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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 6 November 2020


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 – 2


 

Topic : Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

1. Examine the reasons that aggravate poverty in Indian Society. Do you think the reason for poverty is not only individual but the structure of society as well? (250 words)

Reference: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of Poverty and factors contributing to it in our Indian society.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to examine the reasons that aggravate poverty in Indian Society, also explain in what way reason for poverty is not just limited to individual but is also due to structure of the society.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the definition of Poverty.

Body:

Start by discussing the eminent causes that often contribute to aggravating of poverty in the country; The structural factors producing a high rate of poverty are the reproduction of the class system, macroeconomic policies, the vicious circle of poverty, the structure of the electoral process, the structure of the economy, institutionalized gender discrimination, and institutionalized ethnic discrimination.

Then discuss in detail the specific elements of the Indian societal structure that lead to aggravation of poverty.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done, comment on the efforts of the government in this direction and suggest the need to bring awareness and change in the structure of the society that are hindering the efforts to alleviate poverty in the country.

Introduction:

Poverty is a state or condition in which a person or community lacks the financial resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living. Poverty means that the income level from employment is so low that basic human needs can’t be met.

According to World Bank, Poverty is pronounced deprivation in well-being, and comprises many dimensions. It includes low incomes and the inability to acquire the basic goods and services necessary for survival with dignity. Poverty also encompasses low levels of health and education, poor access to clean water and sanitation, inadequate physical security, lack of voice, and insufficient capacity and opportunity to better one’s life.

In India, 21.9% of the population lives below the national poverty line in 2011.

Body:

The reasons that aggravate poverty in Indian Society are:

  • Rapid growth of population: Rapid growth of population aggravates the poverty of the people. The growth of population exceeds the rate of growth in national income. Population growth not only creates difficulties in the removal of poverty but also lowers the per capita income which tends to increase poverty. The burden of this reduction in per capita income is borne heavily by the poor people. Population growth at a faster rate increases labor supply which tends to lower the wage rate.
  • Size of family: Size of the family has significant bearing on rural poverty. The larger the size of family, the lower is the per capita income, and the lower is the standard of living. The persistence of the joint family system has contributed to the health and earning capacity of the rural people.
  • Outdated Social institutions: The social structure of our country is full of outdated traditions and customs like caste system, laws of inheritance and succession. These hamper the growth of economy.
  • Social customs: The rural people spend a large percentage of annual earnings on social ceremonies like marriage, death feast etc. As a result, they remain in debt and poverty.
  • Growing indebtedness: In the rural sector most of the rural people depend on borrowings from the money-lenders and land-lords to meet even their consumption expenses. Moneylenders, however, exploit the poor by charging exorbitant rates of interest and by acquiring the mortgaged land in the event of non-payment of loans.
  • Unequal distribution of land and other assets: Land and other forms of assets constitute sources of income for the rural people. But, unfortunately, there has been unequal distribution of land and other assets in our economy. The size-wise distribution of operational holdings indicates a very high degree of concentration in the hands of a few farmers leading to poverty of many in the rural sector.
  • Decline of village industries: At present consequent upon industrialization new factories and industries are being set up in rural areas. Village industries fail to compete with them in terms of quality and price. As a result, they are closed down. The workers are thrown out of employment and lead a life of poverty.
  • Immobility of labor: Immobility of labor also accounts, for rural poverty. Even if higher wages are offered, laborers are not willing to leave their homes. The joint family system makes people lethargic and stay-at-home. The rural people are mostly illiterate, ignorant, conservative, superstitious and fatalistic. Poverty is considered as God-given, something preordained. All these factors lead to abysmal poverty in rural India.
  • Unemployment and under employment: Due to continuous rise in population, there is chronic unemployment and under employment in India. There is educated unemployment and disguised unemployment. Poverty is just the reflection of unemployment.
  • Increase in Price: The steep rise in prices has affected the poor badly. They have become more poor.
  • Low agricultural productivity: Poverty and real income are very much interrelated. Increase in real income leads to reduction of the magnitude of poverty. So far as agricultural sector is concerned, the farmers even today are following the traditional method of cultivation. Hence there is low agricultural productivity resulting in rural poverty.
  • Lack of Skilled Labour: In India, unskilled labour is in abundant supply but skilled labour is less due to insufficient industrial education and training.
  • Gender imparity: This has led to poor participation of women in economic activities and labour force, thereby aggravating poverty in many families.
  • Ethnic discrimination: leads to non-diversification of jobs especially at the village levels. Incidences of communal riots have further discouraged people from migration leading to poverty.
  • Climatic factors: Climatic conditions constitute an important cause of poverty. The hot climate of India reduces the capacity of people especially the rural people to work for which production severely suffers. Frequent flood, famine, earthquake and cyclone cause heavy damage to agriculture. Moreover, absence of timely rain, excessive or deficient rain affect severely country’s agricultural production.

Thus, it is clear from the above factors that it is not just the economic factors that lead to poverty. The societal structure and dynamics directly impact the poverty. Poverty and other social miseries are in large part due to social structure, which is how society functions at a macro level. Some societal issues, such as racism, sexism and segregation, constantly cause disparities in education, employment and income for marginalized groups.

poverty is often viewed as an individual phenomenon and say that it’s primarily their own fault that people are poor. The alternative view is that poverty is a structural phenomenon. From this viewpoint, people are in poverty because they find themselves in holes in the economic system that deliver them inadequate income. Poverty can be alleviated if we considered the structural influences as root causes of social problems such as poverty and inequality.

Conclusion:

Poverty can effectively be eradicated only when the poor start contributing to growth by their active involvement in the growth process. This is possible through a process of social mobilization, encouraging poor people to participate and get them empowered. This will also help create employment opportunities which may lead to increase in levels of income, skill development, health and literacy. Moreover, it is necessary to identify poverty stricken areas and provide infrastructure such as schools, roads, power, telecom, IT services, training institutions etc.

 

Topic : Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

2. What are the reasons for not being able to curb the menace of Criminalisation of politics? Analyse and suggest solutions to address it. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The Supreme Court has said this in response to a report filed by a committee of the Madras High Court that has questioned the constitutional validity of setting up Special Courts to exclusively try MPs and MLAs for various crimes.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is based on the issue of criminalization of politics in the country.  

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Brief on the factors of Criminalisation of politics in the country, give statistics to justify.

Body:

Explain what Criminalisation of politics is. Discuss the various factors responsible for it; lack of political will, ill enforcement of laws, narrow self-interests of individuals and politicians.

In few lines explain their effect; how they are against the constitution, against the true values of a Democracy etc.

List the demerits, suggest what needs to be done to overcome and address the challenges posed by it.

Discuss the efforts of the apex court (Related judgments) to curb the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions and way forward.

Introduction:

Criminalization of Politics means that the criminals entering the politics and contesting elections and even getting elected to the Parliament and state legislature. Criminalization of politics is the focus of public debate when discussion on electoral reforms takes place.

A February 2020 Supreme Court judgement on Criminalization in politics may have far-reaching consequences for Indian democracy. The judgment was passed in a contempt of court case filed against the Chief Election Commissioner of India. The petition claimed the ECI had failed to take any steps to ensure the implementation of a 2018 judgment of the bench, which had made it mandatory for political parties to declare and publish all criminal cases pending against their candidates.

Body:

cause_of_concern

Data from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) indicate that 179 out of the 543 elected MPs in the present Lok Sabha have some kind of criminal case pending against them. In the case of over 100 MPs, the cases were of a very serious nature such as crimes against women and kidnapping.

 Reasons why criminalization of politics still exists in India:

Corruption:

  • In every election political parties put up candidates with a criminal background.
  • Evident link between criminality and the probability of winning is further reinforced when winnability of a candidate is looked into. A candidate facing criminal charges is twice as likely to win as a clean candidate.

Vote Bank:

  • The political parties and independent candidates have astronomical expenditure for vote buying and other illegitimate purposes through these criminals.

Denial of Justice and Rule of Law:

  • Toothless laws against convicted criminals standing for elections further encourage this process. Under current law, only people who have been convicted at least on two counts be debarred from becoming candidates. This leaves the field open for charge sheeted criminals, many of whom are habitual offenders or history-sheeters.
  • Constitution does not specify what disqualifies an individual from contesting in an election to a legislature.
  • It is the Representation of People Act which specifies what can disqualify an individual from contesting an election. The law does not bar individuals who have criminal cases pending against them from contesting elections

Lack of governance:

  • The root of the problem lies in the country’s poor governance capacity.

Scarcity of state capacity:

  • The scarcity of state capacity is the reason for the public preferring ‘strongmen’ who can employ the required pulls and triggers to get things done.
  • Criminality, far from deterring voters, encourages them because it signals that the candidate is capable of fulfilling his promises and securing the interests of the constituency.
  • No political party is free of this problem. The use of muscle power along with money power is a weapon used by all political parties to maximize electoral gains.
  • With cases dragging in courts for years, a disqualification based on conviction becomes ineffective. Low conviction rates in such cases compounds the problem; voters don’t mind electing candidates facing criminal cases.
  • Voter behavior then emboldens political parties to give tickets to such candidates who can win an election on their ticket etc. 

Landmark judgments pertaining to criminalization of Politics:

  • The Supreme Court has taken a timely decision by agreeing to hear a plea from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to direct political parties to not field candidates with criminal antecedents
  • The immediate provocation is the finding that 46% of Members of Parliament have criminal records.
  • While the number might be inflated as many politicians tend to be charged with relatively minor offences — “unlawful assembly” and “defamation” — the real worry is that the current cohort of Lok Sabha MPs has the highest (29%) proportion of those with serious declared criminal cases compared to its recent predecessors.
  • The Supreme Court has come up with a series of landmark judgments on addressing this issue.
  • It removed the statutory protection of convicted legislators from immediate disqualification in 2013, and in 2014, directed the completion of trials involving elected representatives within a year.
  • In 2017, it asked the Centre to frame a scheme to appoint special courts to exclusively try cases against politicians, and for political parties to publicize pending criminal cases faced by their candidates in 2018.
  • But these have not been a deterrent to legislators with dubious credentials. Perhaps what would do the trick is a rule that disallows candidates against whom charges have been framed in court for serious offences, but this is something for Parliament to consider as an amendment to the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • This denouement, however, is still a pie in the sky given the composition of the Lower House with a number of representatives facing serious cases.

RPA Criminalization of politics:

  • Currently, under the Representation of Peoples (RP) Act, lawmakers cannot contest elections only after their conviction in a criminal case.
  • Section 8 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951 disqualifies a person convicted with a sentence of two years or more from contesting elections. But those under trial continued to be eligible to contest elections. The Lily Thomas case (2013), however, ended this unfair advantage.

Challenges:

  • Election Commission has limited powers to legislate on such laws.
  • Public opinion too is not firm on the issue.
  • A survey found that opinion was divided when people were asked whether they would vote for an honest candidate who may not get their work done, or a tainted candidate who could get their work done.
  • While political parties raise concern about candidates with a tainted background contesting elections, none of them come forward to set an example for others when it is time to act.
  • In the present criminal justice system, it takes years, probably decades, to complete the trial against a politician.
  • Those with political influence have taken full advantage by delaying hearings, obtaining repeated adjournments and filing innumerable interlocutory petitions to stall any progress.
  • They also engage in corruption and infect the bureaucracy and the police.

 Way Forward: –

  • Law panel report bats for using the time of the framing of charges to initiate disqualification as an appropriate measure to curb the criminalization of politics.
  • Political parties should themselves refuse tickets to the tainted.
  • The RPA Act should be amended to debar persons against whom cases of a heinous nature are pending from contesting elections.
  • Bringing greater transparency in campaign financing is going to make it less attractive for political parties to involve gangsters
  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) should have the power to audit the financial accounts of political parties, or political parties’ finances should be brought under the right to information (RTI) law
  • Broader governance will have to improve for voters to reduce the reliance on criminal politicians.
  • Fast-track courts are necessary because politicians are able to delay the judicial process and serve for decades before prosecution.
  • The Election Commission must take adequate measures to break the nexus between the criminals and the politicians.
  • The forms prescribed by the Election Commission for candidates disclosing their convictions, cases pending in courts and so on in their nomination papers is a step in the right direction if it applied properly.
  • Addressing the entire value chain of the electoral system will be the key to solving the puzzle of minimizing criminal elements from getting elected to our legislatures. This process would involve sensitizing the electorate about the role and responsibility of the elected representatives.
  • Political parties will have to be encouraged to have stronger inner party democracy to attract this new set of leaders to join the party. And finally, our judicial system will have to be overhauled drastically to ensure that justice is dispensed swiftly in all cases.

Conclusion:

While judicial pronouncements on making it difficult for criminal candidates to contest are necessary, only enhanced awareness and increased democratic participation could create the right conditions for the decriminalization of politics.

 

Topic : GS-2: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

GS-3: role of media

3. What is TRP rating? How these ratings are recorded? Discuss their significance. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has constituted a committee to review “Guidelines on Television Rating Agencies in India”.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the concept of TRP rating; discuss the method involved in recording it while bringing out the importance of it.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what TRP is.

Body:

TRP = Television Rating Point, It is the metric used by the marketing and advertising agencies to evaluate viewership. It represents how many people, from which socioeconomic categories, watched which channels for how much time during a particular period. Television ratings will influence programmes produced for the viewers. Better ratings would promote a programme while poor ratings will discourage a programme.

Explain then how these ratings are recorded in India.

Discuss the significance of these ratings.  Hint at challenges if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Target Rating Point (TRP), also known as the Television Rating Points is the metric used by the marketing and advertising agencies to evaluate viewership. TRPs represent how many people, from which socio-economic categories, watched which channels for how much time during a particular period.

The Centre recently announced a four-member committee, to be headed by Prasar Bharati CEO to look into the Television Rating Points (TRP) system and recommend any changes required to make it more robust and transparent.

Body:

Recording of the ratings:

  • In India, the TRP is recorded by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) using Bar-O-Meters that are installed on televisions in selected households.
  • As on date, the BARC has installed these meters in 44,000 households across the country.
  • Besides, Audio watermarks are embedded in video content prior to broadcast.
  • These watermarks are not audible to the human ear, but can easily be detected and decoded using dedicated hardware and software. As viewing details are recorded by the Bar-O-Meters, so are the watermarks.
  • BARC is jointly owned by industry bodies representing broadcasters, advertisers and advertising agencies.

Significance of the TRP ratings:

  • On the basis of audience measurement data, ratings are assigned to various programmes on television.
  • Television ratings in turn influence programmes produced for the viewers.
  • Better ratings would promote a programme while poor ratings will discourage a programme.
  • Incorrect ratings will lead to production of programmes which may not be really popular while good programmes may be left out.
  • Besides, TRPs are the main currency for advertisers to decide which channel to advertise on by calculating the cost-per-rating-point (CPRP).

Limitations of TRP:

  • The panel can be infiltrated or tampered by bribing viewers or cable operators or tampering with the selection of panel.
  • If the sample size is very small, e.g. for English News channels, the manipulation becomes easier as even manipulating a few homes will change the TRP.
  • There is an absence of any specific law through which the agents/suspects involved in panel tampering/infiltration could be penalised.
  • About 70% of the revenue for television channels comes from advertising and only 30% from the subscription. Dependence on advertisements for revenue is leading to broadcasting content which suits the advertisers.

Way forward:

  • Increasing the sample size so that the results are more accurate, developing a legal framework for the regulation of TRP and chip-based activity logs through all set-top boxes are some of the things that can be done by the government in conjunction with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to make the calculation of TRP fair and precise.
  • The subscription rates, which are controlled by the TRAI, should be raised so that TV channels are not forced to serve the lowest common denominator.

 

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein

4. Discuss the decreasing financial capacity of the Indian states; the causative factors and its consequences in the current times. Comment with respect to the issue of fiscal federalism in India.  (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article discusses the decreasing financial capacity of the states; the causative factors and its consequences.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the issues and challenges facing the fiscal federalism in the country.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Firstly explain what fiscal federalism is, and brief upon the challenges that the Indian states are facing currently.

Body:

Comment upon the decreasing financial capacity of the states; declining actual devolution, shrinking divisible pool, GST shortfall, unavailability/shortfall in central grants etc.

Discuss the consequences of the above said factors on the financial capacity of the States. Due to the combined effect of cutbacks in devolution, the shrinking divisible pool, failure to pay full GST compensation this year and fall in Central grants, the States may experience a fall of 20%-25% in their revenues for the current fiscal year.

Explain both short term and long term impact.

Conclusion:

Conclude that States are at the forefront of development and growth. Strong states lead to a stronger India. Given that the weakening of states serves neither federalism nor national interest, there is the need to guard against any such policies that weaken the states’ status or capabilities.

Introduction:

The slowdown in GDP growth in 2020-’21 on account of the Covid-19 lockdown will result in considerable revenue losses for both the Central and state governments. Several state governments have reported huge shortfall in their revenue collection during the first two months of 2020-’21. The fiscal stress on state governments due to revenue loss will be further aggravated by the decline in tax devolution by the Union government. Lower tax collection by the Union government would mean lower devolution to states.

Body

Federalism in the time of pandemic: Challenges to fiscal federalism

  • Fiscal woes: The economic slowdown prior to the Covid-19 outbreak resulted in lower revenues for both the Union and state governments, as evident from their budgets.
    • The Union government’s revised estimates of tax collections (net of devolution to states) for 2019-’20 were about 8.8% lower than its 2019-’20 budget estimates.
    • GST revenues were lower by 7.7% and devolution to states by 18.9%.
    • An examination of the 2020-’21 budgets of 26 states show as similar trend.
    • The 2019-’20 revised estimates of devolution are lower by 15.6% as compared to the 2019-’20 budget estimates, their own tax revenues being lower by 4.6% while total revenue receipts by about 4.3%.
  • State’s dwindling resources: The findings suggest that recent changes in India’s fiscal architecture, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, and increase in state shares for the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs) had placed state finances in a precarious position, even prior to the crisis.
  • Struggling for fiscal space: The announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Rs 20-lakh crore Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-reliant India Campaign) package left many scrambling with the fiscal maths.
    • Even for additional borrowing under Article 293(3), states will be required to obtain the permission of the Union government.
  • Increasing dependency on Centre: The dependency of states on the Centre for revenues has increased, with the share of the revenue from own sources declining from 55% in 2014-15 to 50.5% in 2020-21.
    • While part of this is inherent in India’s fiscal structure, wherein states are the big spenders and the Centre controls the purse strings, the situation has been exacerbated by the introduction of the GST.
    • Barring a few exceptions, such as petroleum products, property tax, and alcohol excise, indirect taxes have, to a large degree, been subsumed under the GST regime, eroding the ability of states to raise their own revenues.
  • Shortfall in devolution: Adding to state woes is the significant divergence in past periods between the amount of GST compensation owed and the actual payments made, including for states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand that need greater fiscal support.
    • Even before Covid-19 hit, 11 states estimated a revenue growth rate below the estimated 14% level, implying higher amounts will be owed as GST compensation.
    • With the bulk of the states’ GST coming from goods such as electronics, fashion, and entertainment — all of which have been impacted by the pandemic — these revenues are likely to decline further.
  • Different Post-lockdown agenda: For instance, when Kerala took a decision to allow restaurants to open based on its own risk assessment, the state was pressured by the Centre to cancel such permit.
  • 15th FC Devolution was reduced to 41% from 42% and three states including Karnataka and Telangana saw decrease in the total amount being devolved since last time. Special grant recommendations to these states was not accepted by the Centre.

However, it is India’s elastic federal structural that has made the pandemic fight more stronger, with all the states working as a united force under the guidelines of the Centre at apex.

Way-Forward

To sum up, for a large federal country of a mind-boggling diversity, India’s ability to fight Covid-19 pandemic largely rests on how well it manages its Centre-state relation.

  • When compared with other large federal countries such as the US, the country has done very well to minimize the frictions and provide a sense of direction to the states.
  • However, tackling Covid-19 as seen from the experience of other countries would require a differential and agile response across states and the Centre has at best to play the role of a mentor in providing leadership and resource support.
  • The rigid approach as evident in lockdown phase would prove a major hurdle. States must be cleared their dues and be given ample fiscal space to ensure economy is revived.
  • States must be allowed to lead in terms of reviving economy, generating income support, jobs while contain the virus at the same time.
  • The next big change will come when the current Centre-state relationship gets redefined in a way that enables the 28 states to become federal in the true sense – as self-sustaining economic territories in matters of energy, water, food production and waste recycling.
  • Our economic geography of production, transport and communication has to change – it has to become distributive rather than being focused towards the Centre.
  • Centrally distributed funds will need to be directed specifically to build the capacities of each state.
    • The instruments will enable them to embark on a sustainable economic recovery whose base is widely distributed across the various panchayats and districts of each state.
    • Driving distributive recovery will be energy, transport, supply chains, public administration, rule of law, agriculture and rural development.
  • In short, the real cooperative federalism which the Centre has been espousing for many years is now put on test and the Centre must ensure states are given full cooperation to battle the challenge.

 

Topic : GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

5. “Ganga rejuvenation is a continuous task which needs public participation”, analyse the statement and comment on the efforts being made in this direction in the recent times. (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in

Why the question:

Ganga aerial movie and Ganga Box launched, thus the question context.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the need and significance of public participation in projects like Ganga rejuvenation. Also, analyse the efforts being made for the same.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Comment on the recent initiatives taken in the context of Ganga rejuvenation.

Body:

Discuss the efforts of the government from past to present in rejuvenation of the River Ganga.

Throw light on the ongoing schemes and policies that have been launched recently in this direction.

Explain the need and significance of public participation in projects like Ganga rejuvenation. Also, analyse the efforts being made for the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of public participation in such projects.

Introduction:

Ganga is an integral part of the socio-eco-cultural-political fabric of India. However, the longest river has faced the brunt of increasing industrialization, which has not only affected the flow but also the quality of its water. Namami Gange Programme aims to restore the purity and flow of water in the Ganga River through abatement of pollutants and treatment of discharged water. Namami Gange has not only taken lessons from the failure of GAP, but, it has also ensured cross-state cooperation as well as public support to expedite the processes.

Body:

Some of the recent initiatives to increase public participation in Ganga rejuvenation programme:

  • More than three lakh people joined the Ganga Utsav 2020 festival virtually from across the world.
  • Ganga Aerial Movie Launch: the film covers the journey of Ganga from the origin to the end in breath-taking aerial view. The film not only features stunningly beautiful Ganga ghats but also shows the other brilliant work like STPs done by NMCG.
  • Ganga Box Launch: German development agency (GIZ) has collaborated with NMCG for project, ‘Support to Ganga Rejuvenation’, in which participatory and hands-on learning, transformational learning resources are designed for the Indian schools to bring about attitudinal and behavioural change in the school children towards conservation and rejuvenation of the Ganga river.
  • Urban River Management Plan Launch: The framework titled the “Urban River Management Plan”, is a river centric planning framework, designed to help cities manage the rivers within their stretches using a systems approach.
  • Chacha Chaudhary becomes the Brand Ambassador for NamamiGange Project: The iconic Indian superhero, Chacha Chaudhary, whose brain works faster than a computer has now come forward to join hands with the Namami Gange Programme. Diamond Toons will conceptualize and publish this new ‘Talking Comics’ with Chacha Chaudhary spreading awareness on the cultural and spiritual significance of River Ganga and deploy best available knowledge across the masses for Ganga rejuvenation

Success so far under the Namami Gange programme:

  • Namami Gange has a well-balanced spread of 221 projects, which include STP, ghat development, surface cleaning afforestation, sanitation, and public awareness, out of which 58 have been completed.
  • There is a concerted focus on 10 towns that contribute to 64% of the total sewage discharged in Ganga.
  • To address the cross-functional challenge faced by GAP, Namami Gange has synergized itself with government schemes by signing MoUs with 10 central ministries.
  • More than 90 per cent villages across river Ganga have been declared open defecation free, and by October 2017, the rest of the villages would become ODF as well.
  • The programme has also successfully renovated over 180 ghats and built 112 new crematoriums.
  • 4,464 villages situated on the bank of Ganga have been declared as open defecation free (ODF). Moreover, Namami Gange was instrumental in constructing more than 12.7 lakhs household toilets.
  • Trash skimmers have been deployed in 11 cities to collect any surface waste.
  • Six public outreach programmes were organised in areas around Ganga basin:
  • Swachhata Pakhwada
  • Ganga Sankalp Divas
  • Ganga Nirikshan Yatra
  • Ganga Dusshera
  • Ganga Vriksharopan Saptah
  • Swachhta Hi Seva Pakhwada

Challenges:

  • According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)’s estimates, approximately 8,250 million litres per day (MLD) of wastewater is generated from towns in the Ganga basin, while treatment facilities exist only for 3,500 MLD and roughly 2,550 MLD of this wastewater is discharged directly into the Ganga.
  • The industrial pollutants largely originate from tanneries in Kanpur, paper mills, distilleries and sugar mills in the Yamuna, Ramganga, Hindon and Kali river catchments.
  • there is the huge load of municipal sewage which contributes two-thirds of total pollution load
  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in November 2019 had imposed a penalty of Rs 10 crore on the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government for failing to check sewage discharge containing toxic chromium into the Ganga at Rania and Rakhi Mandi in Kanpur.
  • The cost of the damage was assessed by the state pollution control board (UPPCB) as compensation for restoration of environment and the public health in the area.
  • Plastic has also caused significant damage to this stretch. “Kolkata produces 2,114 tonnes of solid waste per day of which 10 per cent is plastic
  • There have been issues regarding untreated waste that flows into the river, restoring the flow of the river, sludge management in Ganga basin towns, cost overruns in execution of projects and governance glitches
  • CAG in its report claimed that the NMCG neither circulated Ganga Rejuvenation Basin Management Programme (GRBMP) to different ministries/departments for consultation and seeking their opinion, nor finalised the Ganga Rejuvenation Basin Management Programme (GRBMP) for initiating the long-term intervention on the Ganga.

Way forward:

  • Promote only decentralized sewage treatment plants (dSTP) at the colony level. Reuse treated wastewater for irrigation and empty into natural drains.
  • For all upcoming cities, smart cities and for those, whose master plans are not in place, earmark land for dSTPs. dSTPs below 10 MLD should be encouraged and incentivised under urban development schemes and real estate development.
  • The existing and planned STPs need to be verified on efficiency, reliability and technology parameters by independent agencies (tech-efficiency-reliability verification).
  • This will allow assessing if the technology provides value for money and is sustainable. Many STPs are not performing up to desired standards due to choice of unrealistic assumptions and erroneous technology choice.
  • A survey conducted by CPCB in 2016 found that most STPs in Kanpur fail to comply with environmental regulations.
  • Develop and restore local storages (ponds, lakes, wetlands) as permanent solutions to both floods and droughts.
  • Only 10 per cent of water received during monsoon rainfall is harvested. Restoration of ponds, lakes and wetlands should be an integral part of river restoration and conservation strategy.
  • Bring back glory to all natural drains that empty into rivers, and transform and rejuvenate them into healthy water bodies — they have been converted to sewage carrying drains by our municipalities and planning bodies.
  • Start restoring lower order streams and smaller tributaries in the Ganga Basin. Every river is important. The focus of Ganga Action Plan (Phase I and II) and Namami Gange has been on the main stem of the river.
  • The tributaries that feed the river were overlooked. The Ganga has eight major tributaries (Yamuna, Son, Ramganga, Gomti, Ghaghra, Gandak, Kosi and Damodar).
  • The majority of the funds were spent on pollution-abatement measures on the main stem of the Ganga and on the upper Yamuna basin, which constitute just 20 per cent of the Ganga basin.
  • Further, these eight major tributaries are joined by smaller rivers, whose restoration is equally important.
  • Identify, define and protect ‘river-corridors’ as areas for no cement-concrete structures — know that rivers have been formed after thousands of years of nature’s work.
  • Infrastructure development and destruction of river ecosystem through populist measures such as riverfront developments in the name of area and township development projects or urban / smart city development must be stopped to protect and conserve surface water sources.
  • Map the entire looped length of each and every tributary of the Ganga and correct the land records.
  • Many of the rivers have been underestimated which causes encroachment and jurisdiction conflicts.
  • The existing methodology to measure river length is flawed and complete mapping of looped lengths is required for proper assessment of water resources and correct revenue maps.
  • This will ensure that active flood plains and river-corridors are free from encroachments.
  • Restore base flows through groundwater recharge. Groundwater contributes significantly to river-flows through base flows (average base flow in the order of 40- 55 per cent) especially during lean seasons in the entire Ganga Basin.
  • The idea of Ganga rejuvenation is also linked to groundwater rejuvenation. There is a need to have robust planning and regulation of withdrawal and recharge of groundwater across all orders of the river streams to make rivers perennial.
  • Define the desired ecological flow regime(s) in the Ganga main stem and its tributaries (not just a static figure) to allow the rejuvenation of the river.
  • Evolve new and innovative ways to generate sufficient revenues for operation and maintenance (O&M) of water and wastewater infrastructure through pricing and valuing water.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

6. In “A Theory of Justice”, John Rawls has introduced a universal system of fairness. He has advocated a system of governance that would be political, social, and economic in its effects. Explain. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by Lexicon publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the principle of universal system of fairness as propounded by John Rawls.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the concept and its relevance to today’s system of governance.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In A Theory of Justice (1971), Rawls introduced a universal system of fairness and a set of procedures for achieving it. He advocated a practical, empirically verifiable system of governance that would be political, social, and economic in its effects.

Body:

Briefly give idea about theory of justice of John Rawls.

Explain in detail the universal system of fairness and its components.

Discuss how they can be applied to economic, social and political aspects of governance.

Conclusion:

Conclude that since Justice & social Justice have become very challenging to achieve in present context, John Rawls theory of Justice provides individuals, society & administrators, leaders to follow & propagate its ideals.

Introduction:

John Rawls was an American moral and political philosopher in the liberal tradition. His works have influenced famous thinkers like Amartya sen, Thomas Nagel, Thomas Pogge etc.

Body:

John Rawls theory of Social Justice:

  • Rawls introduced the theory of “veil of ignorance” while deciding the rules and regulations for society’s functioning.
  • Veil of ignorance means to imagine ourselves in a condition where we don’t know our position in terms of caste, religion, gender etc and then take decision.
  • The concept here is that when we don’t know our position then it is more likely that we take rational decision for collective benefit of society.

Basic principles of his theory:

  • Rawls suggests two basic principles of justice.
  • Principle of Equal Liberty:
    • It means each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.
    • Examples: freedom of thought, speech and expression, universal suffrage, freedom from arbitrary arrest and seizure, the right to hold public office etc.
  • Difference Principle: There are 2 parts under this
    • Fair equality of opportunity: It postulates that public policies are reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage and public position and offices are open to all.
    • Difference principle: It justifies only those social and economic inequalities that maximize benefits to the least advantaged citizens.
  • These principles provide an operating logic for the determination of public interest by the decision- makers.
  • The contents of the “social primary goods” specified by Rawls are of particular importance, for the fair distribution of them, namely, liberty and opportunity, income and wealth and basis of self-respect in a society will undoubtedly help to achieve the much needed social justice. Example: The recent 10% reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections in education and jobs; reservations for SC/ST etc.
  • Another important aspect of his theory is that while laying emphasis on the equal distribution of the “social primary goods”, he envisages “an unequal distribution” of the “social primary goods” if such unequal distribution is “to the advantage of the least favoured”. Example: progressive tax system in India, multi-tiered GST system, Philanthropy.
  • In envisaging such “unequal distribution” of the social primary goods to benefit the “least favoured” in the society

Conclusion:

The concept of Social and Economic Justice is adopted in our Constitution in the form of Directive Principles of State Policy.


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