Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 22, 2018

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Q.1) With reference to UNICEF’s latest report, “Every Child Alive: The urgent need to end newborn deaths”. Discuss the reasons for which India has been ranked 12th in having highest infant mortality rates among low middle income countries. How the recent union budget seeks to address the welfare for women and children? (GS–1) 

Introduction:

  • UNICEF recently came up with a report name.ly, “Every Child Alive: The urgent need to end newborn deaths”, which says that when newborns in Pakistan, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan face the worst odds, India ranks below Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan.

What are the reasons that can be assigned to India for which it has been ranked 12th in having highest infant mortality rates?

There are three-fold reasons behind India’s high infant mortality rate. They are as follows:

Education:

  • Education still remains low on priority in rural areas.
  • Thus, new mothers and pregnant women lack the basic fundamentals of pregnancy as well as post baby care.

Sanitation:

  • Another major reason is that many women do not have sufficient access to clean water, nutritious food and regular medical assistance.

Poverty:

  • Poverty is one of the vital causes for high infant mortality rate in India which gives access to malnutrition and diseases like birth asphyxia, pneumonia, birthing complications, neonatal infections, diarrhea, and malaria and so on.

How the recent union budget seeks to address the welfare for women and children?

The Union Budget of 2018 has heightened its focus on welfare for women and children.

  • This year’s budget has provided the Women and Child Development Ministry with an increase in funds by almost 12%, bringing the total to Rs. 24,700 Crores.

Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS:

  • The allocations towards Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), the only scheme in India that addresses child protection increased by 77 crores from Rs. 648 crores (RE 2017-18) to Rs. 725 crores (BE) which is a 12% increase.

Anganwadi Service:

  • The largest development scheme for children implemented through the Anganwadis has seen a 7% increase over last year which is Rs. 15245.19 crores (RE 2017-18) to 16334.88 crores (BE 2018-19).

Nutrition:

  • The National Nutrition Strategy was released by the NITI Aayog last year based on which the implementation of the National Nutrition Mission will receive a boost from 550 crore (RE) to Rs. 2928.7 crores (BE).

Q.2) “The anti-defection law works best as an insurance against violation of the people’s mandate for a party, but it cannot be made a tool to stifle all dissent.” Discuss and Provide the significance of the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. (GS–2)

Introduction:

  • The 10th Schedule to the Indian Constitution, popularly referred to as the ‘Anti-Defection Law’ was inserted by the 1985 Amendment (52nd) to the Constitution.
  • It defines defection and disqualification in order to get rid of evil of political defection in lure of political advantage and lure of office, which certainly pose a threat on the essence of parliamentary system that is stability.
  • ‘Defection’ has been defined as, “To abandon a position or association, often to join an opposing group”.

Significance of the Tenth schedule:

The Significance of the Tenth schedule are as follows:

  • The anti defection law was enacted to ensure that a party member do not violate the mandate of the party and in case he do so he will be disqualified from participating in the election.
  • The Anti-Defection Law allows Parliament to announce those members defected who oppose or do not vote in line with party’s decision.
  • The aim of Anti-Defection Law is to prevent members of Parliament to change parties for any personal motive.

Arguments in favor of Anti-Defection:

Arguments in favor of Anti-Defection are as follows:

  • Provides stability to the government by preventing shifts of party allegiance.
  • Ensures that candidates elected with party support and on the basis of party manifestoes remain loyal to the party policies.
  • Promotes party discipline.

Arguments against Anti-Defection:

Arguments against Anti-Defection are as follows:

  • Legislators often argue that defection is a matter of choice and as individuals they have a right to decide who to support.
  • Several democracies have not adopted an anti-defection law, even though legislators often switch to the other side.
  • In the U.K., Australia and the U.S., parliamentarians and senators often take positions contrary to their parties or vote against the party’s view, yet continue within the same party.
  • Legislators should be allowed to express their own views and a defection law amounts to curtailment of the delegate’s freedom of choice.
  • Anti-Defection goes against the basis of a representative democracy in which the elected representative is expected to act in public interest
  • The anti-defection law breaks the link between the elected representative and his electors.

Q.3) What is the Cauvery water dispute? What are the solutions made available to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu by the apex court to resolve the issue?  Do you agree with the verdict provided by the apex court in this matter? GS – 2

Introduction:

  • As Kerala and Puducherry also claimed share of Cauvery water after India attained Independence, a Fact Finding Committee was set-up in 1970 to figure out the situation on ground.
  • After submission of the report, the states reached at an agreement in 1976.
  • However, later when Tamil Nadu got its new government, it refused to give consent to terms of agreement which led to fresh disputes.
  • In 1986, Tamil Nadu government appealed the Central government to constitute a tribunal for solving the issue under Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.
  • The Centre constituted the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) finally in 1990 to resolve the dispute following a Supreme Court order.
  • The Tribunal announced its final order in 2007
  • The award made an annual allocation of 419 TMC to Tamil Nadu in the entire Cauvery basin, 270 TMC to Karnataka, 30 TMC to Kerala, and 7 TMC to Puducherry.
  • Karnataka had contested the final verdict of the dispute tribunals, arguing that a major share of the water will go to Tamil Nadu, leaving almost six Karnataka districts, including Bengaluru, without enough water for drinking and farming.
  • Over the years, the Supreme Court has passed a series of orders setting a limit to the amount of water to be released by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu.
  • In 2016, the Tamil Nadu government sought the Supreme Court’s intervention claiming that Karnataka had failed to fully comply with a series of orders passed by the court regarding timely release of water from the Cauvery River.
  • Karnataka argued that it was unfair to require the state to release a fixed amount of water irrespective of the availability of water. The state also made strong case on drinking water needs of Bengaluru.

What are the solutions made available to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu by the apex court to resolve the issue?

The solutions made available to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu by the apex court to resolve the issue are as follows:

  • The judgment was passed on a batch of appeals by the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala challenging the 2007 award passed by the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal
  • Supreme Court curtailed Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery water by 14.75 tmcft and increased Karnataka’s share to meet Bengaluru’s drinking water needs.
  • Tamil Nadu will get 404.25 tmcft, which will be 14.75 tmcft less than what was allotted by the tribunal in 2007.
  • Karnataka will now release only 177.25 TMC ft Cauvery water from Billigundlu site to Mettur dam in Tamil Nadu.
  • The SC has given the Centre 6 weeks to frame a scheme to make sure the final decisions are implemented.
  • The SC has also directed the formation of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB)
  • The 2007 tribunal award of 30 TMC ft to Kerala and 7 TMC ft water to Puducherry will remain unchanged.

Yes, verdict provided by the apex court in this matter is quite justified because:

  • Referring to river Cauvery as a “national asset”, the Supreme Court has further said that “no state can claim exclusive right to a river passing through different states”
  • The Court acknowledged Bengaluru’s need of water and based the supply of water to Bengaluru on the ground that both the National Water Policy and also courts of different countries hold that drinking water should be given “first priority.”
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