The Hindu Editorial Summary

Topic 1: Carbon Farming

GS-3 Mains Exam  : Agriculture

Revision Notes

Question : Examine the concept of carbon farming, elucidating how it combines regenerative agricultural practices with climate change mitigation efforts. What are the key practices involved in carbon farming and how do they contribute to soil health and carbon storage?

Basic Concept :

Carbon farming is an agricultural system that focuses on sequestering carbon in the soil and plants. The purpose of this process is to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide and improve soil fertility. Carbon farming involves the following methods:

  1. Zero tillage or minimum tillage: This helps maintain soil structure and minimize soil carbon sources.
  2. Continuous plant cover: This promotes soil carbon sequestration and protects the soil from erosion.
  3. Integration of livestock: Soil carbon sequestration can be increased by integrating pastures and livestock.
  4. Use of recycled organic waste: Such as manure, straw, and other agricultural residues, which add carbon to the soil.
  5. Improved crop rotations: Including legumes, grasses, and mixtures can increase the level of carbon in the soil.

Thus, carbon farming is an environmentally friendly system that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and improves soil quality.

Back to the Editorial

What is it?

  • Combines regenerative agriculture with climate change mitigation.
  • Improves soil health, agricultural productivity, and carbon storage.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Rotational grazing
  • Agroforestry (silvopasture, alley cropping)
  • Conservation agriculture (zero tillage, crop rotation, cover cropping)
  • Integrated nutrient management (organic fertilizers, compost)
  • Agro-ecology (crop diversification, intercropping)
  • Improved livestock management (rotational grazing, feed quality, manure management)

Carbon Farming Challenges

  • Effectiveness varies: Depends on location, soil, crops, water, biodiversity, farm size.
  • Land management, policy, community engagement are crucial for success.
  • Ideal conditions: Long growing seasons, good rainfall, irrigation for high carbon sequestration.
  • Challenges in dry areas: Limited water hinders plant growth and carbon storage.
  • Right plant selection matters: Fast-growing trees and deep-rooted grasses are good but may not suit arid climates.
  • Financial assistance needed: Farmers, especially in developing countries, may lack resources for sustainable practices.

Carbon Farming Schemes

  • Examples: Chicago Climate Exchange, Carbon Farming Initiative (Australia), Kenya’s Agricultural Carbon Project.
  • Practices: No-till farming, reforestation, pollution reduction.
  • Potential: Address climate change, food security in developing countries (e.g., Kenya’s project).
  • ‘4 per 1000’ initiative: Launched at COP21 to highlight the role of carbon sinks in reducing emissions.

Carbon Farming Opportunities in India

  • Combats climate change: Climate-resilient agriculture can benefit from carbon farming practices.
  • Organic farming potential: Grassroots initiatives show promise for carbon sequestration.
  • Suitable regions: Indo-Gangetic plains, Deccan Plateau have good potential.
  • Challenges in Himalayas and coastal areas: Mountainous terrains and salinisation limit adoption.
  • Carbon credits: Incentive for farmers through additional income for environmental services.
  • Potential impact: Studies show agricultural soils can absorb 3-8 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, bridging the gap for climate stabilisation.

Conclusion: Promoting carbon farming benefits India by mitigating climate change, improving soil health, and creating economic opportunities.



The Hindu Editorial Summary

Topic 2 : Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

GS-2 Mains Exam  : Health

Revision Notes

Question : Discuss the significance of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in modern medical diagnostics. How has MRI revolutionized the field of medical imaging?”

  • What is it?
    • A non-invasive diagnostic tool to image soft tissues within the body.
    • Developed by Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield (Nobel Prize in medicine, 2003).
  • Uses:
    • Imaging brain, cardiovascular system, spinal cord, joints, muscles, liver, arteries etc.
    • Observing and treating cancers (prostate, rectal) and neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s, dementia, epilepsy, stroke).
    • Functional MRI: tracks brain activity through blood flow changes.
  • Limitations:
    • Strong magnetic fields, so people with metallic objects/implants may not be eligible.
  • The Working
    • Uses hydrogen atoms (abundant in fat and water) in the body part being scanned.
    • MRI machine:
      • Looks like a giant donut with a hole (bore) in the center for the patient.
      • Contains a powerful magnet to create a strong magnetic field around the body.
      • Emits radiofrequency pulses to excite hydrogen atoms.
      • Detects the emissions and converts them to signals for image creation.
    • Larmor frequency: specific frequency absorbed by hydrogen atoms, depends on magnetic field strength and tissue type.

MRI – Pros and Cons


  • High Resolution:
    • MRI scans image the body from all directions and in very small increments.
    • This creates detailed images of soft tissues that other imaging techniques can’t achieve.
  • T1 Relaxation Time:
    • Different tissues have different water content, leading to variations in T1 relaxation time.
    • MRI uses this to show different tissues in various shades of grey, improving contrast.
    • Contrast agents can further enhance the visibility of specific tissues.


  • Cost:
    • MRI machines are expensive, ranging from tens of lakhs to a few crores depending on features.
  • Discomfort:
    • Patients need to lie still for extended periods (tens of minutes) inside a narrow bore.
    • This can be uncomfortable, especially for claustrophobic individuals.
    • The machine generates loud noises during operation, adding to the discomfort.
  • Limited Research on Pregnancy:
    • While generally safe, the effects of MRI scans on pregnant women are not fully understood.
    • More research is needed in this area.

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