GS 1

Category: HISTORY

  1. ‘Moplah rioters’ : demand for removal of Malabar Rebellion leaders from the martyrs’ list

The issue in news

Recently the book, Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle 1857-1947, released recently by the Prime Minister.

Background of the issue :


The Moplah rebellion:

The revolt: Economic resentment:

  • The pre-British relations between landlords and tenants were based on a code that provided the tenants with a decent share of the produce.
  • The British introduced new tenancy lawsthat tremendously favoured the landlords and instituted a far more exploitative system than before.
  • The new laws deprived them of all guaranteed rights to the land and its produce and in effect rendered them landless.
  • This change created enormous resentment among the tenants against British rule.

Immediate trigger:

  • The immediate trigger of the uprising was the Non-Cooperation Movementlaunched by the Congress in 1920 in tandem with the Khilafat agitation.
  • The anti-British sentiment fuelled by these agitations found fertile ground among the Muslim Mapillahs of south Malabar living in economic misery which they blamed in large part on British rule.
  • These movements acted as the spark to the Mapillah revolt against the British rulers and their Hindu landlords (Janmi).


Main points

  • An Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) member has sought the removal of Malabar Rebellion leaders from the martyrs’ list based on a report submitted to the ICHR in 2016.
  • The report had accused the Moplah rebellion leaders of communal killing during the 1921 Moplah Riot and had recommended the removal of the Wagon Tragedy victims and Malabar Rebellion leaders Ali Musliyar and Variamkunnath Ahmad Haji, and Haji’s two brothers from a book on martyrs of India’s freedom struggle.
  • The report sought the removal of names of 387 ‘Moplah rioters’ from the list of martyrs.
  • The wagon tragedy was the death of Indian prisoners in the Malabar region of Kerala state of India in 1921.
  • The prisoners had been taken into custody following the Mappila Rebellion against the British in various parts of Malappuram district.
  • Their deaths had generated sympathy for the Indian independence movement.

GS 3 Related


  1. Research paper calls for change in India’s forest policy: D-G Forests

The issue in news

Based on the findings of the research paper titled the ‘Impact of forest policies on timber production in India: a review’ published in 2016 in the Natural Resources Forum, a United Nations Sustainable Development Journal, a senior official has called for a review of the current forest policy in India.


Background of the issue :

Current forest policy in India:

  • Following a 1996 Supreme Court order which regulated logging in government forests, the forest policies in India have focused on conservation. The policies prioritize conservation over production.


Concerns with the present approach:

Fall in domestic production:

  • The domestic demand for timber has been growing due to the increasing population and per capita GDP.
  • However, decades of policies focused on conservation instead of production has resulted in domestic timber production witnessing a slump.


Reliance on imports:

  • Given the shortfall in domestic production, the timber imports have witnessed a rise.
  • The dependency on imports could backfire as the exporting countries have been shifting to a conservation-based approach.
  • This could lead to a situation where India does not have sufficient domestic timber production ability nor would be in a position to import from other countries due to a shortage of supplies.
  • The unimpeded timber imports have affected domestic pricing patterns. The low prices have dis-incentivized domestic production.

Main points

  • The research paper argues in favour of a more balanced approach to forest policy-making in India.
  • It calls for an approach that takes care of both the conservation imperatives as well as the human needs for timber.
  • There is a need for a forest policy characterised by equal importance given to restoration, conservation and production.
  • The conservation policy must focus on maintaining ecological balance and improving biodiversity through protected area management.
  • The restoration policy must target reclamation, rehabilitation and regeneration of degraded landscapes and wastelands.
  • The production policy must focus on increasing forest productivity to meet human timber needs.
  • The research paper calls for an amendment in the Indian forest policy to boost domestic production.


Steps to be taken:

  • Production forestry should focus on a sustainable increase in forest productivity from trees outside forests (TOFs) and recorded forest areas (RFAs).


Focus on TOFs:

  • Considering the immense potential of timber production from trees outside forests (TOFs) — grown outside government recorded forest areas (RFAs), there is the need to incentivize and promote timber production in TOFs to meet the domestic timber demand.
  • The India State of Forest Report (2011) estimates timber production from government forests to be 3.17 million m³ and potential timber production from TOFs to be 42.77 million m³.
  • For TOFs, a synchronised nationwide policy needs to be developed. This should also incentivize private sector participation.


Sustainable forestry in RFAs:

  • For the RFAs, there could be the demarcation of 10% of the forests for plantations in areas that would have the least impact on the ecology.
  • There should be sustainable forest management in these areas based on certification to dis-incentivize logging in protected areas.


Framing of supportive policies:

  • The import-export policy of the country should be reviewed to rectify its pricing impact in the market.
  • The policy should consider restricting imports in a bid to help increase the prices in the market and make it economically viable to grow trees domestically.
  • The lack of reliable data relating to growing stock, consumption and production of timber has constrained forecast of supply and demand projections.
  • There is a need to ensure data availability on these to promote the timber industry in India.


Mitigation efforts:

  • Increasing wood production will result in carbon sequestration, and help in mitigating the effects of climate change.
  • India remains highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. India ranks 5th on the global climate vulnerability index.
  • This could also help India meets its commitments made under the Paris climate deal.
  • Under the Paris Agreement, India had committed to creating a cumulative carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030.


Impact on rural economy:

  • Policy initiatives aimed at increasing timber production from TOFs can help revive the agricultural sector and the rural economy by generating newer employment opportunities.
  • Agro-forestry apart from helping the farmers supplement their incomes also helps increase the concentration of various nutrients or enhances nutrient cycling and thus helps improve overall soil quality.



Category: ECONOMY

  1. ‘Close old power plants, save Rs. 53,000 crore’

The issue in news

The visible Stress in the power sector.


Background of the issue :

  • Several of the power distribution companies (discoms) in Indian states remain financially stressed.


Causative factors:

Low revenue generation

  • The free power for agriculture is a major challenge for the power sector.
  • The proportion of the farm sector’s energy consumption has doubled since the 1970s while revenue realisation has remained stagnant.
  • Energy-use in the agriculture sector has registered a high growth rate as compared to other sectors.
  • The discoms are also required to provide subsidised power to significant segments of their customer base. This has led to low revenue generation.
  • The delayed payments from government entities have only deteriorated the discoms’ financial health further.
  • Power theft has dented the revenue stream of the discoms.

Surplus capacity

  • Several states have installed capacity that is far in excess of actual requirements.
  • Despite having surplus generation capacity, an additional 60,000 MW thermal power is officially under construction across the country, with another 29,000 MW in the proposal/permitting stage.
  • This has resulted in huge overcapacity in the electricity system, and disproportionate fixed cost obligations for such discoms.


Main points

  • Analysis by Climate Research Horizon has revealed that the shutting down of thermal power plants older than 20 years in selected states can help save the exchequer Rs. 53,000 crore over five years.
  • The savings will accrue from not having to spend on retrofitting these plants to reduce the toxicity of their emissions. o India’s coal-fired power plants must meet stringent new emission norms by 2022, which were set in December 2015 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • This would require the implementation of the emission control systems (ECSs) in such power plants.
  • Additionally, the move will also help meet India’s climate action goals and help in India’s transition towards renewable energy.

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