16 December, 2020 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu

  • Punjab, Haryana need to look beyond MSP crops (Indian Economy)
  • Law and disorder (Polity & Governance)
  • U.S. imposes CAATSA sanctions on Turkey over S-400 purchase (International Relations)
  • From a digital India to a digital Bharat (Polity & Governance)
  • Financial Stability Development Council (FSDC) (Indian Economy)
  • Question for the Day

Prelims Quiz


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    UPSC Current Affairs: Punjab, Haryana need to look beyond MSP crops a. Strategy of Doubling Farmers' Income b. Enhancing Input Use Efficiency- Land, Capital, Water c. Enhancing Agricultural Productivity through Diversification and Secondary Agriculture | Page 6 

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Economy | Mains – GS Paper III – Economy

    Sub Theme: Enhancing input use in agriculture | Legislation of Land Tenancy | Problems in Current water Management | Agricultural Diversification | Rainbow Revolution | UPSC 

    Enhancing Input Use Efficiency in Agriculture

    According to Dalwai Panel, to double farmers’ income, agriculture should be treated as an enterprise with focus on 3 aspects- Reducing Input costs, Enhancing Productivity and higher prices. Agricultural inputs need to be efficiently utilized to fulfil dual objectives- Increased income and Sustainable agriculture.


    Issues: Net sown area is around 141 mha as against total geographical area of 328 mha. However, the small and marginal farmers accounting for 83% of farmers own 48% of agricultural land. The average size of landholding has consistently reduced to 1.15 ha in 2011. This highlights the high level of fragmentation in the landholdings leading to multiple problems as shown below:


    Facilitate Land Leasing:  Land Leasing enables the farmers to lease out their agricultural lands to other farmers, landless, sharecroppers, tenants leading to agricultural efficiency, equity and power reduction. The land leasing has been an integral part of Land reforms in India. The land Reforms after India's Independence focussed on (i) abolition of intermediaries, (ii) abolition or regulation of tenancy and, (iii) imposition of ceilings on land holdings and redistribution of ceiling surplus land. The main objective was to create conditions for an agrarian economy with high levels of efficiency and equity.

    Performance of Land Reforms: The restrictive tenancy laws have affected growth, equity and investment in agriculture. Most state governments have either legally banned or imposed restrictions on agricultural land leasing. Restrictive land leasing laws have forced tenancy to be informal, insecure and inefficient. Informal tenants do not have legal sanctity and access to institutional credit, insurance, lack of occupational mobility. In a nutshell, the restrictive tenancy laws have proved to be anti-growth and anti-poor in effect.

    Case for Legalisation of Land Tenancy:

     What has to be done?

    • Incentivise states to adopt Model Agricultural Land Lease Act, 2016.
    • Promotion of Contract farming by Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs)
    • Sett up of Land Banks at Village level.


    Agriculture accounts for more than 80% of water consumption, out of which share of groundwater is quite high(60%). 52% of area is rain-fed wherein yield is almost 3 times lower.

    Need for Enhanced Water-use Efficiency in agriculture: According to NITI Aayog's Composite Water Management Index (CMWI) report, India is facing worst water crisis in its history. By end of 2030, demand for drinking water will outstrip the supply. Almost 2.4 lakh people die every year due to lack of access to safe and clean drinking water. Water crisis could potentially lead to economic loss of around 6% of GDP.

    Problems in Current water Management:

    • Substantial area under rainfed: About 72 million hectares (Mha) of net sown area (52%) is still completely dependent on rainfall. Rain-fed agriculture is 3 times less productive.
    • Regional imbalance: Temporal and spatial variations in rainfall and water availability in the country.
    • Sub-optimal utilization of created facilities: Wide gap between irrigation potential created (IPC) and irrigation potential utilized (IPU) due to-  inadequate maintenance of canal system, lack of participatory management, changing land use pattern, deviation from the designated cropping pattern, soil degradation and delay in command area development.
    • Improper crop and cropping system: High proportion of cultivated area under water guzzling crops like rice, sugarcane etc. India is net water exporting country due to export of water-intensive crops.
    • Imbalanced use of ground water: The Easement Act, 1882, provides every landowner with the right to collect and dispose, within his own limits, all water under the land and on the surface.The consequence of this law is that the owner can dig wells and extract water based on availability and his discretion. Additionally, landowners are not legally liable for any damage caused to  water resources as a result of over-extraction.
    • Further, free power available to farmers has also led to over-exploitation.
    • Water logging and soil salinity due to over-use of surface water.

    How to address these problems?

    • Enhancing water efficiency in Irrigated areas: Reduce the difference between IPC and IPU, Proper maintenance of canals, Formation of water user associations, Rationalization of water tariffs, Changes in cropping pattern, micro-irrigation
    • Enhancing water efficiency in rain-fed areas: Rain water harvesting- Check Dams, Convergence between MGNREGA and water conservation, Desilting of ponds and water bodies. Conservation agriculture- Artificial and Natural Mulching, Zero Tillage
    • Optimum Utilization of Ground water:
      • Adoption of Model Bill to Control and regulate the Extraction of Groundwater- Setting up of Groundwater Regulating Authority, Compulsory registration of bore well-owners, Compulsory permission for sinking a new borewell, Restrictions on the depth of borewells etc;
      • Replication of Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS) - Joint Management of Aquifers, Induce behavioral change, Self-Regulation of groundwater extraction;
      • Rationalization of power subsidies; Separation of feeder lines.
    • Promotion of Micro-Irrigation

    Micro irrigation (MI) systems (sprinkler, drip) promote precision farming by making water available to root zone of crops. MI holds immense potential in addressing dual challenges - Sustainability and Declining Income Levels. MI has multi-faceted benefits- Efficient deployment of inputs such as water, electricity, fertilizers, labour, higher crop productivity, better quality of produce etc. resulting in increased income. According to Dalwai Panel, MI can lead to 40% Water Savings, 45% increase in productivity and 50% increase in income.

    Government Initiatives

    Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY):

    • Har Khet Ko Paani: Providing end-to-end solutions in Irrigation supply chain.
    • Per Drop More Crop: Promotion of Drip Irrigation and Sprinkler Irrigation.

    Micro-Irrigation Fund (MIF):

    • Managed by NABARD with corpus of Rs 5000 crore.
    • States can avail the fund to in order to subsidise the farmers for adoption of micro-irrigation techniques

    Subsidies Vs Public Investment:

    Public Investment in agriculture refers to long term investment in agriculture that benefits all farmers (inclusive), environmentally sustainable, address the structural problems of agriculture and enhances income of farmers. Examples include expansion of irrigation, investment in marketing infrastructure, Cold chain infrastructure, R&D for improved Seed varieties, technologies etc., Financial support to SHGs, Promotion of mechanization etc.

    Present Status: Firstly, the total Investment in Agriculture is only around 15% of agricultural GDP. This is much lower as compared to Gross Investment rate of 30% of India's GDP. Secondly, out of total investment of 15% of agricultural GDP, the share of Government Investment is only around 3%, the rest 12%  investment comes from farmers and private sector.

    Problems: The Government expenditure on agricultural subsidies such as MSP, water, power, fertilizers, loan waivers etc. is as high as 8.2% of Agri-GDP. These Subsidies are not inclusive (Mainly benefit rich farmers), not environmentally sustainable (Excessive water consumption, imbalanced fertilizer consumption, soil degradation etc.), create distortions ( Free power- Huge loss to DISCOMs; MSP- artificial scarcity of food grains, higher focus on cultivation of water-intensive crops, lack of diversification etc.) and do not address the structural problems of Indian agriculture.

    What should be done?

    Rationalize the Agricultural subsidies; Targeting of subsidies through DBT;


    The phenomenal increase in production of Food grains after the Green Revolution has not translated into commensurate increase in food security. This is evident in India’s poor ranking on global indicators such as Global Hunger Index (GHI). This can be attributed to lack of diversification in agriculture, which has also led to stagnation in income levels of farmers.

    Nutritional security through Diversification: Presently, the production basket of agriculture is dominated by Rice and Wheat. However, there has been shift in consumption pattern towards more protein-based foods such as Pulses, Milk, Egg, Fish, Meat etc. leading to demand-supply mismatch and thus nutritional insecurity. The diversification towards cultivation of other crops and livestock rearing would address the micronutrient deficiencies, vitamin, iron deficiencies etc.

    Enhancing Income levels of Farmers through Diversification: According to Dalwai panel, expansion in diversification by 1 ha could increase annual income of farmers by Rs 1 lakh on account of following reasons:

    • Higher Productivity: The cereal crops occupy 42% of agricultural land but contribute only 20% of agricultural GDP. However, horticultural crops occupy only 14% of agricultural land but contribute 33% of agricultural GDP.
    • Agricultural production would be more aligned with demand and hence fetch higher prices.
    • Increase in the cropping Intensity due to shorter crop duration in comparison to Rice and wheat
    • Reduction in risks and ensure constant flow of income
    • Optimum utilization of land

    Thus, looking at these benefits, the Government has to now focus on Rainbow revolution in order to bring about holistic development of all sectors- horticulture, animal husbandry, poultry, fisheries, food grains etc. This would have multiple benefits- nutritional and food security, income security for farmers and overall make agriculture more inclusive and sustainable.


    UPSC Current Affairs: Law and disorder - Access to Justice - Constraints and Strategies | Page 7

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Polity & Governance | Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance

    Sub Theme: | Important Suggestions to Address Challenge Faced by Judiciary | Reducing Pendency | Appointing more Judges | e-Court Mission Mode Project | UPSC    

    The principal role of the judiciary is to protect rule of law and ensure supremacy of law. It safeguards rights of the individual, settles disputes in accordance with the law and ensures that democracy does not give way to individual or group dictatorship. Judiciary is a part of the democratic political structure of the country. It is therefore accountable to the Constitution, to the democratic traditions and to the people of the country.  

    Addressing Challenges

    Despite Supreme Court’s relentless efforts in safeguarding rights of citizens through landmark judgments, there are certain issues which must be addressed. Economic Survey and NITI Aayog in its various Reports (such as Strategy for New India @ 75, Three Years Action Agenda) have suggested important measures in addressing these challenges in order to improve access to justice for citizens.   

    Important Suggestions to Address Challenge Faced by Judiciary

    As per National Judicial Data Grid, District and Subordinate Courts (D&S courts) account for 87.54 per cent of pending cases. It reveals that Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have higher average pendency for both civil and criminal cases as compared to the national averages whereas Punjab and Delhi have the least average pendency of cases.

    Need to Reduce Disposal Time for Cases - Disposal time is measured as the time span between the date of filing and the date when the decision is passed.

    Need to better Case Clearance Rate (CCR) - CCR is the ratio of the number of cases disposed of in a given year to the number of cases instituted in that year, expressed as a percentage. It is mainly used to understand the efficiency of the system in proportion to the inflow of cases.

    Both Disposal Time and CCR can be bettered by appointing more Judges in District & Subordinate Courts, High Courts and Supreme Court.

    Streamline Judicial Appointments – by identifying vacancies across sections of lower and higher judiciary.   

    Shifting Court workloads through creating Special Courts (255th Law Commission) – based on specialised areas such as commercial cases can be transferred to the commercial division and the commercial appellate division of High Courts. Similarly Special Courts within High Courts can be set up to address litigations pertaining to land, crime, Traffic Challans etc.

    Merge and rationalize tribunals to enhance efficiency - Appointments to tribunals must be streamlined either through a specialized agency or under the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).   

    Need to Create Separate Administrative Cadre in the judicial system – This will relieve the Judges who are also involved in administrative capabilities to take care of the day to day functioning of High Courts as well as Lower Courts under Article 227. Problem - Handling administrative responsibilities by Judges reduce time available for dispensing cases pending in the Courts.

    Creating Indian Courts and Tribunal Services (ICTS) – It will focus on the administrative aspects of the legal system. The major roles to be played by ICTS will be

    (i) provide administrative support functions needed by the judiciary

    (ii) identify process inefficiencies and advise the judiciary on legal reforms

    The ICTS is not a unique model as similar Court Management Services exist in other countries: Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunals Services (UK), Administrative Office of US Courts (US), Court Administration Service (Canada).

    Creating All-India Judicial Services -merit based all India examination to appoint Judges for Higher Judiciary as per Article 312(3) which was added by the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976.

    Article 312(3) - The all-India judicial service referred to in clause (1) shall not include any post inferior to that of a district judge as defined in article 236.

    Increase number of working days for judiciary to increase productivity – reducing length of summer and winter vacations in High Courts and Supreme Court.

    Deployment of Technology to improve efficiency of Courts - One major effort in this direction is the eCourts Mission Mode Project that is being rolled out in phases by the Ministry of Law and Justice. This has allowed the creation of the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG). The system is already able to capture most cases, their status and progress.


    The E-Courts Mission Mode Project (Phase I 2010-15; Phase II 2015-19) is a national e - Governance project for ICT enablement of district and subordinate courts of the country. The major objectives of the Project are –

    ü  To make whole judicial system ICT enabled by putting in place adequate and modern hardware and connectivity;

    ü  Automation of workflow management in all courts;

    ü  Electronic movement of records from taluka/trial to appeal courts;

    ü  Installation of video conferencing (VC) facility and recording of witness through Video Conferencing; connecting all courts in the country to the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) through WAN and additional redundant connectivity;

    ü  Citizen centric facilities such as electronic filing, e-payment and use of mobile applications in all courts; 

    ü  Touch screen based kiosks in each court complex, full computerisation of State and district level judicial and service academies and centres.  


    UPSC Current Affairs: U.S. imposes CAATSA sanctions on Turkey over S-400 purchase | Page – 13

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: International Relations| Mains – GS Paper II – International Relations

    Sub Theme: | CAATSA and India| UPSC         

    CAATSA and India

    • In the aftermath of 2016 presidential elections, U.S. had announced sanctions against Russia under the stringent law for its alleged meddling in the American presidential election.
    • CAATSA, which came into effect in January, mandates the US administration to punish entities engaging in significant transaction with the defence or intelligence establishment of Russia.
    • In 2018 the Trump administration has publicly expressed its desire to protect India from CAATSA in the backdrop of India’s S-400 deal with Russia.
    • However since then the US position has changed


    UPSC Current Affairs: From a digital India to a digital Bharat - Benefits and Challenges of PM-WANI | Page - 6

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Polity & Governance | Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance; GS Paper III – Science & Technology

    Sub Theme: Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Interface |PM WANI | UPSC


    • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the proposal of DoT for setting up of Public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices (PDOs) spread across length and breadth of the country to accelerate proliferation of Broadband Internet services through Public Wi-Fi network in the country.
    • It will be known by the name of The Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Interface, or PM WANI.

    So let us now understand few perspectives regarding this new initiative.

    The current state of Internet in India:

    • TRAI Data
      • As per the latest Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, about 54% of India’s population has access to the Internet.
    • NSSO
      • The 75th round of the National Statistical Organization survey shows that only 20% of the population has the ability to use the Internet.
    • The India Internet 2019 report
      • Shows that rural India has half the Internet penetration as urban, and twice as many users who access the Internet less than once a week.
      • It shows that 99% of all users in India access the Internet on mobile, and about 88% are connected on the 4G network. This leads to a situation where everyone is connected to a limited network, which is getting overloaded and resulting in bad speed and quality of Internet access.

    Also, the NITI Aayog chief executive officer had said that India can create $1 trillion of economic value using digital technology by 2025.

    So in this context, let us learn about the new initiative:

    This Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface will be known as PM-WANI. PM-WANI eco-system will be operated by different players as described herein under:

    • Public Data Office (PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.
    • Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): It will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to Authorization and Accounting.
    • App Provider: It will develop an App to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the App for accessing the internet service.
    • Central Registry: It will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT.

    Essentially, this would mean the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi broadband connection almost anywhere. This can help to bridge the increasing digital divide in India.

    In simple words you can understand it like this:

    • Let us look at the Umang App (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance), which allows access to 2,084 services, across 194 government departments, across themes such as education, health, finance, social security, etc.
    • The ability to access and utilise the app enhances an individual’s capabilities to benefit from services that they are entitled to. With each move towards digitisation, we are threatening to leave behind a large part of our population to suffer in digital poverty.
    • It is clear that the focus is on last mile delivery, especially when you see how the Telecom Minister has compared it to the public call office model of past decades.

    This is what the government is trying to achieve with PM-WANI, where anyone living in their house, a paan shop owner or a tea seller can all provide public Wi-Fi hot posts, and where anyone within range can access it. This will also help to reduce the pressure on mobile Internet in India.

    Further details can be found in the report by TRAI on a public open Wi-Fi. Two pillars have been given as a baseline for public Wi-Fi.

    • It is suggested in the report that the requirement of authentication through a one-time password for each instance of access may be cumbersome and automatic authentication through stored e-know your customer (KYC) is encouraged, which inevitably means a linking with Aadhaar.

    Advantages of PM VANI

    • Free of cost:
      • No License Fee for providing broadband internet services using public Wi-Fi Hotspots will massively encourage its proliferation and penetration across the length and breadth of the country.
    • Interoperability
      • The first is interoperability, where the user will be required to login only once and stay connected across access points.
    • Multiple Payment options,
      • Which enable the user to pay both online and offline.
    • Delivery of government services:
      • This is expected to be more business friendly and in line with efforts for ease of doing business.COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated delivery of stable and high speed Broadband Internet (data) services to an increasingly large number of subscribers in the country including areas which do not have 4G mobile coverage. This can be achieved by deployment of Public Wi-Fi.
    • Creation of Employment
      • Further, the proliferation of public Wi-Fi will not only create employment but also enhance disposable incomes in the hands of small and medium entrepreneurs and boost the GDP of the country.
      • Proliferation of Broadband Services through public Wi-Fi is a step towards digital India and consequential benefit thereon.
      • Availability and use of Broadband will enhance incomes, employment, quality of life, ease of doing business etc.
    • The PM-WANI has the potential to change the fortunes of Bharat Net as well.
      • As we know, Bharat Net envisions broadband connectivity in all villages in India.
      • The project has missed multiple deadlines, and even where the infrastructure has been created, usage data is not enough to incentivize ISPs to use Bharat Net infra to provide services.
        • One of the reasons for the lack of demand is the deficit in digital literacy in India.
        • The other reason is simply the lack of last mile availability of the Internet. In terms of digital literacy, it is not enough to look at digital literacy as a set of specific skills, because the skills required to navigate technology keep changing.

    But there still be Issues:

    • A large-scale study conducted at public Wi-Fi spots in 15 airports across the United States, Germany, Australia, and India discovered that two thirds of users leak private information whilst accessing the Internet.
    • Further, the TRAI report recommends that ‘community interest’ data be stored locally, raising questions about data protection in a scenario where the country currently does not have a data protection law in place.
    • These are however, problems of regulation, state capacity and awareness and do not directly affect the framework for this scheme.

    With the PM-WANI, the state is expanding the reach of digital transformation to those who have been excluded till now. It is a game-changer because it has the potential to move Digital India to Digital Bharat.


    UPSC Current Affairs: Financial Stability Development Council (FSDC)| Page - 14

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Economy | Mains – GS Paper III - Economy

    Sub Theme: The Financial Stability and Development Council |FSDC | UPSC

    • The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) has been constituted in 2010. The Council is chaired by the Union Finance Minister and its members include:
    • Chiefs of RBI,SEBI,IRDA,PFRDA
    • Minister of state responsible for the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA),
    • Secretary of Department of Electronics and Information Technology’,
    • Revenue secretary,
    • Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs;
    • Secretary, Department of Financial Services;
    • Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs,
    • Chief Economic Adviser and
    • Chairperson of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI).
    • The council acts as a co-ordination agency between the various financial sector regulators- the RBI, SEBI, IRDA and the PFRDA.
    • Further, it deals with issues relating to financial stability, financial sector development, inter–regulatory coordination, financial literacy, financial inclusion and macro prudential supervision of the economy including the functioning of large financial conglomerates.
    • The Council and its Sub-Committee (chaired by Governor, Reserve Bank of India) deliberate on agenda items proposed by any of the members of the Council which broadly include matters relating to financial stability, inter-regulatory coordination, and financial sector development. The Council/Sub-committee deliberates on these issues and suggests taking appropriate steps, as required.