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Q.1)The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) had designated India as the nodal center for developing customized models to issue advance warning of floods to Asian countries. Discuss how India can enhance its capability to deal with the flash floods and can help other countries in this regard.
Why this question:
Recently, there has been a severe flood in the state of Uttarakhand.
Key Demand of the question:
Measures that should be taken by India to deal with flash floods and enhance its capability to do so as well as the role it can play in diplomacy.
Discuss- back up the answer by carefully selected evidence to make a case for and against an argument, or point out the advantages and disadvantages of the given context and finally arrive at a conclusion.
Write about India being appointed as the nodal center for developing customized models to issue advance warning of floods to Asian countries by the WMO and the significance it has for India.
In the first part, categorically write how India can enhance its capability in dealing with flash floods like investing in research and development, using newer innovations, improving infrastructure, development of new models, etc.
In the next part, write the role India can play with the position it has been given by the WMO and how it would enhance India’s bilateral relations with other countries and improve India’s global image.
Conclude with a way forward.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) had designated India as the nodal center for developing customized models to issue advance warning of floods to Asian countries. One type of flood is the flash floods. These are sudden surges in water levels during or following an intense spell of rain. These are highly localized events of short duration with a very high peak and usually have less than six hours between the occurrence of the rainfall and peak flood. The situation worsens in the presence of choked drainage lines or encroachments obstructing the natural flow of water. Eg- On December 1, 2015, even in 2005 and 2006, heavy rains from the months of October to December had flooded Chennai.
Causes of flash floods:
- Heavy Rainfall: Water of Heavy rainfall concentrates and flows quickly through urban paved areas and impounded into low lying areas raising the water level.
- Lakes: When lakes become smaller, their ability to regulate the flow become less and hence causes flooding.
- Silting: When there is heavy rain, the silted drains can’t carry full discharge and result in flooding.
- Population pressure: This aggravates overgrazing, over cultivation and soil erosion which increases the risk of flooding.
- Deforestation: This raises the drain bed causing overflow and in turn urban flooding.
- Trespassing on water storm drains: The areas which were essentially created by the storm water drains to let their flood waters pass freely being tress-passed for developmental purposes result in obstruction of water flow and thus contributed immensely to the fury of floods
- Unauthorized colonies: Unauthorized colonies have been developed by the local people without consideration to the city plans, drainage, sewerage etc. and thus subjected to flooding during heavy rain falls.
- Poor Water and Sewerage Management: Old drainage and sewerage system has not been overhauled nor is it adequate now. All the drainage and sewer systems in many areas collapse resulting in flooding. This can be seen during rainy seasons every year.
Measures to enhance capability to deal with floods
- Mapping of the flood zones using field surveys, historical records and sharing it with the concerned authorities and the people.
- Building underground towers to store the diverted flood water like one in Tokyo.
- Checking illegal constructions in the areas prone to flash floods.
- Investing in research and development and encouraging development of new models of dealing with flash floods.
- Regular maintenance of the drainage system by de-silting the drainage system across the city.
- Mangroves plantation along the river basins: This measure will surely control the soil erosion and silt deposition along the river banks.
As floods cause major damage to life and property every year, it is high time that the central and the state governments prepare a long-term plan that goes beyond piecemeal measures. The India Meteorological Department is developing a Flash Flood Guidance System to predict the threat of a flash flood. It will alert citizens and disaster relief forces in advance, preventing loss of lives and damages worth billions of rupees.
Why this question:
Experts have attributed the recent flood in Uttarakhand to the increase in Climate change.
Key demand of the question:
Need for a policy on climate change in India and measures needed to mitigate the damage caused by the increase in climate change.
Critically analyze- The key to tackling this question is providing ample evidence to support the claims. Ensure that the analysis is balanced by shedding light on, and presenting a critique of, and alternative perspectives. Present extensive evidence taken from a varying range of sources.
Introduce statistics from the IPCC report on climate change.
In the first part, highlight the need for India to have a well-defined policy on climate change that focuses on limiting climate change in India.
In the next part, mention the crucial issues that the policy needs to address and the challenges that India would face in this direction.
Conclude with the impact that a national policy on climate change in India can have globally and help India in meeting its NDCs of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs formulated by the UN in time.
The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was launched in 2008 by the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change. It aims at creating awareness among the representatives of the public, different agencies of the government, scientists, industry and the communities on the threat posed by climate change and the steps to counter it.
However, it is quite evident that climate change and its impacts have taken a toll on India. Experts have attributed the recent burst of glaciers in Uttarakhand to climate change. This has highlighted the need to devise a policy that facilitates the need of mitigating the present day climate change. The most important needs for a comprehensive climate change policy in India are:
- Investing in research and development for creation of sustainable models of development.
- Increased funding for activities related to climate change impact mitigation.
- Investing in infrastructure in areas prone to climate change.
- Climate budget tagging as a tool can be adopted in the Indian budget system.
- Policies for the protection of ecosystems in vulnerable areas like the Himalayas, islands, mangroves, etc.
Climate change has led to deleterious impact all over the world. As per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made public ‘The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ which underlined the dire changes taking place in oceans, glaciers, and ice-deposits on land and sea. A better and comprehensive policy on climate change mitigation is what India needs, that helps it in achieving Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs set out by the UN.
Why this question:
Recently, the government has restored the 4G internet services in J&K.
Key demand of the question:
Issues that can be caused through and by the internet that would be detrimental to India’s internal security and suggest measures to overcome them without infringing the right to internet.
Critically examine- Look in close detail and establish the key facts and important issues surrounding the topic. Try and offer reasons as to why the facts and issues identified are most important, as well as explain the different ways they could be construed.
Introduce by giving the SC judgement that right to internet is a fundamental right under Freedom of Speech and Expression.
In the first part, highlight the challenges that come along with free flow of the internet- fake news, fake propaganda, hate speech, frauds, etc.
In the next part, briefly mention the benefits that the internet has and how completely shutting it would be detrimental for India’s growth and mention measures that the government can take to overcome these challenges.
Conclude by mentioning that all fundamental rights are subject to certain restrictions and it is the duty of the government to find a perfect balance between the rights and the restrictions to ensure peace and harmony in the society.
The Supreme Court in a judgement in January 2020 that Right to internet is a fundamental right (subject to reasonable restrictions) included in the freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. Information Technology has transformed the global economy and connected people and markets in ways beyond imagination.
However, there are several issues associated with the internet that can undermine a India’s internal security:
- Cyber terrorism- the premeditated use of disruptive activities, or the threat thereof, against computers and/or networks, with the intention to cause harm or further social, ideological, religious, political or similar objectives, or to intimidate any person in furtherance of such objectives.
- Cyber Spying- Cyber-attacks aimed at gaining information from the perpetrators. It can be vulnerable to information critical to national security.
- Cyber-radicalism- extremist groups using the web to spread propaganda, incite violence, and plan and carry out potentially catastrophic attacks.
- Cyber-vandalism- when an individual or group takes control of a website and defaces it. It can be detrimental to official websites of various ministries and departments and can be used to spread false information.
- Fake news- social media is an integral part of the internet and at the same time a very easy platform for the spread of fake news.
Eg.- the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017, which infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries. India was the third worst-hit nation with approximately 48,000 computers infected; in 2016, the Indian Army blacklisted a host of spyware applications, including the mobile application SmeshApp that was used for communications purposes by Indian security forces. However, the spyware application was reportedly harnessed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to gather information on Indian military personnel.
In spite of the above challenges, the internet as a medium of information has immense inter-sectoral benefits that include- targeted health services, economic services, online education, recreational purposes, etc. Therefore, it is important for the government to draw a balance between the fundamental rights and the reasonable restrictions on them; and also develop measures to overcome these challenges.
Why this question:
An important part of GS paper II.
Key Demand of the question:
The significance that local self-governments hold in having a citizen centric administration and strengthening fiscal architecture and the measures that should be taken by the government to strengthen them.
Critically evaluate - Give your verdict as to what extent a statement or findings within a piece of research are true, or to what extent you agree with them. Provide evidence taken from a wide range of sources which both agree with and contradict an argument. Come to a final conclusion, basing your decision on what you judge to be the most important factors and justify how you have made your choice.
Briefly introduce the local self-governments (LSGs) in India highlighting the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment acts.
In the first part, mention the advantages of having efficient LSGs.
In the next part mention challenges that they have been facing like lack of funds, over- interference of the bureaucracy, lack of autonomy, etc. and the measures that should be taken to strengthen LSGs.
Conclude by mentioning LSGs are a part of the DPSPs and having strong LSGs was what Mahatma Gandhi always preached for the grass root development of India.
Local Self Government is the management of local affairs by such local bodies who have been elected by the local people. The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts gave constitutional status to the local f government institutions in rural and urban areas viz. the Panchayats and Municipalities. It provided for a 3- tier federal structure of governance in the country.
Advantages of local self-governments:
- Wider representation- Local government system in India offers wider representation of the backward sections of society such as women belonging to lower strata. This has allowed them to participate in governance and administration of the country.
- Ground level implementation- The schemes of the government need proper implementation on ground for being successful. The local government system has a greater idea of ground level situation for implementing as compared to the higher section of the government.
- Citizen centric- since these governments work at the grassroots level they are easier to reach and have a small group to focus on, making governance citizen centric.
- It provides an exposure to people about the political field and helps in promotion of new leaders.
Issues with local self-governments:
- They lack adequate funds for implementation of schemes.
- The interference of area MPs and MLAs in the functioning of panchayats also adversely affected their performance.
- There has been very little devolution of authority and functions in the last 28 years.
- They also suffer from structural deficiencies i.e. no secretarial support and lower levels of technical knowledge which restricted the aggregation of bottom up planning.
- The local self-governments lack sufficient autonomy to take important decisions.
Local self-governments form a part of DPSPs in the Indian Constitution and it was also one of the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi to have well-functioning Local self-governments. But the several issues have undermined their efficiency and service delivery. In this context the 6th report of 2nd ARC, ‘Local Governance- An inspiring journey into the future’’, had recommended that there should be a clear-cut demarcation of functions of each tier of the government. Government should take remedial action in the interest of democracy, social inclusion and cooperative federalism.
Why this Question:
Recently the Union Budget 2021-22 has increased the scope of disinvestment in India.
Key demand of the question:
Steps that should be taken by the government to give impetus to the process of disinvestment and strategic sale.
Introduce by defining strategic disinvestment and why it is done.
In the first part, write in detail the steps that should be taken by the government to give impetus to the process of disinvestment and strategic sale.
In the next part, highlight the challenges and benefits associated with strategic disinvestment.
Conclude with a way forward.
Disinvestment, or divestment, refers to the act of a business or government selling or liquidating an asset or subsidiary or the process of dilution of a government’s stake in a PSU (Public Sector Undertaking). Strategic disinvestment or strategic sale is the selling of more than 50% of government shares in a public enterprise. As a part of strategic disinvestment, a part of the control of the company and or management is passed from the government to the private shareholder.
Steps to pursue strategic disinvestment:
- A long term strategy for strategic sale should be developed.
- Defining the priority sectors for disinvestment.
- Ensuring autonomy and independence to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), entrusted with disinvestment of central public sector enterprises (CPSEs).
- Emphasizing that the strategic disinvestment pipeline is important because that could add a lot of value not only to stocks of existing PSUs, but also to the overall government philosophy that it need not be in business.
- Beginning the disinvestment process with profit making PSUs that no longer need government funding.
Divestment should not be seen as only a short-term fiscal measure. Instead, it should be part of a long term plan to improve the production of goods and services in India. To allay concerns of cronyism, the strategic sale process needs to be fair and transparent with a minimum reserve price that does justice to the valuable assets being auctioned off.