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MAINS Q/A 28-05-2018

Q1.There is a need to implement the promises done in the past inorder to strengthen the relationship with Nepal.Comment

There have been mutual visits by PM’s of both Nepal and India in 2018.With that the relations have gained some positive vibe and the 2018 statement prioritises cooperation in agriculture, inland water-ways, a survey for a railway line from Raxaul to Kathmandu and increasing air connectivity.

Implementation needs to be the focus:-

  • Issues with the projects:-
    • Only one of the earlier commitments, the 900 MW Arun III hydel project, has progressed
    • Of the four planned Integrated Check Posts, one is now functionalafter over a decade.
    • India has been Nepal’s most significant development partner. Yet the pace of project implementation has been slow, leading tosignificant time and cost over-runs.
    • Theidea of four Integrated Check Posts (ICP) on the India-Nepal border to facilitate movement of goods, vehicles and people was mooted 15 years ago and an MOU signed in 2005.
    • While preparation of surveys and project reports moved slowly on the Indian side, acquisition of land by the Nepali authorities got held up leading to delayed construction.
    • As a result, only the Raxaul-Birgunj ICP has been completed .During this time, thecost of the project went up fourfold.
    • Misperceptions about the unequal agreements relating to the Kosi barrage (1954) and Gandak barrage (1959) have grown over the yearspreventing any development in this sector. There are also long-pending hydel projects like Pancheshwar
  • More emphasis on bringing out the issues that plague the relationship
    • Political:-
      • India’s openly stated reservations on the new constitution in support of the Madhesi cause fuelled resentment.
    • Economic:-
      • Nepal blamed India for imposing an economic blockade which was causing acute shortages of essentials such as petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and medical supplies.
    • Difficult issues, including a review of the contentious 1950 Treaty, recruitment of Nepali nationals in the Gurkha regiments of the Indian Army, resolving the fallout of the 2016 demonetisation exercise which has left the Nepal Rastra Bank holding a stock of Indian currency, resumption of the SAARC summit process which remains stalled since 2016.
    • Border:-
      • There are border disputes pending between the two countries at Susta, Kalapani and the ‘tri-junction’ of Lipulekh
    • India has age old unique, time tested ties of friendship with Nepal. The relationship between the two countries is deeply and intricately intertwined by geography, civilisational bonds, and cultural and social enmeshing.  Merely focussing on optics like historical linkage, religious similarity etc will hardly resolve the issues that affect the relationship
    • China factor :-


  • Above Kalapani, there is no demarcation (of the boundary) between India and Nepal till China border. This could lead to problems in the coming time. After Doklam, Bharat is very concerned about Kalapani dispute. It may provide an opportunity for China to flare up the issue along with a Communist government in Nepal.
  • Military:-
    • China invested heavily in Nepal’s security forces, particularly in its police and paramilitary forces. It even opened up a police academy to train the APF, the Nepali paramilitary force deployed to guard the Nepal-Tibet border, in order to check the possible infiltration of “Free Tibet” activists into Nepal.
    • China’s activities have been steadily expanding in Nepal after Kathmandu’s support for OBOR materialized
  • Economic:-
    • Recently 10 agreements were signed between the two countries.The one related to trade and transit and the other on connectivity have attracted international attention for their security implication in the South Asian region.
    • As per the transit treaty with China, Nepal has now secured transit rights for trade with third countries through the Chinese territory.
    • China decided to supply petroleum products to Nepal, apart from building petroleum storage facilities in this country.

Way forward:-

  • Completion of the ongoing process of updating the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship:-
    • India must recognise that as in all other developing economies, Nepal’s aspirational young population is also looking beyond the open Indian border for opportunities, and its  desire to turn his “land-locked” country into a “land-linked” country with a merchant navy must be considered positively.
  • People-to-people inter-dependence must lead the relationship along with civil society and business-commercial level interactions.
  • India’s major foray should be in innovation and technology transfer, multidisciplinary dialogues, educational and technical institutions, local and global migration management and skills and capacity-building.
  • India needs to finish the infrastructure projects on time for instance Pancheswar project has been pending for over 20 years now.
  • Nepal could be the fountainhead of climate change knowledge and connect to India’s larger dynamics of the management of the ecology of hills and mountains.
  • Effective delivery on the pending projects, the remaining ICPs, the five railway connections, postal road network in the Terai and the petroleum pipeline so that connectivity is enhanced and the idea of ‘inclusive development and prosperity’ assumes reality.
  • India needs to formulate a comprehensive and long-term Nepal policy.

Q2. The provisions of Agreement on Agriculture relating to subsidies are impractical for developing countries particularly India. Examine


Recently the United States (US) submitted a document in the World Trading Organization (WTO) questioning the compatibility of India’s agricultural subsidies with the relevant provisions of the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA).The document targets the minimum support price (MSP) granted to wheat and rice, the two key food crops. The US contention is that the MSP of these two crops (market price support, according to AoA), are well above the limits set by the AoA.

Agreement on agriculture:-

  • WTO’s agreement on agriculture was concluded in 1994, and was aimed to remove trade barriers and to promote transparent market accessand integration of global markets.
  • Subsidies regime included in the AoA has three forms of subsidies, ranging from those that were considered “non-distorting” or “minimally distorting” (the “Green Box” and “Blue Box” subsidies), to those that seriously “distorted” markets (the “Amber Box” subsidies).

Impractical to India because :-

  • Developed countries interest:-
    • The AoA was crafted primarily by the US and the members of the European Union (EU), to serve their interests, while developing countries like India were reduced to mere bystanders.
    • Subsidies that wealthy countries give their farmers and agribusinesses are mostly classified as “non-distorting” measures, and remain high.
    • A few multinational agribusinesses have increased their domination of global trade and food distribution.
    • Most developed countries have shifted towards green box subsidies for agriculture,so they continue to provide enormous support to their farmers without breaching WTO
    • Tocalculate the level of current subsidies, the WTO uses prices of 25 years ago (the average 1986-88 global prices). This is criticised since food prices have shot up since then, so recent prices should be used as the reference. But developed countries currently refuse to agree to this because “it will open up the agreement.”
  • Since the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture took effect in 1995, world trade patterns have changed, andthere are forces distorting food trade that are not being adequately addressed.
    • Speculation in commodity futures markets is creating volatile price movements that do not reflect true changes in demand and supply.
  • Small producers and consumers:-
    • The interests of small farmers have almost been completely ignored.
    • Bad for small producers, who do not benefit from price increases and lose out when prices decline with import surges.
    • It is also bad for poor consumers, who face much higher prices for their food.
    • In many developing countries this has created two linked problems: food insecurity because of high and volatile food prices, and livelihood insecurity of food producers because of rising costs and uncertain supply.
  • India’s concerns:-
    • India flagged the important issue of food security and argued that the sovereign states must have the right to decide the manner in which the poor should be provided subsidised food.
    • This issue arose after questions were raised as to whether public stockholding of food, which is at the heart of India’s Public Distribution System (PDS), meets the WTO disciplines on agricultural subsidies.
    • Many countries try to protect farmers by introducing measures to make food affordable for low-income consumers or by encouraging domestic food production, particularly through supporting small farmers.
    • India’s recent law that seeks to provide food security to one of the largest undernourished populations in the world has been challenged by the US in the WTO, even though India’s scheme would cost a fraction of what the US provides in food subsidies.
  • AOA iscriticised on being insensitive to human development or improving standards of living, and being too insistent on liberalization.
    • The model of agricultural trade liberalization promoted by the AOA also encourages industrialized and export-oriented agricultural production, favouring transnational commodity traders and processors over small-scale farmers


Q3. How Draft forest policy hastens diversion of forest land?

Draft policy has completely deleted the section on safeguards to be followed for diversion of forest land.

  • Before diversion of forest land there is no requirement of cost-benefit analysis, no examinations by specialists, no requirement of alternatives and no mention of the fact that tropical moist evergreen forests as well as forests in hilly States such as Arunachal Pradesh should be totally safeguarded.
  • Instead of specialists, Central and State Boards for Forestry are envisaged, which are to be headed by the respective Forest Ministers with a specific mandate for ensuring “simplification of procedures”.
  • Draft policy looks like anattempt to circumvent the Supreme Court’s judgment in Lafarge.
  • The draft NFP 2018 mentions major forestry issues ailing the forest sector, but it doesn’t provide answers to them as to how these objectives will be achieved considering the competitive demands for forestlands.
  • New draft also says efforts will be made to achieve harmonization between policies and laws like Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006.People may see it as an attempt to weaken role of gram sabhas (village councils)
  • While the role of forests as climate change mitigation factor has been recognised, the draft NFP is vague on the issue of forests rights for forest dwelling communities as it reasserts the control of the forest department over the forests by undermining the Forest Rights Act.
  • Continues to speak about private participation in forest management, which was criticized in 2016.
  • This policy is in direct conflict with the policy of promoting social/farm forestry.
    • As industries get forestlands cheap, they will raise captive plantations of monoculture species, bringing down their production costs. Farmers growing the same tree species will not be able to compete against such low prices. Bringing the private sector into production forestry will completely undermine farmers.
  • There is ample evidence to show that Community forest resourcecan transform the livelihoods of communities and conserve and regenerate forests.
    • The draft policy has chosen to undermine CFR by proposing a new community-forest-management mission. This parallel mission will control the CFR process, taking power from the communities and vesting it with the forest department.

Way forward:-

  • A production forestry system in place in the form of Forest Development Corporations (FDC), is needed
    • With close to 1.3 million ha of forestland under their control, FDCs need technical and financial support to improve the productivity of their plantations. The private sector can partner with FDCs and increase the productivity of this land.
  • Agroforestry can be further scaled up by removing restrictive regulations and providing incentives and operational support systems. FDCs and agroforestry can meet India’s wood demands.
  • International experiences :-
    • In Brazil and Colombia the deforestation rate has been reported to be two times lower in community controlled forestsas compared to those not under community management.
    • The forest departments in these countries have reversed their roles from being owners and regulators of forests to becoming facilitators in community-managed forests. This is the paradigm shift required in India’s forest administration.


Q4. Discuss Koppens classification.Also discuss its limitations.

Koppen’s Classification of Climate

  • Koppen Climate Classification System is the most widely used for classifying the world’s climates. Most classification systems used today are based on the one introduced in 1900 by the Russian-German climatologist Wladimir Koppen.
  • Koppen divided the Earth’s surface into climatic regions that generally coincided with world patterns of vegetation and soils.
  • Average annual precipitationand monthly temperature & precipitation values are the criteria
  • It is empirical (based on observation) and not genetic (based on origin)
  • The Koppen system recognizes five major climate types based on the annual and monthly averages of temperature and precipitation. Each type is designated by a capital letter.
    • A –Moist Tropical Climates are known for their high temperatures year round and for their large amount of year round rain.
    • B – Dry Climates are characterized by little rain and a huge daily temperature range.
    • C – In Humid Middle Latitude Climates land/water differences play a large part. These climates have warm,dry summers and cool, wet winters.
    • D – Continental Climates can be found in the interior regions of large land masses. Total precipitation is not very high and seasonal temperatures vary widely.
    • E – Cold Climates describe this climate type perfectly. These climates are part of areas where permanent ice and tundra are always present. Only about four months of the year have above freezing temperatures.
  • Other letter code
  • f: rain throughout the year
  • w: winter dry
  • m: monsoon
  • s: summer dry
  • h: hot
  • k: cold
  • Subgroups:-
  • Type A:-
    • Af: Equitorial rainforest (A= tropical, f= always rain)
    • Aw: Savanna type (winter dry tropical region)
    • Am: Monsoon type (short dry season, adequate rainfall)
    • As: Summer Dry (rare)
  • Type B
    • BS: Steppe Type semi-arid (less extreme)
      • BSh: annual temperature >18 degrees (tropical Steppe)
      • BSk: annual temperature <18 degrees (mid-latitude Steppe)
    • BW: dry desert climate (more extreme)
      • BWh:annual temperature >18 degrees
      • BWk: annual temperature <18 degrees
    • Type C
      • Cf: Western European Type
      • Cs: Dry summer, 3x precipitation in winter. Mediterranean Climate
      • Cw: Dry Winter. 10x ppt. in summers. China type climate
    • Type D
      • Df: no dry season
      • Dw: winter dry season
    • Type E
      • ET: Tundra type, 0-10 degrees
      • EF:Permafrost zone, below 0 degree

All Koppen types

Major Koppen types


Pros of Koppen Classification

  • Quantitative: easier to understand and measure
  • Co-incides with vegetation pattern
  • gave importance to effective precipitation (evapotranspiration)

Cons of Koppen Classification

  • Difficult to memorize.
  • Too much emphasis on average values
  • Ignored precipitation intensity, cloud cover, daily temperature variations, number of rainy days etc.
  • Ignored role of air masses
  • Was not a genetic classification
  • Estimated rather than measurable variables involved


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