The Hindu Editorial Summary

 Editorial Topic : Food Inflation and the “TOP” Trio

 GS-3 Mains Exam : Economy

Revision Notes


Topic-1 : Food Inflation and the “TOP” Trio

Inflation and its Impact: Inflation is a key measure of an economy’s health, reflecting changes in living costs.

  • Measuring Inflation in India: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) tracks inflation in India, with vegetables holding a 6.04% weight in the basket.
  • The “TOP” Trio: Tomatoes, onions, and potatoes (TOP) have a significant influence on both food and overall inflation, despite a seemingly low 2.2% weight in the CPI basket.
  • Higher Consumption in Lower Income Groups: The “TOP” trio makes up a larger portion of the consumption basket for lower income groups, impacting them more (3.6% in urban and 5% in rural areas for the bottom 5%).
  • Recent Price Surge: Vegetable prices rose 15% year-on-year in FY2023-24, with significant volatility (from a -0.7% drop in June to a 37.4% rise in July).
  • “TOP” Trio’s Inflationary Contribution: During July’s price surge, vegetables contributed 31.9% to headline inflation, with the “TOP” trio contributing 17.2%.

Volatility of TOP’s Prices:

  • A key feature of tomatoes, onions, and potatoes (TOP) is their significant price fluctuations.
  • The Coefficient of Variation (CoV) – a volatility measure – of TOP’s inflation was 5.2 from Jan 2015 to March 2024.
  • This is considerably higher than volatility in the overall food group, vegetable subgroup, and headline inflation.
  • TOP’s high CoV highlights their sensitivity to market forces, weather variations, and supply chain disruptions.

Impact on Farmers and Consumers:

  • The volatility and importance of TOP in inflation necessitate effective policy interventions and a deeper understanding of agricultural supply chains.
  • Being perishable crops, TOP are susceptible to various stresses.
  • Lack of Minimum Support Price (MSP) and dependence on private traders expose farmers to price volatility, despite them being net buyers of these vegetables.

Possible Solutions:

  • To reduce price volatility, solutions include:
    • Overhauling agricultural value chains.
    • Improving cold storage facilities.
    • Offering better prices to farmers to incentivize production.
    • Reducing exorbitant input costs of fertilizers and pesticides.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Measures:

  • The recent lifting of export bans on onions before Maharashtra elections exemplifies a reliance on short-term measures.
  • Long-term solutions, as demanded by farmers, are necessary for sustainable management.



The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Attributing Extreme Weather Events to Climate Change

 GS-3 Mains Exam : Environment Conversion 

Revision Notes

Challenges of Climate Modeling:

  • Climate models struggle to accurately predict extreme weather events, particularly rainfall.
  • While better at regional temperature predictions, local accuracy remains limited.

Value of Extreme Event Attribution:

  • Formal cost-benefit analysis of attribution is lacking, but experts see its importance for the “Loss and Damage” (L&D) process.
  • The L&D process, evolving under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, aims to address climate change’s impact on vulnerable countries.
  • Developing countries, especially those highly vulnerable, seek compensation through the L&D fund.
  • Identifying “particularly vulnerable” countries is crucial (e.g., India is vulnerable but unlikely to qualify for L&D funding).
  • Developed nations oppose legal accountability for extreme events due to potential lawsuits.

Case Study: Asian Heatwaves

  • World Weather Attribution (WWA) recently reported a 45-fold increase in the likelihood of Asian heatwaves due to climate change.
  • Understanding “rapid extreme event attribution” methods is essential.
  • WWA acknowledges insufficient data, especially for rainfall extremes.
  • Climate models’ limitations in capturing rainfall further complicate attribution.

Gap Between Attribution and Action:

  • L&D discussions and climate law are gaining traction, but attribution exercises seem disconnected from government strategies.
  • Addressing these challenges is crucial to bridge the gap and inform adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Selecting Events for Attribution:

  • Scientists face challenges in choosing extreme events for attribution studies.
  • The World Weather Attribution (WWA) study on Asian heatwaves used inconsistent methods across regions (daily, 3-day, or monthly temperatures).
  • Natural factors (El Niño) and human activities (urbanization, deforestation) can influence heatwaves, complicating attribution.
  • Unprecedented events make attribution at local scales difficult; subcontinental scales are more reliable.

Beyond the Event: Vulnerability and Impact

  • The true impact of extreme events depends on:
    • The severity of the event itself (hazard)
    • The vulnerability of the affected population
    • Their level of exposure to the event
  • Financial consequences are similarly multifaceted.

Considering the Bigger Picture:

  • Given these challenges, a broader look at international climate finance is necessary.
  • This includes:
    • Adaptation funding for developing countries
    • Closing adaptation gaps
    • Building adaptation capacity
    • Global mitigation efforts

The Need for Practical Solutions:

  • In the real world with limited resources, attribution needs a clear purpose.
  • While a valuable scientific exercise in theory, cost-benefit analysis is crucial to determine its role in climate action strategies.





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