Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Disaster and disaster management.
Montreal protocol and its implementation.
Hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are detrimental to ecological balance and main elements responsible for climate change and global warming. With rapid urbanisation and uncontrolled growth the use of modern urban amenities has added to the incidence of global warming. It’s time for energy-efficient temperature limits for air-conditioning units in public facilities
India has launched the second phase of the programme to eliminate the use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) as part of its commitment under the Montreal Protocol, which requires the complete removal of chemicals that result in ozone depletion and aid global warming.
These are used mainly in the air-conditioning, refrigeration, polyurethane foam manufacturing and cold chain sectors, and must be replaced with better alternatives.
All these sectors are in high growth mode as emerging economies witness greater urbanisation and higher agricultural productivity.
The data for refrigerant consumption during 2015 compiled by the European Union show that in the developing world, split air-conditioning units, car ACs and commercial refrigeration record the highest use of these chemicals.
It is imperative the Central government ensures that its efforts to upgrade industries using the $44.1 million in funding available under the Protocol are scaled up to meet the need fully.
Modernising the technology used by 400 industrial units, many of them small and medium enterprises, by 2023 has to be complemented by policy changes that encourage adoption by consumers.
Systemic change requires the active participation of State governments, which can enact and enforce new building codes and purchase regulations that are envisaged in the current phase.
Newer refrigerants with lower global warming potential are available to industry, and there are some early adopters, while research on chemicals with greater energy reduction and very low contribution to global warming has to continue.
Credentialed training of service technicians in the newer technologies is welcome as it will bring about change of refrigerants used in the repair and replacement market and create additional employment.
It is important to make consumers aware of green options among products in terms of the underlying technologies, and incentivise adoption through tax structures.
Environment Ministry’s proposal:
The Environment Ministry’s proposal to prescribe energy-efficient temperature limits for air-conditioning units in public facilities is promising.
A lot of energy is wasted because of poor infrastructure and lack of understanding of efficiency metrics.
Equally, the Centre should conduct audit of public buildings to determine whether they are suitably designed, as climate control relies as much on passive influences such as insulation, green roofing and the nature of materials used in construction.
It is possible, for instance, to adopt the Paris idea and ask all major buildings to incorporate solar panel roofing or suitable green cover.
The continued success of the Montreal Protocol in its goal to eliminate HCFCs by 2030 will depend on reducing the acquisition costs of cleaner technologies.
The greater affordability of solar photovoltaic power and its rapid adoption at various scales is a clear pointer.
More people will have access to air-conditioning and refrigeration in coming years, and the focus of government policy must be to make them energy-efficient and eco-friendly.
In light of the Paris Summit actions and the SDGs adopted it is important that state lead measures are initiated for curbing climate change and limiting global warming to sustainable levels. Further it is also important to ensure there is bipartisan support and common but differentiated responsibility principle adopted in letter and spirit. Change of attitude from each household level is important.
Connecting the dots:
Sustainable development is the need and necessity for the generations to come by. Critically analyse the government efforts especially w.r.t Montreal protocol and its implementation.
TOPIC:General Studies 2
Role of civil services in a democracy.
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Police Reforms: When will it see light of the day?
In news: The Ramjas college violence incidence which brought the Delhi Police under NHRC scanner show how Supreme Court’s order to usher in police reforms have been unheard over the past several years.
Also, a petition has been filed in SC which seeks direction to the Centre, State governments and the Law Commission to implement police reforms and the Model Police Act, 2006 to ensure an “effective and impartial police system.”
Initiation of reforms
The National Police Commission (1977-79), set up by the Janata government kick-started the police reforms.
And the credit for keeping the debate alive and taking it to the highest judicial forum goes to former Director General of Police (DGP) of Uttar Pradesh and a former Border Security Force chief, Prakash Singh Badal who filed a PIL in 1996 and sought major changes to the police structure.
There was a need to begin the police reforms with more autonomy to police and more space for police professionalism by giving a fixed tenure for police officers in crucial positions beginning with the DGPs in the States.
This reform road began with the time consuming process of consultation with all states as police was a ‘state’ subject which culminated into SC’s 2006 direction in Prakash Singh versus Union of India.
Recommended police reforms
Fixed tenure of two years for senior officers in crucial positions
Setting up of a State Security Commission (in which the leader of the Opposition party also had a role)- to seal police forces from unwarranted political affluences, give policy directions to the police and evaluate performance of state police.
The clear separation of law and order and crime functions of the police.
Creation of a Police Establishment Board to regulate police placements.
Appointments in top positions like DGP through a merit-based, transparent process.
Establish a Police Complaints Authority to look into public complaints against police officers of and above the rank of Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct.
A new Police Act on the basis of a model Act prepared by the Union government and to be circulated to the States.
Nobody listens to the highest court
However, three years later, SC had to say that not a single state was willing to cooperate with the orders. Several State governments were devising their own means to dilute the SC directions.
The states found that the court had stepped in mainly because there was no law on the subject, many States brought in quick legislation to water down the essentials of the Supreme Court direction.
On the face value, the new Police Acts appeared to be fully compliant with the judicial prescription. However, they were merely formulated to outwit the courts. It is seen from the fact that though DGPs are handed out a two-year tenure on paper, they are given marching orders midway into their tenure without any solid reason.
The objective of Police Establishment Board had been to depoliticise appointments and transfers. However, still DGPs get prior informal political approval from the Chief Minister/Home Minister with a view to have politically amenable officers in vital places in the police hierarchy.
The latest reaction of SC on no movement on police reforms shows its helplessness in the matter. The reaction of the SC characterises the pathetic state of affairs in public administration in the country.
Who is responsible?
As contrary to popular beliefs, there is not always a politician coming in front of police duties.
There do exist many dishonest policemen in every State police who get away with accusing the politician of preventing them from discharging their duties.
The reality is different as visible from pathetic state of police stations, lateness in responding to the common man, constantly complaining of getting bullied etc.
It is seen that police often ignore complaints and when they do take note of complaint, they often side with the aggressors. Many a times, the perpetrators have been treated as witnesses and victims of crime have been converted to be accused.
The petitions, requests, causes taken up in public interest such as additional traffic lights on busy junctions, finding the lost properties of people, action against policemen unnecessarily inflicting police excesses have been largely ignored by police officials responsible for it.
The callousness towards the common man’s simple, legitimate and uncomplicated requests have been regularly reported of being unheard by the police.
The excuse of preoccupation with law and order problems and inadequate manpower cannot fully explain the tendency for inaction that has become routine in policing.
This is the reason why the debate on police reforms sounds irrelevant and unappealing to the average citizen.
Can there be improvements?
It is true that many young IPS officers lose their idealism early in their careers, because of fear of vengeful politicians or disloyal subordinates. Also, there exists fear among the proactive and dedicated officers about reprisal over honest action against powerful men in society and politics.
But there is a limit to how much citizen can be satisfied with a non-performing police force. No doubt, there is a scope for measurable improvement in the quality of policing subject to positive actions from police leadership.
There should be motivation for self-correction within the police, a process initiated by the DGP and his aides. This will push the change in the manner in which policing is carried out in most parts of the country.
The arbitrary nature and unaccountable functioning of police has led to complete alienation of many citizens from the State. Adding to it, the politicisation of police force has have been habitually abusing their powers to drop serious criminal charges against their supporters and foist false cases against their opponents led to highly partisan crime investigation. These characterisation of police forces require a 360 degree turnaround in their orientation.
Until and unless, the demand from within the police force will not be heard to become more citizen-friendly and less politically motivated, police reforms inspite being a hand away, will continue to be at horizon.
Connecting the dots:
Time for police reforms has now saturated. If action is soon not taken in favour of reviving the police force in consonant with the changing times, there will no time when people will take laws in their hands. In light of this, identify the possible areas of police reforms and means to implement them.