03 Mar 2023
GS Paper 3
Bio-diversity & Environment
Question 1:. Explain the impact of climate change on Indian agriculture and how the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) can help alleviate these effects. (250 words)
Question 2: Discuss the genetically modified organism (GMOs). How can GMOs tackle twin challenges of food shortage and climate change? (150 words)
- Give a brief introduction about the impact of climate change on Indian agriculture.
- Describe how the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) is tackling the impact of climate change on agriculture.
- Write an effective and holistic conclusion.
- Climate change is one of the most significant global challenges of our time, and it is having far-reaching impacts on societies and ecosystems worldwide.
- India, as one of the world's largest and most populous countries, is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
- India's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which is a critical source of livelihood for millions of people in the country.
- However, climate change is posing significant threats to India's agriculture sector, affecting crop yields, water availability, and livelihoods.
Climate change is having a significant impact on Indian agriculture, which is a vital sector of the country's economy and a source of livelihood for millions of people. Here are some of the ways in which climate change is affecting Indian agriculture:
- Changing weather patterns: Climate change is leading to more extreme weather events, including droughts, floods, and heatwaves, which are disrupting agricultural activities. Erratic and unpredictable rainfall patterns can cause crops to fail, and excessive heat can damage crops, soil, and irrigation systems.
- Crop yields and quality: Rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, and increased frequency of extreme weather events are affecting the quantity and quality of crops in India. A decline in crop yields and quality due to climate change can lead to food insecurity, higher food prices, and a decline in the income of farmers.
- Pests and diseases: Climate change is creating favorable conditions for pests and diseases, which can damage crops, reduce yields, and increase the use of pesticides. Pests such as locusts and diseases such as wheat rust are becoming more prevalent in India due to climate change.
- Water availability: Climate change is affecting the availability and quality of water for irrigation, drinking, and other uses. Changing rainfall patterns, melting glaciers, and rising sea levels are affecting India's rivers, lakes, and groundwater reserves, which are crucial for agriculture.
- Livelihoods of farmers: Small-scale farmers, who are the backbone of India's agriculture sector, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Climate change-related disasters can wipe out the savings of farmers, and declining crop yields can make it difficult for them to pay back loans and provide for their families.
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA):
- The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) is a flagship program launched by the Government of India in 2010 to promote sustainable agriculture practices and increase the resilience of Indian agriculture to climate change.
- The mission is implemented by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers' Welfare, and it aims to integrate various components of sustainable agriculture, including soil health management, water use efficiency, conservation of genetic resources, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
- The NMSA focuses on promoting climate-resilient farming systems that are based on ecological principles and utilize natural resources efficiently. The mission emphasizes the adoption of agro-ecological practices that are best suited to local conditions, such as crop diversification, agroforestry, integrated pest management, and conservation agriculture.
- It also aims to enhance the capacity of farmers to cope with climate variability and climate change by providing them with information and knowledge on climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies.
- The NMSA is implemented through a decentralized approach, with state governments playing a vital role in planning and executing activities under the mission.
- The mission provides financial and technical support to state governments for the implementation of sustainable agriculture practices, capacity building of farmers and extension workers, and the development of climate-resilient farming systems.
- It also supports research and development activities related to sustainable agriculture and the development of climate-resilient crops and cropping systems.
Indian agriculture is facing significant and diverse impacts due to climate change, which requires a comprehensive strategy that includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving crop management practices, developing resilient crop varieties, enhancing water management, and supporting small-scale farmers to adapt to changing conditions. The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture launched by the Government of India is a crucial initiative to promote sustainable agriculture practices and enhance the resilience of Indian agriculture to climate change. By emphasizing the adoption of ecologically sound and climate-resilient farming systems, the NMSA aims to improve farmers' livelihoods, ensure food security, and contribute to India's sustainable development goals.
- Give a brief introduction about genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
- Discuss how GMOs will tackle twin challenges of food shortage and climate change.
- Write an appropriate and holistic Conclusion.
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms whose genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally through mating or natural recombination.
- The genetic material is modified by adding or deleting genes, altering the DNA sequence, or transferring genes from one species to another.
- GMOs are used in various fields, including agriculture, medicine, and biotechnology.
- In agriculture, genetically modified crops are created by introducing foreign genes into the DNA of plants to enhance their properties, such as resistance to pests, tolerance to herbicides, and increased yields.
- For example, a gene from a bacterium that produces a natural insecticide has been introduced into some varieties of cotton, maize, and soybeans, making them resistant to certain pests.
- Similarly, some crops have been genetically modified to tolerate herbicides, allowing farmers to use them to control weeds without harming the crops.
- While genetically modified crops have the potential to increase yields, reduce pesticide use, and improve food security, they also raise concerns about the safety of the technology and its potential impact on the environment and human health.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have the potential to address the twin challenges of food shortage and climate change in several ways.
- GMOs can help increase food production and address food shortages by improving crop yields and making crops more resistant to pests, diseases, and environmental stresses.
- For example, some genetically modified crops have been engineered to produce their own insecticides or resist herbicides, which can help farmers control pests and weeds more effectively and reduce yield losses.
- GMOs can also help mitigate the impacts of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving resource efficiency.
- For example, genetically modified crops that require fewer inputs such as water, fertilizer, and pesticides can help reduce carbon emissions and conserve resources. Some genetically modified crops have been engineered to be more drought-tolerant, which can help farmers adapt to changing weather patterns and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
- Genetically modified crops can also help reduce food waste and increase food security by improving the shelf life and nutritional value of crops.
- For example, some genetically modified crops have been engineered to resist spoilage or produce more nutrients, which can help ensure that food is available and nutritious for longer periods.
GMOs are still concerned around their safety, environmental impacts, and potential unintended consequences. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that GMOs are developed and deployed responsibly, with appropriate regulatory oversight and scientific evaluation, to ensure that they deliver benefits to society without causing harm. GMOs hold great potential to address global challenges such as food insecurity and climate change. However, their use must be guided by scientific research, regulatory oversight, and ethical considerations to ensure safety and sustainability. Open and informed public dialogue and education are also critical to promote responsible decision-making.