Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam: Paper - IV (General Studies – III) - 30 April 2019

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam

UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper-IV: General Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

Q. Why do we celebrate Earth day? Discuss its importance and specific policy changes witnessed in past in matter of multidimensional environment concerns.

Model Answer:

  • Introduction
  • Earth day Importance
  • Policy changes made in the past
  • Measures and conclusion


Earth Day: It is observed every year on April 22, is a day meant to emphasize on the need to protect the planet and preserve its environment. Several events and campaigns are being held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day Network (EDN) is the not for profit organisation that leads Earth Day worldwide.

Earth day Importance:

  • It is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance.
  • This Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.
  • This day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.
  • This year, Earth Day focuses on putting an end to plastic use and thereby reducing pollution. According to Earth Day Network, Earth Day 2018 will focus on fundamentally changing human attitude and behaviour about plastics and catalyzing a significant reduction in plastic pollution.

Policy changes made in the past:

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): It was initiated primarily in response to developments at the international level, the eight missionsfocus on India’s domestic development needs.
  • Ratifying Paris Agreement: The 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) successfully concluded in Paris after intense negotiations by the Parties followed by the adoption of the Paris Agreement on post-2020 actions on climate change. India ratified the same and is actively working towards the goals.
  • Tackling Climate Change: To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level. To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030, with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international finance, including from Green Climate Fund. To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
  • Clean Fuel: India introduces BS-VI petrol and diesel. Delhi will be the first city to leapfrog from BS-IV to BS-VI. 13 major cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, etc. will make the shift from 1st Jan 2019. The rest of the country will make the change from April 2020 next year.
  • No Plastics: India has pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022.
  • National Bio-fuel policy
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA): ISA is a group of 121 solar rich countries which are situated either on or between the tropics. Aims to deploy over 1000 GW of solar energy and mobilize more than $1000 billion into solar power by 2030.
  • The Clean Development Mechanism projects in India: Indian projects have been issued a huge number of Renewable Energy Certificates in lieu of their green deeds.
  • State Action Plans on Climate Change: The State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC) aim to create institutional capacities and implement sectoral activities to address climate change. These plans are focused on adaptation with mitigation as co-benefit in sectors such as water, agriculture, tourism, forestry, transport, habitat and energy.
  • Coal Cess and the National Clean Energy Fund: India is one of the few countries around the world to have a carbon tax in the form of a cess on coal. Not only has India imposed such a cess but it has also been progressively increasing it. The National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) which is supported by the cess on coal was created for the purposes of financing and promoting clean energy initiatives, funding research in the area of clean energy and for any other related activities.
  • FAME Scheme for E-mobility: Union Government in April 2015 launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) – India Scheme with an aim to boost sales of eco-friendly vehicles in the country. It is a part of the National Mission for Electric Mobility.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for Smart Cities.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: The scheme provides LPG connections to five crore below-poverty-line beneficiaries. The connections are given in the name of women beneficiaries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow dung for cooking food, thus reducing air pollution.
  • UJALA scheme: The scheme was launched in January 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs. The usage of LED bulbs will not only result in reducing electricity bills but also help in environment protection.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Movement) is a campaign that was launched by Prime Minister on October 2, 2014. The campaign seeks to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country’s 4041 statutory cities and towns.
  • National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change: A National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) has been established with a budget provision of I350 crore for the year 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. It is meant to assist in meeting the cost of national- and state-level adaptation measures in areas that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Measures and conclusion:

  • Prudent investments and policy reformcan help make India resilient to climate change.
  • Promotion of climate smart agriculture.
  • Any adaptation to ongoing climate change will require climate justice.
  • This can be induced by expansion of joint research and development partnerships like the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, pairing India’s emerging smart cities with green cities in the West.
  • India needs to decarboniseby reducing emissions, there is no doubt about that. But the West needs to pay its bills too.
  • Cities adjacent to national parks and sanctuaries need to be converted into green smart cities with upgraded waste recycling processes.

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