Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

05 June 2021 - Saturday


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



Saving biodiversity, securing earth’s future

The Hindu


Lessons from an about-turn

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Indian Railways on way to become "Largest Green Railways" in the world with Zero Carbon Emission

Syllabus–GS 3: Transport: Roads, Airports, Railway

Analysis: –

  • Indian Railways (IR) is working in mission mode to become the largest Green Railways in the world and is moving towards becoming a “net zero carbon emitter” before 2030.
  • Railways is guided by a holistic vision of being an environment friendly, efficient, cost effective, punctual and a modern carrier of passengers as well as freight in order to serve the growing needs of New India.
  • IR is looking at helping the environment with steps ranging from massive electrification, water & paper conservation, to saving animals from being injured on Railway tracks.
  • Railway Electrification which is environment friendly and reduces pollution, has increased nearly ten times since 2014.
  • Capturing the economic benefits of electric traction in an accelerated manner, Railways has planned to electrify balance Broad Gauge (BG) routes by December, 2023 to achieve 100% electrification of BG routes. Head-On-Generation systems, Bio-Toilets and LED lights recreate the train itself into a travel mode that’s kinder to the environment while maintaining comparable passenger comfort.
  • IR’s network and reach enabled movement of Freight, like Food Grains & Oxygen in pandemic, even while being more environment friendly as compared to Road transport.
  • During the period April 2021 to May 2021, the Indian Railways moved 73 Lakh tonnes of food grains and has run 241 loaded Oxygen express trains, moving 922 loaded tankers, thereby transporting 15,046 tonnes of oxygen to various part of the country.

SAGE(Seniorcare Ageing Growth Engine) initiative and SAGE portal to support India’s elderly launched by Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot

Syllabus – GS 2: Governance, schemes for vulnerable sections.

Analysis: –

  • The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri ThaawarchandGehlot virtually launched the SAGE (Seniorcare Aging Growth Engine) initiative and SAGE portal for elderly persons.
  • The SAGE portal will be a “one-stop access” of elderly care products and services by credible start-ups.
  • The SAGE portal will be opened for applications from 5th June, 2021 onwards.
  • The start-ups will be selected on the basis of innovative products and services, which they should be able to provide across sectors such as health, housing, care centers, apart from technological access linked to finances, food and wealth management, and legal guidance.

Mains Analysis

Saving biodiversity, securing earth’s future

Why in News?

On the occasion of World Environment Day (5th June) the author talks about saving our biodiversity which serves as a perpetual source of spiritual enrichment, intimately linked to our physical and mental well-being.

Syllabus— GS 3- Ecology & Environment

Background: –

  • On this World Environment Day (June 5), with the novel coronavirus pandemic raging across our vast country, we must reflect on the ways to rebuild our relationship with nature.
  • India’s vast and rich biodiversity gives the nation a unique identity, of which we can be proud.
  • The varied ecosystems across land, rivers, and oceans, feed our people, enhance public health security, and shield us from environmental disasters.
  • Our biodiversity also serves as a perpetual source of spiritual enrichment, intimately linked to our physical and mental well-being.

Staggering value of forests

  • Author suggests that estimates suggest our forests alone may yield services worth more than a trillion rupees per year.
  • Globally, we have lost 7% intact forests since 2000, and recent assessments indicate that over a million species might be lost forever during the next several decades.India is also facing the same problems.
  • Climate change and the ongoing pandemic will put additional stresses on our natural ecosystems.
  • He suggests that repairing our dysfunctional relationship with nature is one of the ways to mitigate climate change and curtail future outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Investments in the field

  • In 2018, the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) in consultation with the various ministries approved National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-Being (NMBHWB).
  • Bengaluru-based Biodiversity Collaborative is working with the National Biodiversity Authority to hold consultations and prepare road maps of the Mission.
  • It has potential to strengthen the science of restoring, conserving, and sustainably utilising India’s natural heritage; embed biodiversity as a key consideration in all developmental programmes, particularly in agriculture, ecosystem services, health, bio-economy, and climate change mitigation.
  • To establish a citizen and policy-oriented biodiversity information system; and enhance capacity across all sectors for the realisation of India’s national biodiversity targets and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
  • India will emerge as a leader in demonstrating linkage between conservation of natural assets and societal well-being.

 An important framework

  • The pandemic has exposed the dysfunctional relationship between humanity and nature, and we must urgently address the issue.
  • It led to emergence of infectious diseases; lack of food and nutritional security; rural unemployment; and climate change, with all its stresses on nature, rural landscapes, and public health.
  • Mission offers a holistic framework, integrated approaches, and widespread societal participation and empower India to restore, our natural assets by millions of crores of rupees.
  • Mitigation programmes will lessen the impacts of climate change and other natural disasters, such as pandemics and floods.

Possible Solutions: –

  • To rejuvenate agricultural production systems and increase rural incomes from biodiversity-based agriculture while also creating millions of green jobs in restoration of degraded lands (1/3 of total land) and nature tourism.
  • It will help India meet its commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and UN SDGs related to pressing social issues including poverty alleviation, justice and equity, and protection of life.
  • It will generate a strong national community committed to sustaining biodiversity, promoting social cohesion and uniting the public behind an important goal.
  • Scientific inputs, especially related to geospatial informatics and policy, can guide the development of strategies for conservation and ecosystem management.
  • “One Health” programme, integrating human health with animal, plant, soil and environmental health, has both the preventive potential to curtail future pandemics along with the interventional capability for unexpected public health challenges.

Need for a cadre

  • We need a strong and extensive cadre of human resources required to meet the enormous and complex environmental challenges of the 21st century.
  • It needs training professionals of the in sustainability and biodiversity science, along with an investment in civil society outreach.
  • Public engagement, whether it is in the policymaking arena, or in exploration, restoration and conservation of biodiversity, is a critical component of the planned Mission.

Way Forward: –

  • Finally, biodiversity is everywhere, and we interact with biodiversity all the time in our daily lives. Public engagement, whether it is in the policymaking arena, or in exploration, restoration and conservation of biodiversity, is a critical component of the planned Mission.


Today, on the heels of the International Day for Biological Diversity celebrated last month, nothing could be more important than to renew our pledge to nurture all life on earth.

Question: –

Preserving biodiversity is directly relevant to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of our people. We must rethink and reimagine the concept of “One Health “.Discuss.

Lessons from an about-turn

Why in News?

India’s policy must move beyond the language of the past that restricts maternity leave and election eligibility.

Syllabus—GS1 Population growth & related issues

Background: –

  • Recently China announced that married couples may have up to three children, officially marking an end to the population control experiment that led to the draconian one-child policy in 1980.
  • This policy reversal came as data from the 2020 Chinese census showed a sharp increase in the proportion of the population above age 60 to 18.7 per cent, up from 1.3 per cent in 2010.
  • Whether this relaxation will be successful remains unclear. For India, an even bigger question pertains to the lessons we might draw from this about-turn.



  • As per 2020 data, China witnessed a sharp increase in the proportion of the population above age 60 to 18.7% from 1.3% in 2010.
  • Despite the 2016 relaxation of having children up to 2, the TFR has been falling from 1.6 in 2015 to 1.3 in 2020.

China’s One-Child Policy impact:

  • In recent years, the importance of the one-child policy in reducing Chinese population growth came under surprising contestation.
  • This policy led to human rights abuses that encouraging sex-selective abortion & abandonment of girls in a son meta preference society.
  • here Chinese govt claimed that over & above the impact of socioeconomic growth, the one-child policy averted 400 million births.
  • But demographers argue that most of the fertility decline in China’s Total Fertility Rate from 5.8 in 1970 to 6 in 2015 came from socio-economic development rather than population control policies.
  • This can be validated by the fact that even after relaxing the one-child policy to two children in 2016, it failed to halt the TFR decline.

 Role of govt in stabilizing TFR:

  • The role of govt in reversing fertility decline is questionable.


  • Most agree TFR of 2 is desirable but many countries are experiencing spectacularly low fertility such asKorea with 0.98, Taiwan 1.06, Spain 1.25 & Italy 1.29.
  • Concerns about depopulation & the increasing burden of supporting senior citizens led many countries to institute policies encouraging people to have more children.

From providing cash benefits to improving childcare facilities.

  • In family-friendly policies in Sweden seem to have halted the slide that is hovering around 1.7 despite many policies.
  • In Japan, the TFR has refused to budge from the 1.4 level.
  • Whereas Spain with large cash incentives brought only a tiny increase in fertility rate& eventually dropped.
  • Extremely low fertility in Europe & Asia is the result of entrenched gender inequality.
  • Expansion of childcare availability only reduces some burden but with rising education & increasing economic opportunities, women have a greater incentive to participate in the labour force.
  • But still, they have to retain the domestic responsibilities which are making marriage & childbearing less attractive.

The main reasons for the failure of China’s pro-natalist policy are due to

  • intensive parenting demands
  • the increasing cost of raising children
  • pregnancy discrimination against women
  • care responsibilities for older members squeeze time & money.

Lesson to India:

  • India should plan first please for its Steady deciding TFR from 3.4 in 1994 to 2.2 in 2015.
  • The proportion of the older population is growing, the growth is slow & steady averting a demographic cliff.
  • The proportion of households in India that limit themselves to a single child is growing steadily.
  • This suggests that India’s population policy wants to move beyond the past restrictive maternity leaves & election eligibility for a third child.

Way Forward: –

  • A wiser step for supporting fertility decline in high TFR areas without leading to extremely low fertility would be to help families plan childbearing at times that are most convenient to them.
  • This is important for young women who content with the burden of intensive parenting in a highly competitive environment with the unequal burden of domestic responsibilities.
  • And encouraging male participation in household works improving their ability to combine work & family & improving family planning services would generate an environment of stable TFR which would avoid demographic cliff-like China.


Question: –

In recent years, the importance of the one-child policy in reducing Chinese population growth came under surprising contestation.Comment.

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