Indian Editorial Summary

Topic-1 : Healing the Soil

GS-3 Mains : Environment 

Revision Notes 

Question : Evaluate the role of agriculture in greenhouse gas emissions and climate change mitigation efforts, as discussed at COP28 in Dubai.

Basic Concept  : COP stands for Conference of the Parties. It’s an annual meeting organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). COP is the key international forum where countries discuss and negotiate global action to tackle climate change. It’s where countries come together to:

    • Assess progress in dealing with climate change
    • Set goals and targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
    • Establish frameworks for international cooperation on climate change mitigation (reducing emissions) and adaptation (coping with the effects of climate change)


  • COP28 in Dubai brought agriculture into the measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
  • India did not sign the agreement fearing significant changes in agricultural policies.

How Human Population Growth Affects the Earth

  • Rising population is responsible for a large part of biodiversity loss.
  • It took 200,000 years for humanity to reach 1 billion in 1804.
  • The next billion was added in just 123 years (1927).
  • Humanity has multiplied from 2 billion to over 8 billion in less than 100 years.
  • To avoid mass starvation, forests were cleared for large-scale farming.
  • This rapid growth led to the loss of species and genetic diversity.
  • Traditional methods couldn’t have fed the growing population.
  • As per Norman Borlaug, the planet can support a maximum of 4 billion people.

The Problem is not Food Production, but Food Supply

  • The Green Revolution produced more food than humanity needs today.
  • 30% of produced food is lost due to spoilage and waste.
  • There is no dearth of food supply, access is an income issue.
  • Many countries have food subsidy programs (e.g., India’s PM-Garib Kalyan Yojana).

Faulty Agriculture Policies Must Be Addressed

  • Unsustainable practices harm the planet.

Subsidizing unsustainable use of fertilizers

  • Heavy subsidies on chemical fertilizers (esp. urea) lead to imbalanced use of NPK.
  • This damages soil and reduces organic carbon content.
  • Optimal level of Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) is 1.5-2%.
  • Over 60% of Indian soils have SOC below 0.5%.
  • Our policies seem blind to this issue.
  • Slogans of “prakritik kheti” won’t solve the problem.
  • We need to change policies, especially fertilizer subsidies.
  • A switch from subsidizing NPK to direct income transfer and market-decided NPK prices can be beneficial.
  • Advance preparation regarding land records, crops, and irrigation is required.

Rampant exploitation of groundwater

  • Groundwater levels are depleting in most states.
  • Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan are severely affected.
  • Free power for irrigation, MSP, and open-ended paddy procurement encourage excessive groundwater use.
  • This has led to an ecological disaster with receding water tables and paddy fields emitting high levels of carbon.

Loss of crop diversity

  • Faulty policies lead to loss of crop diversity.
  • In 1960, only 4.8% of Punjab’s cropped area was under rice.
  • Today, it’s over 40%, replacing maize, millets, pulses, and oilseeds.
  • High-yielding varieties of rice and wheat reduce varietal diversity.


  • We need food systems that are climate-resilient, reduce groundwater depletion, GHG emissions, and promote biodiversity.


Additional Notes

About Soil

Soil is the loose material covering the Earth’s surface that can support plant growth. It is a complex mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life.Plants rely on soil for nutrients and water, and soil helps regulate Earth’s climate by storing carbon. Soil also provides habitat for many organisms, from tiny bacteria to burrowing mammals.

Components of Soil

  • Mineral particles:These make up the largest percentage of soil and come in all sizes, from large rocks and pebbles to tiny clay particles. The size distribution of mineral particles is referred to as soil texture, which plays a major role in how well soil retains water and nutrients.
  • Organic matter:This comes from the decayed remains of plants and animals. Organic matter is an important source of nutrients for plants and helps soil retain water.
  • Water:All soil contains water, although the amount varies depending on factors such as climate, soil texture, and plant cover. Water is essential for plant growth and helps dissolve and transport nutrients to plant roots.
  • Air:Soil also contains air, which is important for plant root respiration and the survival of soil organisms.
  • Living organisms:Soil is teeming with life, from microscopic bacteria and fungi to earthworms and insects. These organisms play a vital role in decomposing organic matter, cycling nutrients, and maintaining soil structure.

Classification of Soil in India

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has classified soils in India into eight major categories:

  1. Alluvial Soil:This is the most widespread type of soil in India, covering nearly 43% of the land area. It is found in the Indo-Gangetic plains and other river valleys. Alluvial soils are generally fertile, well-drained, and suitable for a variety of crops.
  2. Black Soil (Regur Soil):This type of soil is found in the Deccan Plateau of India. It is dark black in color due to its high content of organic matter and clay minerals. Black soils are very fertile and are well-suited for growing cotton, sugarcane, and wheat.
  3. Red and Yellow Soil:These soils are found in the peninsular region of India. They are red or yellow in color due to the presence of iron oxides. Red and yellow soils are generally less fertile than alluvial or black soils, but they can be productive with proper management.
  4. Laterite Soil:Laterite soils are found in the high rainfall areas of western and southern India. They are characterized by their high iron oxide content and reddish brown color. Laterite soils are generally infertile and acidic, but they can be improved with the addition of organic matter and fertilizers.
  5. Forest and Mountain Soils:These soils are found in the hilly and mountainous regions of India. They are typically shallow and infertile, but they can support the growth of forests.
  6. Arid and Desert Soils:These soils are found in the arid and semi-arid regions of India, such as Rajasthan and Gujarat. They are typically sandy and low in organic matter. Arid and desert soils are not very productive for agriculture, but they can support some drought-resistant crops and grasses.
  7. Saline and Alkaline Soils:These soils are found in areas with poor drainage or high evaporation. They can be high in salts or sodium, which can make them unsuitable for plant growth. Saline and alkaline soils can be reclaimed with proper management practices.
  8. Peaty and Marshy Soils:These soils are found in waterlogged areas, such as swamps and marshes. They are high in organic matter but can be difficult to cultivate due to their poor drainage. Peaty and marshy soils can be used for growing some crops, such as cranberries, with proper drainage improvements.



Indian Editorial Summary

Topic-2 : Cries for Help (Telangana Student Suicides)

GS-1 or GS-4 Mains : Society or Ethics 

Revision Notes 

Question : Examine the underlying causes of student suicides in Telangana and the broader implications for student well-being in India. How do factors such as academic pressure, parental expectations, and systemic shortcomings contribute to student stress and suicidal behavior?


  • Suicides of 7 students (6 girls) in Telangana after intermediate results highlight ongoing student stress.
  • Despite interventions, more needs to be done to address youth anxieties.

State Efforts to Reduce Student Stress

  • Telangana Board arranged counsellors for exam-related stress management.
  • Government asked students not to be discouraged by results and use supplementary exams.
  • However, these efforts can’t address systemic shortcomings.

Extent of Student Suicides in India

  • NCRB data shows significant student stress levels.
  • Over 13,044 Indian students ended their lives in 2022 (7.6% of total suicides).
  • This is a 70% increase from the previous decade.

Factors Behind Student Suicidal Behavior

  • Suicidal behavior is caused by multiple factors.
  • Competition pressure and parental expectations strain student well-being.
  • Today, diverse sections see academic excellence as the key to success.
  • Schools promote a competitive mentality, pushing students for higher performance.
  • This discourages students from finding meaning in what they learn.
  • It encourages rote learning and coaching centers with even more pressure.
  • Exams remain a ruthless elimination system, dehumanizing students.
  • Designing flexible evaluation mechanisms (NEP 2020 objective) is in early stages and needs acceleration.

New Education Policy (NEP) – A Start, But Not Enough

  • NEP focuses on emotional well-being and creating a supportive environment.
  • However, most schools lack the ability to recognize cries for help.
  • Year-round support systems for student resilience are rare, especially for marginalized communities.
  • Educators emphasize the need for counseling parents and teachers.
  • The grueling education system doesn’t prepare students for economic realities.
  • The economic growth hasn’t kept pace with rising student aspirations.


  • Political parties acknowledge the gap between economic growth and youth aspirations.
  • The urgent task after elections is to translate words into action and ensure the system doesn’t fail its youth.


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