Mains Q & A 11 OCTOBER 2023
Q1. Analyze how Khalistan separatism changed throughout the post-independence era. What are the different causes of the current resurgence of the Khalistan movement in Punjab?
GS III: Internal Security related topics
Ideas or actions that support the division of a group or a territory from a nation are referred to as separatist. The goal of the Khalistan movement is to create an independent, sovereign Sikh state in what is now Punjab, which includes both Pakistan and India. In the 1940s, the first clear call for Khalistan was made. The Khalistan movement has persisted over time in diverse forms, among diverse ethnicities, and in numerous places.
Khalistan separatism’s development throughout the post-independence era:
Dividends and independence:
The movement’s roots can be seen in India’s independence and the country’s subsequent religiously-based partition.
Pakistan acquired Lahore, the capital of the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Moreover, Pakistan acquired the sacred Sikh places, such as Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak.
Akali Dal and the Punjab Suba Movement: The Akali Dal spearheaded the Punjabi Suba movement, which aimed to establish a province specifically for the Punjabi population, after India gained independence in 1947.
This claim was turned down by the States Reorganisation Commission in its 1955 report; nevertheless, following years of opposition, the state of Punjab was reorganised in 1966 to accommodate the Punjabi Suba demand.
Sikhs in Punjab felt resentment because Haryana and Punjab shared Chandigarh as their capital. This led to the Anandpur Sahib resolution and the demand for autonomy. In 1973, the Anandpur Sahib resolution was presented, calling for a drastic devolution of power.
It claimed the right to write its own internal constitution, designated areas that would be a part of a separate state, and demanded autonomy for the state of Punjab.
The movement’s leadership shifted from the moderate Akalis to the extreme elements in the 1980s, and armed insurgency became the new way of doing things.
Operation Blue Star and Operation Black Thunder: The Indian government launched “Operation Blue Star” in 1984 in an attempt to neutralise the militants who were holed up in the golden temple. Similarly, the goal of Operation Black Thunder was to eliminate any last remnants of terrorists who supported Khalistan.
Motives behind the Punjabi Khalistan movement’s resurgence:
Role of Diaspora: Many Sikhs who are distributed around the world became aware of the demand for Khalistan as a result of Operation Blue Star and its deadly aftermath. Since then, the financial and diplomatic support has come from the Sikh diaspora. Cadres are sent to Pakistan by Sikhs in the UK, Canada, and the USA in order to provide financial and military support.
Pakistan’s main responsibility has been to act as a base or a safe haven for terrorists who are wanted. Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, is reviving the Khalistan cause in Punjab by simultaneously exploiting the jihadist network in Jammu and Kashmir.
Social media’s role: Social media is currently the primary means of disseminating ideas associated with Khalistan. Numerous organisations, like Babbar Khalsa International, use WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to spread false information.
Misuse of the Kartarpur Corridor: Pakistan is encouraging and enabling the spread of pro-Khalistan ideas among pilgrims who pass via the Kartarpur Corridor on their way to Pakistan. According to reports from Indian intelligence agencies, ISI agents have been stationed along their side of the corridor continuously.
Drugs, gun culture, and teenage radicalization: Illegal drug and gun smuggling across the Pakistani border makes firearms and drugs easily accessible to young people. Social media propaganda is drawing Punjab’s youth into the gangster-terrorist nexus.
As a result, given the current crises in Punjab, it is imperative to strengthen law and order, engage civil society in the fight against drugs, secure borders, and apply pressure on the international community to address terrorism. India should take all the required actions to guarantee the country’s integrity and unity.
Q2. India's economy is among the fastest-growing in the world, but the country's Human Development Index has not increased in line with this growth (HDI). Provide evidence to back up this claim and provide actions that should be done to make it right.
GS II: Government Policies and Interventions
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) publishes the Human Development Index (HDI), a composite statistical measure, to assess and compare the state of human development in various parts of the world. The HDI evaluates the average achievement of a nation in three areas: knowledge, a respectable level of living, and a long and healthy life. In the Human Development Report 2021–22, India comes in at number 132 out of 191 nations.
India’s low levels of human development can be attributed to:
Uneven Growth: Over 77% of India’s wealth is held by the top 10% of the population, indicating that economic growth has not been properly distributed. Significant differences in access to necessities like healthcare and education have been brought about by this.
Regional Disparities: According to the subnational HDI, some states have achieved significant progress, whereas others are still having difficulty. For instance, Gujarat and Haryana rank 21 and 10, respectively, despite having the highest SGDP per capita among larger states. Despite this, they have failed to convert this advantage into human development.
Lack of socioeconomic safety nets: These are programmes designed to send money to the poor or those at risk of poverty so they don’t fall below a certain level of poverty. India’s poor HDI score can be attributed, in part, to the absence of these safety nets.
Poor quality of public services: India has made great strides towards decreasing poverty and expanding access to healthcare and education, but there are still issues with the quality of these services. For instance, even though primary school enrollment is almost ubiquitous throughout the nation, the standard of instruction is still poor.
Historical factors: India’s caste system has contributed to many people’s disadvantages, including low levels of income, health, and education. For example, the 2011 census found that the literacy rate for scheduled castes is only 65.1%, but the overall India rate is 73%.
Jobless Growth: India’s job market has not expanded at the same rate as the country’s GDP. Merely 40% of the workforce that have the ability to work is either employed or actively seeking employment.
Actions that ought to be performed to advance human growth include:
Education Sector: The strategy should move its emphasis from enrollment to enhancing school operations and improving the calibre of educational outcomes.
The New Education Policy 2020’s methodical implementation ought to be the main priority.
Health Sector: Convergence of initiatives in several sectors is necessary for effective strategies in the public health sector.
A few broader healthcare determinants, such as access to drinking water, improved nutrition, and hygienic conditions, should be the main focus.
Employment and Skill Development: To take advantage of the demographic dividend, investment in job creation and skill development must be prioritised.
Because the unorganised sector influences the organised sector, it should likewise be supported and strengthened through investment.
Social Protection Measures: To guarantee a greater degree of economic development, disparities—whether they be regional or rural-urban—must be minimised.
This necessitates attending to the social protection requirements of certain populations, including tribal people, the elderly, migrant workers, and those with disabilities.
Preserving gender parity: It is imperative to acknowledge the pivotal function of women as catalysts for enduring socio-economic advancement and transformation. This calls for concentrating on closing the gender gap and empowering women, both of which would significantly lower poverty and inequality.
Governance measures: In order to improve service quality and enable greater responsiveness to the requirements of the public, “outward accountability” is crucial.
Positive outcomes can be obtained from participatory governance through the use of social audits, civil society involvement, and associations representing the marginalised.
Creating the necessary infrastructure: Plans should be made to provide the teachers, pedagogy, health facilities, training courses, energy, and internet, as well as the necessary hardware and software.
According to the UNDP study on human development, governments ought to prioritise putting the three Is—Investment, Insurance, and Innovation—into practise. Development and economic growth can only be achieved with a multifaceted approach. India may prosper in the face of unpredictability and new difficulties by implementing policies that prioritise the three Is.
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