27th November 2019
TOPIC: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, human resources. (Paper II)
Discuss how sanitation cannot be a separate ideal without reference to other forms of deprivation.
India’s high-profile Swacch Bharat programme has won it plaudits globally for its goal of providing sanitation to all, but as new survey data from the National Statistical Office (NSO) show, it remains a work in progress.
- The quest to equip houses in the countryside with a toilet has led to an expansion, but there was a deficit of about 28% as of October last year and not 5% as the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan (Gramin) had claimed.
- The declaration that the country has ended open defecation in its rural areas, made to international acclaim on Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth anniversary by Prime Minister Modi, must return to the wish list, going by this survey.
- It is extraordinary that many States that were declared to be free of open defecation simply did not qualify for the status, according to the NSO data.
- The centre has disputed the survey results, but it should ideally treat it as a fresh assessment of how much ground is yet to be covered.
- The data could help it review performance in States such as Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, where the lack of toilets is reported to be higher than the national average.
- More fundamentally, the survey provides an opportunity to review other social determinants such as education, housing and water supply which have a strong influence on adoption of sanitation.
- It would be pointless to pursue sanitation as a separate ideal; if communities are unable to see its benefits due to overall deprivation.
- The central government has been reiterating its claim on rural India becoming entirely open defecation free (ODF) on the basis of declarations made by the States.
Need for all-round development:
- The NSO survey results add a new dimension; since they controvert data relied by the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan on ODF.
- It will take a marathon programme to bring all-round development to India’s villages, which have not really benefitted from years of fast-paced economic growth.
- Rural housing and water supply are key to bringing toilet access to all, and it is doubtful whether the 2.95 crore subsidised dwellings targeted to be built by 2022 under the government’s flagship housing programme can bridge the shortfall.
- It is well-recognised that development indices are low in some states, and local bodies lack the capacity and resources to bring universal sanitation even where political will is present.
Sustained work to eliminate black spots in coverage and a massive urban programme are critical to ending open defecation and universalizing toilet access.
27th November 2019
TOPIC: Parliament and State legislatures (Paper II)
Discuss the role of governor in inviting parties to form government.
Devendra Fadnavis quit ahead of the test in the State Assembly, which may have caused imminent ouster.
- The government not standing is a tribute to India’s constitutional order.
- Supreme Court acted with the urgency to protect democratic values.
- It laid down the rules and timelines; ring-fenced the floor test and pre-empted manipulation. It observed that when “there is a possibility of horse-trading; it becomes incumbent upon the Court to act”.
- The Supreme Court’s order called into question the propriety and intention of the Centre and the Governor.
- The Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance will test its majority after forming the government.
Misuse of rules and abuse of precedents
- The Governor used his discretion in a partisan manner to foist the government based on dubious claims of numbers.
- He denied the opportunity to the coalition.
- He is constitutionally authorized to appoint a Chief Minister. The limits of this authority are being breached with frequency and extent by partisan Governors acting as tools in political schemes.
- The Centre rushed through the procedure to withdraw the President’s rule.
- Constitutional morality was violated by those entrusted to guard it.
There is a need to define the boundaries of the Governor’s use of discretion in inviting a party to form a government.