Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

21 June 2021 - Monday



Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



The comrades and their divergent perspectives

The Hindu


Re-examine Agri-export basket

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Researchers find Therapeutic Effects of Yoga in Depression

SyllabusGS 2: Health.

Analysis: –

  • A new research suggests that Yoga in addition to standard antidepressant treatment can bring relief to patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)both clinically and biologically and can also bring about earlier remission.
  • The research led by Dr. MuralidharanKesavan, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore has assessed the therapeutic effects of Yoga in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) as well as its effect on associated neurobiological underpinnings.
  • This work was supported under the ‘Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM)’Programme of the Department of Science and Technology, GoI and has been published in the ‘The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry’.

Removing vaccine hesitancy

SyllabusGS 2: Health.

Analysis: –

  • India’s reoriented vaccination strategy, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 7, kicks in from today, with the Centre procuring 75 per cent of the shots and distributing them to the states for free.
  • This is expected to remove the supply deficit that has hobbled anti-Covid inoculation in the past two months.
  • But the project will also require a push on another front. Just as many people have anxiously waited their turn for the shots, several others have, reportedly, been reluctant to go to the vaccinators.
  • Misinformation and misplaced beliefs have led to suspicions about the potential ill-effects of the shots, especially in large pockets of rural India. Allaying fears, removing scepticism and combating vaccine hesitancy will require sustained engagement at the community-level, and even door-to-door counselling.
  • Creating a circle of trust will require a broad-spectrum effort with critical roles for elected political leaders, among others.


Mains Analysis

The comrades and their divergent perspectives

Why in News?

In the article the author talks about Chinese foreign policies towards India and critically analyse Russia’s advocacy for China’s global vision.

Syllabus—GS 2: International Relations


  • Russian leadeship asserted that both the Indian and Chinese govt.’s are “responsible” enough to solve issues between their countries, while underlining the need to debar any “extra-regional power” to interfere in the process.
  • The implications of Russian advice for India are numerous and far-reaching as Moscow expects New Delhi to ignominiously give up all efforts to reverse Beijing’s encroachment strategies.
  • Indians have learned to expect at Chinese hands an unremitting effort to undermine India’s global position — to destroy their confidence in themselves and the confidence of others in them — and to reduce India to a state of isolation and impotence in global affairs.

The Quad factor

  • Russian remarks can only be seen as reinforcing China’s claim that the Quadrilateral or Quad is aimed at containing Beijing’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Russia’s continued criticism of the Indo-Pacific and the Quad give ample evidence of the divergent perspectives of New Delhi and Russia on how to deal with China’s rise to global prominence.
  • Russia has rejected the Indo-Pacific construct in favour of the Asia-Pacific on the ground that the first is primarily an American initiative designed to contain both China and Russia.
  • In an unmistakable indication of India’s attempt to reimagine a new geostrategic maritime role for itself, incorporation of the Indo-Pacific concept in Indian diplomacy means that India can no longer be confined between the Malacca Strait and Gulf of Aden.
  • Russia’s uncritical advocacy of China’s global vision that seems to have left New Delhi overly confounded.
  • The Russian attitude toward China’s growing power and influence will be the touchstone of Russia’s relations with India.
  • With the catastrophic rise of populist nationalism amidst the bankruptcy of globalisation, the resolution of the Sino-Indian boundary dispute appears a hopeless dream in the absence of a miracle.

Beginnings of looking West

  • After the breaking of USSR, India soon realised Russia was much weaker than the erstwhile USSR and incapable of helping New Delhi balance potential threats from Beijing.
  • India began to diversify its sources of external balancing. Russia began to cast Moscow as the leader of a supposed trilateral grouping of Russia-India-China against a U.S.-led unipolar world.
  • China’s dismissive attitude toward Indian capabilities, coupled with an emerging China-Pakistan nexus, prevented the success of this trilateral. India, instead, invested its diplomatic energies in rapprochement with the United States.
  • India decided to get integrated in the economic order it once denounced.
  • As the logic of intensive engagement with the West was effectively established, strategic partnership with the U.S. was a logical corollary.
  • India’s cooperation with the U.S. has strengthened still further, in part against the perceived terrorism threat, but also in light of China’s growing assertiveness whose undesirable impacts are now being felt across the world.
  • India has been searching for other major powers to balance against China as it does not have the sufficient means for hard balancing, India has deepened its ties with Japan and Australia in a way that is close to soft balancing.
  • Among all of India’s balancing efforts, the stupendous growth in ties with the U.S. has been the greatest source of concern for China which views the India-U.S. rapprochement as containment.
  • While India needs Russia’s partnership for its defence needs, New Delhi cannot endorse the Russian perspective on the Indo-Pacific and the Quad.

Maritime structures

  • The real ‘strategic triangle’ in the maritime domain will be that between New Delhi, Washington and Beijing.
  • Russia is yet to realise that it will gain immensely from the multilateralism that the Indo-Pacific seeks to promote, and being China’s junior partner only undermines Moscow’s great-power ambitions.
  • Russian policy have arrived at a flawed assessment of the current situation.
  • Increasingly pro-Beijing Russia might adopt more aggressive blocking of India’s policy agendas. Thus,India is interested in a normalisation of relations between Washington and Moscow as it will help it steer ties among the great powers and also diminish Moscow’s propensity to closely coordinate its South Asian policies with Beijing.

India-China ties

  • Shared identities and beliefs in the principle of non-alignment, painful memories of colonial subjugation, opposition to great-power hegemony, and strong beliefs in sovereignty and strategic autonomy have been the key influencers in shaping India’s and China’s engagement.
  • But this has begun to change as Beijing is asserting its hegemony over Asia. In such circumstances, multilateral forums such as the Russia-India-China (RIC) grouping and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have little practical value for Indian diplomacy.
  • Without China’s reciprocity, options before India are limited. The response cannot be just symbolic or rhetorical. The absence of any material evidence of reciprocity is bound to doom an attempt at Sino-Indian rapprochement.


  • China is undoubtedly the most powerful actor in its neighbourhood but it cannot simply have its way in shaping Asia’s new geopolitics.
  • Beijing’s policies will still be constrained and altered in fundamental ways by India which cannot be expected to adopt a hopeless stance of remaining peripheral in its own strategic backyard.



Question: –

Explain how Russia’s uncritical advocacy of China’s global vision is what seems to be leaving India quite confounded. What are the reasons Russians have to remain blind to China’s growing aggressiveness? What the Indians should have learned to reduce India to a state of isolation and impotence in global affairs?

Re-examine Agri-export basket

Why in News?

Ashok Gulati, Ritika Juneja write: We need to look at commodities like rice and sugar from a sustainability perspective

Syllabus—GS3: Agriculture related issues


  • In 2020-21, the Agri-exports have reached $41.8 billion with a registered growth of 18% has helped improve domestic farm prices.
  • However, even these exports fall short of the $60 billion target that govt set out to achieve by 2022.
  • But strategically, there rises a debate can this growth rate can be sustained over a longer period & its implication on Indian Agri.

Looking into the numbers:

  • Rice tops the Agri-commodity export index with 17.7 million tonnes valued at $8.8 billion which is 21% of total agri-export value.
  • It is followed by Marine products, Spices, bovine meat & sugar ($2.8 billion)
  • The weightage of rice & sugar warrants a re-examination of the country’s export basket because of environmental sustainability.

The issue with those crops:

  • Rice & Sugar are well-known water guzzlers.
  • They are heavily subsidized through cheap power for irrigation & fertilizers.
    • Further with export subsidy given to clear excessive domestic stocks of sugar resulted in registering a case against India at the WTO by other sugar nations.
    • In the case of Common rice, the research shows that power & fertilizer subsidies account for 15% of its value in Punjab & Haryana.
    • Without these subsidies, farmers would abandon the rice.
  • The biggest concern with surging rice & sugar exports from India is on the sustainability front.

The policymakers have to chalk out a sustainable strategy for agri-exports because:

    • India is already a water-stressed country with per-capita water availability of 1544 cubic meters, & on its way to becoming a Water-Scarce country.
  • In this scenario, exporting the water guzzler crop like Sugar that takes 2000 liters for 1 kg sugar production will further aggravate the drought conditions.
  • Similar to the case with Rice, it needs 4000 liters of water for irrigating 1kg, this crop not only depletes the ground table but also contributes to more than 18% of the GHG emissions generated from Agri.

To make the rice exports of this magnitude sustainable:

  • The crop has to be framed in a water-efficient manner & with Low GHF footprint by using farming practices such as Alterante Wetting Drying, Direct-seeded Rice & Micro-Irrigation.
  • Farmers are also incentivized & rewarded to save water & switch rice & sugar to ess water-guzzler crops & reduce the carbon footprint.
  • In the broader agri-trade level, it is noted that agri-trade in the total agri-GDP has slid to 13.5%in 2020-21 from 20% in 2013-14.
  • This indicates that India is becoming less globally competitive in exports & more protectionist in imports.
  • Also from a closure evaluation of non-basmati exports, it found that the exports are actually sourced not only below-MSP but also below the average mandi prices, it may happening due to a substantial part of supplies through the PDS & the PMGKY are leaking out & swelling rice exports.


  • It is high time to revisit the entire gamut of rice & sugar systems from their MSP/FRP to their production in an environmentally sustainable manner.
  • The need is for a long-term strategy with the aim to conserve scarce resources of water & energy and to reduce the carbon footprint.
  • By promoting better diversification of Agri-systems & better use of scarce water supplies & lesser GHG emissions.
  • Limited procurement at the FCI could help in doubling investments in Agri R &D to improve productivity on a sustainable basis & improve farming practices to minimize carbon emissions.
  • An export-led strategy also needs to minimize logistics costs by investing in better infra & logistics.
  • The above all ensure sharing the returns of the investments with farmers to give them a better deal in terms of higher & more stable incomes.

Question: –

Agri-exports touched $41.8 billion in FY 2020-21, registering a growth of 18 per cent over the previous year. Discuss how this growth rate can be sustained over a longer period, and the implications it has for Indian agriculture.

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