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Course: Expected Questions Geo-Mains Paper GS- 1 Presented by Ashna Sisodia
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Question 25 Discuss why India's Western Ghats is considered as one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, the threats it is facing and recent measures taken to protect this biodiversity. (200 Words)
Answer: Western Ghats which spans over 1600 kms comprises more than 30 percent of the plants, mammal, birds and amphibian species found all over India According to IUCN red list at least 325 globally endangered species are found in this area. Ihis include flagship mammal species like lion tailed macaque, Asian elephant and tiger This region also has a sizable tribal population. UNESCO has declared 39 properties of Western Ghats as biodiversity hot spot region.
Threats to biodiversity of western Ghats: 1. Developmental activities like construction of dams, power projects, roads, Tourist resorts pose threats to its biodiversity e.g.: Gudia and Athirappilly Hydroelectric power projects affects Adar tribes, endemic species like lion tailed macaque, Nilgiri tahr. 2. Western Ghats has rich iron ore, Bauxite and manganese deposits. Along with that presence of rivers like Tungabhadra, Cauvery, Godavari and plant species like teak, sandal wood makes powerful presence of sand, timber and mining lobbies. This results in fragmentation and pollution. 3. The mono culture practice like planting of eucalyptus by government and individuals for commercial purpose had resulted in deforestation. 4. Fishing industry uses electricity, poison etc. for fishing which pollutes fresh water and harms species. 5. Mining results in lowering of water table and affects water quality.
Several measures have been taken to protect it: 1. Gadgil report and Kasturirangan committee report seek to bring attention to vulnerability of this region. The demarcation of Ecologically Sensitive Areas, and regulating disruptive human activity is sought 2. Extending limits of core zone regions for insitu conservation efforts by converting wildlife sanctuaries to national parks, increasing boundaries of wild life sanctuaries, and buffer regions 3. Closing operation of highways during hours in the night to protect wildlife through these regions 4. Prohibiting use of exotic plant species in afforestation programs
The question of balancing the developmental needs of people living in these areas to access better livelihood facilities and the need for conserving nature and wildlife applies here. Greater involvement of local panchayats while pursuing conservation efforts is necessary to make the effort effective, holistic and long lasting.
Question 26: Critically examine the causes of farm distress in India and possible solutions needed to address this distress. (200 Words)
Answer: Farmer suicides have been an issue of debate in the recent past. Some of the reasons for farm distress are 1. Financial issues Low income returns the same investment, in other fields have provided better returns Low and stagnating yields and increasing input costs Most of the agriculture sector comprises of small and marginal farmers, who are affected greatly because of this Credit issues no effective, low interest lenders, leading to high interest money lenders increasing the vulnerability of the household Insurance issues most of the farmers are not even aware of the various crop insurance instruments in the market
2. Excessive dependence on monsoons Adding to the problems is unpredictable weather and dependence on monsoon Unpreparedness for the climate changes because of which crops get destroyed by excessive floods or drought 3. Declining food prices most common in sugar, cereals and meat (FAO) MSP have been an instrument to fight declining prices have hardly been effective at the farm level 4. Lack of expert advice 5. Inadequate irrigation facilities