Mains Q & A 03 JUNE 2023
Q1. Hydrologic and human systems both heavily depend on groundwater. The current method of using groundwater is ineffective and unsustainable. Therefore, a new paradigm for managing groundwater is required. Discuss. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I – Water Conservation related issues
India is one of the world’s top users of groundwater, extracting 248.69 billion cubic metres of it annually as of 2017. A little over 89% of the groundwater that is taken out is used for irrigation, with the remaining 9% and 2% going to home and industrial uses. India is on the verge of a very significant groundwater problem, which requires mitigation in the country’s policy corridors as well as in the fields.
The significance of groundwater:
Groundwater satisfies the needs of arid and semiarid regions while lowering the possibility of a brief water deficit.
Groundwater is more resistant to the effects of climate change than surface water because of its large potential for storage.
India uses more than 90% of its groundwater for irrigated agriculture.
85 percent of the nation’s drinking water is supplied by the remaining 24 billion cubic metres.
Around 80% of India’s 1.35 billion inhabitants rely on groundwater for irrigation and consumption.
Additionally, according to recent estimates, groundwater supplies make up close to 50% of metropolitan water needs.
Groundwater depletion issues:
Decrease in the water table.
Water levels in lakes and streams are decreased.
Land subsidence: Depleted aquifers lead to deadly sinkholes, and a lack of groundwater inhibits biodiversity.
cost increases for the user.
decline in the quality of the water.
Saltwater tainting is a possibility.
Lack of water availability causes a drop in crop output (40% of the world’s food is produced using groundwater).
The ‘natural’ water cycle is disrupted by groundwater depletion, adding disproportionately more water to the ocean.
Both the population and the food supply will suffer if big aquifers are exhausted.
For example, Punjab has a semi-arid climate but grows rice, which depletes groundwater and is “highly unsustainable.” The government should adopt laws to identify which crops should be cultivated in which region according to the availability of water, which “has not been the focus.”
Large amounts of water are lost through evapotranspiration as a result of India’s traditional flood irrigation. For effective water use, drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation must be used.
Groundwater access should be restricted in places designated as “critical” and “dark zones,” when the water table is overused or very low.
To avoid its overexploitation, it is necessary to treat water as a shared resource rather than as private property.
Water logging, salinity, agricultural pollutants, and industrial effluents are only a few of the challenges that need to be thoroughly investigated.
To improve efficient water use practises in agriculture, the government has launched programmes including the DRIP initiative, more drops per crop, and Krishi Sinchai Yojana.
a bottom-up strategy that involves engaging the neighbourhood in groundwater management.
One of the workable answers is to establish community-level regulatory structures like panchayats.
To reduce the loss of water resources, traditional water conservation practises should be supported.
It is also necessary to apply scientific agricultural practises, re-use of water, afforestation, and artificial recharge of tube wells.
In India, effective groundwater management is essential for addressing the developing problems with water scarcity. Making communities aware and completely incorporating them is therefore essential for success. The most efficient way to address the groundwater disaster is to combine conservation and development efforts, from water extraction to water management, at the local level.
2. The societal norms of today do not support marital rape, which also violates women's fundamental rights. The criminalization of martial rape in India is long overdue. Analyse critically. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II – Social Issues
Sexual activity with a spouse without the other spouse’s consent is known as marital rape. Even though it was once widely unrecognised by law and society as wrong or as a crime, many nations around the world today recognise it as rape. India’s criminal code has undergone numerous revisions to better protect women. The non-criminalization of marital rape in India, however, jeopardises the basic rights and dignity of women.
Arguments contesting the legitimacy of the marital rape exception in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have engulfed the Delhi High Court over the previous few months. While the decision in those petitions is still pending, on March 23, 2022, Justice M. Nagaprasanna of the Karnataka High Court declared the end of the marital rape exception in the case of Hrishikesh Sahoo v. State of Karnataka.
Despite the fact that marital rape has been criminalised in more than 100 nations, India is one of just 36 that have not yet done so.
The Indian government should make marital rape a crime, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) advised in 2013.
The same was advised by the JS Verma committee, which was established in the wake of widespread demonstrations over the December 16, 2012 gang rape case.
According to the NCRB research, a woman in India is sexually assaulted every 16 minutes and subjected to abuse by her in-laws every 4 minutes.
According to an analysis of data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015–16, an estimated 99.1% of sexual assault incidents go unreported, and the average Indian woman is 17 times more likely to experience sexual assault from her husband than from other people.
Marital rape: a violation of both the law and women’s constitutional rights:
The patriarchal mindset that views women as the property of men after marriage, with no autonomy or power over their bodies, is still prevalent in our nation’s rape laws.
They deny married women the same legal protections that the Indian constitution guarantees.
Legislators are unable to comprehend that a marriage should not be regarded as authorising a husband to forcibly rape his wife without repercussions. The power over one’s own body belongs to both married and single women.
What we refer to as “implied consent” is best exemplified by the Indian idea of marital rape.
It is impossible for marriage to exist between a man and a woman without both parties having given their agreement to sexual activity.
According to the centre, making marital rape illegal would undermine the institution of marriage and provide harassers unfettered access to husbands.
It has referenced the SC’s and other HCs’ views over the growing abuse of IPC Section 498A (harassment of a married woman by her husband and in-laws).
The similar message is also conveyed by the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Six descriptions that collectively make up Section 375 serve to define the crime of rape. The phrase “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, are not rape” is one of the exceptions to this crime.
Previously, Section 375 (Exception) distinguished between permission granted by a married woman and an unmarried woman as well as between married females who were under the age of 15 and those who were over the age of 15. The Supreme Court correctly overturned this and increased the age to 18.
India should make marital rape a crime:
The Supreme Court’s decision only went so far in preventing the legalisation of marital rape.
It is past time for the legislature to recognise this flaw in the law, repeal Section 375 (Exception) of the IPC, and put marital rape under the rape statutes.
By eliminating this rule, women will be protected from violent spouses, be able to get the recovery support they need after being raped in marriage, and be able to protect themselves from domestic abuse and sexual abuse.
Indian women should be treated equally, and no one, not even a spouse, should be allowed to violate another person’s human rights.
Regardless of who committed the crime or the victim’s age, rape is rape. When a woman is raped by a stranger, she is left with the recollection of the heinous crime; when a woman is raped by her husband, she is left with the rapist. Even after 73 years of independence, our British-inherited criminal rules have mostly not changed. However, English law has since changed, making marital rape a crime as early as 1991. However, no Indian administration has up till now demonstrated a keen interest in finding a solution.
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