SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 January 2017
NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
General Studies – 1;
Topic: Poverty and developmental issues; Population
Malnutrition refers to the situation where there is an unbalanced diet in which some nutrients are in excess, lacking or wrong proportion. Simply put, we can categorise it to be under-nutrition and over-nutrition. Despite India’s 50% increase in GDP since 1991, more than one third of the world’s malnourished children live in India. Among these, half of them under 3 are underweight and a third of wealthiest children are over-nutriented.
The World Bank estimates that India is one of the highest ranking countries in the world for the number of children suffering from malnutrition. The prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world, and is nearly double that of Sub Saharan Africa with dire consequences for mobility, mortality, productivity and economic growth.
The 2015 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report ranked India 20th amongst leading countries with a serious hunger situation. Amongst South Asian nations, it ranks third behind only Afghanistan and Pakistan with a GHI score of 29.0 (“serious situation”).
CAUSES OF MALNUTRITION:-
Women and Children specific causes:-
- Poverty, which abstains families to feed nutritious food to their children and women.
- Illiteracy, due to which larger sections of people are unaware of the benefits of healthy food.
- Ignorance, of various government schemes ensuring food security and nutrition.
- Modern lifestyle, where junk food has become an indispensible part of lives which fails to provide nutrition.
- Inability on the part of government, to cover remotest areas and sections like rural regions and tribals which remain untapped from government schemes.
- Decreasing instances of breastfeeding in mothers.
- Poor health of women, resulting in lower immunity of their children.
OTHER IN GENERAL CAUSES:-
- Lack of a Balanced Diet:Malnutrition in children is caused due to the lack of a nutritious and balanced diet. In countries where poverty prevails, people don’t consume essential nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fats in their daily meal. Hence, malnutrition is mostly observed in children from poverty-stricken areas. People who have limited knowledge about nutrition are often seen following an unhealthy diet. This doesn’t contain the required nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and leads to malnutrition.
- Indigestible and Harmful Diet:Indigestible and harmful diets can be among the major malnutrition causes. Children from rich families consume expensive food items that are indigestible and harmful. These food items can cause lack of hunger, leading to malnutrition. Loss of appetite can cause many diseases like cancer, liver or kidney disease, chronic infections, tumors, depressive illness, including malnutrition.
- Lack of a Regulated Diet:Irregular intake of food can cause malnutrition. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner must always be taken at a proper time. Irregular timing of meals can cause indigestion and malnutrition.
- Dirty Environment:A dirty environment at home or in the school is one of the basic causes of malnutrition. The home and school environment tend to become dirty when it lacks fresh and pure air, sunlight, playground, clean lanes. This hampers the required nutrition of children. Those children who are made to work in glass factories, leather industries, brick industries, etc. have to face a dirty, unhygienic and unhealthy environment. This can lead to malnourishment in children.
- Lack of Sound Sleep and Rest:Low space and a suffocating bedroom can hamper the sleep of the child. Excess homework and watching television till late hours can also cause lack of sleep. This results in indigestion and causes malnutrition.
- Negligence of Children:Children who are not paid attention at home and in the school can experience anxiety. This can also cause malnutrition.
- Bodily Diseases:Children who are infected by diseases must have a balanced diet. When this is not done, it can hinder proper body functioning and lead to malnutrition.
- Heavy Work:Continuous hard work can hinder the digestive process of children. This is mainly observed in children from low-income groups, who have to do heavy labor and lots of physical work.
- Lack of Exercise and Games:Malnutrition can also be caused due to lack of exercise and games. This slows down the digestive process and causes malnutrition.
- Lack of Food:This is commonly observed in the low-income group as well as homeless people. People with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can have problems in maintaining adequate nutrition levels.
- Dysphagia:Some can suffer from difficulty in eating due to the painful condition of the teeth. This is observed in people with dysphagia who have difficulty in swallowing food. This can cause malnutrition. Malnutrition can also occur due to throat or mouth blockage.
- Elderly Living Alone:Elderly or physically challenged people who live alone have difficulty in cooking healthy, balanced meals for themselves, and this can lead to malnutrition. Individuals with long-term illnesses lose their appetite and ability to absorb nutrients from the food they eat. This can also cause malnutrition.
- Ignorance Of Pregnant Mothers:The root cause of malnutrition in children in India is impoverished pregnant mothers who are unable to provide suitable nutrition as they, themselves, are malnourished. This is primarily due to gender inequality. This causes their diets to be inadequate in both quantity and quality.
- Poverty:Very often poverty is another major reason behind undernourished children. In the villages especially where the income level is restricted one is unable to provide suitable nutrition to their children.
- Illiteracy And Ignorance:Many a times illiteracy and ignorance also result in malnutrition wherein the parents are unaware of the dietary requirements of their children. Either the children become obese, or they become too underweight and skinny.
- No Acess To Hospitals:The inability of a rural parent to afford a doctor’s visit also causes the child to get undernourished.
Other causes of malnutrition are:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Digestive illnesses such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
- Some medications
- Serious injury, burns or major surgical procedures.
- Pregnant women with deficits in the normal diet.
- Lack of knowledge
- Premature babies
- Heart defects from birth, cystic fibrosis, cancers, and other long-term diseases
- Malnutrition is observed in neglected children or orphans.
Addressing the problem:
- Innovative and successful schemes from different states should be adopted on national level. Like the PHULWARI scheme of Chhattisgarh aims to curb malnutrition by providing balanced and nutritious diets to women of infants and children every day.
- Educating mothers about the importance of breastfeeding, informing about immunization, healthy habits and better child bearing, raising practices.
- Popularizing nutritional programs and proper policy intervention by government like providing iron folic tablets, proper food distribution through PDS system, promoting MGNREGA, Maternity benefit scheme.
- Creation of infrastructure like road, water sanitation, primary health care hospitals.
- regular annual survey under ICDS on malnutrition basis
- Introduction of BMI and other index for accessing nutritional status at Aanganwadi levels
- Prevention of anemia in girls and women through nutritional programs with Iron folic and deworming tablets
- Use of Biotechnology such as fortification of grains
- Capacity building of Aanganwadi workers
- Women Empowerment:- encouraging girls education, discouraging dowry, supporting marriage choices, encouraging decision making of women ex panchayat level, encouraging women labor force
General Studies – 2
Topic:Important aspects of governance, Transparency
2) Recently, the Supreme Court removed top functionaries of BCCI for not implementing Lodha panel recommendations and for the contempt of court. In your opinion, what lessons should BCCI learn from this episode? Also briefly give your opinion on the whole episode. (200 Words)
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has only itself to blame for its present predicament. Its president and secretary have been removed for defying the Supreme Court’s order to accept reforms suggested by a court-appointed committee. And its president, Anurag Thakur, now faces legal action for contempt of court as well as prosecution for perjury.
Top 10 recommendations by the Lodha committee
- The panel found not enough evidence against former IPL COO Sundar Raman
- Lodha panel wants BCCI to come under RTI Act
- Lodha panel recommends legalisation of betting:-The panel recommends players and BCCI officials should disclose their assets to the board in a measure to ensure they do not bet.
- Lodha panel proposes one state, one vote. Also no proxy voting of individuals The most contentious point in the recommendations asks BCCI to implement one vote for each state. This means, for example, the large state of Maharashtra with multiple associations in Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha each have their respective representative and vote during elections. If recommendation is implemented, the entire state will have just one vote.
- No BCCI office-bearer can have more than two consecutive terms The Lodha panel recommends a maximum of three terms for office bearers with no more than two consecutive terms. It further says there should be a cooling period after each term.
- No BCCI office-bearer can be Minister or government servant, recommends Lodha panel
- In no case President will hold post for more than 2 years
- Lodha panel recommends a steering committee headed by former Home Secy G K Pillai with Mohinder Amarnath, Diana Eduljee and Anil Kumble
- Panel recommends separate governing bodies for the IPL and BCCI
- Lodha Committee recommends relegation of Railways, Services and Universities as Associate members. They also lose voting rights
- Punishment and reforms were the main tasks for the Lodha committee
The lessons learnt include:-
- Nobody is above the law- There is ample space to appeal and get genuine concerns addressed within the ambit of law. Defiance of SC orders and perjury by the board president is totally uncalled for. Such episodes need to be strictly prevented in the future.
- Command and coordination- Stating that state boards will not agree to the implementation of recommendations reflects poor organizational and leading skills. The board has to learn how to align state boards to its requirements.
- All organizations even if autonomous/private need to follow basics of rules and regulations. Non-compliance in any form is non-justifiable and sets a bad example for lower rungs as well.
- Nexus-no nexus whether political or any other in fact BCCI should follow the corporate governance practices.
- Implementation of Reforms-reforms like governance structure, fair election, RTI inclusion, regulation of betting, ethical officer is the immediate need that BBCI should work upon.
OPINION ON WHOLE EPISODE:-
- Most of the Lodha panel recommendations were only fundamental in nature and not even cosmetic (stated by SC). Many of former cricketers, coaches, managers, club owners have come out to support Lodha panel recommendations which gives it validation.
- Necessary reforms like CEO:-run organization, bringing under RTI, appointment of Ethics, Electoral officer and Ombudsman (deal with internal conflicts) and One-State, One-vote principle would help in laying proper foundation to increase professionalism and transparency in the body
- Debate on judicial overreach:-Looks quite overstretched as SC can exploit Art 142 to prevent any wrongdoing even in private/autonomous bodies with larger public interest
- Counter-argument:-SC has pointed fingers only at the BCCI and not at other sports bodies which are in more dismal conditions
None of this would have happened had the BCCI shown some sense of responsibility and a vision for the future, and recognised the fact that the highest court was only seeking to reform the manner in which cricket is administered in the country. Defying the court in the name of protecting the sport’s autonomy is ambiguous, sports need to be impartial following sportsman spirit. Moreover every agency should follow the rule of law rather than their status quo, so that it should never act as a slippery slope for other bodies in a democratic country like India.
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
The recent controversies about disputes over Election symbol in case a party splits in Samajwadi Party and AIDMK party has thrown light on Election Commission powers and roles in such cases.
Under what authority does the EC decide such disputes?
The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 empowers the EC to recognise political parties and allot symbols. Under Paragraph 15 of the Order, it can decide disputes among rival groups or sections of a recognised political party staking claim to its name and symbol.
What is the legal status of Paragraph 15?
Under Paragraph 15, the EC is the only authority to decide issues on a dispute or a merger. The Supreme Court upheld its validity in Sadiq Ali and another vs. ECI in 1971.
What aspects does the EC consider before recognising one group as the official party?
The ECI primarily ascertains the support enjoyed by a claimant within a political party in its organisational wing and in its legislative wing.
How does the ECI establish a claim of majority in these wings?
The Commission examines the party’s constitution and its list of office-bearers submitted when the party was united. It identifies the apex committee(s) in the organisation and finds out how many office-bearers, members or delegates support the rival claimants. For the legislative wing, the party goes by the number of MPs and MLAs in the rival camps. It may consider affidavits filed by these members to ascertain where they stand.
What ruling will the EC give after a definite finding?
The ECI may decide the dispute in favour of one faction by holding that it commands enough support in its organisational and legislative wings to be entitled to the name and symbol of the recognised party. It may permit the other group to register itself as a separate political party.
What happens when there is no certainty about the majority of either faction?
Where the party is either vertically divided or it is not possible to say with certainty which group has a majority, the EC may freeze the party’s symbol and allow the groups to register themselves with new names or add prefixes or suffixes to the party’s existing names.
Can a dispute be decided immediately, if elections are round the corner?
The EC may take time to gather enough material to decide the question. For immediate electoral purposes, it may freeze the party’s symbol and advise the groups to fight the elections in different names and on temporary symbols.
What happens when rival factions settle their differences in future?
If reunited, the claimants may approach the EC again and seek to be recognised as a unified party. The EC is also empowered to recognise mergers of groups into one entity. It may restore the symbol and name of the original party.
Powers of EC (Para 15 of the SYMBOLS ORDER, 1968)
- PRELIMINARY CHECKS:-EC would hear to all the available facts and circumstances of the case, and decide if both factions have enough support to carry forward the proceedings; if not enough support is present it would dismiss the plea
- TEST OF FACTION SUPPORT-BASE :-Check on which faction enjoys greater support, and either recognize one faction and award right to use symbol to them or none of them gets recognized
- BINDING RECOMMENDATION :-decision of the EC shall be binding on all rival sections/groups with respect to recognised national and state parties, while it in case of registered but unrecognised parties, it advises them to resolve their differences amicably or approach the court
- FREEZE THE PARTY SYMBOL IN INTERIM:- in case polls are close and provide ad hoc recognition to the two factions under names similar to the parent party
Eg ICN (I) and INC (U) during Congress’s 2nd split in 1979, BJP and JP after Janata party split in 1980
COURT CASES AND CONTROVERSIES
- CPI SPLIT :-Prior to 1968 order, EC based its decisions on Conduct of Election Rules, 1961
Fall out of Soviet Union and China in 1960s created ideological differences, and faction CPI(M) got recognized as ‘National Party’ by EC as it secured more than 4% in the three states (WB,AP, Kerala)
- INC SPLIT :-Fallout between ‘Syndicate’ and ‘Indira’ faction in 1969 led to expelling of Indira Gandhi, and old symbol was given old party by EC, while Indira had to contest with new symbol (Use of Para 15, SO- 1968)
- EC WAS FACED WITH DILEMMAin some situation where there was no such defined rule
Eg AIDMK Split,1987 – After death of MGR, his wife enjoyed support of majority of MP/MLA while Jayalalitha enjoyed support of majority of party workers and leaders, however agreement was reached before EC decision
- 1997 RULE :-Separated group has to register itself as separate party first, and would then be accorded national or state party based on its performance in election after registration (Support of current MP/MLA base not sufficient)
Constitution has given enough power to EC in current scenario to deal with such kinds of situations. The transparency in functioning of the body is of high nature, only need is to fasten the above process, (as EC takes more than 6 months to decide on such cases) to avoid building of unnecessary tension in the poll-bound region
Topic: e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential;
4) According to surveys by the World Bank and the department of industrial policy and promotion, Andhra Pradesh has emerged as one of the easiest places to do business in India. In this regard, discuss the e-governance initiatives taken by Andhra government which have helped it .(200 Words)
The newly bifurcated Andhra Pradesh has emerged from a state having a huge revenue deficit to a state ranking highest in terms of ease of doing business in India.
The feat has been possible by the use of key performance indicator (KIP) methods for collecting reliable data – a state govt. initiative with Economic Development Board (EDB) and Malaysian’s ‘Pemandu’. This is supplemented with a core dashboard – a one stop portal for real time tracking of almost everything that the govt. does.
Some of the e-governance projects of Andhra Pradesh that helped in achieving this are:
- Complaint Redressal System: To register complaint through internet, e-mail, telephone etc. and check status of complaint
- Prajavani : An e-governance initiative that provides practical shape to the RTI Act
- CARD: Computer Aided Administration of Registration Department to eliminate maladies of online registration
- VOICE: Vijaywada Online Information Centre to deliver municipal services such as building approvals, issuing birth and death certificates and so on
- FiberNet: To provide low cost broadband internet to households and workplaces.
- Other central Govt. schemes like Digital India, MGNREGA, ‘Ujwala’ LED scheme, AMRUT has been implemented in letter and spirit in the state.
- APSWAN: Andhra Pradesh State Wide Area network was another project whose aim was providing connectivity for data, voice and video thereby enabling video conference between Chief Minister and other officials .
- TRANSPORT: For transport Government started fully automated system for transport (FAST) ,which is road transport Authority service through IT .
- AGRICULTURE: There are many recent initiative by government , an IT project covering the entire agricultural operations from supply of inputs to credit flow and marketing by CoOptions Technology .
- OFC: Fiber optic cables are backbone for any IT and therefore 22,000 km of optic cable is laid.
- APDMS: Andhra Pradesh Development Management system which is geographical information system for development planning is rolled for effective planning.
Most importantly, the thing which has made the state unique is its Data-driven approach to deploy the schemes in a targeted manner. A comprehensive, transparent governance and using technology to deliver services has made Andhra Pradesh a leader. Further, it aims to be best state in terms of inclusive development by 2029.
Topic : mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
5) Some people see reservation system as a programme for poverty-removal. Do you agree? What are the true objectives of reservation system? Is demand for reservation by Socially Advanced Castes (SACs) justified? Critically examine. (200 Words)
With the rising clamor for reservation among socially advanced classes like Patels in Gujarat, Marathas in Maharashtra and Jats in Haryana have compelled government and civil society to relook at the reservation policy and its viability in future.
Reservations are not anti-poverty programs-
- Some sections of the people consider reservations as poverty removal program. However, reservation is intended not to be an anti-poverty program. The government has many programs which are, in principle, accessible to all poor people.
- Reservation exists because, in addition to being more likely to be poor than general castes, Dalits, backward Muslims, and Adivasis face social discrimination and exclusion that poor people from general caste backgrounds do not face. The fact that the right to education, the right to own land, the right to conduct business or to pursue a well-remunerated occupation has been reserved for men from high caste backgrounds for generations means that government must take steps to correct the unequal distribution of rights.
True objectives of reservation system-
- The Constitution provides reservation for three social classes because Scheduled Castes (SCs) have been victims of “untouchability” under the caste system with all-round deprivation, discrimination and disadvantage; Scheduled Tribes (STs) have suffered isolation under vulnerable “tribal” conditions with all-round deprivation and disadvantage; Socially and Educationally Backward Classes have been victims of “social backwardness”, a low position in the traditional caste hierarchy and linkages with “lowly” traditional occupations.
- The Constitution provides these three classes reservation as part of comprehensive social justice measures to secure equality for them, because their disadvantages are the outcome of the traditional social structure of the caste system with “untouchability”.
- Reservations were also given with the intention of checking the monopoly of dominant castes in the political sphere.
- Reservations were intended to increase the proportion of these backward classes in government services and to give them better living opportunities.
Why Socially Advanced Classes (SAC) are demanding reservation?
- Fragmentation of lands and distress in agriculture is forcing these classes to seek place in esteemed government services.
- The progress made by SCs, STs, and OBCs is compelling these classes to seek same privileges from government.
- These classes have fairly high representation in political spheres, therefore they see high chances of getting their demands passed through the coercive protests.
Demand for reservation by Socially Advanced Castes (SACs) is not justified because-
- The national and state backward class commissions have found that these communities are not socially and educationally backward and not inadequately represented in the services.
- The Constitution does not provide or permit reservation for the poor belonging to the Socially Advanced Castes (SACs) — or the “economically backward classes”. No such class is recognized by the Constitution because their poverty is not the outcome of the traditionally iniquitous social system.
- The reservations are also aimed at increasing political representation of SCs, STs, and OBCs. However socially advanced classes have already dominated the political sphere. Thus reservation to them will only consolidate their domination in politics.
- If reservations are given to these classes, it would deprive the deserving candidates from the backward classes who have to fight social discrimination to travel the path of progress.
- The inclusion of such classes would start the chain reaction among different communities in different states and it would defeat the very purpose of granting reaction.
Although some of the sections of traditionally Socially Advanced Classes are facing economic distress, the granting of reservation is not the solution of the problem. Government should take necessary policy measures to remove their economic distress. Further political class should see this as opportunity to garner votes and should work in the right spirit of constitutional values.
Topic: Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
6) A seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, in a majority judgment, held that an appeal for votes during elections on the basis of religion, caste, race, community or language, even that of the electorate, will amount to a ‘corrupt practice’ and call for disqualification of the candidate. Discuss significance of and justification for this judgement. (200 Words)
The Supreme Court reaffirmed the secular character of the Indian state, ruling that election candidates cannot seek votes on the grounds of the religion, caste, creed, community or language of voters.
- Supreme Court held that “The state being secular in character cannot identify itself with any one of the religions or religious denominations. This necessarily implies that religion cannot play any role in the governance of the country which must at all times be secular in nature. Election is a secular exercise just as the functions of the elected representatives must be secular in both outlook and practice,”
- The relationship between person and his/her god is very private and an individual choice. It has no role to play in politics of a country.
- Supreme Court held that allowing a candidate to take advantage of the voters’ religious identity merely to gain votes would be a disservice to the people and society and it is against the public interest.
- The judgment is one more step in cleansing the Indian politics which has marred by caste and religious overtones.
- The ruling can potentially overturn the rules of the game for electoral politics in India, where traditionally parties have not hesitated to employ religion, caste and ethnicity to woo voters.
- It reaffirms the fundamental values, on which this nation was cast by the founders of the Indian Constitution.
- The judgment is in line with the Section 123(3) of the Representation of People Act which aims to “curb communal and separatist tendencies in the country.”
- This judgment will also help political parties & people during elections to focus on real issues such development, education, employment.
- The judgment would lead to institutional strengthening of Election Commission of India as ECI would have more legitimacy and authority to curb communal tendencies in politics.
- The right implementation of the judgment would also lead to changes in public mindset. It could reduce the castist and communal tendencies among people.
While the judgment of Supreme Court is in line with the constitutional values, the fact that historic discriminations and deprivations were suffered by the masses on the ground of religion, caste and language. Thus while maintaining the secular character of the state, government should continue to strive for the betterment of backward classes.
General Studies – 3
Topic:Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
7) It is said that there is rising uneasiness within the Indian Army on a number of significant issues. Critically analyse these issues and suggest how they should be dealt with by government and the defence establishment. (200 Words)
Some of the incidents in recent time have brought brewing issues of Army to the surface. The political interference and deep rooted discriminatory Army practices are the prominent reasons for causing unrest in the Armed forces.
- The supersession and the issue of merit-
- The present Army Chief has been appointed by superseding two Lt Generals primarily on the basis of criteria of merit. Although merit should be the chief criteria in selecting persons for the top post, there seems to have some lapses in the appointment process. The argument of merit is largely redundant at the topmost levels of an organization where all officers are equally competent, failing which they wouldn’t have made it to the Lt. Gen. rank in the first place. Further there are no objective criteria for deciding merit at the senior levels of the Army brass besides previous annual confidential reports and civilian considerations, both of which are subjective.
- The other issue is that top coveted job of Army Chief is mostly occupied by the officers of the Infantry and Artillery branches of the Army. Officers from the other branches are largely ignored for the top post.
- Further, chiefs of Army often promote officers from their own regiments in a regrettable display of parochial loyalties. This demoralizes officers of the other regiments and downplays the importance of merit.
- Dual roles of army chief as an operational command and strategy building command leaves him with little time for focusing upon long term structuring of army.
- Uneven distribution of funds in development of infantry, artillery, Engineers and logistic capabilities disturbing the balance between them.
- Women have been denied the combat roles signifying the gender discrimination in the Army.
- Soldiers are disgruntled over the inferior treatment given by their senior officers. The Sahayak system is particularly blamed for lowering the dignity of soldiers.
How should these issues be dealt with?
- The appointment of Chief of Army staff should be apolitical and based completely on the merit and integrity of officers.
- Clear and transparent criteria for merit should be laid down and promotions should be based on the merit.
- The command tenure period should be uniform for all the branches of Army so that officers of all those branches have equal chances of promoting to the top post unlike present condition where officers from Infantry and Artillery have unfair advantages.
- The post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) should be created for the inter-operability of three forces and the post should be rotated between three services.
- Providing more teeth to the Armed Forces Tribunal in terms of resolving internal conflicts and implementation of recommendations by committees.
- There should be healthy cooperation between Armed forces and civilian bureaucracy for efficient results and resolving conflicts peacefully.
- Women should have better representation in all the branches of Army including even combat roles.
- The Sahayak system of Army should be reformed so that soldiers are not tasked with performing household duties of officers. Rather Army should employ separate body of servants to perform such tasks.
Army stands as the foremost security provider for the nation. Maintaining dignity, independence and integrity of the Army is key to its success. Political leadership should take this into account and should strive to maintain neutral role of Army.
8) Compare and contrast the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) with the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Examine if AMRUT is an improvement over JNNURM. (200 Words)
Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission-
JNNURM was launched by the UPA government in 2005. It was the first concerted effort to make a difference to the urban chaos. It followed top- down approach, hence all the plans were decided by central government. There was lack of involvement in and ownership by local and state governments. During the10 year period of JNNURM only 43 % of projects were completed. Since states were not approached for advice, its plans were imposed on states. It followed “One Size fits all approach”.
Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation-
AMRUT was launched by present government in 2014 to bring forward state centric governance. States are asked to make their own plans for development and forward it to center. Citizen participation in urban planning and project prioritization are now made mandatory. It involves local level decentralization and municipal bodies take due part in development process. Hence it follows a bottom-up approach. The focus has shifted from a project-based approach to area-based outcomes.
Is AMRUT improvement over JNNURM?
JNNUM was the first initiative in reforming the bad condition of Indian cities. JNNURM helped in building urban infrastructure facilities like public transport, urban housing etc and absorbing the inward migration towards cities. It made beginning to the planned development of cities at all India level. Despite its initial thrust it suffered many limitations and could achieve its intended targets. Its comparison with AMRUT shows –
- Speedy Clearance – 86 % of the project have already been funded within 2.5 years of its commencement (Compared to JNNURM 43%).
- State and Citizen Centric Development – as states and muncipal bodies are being involved. It was not the case in JNNURM.
- Municipal Credit Ratings – Municipal Bodies are implementing reforms to improve their credit rating and get credit for speedy development. Municipal bodies of cities like Pune and Ahmedabad are issuing municipal bonds.
- There has been bias in Financial Allocations towards Infrastructure Development, and towards Large Cities and States under JNNURM. This has been reformed in AMRUT and every state is getting fund share proportional to its need.
- Under JNNURM focus was on Financial and Physical Targets and ‘Awards’ without adequate attention to performance evaluation.
- There was lack of public participation in the process and implementation of JNNURM. This has been rectified in AMRUT and bottom-up approach has been adopted.
Under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) there is a comprehensive assessment of infrastructure deficit before drawing up city-level action plans. Cities have been empowered to add to their technical capabilities. And now there is clear evidence that cities are rising to the occasion by rediscovering themselves. Ministry of Urban Development has started approving investments for the next three financial years under AMRUT during current year itself thereby expediting the process of project approval.
Release of funds is linked to progress of mandated governance reforms under all new urban missions including the housing mission. Online integrated single-window clearance for construction permits is being put in place to improve ease of doing business. Cities are now looking at public-private partnership and value capture financing with a changed mindset.
Thus considering the process, implementation strategies and initial outcomes, AMRUT seems to be scoring over JNNURM. At the same time AMRUT has benefitted from the lessons of JNNURM and hence it should be seen as logical step over JNNURM rather than parameters of progress of two governments.