MAINS DAILY QUESTIONS & MODEL ANSWERS
Q1. Nehru advocated for the integration of tribal people into Indian society by making them an integral part of the Indian nation while preserving their own identity and culture. Elucidate. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I à Post Independence India
- The government’s tribal integration policy prioritised the preservation of the tribal people’s unique social and cultural legacy. ‘The first problem we have to face there [in the tribal areas] is to inspire them [the tribal people] with confidence and to make them feel at one with India, and to realise that they are part of India and have an honoured place in it,’ said Jawaharlal Nehru, the main influence in shaping the government’s attitude toward the tribals. At the same time, ‘India should represent not just a defending but also a liberating force to them.’ Nehru believed that Indian nationalism could accommodate the indigenous people’s diversity.
The integration of indigenous people into Indian society was a Nehruvian aim:
- There were two major perspectives to how tribals should be treated in Indian society. One strategy was to leave the tribal people alone, free of modern influences from outside their society, and allow them to remain as they were.
- The second strategy was to fully integrate them into Indian society as rapidly as possible. The demise of the tribal way of life was not to be lamented; rather, it was to be embraced as a sign of their ‘upliftment.’
- Both of these techniques were rejected by Jawaharlal Nehru. The first method, which he saw as insulting, was to treat the indigenous people “like museum specimens to be examined and written about.”
- He argued that the tribal people “could not be left closed off from the world as they were.”
- Isolation was in any case impossible at this point, because the outside world’s penetration had progressed too far, and ‘it was neither possible nor desired to isolate them.’
- According to Nehru, the second option of enabling them to “be absorbed by the bulk of Indian humanity” or absorption by the use of regular outside forces was similarly incorrect.
- This would result in the tribals’ social and cultural identity, as well as its numerous virtues, being lost.
- Rather than these two approaches, Nehru advocated for integrating tribal people into Indian society, making them a vital part of the Indian nation while also preserving their own identity and culture.
The tribal Panchsheel policy of Nehru:
- The Nehruvian method had two main tenets: ‘the tribal areas must progress,’ and ‘they must progress in their own way.’ Progress did not imply “a rote replication of what we have in other regions of India.” Whatever was excellent in the rest of India will “gradually be absorbed by them.”
Jawaharlal Nehru created the following five principles for pursuing tribal policies, popularly known as Tribal Panchsheel:
- People should develop in accordance with their own talent, and alien values should not be imposed.
- Land and forest rights of tribes should be honoured.
- The work of administration and development should be taught to tribal groups.
- Tribal communities should not be over-administered or overburdened by a plethora of programmes.
- The human character that has evolved should be judged, not by statistics or the amount of money spent.
- Nehru’s approach was founded on a nationalist policy toward tribals that had been in place since the 1920s, when Gandhiji established ashrams in tribal areas and encouraged constructive activity. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President, and other significant political leaders endorsed this approach after independence.
Q2. How did India deal with the post-independence food crisis? What were the government’s major long-term reforms at the time? Discuss. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I à Post Independence India
- Hunger was at the basis of much of India’s early public policy, and we are still a hungry nation almost 70 years later. Although the nature of the problem has switched to malnutrition rather than outright starvation, this is still a country that struggles to feed its people enough on a fundamental level.
After independence, food security became a priority:
- Concerns about food security can be traced back to the Bengal Famine, which occurred during British colonial control in 1943 and killed between 2 million and 3 million people.
- Since independence, India has been vulnerable to various food security shocks, including an initial haste to industrialise while ignoring agriculture, two consecutive droughts in the mid-1960s, and reliance on US food aid.
- In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the country had a Green Revolution, which enabled it to overcome productivity stagnation and greatly increase food grain production.
- Despite its success, the Green Revolution has been criticised for focusing on only two cereals: wheat and rice; being limited to a few resource-rich regions in the northwestern and southern parts of the country that benefited mostly wealthy farmers; and putting undue stress on the ecology of these regions, particularly soil and water.
- The White Revolution, which began in the 1970s and 1980s with Operation Flood, followed the Green Revolution. India has become the world’s largest producer of milk because to this national project, which has transformed liquid milk production and marketing.
- Hybrid maize for poultry and industrial use, as well as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton, have made significant progress in recent years, resulting in significant cotton exports, making India the second largest exporter of cotton in 2007–2008.
The government has taken some significant initiatives:
- Green revolutions with high-yielding crops and efficient irrigation systems in northern India, particularly Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, have shown to be effective in meeting the needs of an expanding population in a short period of time. This significant event, together with land reforms, made India a success story in the fight against famine.
- The Indian government started three major food intervention programmes for food security in the mid-1970s. They include the Public Distribution System (PDS) for food grains, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) (which was launched on a trial basis), and Food-for-Work (which was offered on a trial basis) (FFW). With the expanding experience of running the programmes, various additional programmes have been created throughout the years, and some have been reformed.
- Food procured by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is supplied to the lower sections of society through government-run ration stores. This is referred to as the Public Distribution System (PDS) (PDS). This is the most significant action made by the Indian government to ensure food security.
- In 1992, the Indian government implemented the Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) in 1,700 blocks across the country. The goal was to provide PDS benefits to rural and underserved places. Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) was implemented in June 1997 in a renewed attempt to adopt the notion of targeting the disadvantaged in all areas.
- India has moved away from reliance on food aid by becoming a net food exporter, with food grain output increasing five-fold from 50 million tonnes in 1950-51 to almost 250 million tonnes in 2014-15.
- Since the 1980s, there has been a growing recognition that physical and financial access to food play a critical part in the country’s food security.
- Furthermore, Amartya Sen’s Nobel Prize-winning theory (Poverty and Famine, 1998) emphasised that hunger and starvation are caused by certain individuals not having enough food, which he referred to as entitlement. This meant that even though there was adequate food in the country, individuals went hungry and starved because they were physically or financially unable to access it. From food production to food access, and from charity to a rights-based approach, the focus switched.
- A nation’s food security is ensured when all of its residents have access to adequate healthy food, everyone has the financial means to purchase food of acceptable quality, and there are no barriers to food availability. International human rights law recognises the right to food as a fundamental right. India has overcome numerous obstacles, but the journey is only half completed. India continues to have the highest number of malnourished children, and our hunger index score is terrible. A healthy diet for our people will let us realise the full potential of our dividend.