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27th February 2024 (9 Topics)

27th February 2024

QUIZ - 27th February 2024

5 Questions

5 Minutes



Land management practices and their implications for ecosystem health and human well-being have garnered significant attention globally and in India, as highlighted by discussions at international conventions and reports by expert bodies.

Challenges and Global Context

  • Global challenges: Land degradation poses significant economic and environmental challenges worldwide, with annual losses estimated at $6 trillion, leading to discussions at forums like COP14 and IPCC.
  • Need: The need for land degradation neutrality and effective land management practices has been emphasized, with recommendations for country-level stocktaking and action.
  • Urgency to address the issue: Reports like the FAO's 'State of the World’s Land and Water Resources' underscore the urgency of addressing land management issues for long-term sustainability.

 Challenges in India

  • Management challenges: India faces various land management challenges, including degradation of around 30% of its total geographical area, amidst pressures from development, population growth, and urbanization.
  • Exacerbation of issues: The sectoral and fragmented approach to land management, compounded by administrative complexities and regulatory barriers, exacerbates the situation.
  • Climate change: Climate change further complicates land management efforts, necessitating holistic and integrated approaches at both policy and implementation levels.

Institutional Support and Way Forward

  • Addressing knowledge gaps: Establishing multi-stakeholder platforms at district and sub-district levels is proposed to address knowledge gaps and foster collaboration among stakeholders for effective land management.
  • Landscape approach: Adopting a landscape approach, integrating agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, can provide insights for sustainable land use planning and decision-making.
  • Systematic support: Systematic institutional support, similar to initiatives like the European Landscape Convention, is needed to promote integrated landscape management practices and ensure long-term sustainability.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a large-scale grain storage plan in the cooperative sector, aiming to almost double the country's existing storage capacity, emphasizing the government's focus on cooperatives in agriculture.

Launch of Grain Storage Plan

  • About: The plan is said to be the world's largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector, targeting a storage infrastructure of 700 lakh metric tons over the next five years.
  • Objective: The ambitious plan, expected to cost Rs 1.25 lakh crore, aims to address the lack of adequate storage infrastructure, enabling farmers to sell their produce at opportune prices.
  • Significance of cooperatives: The initiative reflects the government's commitment to enhancing storage facilities and emphasizes the importance of cooperatives in agriculture.

Emphasis on Cooperatives

  • Increasing emphasis: The storage plan highlights the increasing emphasis on cooperatives in the government's agricultural policies, complemented by initiatives such as establishing primary agricultural credit societies (PACS), dairy, and fisheries cooperatives.
  • Strengthening the initiative: The Union Budget 2023-24 allocated funds for computerizing PACS and formed a Ministry of Cooperation, signaling the government's priority in strengthening cooperatives.
  • Role of cooperatives: Cooperatives, particularly PACS, play a vital role in the cooperative credit structure, serving millions of members, including small and marginal farmers, and facilitating lending through district central cooperative banks.

Role of Cooperatives and Prime Minister's Vision

  • Successful examples: Prime Minister Modi underscores the critical role of cooperatives in addressing farmers' challenges through collective strength, drawing on successful examples like Amul and Lijjat Papad.
  • A shift: The increasing reliance on cooperatives may signal a shift from expectations of large-scale private sector investments in agriculture infrastructure and marketing.
  • Empowerment: The government's focus on strengthening cooperatives aligns with its broader goal of empowering farmers and enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability.
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The introduction of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) for undergraduate and postgraduate admissions in all central universities and affiliated colleges aims to streamline the admission process and address issues of inequality and stress associated with multiple entrance exams.

Introduction of CUET

  • Replacement: The Common University Entrance Test (CUET) aims to replace multiple entrance exams with a single-window examination for admissions in central universities and affiliated colleges.
  • Equal opportunity for all: CUET seeks to reduce mental stress for students by concentrating their energy on one exam, ensuring equal opportunities for candidates from diverse backgrounds and standardizing the selection process.
  • Simplification: The introduction of CUET is viewed as a positive step towards simplifying the admission process and enhancing accessibility to higher education institutes across the country.

Challenges and Concerns

  • Challenges for inclusivity: Despite its benefits, CUET may exacerbate coaching class culture and privilege, posing challenges of inclusivity for students from marginalised backgrounds who lack access to coaching centres.
  • Limiting assessment: The reliance on multiple-choice questions (MCQs) in CUET may limit the assessment of competencies and influence teaching-learning processes, potentially shifting educational focus away from holistic learning.
  • Disadvantages: CUET's national-level curriculum may disadvantage students from state boards with diverse curricula, raising concerns about fairness and equity in the selection process.

Considerations for Successful Implementation

  • Collaboration: CUET implementation requires collaboration among key stakeholders, including teachers, practitioners, and policymakers, to ensure a comprehensive and informed assessment aligned with subject-specific competencies.
  • Subject-specific competencies: Emphasis should be placed on subject-specific competencies in classroom pedagogy and assessment to equip students for critical application of knowledge, reducing reliance on additional coaching for exam performance.
  • Careful navigation: Successful implementation of CUET necessitates careful navigation of potential challenges through stakeholder engagement, prioritization of subject-specific competencies, and alignment with diverse state board curricula.
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