Mains Q & A 24 January 2023
Q1. Discuss the MPLAD plan’s components for each constituency’s effective development and how it aims to create long-lasting community assets. (150 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I Government Policies and Interventions
In order to provide Members of Parliament with a means of recommending construction projects with a developmental focus for the establishment of long-lasting community assets and the provision of essential services, such as community infrastructure, the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) was established in December 1993. The MPLADS, a Central Sector Scheme, has been fully supported by the Indian government. The MPLADS fund is authorised to distribute Rs. 5 crore annually to each MP seat.
By adding the program’s money to the Consolidated Fund of India, the Union Cabinet revived the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), which had been halted in April 2020. The economy’s revival provided justification for the restoration. Instead of the $5 million awarded each year, the MPs will earn $2 million.
-To enable MPs to put forward development initiatives with an emphasis on creating long-lasting community assets based on locally felt needs in their parliamentary districts.
Members of the elected Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may advocate for initiatives in their respective states and local communities.
The Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha members who have been nominated may propose works from any part of the country.
-To create long-lasting resources for crucial national infrastructure, including drinking water, fundamental education, public health, sanitization, and highways.
Features for the efficient growth of each constituency:
The finest person to comprehend the social and developmental issues in their region is an MP.
The MPLADS has offered lawmakers the chance to take the lead in the development and resolution of their constituency’s continuing problems.
It is one way of accurately moving funds from the government to the ordinary populace.
Local MPs have the authority to designate cash for specific community need, such as tarring a road, putting in water pumps or streetlights, or improving the local healthcare and education systems.
These initiatives not only strengthen the local economy but also give residents jobs.
The State and Union Governments’ “pork barrel” approach frequently leads to regional imbalance and imbalanced development. The ruling party allocates public monies to specific constituencies based on political considerations, often at the expense of greater public interests. The elected opposition legislators from their constituencies suffer because of this pork barrel politics.
In order to address the aforementioned favouritism, MPLADS was implemented. The Scheme provided opposition MPs with a narrow window of opportunity to fulfil the district’s developmental needs.
Scheduled Caste development will take up 15% and 5% of the MPLADS funding, respectively. About 20 lakh rupees are allotted annually by the MPLADS fund for the welfare of people with disabilities.
Problems with MPLADS:
Since its creation in 1993, MPLADS has attracted increased scholarly and public attention, with the emphasis on the many ways that its politicised orientation leads to the underutilization of money or the erroneous allocation of money over time and space.
MPs spend much more money than they normally would on unfinished projects in the months before elections.
Concerns regarding instances of financial mismanagement and excessive spending have frequently been voiced by India’s Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG).
Thanks to MPLADS’ automated “rollover” of unused funds from one year to the next, politicians can concentrate on project recommendations before anticipated election dates, which is associated with higher project failure rates.
Since the MPLADS programme is not governed by any laws, it is at the mercy of the present administration’s whims and fancies.
By encroaching on the domain of local self-governing entities, MPLADS violates Parts IX and IX-A of the Constitution.
The plan violates the notion of the separation of powers because MPs are involved in executive duties.
The automatic rollover provision must be eliminated.
Additionally, newly elected MPs may be inspired to implement the suggestions made by their predecessors by informing voters of the efforts—or lack thereof—of incumbents with regard to the advancement of specific public works projects.
Political parties could also be helpful by encouraging qualified incumbents to run for re-election in the same district, which would be good for any foreseen plans for discretionary spending.
The negative effects of democratic elections on the provision of public services could generally be mitigated by rules that restrict discretion and demand tougher and more standard criteria for project proposal approval.
The negative effects of the public’s calls for lawmakers to be more accountable and transparent and to create policies that serve the interests of the general public rather than those of vested political interests may also be mitigated by doing this.
Q2. What exactly is smog? Analyze the reasons behind Delhi’s poor Air Quality Index scores and make suggestions for ways to make it better. (150 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I Environmental Conservation
A dense layer of ground-level ozone is created by the combination of fog, dust, and air pollutants such nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, etc. that make up smog. It is a particular kind of pollution. It consists of a variety of dangerous contaminants that are released into the atmosphere through both natural and human-caused activities.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board’s most recent bulletin, the AQI has hit the upper limit of the “severe” category at 471. This is worse than the AQI of 462 that was measured on November 5, 2021, the day after Diwali.
Delhi’s low Air Quality Index scores are caused by:
Delhi’s air pollution, as well as that of the entire Indo Gangetic Plains, is a complicated phenomenon that depends on a number of variables.
Easterly winds are the most common during the monsoon season. As soon as the monsoon leaves, north westerly winds become more prevalent.
The wind is also north-westerly throughout the summer, and storms can bring dust from Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as Rajasthan.
As the temperature drops, the inversion height, or the layer beyond which pollutants cannot diffuse into the higher layer of the atmosphere, is dropped.
As a result, there are more contaminants present in the air.
Absence of fast winds:
Winters bring a decrease in overall wind speed compared to summers, yet they are still quite effective in dispersing pollutants.
The states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh border the nation’s capital. Crop residue burning by farmers in these states is one of the primary causes of rising air pollution levels in Delhi. In Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, farmers burn rice stubble. The burning of biomass is responsible for 17–26% of all particulate matter in Delhi during the winter, according to a source-apportionment study on the city’s air pollution done by IIT–Kanpur in 2015.
Another factor in Delhi’s traffic-related pollution that contributes to the smog and air pollution is vehicle emissions. 20% of PM 2.5 during the winter is caused by traffic pollution, according to a study by IIT Kanpur.
Dust and other air contaminants have a harder time moving as winter approaches. These pollutants become trapped in the atmosphere by ineffective winds, which alters weather patterns and causes smog.
Noise pollution and other forms of pollution are only made worse by the capital’s excessive population.
Another factor contributing to the rise in dust and air pollution in Delhi-NCR is the city’s extensive construction. According to the IIT Kanpur study, dust pollution is a major contributor to road pollution, which accounts for 38% of the PM 2.5 concentration and 56% of the PM 10 load at 59 t/d.
Air pollution is rising, and smog is accumulating in the atmosphere due to industrial pollution and rubbish dumps.
Firecracker displays were widespread this Diwali despite the restriction on cracker sales. Although it might not be the primary cause of this fog, it undoubtedly had a role in its development.
Another factor contributing to air pollution is inadequate public infrastructure spending. Low investment in infrastructure and public transportation causes clogged highways in India, which in turn causes air pollution.
Along with immediate actions, there should be long-term initiatives to expand the area’s forest cover and give farmers an alternative to burning crop residue.
Farm waste might be turned into a resource by using cutting-edge technologies like those used to create biofuels and biofertilizers, as part of an inventive strategy to combat climate change.
To persuade and reassure farmers, proactive engagements are needed.
Finding other uses for stubble, such as biomass, is crucial since doing so can persuade farmers to explore for non-traditional revenue streams.
The WHO’s warning that air pollution is the new tobacco should at least be given top priority today in India. Deterrent parking fines may be applied with a sharp increase.
From the standpoint of urban development, major cities should refocus their investments to prioritise public transportation while favouring electric mobility.
Promoting incentives for the adoption of alternative mobility technology is necessary.
According to the World Bank, it is eager to expand its lending portfolio to address air pollution, providing a fresh route for this.
Through stringent road pricing mechanisms like congestion taxes and greenhouse gas taxes, governments should make driving personal vehicles in cities less appealing.
We must move more quickly toward LPG and solar-powered stoves.
India can reduce vehicle emissions, but it will need to take several different steps. It must incorporate the already-proposed, stricter emission standards (in the form of BS VI), as well as a push for shared and public transportation, and the implementation of alternative mobility technology.
To create specific revenues to pay the clean air action plan, NCAP could take the lead from newly adopted national practises, such as the pollution cess in Delhi on truck entry, large diesel vehicles, diesel fuel sales, and the coal cess.
Use water sprinklers and mechanical sweeping to reduce road dust, but it would be better to pave the sides of the roads or cover them with grass to hold the soil together and prevent the dust from forming in the first place.
It is necessary to pay attention to non-technological factors like urban design, reduce driving, and boost cycling, walking, and the usage of public transportation.
Twelve out of the fourteen cities in India have high levels of air pollution. The Supreme Court’s involvement in this case is a significant development in India’s fight for clean air because it highlights the need for a comprehensive plan that offers systemic solutions and serves as a reminder to governments that a plan can only be successfully implemented if all stakeholders cooperate. Other Indian cities that experience terrible air quality should also adapt this model. Children’s health, in particular, is severely compromised by air pollution. It needs to be addressed as a top priority for governance.
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