheads with Haryana over the reduction of water released in the Yamuna, highlighting growing stresses over a vital resource.

What is the way forward?

  • Urgent water management reforms must be undertaken to help citizens and avoid losses to the economy.
  • In a normal year, the pre-monsoon phase from March 1 brings some respite and India gets about 130 mm of precipitation before the rainy season begins.
  • This year began with a sharp 50% deficit, but touched near-normal levels, though not in the northwestern region.
  • The monsoon itself is highly variable.
  • This underscores the need for comprehensive reforms at the level of States, with the Centre helping to conserve hydrological resources.
  • If Gujarat improves rural water storage structures and creates many small wetlands beyond the compulsions of politics, it can ensure long-term prosperity for thousands of villages in Saurashtra, Kutch and the northern region where pumps run dry with unfailing regularity.
  • Farmers will get relief from the monsoon vagaries that affect the Narmada, whose waters are apportioned among four States.
  • There is also the challenge of reducing demand for farming, given that the Mihir Shah Committee estimated public irrigation efficiency to be a low 35%.
  • Farmers need to be helped with the latest technologies to cut water use. The State government is thinking of going in for desalination.
  • Decentralised water storage too will help cities like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara when water supply from large dams and other sources dwindles.
  • If climate change is going to influence monsoon vigour and availability in coming years, the time to take action is now.

 

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