CSAT 2023

Q. Food consumption patterns have changed substantially in India over the past few decades.

This has resulted in the disappearance of many nutritious foods such as millets. While food grain production has increased over five times since independence, it has not sufficiently addressed the issue of malnutrition. For long, the agriculture sector focussed on increasing food production particularly staples, which led to lower production and consumption of indigenous traditional crops/grains, fruits and other vegetables, impacting food and nutrition security in the process. Further, intensive, monoculture agriculture practices can perpetuate the food and nutrition security problem by degrading the quality of land, water and food derived through them.

Q1. Based on the above passage, the following assumptions have been made: 
1. To implement the Sustainable Development Goals and to achieve zero-hunger goal, monoculture agriculture practices are inevitable even if they do not address malnutrition.
2. Dependence on a few crops has negative consequences for human health and the ecosystem.
3. Government policies regarding food planning need to incorporate nutritional security.
4. For the present monoculture agriculture practices, farmers receive subsidies in various ways and government offers remunerative prices for grains and therefore they do not tend to consider crop diversity.

Which of the above assumptions are valid?

(a) 1, 2 and 4 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Question from UPSC Prelims 2023 CSAT

Model Answer:

Q1: Correct Answer – (b) 2 and 3 only

Explanation – 
The passage does not provide any information to support assumptions 1 and 4. It does not suggest that monoculture agriculture practices are inevitable to achieve zero-hunger goal, nor does it mention anything about farmers receiving subsidies or government offering remunerative prices for grains.

However, the passage does suggest that dependence on a few crops (monoculture agriculture practices) has negative consequences for human health (malnutrition) and the ecosystem (degrading the quality of land, water and food), supporting assumption 2.

The passage also implies that government policies regarding food planning need to incorporate nutritional security, as the focus on increasing food production, particularly staples, has led to lower production and consumption of nutritious foods, thereby impacting food and nutrition security. This supports assumption 3.

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