Kurukeshtra Gist for June 2020 - UPSC and Govt Exam


Topic: Aatmanirbhar Bharat

What is the context?

  • On May 12, the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, announced a special economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore (equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP) with the aim of making the country independent against the tough competition in the global supply chain and to help in empowering the poor, labourers, migrants who have been adversely affected by COVID.  
  • Following this announcement, the Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, through five press conferences, announced the detailed measures under the economic package.  

What are the government reforms proposed?

  • Increase in borrowing limits:  
    • The borrowing limits of state governments will be increased from 3% to 5% of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for the year 2020-21.  
    • This is estimated to give states extra resources of Rs 4.28 lakh crore.  
    • There will be unconditional increase of up to 3.5% of GSDP followed by 0.25% increase linked to reforms on -  universalisation of ‘One Nation One Ration card’, Ease of Doing Business, power distribution and Urban Local Body revenues.  
    • Further, there will be an increase of 0.5% if three out of four reforms are achieved.
  • Privatisation of Public Sector Enterprise (PSEs): 
    • A new PSE policy has been announced with plans to privatise PSEs, except the ones functioning in certain strategic sectors which will be notified by the government.  
    • In strategic sectors, at least one PSE will remain, but private sector will also be allowed.  
    • To minimise wasteful administrative costs, number of enterprises in strategic sectors will ordinarily be only one to four; others will be privatised/ merged/ brought under holding companies.

What are the measures for business?

  • Collateral free loans for businesses: All businesses (including MSMEs) will be provided with collateral free automatic loans of up to three lakh crore rupees.
  • Corpus for MSMEs: A fund of funds with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore will be set up for MSMEs.  This will provide equity funding for MSMEs with growth potential and viability.
  • Subordinate debt for MSMEs:This scheme aims to support to stressed MSMEs which have Non-Performing Assets (NPAs).
  • Schemes for NBFCs: A Special Liquidity Scheme was announced under which Rs 30,000 crore of investment will be made by the government in both primary and secondary market transactions in investment grade debt paper of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs)/Housing Finance Companies (HFCs)/Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs).
  • Employee Provident Fund (EPF): Under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana,the government paid 12% of employer and 12% of employee contribution into the EPF accounts of eligible establishments for the months of March, April and May.
  • Statutory PF contribution:Statutory PF contribution of both the employer and employee will be reduced from 12% to 10% each for all establishments covered by EPFO for next three months. 
  • Street vendors: A special scheme will be launched within a month to facilitate easy access to credit for street vendors.

What are the measures for Agriculture and allied sectors?

  • Concessional Credit Boost to farmers:Farmers will be provided institutional credit facilities at concessional rates through Kisan Credit Cards. 
  • Agri Infrastructure Fund: A fund of one lakh crore rupees will be created for development of agriculture infrastructure projects at farm-gate and aggregation points (such as cooperative societies and Farmer Producer Organizations). 
  • Emergency working capital for farmers: An additional fund of Rs 30,000 crore will be released as emergency working capital for farmers. This fund will be disbursed through NABARD to Rural Cooperative Banks (RCBs) and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) for meeting their crop loans requirements.
  • Support to fishermen:The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) will be launched for integrated, sustainable, and inclusive development of marine and inland fisheries.
  • Animal Husbandry infrastructure development: An Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund of Rs 15,000 crore will be set up, with the aim of supporting private investment in dairy processing, value addition, and cattle feed infrastructure.
  • Employment push using CAMPA funds: The government will approve plans worth Rs 6,000 crore under the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to facilitate job creation for tribals/adivasis.

What are the measures for Migrant workers?

  • One Nation One Card: Migrant workers will be able to access the Public Distribution System (Ration) from any Fair Price Shop in India by March 2021 under the scheme of One Nation One Card.
  • Free food grain Supply to migrants: Migrant workers who are not beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act ration card or state card will be provided 5 kg of grains per person and 1 kg of chana per family per month for two months.
  • Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) for Migrant Workers / Urban Poor: The migrant labour/urban poorwill be provided living facilities at affordable rent under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
  • This will be achieved by: (i) converting government funded housing in the cities into ARHCs through PPPs, and (ii) incentivising manufacturing units, industries, institutions, associations to develop ARHCs on their private land and operate them.

What are the measures for other sectors?

  • Efficient airspace management: Restrictions on utilisation of the Indian Air Space will be eased so that civilian flying becomes more efficient.
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for airports: World-class airports will be built through PPP model. 
  • FDI limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route will be increased from 49% to 74%.
  • Make in India initiative will be promoted in the defence sector aiming to make the country independent in terms of production.
  • Liquidity support for distribution companies (discoms): A liquidity support of Rs 90,000 crore will be provided to power discoms.
  • Coal evacuation: Rs 50,000 crore will be spent on infrastructure development for evacuation of coal. 
  • Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Group (MIG): The Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Group (annual income between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 18 lakh) will be extended by one year up to March 2021.
  • Support to real estate sector: COVID 19 will be treated as an event of “Force Majeure” under Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) by states/union territories and their Regulatory Authorities.


Topic: Water Management: Towards Sustainable Agriculture

What is the context?

  • With a growing economy and changing lifestyles the pressure on already strained water resources is increasing.
  • The government has shown an interest in Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) as a new framework and approach for the nation. Most cities in India are water stressed, with no city having 24/7 water supply.

What is Sustainable Agriculture?

  • In agriculture, sustainability is a complex idea with many facets, including the economic (a sustainable farm should be a profitable business that contributes to a robust economy), the social (it should deal fairly with its workers and have a mutually beneficial relationship with the surrounding community), and the environmental.
  • Environmental sustainability in agriculture means good stewardship of the natural systems and resources that farms rely on. 

What does it involve?

  • Building and maintaining healthy soil
  • Managing water wisely
  • Minimizing air, water, and climate pollution
  • Promoting biodiversity

What are the Sustainable agriculture practices?

  • Rotating crops and embracing diversity.
    • Planting a variety of crops can have many benefits, including healthier soil and improved pest control. C
    • rop diversity practices include intercropping (growing a mix of crops in the same area) and complex multi-year crop rotations.
  • Planting cover crops.
    • Cover crops, like clover or hairy vetch, are planted during off-season times when soils might otherwise be left bare.
    • These crops protect and build soil health by preventing erosion, replenishing soil nutrients, and keeping weeds in check, reducing the need for herbicides.   
  • Reducing or eliminating tillage.  
    • Traditional plowing (tillage) prepares fields for planting and prevents weed problems, but can cause a lot of soil loss. No-till or reduced till methods, which involve inserting seeds directly into undisturbed soil, can reduce erosion and improve soil health.
  • Applying integrated pest management (IPM). A range of methods, including mechanical and biological controls, can be applied systematically to keep pest populations under control while minimizing use of chemical pesticides.
  • Integrating livestock and crops. Industrial agriculture tends to keep plant and animal production separate, with animals living far from the areas where their feed is produced, and crops growing far away from abundant manure fertilizers. A growing body of evidence shows that a smart integration of crop and animal production can be a recipe for more efficient, profitable farms.
  • Adopting agroforestry practices.By mixing trees or shrubs into their operations, farmers can provide shade and shelter to protect plants, animals, and water resources, while also potentially offering additional income.
  • Managing whole systems and landscapes. Sustainable farms treat uncultivated or less intensively cultivated areas, such as riparian buffers or prairie strips, as integral to the farm—valued for their role in controlling erosion, reducing nutrient runoff, and supporting pollinators and other biodiversity.


A key theme connecting many of these practices is diversification. “Keep it simple” is good advice in many situations, but when it comes to agriculture, the most sustainable and productive systems are more diverse and complex—like nature itself.

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Topic: New Mandis Integrated with e-NAM

What is the context?

  • 38 additional mandis were integrated with the eNAM platform, thus achieving milestone of integration of 415 mandis as per the planned target.
  • 38 Mandis integrated are in Madhya Pradesh (19), Telangana (10), Maharashtra (4) and One (1) each from Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Kerala & J&K.
  • With the overall success of 585 mandis in Phase 1 and further expanding its wings to integrate 415 new mandis in Phase 2, the e-NAM platform now has a total number of 1000 mandis across 18 States & 3 UTs.

What is e-NAM?

  • The e-NAM is being implemented by the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), being the lead agency for the project under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India, with the support of all the e-NAM States/UTs, State Marketing Boards, Mandi secretaries, Supervisors, Quality Assayers, Weighment Operators, Service Providers, Farmers, FPOs, Traders and eNAM team.
  • National Agriculture Market (eNAM), a pan-India electronic trading portal was launched on 14th April 2016, by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, with the aim of networking the existing Mandis on a common online market platform as “One Nation One Market” for agricultural commodities in India.
  • This digital initiative of Government of India provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services, including commodity arrivals, quality assaying, competitive bid offers and electronic payment settlement directly into farmers’ accounts.
  • This online digital market aims at reducing transaction costs, bridging information asymmetries, and helping expansion of market access for farmers and other stakeholders.

What are the 3 new modules of eNAM?

  • FPO Module on eNAM: This enables FPOs to conduct trade of commodities from their collection centres declared as “Deemed Market” or “Sub Market yards”.
  • Warehouse based Electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipts (eNWR) trading:For eNWR based trading, WDRA accredited warehouses from Andhra Pradesh (23) and Telangana (14) have been declared as deemed market by respective State Governments. Rajasthan Government has recently declared 138 State Government & cooperative warehouses as sub market yards. Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat  and  Punjab have initiated   amendments in their respective acts to facilitate warehouse based trade.
  • Logistics Module:This facilitates transportation of the commodities from farm to Mandis and from Mandis to warehouse/consumption centres. Nine logistic service providers/aggregators linked with 2.3 lakh transporters and 11.37 lakh vehicles have been on-boarded on eNAM platform.


Topic: Smart Agriculture

What is the context?

  • Agricultural production systems are facing increasing competition from other sectors for limited natural resources.
  • The availability of these resources and their quality are also being affected by unsustainable management practices and changing climatic and weather conditions.
  • To respond to this situation, the agriculture sectors must improve their sustainability performance and adapt to the impacts of climate change in ways that do not compromise global efforts to ensure food security for all.
  • These challenges are intimately and inextricably related, and need to be addressed simultaneously.

What is climate smart agriculture?

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach for transforming and reorienting agricultural production systems and food value chains so that they support sustainable development and can ensure food security under climate change.

What are the benefits?

  • Sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes;
  • Adapt and build resilience to climate change
  • reduce and/or remove greenhouse gas emissions, where possible
  • The climate-smart agriculture approach seeks to reduce trade-offs and promote synergies to make crop and livestock systems, forestry, and fisheries and aquaculture more productive and more sustainable.
  • Climate-smart agriculture is not a new agricultural system, nor a set of practices. It is an innovative approach for charting development pathways that can make the agriculture sectors more productive and sustainable and better able to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

What are the different elements included?

  • the management of land, crops, livestock, aquaculture and capture fisheries to balance near-term food security and livelihoods needs with priorities for adaptation and mitigation;
  • ecosystem and landscape management to conserve ecosystem services that are important for food security, agricultural development, adaptation and mitigation;
  • services for farmers and land managers that can enable them to better manage the risks and impacts of climate change and undertake mitigation actions; and
  • Changes in the wider food system including demand-side measures and value chain interventions that enhance the benefits of climate-smart agriculture.

What is Agribot?

  • Agribot is a robot designed for agricultural purposes.
  • It performs the elementary functions involved in farming i.e. ploughing the field, sowing of seeds and covering the seeds with soil.
  • The robot is autonomous and provides the facility for optional switching of the ploughing system when required.
  • An agricultural robot or agribot is a robot deployed for agricultural purposes.
  • The main area of application of robots in agriculture is at the harvestingstage.
  • Fruit picking robots, driverless tractor / sprayer, and sheep shearing robots are designed to replace human labour.


Topic: Water Conservation: Minimizing Wastage

What is the context?

  • India faces several limitations and global challenges in order to realize dreams, expectations and ever rising aspirations of the people.
  • Interrelated water crisis and food insecurity attract special attention as these attain highest risk values due to burgeoning population, rapid urbanization, industrialization and infrastructure development, expansion and intensification of agriculture, etc.
  • Water crisis in many remote rural areas, particularly in the Himalayan region is a cause of drudgery as fetching water from long distances excessively affects women and takes away their considerable time from work, family care and also results in economic opportunities.
  • Further, lack of availability and access to freshwater imposes restriction on development works and this also pose threat to water-borne diseases and human health.

What are the objectives of water conservation?

  • Enhance water availability: it is achieved by focusing on the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems, increasing green cover, managing riparian forest buffers, adoption of diversified agriculture, water budgeting, recycling and re-use.
  • Improve water quality: by effective law enforcement and stringent regulations, pollution control, restrictions on pouring of sewage, urban waste, industrial wastes, establishment of STPs and water treatment plants and adoption of bioremediation techniques.
  • Reducing water-related risks: adoption of integrated watershed management programme, flood control mechanisms, climate resilient agriculture, promotion of alternate income activities and sustainable livelihoods and disaster management.

What are the measures taken by the government?

  • Ministry of Jal Shakti launched ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’– campaign for water conservation and water security.
    • The campaign run through citizen participation while focus on water-stressed districts and blocks in the country.
  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchaey Yojana – ‘Har khet ko pani’and ‘More Crop per Drop’ – focuses on improving water use efficiency.
  • Other measures such as National Water Mission, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Dam Improvement and Rehabilitation Programme, Ground water management, Flood control and Forecast, Biodiversity Conservation, Wetland conservation, Green India Mission , CAMPA , etc.

What are the six priority actions?

  • Institutions and Governance: strengthening and augmentation of manpower and financial resources and also a platform to bring in their efforts together for synergistic outcome.
    • Governance at all level, help to establish judicious water use and prevention and resolution on conflicts.
  • Participatory Approach: it will help in empowerment of people and efficient management of precious water resources.
  • Knowledge Management: collaborations and institutionalizing synergies between various entities for development and exchange of evidence-based knowledge on ecosystem functions and development of suitable technologies to improve water resource management to ensure source sustainability.
  • Ecosystem-Based Management Approach: the move from isolationist approaches to holistic approaches is desirable on a priority basis.
    • The awareness and sensitization campaign on massive scale need to be undertaken for educating masses on the significance of maintaining our ecosystem’s integrity.
  • Continuous Care: Utmost care is required to be taken for retaining the water resources, making them sustainable and ensuring judicious use thereof.
  • Capacity Development: specialized agencies can be deployed for preparing the blueprint for budgeting the water resources within the framework of the legislation on the subject and then formulate strategies for its successful implementation.

What is Jal Jeevan Mission?

  • The chief objective of the Mission is to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural and urban households by 2024.
  • It envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
  • JJM focuses on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at the local level.
  • Creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse, would be undertaken in convergence with other government programmes/schemes.
  • The Jal-Jeevan Mission is set to be based on various water conservation efforts like point recharge, desilting of minor irrigation tanks, use of grey-water for agriculture and source sustainability.
  • The Mission is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.
  • Thus JJM looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.


Topic: Solution to Groundwater crisis

What is the context?

India receives 4000 bcm (billion cubic metres) rainfall each year. Out of this, 1869 bcm remains after evaporation the actual availability is only 1137 bcm.Even in that 1137 bcm of water, there is a lot of temporal as well as regional variations in the availability.

What is the recent water crisis in India?

  • Maharashtra is facing a water crisis of unprecedented proportions. After years of drought, the river currents have ebbed, water in dams and reservoirs have depleted and over-exploitation of groundwater has raised concerns regarding the long-term availability of water.
  • Meanwhile, media reports claim IT firms in Chennai are asking employees to work from home.
  • The reason is that they don’t have enough water to sustain their operations.
  • It hasn’t rained for almost 200 days in the city and it may not get adequate rain to get over the water crisis for the next 3 months.
  • In North India, the people of arid Thar Desert of Rajasthan are spending Rs. 2500 for getting 2500 litres of water which they share with their cattle.
  • With Punjab facing the threat of desertification and the state struggling to break away from the wheat-paddy cycle, farmers in the state have been adopting a decade-old scheme to utilise underground pipeline system for irrigation.
  • In light of this crisis, Central government on its part has created a Jal Shakti Ministry under a full-fledged cabinet minister to resolve the water crisis but a lot more needs to be done.

What are the reasons for this crisis?

  • Monsoon Dependence:There is a huge dependence on monsoon rains to replenish most of India’s important water sources but monsoon is vulnerable to factors such as climate change, El-Nino, etc.
  • Uneven distribution of water and Rainfall pattern:Certain regions have surplus amounts of water for their need while others face perennial droughts for most of the year. For instance, Drought is a recurrent phenomenon in Andhra Pradesh where no district is entirely free of droughts. Rajasthan is one of the most drought-prone areas of India.
  • Increasing demand:Population growth, industrialization, rapid urbanisation, rising needs of irrigation and increase in domestic water usage have accelerated the demand for water. Since urbanization increases in India at a rapid pace = water demand will increase rapidly as city dwellers consume more water than rural people.
  • Urbanisation & Water scarcity:Currently, about 285 million or 33% of India’s total population resides in urban areas. By 2050 this figure will reach 50%.Rapid urbanisation is adding to the water scarcity issue in the country.Presence of buildings, tar, and cement roads = even if a city like Mumbai gets good rains, the rainwater is not retained in the area as the water is not allowed to percolate underground.
  • Overexploitation :In developing countries like India, groundwater fulfills nearly 80% of irrigation requirement = resulted in a fast depletion of groundwater sources.Free power and inefficient utilisation of water by farmers has added to the issue of groundwater depletion. The groundwater and sand extraction from most river beds and basins has turned unsustainable.
  • Shift to cash-crops:Water is being diverted from food crops to cash crops that consume an enormous quantity of water.
  • Inefficient cultivation practices:In India, around 70% of the population is still dependent on agriculture for its livelihood.Since the adoption of Green Revolution in the 1960s, nearly 50% of the food production comes from irrigated land.
  • Water Pollution:Release of industrial and domestic waste, including urban sewage, into rivers, lakes, and estuaries has polluted freshwater sources at an alarming rate in India = those fresh water sources are not fit for drinking or other activities.


Questions for Prelims

  1. Consider the following statements:
    1. ‘Prana’ means life force (our breath) and ‘ayama’ is exercising/extension, such that pranayama is exercise of breathing.
    2. The technique helps in strengthening nervous, respiratory and lymphatic systems. Meditation/dhyana is a method of slowing down the wave of thoughts (developing concentration) and feeling relaxed.

Which of the above are correct?

     A. 1 only
     B. 2 only
     C. Neither 1 nor 2
     D. Both 1 and 2

Solution: D

  1. Choose the correct pairs:

Sl No




Kandi Canal Extension



Bawanthadi Interstate Irrigation project

Uttar Pradesh

Which of the above are correct?

     A. 1 only
     B. 2 only
     C. Neither 1 nor 2
     D. Both 1 and 2

Solution: A

Questions for Mains

  1. Explain how Yoga can help in transforming human lives?
  2. What is Participatory Irrigation Management? List out the ways it can empower women.
  3. Elucidate on the fact that India is performing better than other western countries wrt COVID-19.



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