Question- The demand for a separate state is often driven by the lack of development. Is under-development driving the demand for Gorkhaland as well? Critically examine
Answer- In Indian context smaller state demand is not new after independence and largely it was based upon linguistic (Andhra Pradesh), geographical (Uttarakhand), political (Telangana), and economical basis (Jharkhand). Gorkhaland state demand is not new and it has following reasons
1- Historic and cultural reason– Gorkhaland was earlier part of Sikkim kingdom and it is ethnically unique. Larger population in Gorkhaland belongs to Gorkha and Nepali community and they have separate cultural identity from traditional West Bengal society.
3- Geographic challenges– Gorkhaland is hilly part of West Bengal and have different development challenges than rest of the state. This is the argument for separate state to push for development as in case of Uttarakhand and other North East states.
4- Economic reasons– As a major hill station of India, economy is largely driven by tourism and primary agriculture like agriculture and plantation crops. Such uniqueness demands separate focus for state growth and development. Present mechanism of autonomous council not able to satisfy local development demand.
5- Social development– the region is doing farely well, almost equivalent to the other parts of the state. However, by this analogy even Telangana wouldn’t have achieved it’s aim to have a separate state.
Demand for separate statehood needs to follow the democratic dialogue and debate process so as to address the present unconstitutional challenges. This way the core issues of regionalism that give rise to the demand of separate states like in the case of Gorkhaland can be tackled amicably.
Question– What are the myths and realities associated with GM food? Do you think India should maintain its still-rich genetic diversity for the future of our agriculture instead of going for GM crops? Critically comment.
Answer-GM food is one of the several novel ways to become crop sufficient and increase productivity by replacing the traditional cropping practices in which wild varieties are grown by the genetically modifies varieties that have been produced by using the recombinant DNA technology. In India, so far only cultivation of Bt cotton is allowed on a commercial scale. Others such as Bt mustard and Bt brinjal are yet to get the final clearances due to lack of sufficient field trials and hence, inadequate data to predict their impact on the environment. It has certain doubts like
1- It is projected as serious threat to gene diversity of India and overall threat to food diversity.
2- GM food has projected as potential threat for diseases like Cancer in long run.
3- Farmers force to purchase costly seed every year from private foreign companies.
4- Input intensive methods as it need high doses of fertilizer and irrigation.
5- Technology need regular up-gradation so financial affordability is uncertain.
6- Projected challenges for super pest and super weed against GM crops.
7- Data shows more farmer suicides in cotton belt after introduction of BT cotton in spite of bumper production because of higher input cost and poor market prices.
GM technology has few takers also because
1- Traditional method is not alone to feed increasing population.
2- Need to check ever increasing import of oil crop in India by introducing Gm technology and increasing production.
3- Scientifically not yet proven direct health impact of GM crop on human health.
4- To check increasing cost of chemical in traditional cropping system.
Recent proposal to accept BT mustard is with MOEF as it has been passed from GEAC but it needs wider consultation INCLUDING ALL THE RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS before allowing for commercial production. Meanwhile GEAC need to share all research outcomes in public domain to allow discussion on the topic.