Q1.What are the cost concepts used for calculating MSP? What is the stand of the government in this regard?
There are several cost concepts that the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) considers while recommending MSPs of 23 crops.
Cost A2 – These are the costs the farmer actually pays out of his/her pocket for buying various inputs ranging from seeds to fertilisers to pesticides to hired labour to hired machinery or even leased-in land.
Cost A2 +FL – In agriculture, farmers also use a lot of family labour and if their cost is imputed and added to cost A2, that concept is called cost A2+FL.
Cost C2 – the Comprehensive cost (cost C2), it includes imputed costs of family labour, imputed rent of owned land and imputed interest on owned capital.
National commission on farmers head by M.S Swaminathan recommended a 50 per cent margin over C2, which is also being the demand of the farmers.
In 2014 the union government has promised to offer 50 per cent margin over cost C2 but this was never spelt out in detail.
Recently Finance ministry has announced that the MSP will be in lines with its earlier announcement on Rabi crops.
For rabi crop the government is using 50 per cent margin of Cost A2 or maybe cost A2+FL, by this the MSPs given by the government is still lower than cost C2.
The ministry also claims that only the present administration offers 50% margin in cost A2+FL, but the fact is even in FY 2013-14, the MSPs for all rabi crops were way above 50 per cent over cost A2+FL.
What are the challenges in hiking MSP?
The government senses it is impractical to give 50 per cent margin over cost C2 in all crops.
The C2 is normally 35-40 per cent higher than cost A2+FL, this would have required massive increases in MSPs.
For example, paddy MSP would have to go up by 46 per cent, cotton by 52 per cent and so on).
It may also be mentioned that cost plus pricing of MSPs, be it cost A2+FL or C2, is fraught with dangers as it totally ignores the demand side.
The terms of reference of CACP fails to consider demand-supply, cost of production, price trends in domestic and international markets, terms of trade, inter-crop price parity, etc before recommending the MSP.
Q2. What are the issues faced by denotified tribes? How can the denotified tribes be protected?
Nomadic and Denotified Tribes (NT-DNTs) are social groups that have been subjected to historical injustices both in the colonial and free India. During the British rule, the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871 was passed, which notified most nomadic communities as criminals.
The Act implied that these communities were criminal by birth and practiced crime as a profession. The Act gave the colonial administration the power to brand, penalise, segregate and forcibly sedentarise nomadic communities.
On August 31, 1952, the Act was repealed. Ten million people from NT-DNTs celebrate this day as their independence day. For our forefathers, without a doubt, it was a moment worth celebrating. They believed that future generations could live lives as nomads, free from discrimination.
Unfortunately, the joy was short lived. The independent Indian political elite was no different from the colonial rulers. British-free India did not provide any space to the nomadic way of life, either in their policies or in their nation-building process. Despite being “denotified”, we are stigmatised and labelled as criminals. Narratives from the community show the extent to which this has affected individuals and the community.
A mechanism to stop police violence and labelling of the community
Police should not look at us as thieves and must stop the use of physical and verbal violence against us. They should stop wrongly accusing us in cases. It has been observed that they particularly abuse and target women from DNT communities. They should also not arrest innocent persons without proper investigation. There should be some mechanism to stop these excesses.
Access to quality education
We should get free education with good hostel facilitates, particularly for girls. Teachers should be from the DNT community so that they do not discriminate against us. There is a need to encourage co-education among the community.
The government should provide employment opportunities for nomadic tribes by providing loans for small enterprises. Some of those practicing traditional occupations, including street performers, are struggling due to changes in laws and need to be revived. Companies that are hampering traditional occupations and polluting the local environment should be discouraged as this further marginalises us. For landed DNT communities, there needs to be a strengthening of irrigation as well as other input facilitates so that they do well in agriculture.
Land rights and an end to land grabbing
Landlessness is high among denotified communities and in some places powerful people have grabbed land belonging to DNTs. There are also instances where businesses and government have taken over their land for developing project sites. The land belonging to the DNT should be restored to them, there should be active consultation before any such step of displacement is taken and an allocation of land for the landless. Houses should have toilets and for nomadic communities, there should be a provision of mobile toilets.
Identity documents to access rights
Ration cards, Aadhar cards, other identity cards and documents should be prepared so that nomadic tribes have an identity and the ability to gain access to government programmes which provide food, health, education and other basic needs, as well as to other social protection mechanisms.
Reservation and representation
There should be reservation for denotified tribes and caste certificates should be prepared for the members of nomadic tribes. Nomadic and denotified tribes should be representated in public offices
Q3. What was “Congress of Vienna”?
After Napoleon’s domination of Europe from around 1800 to 1814, the rulers of Europe wanted to insure that no one would ever be able to come so close to taking over all of Europe again. Napoleon had spread the idea of liberalism, in Western and Central Europe and also spread the idea of nationalism in East and Central Europe.
Congress of Vienna attempted to turn back the clock to restore the Europe that had existed before the French Revolution. Austrian minister, Metternich led much of the deliberations at Vienna. The Congress System that Metternich established was Reactionary, that is, its goal was to preserve the power of the old, monarchical regimes in Europe.
the four powers chiefly instrumental in the overthrow of Napoleon Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain concluded a special alliance among themselves with the Treaty of Chaumont, in March 1814, a month before Napoleon’s first abdication. They were later joined by 5 other nations including France under Louis XVIII.
Each had nation had its own goals. Prussia wanted to enlarge its territory. Russia wanted Poland, but it also wanted “collective security”. And Austria and Britain simply wanted a balance of power that would maintain stability and the status quo in Europe. The Congress was dominated by members of the old regime and aristocracy. Their hope was to design a political landscape wherein no one power could dominate.
The secret Austrian-British-French alliance to stop Russia and Prussia from combining to gain all of Poland and Saxony just shows how complicated the negotiations were.
Realizing that breaking up France would upset the balance of power, destabilize Europe, and lead to more revolutions, the allies restored it to its old position, punishing it with only a mild indemnity and short military occupation.
French got a new king, Louis XVIII, was a constitutional, not an absolute monarch. Even in defeat, the French Revolution had made progress.
The members of the Congress were all afraid of a strong France, so they created strong border states. This treaty changed the political map of Europe.
Britain took South Africa from the Dutch to secure its sea route to India. In compensation, the Dutch got the Austrian Netherlands from Austria, which in turn received control of Northern Italy.
The Grand Duchy of Warsaw formed by Napoleon gave birth to Poland under control of Czar of Russia.
Germany, largely to Napoleon’s administrative work, was consolidated into 38 states.
For the time being, the Congress of Vienna did restore the old order and a period of relative international peace known as the Concert of Europe. As a result, the lines laid down by the Congress of Vienna lasted, except for one or two changes, for more than 40 years.
These changes would contribute to nationalist revolts in succeeding years. The seeds of revolution had taken root and were spreading rapidly across the face of Europe.
Q4. What is Sevottam model?
It is a service delivery excellence model which provides assessment improvement framework. Sevottam literally is the combination of Hindi words ‘SEWA + UTTAM’, meaning uttam sewa i.e. excellence in services. Model has been developed with the overarching objective of improving the quality of public service delivery in the country. It has three modules.
a) Charter implementation thereby opening up a channel for receiving citizens’ inputs into the way in which organizations determine service delivery requirements. Citizens’ Charters publicly declare the information on citizens’ entitlements thereby making citizens better informed and hence empowering them to demand better services.
b) Public Grievance Redress requires a good Grievance Redressal System operating in a manner that leaves the citizen more satisﬁed with how the organization responds to complaints/grievances, irrespective of the ﬁnal decision.
c) ‘Excellence in Service Delivery’, postulates that an organization can have an excellent performance in service delivery only if it is eﬃciently managing well the key ingredients for good service delivery and building its own capacity to continuously improve service delivery.
Benefits of Sevottam:
Makes the public organization Citizen friendly Accountable Transparent
Improves the speed and quality service delivery.
Eliminates outdated activities, wastage of money and resources.
Improves cleanliness and physical space in the office
Solves maximum complaints immediately on receipt.
Reduces causes of complaints, corruption and negligence.
Eliminates fire-fighting style of working.
Q5.What is recombinant technology?What are its applications?
Recombinant DNA technology is a technique which changes the phenotype of an organism (host) when a genetically altered vector is introduced and integrated into the genome of the organism. So, basically, the process involves the introduction of a foreign piece of DNA structure into the genome which contains our gene of interest. This gene which is introduced is the recombinant gene and the technique is called the recombinant DNA technology. Inserting the desired gene into the genome of the host is not as easy as it sounds. It involves the selection of the desired gene for administration into the host followed by a selection of the perfect vector with which the gene has to be integrated and recombinant DNA formed. This recombinant DNA then has to be introduced into the host. And at last, it has to be maintained in the host and carried forward to the offsprings.
Recombinant DNA technology
Tools of Recombinant DNA technology
The tools mainly include the following:
The enzymes which include the restriction enzymes – help to cut, the polymerases- help to synthesize and the ligases- help to bind. The restriction enzymes used in recombinant DNA technology play a major role in determining the location at which the desired gene is inserted into the vector genome. They are two types, namely Endonucleases and Exonucleases. The Endonucleases cut within the DNA strand whereas the Exonucleases remove the nucleotides from the ends of the strands. The restriction endonucleases are sequence-specific which are usually palindrome sequences and cut the DNA at specific points. They scrutinize the length of DNA and make the cut at the specific site called the restriction site. This gives rise to sticky ends in the sequence. The desired genes and the vectors are cut by the same restriction enzymes to obtain the complementary sticky notes, thus making the work of the ligases easy to bind the desired gene to the vector.
The vectors – help in carrying and integrating the desired gene. These form a very important part of the tools of recombinant DNA technology as they are the ultimate vehicles that carry forward the desired gene into the host organism. Plasmids and bacteriophages are the most common vectors in recombinant DNA technology that are used as they have very high copy number. The vectors are made up of an origin of replication- This is a sequence of nucleotide from where the replication starts, a selectable marker – constitute genes which show resistance to certain antibiotics like ampicillin; and cloning sites – the sites recognized by the restriction enzymes where desired DNAs are inserted.
Host organism – into which the recombinant DNA is introduced. The host is the ultimate tool of recombinant DNA technology which takes in the vector engineered with the desired DNA with the help of the enzymes.
There are a number of ways in which these recombinant DNAs are inserted into the host, namely – microinjection, biolistics or gene gun, alternate cooling and heating, use of calcium ions, etc.
Recombinant DNA Technology steps
Cutting the gene at the recognition sites – This has already been explained earlier in the Enzymes used in recombinant DNA technology.
Polymerase chain reaction – It is a process to amplify the gene once the proper gene of interest has been cut using the restriction enzymes.
Insertion of the desired recombinant DNA into the host organism – As mentioned in Tools of recombinant DNA technology, there are various ways in which this can be achieved. The successfully transformed cells/organisms carry forward the recombinant gene to the offsprings.
Obtaining the product of the recombinant gene mostly in the form of the manufactured protein.
Application of recombinant DNA technology
Application of recombinant DNA technology in Agriculture – For example, manufacture of Bt Cotton to protect the plant against ball worms.
Application of medicines – Insulin production by DNA recombinant technology is a classic example.
Gene Therapy – It is used as an attempt to correct the gene defects which give rise to heredity diseases.
Clinical diagnosis – ELISA is an example where the application of recombinant DNA technology is seen which is used to detect the presence of HIV in a person.