1. The Gorkhaland movement is a long standing quest for a separate State of Gorkhaland. Discuss the roots and causes of the present Gorkhaland movement in India. Is under-development a core issue for the demand of a separate Gorkhaland? Examine.(GS 2) The Hindu Introduction:
- In 1907, the Hillmen’s association had raised the issue of being separately administered from Bengal. It is such a historical issue.The existing insecurities got triggered because of many reasons which are:
- The Indian state’s plan to quell the demand for Gorkhaland by giving the locals more autonomy brought only limited results. Even after creation of Gorkha Territorial area (GTA) the region have not been given proper administration autonomy.
- The long-standing ethnic and linguistic factors that had driven the Gorkhaland movement for over a century didn’t go away overnight either.
- Naturally then, when the West Bengal government announced that Bengali would be made compulsory in all schools in the state, the Nepali-speaking hill communities were not pleased.The perception is that it is this language imposition that served as the spark that lit the fire of unrest.
- After all, it was an issue of concern not only for the Nepali speaking Gorkhas, but all other linguistic minority groups like the Santhals, who had struggled for long for the right to be educated in Santhali and the al chiki
- The demand for Gorkhaland is a demand to protect the identity, culture, history, traditions and the rich bond of people from Darjeeling region, which they share with their land.
- State emblems being solely in Bengali without any regards for other culture
Under development is not the core issue because of the following reasons:-
- An analysis of a range of development indicators shows that on most of these, districts in Gorkhaland fare as well as the districts in the rest of West Bengal.
- According to National family health survey 2015-16, on most health indicators, such as immunisation, antenatal care and institutional births, Gorkhaland districts compare well to the rest of the state. The share of under-nourished children is lower in Gorkhaland than in the rest of the state.
- Economics cannot explain the rising tide of resentment in the hills. Linguistic and cultural differences seem to be a stronger driver of the statehood demand.
- The strategy of addressing ethnic concerns through autonomous councils may have failed to meet the aspirations for self-rule in the hills.
However some experts still say that due to the negligience of Government and discrimination on the basis of caste and ethnic origin the place is still underdeveloped and people are suffering. The tea workers are suffering and many tea garden have been shut down permanently. Though the creation of a separate state is often the demand, but there are other solutions that can be pursued. The preservation of culture, language and customs, providing financial or social autonomy in few areas, representation to locals in administration etc can help in defusing this demand.
2. GST will integrate India into a single market with a standard rate of taxation. Examine the implications of GST on India’s federal structure.(GS 3) The Hindu Implications of GST on India’s federal structure:- Positives:
- GST is a product of a pooled sovereignty, where the States have voluntarily waived some of the critical fiscal powers that they hitherto enjoyed under the Constitution.
- GST by subsuming an array of indirect taxes under one rubic will simply tax administration,improve compliance,and eliminate economic distortions in production,trade and consumption.
- GST makes the states significant decision partners in national level macro management on things like inflation,
- The benefits of GST overshadow its concerns as it is expected to reduce manufacturing costs by 10-15% as logistics costs will decline. It will also boost productivity through efficient resource allocation and greater tax compliance. Moreover, the GST will lead to enhanced transparency and higher foreign direct investment (FDI).
- In endeavouring to pursue the goal of creating a single market through a homogenisation of the tax regime, the GST amendment grants to both the Union and the State governments concomitant powers over nearly all indirect taxes.This is against article 1 which made India as the union of states.
- In the working of GST council, the Central government’s votes will have a weightage of one-third of the total votes cast, according, thereby, to the Union a virtual veto.
- If the GST council’s recommendations are treated as obligatory,States would have altogether surrendered their fiscal autonomy to the Central government.
- GST will be a move to take away the rights of States to decide taxes according to their socio-economic situations.
- In situations when national disasters occur or to fund welfare schemes to improve people’s livelihood, State governments will now have to remain at the foot of the Central government to avail funds.
- With such stupendous amount of power given to the Centre to collect funds, the State governments, which is ruled by different political ideologies across, will now have to be deliberately liable to obey the interests of the Centre
- The States would be deprived of their important source of revenue and their right to decide the tax structure. Taking it vice versa, certain States would become more dependent on the Centre and this will lessen their responsibility and accountability towards fiscal consolidation. Also, this will make the States a mere spending unit and put a question mark on their fiscal accountability.
Therefore while GST is implemented a proper balance needs to be maintained so that’s the federal structure and powers of states are not compromised.
3. Do you think that Smart Cities can adversely impact the environment? Critically examine. (GS 3) ET Introduction:
- The Smart cities mission is an innovative and new initiative by India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens.
- Smart Cities focus is on sustainable and inclusive development .
Yes,it would have negative impact as there are some concerns like:
- According to a UK study ,smart cities will have detrimental effect on environment.
- It would result in increase of population density which can place significant extra demands on resources, including electricity and water.
- it will also increase the output of waste in the form of drainage, solid waste and greenhouse gases
- Major challenge is to provide quality urban services such as 24X7 water supply, sanitation, drainage, solid waste management, sewage treatment.