Mitras Analysis of News : 24-7-2017

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1.Economic and environmental rewards of Conserving tigers (The Hindu)

2.Are crop Insurance schemes working? (Down to Earth)

1.Economic and environmental rewards of Conserving tigers (The Hindu)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on the need to conserve tigers from the point of economic value. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • Putting a price on Nature and commodifying it may hurt our sensibilities. However, an economic analysis helps in determining the quantity of goods such as fuel wood, and fodder that can be allowed for extraction by local communities, based on trade-offs with other services.
  • Such economic analysis also highlights why such “large” areas are reserved for preserving fierce animals like the tiger, when we need more land for human use.

 Why to save tigers

  • Tigers are what conservationists call “umbrella” species. By saving them, we save everything beneath their ecological umbrella – everything connected to them – including the world’s last great forests, whose carbon storage mitigates climate change.
  • What all does a tiger reserve offer?

(1) employment generation

(2) agriculture (incidentally the famous ir-8 rice was discovered from the wild rice plants found in one such reserve)

(3) fishing

(4) fuel wood

(5) fodder and grazing

(6) timber

(7) pollination of plants

(8) kendu leaves

(9) carbon storage and sequestration (vital for climate protection against global warming),

(10) water and its purification by filtering organic wastes

(11) soil conservation

(12) nutrient cycling

(13) moderation of extreme events such as cyclone storms, flash floods. Add to these cultural ones like tourism, education, research and development, and spiritual ones (like visiting temples within some of them).

 Analysing benefits in terms of costs:

  • Take the Periyar Tiger Reserve as an example. This Reserve generates Rs.17.6 billion (or Rs.1.9 lakhs per hectare) per year. How? For example, it helps provide water to Tamil Nadu districts, amount to Rs.4.05 billion /year. In effect, the ratio of benefits to management costs is anywhere from 200 to 530. It is worth investing and managing reserves.
  • What is the total amount of land set apart for the 18 ranges as tiger reserves? It is 68,000 square km, which is about 2% of the area of India – set apart for the nation’s pride animal. A tiger reserve is not just for the tiger. The six reserves (Corbett, Kanha, Kaziranga, Periyar, Ranthambore, Sunderbans) that the team has studied house many other animals such as the elephant, rhino, langur, barasingha, mongoose, river dolphin, olive ridley turtle, crocodile not to speak of the millions of herbs, plants and trees. 

Way ahead 

  • School children in cities should be taken to interact with children and parents near (and in) the reserve areas, and learn from (and respect) them. And we must support efforts to increase and sustain the budget for such reserves – after all they cost but a few crores of rupees per reserve per year

Question– What do you mean by digital sovereignty? What are its prospects for India?

Are crop Insurance schemes working? (Down to Earth) 

Synoptic line: It throws light on the inefficiency of crop insurance schemes. (GS paper III)

Overview 

  • Multiple gaps in implementation of crop insurance schemes may have compromised their purpose of benefitting farmers
  • The CAG audit report of the Centre’s crop insurance schemes has highlighted gaps in their implementation that compromise its purpose of providing financial assistance to farmers. 

Scrutiny by CAG over efficacy of crop insurance

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) looked into the performance of two schemes Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) and the National Crop Insurance Programme (NCIP) between Kharif season of 2011 to Rabiseason of 2015-16.
  • The report suggested delay at the state level caused obstruction in providing financial aid to farmers.
  • According to the report, the Agricultural Insurance Company of India Limited (AIC), the government-owned implementing agency for the schemes, failed to exercise due diligence in verification of claims by private insurance companies before releasing funds to them.
  • Claims worth Rs 8,947.41 crores were paid in the nine audited states, but only 30 per cent of the amount had utilisation certificates (UC) to prove it reached farmers.
  • Small and marginal farmers constitute 85 per cent (12 crores) of the total farmers (14 crores) in the country. Yet, their share in the coverage did not exceed 13.32 per cent under the NAIS scheme. 

Missing records

  • Whether the money reached the beneficiaries cannot be ensured as the database of beneficiaries was not maintained.
  • The Government of India and the state governments were not in a position to ensure that Rs 10,617.41 crores released as premium subsidy under National Agricultural Insurance Scheme, Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme and Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme and Rs 21,989.24 crore released as claim reimbursement under NAIS, during the period covered in audit, reached the intended beneficiaries or achieved the intended purposes

Way ahead 

  • Introduction of technology and removing all provisions of arbitrariness should be implemented on urgency basis.
  • Moreover, Geo-spatial mapping methods should be used to evaluate the weather and pest related damages. Hence, only with certain positive manipulation, these schemes can work properly.

Question– What strategies should be used to make crop insurance schemes more comprehensive and effective?

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