TH Art2] The seeds of sustainability In early June, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu announced that the State would fully embrace Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), a chemical-free method that would cover all farmers by 2024. Earlier in the year, he had revealed these plans at the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos The way to improve the welfare of farmers reduce the cost of farm inputs, O cut toxins in food, and improve soils. Andhra Pradesh has become the first State to implement a ZBNF policy.
Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) OZBNF is set of natural farming methods where cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero O It is a farming practice that believes in natural growth of crops without adding any fertilizers and pesticides or any other foreign elements. OIt is different from organic farming. O The word Zero Budget refers to zero net cost of production of all crops. OThis means that farmers need not purchase fertilizers and pesticides in order to ensure the The inputs used for seed treatments and other inoculations are locally available in form of cow O It requires almost no monetary investment and envisages use of 'Jeevamrutha' and O The main aim of ZBNF is eliminate use of chemical pesticides and uses biological pesticides and healthy growth of crops dung and cow urine. "Beejamrutha promote of good agronomic practices Farmers use earthworms, cow dung, urine, plants, human excreta and such biological fertilizers for crop protection. It lowers cost of inputs of farmers and gives better capacity to increase the incomes It also protects soil from degradation and helps in retaining soil fertility and is climate change resilient.
four aspects that are now integral to his process and which require locally available materials: Oseeds treated with cow dung and urine; Osoil rejuvenated with cow dung, cow urine and other local materials to increase microbes; Ocover crops, straw and other organic matter to retain soil moisture and build humus; and soil aeration for favourable soil conditions. These methods are combined with natural insect management methods when required. In ZBNF, yields of various cash and food crops have been found to be significantly higher when compared with chemical farming. OFor example, yields from ZBNF plots in the (kharif) 2017 pilot phase were found on average to be 11% higher for cotton than in non-ZBNF plots. The yield for Guli ragi (ZBNF) was 40% higher than non-ZBNF. Input costs are near zero as no fertilizers and pesticides are used. Profits in most areas under ZBNF were from higher yield and lower inputs. Model ZBNF farms were able to withstand drought and flooding, which are big concerns with regard to climate change
The planting of multiple crops and border crops on the same field has provided varied income and nutrient sources. OAs a result of these changes, there is reduced use of water and electricity, improved health of farmers, flourishing of local ecosystems and biodiversity and no toxic chemical residues in the environment. In early 2016, Sikkim was declared India's first fully organic State OBut organic agriculture often involves addition of large amounts of manure, vermicompost and other materials that are required in bulk and need to be purchased These turn out to be expensive for most small farm holders. Why need ZBNF? OResilient food systems are the need of the day given the variability of the monsoons due to global warming and declining groundwater in large parts of India. OThe drought-prone Rayalaseema region (Andhra Pradesh) is reportedly seeing promising changes already in farms with the ZB More encouraging is that the programme can have a positive effect on many of the sustainable development goals through improvements in soil, biodiversity, livelihoods, water, reduction in chemicals, climate resilience, health, women's empowerment and nutrition.
India's plans for a military base have hit a roadblock. Why is this tiny island of Seychelles important? INDIA Arabian Sea Bay of Bengal ASSUMPTIONISLAND AFRICA SEYCHELLES Indian Ocean
SPANNINGJUST 11.6 sqkm, a small island Why Assumption Island imp for India? in the Indian Ocean has gained new atten Anaval base there would help India secure tion with Seychelles saying that India's its merchant ships, be a resource for other plans to build a military base "will not shipping nations, and help combat China's move forward", as reported in The Sunday increasing clout in the Indian Ocean. Express. Assumption Island, a single coral India unveiled its plans for a base in island, belongs to the Outer Islands District 2015, during a trip by PM Narendra Modi, of Seychelles. With only a small village on butitfaced resistance from the opposition the sheltered western side and a 1,210-m there as well as citizens. Concerns ranged concrete airfield running from there to the from environmental ones to fears of con- southeastern coast, the island's fewinhab- flict between nuclear powers India and itants, mostly farmers and fishermen, have China. Seychelles signed an amendment t go to Victoria (the capital) for govern- pact with India lastJanuary, with safe- ment services. The island's location is ideal guards banning India from using nuclear for monitoring the Mozambique Channel, weapons on the base or using it in war, but which sees significantinternational trade. the protests continued
TH Art3] Beating plastic pollution We celebrated 'World Environment Day' (June 5) with a critical theme: beat plastic pollution, Since India was the global host of this year's event, and also one of the victims of plastic pollution, we should view this danger seriously. The Theme: The theme urges governments, industries, communities and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives. O It also urges this target group to reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastics, which are polluting our environment and threatening human health Plastic: O Plastics are organic polymers of high molecular mass and often contain other substances. Due to their low cost, ease of manufacture, versatility, non-corrosiveness and imperviousness O Plastic was invented in New York in 1907 by Leo Baekeland. They are usually synthetic, mainly derived from petrochemicals. to water, plastics are used for multiple purposes at different scales. Further, many chemists, including Nobel laureate Hermann Staudinger (father of polymer chemistry) and Herman Mark (father of polymer physics), have contributed to the materials science of plastics. However, these scientists could not have anticipated such an exponential growth of plastic production.
Critical impact O Plastic has become an indispensable material in modern society. About 50% of our plastic use is single use (disposable) and it constitutes 10% of the total waste generated 0 Ganga seetri ut ente thisis ereof hehighest Researchers exploring the Arctic have found very high levels of microplastics trapped in the ice trapped inthe ice elean Hen per yeaf Plastic disposed of on land degrades slowly and its chemicals leach into the surroundings Drinking water samples analysed from 14 countries, including India, revealed that 83% have micro-plastics concentrations. According to a United Nations Environment Programme report, the overall annual natural capital cost of plastic use in the consumer goods sector is $75 billion.
What should we do? In reality, we cannot eliminate plastic use from our day-to-day activities. However, we should not allow plastic to reach the soil or water The government should restrict plastic production and encourage recycling through appropriate policies. OThe 'Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016' need to be strictly followed. As most plastic items pass through our hands, public care, with behavioural change, is necessary. Household-wise waste segregation is the key. Every shopkeeper should go in for abd encourage the use of biodegradable packing materials while shoppers should use cloth bags. Mass public awareness on the dangers of plastic hazards is a prerequisite. Eco-friendly substitutes (cloth/paper/jute bags, leaves/areca leaf plates, paper straws) should be developed O For this, scientific and financial support (soft loans and subsidies) is required. O Charges for plastic bag use and deposit-refund for plastic bottles may be effective options. The recent decision by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on extending the mandate on packing food grains and sugar products in jute bags is welcome. Even if the intention is to promote the jute industry, it is a step that reduces plastic pollution. The Swachh Bharat Mission should emerge as a platform for plastic waste management.
TH FAQ] Right on Kashmir's rights? What prompted this human rights report? OThe first ever report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Jammu and Kashmir, including Pakistan- occupied Kashmir, published last week, has been in production since 2016. DA new wave of violence had then hit the Kashmir Valley, when protests sparked by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani were met with force by security personnel; about 51 protesters and civilians were killed in the months that followed, while more than 9,000 were injured by pellets and bullets. Consequently, the OHCRC asked India and Pakistan to allow its teams access to the State, a request that was refused.
Is there a political or diplomatic implication of the report that can hurt India in the long run? OIndia has said that the report violates its "sovereignty and territorial integrity" as it has used terms such as "Azad Jammu and Kashmir" and "Gilgit Baltistan" to describe the part of the State under Pakistani control. India does not consider Pakistan's control over a part of Kashmir as legitimate and describes the region as Pakistan occupied Kashmir DAfter decades of delay, Pakistan, May 27, 2018, integrated Gilgit-Baltistan region into its federal structure despite strong protest from India. The OHCHR's decision to use these terms in the report can be interpreted as a sign of recognition of these regions as being part of Pakistan.
Delhi's knee-jerk reaction could be explained by its intense suspicion about "third party mediation" between India and Pakistan O The fear that big powers would impose a Kashmir solution on India may have had a reasonable political basis many decades ago. Today, it makes no sense for an emerging power like India to be so jumpy about "third parties" O If tiny Mongolia can sit down with its giant neighbours, Russia and China, on the margins of the sco, what is India so afraid oft? What India should have done? O Instead of rejecting the trilateral dialogue, Delhi should lob the ball right back into China's court O It should affirm its readiness to sit on the table for three if the agenda is right O Delhi should propose a three-fold agenda o First, connectivity cooperation between the three without prejudice to territorial disputes in Kashmir; o second, trilateral cooperation against terrorism without reference to so-called "root causes"; o third, liberal trade and transit arrangements between the three countries in India's north-west. If China can deliver Pakistan on this agenda, India should be more than happy to convene the first round of the trilateral dialogue in Delhi.
Non-communicable diseases and traffic deaths alone cost the country 6.5 per cent of The inability to afford treatment is the leading cause for people not seeking medical OCurrently, out-of-pocket expenditure constitutes 62 per cent of the healthcare its GDP a huge cost indeed. care. spending of families in the country most times, they have to dig into their savings or even take loans. OCatastrophic expenditure (when a household spends more than 40 per cent of its income on health) is a major cause of impoverishment in India and every year, this pushes around 63 million people below the poverty line OYoung lives are often lost for the want of treatment to easily curable conditions. OIn such cases, the suffering continues years after the loss. OThe treatment of severe health conditions can wreak havoc on families but even common diseases like dengue, malaria or broken bones can result in a financial shock to many households.
On an average, an Indian family spends Rs 22,000 a year on hospitalisation in a private hospital But in case of expensive treatments for diseases such as cancer, heart ailments and organ failures, most families have to borrow money. A benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh per annum, ensures that even these conditions are covered As AB-NHPM shall take care of the affordability of healthcare, the demand for such care is expected to go up The country's healthcare infrastructure is limited and is skewed towards the urban areas DAB-NHPM will procure secondary and tertiary care services from both the private and public sectors. D The role of the private sector is critical because of its size and widespread presence OAt present, 70 per cent of illness episodes are treated in private institutions. The sector can attempt to capture the opportunity in un-served rural areas. This will improve the accessibility of healthcare services for the country's rural population overcharge behave like a monopsony and as a result, control the prices and quality of healthcare. OThe hospitals shall be paid at a pre-agreed rate, leaving them no scope to raise prices or O Together with state schemes, AB-NHPM will cover a large chunk of the population. It will
The public sector will have a golden opportunity to improve its services and compete with the private sector. The government has approved 24 new medical colleges at the district-level and ratified the upgradation of public hospitals and new tertiary care facilities, including six AllMS. DA public hospital will retain the money it earns through AB-NHPM. OThese hospitals have also benefited under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and state health insurance schemes. and services. spur them on to even greater achievements. OHospitals in many states used this additional revenue to improve their infrastructure OThere are numerous stories about the success of public hospitals. AB-NHPM could We cannot, however, underestimate the challenges The unprecedented scale of the scheme is a big challenge. Health insurance schemes are operational in 24 states and UTs. The coverage and scope of benefits under these schemes differ widely.
Way forward AB-NHPM has evolved a structure that accommodates the unique features of state schemes while also providing flexibility to states to exercise their choice on the mode of implementation. Olt will merge the existing schemes into one large pool, remove inefficiencies and bring in economies of scale. The states must own the scheme while the Centre is committed to offer all possible help to overcome challenges. Olt has already signed MoUs with 20 states/UTs for implementation of AB- NHPM. These MoUs provide the basis for launch of the scheme in the states/UTs and also detail the roles and responsibilities of the two stakeholders. OThe government is earnestly fulfilling its health-related commitments.
B.Tech NIT Allahabad. Have written UPSC Mains 2 times with Physics. Channel "Sumant Kumar" on Youtube for Current Affairs Analysis.