1. Unless and until elections to local governing bodies are transformed into a sincere democratic exercise and not merely a scramble to attain power and influence, the vision of decentralised governance can’t be realised. Comment.
The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments were implemented with the aim of attaining the vision of decentralized governance. Decentralized governance aims at devolution of power to the lowest level of government and empowering the citizens to govern themselves and take decisions for their own welfare. It prevents concentration of power in the hands of few and makes implementation of policies and public service delivery easier. For an efficient and well represented local governing body, elections play a major role. It empowers the citizen to select their representative who will represent their voices. Elections also pressurize representatives to perform better to get reelected and reinstate the idea that the citizens are the sole of the democracy.
However nowadays elections to local governing bodies have become a race to attain power and influence rather than to realize the progressive intent of becoming vehicles for social transformation, articulating the felt needs of the community, especially those of women and marginalized groups.
Discuss few problems in the present Election system:
Elections to local governments are conducted by the State Election Commissions which have less functional autonomy than Election Commission of India.
Despite provisions of regular and systematic elections to local bodies every 5 years, insincere and undemocratic elections just to attain power and influence remains a grim reality
Failure to curb malpractices in elections like rampant public spending (beyond expenditure limit – often from black money), liquor, corruption of deputed officials, rigging and prowess of the ruling party, due to lack of monitoring mechanisms.
Administration of local governments is a State subject, and their work is carried on as per the whims and fancies of the government. There are high instances of the influence of local MLAs and MPs over the decisions of municipal corporations and panchayats.
The money and muscle power in these local elections is also increasing mainly because the candidates feel success in these elections will improve their image in influencing state patronage
Proxy representatives in many cases where women or reserved candidate are mere figurehead, being operated by the powerful
Therefore, there is an urgent need to plug these gaps by reforming laws relating to local bodies at the State level to evade ambiguity and ensuring the objective as per Constitutional mandate. ‘Trickledown effect’ of policies made by central and state governments for upliftment of people is only possible if a responsible government is elected to provide last mile connectivity.
2. Why lumbering as an economic activity is not so successful in lower tropics but very effective in temperate regions. Discuss. Also explain the suitability of lumbering in India.
Lumbering is a process of commercial exploitation of timber for furniture, paper and pulp and other marketable product. This activity is an important economic activity in temperate regions as compared to tropical regions.
Heterogeneous location of trees in tropical forest. Thus, it becomes difficult to extract a single species of tree. While in temperate forests, single species of tree dominate a particular area.
Hot and humid climate with frequent heavy rainfall provide difficult working conditions, while temperate regions have cool climate, more suitable to work.
Tropical trees require longer period for regeneration as compared with coniferous trees. Thus, lumbering industry cannot survive for long in a particular region.
Hardwood is heavy and sinks in water. Thus, can’t be transported naturally. Whereas, softwood is light and floats easily in water.
Inaccessible terrain of tropical forests restricts large vehicles and machines to operate and thus, modernization becomes difficult.
Access to markets isn’t a constraint in temperate regions. They are closer to industrial areas where timber, paper and pulp products are in constant demand. But this isn’t the case in tropical regions.
Re-plantation programs and government regulations in temperate regions help quick regeneration of forests in these areas which allow an unhindered cycle of economic activities. But primitive means of agriculture and lack of government regulations in tropical regions permanently destroys the forest cover.
Suitability in India:
Deciduous forest such as teak, sal is economically most viable. They are present in Western Ghats, Terai, Odisha, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Hills of south. Montane vegetation of Western Ghats or Himalayas offers viable softwood like conifers. Hardwood trees such as mahogany, ebony, rosewood have low economic value but used for firewood.
Obsolete methods of lumbering and sawing lead to wastage and low forest productivity.
Vast tracts of forests are either protected for environment conservation.
Commercial extraction of timber will come in direct conflict with tribal pockets in our country.
India needs to create additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion as per INDC, which is possible only by increasing tree and forest cover.
Fragmentation of forest is not desirable for the wildlife
Lack of transport facilities.
Lack of government support and policies.
Sustainable lumbering on scientific lines, planting multiple trees for a single tree cut can make lumbering in India environmental friendly and economically viable.
Schemes such as Make in India would provide necessary thrust to paper, railway and construction industry advancing the use of scientific practices in lumbering.
Best answer: SVSR
Lumbering refers to commercial exploitation of timber. It is a type of industry highly dependent on geographical factors and technological advancements.
What affects lumbering in lower tropics: > Trees are comparatively hardwood species that require more efficient machinery.
> Tropics have enormous species diversity and distribution is scattered. So, extraction of specific type of tree wood is commercially unviable.
> Transportation factors – roads, rivers and other infrastructure is low in tropical countries due to evergreen and deciduous forests. (Myanmar – dependent on Irrawaddy for timber transport)
> Governance deficit – poor regulations and ineffective replantation practices affect our forests as well as timber.
Favorable factors in temperate regions: > Evenly distributed soft wood species – easy for exploitation.
> Existence of ready markets nearer to locations.
> Availability of rivers and better transportation facilities. Moreover, seasonal lumbering in winters has huge benefits.
> Effective governance and scientific forest management.
Factors for India – a limited opportunity: > Forests in favorable areas like Western Ghats and N-E states are tropical evergreen and declared as biodiversity hotspots. So, we have very limited scope in this region. However, this wood is hard and great commercial value.
> Majority of our forest is tropical moist and dry deciduous forests – have plenty of opportunities for commercial exploitation. But, it is not on par with temperate regions as wood quality is brittle in nature.
> Forested regions of MP, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have favorable factors like rivers and better transportation.
> Himalayan temperate dry deciduous forests have similar features to temperate forests – soft wood coniferous forests, logs mobility and transportation.
Thus, we need to adopt scientific practices of forestry and promote schemes like agro-forestry and joint forestry for development of timber industry.
3. What are your views on the way Dalit assertion is being pursued now a days? Examine in light of the attempts being made by political parties to appeal to the Dalit identity.
Write a short introduction.
Today Dalits constitute 16.6% of the population as per 2011 census.who have been historically oppressed and marginalized.
Dalit assertion has come in following ways:
Political: rise of Dalit political parties like BSP, RPI etc. have tried to unite Dalits under one umbrella, the stringent provisions of Prevention of Atrocities act is because of consistent political pressure by Dalit groups.
Economic: though most of the Dalits live in BPL conditions, some have managed to gain economic prosperity,
Reservation: While some have stayed outside the ambit of reservation because of illiteracy and ignorance, others have actively taken advantage of the reservations in education and employment under the state, there have been demands for reservations under the private sector as well.
Social: Dali movements, Students clubs, Dalit literature have been increasing in numbers demanding their rights and dignified life, many of them are converting to Buddhism as a reaction to Hinduism and caste exploitation.
Political parties appealing to Dalit identity:
Political parties are trying to protect themselves as true sympathizers of Dalits, and trying to jump upon every opportunity, e.g., death of Dalit scholar Rohit Vemula saw every political party trying to score brownie points in the campus and media
Political parties are trying to own the heritage and legacy of Dalit leaders e.g. that of Dr. Ambedkar and Jagjivan Ram etc.
Parties have tried to accommodate more Dalit leaders into their fold in order to enhance their mass appeal,
Still parties treat Dalits are vote banks who are pampered during elections and forgotten soon after,inter- faction rivalries of Dalit groups and opportunistic attitudes of Dalit leaders are exploited to thefullest, without any real substantial upliftment efforts.
Write a suitable conclusion.
Best answer: raging bull
Dalits means those have been “Broken” and it refers to all low castes in the society. The prevailing social discrimination and prejudices have broken them.
Indian constitution, various laws and mechanisms, positive discrimination has been initiated to improve their status socially, economically and politically.
Political parties, various NGO’s are carrying this mantle and trying to address the systemic inequalities and helpful in asserting Dalit rights.
Dalit identity assertion has been pursued in the form of
Rise of Dalit-oriented-Political parties in various states. E.g. : BSP, VCK in Tamilnadu etc. These parties also show that they expand their base other than Dalits.
Dalit capitalism and entrepreneurism – being recognized. Govt scheme – Stand up India – to raise 2.5 lakh Entrepreneurs by raising Secure loans from formal credit system.
Various NGO’s specifically cater to the needs of Dalit. They are giving legal aid, helps in Dalit-government interactions etc. These NGOs show how system is still exclusive, even adversarial against Dalit identity.
New social movements like SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association) in Gujarat, NBA (Narmada Bachao Andolan) in Madhya Pradesh and MKSS (Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan) in Rajasthan among others have fundamentally broadened the Dalit political vision
On the other side, the way political parties asserting and usurping Dalit identity are equally questionable.
Treating Dalit’s (16% of population) more as Vote-bank. Vote bank compulsion made those Dalit-agenda-driven parties subscribe to political opportunism as well.
Political parties have certain pattern in reacting to social ills emanate out of discrimination. For example- Honour killings are not opposed by major political parties and considering it as L&O problem.
Dalit icons and representation in leadership is still very low though every party tries to usurp the Dalit identity.
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