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The Hindu Editorial

14-November-2023

1. Enhancing representation, for a just electoral system.

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity

Representation Disparities:

  • An Indian Member of Parliament (MP) represents an average of 2.5 million citizens.
  • In the U.S., a House of Representatives member represents approximately 700,000 citizens.
  • In Pakistan, a National Assembly member represents around 600,000 citizens, and in Bangladesh, it’s about 500,000 citizens.

Current Political Landscape:

  • India has 4,126 Members of the Legislative Assembly, 543 Lok Sabha MPs, and 245 Rajya Sabha MPs.
  • The representation of citizens by parliamentarians and assembly members in India is limited, leading to a potential deficit in addressing critical issues and law-making.

Malapportionment and Political Dynamics:

  • India experiences malapportionment in its political system, with legislative weight skewed toward certain states.
  • Unlike the U.S., where malapportionment is intentionally designed, India’s diverse political system may lead to the empowerment of select political outfits over others, requiring caution.

Role of Delimitation:

  • Delimitation, the redrawing of electoral boundaries, could address representation disparities.
  • Historical instances of delimitation in India and the current need for it.
  • The potential consequences of delimitation, such as favoring certain regions or political parties.

Balancing Representation:

  • Increasing the number of parliamentary seats to enhance democratic representation ratios.
  • Factors beyond population, such as geography, economic productivity, linguistic history, and fairness, should play a role in delimitation.

Promoting Federalism:

  • Reforms to promote federalism and better representation of states’ interests.
  • Suggested reforms for the Rajya Sabha, including equal representation for states and direct elections with domicile requirements.

Proportional Representation:

  • Consideration of proportional representation, especially for Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections.
  • Examples of alternative preference ballots and double ballot systems used in other countries.

Creating More States:

  • Advocating for the creation of more states in India to alleviate the dominance of large states.
  • Suggestion to establish a new State Reorganisation Commission to evaluate the viability of new states.

Enhancing Local Governance:

  • Suggestion to elect mayors in Census towns with decision-making authority in critical functions.
  • Promoting direct elections and empowering mayors for better urban governance.

Conclusion:

  • All the above mentioned measures aim to enhance democratic representation, reduce disparities, and strengthen India’s democracy.

Question: Discuss the challenges and potential solutions for addressing representation disparities in India’s parliamentary and electoral system, emphasizing the role of delimitation, federalism, and proportional representation

2. Realism, not machismo, to counter terror

Topic: GS3 – National security

Public Opinion and International Comparisons:

  • The Israel-Hamas conflict has sparked fervent discussions on social media, with many people sympathizing with Israel, possibly influenced by India’s own experiences with terror attacks like 26/11.
  • Thomas Friedman’s article praising Manmohan Singh’s restraint after the Mumbai attacks led to divisive opinions, particularly on social media platforms.

Counter-Terrorism as a Delicate Act:

  • Counter-terrorism strategies require thoughtful and realistic approaches rather than impulsive actions.
  • Terrorist attacks aim to elicit responses that amplify their cause, as illustrated by Hamas’s attack during potential peace negotiations.

Importance of Restraint:

  • The potential consequences of immediate military retaliation after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were carefully considered, including a potential nuclear stand-off and a shift of international focus to the India-Pakistan issue.

Global Impact of Inaction:

  • India’s measured response garnered international support, with world leaders condemning the attacks and praising India as a responsible nuclear power.
  • The path-breaking India-U.S. Civil Nuclear agreement was operationalized, and India was commended for its response amid the global financial crisis.

Strategic Alignment with International Context:

  • India chose to align itself with the global ‘war on terror,’ attracting investments and stability, contrasting Pakistan’s economic decline.

Pakistan’s Economic and International Fallout:

  • Pakistan’s economic fortunes declined due to its association with terrorism, decreasing foreign direct investment, and leading to a focus on its role in terrorism.
  • Notable scholars labeled Pakistan as “America’s most dangerous ally,” while India distanced itself from Pakistan and deepened its ties with the U.S.

The Impact of India’s Strategy:

  • India’s decision not to attack Pakistan and its international response contributed to its economic growth and potential, in contrast to Pakistan’s economic decline.

Strategic Air Strikes:

  • India’s air strikes on Balakot were executed with a strengthened defense capability, a robust economy, and a favorable relationship with the U.S., signaling a response to Pakistan’s terrorism.

Avoiding Ground Invasion:

  • Considering both India and Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities, military actions can occur without ground invasion, highlighting the importance of nuanced strategies.

Conclusion:

  • Calls for India to be as “decisive” as Israel may not consider the broader impact, as seen in Israel’s recent actions amplifying support for the Palestinian cause.
  • The key is to outsmart the opponent while maintaining a readiness for potential threats.

 

Question: Discuss the role of strategic restraint in counter-terrorism efforts, using India’s response to the 26/11 attacks and the importance of a nuanced approach to avoid unintended consequences.

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