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The Hindu Editorial

17-September-2023

Daily Current Affairs For UPSC ,The Hindu Editorial Summary

1. Crafting a new chapter in parliamentary conduct.

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity.

Introduction:

Disruptions have become a recurring issue in India’s Parliament, with last session seeing extensive disruptions by Opposition parties. This behavior has not always been the norm in India’s parliamentary history. In the early days, Indian leaders took pride in adopting a parliamentary system modeled after Britain’s Westminster model. However, over the decades, exposure to British practices has faded, and disruptive behavior has taken hold.

A Shift in Indian Politics

 India’s political landscape has evolved, with some State Assemblies witnessing extreme disruptions, including overturned furniture and pepper spray incidents. While such chaos hasn’t fully engulfed the national legislature, parliamentary conduct has deteriorated, and code of conduct violations have become common.

Reasons for recurring disruptions in Parliamentary working:

  • Political Rivalry: Opposition parties often disrupt to challenge the ruling party’s agenda and policies.
  • Issue Highlighting: Disruptions draw attention to specific issues or grievances that MPs want to prioritize.
  • Lack of Debate Opportunities: When debates are limited or ineffective, MPs resort to disruptions to voice their concerns.
  • Attention-Seeking: Disruptions can provide media attention and visibility to individual MPs or parties.
  • Pressure Tactic: Disruptions are sometimes used strategically to exert pressure on the government to meet demands.
  • Weak Opposition: Inadequate opposition strength can lead to disruption as a way to compensate for political imbalance.
  • Ineffective Parliamentary Norms: Erosion of parliamentary decorum and norms can encourage disruptive behavior.
  • Constituent Pressure: MPs may disrupt if they believe their constituents are dissatisfied and want immediate action.
  • Public Discontent Reflection: Disruptions may reflect widespread public discontent with the government’s performance.
  • Perceived Inaction: When issues remain unresolved, MPs disrupt to compel the government to take action.

Impact of recurring disruptions in Parliamentary working:

  • Legislative Gridlock: Recurring disruptions can prevent the passage of crucial laws and reforms, leading to a legislative standstill.
  • Public Distrust: Frequent disruptions can erode public trust in elected representatives and the democratic process, damaging the credibility of the government.
  • Lack of Accountability: Disruptions impede lawmakers’ ability to hold the government accountable for its decisions and actions.
  • Undermined Democratic Values: Disruptions undermine the principles of respectful debate and consensus-building, weakening democratic norms.
  • Delayed Reforms: Critical policy reforms may be delayed, potentially impacting economic growth and development.
  • Media Sensationalism: Disruptions often lead to sensationalized media coverage, diverting attention from substantive issues.
  • Political Polarization: Ongoing disruptions can deepen political divisions and hinder cooperation between parties.
  • International Standing: A country’s international reputation can suffer, affecting foreign investments and diplomatic relationships.
  • Legislative Backlog: Frequent disruptions result in a backlog of pending legislative work, hindering effective governance.
  • Weakened Democracy: Continual disruptions weaken the foundations of democracy and representative governance.

Erosion of Standards and Impunity

Standards of behavior have eroded, and suspended MPs are often quietly reinstated, raising concerns about accountability. While disruptions are sometimes viewed as a way to give the Opposition a voice, it prompts questions about the effectiveness of such practices.

Drawing Inspiration from the UK

To address this issue, India can learn from the UK’s parliamentary practices. “Opposition Day” allows the Opposition to set the legislative agenda, providing a platform for accountability without disruptions. “Prime Minister’s Question Time” (PMQs) ensures direct questioning of the Prime Minister, fostering accountability and interactive discussions.

The Role of the Speaker and Cooperation

The Speaker can play a pivotal role by allowing amendments, facilitating dissent recording, and acknowledging Opposition voices, creating a more inclusive legislative environment.

Conclusion: Restoring Parliament’s Role

In conclusion, India’s Parliament faces a disruption dilemma. By adopting British-inspired practices and fostering cooperation, Parliament can regain its credibility as a cornerstone of Indian democracy. Collaboration between the government and the Opposition is key to preserving Parliament’s essential role.

Mains question: Discuss the implications of recurring disruptions in parliamentary functioning on the effectiveness of democratic governance in India. What measures can be taken to address and mitigate the challenges posed by such disruptions?

2. India is at a pivotal moment in its health-care journey

Topic: GS3 – public health.

India’s Emerging Leadership

  • India is increasingly taking a leadership role on global issues such as climate change, electrification, manufacturing, and space exploration.
  • Notably, India successfully landed a mission near the moon’s south pole and chaired a successful G-20 presidency.

The Challenge of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

  • India is facing a growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and mental health disorders.
  • The economic cost of unchecked NCDs in India could reach nearly $4 trillion by 2030, posing a significant threat to the country’s development.

The ‘Age Tax’ and Lost Opportunities

  • Unchecked NCDs could impose an ‘age tax’ on India’s demographic dividend, limiting the potential of its youthful population.
  • Urgent action is required to prevent this scenario and ensure that India’s demographic advantage is not squandered. 

The Role of the Healthcare Industry

  • The healthcare industry must collaborate to raise awareness, promote healthier lifestyles, and provide comprehensive health checks, including advanced scans for early disease detection.
  • India has made significant progress in healthcare, with improved maternal and infant mortality rates and increased life expectancy.

India as a Medical Value Travel Hub

  • India boasts world-class healthcare infrastructure and clinical expertise, offering high-quality care at an affordable cost.
  • The country has become a global hub for medical value travel (MVT), attracting patients seeking specialized treatments such as organ transplants, cardiology, oncology, and robotic surgery.

Potential in AI Solutions

  • India has a competitive edge in AI-driven healthcare solutions due to its pool of data scientists, engineers, and healthcare professionals.
  • AI can significantly impact diagnostics, treatment decisions, disease outbreak predictions, healthcare data analysis, and drug discovery, making healthcare more personalized and effective.

The Future of AI in Indian Healthcare

  • India must continue investing in research and development, foster academia-industry collaborations, and create an innovation-friendly ecosystem to lead the AI-driven healthcare revolution.
  • The AI sector in India is expected to reach $11.78 billion by 2025 and could contribute $1 trillion to the economy by 2035.
  • India can position itself as a global MVT destination, an AI-driven healthcare solutions leader, and a champion in combating NCDs.
  • Achieving this vision requires prioritizing community health, promoting public-private partnerships, and investing in innovation and research. 

Conclusion

  • With concerted efforts and a commitment to excellence, India can build a healthier and more prosperous future for generations to come. 

Mains question: How can India balance its global leadership aspirations with the pressing issue of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)? Discuss the economic and healthcare implications, emphasizing the role of AI-driven solutions in addressing NCDs. 

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