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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 June 2021

 

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


 

1. Discuss the contributions of Sant Kabir Das to Bhakti movement while discussing the Kabir philosophy. (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in

Introduction:

Sant Kabir Das was a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint, whose writings influenced Hinduism’s Bhakti movement. He is known for being critical of both Hinduism and Islam, stating that the former was misguided by the Vedas, and questioning their meaningless rites of initiation such as the sacred thread and circumcision respectively. His most famous writings include his dohas or couplets and verses are found in Sikhism’s scripture Guru Granth Sahib.

Body:

Kabir’s philosophy:

  • Kabir’s poetry is a reflection of his philosophy about life. His writings were mainly based on the concept of reincarnation and karma. He believed in living life in a very simplistic manner. He had a strong faith in the concept of oneness of God. He advocated the notion of Koi bole Ram Ram Koi Khudai.
  • The basic idea was to spread the message that whether you chant the name of Hindu God or Muslim God, the fact is that there is only one God who is the creator of this beautiful world.
  • Talking about the philosophies & principles of Kabirdas, he was against the caste system imposed by the Hindu community and also opposed the idea of worshipping the idols.
  • On the contrary, he advocated the Vedantic concepts of atman.
  • He supported the idea of minimalist living that was advocated by the Sufis.
  • To have a clear idea about the philosophy of sant Kabir, check out his poems and two line verses known as dohas that speak his mind and soul.

Kabir’s contribution to Bhakti movement:

  • Equality: Kabir taught us to follow the path of equality and harmony. The same principles have been carried forward by Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Ram Manohar Lohia etc.
  • Anti-Discrimination: Kabir had a clear vision and approach towards social equality. He created awareness to end discrimination in the society. An individual should be valued on the grounds of humanitarian qualities instead of caste or religion.
  • Communalism is a lurking evil in the Indian societal context the essential syncretism and universalism which are part of Kabir can help in solving this issue to a certain extent.
  • Morals of life: Kabir highlighted simple virtues like honesty, love, truth, faith in oneself, encouraging introspection, and more.
  • Antagonist of caste system and evil practices: Kabir was a great opponent of the caste system. He stressed that in God’s creation all were equal. He advised his followers to give up such inhuman practices as untouchability, feelings of high and low etc. He further opposed the worship of stone images, or even the worship of different gods and goddesses and was against rituals and ceremonies in religion.
  • Love and Tolerance: Love for all was Kabir’s principal tenet. He emphasized that love was the only medium which could bind the entire human kind in an unbreakable bond of fraternity. Kabir detested the frivolities and rituals in Hinduism and Islam for, these could never bind together mankind. He advised all to give up hatred and perpetuate love for one and all.
  • Kabir was strictly against the practice of hypocrisy and didn’t like people maintaining double standards. He always preached people to be compassionate towards other living beings and practice true love. Which is somewhat missing in present days.
  • He urged the need to have company of good people that adhere to values and principles.
  • Today’s world is bogged down by the excessive materialism of the world. The deep seated economic inequalities of the world are leading to a simmering discontent across the world. Kabir’s principles of compassionate ethics are relevant
  • Corruption is the deep seated problem in India which is eating away the vitals of the nation inside out the emphasis on honest livelihood by Kabir if understood in the right spirit will provide a way of changing the individual perspective.
  • Literary works: Kabir Das’ writings had a great influence on the Bhakti movement and includes titles like Kabir Granthawali, Anurag Sagar, Bijak, and Sakhi Granth. His verses are found in Sikhism’s scripture Guru Granth Sahib. The major part of his work was collected by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev. He was best known for his two-line couplets, known as ‘Kabir Ke Dohe’.

Conclusion:

Sant Kabir Das is one of India’s ‘Priceless Gems’ – who is called a saint because of his writings – full of wisdom, and teachings for the masses. The simplicity and wisdom of 15th century mystic saint-poet Kabir’s dohas have never been more relevant than in today’s fractured times

 

2. It is important to equip girls to take a stand against dowry and marriage systems, as well as question women’s subordination at large to overcome this societal evil. Comment. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Introduction:

Dowry, a cultural practice deeply rooted in many Indian communities, refers to the money, goods, or property given to a bridegroom’s family along with the bride. Dowry is a social evil in the society, that has caused unimaginable tortures and crimes towards women.  The evil has taken lives of women from all strata of society – be it poor, middle class or the rich. However, it is the poor who succumb and fall prey to it, more due to their lack of awareness and education.

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Case study of Kerala:

  • Kerala’s development experience is marked by very high social and human development indicators, with the state listed first among others, even in the most recent NITI Aayog’s ranking of states.
  • Female literacy rate in Kerala is among the highest, more than 95 per cent, and the state has a better sex ratio compared to most states.
  • The recent series of alleged suicides by young women, due to dowry-related violence, and the intensity of violence each had to encounter reveal cracks in the social and economic fabric of Kerala.
  • The critical contribution of women as frontline soldiers during the pandemic, be it ASHA, anganwadi workers/helpers, community-level volunteers, nurses and doctors headed by a woman health minister, has also been noted.
  • But crimes against women are increasing in the state, as per the latest NCRB data.
  • Though dowry deaths are small in number — six cases in both 2019 and 2020 — cases of cruelty by husbands or relatives, which could be seen as a proxy for dowry-related violence, are substantial (2,715 cases in 2020 as per provisional figures), second only to molestation.

Reasons for dowry to be deeply entrenched in our society:

  • Patriarchal nature:
    • Sons are seen as assets.
    • There is a strong preference for male children, which has been blamed for years of female feticide.
    • This has left India with a very unbalanced sex ratio. There are 940 women for every 1,000 men according to 2011 census.
    • India has 37 million more men than women, making it hard for men to find suitable brides.
  • Societal attitude:
    • Instead of being regarded as a crime and a source of shame, dowry has become a matter of pride.
    • It is discussed over coffee at family gatherings.
    • Sons-in-law are often introduced with the price tag they come with.
    • Educated grooms tend to demand higher dowries. Education is reduced to just another factor that determines your market rate.
    • Today, dowries are seen as being directly linked to the brides’ estimation and treatment by her husband, forcing their families to ensure that a substantial amount of dowry is provided.
  • Greed:
    • Owing to expectations of material benefits from the bride’s family, dowry is demanded for, and at times, when the demands are not met, either the marriage is called off, or the bride is exploited leading to domestic violence.
  • Illiteracy:
    • With a literacy rate of 74.04% in the country, it is quite valid to consider it the primary cause for different social evils.
    • The communities that are not knowledgeable about the laws and legislation face several atrocities owing to dowry exchange practices.
  • Lack of Willingness to adhere to laws:
    • The primary reason behind the failure is lack of mass participation.
    • People pay no heed to such laws and make sure to exploit the dowry system to gain material benefits under the veil of a marriage proposal.

Implications of dowry:

  • It is because of the dowry system, that daughters are not valued as much as the sons.
  • In the society, many a times it has been seen that they are seen as a liability and are often subjected to subjugation and are given second hand treatment may it be in education or other amenities.
  • The parents don’t lay enough emphasis on educating their daughters, as they feel that husbands will support them latter.
  • The Poorer sections of society who send their daughters out to work and earn some money, to help them save up for her dowry.
  • The regular middle and upper class backgrounds do send their daughters to school, but don’t emphasize career options.
  • The very wealthy parents who happily support their daughters until they get married and their ability to fork out a high dowry.

Measures to curb dowry:

  • Education & Sensitization:
    • Educate the younger generation of sons and daughters
    • Encourage them to have their own career
    • Teach them to be independent and responsible
    • Treat your daughters equally without any discrimination
    • Do not encourage the practice of giving or taking dowry
  • Mass Media Campaign:
    • Media holds the potential to remove dowry system from the mainstream Indian society.
    • By publishing related news and making the authorities aware of any reported case of dowry related crime, they can keep an effective check upon the prospects.
  • Laws on Dowry in India
    • The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 deals with dowry in India.
    • This Act prohibits the practice of giving or taking of dowry by either parties to a marriage. This law also punishes demanding and advertising dowry.
    • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005:
    • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, was passed in order to provide a civil law remedy for the protection of women from domestic violence in India.
    • The Domestic Violence Act encompasses all forms of physical, verbal, emotional, economic and sexual abuse and forms a subset of the anti-dowry laws to the extent it is one of the reasons for domestic violence.
  • Role of voluntary organization:
    • They should make propaganda against the evils of dowry.
    • The workers of these organizations should help the victims of dowry harassment and get them justice.
    • These organizations should make aware of their address to the people through advertisement so that victims can appeal them for their help to get justice.

Conclusion:

Dowry has become an institutionalized and integral part of the Indian marriage. Social and economic realities do little to keep it in check. In such a situation, the need to revise the institutional framework concerning dowry and the need for more research on different forms of dowry and the reasons for its prevalence is the need of the hour.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

3. The illicit drug trade in the country continues to hold back economic and social development, while disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable and marginalized. Examine the statement in the backdrop of recently released UN World Drug Report 2021. (250 words)

Reference: wdr.unodc.org

 

Introduction:

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking Day is observed annually on 26 June. Recently, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in its World Drug Report 2021, has highlighted that the lockdown restrictions during Covid-19 have accelerated drug trafficking using the Internet. The drug trafficking scenario in India is largely attributed to various external and internal factors.

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Key highlights of the report:

  • Between 2010-2019, the number of people using drugs increased by 22%, owing in part to an increase in the global population.
  • Around 275 million people used drugs worldwide last year, while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders.
  • Opioidscontinue to account for the largest burden of disease attributed to drug use.
  • rise in the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugswas also observed during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • In the last 24 years, cannabis potency had increasedas much as four times in some parts, even as the percentage of adolescents who perceived the drug as harmful fell by as much as 40%.
  • Access to drugs has also become simpler than ever with online sales, and major drug markets on the dark web are now worth some $315 million annually.
  • In Asia, China and India are mainly linked to shipment of drugs sold on the 19 major Darknet markets analysed over 2011-2020.
  • Cannabis dominates drug transactions on Dark web and on clear web involves sale of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) and substances used in the manufacture of synthetic drugs.

Implications of Drug trafficking in India

  • Challenges in the Northeast
    • Indo-Myanmar border encounters non-conventional security challenges as it provides a secure channel for the movement of insurgents, narcotics trafficking, gunrunning, smuggling of wildlife etc.
  • Proxy-wars: In the context of the proxy war in J&K, Pakistan’s ISI has been using the narcotics trade to
    • Generate funds to sustain militancy.
    • Erode the vitality of the populace in the border belt.
    • Win over the local youth, as informers.
    • Increase the level of criminal activity.
  • Narco-terrorism: Terrorism and militancy in India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, waged by Islamist extremist groups based in and supported by Pakistan. This is mainly funded by trading narcotics illegally.
  • Drug Abuse on rise: The easy availability of drugs in Indian market is increasing drug abuse cases, particularly amongst the youth.
    • According to a report by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, around 2.1% of Indians use opioids like opium, heroin, and non-medical sedatives.
    • Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram have the highest prevalence of this opioid use.
    • Drug-peddling is taking place over the Dark Web eluding the scrutiny of enforcement officers.
  • Socio Economic impact:
    • The Covid-19 crisis has pushed more than 100 million people into extreme poverty, and has greatly exacerbated unemployment and inequalities, as the world lost 255 million jobs in 2020.
    • Mental health conditions are also on the rise worldwide. Such socioeconomic stressors have likely accelerated demand for the drugs.
  • Endangering lives: The illicit drug cultivation causes environmental damage in the form of river pollution.
    • Toxic chemical wastes generated are stealthily dumped into rivers flowing in the region.
  • Militancy: The nexus between Pakistan ISI and Pakistan Army with the drug mafia is a well-documented and established fact.
    • This brought in a lot of easy money to the Pakistan’s ISI.
    • With time, this money had been increasingly diverted towards fomenting, sustaining and exalting militancy in the peaceful paradise state of J&K in India.
  • Funds Naxalism: The region is near the Naxal affected areas who exploit the corridor for expanding their revenues and arms smuggling.
    • Due to lack of infrastructural development, they illicitly grow opium and cannabis providing them ready money.

Measures taken by the government

Government of India has devised a well laid out strategy to ensure inter agency coordination and revamp the prosecution mechanism to end the menace of drug trafficking.

  • There is zero tolerance policy followed by Government of India against narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances trade.
  • Strong Legislation: Accordingly, the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) was enacted in 1985.
    • Under this act, cultivation, manufacturing, transportation, export and import of all narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances is prohibited except for medicinal and scientific purposes and as authorised by the government.
    • The Act provides for rigorous punishment for any person violating this act and if a person is caught peddling drugs for the second time, death penalty could be awarded to the offender.
    • In addition, the government of India has also enacted the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act in 1988, which allows detention of persons suspected to be involved in illicit trafficking of drugs.
  • The Government has taken several policy and other initiatives to deal with drug trafficking problem.
  • It constituted Narco-Coordination Centre (NCORD) in November, 2016 and revived the scheme of “Financial Assistance to States for Narcotics Control”.
  • In 2017, the government approved new Reward Guidelines with increased quantum of reward for interdiction or seizure of different illicit drugs.
  • Global Cooperation: For effective coordination with foreign countries, India has signed 37 Bilateral Agreements/Memoranda of Understanding.
  • Narcotics Control Bureau has been provided funds for developing a new software i.e. Seizure Information Management System (SIMS) which will create a complete online database of drug offences and offenders.
  • The government has constituted a fund called “National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse” to meet the expenditure incurred in connection with combating illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs; rehabilitating addicts, and educating public against drug abuse, etc.
  • The government is also conducting National Drug Abuse Survey to measure trends of drug abuse in India through Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment with the help of National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre of AIIMS.
  • Pro-active border patrol: For instances, in 2009, the BSF seized 23 kg of heroin along with 12 pistols and several rounds of ammunition in Punjab. In the same year, consignments of 58 kg of heroin, 10 kg of hashish as well as pistols and RDX were seized by the BSF along Rajasthan border.
  • Cooperation with neighbours: India is a signatory to the SAARC Convention on Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic substances, 1993.
    • India is also a party to the Pentalateral Cooperation on Drug Control, which focuses on the prevention of illicit trade of precursor and other chemicals used for the manufacture of heroin.

Way Forward:

  • Combating misinformation on the impact of the use of cannabis products is crucial.
  • Awareness-raising and communication efforts that disseminate scientific information without stigmatizing people.
  • Increasing the capacity of law enforcement agencies to address drug trafficking over the darknet remains a priority.
  • Joint responses by Governments and the private sector can involve controlling and removing advertisements and listings of illegal drugs on the Internet.
  • Continuously update scientific standards to keep abreast of the acceleration of Internet-based services.
  • Prevention and solid support are the ways in which drug abuse can be dealt with.
  • Prevention programmes involving families, schools and the immediate communities are important in this regard.
  • Government must notify minimum standards for running de-addiction centres.
  • Fast track courts.
  • Integrating drug de-addiction centre’s with rehabilitation centres.
  • Unlicensed centres and those committing human rights violations must be liable to closure.
  • A chapter on the impact of drug abuse should be included in school curriculum so that children understand how addiction destroys lives of people.
  • Focused sensitisation programmes on drug abuse in schools and a substance abuse policy could go a long way in curbing the menace.
  • Parents must consult specialists in case there is change in behaviour of their children as it could be signs of drug abuse.

Conclusion

Prevention of drug trafficking has to be accorded greater priority. At present it forms part of the larger mandate of the border guarding forces to ‘prevent smuggling and any other illegal activity’. Special measures need to be formulated to check trafficking of drugs through the borders. Various domestic laws enacted for the control of drug trafficking should be implemented stringently and severe punishments should be accorded to drug stockists.

 

4. What is Antarctic Treaty System? Do you think it still holds relevance to the world compared to the days of its inception? (250 words)

Reference: Down to Earth

Introduction:

The Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington on 1 December 1959 by the twelve countries whose scientists had been active in and around Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-58. It entered into force in 1961 and has since been acceded to by many other nations. It is also the foundation of a rules-based international order for a continent without a permanent population. The treaty recently celebrated its 60th anniversary.

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Antarctica Treaty System:

  • The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements are collectively known as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS).
  • It regulates international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth’s only continent without a native human population.
  • For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude.
  • The treaty sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation, and bans military activity on the continent.
  • The treaty was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War.
  • India is a signatory of this treaty since 1983.

Current relevance:

  • since the treaty was negotiated in a very different era and there have been a number of environmental, resource and geopolitical disputes related to Antarctica in recent decades.
  • The treaty is remarkably short and contains only 14 articles.
  • While the Antarctic Treaty has been able to successfully respond to a range of challenges, circumstances are radically different in the 2020s compared to the 1950s.Antarctica is much more accessible, partly due to technology but also climate change.
  • More countries now have substantive interests in the continentthan the original 12. Some global resources are becoming scarce, especially oil.
  • There is considerable speculation as to China’s interests in Antarctic resources, especially fisheries and minerals, and whether China may seek to exploit weaknesses in the treaty system to secure access to those resources.
  • Reports have claimed that compared to last year, 40 per cent more tourists, numbering about 80,000, are expected to visit Antarctica, the least visited continent in the world.
  • In September, a report on oceans released by the IPCC said that between 2006 and 2015, the Antarctic ice sheet lost about 155 billion tonnes of mass on average every year.
  • This ice melt from Antarctica likely contributed to sea-level rises.
  • The main sources of environmental damage to the continent include planet-wide impacts such as global warming, ozone layer depletion, impacts of fishing and hunting (of whales and seals) and lastly, the impact of visitors which includes scientists and tourists.
  • Though the compact has held for 60 years, there have been tensions from time to time. Argentina and the UK, for instance, have overlapping claims to territory on the continent. When combined with their ongoing dispute over the nearby Falkland (Malvinas) Islands, their Antarctic relationship remains frosty.
  • Therefore, all of the treaty signatories, but especially those with significant stakes in the continent, need to give the future of the treaty more attention.

Conclusion:

A key reason why the treaty has been able to survive has been its ability to evolve through a number of additional conventions and other legal protocols. These have dealt with the conservation of marine living resources, prohibitions on mining, and the adoption of comprehensive environmental protection mechanisms. Building, operating and conducting scientific research programs are key to the success not only of the treaty, but also to the claimants’ credibility in Antarctica. However, the need of the hour is to accept the realities and nuances of current times and adapt accordingly for a sustainable future of Antarctica.

 

6. Critically analyse the present climate governance system in India while suggesting methods for deepening and enhancing systems of governance for the climate crisis. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times

Introduction:

                India is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to projected climate change. The country is already experiencing changes in climate and the impacts of climate change, including water stress, heat waves and drought, severe storms and flooding, and associated negative consequences on health and livelihoods. With a 1.2 billion but growing population and dependence on agriculture, India probably will be severely impacted by continuing climate change. Global climate projections, given inherent uncertainties, indicate several changes in India’s future climate.

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Present climate governance system in India:

  • India’s Nationally Determined Contributions:
    • Reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level
    • 40% of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 with financial and technical help from other countries and GCF
    • Additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent by 2030
    • Enhancing investments in development programs in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources etc.
    • Joint collaborative R&D for such future technologies
  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): The Action plan covers eight major missions on Solar, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture and Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA): ISA was jointly launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the then President of France, Francois Hollande in Paris on the side-lines of CoP 21 in 2015. The vision and mission of the alliance is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries that lie completely or partial between the Tropics of Capricorn & Cancer.
  • State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC): State governments have drafted climate strategies aligned with the eight National Missions under the NAPCC. The strategies focus on issues ranging from climate mitigation, energy efficiency, and resource conservation to climate adaptation.
  • 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: To make cities sustainable and increasing the green spaces in cities.
  • Environment Impact Assessment: Management tool to regulate the impact of industries on the environment for ensuring optimal use of natural resources for sustainable development.
    • Applicable for major projects like infrastructure, thermal and nuclear power, industries, mining etc.
    • Industrial categorization (Red, Orange, Green and White) according to their impact to maintain balance between regulation and ease of doing business.
    • White industries do not require EIA approval
  • 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 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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.
  • Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), 2017: Developed by Power Ministry and BEE, ECBC seeks to promote low carbon growth by integrating the renewable energy sources in the design of the buildings.
    • For a building to be ECBC compliant it has to show at least 25% savings in the energy consumption.
    • It is estimated that adoption of ECBC throughout the country would reduce at least 50% of the energy use by 2030

Climate change impacts on India:

  • It was not shocking when Germanwatch, an environmental non-profit think tank, reported in 2018, that India was the fifth most affected country by climate change, globally.
  • In the last two years, the country has been hit by at least one extreme climate event every month.
  • According to the World Risk Index 2020, India is the fourth-most-at-risk country in South Asia, after Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • There is no doubt that climate change is real and its implications are disastrous.
  • Historically, internal migration in India occurred due to factors like ethnicity, kinship, work opportunities, or access to better healthcare and education.
  • More recently, climate disasters also contribute to displacement (involuntary and unplanned) and migration (voluntary and planned) in India.
  • In 2018 alone, nearly 7 million Indians were either displaced or have migrated due to climate-induced distress.

Evaluation of the climate governance in India:

  • This enormous governance challenge has long been under-addressed, in India, as elsewhere.
  • A national plan, created in 2008, limited itself to eight priority sectors, with uneven progress across the various “missions”. No durable bodies were created to orchestrate a strategic national response over the long run.
  • An advisory council under the prime minister has not met since 2015.
  • An apex implementation body composed of senior bureaucrats has been similarly inconsistent, meeting only six times between 2013 and 2019.
  • India has accumulated a growing patchwork of climate policies, with some benefits, but these are scattershot and untethered to a larger national goal.

Methods for deepening and enhancing systems of governance for the climate crisis:

  • an institutional architecture capable of crafting such low-carbon development pathways should be developed.
  • an independent, non-executive low-carbon development commission (LCDC), anchored in new climate legislation and composed of both experts and stakeholders. It is meant to craft low-carbon development pathways and recommend policy opportunities to ministries, deriving authority from the credibility of its analysis
  • Ministries be made to report to Parliament and the public on their annual plans, goals and achievements.
  • Budgetary incentives for mitigation might speed up the process.
  • To coordinate a growing body of policy, now in a different context, we recommend revitalising the body of senior bureaucrats mentioned above – the executive committee on climate change.
  • In addition to targets and policies, we need to deepen and enhance systems of governance for the climate crisis, which include dedicated organisations, policy frameworks, capacities, and financing mechanisms

Conclusion:

Climate is now firmly entrenched in the global, and Indian, agenda. India’s approach must be driven by its development and carbon context. India’s energy needs are growing, and we emit far less carbon per capita than the rich world. Yet, for our own sake, India must meet an increasing share of energy needs from low-carbon sources. And we must ensure that the India of the future, from infrastructure to industrial foundations, is compatible with low-carbon development. India should focus on low-carbon development pathways and establish institutions for this.

 

7. Highlight some of the complexities and challenges of water management in the Himalayan region and discuss possible way out for sustainable management. (250 words)

Reference: Down to Earth

Introduction:

Hind Kush Himalayan region, the world’s third pole is 3,500 km long spread over 8 countries in South Asia and home to 10 major river basins is under severe threat of climate change. Many big rivers like the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra originate from the snow and glacier-covered high mountains, and have abundant seasonal and annual water supply. According to the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment Report, more than a third of the Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2100, even if carbon emissions are dramatically cut and global warming limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The melting of these glaciers will put a threat on 1.9 billion people.

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complexities and challenges of water management in the Himalayan region:

  • The Hindukush Himalayan region’s snow is the source of 10 major river systems including the Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra and Mekong in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar.
    • Large-scale warming could drastically alter the river flows in these countries.
    • The receding glaciers could cause a deluge in the rivers during the monsoon while the flows are likely to plummet during the dry seasons, with serious implications for irrigation, hydropower and ecosystem services.
  • Changes in river flows could not only cause more erosion and landslides in the mountains but also destroy dams and impact hydropower production.
  • A global temperature increase of 1.5ºC could mean at least a 1.8ºC temperature rise in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, the ICIMOD study warns.
    • Rise in global temperatures could destabilise the hydrology of large parts of South Asia, China and Myanmar. This will have a major bearing on the ice-fields, which are the largest repository of permafrost outside the polar regions.
  • Groundwater depletion:
    • increased melting may increase the volume of water in rivers, which might lead to more extensive flooding. As glaciers retreat, the amount of meltwater flowing into rivers could decline considerably. Since surface and groundwater systems are interconnected, such a situation may lead to a substantial drop in the rates of groundwater recharge in some regions.
  • Impact of climatic conditions:
    • The number of intense precipitation days and intensity of extreme precipitation have increased overall in the last five decades. If these trends persist, the frequency and magnitude of water-induced hazards in the (Hindu Kush Himalaya) region will increase.
    • Given the speed at which these glaciers are melting and retreating due to changes in climatic conditions, there will be frequent and unpredictable devastating glacial lake outbursts and floods, causing severe damages to lives, livestock and livelihood.
  • Impact on monsoons:
    • Developments in the Himalayas are known to have a spin-off on the monsoon in the Subcontinent.
    • Water sources of countries in the Himalayan region vitally depend on the monsoon rains and streams emanating from the Himalayas. It is pretty clear now that climate change and global warming have heavily affected rainfall patterns, the concentration of snow and ice and eventually the flow of streams in the Himalayas.
  • Increased incidents of natural disasters:
    • It is believed that the increased melting of Himalayan glaciers will bring on flooding disasters for the next few decades, and what would happen after this is the Ganga and the Indus flowing with radically reduced pace resulting in acute water stress, mass migration, and unseen conflicts.
    • Throughout the mountain region, springs are reported to be drying, and mountain agriculture has suffered from drought. The shortage of water has placed an increasing burden on mountain communities, particularly on women. Furthermore, the communities face loss of property and lives due to water-induced natural hazards.

Measures needed:

  • Cross-border dialogues and cooperation are necessary to put in place an effective cooperative mechanism to find and promote amicable solutions to the river water sharing problems.
  • For instance, In the recent 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu, the SAARC member countries signed a Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation. This agreement has opened up the energy market in South Asia, and thereby possibilities for cooperation in the energy sector.
  • Integrated water resources management could prove to be a great tool to augment water resources, improve quality of water and bring countries in the Himalayan region together to manage transboundary basins collectively.
  • International experiences: Experiences from the Arctic Council – an intergovernmental panel in the Arctic region and the Alpine convention an international treaty for sustainable development of the Alps need to be shared to provide learnings for the HKH cooperation efforts.
  • Effective flood management requires sharing data and information between the upstream and downstream areas, not only within the country, but also at the trans-boundary level.
  • Technological innovations based on satellite information, in combination with ground-based data, can be transformed into information that can prove vital in saving lives and properties.
  • For example, the Koshi Flood Outlook being developed by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and its national partners in Nepal and India has high potential for saving lives and properties in the basin. Such efforts should be promoted widely in the region.
  • During the Jure landslide event of August 2014 in Nepal, during which the Sun Koshi River was blocked for several days, a great concern emerged from the Indian side regarding the status of the landslide and the likelihood of an outburst flood. The flood outlook was helpful in providing important information. This example shows that disaster risk reduction could be an entry point for immediate regional cooperation.

Conclusion:

Countries of HKH region should recognise the potential of water resources for sustainable development. These resources can help reduce poverty, improve livelihoods, conserve ecosystems and contribute to flood and drought management in the region. This will not only help us face the present crisis, but also open up avenues to deal with issues of future water availability amid climate and socioeconomic changes. Regional cooperation should be based on the three pillars of sustainability: economic vitality, environmental integrity and social equity, both at the national and local level.