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Q.1) Critically examine the reasons behind government's decision to deport Rohingyas to Myanmar Answer: Recently, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called for a report from India on the deportation of a group of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. Reasons behind the decision:
  1. The Foreigners Act, 1946, fails to address the peculiar problems faced by refugees as a class. It gives unbridled power to the Central government to deport any foreign citizen.
  2. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2019 strikingly excludes Muslims from its purview and seeks to provide citizenship only to Hindu, Christian, Jain, Parsi, Sikh and Buddhist immigrants persecuted in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The majority of the Rohingya are Muslims.
  3. Security threat is quoted to be a major reason as the refugees may cause significant turmoil in the Northeast region.
Problems with the decision:
  1. The principle of non-refoulement requires that “no contracting State shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”
  2. The idea of prohibition of expulsion lies at the heart of refugee protection in international law.
  3. Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  4. Article 51 of Indian Constitution imposes an obligation on the state to endeavour to promote international peace and security.
  5. Article 51(c) talks about promotion of respect for international law and treaty obligations.
  6. The Rohingya refugees cannot be deprived of the right to life and personal liberty.
  Q.2) Although we will meet the target of an open defecation free India much before deadline, it is still the easiest milestone that we have crossed. Comment. Answer: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has set the target of of making India open defecation free by 2019. Progress under Swachh Bharat Mission
  1. Since launch of the SBM, there has been progress in the construction of toilets.
  2. In urban areas there has been progress in door to door waste collection.
  3. Apart from approaching through celebrities, the government has established swachhata doot(community volunteer), engaging community organisations, engaging local celebrities and those people who are having respect among the people, NGOs and media to bring the necessary behavioural change.
  4. The money for construction of toilets is shared between centre and state government. The people must also contribute towards it to feel the sense of ownership.
  5. There has been institutional support and capacity building, analysing the weaknesses and addressing them so that the objectives of Swachh Bharat Mission can be met.
Challenges remain:
  1. Many people continue to defecate in the open due to lack of attitudinal changes.
  2. Also, the lack of water availability in many areas forces people to abandon the constructed toilets.
  3. There is lack of scientific procedures in the Municipal Corporation to keep the city clean. It also remains unclear how and where the waste will be disposed and what extent of the responsibility for managing waste lies with citizens.
  4. Lack of proper integration of the SBM with WASH scheme limits the benefits only to the field of toilet usage but ignores other essential components of overall public health.
  Q.3) What are coastal regulation zones? How recent changes made therein would impact the coastal ecology and socio-economic aspects of the indigenous people? Answer: New Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2018 were notified as per the Shailesh Nayak Committee recommendations. Provisions:
  1. permit current Floor Space Index (FSI) or Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in urban areas coming under CRZ-II
  2. does away with the restrictions on construction which date back to the Development Control Rules of 1991
  3. CRZ-II urban category pertains to areas “that have been developed up to or close to the shoreline”, and are legally designated municipal limits already provided with roads, water supply, sewerage connections and so on
  4. For rural areas, it adds a sub-category to CRZ-III; new provision, CRZ-III A, applies development restrictions to a much smaller area of 50 metres from the high tide line, compared to the 200 metres that was earmarked as the no development zone (NDZ) earlier for densely populated areas. These are defined as places with a population of 2,161 per sq km as per the 2011 Census. Areas with a population density below that will continue to have 200 metres as the NDZ.
  5. However, for tourism expansion, the new scheme will allow temporary facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks and changing rooms, maintaining only a slim margin of 10 metres from the high tide line.
  6. The system of granting clearances has also been changed. States will have the authority to approve proposals for urban (CRZ-II) and rural (CRZ-III) areas. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change will grant clearances for ecologically sensitive areas (CRZ-I), and areas falling between the low tide line and 12 nautical miles seaward. The modifications also include demarcation of a 20-metre no development zone for all islands and guidelines to deal with sensitive areas.
Impact:
  1. it ignored two major issues: maintaining a well demarcated hazard line and factoring in the effects of climate change on sea levels
  2. impacts of periodic cyclones show that coastlines will become even more vulnerable.
  3. Protection of fishers poses a challenge, since the relaxation of development controls could subject them to severe commercial pressures
  4. decision to allow construction and tourist facilities closer to the coast may boost employment and grow local business, but without strong environmental safeguards, these could damage fragile ecosystems.