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The Hindu Editorial

13-September-2023

Daily Current Affairs For UPSC ,The Hindu Editorial Summary

1. Drop Of Bad Idea Of Simultaneous Election

Context:

Recent discussion on about the possibility of having national and State elections at the same time, popularly known as ‘one nation, one election’. 

This led to a committee formation chaired by a former President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, for suggestions, including which constitutional changes might be required to make it a legal reality

Arguments in favour of simultaneous elections are:

  • Itwill decrease the costs of conducting elections and electoral procedures.
  • It will free up political parties from permanent campaign mode and allow them to focus on governance for a five-year period.

counterpoint Against this:

  • Critics have pointed out that in terms of statistic and the numbers, the actual financial savings are relatively less in this elections . The real problem is central government ministers and politicians dedicate a significant amount of time to campaigning in State elections.
  • If those frequent State elections hamper governance, then the simple answer is that State elections should be primarily fought by State party units, while national politicians can get on with the task of governance. 
  • Increasingly centralised and presidential character is cause of worry in this.
  • The logistical challenges of conducting simultaneous elections in a country of a little over 1.4 billion people, where even State elections need to take place in multiple phases.
  • It is incompatible with a rigid election timetable because of the use of Article 356 of the Constitution, which authorises the Union to suspend or dismiss State governments.
  • The crux of the parliamentary democracy is that at all times, the government must enjoy the confidenceof the  Government must step down when loses this confidence and go back to the people for the fresh mandate.

 If break down moment occur and government falls :

Two solutions have been proposed, both of which tend to make the problem worse. 

  • The firstis that the President’s Rule will be imposed in that State until the five-year period is over. But this undermines both federalism and democracy.
  • The second is that elections will be held in that State, but the term of the new Assembly will only be for the remaining period and not for the whole five years.
  • This option curtail both the justificationsfor simultaneous election cost and an avoidance of continuous campaign.

Critics to this Solution:

  • This leads to lack of governance in the state due to lack of time, increases the possibilities of malpractices such as ‘horse­trading’

Impact on democracy and federalism:

  • Federalism where the administrative convenience go hand in hand with the legitimacy of linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and other forms of collective aspiration.
  • In course of time, Indian democracy at the central level as well as State level takes its own set of claims, demands, and aspirations. Simultaneous elections risk this distinction. As state ­level issues will be subsumed into the national level.
  • In the Constitutional scheme, the federal structure is an important check on the concentration of power. Simultaneous elections challenge this federal principle.
  • In democracy, despite the words with which the Preamble of the Constitution begins, the “People” have very little space in the Constitution when it comes to exercising control over their representatives. 
  • In the Indian constitutional scheme, elections are the only form of public    participation in the public sphere. 
  • Relatively regular and frequent elections allow for more extended public participation and debate; simultaneous elections would shrink this scope substantially.

 Conclusion:

  • Therefore, it is clear that the administrative benefitsfrom simultaneous elections are overstated. However, the costs, both in the implementation and in the concept, create risks when it comes to protecting and preserving the federal and democratic design of the Constitution.

2. Climate phenomena and food security

Context:

  • There has been a series of disruptive weather and climate phenomena in India this year, highlighting the complexity of our precipitation system. 
  • Infrastructural destruction and loss of life due to floodingand landslide in the western Himalaya and northern India raised concerns about the sustainability and resilience of our development projects in the mountains and floodplains. 
  • There was the Western disturbance, which brings much-needed moisture from European seas to the western Himalaya and parts of northern India in the winter and spring.
  • The following article deals with climate change and related issues

Impact of EL-Nino:

  • An El Niño phase

i) Impact on summer southwest monsoon.

ii) Weaken winter precipitation from the Western disturbances.

  • Not all El Niño events effectson the southwest monsoon.
  • When an El Niño affects the southwest monsoon, it combines with another oceanic atmosphere phenomenon in the Indian Ocean called positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) , which could balance the consequences of El Niño  .

 Food security Agriculture depends on two types of water:

  • Green water(rain­fed soil moisture) tapped by food and cash crops, eventually transpiring into the atmosphere.
  • Around half of the cultivated area in India depends on green water, not blue water. Despite investments in dams, reservoirs, and irrigation systems.
  • Contributions of green water from the northeast monsoon in southeast India and the Western disturbance in the north will play significant 
  • kharif season, rice paddy, staple crops like tur dal, soybean, groundnut, and maize also rely considerably on green water at this time.
  • Bluewater which is the water in rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and groundwater. The latter is the basis for agriculture irrigation, aside from drinking and industry use supply, and maintains ecological flowsin 
  • At the end of the southwest monsoon, the blue water stock in our reservoirs and groundwater will partially determine the fate of the rabi crops sown in winter and the overall water security. 
  • Therabi crops are going to bank heavily on blue water or irrigation during the summer months.

The El Niño and other climate phenomena affect rain-fed agriculture in many ways:

  • Delaying the start of rains
  • Affectingsowing
  • Negatively influenceplant growth 
  • Soil

Daily water usage and water stress:

  • Our daily diet in India also requires nearly 3000 litres of water per person per day on average, subject to regional variability. 
  • 36 districts in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra are emerging as climate change hotspots.  
  • Nagpur endures water stress for the most extended duration. 
  • We should create adaptation plans on the idea that current trends will continue more frequent intense rain, summer heat and moisture stress, and declining monsoon precipitation in some parts of the country. 
  • However, recent pieces of evidence suggest that a warming atmosphere adversely impacts many natural dynamics within our climate systems.

How we respond In terms of agriculture and food security:

  • Less dependency on water-intensive crops, millets being the priority.
  • Shifting to less water-intensive crops may reduce the vulnerability of our food systems to phenomena like El Niño.
  • One estimate suggests that more than 30% of blue water can be saved with such shifts in crops.
  • Appropriate policy formulation with advancement in agri-science innovation.
  • Advancement in forecasts system.
  • Improvements in short-term weather forecasts and early warning systems for both intense rain and dry spells. The government, both at the Centre and in the States, along with farmers, benefitfrom forecasts of phenomena like El Niño and their impact on the monsoon. 
  • Alternative short-term and long-term management of our dams and reservoirs is required to reduce the risk of dam-based flooddisasters and ecological damage to aquatic ecosystems.

Conclusion:

Our response to society with governance to the water and climate change crisis impacts on food, water, and ecological security.  Diversifying our agro-food systems, lower dependence on blue water, rejuvenating our rivers, including sustainable water sharing between humans and nature will have a significant impact on the well-being of 1.4 billion people.

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