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Biodiversity & environment

3 Solved Questions with Answers
  • 2017

    8. Not many years ago, river linking was a concept but it is becoming reality in the country. Discuss the advantages of river linking and its possible impact on the environment. (2017)

    India is endowed with vast natural resources distributed unevenly across the country. National Perspective Plan for river linking was initiated with the objective of transferring water from surplus basins to deficit basins. The river linking project has many advantages as listed below–

    • Transfer of water from surplus regions like Assam and Bihar will help in solving the perennial flood problem that plagues these regions.
    • As a corollary many drought affected areas will be able to access sufficient water for irrigation, drinking and other purposes.
    • River linking project will provide additional irrigation benefits. According to estimates, around 35 Mha of additional irrigation potential will be created.
    • It has also been estimated that around 34,000 megawatt of hydroelectricity would also be produced that could be used for irrigation and other purposes.
    • The wide network of inland navigation proposed by the government will also be facilitated by the initiative. This move will ease pressure on rail and road transport.
    • Inter-state water dispute will also be resolved to a great extent.

    Possible impact on environment

    • It is feared that construction of big dams and long canals will destroy natural vegetation and will disturb the ecological balance.
    • The project will also be detrimental to mangroves in the delta region of West Bengal and will have implications for richest fisheries in India.
    • It will inundate large tract of fertile agricultural land and make them unsuitable for agriculture.

    The river link project is not without its disadvantages. The environmental angle needs to be taken into consideration such that minimum damage accrues to ecology and environment.

  • 2016

    14. Rehabilitation of human settlements is one of the important environmental impacts which always attracts controversy while planning major projects. Discuss the measures suggested for mitigation of this impact while proposing major developmental projects. (2016)

    Rehabilitation and Resettlement is one of the major challenges while planning the major developmental projects. To tackle this, Government has adopted National Rehabilitation and Resettlement policy to minimize displacement.

    • Its objectives are to promote as far as possible non-displacing or least-displacing alternatives, to ensure adequate rehabilitation package and expeditious implementation of the rehabilitation process with the active participation of affected families.
    • The right to fair compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2015 also addresses the issue such as if private company acquires or purchase more than 50 acres of land in urban areas or 100 acres in rural areas it is required to rehabilitate and resettle affected families. This threshold can be circumvented by a private company by purchasing multiple parcels of land, each under the prescribed limit, through other entities.
    • The Singur judgement by the Apex court centered around the inept and illegitimate handling of power of Eminent Domain by the then Government. The Court said that it should not be left unacknowledged that when Eminent Domain is exercised the displaced persons is not provided with anything but cash compensation.
    • The Morse and Berger 1992 Report said that of the total displaced in the case of Sardar Sarovar dam project 58% were adivasis. These people did not possess formal title to their land and therefore could not claim compensation anyway.
    • Apart from all these measures, education facilities, health facilities should be taken care of displaced families should be resettled in groups that would protect their cultural and traditional rights.

  • 2017

    17. 'Climate change' is a global problem. How India will be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change? (2017)

    Climate change is referred to a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variation of weather within the context of longer-term average conditions.

    Climate change has attracted attention recently particularly due to the changes apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and it is attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

    • India due to its peculiar geography and developmental stage is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change.
    • India is already experiencing a warming climate and erratic monsoon pattern, unpredictable rainfall since last few years.
    • Droughts are expected to be more frequent in some areas, especially in north-western India, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
    • Climate change is expected to have major health impacts in India- worsening the already high malnutrition and related health disorders such as child stunting - with the poor likely to be affected most severely.

    Possible effects on Himalayan states

    • With rise in average temperature, most Himalayan glaciers have been retreating over the past century. This may have severe impact on the delicate Himalayan ecology.
    • The melting of glaciers and the loss of snow cover over the Himalayas is expected to threaten the stability and reliability of northern India’s primarily glacier-fed rivers systems, particularly major river systems like the Indus, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. This will adversely impact the ecology, livelihood and overall economy of Himalayan states.

    Possible effects on coastal states

    • India is close to the equator, the sub-continent would see much higher rises in sea levels in comparison to higher latitudes and most of coastal states will face the heat of climate change.
    • Kolkata and Mumbai, both densely populated cities, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of sea-level rise, tropical cyclones, and riverine flooding
    • Sea-level rise and storm surges would lead to saltwater intrusion in the coastal areas, impacting agriculture, degrading groundwater quality and contamination of drinking water.

    Being one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, it is high time that India should take corrective and mitigating actions to cope up with the upcoming challenges of climate change.

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