Mains Q & A 21 February 2023
Q1. Unbalanced development makes cities more vulnerable to environmental shocks; improving local government will help cities become resilient. critically evaluate (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II Urbanization related issues
Cities generate around 80% of the global gross domestic product. They serve as engines for growth and vibrant labour markets. But recent events have made clear the grave harm that unregulated urban expansion is causing to the environment, society, and economy.
Floods are a regular “cost” of urban growth in several parts of India. Unbalanced development makes cities more vulnerable to environmental shocks, which happen more frequently and powerfully.
As far the largest country in terms of population, India’s cities are predicted to contain 870 million people by 2050, up from 377 million in 2011.
Delhi is predicted to overtake Tokyo as the world’s most populated metropolitan area by 2030.
India is home to 11% of the world’s urban residents.
By 2027, India will surpass China as the most populous country on Earth.
Yet, uncontrolled urbanisation puts a significant strain on our cities.
In actuality, the Covid-19 outbreak has brought to light the pressing necessity for city planning and management.
The current system of urban planning and governance is complicated, which frequently leads to ambiguity and a lack of responsibility.
Problems that urban communities must face include:
A World Resources Institute India assessment of climate change risks for cities found that Mumbai faces two big threats from rising temperatures and floods, with the possibility that significant areas of the city may be inundated by 70-80% by 2050.
Incidents of extreme flooding and drought are happening increasingly regularly. similar to the Chennai floods of 2021.
Virus outbreaks and displaced people The pandemic itself provided insight into the consequences of a systemic health shock, which resulted in a flight to safety among city people. This significant labour movement closed down industrial facilities in addition to having an impact on municipal and other services in cities.
As a result of the dearth of acceptable, cheap housing, about one-sixth of the metropolitan population today resides in slums.
high population density Rural-urban migration has two effects: first, it accelerates the pace of urbanisation; second, it places an undue burden on the population on the public services already in place.
As a result, the cities are plagued with slums, crime, unemployment, urban poverty, pollution, traffic, ill health, and a variety of anomalous social activities.
The water supply fluctuates. Groundwater has been exploited unrestrictedly because the water table hasn’t been replenished.
Mountains of solid waste can be found on the fringes of our cities. Waste segregation and recycling are still subpar due to poor implementation and human behaviour.
Inadequate drainage, congested roads, and declining air quality are further issues.
A significant expert council’s and the McKinsey Global Institute’s projections from 2011–12 indicate that over the next 30 years, investments in urban infrastructure will total between Rs 39–60 lakh crore.
These amounts are higher than what the government’s budget can support.
If we are to meet our growth objectives, it is not only necessary to close current gaps, but also to address new requirements created by the growing population.
Urban municipal government and its purpose:
There are various justifications given by the Praja Urban Governance Index. According to its framework, the first step in developing cities that are equal and sustainable is putting in place a strong local administration.
The index has the following four themes: One and the same thing are meant by the terms “financial empowerment,” “administrative empowerment,” “citizen empowerment,” and “civic empowerment.”
To institutionalise this on a wide scale, a combination of structural modifications, financial incentives, and active citizen participation may be required.
The Center may first invest in the professional development of those who have the power to make decisions on our behalf.
Municipal council members are crucial in this journey due to their organised involvement in neighbourhood operations and increased comprehension of the resources available and community requirements.
The next step is to increase locals’ understanding of how cities function and their ability to take part in local governance.
The foundation of a data-driven communication between local government and the population can be provided by technology.
For the aim of resolving complaints or exchanging information about public services, this can be evolved into a city data hub that is accessible by citizens and municipal staff.
A “phygital” layer and the involvement of the Central Statistics Office will aid adoption.
Our current environmental and health issues have made investing in resilience even more important, something that urban elected officials, the bureaucracy, and people must recognise. Elected local governments, residents, and technology are becoming more and more aware of one another, much as they did for the introduction of vaccines and to stem the spread of covid. Resilience can be built if local council members and citizens work together to promote sustainable urban living.
Q2. What does good leadership really mean? Explain the various aspects of India’s strong governance. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II Governance related issues
The term “governance” refers to all forms of authority, whether they are exercised over a social system (a family, a tribe, a formal or informal organisation, a territory, or across territories) by the government of a state, a market, or a network, and whether they make use of the laws, traditions, authorities, or languages of a developed society. Realizing their objectives within the constraints of the constitution is serving the public interest.
According to the United Nations Development Programme, governance refers to the processes the political system uses to settle disagreements and make decisions (legality). Moreover, it has been used to describe “public acceptance and institutional efficacy” (legitimacy). It has also been used to support claims that the democratic process and the executive branch are effective at achieving consensus (participation)
The term “good governance” here denotes: as a result of the 2nd ARC’s proposals for several methods to improve governance:
responsive, responsible, sustainable, and productive administration at all levels.
Additionally, policies that prioritise citizens, accountability, the rule of law, and the subsidiarity principle are the cornerstones of sound government.
For instance, PDS delivery must be prompt, without middlemen, and reasonably priced for even the most marginalised individuals.
According to the World Bank, the following are qualities of good governance:
Capacity and effectiveness in managing the public sector
Regulatory body of law for development accountability
Information and transparency
Some of India’s good governance programmes:
Governance silos are being broken down to ensure better public service delivery through initiatives like PM Gatishakti, PRAGATI, capacity building through Mission KarmYogi, and a focused emphasis on procedure simplification and lowering the compliance burden on businesses, individuals, and other stakeholders.
The introduction of the GST, labour codes, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the New Education Policy, Mudra, PM Awas Schemes, and PM Kisan, which enables the resolution of tax disputes without the need for confrontation, are initiatives that have strengthened transparency, responsiveness, and other facets of good governance.
India rose from position 145 in 2015 to position 63 in 2020 in terms of how easy it is to do business there.
Also, the ranking of the Global Innovation Index has improved, rising from 81 in 2015 to 46 in 2017. (2021).
Important steps to enhance good governance include the Right to Information Act, social audits, and public service guarantee laws in various States.
To convince individuals that workable alternatives are conceivable, it is necessary to present a fresh point of view from the outside, perhaps by hiring a consultant with experience in the type of change your organisation needs to achieve.
Top-Down approach: Top leaders should set a great example for others to follow. Changes will be made automatically at the lowest level.
A multigenerational team that functions well will do so in an environment that encourages full ownership of the vision and doesn’t scare people.
Perhaps you don’t like how bureaucracies implement change so slowly. Implement the change in phases so that the organisation can adapt to it gradually.
Transparent and frequent communication at all levels is necessary to gradually overcome opposition to the reforms.
Increase the technology’s usability for employees, facilitate their usage of it, and educate them on the advantages and benefits of how technology streamlines work.
Implement a fair and unbiased performance assessment system to maintain employee motivation.
Decision-making accountability inside the organisation must be engrained.
Through educating the public and increasing public awareness, social audits must be reinforced.
In order to implement policies properly, members of the civil society should be consulted during the development process.
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