UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing - 28 September (GS 1)


  1. From being net importer in 1960s, India emerged as a net food exporter to the world. Provide reasons. (15)
  2. Does urbanization lead to more segregation and/or marginalization of the poor in Indian metropolises? (15)

Model Solutions

1. From being net importer in 1960s, India emerged as a net food exporter to the world. Provide reasons. (15)

Model structure

  • In the 1960s, droughts caused acute food shortages in India, leading to heavy reliance on wheat imports, especially under the PL 480 agreement with the United States.
  • In the year FY 2022 the agricultural exports amounted to USD 43.37 billion, registering an increase of 6.04% over the exports of USD 40.90 billion during the corresponding period of the previous financial year i.e. April 2021 to January 2022.

Main Body:
India's transition from being a net food importer in the 1960s to a net food exporter in subsequent decades is a remarkable story of agricultural transformation.

  • Several factors contributed to this turnaround:
    • Green Revolution (1960s-1970s):
      • Reason: The Green Revolution, initiated in the late 1960s, introduced high-yielding varieties of seeds, especially for wheat and rice. Coupled with better irrigation facilities, using fertilisers and pesticides, and improved farming practices, this significantly increased food grain production.
      • Data: India's wheat production rose from 12.3 million tonnes in 1965 to 20.1 million in 1970 to about 55 million tonnes by 1990.
    • Expansion of Cultivated Land:
      • Reason: There was an expansion in the net sown area, and multiple cropping practices were promoted, leading to a rise in total food grain production.
      • Data: The net sown area in India increased from 118.75 million hectares in 1950-51 to about 140.1 million hectares in 2000-01.
    • Diversification into High-Value Crops:
      • Reason: Farmers diversified into high-value crops like fruits, vegetables, and spices, which have a significant demand in international markets.
      • Data: India became one of the world's largest producers of fruits, with a production of over 90 million tonnes by the early 2000s.
    • Policy Support:
      • Reason: The government implemented Minimum Support Prices (MSP) to ensure farmers get a fair price for their produce. This provided an incentive for farmers to produce more.
      • Data: The number of crops under MSP increased over the years, with the government consistently raising the MSP for various crops.
    • Investment in Agricultural Infrastructure:
      • Reason: Investments were made in irrigation projects, storage facilities, and rural roads, reducing post-harvest losses and ensuring better market connectivity.
      • Data: By the end of the 20th century, irrigated land constituted about 40% of the total cultivated land, up from around 17% in the early 1950s.
    • Technological and Research Advancements:
      • Reason: Agricultural research institutes, like the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and its affiliate institutions, were pivotal in developing better crop varieties and farming techniques.
      • Data: The number of high-yielding varieties released in India increased significantly, with hundreds of varieties being introduced for major crops by the 1990s.
    • Export Promotion and Global Market Access:
      • Reason: Post-liberalization (after 1991), India's trade policies were revised to promote agricultural exports. Additionally, India's accession to the WTO in 1995 improved global markets' access.
      • Data: India's agricultural exports surged from around USD 5 billion in the early 2000s to over USD 30 billion by 2013-14.
  • Way Forward:
    • Sustainable Farming Practices:
      • Adopting eco-friendly and sustainable agricultural practices can ensure long-term soil fertility and reduce dependency on chemical fertilisers.
      • Further Steps Needed: Promotion of organic farming, crop rotation, and agroforestry. Implementing soil health card schemes more rigorously to guide farmers on nutrient management.
    • Water Management:
      • With declining water tables and changing rainfall patterns due to climate change, efficient water management is crucial.
      • Further Steps Needed: Promotion of micro-irrigation techniques like drip and sprinkler irrigation, rainwater harvesting, and revival of traditional water bodies.
    • Post-Harvest Management:
      • To reduce losses after harvest and improve the value chain.
      • Further Steps Needed: Modern storage facilities, cold chains, and efficient transportation systems are established. Implementing and scaling up initiatives like the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana can be pivotal.
    • Diversification of Crops:
      • To reduce dependency on a few staple crops and improve soil health.
      • Further Steps Needed: Promote the cultivation of millets, pulses, and oilseeds through better MSPs and procurement mechanisms.
    • Skill Development and Technology:
      • Equip farmers with the latest technological knowledge and skills.
      • Further Steps Needed: Organize farmer training programs, workshops, and exposure visits. Promote the use of digital platforms and mobile apps for real-time agricultural advisories.
    • Infrastructure Development:
      • Ensuring better connectivity between farms and markets.
      • Further Steps Needed: Enhance rural infrastructure, especially roads, to reduce transportation costs and losses. Establish more farmer markets to ensure better price realisation.
    • Research and Development:
      • Continuous R&D is essential to tackle emerging challenges like pest attacks, climate change, etc.
      • Further Steps Needed: Strengthen agricultural universities and research institutions. Focus on developing climate-resilient crop varieties.
    • Credit and Insurance:
      • Ensure farmers can access institutional credit and are protected against unforeseen losses.
      • Further Steps Needed: Expand the coverage of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (crop insurance scheme). Facilitate easier credit access through cooperative societies and rural banks.
    • Market Reforms:
      • Ensure farmers get a better price for their produce.
      • Further Steps Needed: Implementing reforms allowing farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country, facilitating contract farming, and promoting farmer producer organisations (FPOs).
  • Technological advancements, policy interventions, and a shift towards high-value crops transformed India's agricultural landscape. From facing severe food shortages in the 1960s to becoming a significant player in the global agricultural market, India's journey showcases the potential of sustained efforts in enhancing agricultural productivity and market access.

2. Does urbanization lead to more segregation and/or marginalization of the poor in Indian metropolises? (15)

Core demand- Discuss both positive and negative impacts of urbanization on poor

Model Structure

  • Data based-
  • Urban population- 31.1% in 2011 as per Census 2011
  • By 2035, the percentage of population in India at mid-year residing in urban area will be 43.2% - UN Report

Main Body
Urbanisation lead to more segregation and/or marginalisation (Arguments in favor)

  • Socio-economic exclusion
    • Informal employment
    • Lack of Social Safety Nets
  • Caste segregation
  • Social discrimination
  • Political exclusion
  • Vulnerable condition of Migrants
  • Impact on families- Joint Families changing into Nuclear Families, majorly due to migration and changing economic ties

Urbanisation lead to more segregation and/or marginalisation (Arguments against)

  • Urban anonymity to prevent caste based violence
  • Meritocracy and achievement based society for eg: MNCs, IITs etc
  • Better economic avenues
  • Access to quality Education and other services
  • Social Mobility

Government initiates/ Way forward-

  • PM Aawas Yojana to build affordable houses with the main aim of improving socio-Cultural status of poor and reducing urbanisation of poverty.
  • Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM)
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  • Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY)
  • Smart Cities


  • On the lines of question- Urbanization will continue as per many data/reports. We need to focus on providing better socio-economic opportunities to urban poor.

Previous Post

Next Post