India and its neighborhood relations – India and Sri Lanka Concerns.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
India – Sri Lanka: Fishing in troubled waters
India – Sri Lanka Concerns:
The issue of poaching by Indian trawlers in Sri Lankan waters has over the years become an increasingly contentious one, seriously threatening the livelihood of Sri Lanka’s fishing community.
Other problems such as frequent arrests of fishermen of both countries and seizures of their fishing vessels by the Sri Lankan and Indian authorities in the common sea area between the two countries are not new.
The problem has been festering with political ramifications, particularly in Tamil Nadu for a number of years.
The situation with regard to fishing has gradually turned out to be adverse for Tamil fishermen from Sri Lanka’s northern province after the end of the Fourth Eelam War in 2009.
During the Eelam War, active patrolling by the Sri Lankan Navy and by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard to interdict the movement of LTTE cadres also prevented Indian fishermen from Tamilnadu, and also to an extent from Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry, from undertaking fishing across the median line international boundary in the Palk Bay which had been firmed up by mutual agreement between India and Sri Lanka in 1974.
But the fact of the matter is that post that conflict, Indian fishermen have extended their fishing activities to Sri Lankan territorial waters. This is owing to the gradual depletion of fishing resources in the Indian continental shelf, the relatively greater availability of fish on the Sri Lankan side, and the Sri Lankan fishermen from the northern province not being in a position to exploit the marine resources.
Moreover, Sri Lankan fishermen did not have the means, for example, advanced fishing implements like gill nets, modern trawlers, etc.
Indian fishermen have also been resorting to bottom trawling (banned as per international fishing regime), which is destructive of the layout of the sea-floor, and the natural habitat for fish breeding. In other words, opportunities induced Indian fishermen to venture into the sea domain of their Sri Lankan counterparts.
Why the issue of fishermen between India and Sri Lanka has not been resolved yet?
Sri Lanka has the sovereign right to take action against any act of trespass into territory that comes under its jurisdiction. The problem with this approach, however, is that it is at best a short-term one.
The vessels are only detained temporarily. And despite the risk of arrest, fishermen are willing to take the risk of returning in these vessels, particularly because they are desperate for a reasonable catch which they do not find in Indian waters anymore consequent to relentless bottom trawling. Also, fishermen who are apprehended are in several cases released following political negotiations.
What steps should be taken to overcome the problems?
A more effective step would be to confiscate the vessels in which fishermen trespass into Sri Lankan waters. (Authorities are in fact empowered to do so, and lately they have resorted to this action. This provision must be regularly enforced)
Indian Navy or Coast Guard should join the Sri Lankan Navy in jointly patrolling the international boundary to prevent trespassing.
According to the current law in terms of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act 2 of 1996, bottom trawling can be carried out by both Sri Lankan nationals as well as non-nationals who obtain a licence from the Department of Fisheries.
Instead, bottom trawling should be made an offence through an effective law. Therefore, as far as poaching is concerned, banning the practice of bottom trawling will greatly reduce the incentive to trespass into Sri Lankan waters.
Both Sri Lanka and India must also take effective steps for the conversion of fishing with trawlers to deep sea fishing.
In order for a ban on bottom trawling to succeed, alternatives must be available to protect the livelihoods of fishermen presently engaged in bottom trawling. Additionally, interim steps must also be taken to minimise the serious damage being caused by trawling.
Such a ban will act as a confidence building measure and will encourage speedy resolution of this issue.
It is time the governments of both India and Sri Lanka moved beyond political rhetoric and tough talk and took effective and sustainable steps to resolve this issue.
Connecting the dots:
Why the issue of fishermen between India and Sri Lanka has not been resolved yet? What steps should the Indian Government take to overcome the problems faced by the Indian fishermen?
General studies 1:
Effects of Globalization on Indian Society; Urbanization and related issues
General studies 2:
Important aspects of governance and e-governance
Issues regarding services relating to Health, Education, Human Resource
Smart Cities & Local Governance
According to Census 2011, 31 per cent of India’s total population lives in urban areas — a marginal increase of a little over three percentage points from the previous Census of 2001.
In absolute numbers, however, India added about nine million people to the urban areas, bringing the number of urban residents in India to a total of 377 million.
Additionally, for the first time since Independence, the growth in total urban population is higher than the absolute rural population growth
A ‘smart city’ concept is defined as the ability to integrate multiple technological solutions in a secure fashion to manage the city’s assets – for example, the city’s assets like local departments information systems, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, law enforcement, and other community services.
Smart and efficient usage of information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance quality, performance and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to improve contact between citizens and government.
Basic infrastructure: Assured water and electricity supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, robust IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation, safety and security of citizens
Smart solutions: Public information, grievance redressal, electronic service delivery, citizens’ engagement, waste to energy & fuel, waste to compost, 100% treatment of waste water, smart meters & management, monitoring water quality, renewable source of energy, efficient energy and green building, smart parking, intelligent traffic management system.
‘the first in the country and even in the world [where] investments in urban sector are being made based on competition-based selection of cities’
The 20 cities were selected on the basis of a “Smart City Proposal” which was submitted by the city.
Idea behind the proposal—
Development of an area
Development of the entire city
Proposals from a majority of cities have financially prioritized developing a small area rather than the entire city.
An analysis states that 71 per cent of the funding from the mission will be spent on area-based development, the beneficiaries of which are about 4 per cent of the city’s population on average.
Area-based Development: Cities have proposed redevelopment of old and creation of new central business districts, retrofitting infrastructure such as water supply, sewerage, and creation of public spaces apart from reinventing landscape.
Proposal for the entire city: Limited to IT-based services like CCTV-monitored central command system, “smart” education portals and “intelligent” water and traffic management systems.
The key driver of the smart city concept—Integrating Local Governance with Smart Services
For success of urban development schemes, state governments & local bodies will have to take the lead, all geared up and armed with the latest technology—
Key Elements constituting the Governance of the Smart City:
Operations and maintenance:
City services such as water, energy, transportation are delivered by different entities and there is minimal collaboration during planning and maintenance which leads to duplication of efforts.
Providers are not held accountable for low-service performance and since different departments have different set of staff there is little synergy and high cost
Need for an
Integrated command and operation centers that will not only enable better management of services but will also lead to integration of operations across various departments leading to optimization of cost and efficiency
Helps monitor city services on a real-time basis and therefore improve on synchronizing maintenance activities.
Use of business process re-engineering and automation will help improve efficiency and reduce turnaround time
Use of predictive analytics will help understand equipment performance and maintenance requirements.
City performance dashboard that helps monitor— the performance of city subsystems through the use of digital technologies and big data analytics to manage city governance, efficient performance and proactive crisis management.
Workforce and resource management solutions should also be used as they can help improve workforce engagement and task management.
To optimize the workforce— development of workforce management solutions like planning, forecasting & scheduling, shift management etc.
Public infrastructure asset management:
While municipalities across the country have limited asset inventory, most of the time it is not up-to-date.
Need for a comprehensive asset management strategy in place.
They provide visibility of asset, asset usage, maintenance schedules, parts etc.
Integrated operations – (most of the integration explained above)
Small cities still rely on manual interface and limited channels that are used by the ULBs to communicate key information to citizens
Lack of single interface for citizen services or registering complaints
Cities must have multi-channel citizen interface such as — mobile, web, online, phone etc. for services such as bill payment, tax payment, issuance of online certificates, grievance registration etc.
City authorities should use social media for two way communication with people.
There should be a single helpline number for a single point of contact for citizens to reach authorities.
Need to do away with the Land Monetization Outlook: Land has not yet been properly utilized and coloring it with the colour of mere finances over city-based project will be inappropriate. The government should rather opt for project-based development to shift from this worrying trend.
Turn-around failedarticulation of an institutional framework for urban development:
Convergence: Of various programs with various developmental plans
For example, there is still not a laid-out framework as to how will the water reservoir and storage-related development be integrated with ‘Housing for all’
Government should take each step forward with simple yet detailed planning for a stronger foundation.
Governance: The decision to make the city smart should be taken by the city, its citizens and its municipalities but in practice, the role of the local governments and its missions has been cut short with no alternative arrangement in place.
1992, the 74th constitutional amendment: Envisioned an elected local government with neighborhood committees and mohalla sabhas as an institutional architecture vis-à-vis the functional, financial and legislative domain of city governments
Present: Responsibilities were limited just to delegating the decision-making powers to a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a body to be set up and which would implement the mission
Connecting the Dots
The best model of financing smart cities in India is self-financing wherein cities generate their own capital to create assets and public infrastructure. Discuss the viability of this model for Indian cities.
State the achievements of the smart-city project. Discuss if the local governance has been integrated with the ‘Smart City Project’.