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Indian Express

21-November-2023

1) Reining in the governor

Context:

  • The article focuses on the recent activities of Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi while discussing the constitutional issues and debates surrounding the position of governors in Indian states.
  • It draws attention to the problems that come with keeping the colonial system of governors in place as well as the necessity of constitutional changes to support democracy in India.

Governor’s Actions and Supreme Court’s Rebuke:

  • Concerns about the constitution have been raised by Governor R.N. Ravi’s recent actions, especially his unwillingness to sign bills enacted by the state legislature of Tamil Nadu.
  • The Supreme Court’s criticism highlighted the governor’s non-elected authority and the need of abstaining from meddling in elections for office.

Governor’s Interference in State Matters:

  • The article lists the occasions on which Governor Ravi has obstructed state government decisions, pertaining to matters of prosecution, nominations, and prisoner releases.
  • It is believed that this meddling goes against democratic ideals and the function that governors are meant to do.

Historical Context and Constitutional Framework:

  • The article explores the historical background of the governor’s position, dating it all the way back to the colonial era.
  • It highlights the Constituent Assembly’s choice, in the face of resistance, to keep the colonial post of the governor, which was appointed by the Union administration.

Governor vs. President:

  • The appointment, dismissal, and accountability processes of the president and the governor are distinguished in a significant way.
  • The governor is not directly accountable to elected officials or the legal system; instead, they are appointed by the Union administration and are not subject to impeachment, unlike the president who is elected and subject to both.

Constituent Assembly Debates and Criticisms:

  • The article makes reference to the arguments made by members of the Constituent Assembly, including Dakshayani Velayudhan, who was critical of the governor-related regulations.
  • It is emphasized that the worries expressed back then concerning the concentration of power and possible problems with the conduct of governors remain pertinent now.

Ambedkar’s Defense and Puzzling Response:

  • The article examines B.R. Ambedkar’s argument in favor of keeping the governor-related laws and casts doubt on how strong his argument is.
  • Ambedkar’s economic outlook is compared to the worries expressed by other Assembly members.

Need for Constitutional Reform:

  • The article makes the case for constitutional amendments or judicial action as alternatives to the current status quo of the governor’s office.
  • It supports a more democratic and accountable system while acknowledging the difficulties and rejecting the notion of complete abolition.

Alternatives: Judicial Intervention and Constitutional Reform:

  • The article recognizes the growing trend of judges being involved in the actions of governors.
  • It does, however, support a more methodical approach and suggests specific constitutional amendments that are proposed by subject-matter experts.
  • A workable substitute is the notion of holding governors answerable to state legislatures, as the president is answerable to the Union Parliament.

Conclusion:

  • The article’s conclusion emphasizes how urgently constitutional changes are needed to address the colonial institution of governors.
  • It makes the case that these reforms are essential to bolstering India’s federal system and democracy and offers a balanced viewpoint on possible fixes.

2) Before the next deluge

Context:

  • The article talks on the recent G20 meeting in New Delhi, when world leaders reaffirmed their commitment to finding sustainable ways to solve the problems caused by climate change.
  • In spite of these promises, the article emphasizes how commonplace climate change-related loss and destruction is, especially in sensitive areas like India, where residents along the vast coastline are subject to increasing sea levels, floods, and droughts.

Impact on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH):

  • The important effects of extreme weather events on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services come into sharper focus.
  • Over 17,000 lives lost to extreme weather events between 2012 and 2021 highlight the vulnerability of vulnerable groups in coastal locations.
  • The consequences on urban slum settlements’ WASH infrastructure are very severe.

Inclusion of Water in COP27 and the Way Forward to COP28:

  • The article highlights a noteworthy breakthrough at COP27: the inclusion of water in the final declaration for the first time.
  • The article calls on nations, particularly India, to discuss the climate’s impact on WASH at the next COP28 in Dubai, building on the resolutions of COP27.

Responsibility and Challenges in Providing WASH Services:

  • The article highlights the devolution of responsibility for supplying drinking water supplies and sanitation services to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) as required by the 74th Amendment.
  • Notwithstanding legislative initiatives like Swachh Bharat and Jal Jeevan missions, the nation faces challenges in creating sustainable practices and WASH infrastructure that is climate resilient.

Importance of Data and Vulnerability Assessment:

  • The article emphasizes how crucial it is to have trustworthy data in order to comprehend and enhance resilience in metropolitan regions that are at risk.
  • It talks about a risk and vulnerability assessment carried out by the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), which provides information on climate concerns and how they affect WASH infrastructure in Jaipur and Bhubaneswar’s slum regions.

Spatial Locations and Vulnerability:

  • When creating suitable local activities, the spatial locations of vulnerable slum communities are emphasized as being very important.
  • Particular weak points that increase the risk of flooding after heavy rains are noted, such as closeness to canal roadways and drains.
  • These places have significant vulnerability indicators, according to data from the 2011 Census, which makes matters worse for marginalized people.

Assessment of Climate Events on WASH Services:

  • With an emphasis on WASH indicators, the effects of climatic events on water and sanitation services are investigated.
  • Even while tap connections have improved under normal circumstances, unfavorable weather events drastically limit access to services, necessitating the use of public and private tankers.
  • The study highlights how the lack of latrine facilities under certain situations increases the amount of open defecation.

Community Initiatives and Challenges:

  • The article recognizes how resilient communities can be when faced with difficulties.
  • Slum dwellers actively test the water quality, keep an eye on places that have gotten wet, and look for solutions to prevent waterborne illnesses in spite of unstable economies and rising healthcare expenses.
  • The difficulties that women and girls encounter are emphasized, such as problems with menstruation hygiene and harassment brought on by a lack of house restrooms.

Conclusion and Recommendations:

  • The importance of community readiness and WASH infrastructure that is climate resilient is emphasized in the article’s conclusion.
  • It recommends that in order to create a resilient and sustainable future, government activities should support citizens’ efforts by encouraging the resuscitation of alternate water sources and supporting sustainable practices.

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